ExpressVPN vs PIA comparison

ExpressVPN vs PIA: Speed, Streaming & Torrenting Comparison in 2021

Are you looking for an updated ExpressVPN vs PIA comparison in 2021?

ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access are some of the best vpns that deliver excellent connected speeds.

But how do these two vpns perform in other areas like torrenting and streaming?

In this ExpressVPN vs PIA comparison we are going to compare these two vpns along the lines of their connection speeds, streaming and torrenting support. 

I hope that by the end of this Private Internet Access vs ExpressVPN comparison you’ll be able to choose between either of the two.

So let’s get started.

Here is a quick summary.

ExpressVPNPrivate Internet Access
Websiteexpressvpn.comprivateinternetaccess.com
Servers3,0003,340
JurisdictionBVIUnited States
StreamingNetflix, Hulu, Amazon, iPlayerNetflix
Speed4.4/54.7/5
TorrentingAll serversAll servers
Kill SwitchYESYES
Works in China?YESNO
Devices510
Pricing$ 8.32/month$ 3.33/month

About

ExpressVPN is a VPN company based in the BVI that enables you to geo-restricted video content on streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu.

Check out my detailed review of ExpressVPN.

Private Internet Access, on the other hand, allows you to access the internet privately and anonymously at great connection speeds.

Find a detailed Private Internet Access review here.

Server Collection

When a company has more servers, they’ll be able to deliver better services because there’ll be less loads on their servers.

It also means that you’ll get more options when it comes to choosing a server to connect to.

ExpressVPN has a collection of more than 3,000 vpn servers that are located in 94 different countries in different continents.

PIA, on the other hand, has a total of more than 3,340 servers that are based in 32 different countries.

While PIA has more servers compared to ExpressVPN, ExpressVPN has its servers more widely spread to cover a larger geographical region than PIA.

In fact, PIA vpn servers are most concentrated in Europe and North America.

If you are looking for a vpn with great server coverage then I recommend ExpressVPN instead of PIA.

Streaming

Will you be able to stream video content on geo restricted platforms like Netflix using either PIA or ExpressVPN?

Since the ability to access geo restricted entertainment content in the number one reason people purchase vpn services, it is important to know if a vpn will be able to stream content on your favorite platform before you buy.

ExpressVPN is able to successfully unblock Netflix in countries like the US, UK and Brazil without experiencing any proxy server errors.

In addition to Netflix, you’ll also be able to stream content on other platforms like Hulu, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video using ExpressVPN.

Private Internet Access on the other hand is only able to successfully unblock video content on Netflix for the US.

Even though it can’t block Netflix in other countries, most people are interested in Netflix US because they have the largest collection of tv shows.

However, when I tried to access other platforms like Hulu and Amazon Prime my IP address was blocked.

PIA streaming capability is therefore limited to Netflix in the US at the time I was writing this ExpressVPN vs PIA review in 2021.

If you are looking for a vpn that has stellar streaming capabilities then I recommend ExpressVPN.

Speed

Will you have to bear with slow connection speeds in order to be able to use a vpn?

Most vpns will cause a drop in your connection speed whenever you connect to any of their servers.

However, some vpns are able to maintain your original connection speeds and sometimes even exceed them… especially if your ISP is throttling your traffic.

So how does PIA vs ExpressVPN compare in terms of their connection speeds?

In order to test the connection speeds of these great vpns, I used speedtest.net.

I connected to three servers based in the US, UK and Hong Kong and then measures the ping, download and upload speeds before and after connecting to the vpn servers.

ExpressVPN had an average of 87% of my original download speeds for the three servers that I connected to.

Private Internet Access had an average download speed of 94% of my original download speeds.

It is therefore clear that PIA was able to deliver better connection speeds that ExpressVPN.

If you are looking for the fastest vpn then I recommend PIA instead of ExpressVPN.

Torrenting

Which of the vpns between ExpressVPN and PIA have better support for torrenting?

As a rule of thumb, never start downloading any torrent file before first connecting to either a proxy server or a vpn server.

You should always hide your real IP address to ensure that your torrenting activities cannot be traced back to you.

This is especially true if you reside in a country that frowns upon torrenting like Australia.

ExpressVPN supports torrenting activities on all its servers… so you don’t need to connect to any special servers before you start torrenting.

P2P file sharing can be done on the same server that you are using to browse.

PIA, on the other hand, also allows P2P files sharing activities on all its servers.

Again, you don’t need to connect to any special Private Internet Access servers in order to start torrenting.

And because both vpns do not keep your traffic logs, your torrenting activities are completely private and anonymous.

From the surface look, it seems that both ExpressVPN and PIA have great support for torrenting.

However, if you want to be able to torrent with the best download speeds then I recommend PIA.

Privacy Policy

So which vpn will screw you over when the government come calling for logs?

Before writing this Private Internet Access vs ExpressVPN review, I read through their privacy policies back to back… looking for anything fishy.

Here is what I found out.

ExpressVPN, to begin with, is based in the BVI which is a privacy for two reasons.

The BVI does not form part of the 14 eyes countries surveillance alliance that spy on their citizens and share their personal information among each other.

Secondly, this country does not have any mandatory data retention laws that obligate vpn companies to keep logs of their users.

In addition to that, ExpressVPN does not keep any logs that can be used to identify you.

This was proven by an independent security first that conducted an audit of ExpressVPN servers and software over the course of one  month and established that there were not logs on these servers that could be used to identify anyone.

PIA, on the flip side, is located in the US which far from being a privacy haven by any measure.

First, the US is a founding member of the 14 eyes alliance of countries that surveille their citizen continuously and share their private information.

Secondly, even though the US doesn’t yet have mandatory data retention laws that obligate vpns to keep logs, they have a law that obligates a vpn company to comply anytime the government asks for logs through a court order.

That being said, Private Internet Access is keen on ensuring that your internet history is private and known only to use.

For this reason, they mention in their privacy policy that they do not keep logs of your internet traffic.

We could therefore assume that they don’t collection any logs that can be used to identify you.

However, I think that PIA should spell clearly what particular logs they keep and what they don’t so that we can be sure.

If you are looking for a vpn that is based in a privacy friendly jurisdiction then I recommend ExpressVPN.

Encryption and Data Protection

The security of your personal information online depends great on how it is encrypted.

If it is encrypted using a bullet proof encryption technology then your data is safe even if it lands in the hands of a malicious hacker.

This is because the hacker will not be able to decrypt and see that actual data.

So which encryption technologies do ExpressVPN and PIA use?

ExpressVPN uses an NSA recommended AES 256-bit encryption technology that has never been cracked before.

It is the very encryption technology that is used by the FBI and CIA to encrypt sensitive classified information.

PIA, on the other hand, uses a 128-bit encryption technology that is equally strong and tamper proof.

Even though a 256-bit encryption is stronger than a 128-bit encryption both are great encryptions and guarantees the security of your data.

However, 128-bit encryption has the advantage of being faster than 256-bit.

In addition to encryption technologies, vpns also use connection protocols in order for the apps to be able to communicate with the servers.

ExpressVPN, again, uses two of the most secure connection protocols which are OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec.

PIA, on the other hand, supports more connection protocols which include OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP and IPSec.

Even though protocols like PPTP are insecure and should not be used, it is sometimes useful in bypassing the great firewall of China.

If you are looking for a vpn that gives more options when it comes to connection protocols then I recommend PIA.

Ad Blocker

Will you be able to block ads when using either PIA or ExpressVPN?

Let’s now compare ExpressVPN vs PIA ad blocking capabilities.

Some websites are just too aggressive with their ads and deliver a poor browsing experience as a result of this.

Before you hit the back button and go to a competing website, you could actually just turn off the ads and enjoy an ad free browsing experience.

ExpressVPN, unfortunately, does not have an ad blocker or malware blocker in any of its desktop and mobile apps.

So you won’t be able to block ads or protect yourself from malware when connected to the internet using ExpressVPN.

PIA, on the flip side, has a security feature called PIA MACE that provides you both functionalities.

Once turned on, PIA MACE will be able to block ads from displaying on most of the websites that you visit.

In addition to add, it also has a database of more than a million malware infected websites.

So if will protect your devices from getting infected by malware by blocking these websites before they can access them.

If you are looking for a vpn that has a great ad blocking and malware protection capability then I recommend PIA.

Dedicated IPs

If you connect to the internet using a vpn, the vpn hides your real IP address and assigns you a new IP address that is shared with others.

This IP address changes every time depending on the location of the server you connect to.

Some applications might think that your account has been hacked and will require additional identity verification if you try to access them from an IP address that originates from a different country.

So you need an IP that you can whitelist in these applications, for example your banking app, in order to be able to access them remotely.

A dedicated IP serves the purpose of enabling you to access the internet always using the same IP.

This IP address is unique to you and is not shared by anyone else.

ExpressVPN and PIA, unfortunately, do not support a dedicated IP feature and so will not be able to provide you with a dedicated IP.

Remember, though, that since a dedicated IP is tied to your account, activities on this IP can easily be traced back to you.

So I don’t recommend you use it for controversial activities like torrenting.

If you are looking for a vpn that supports dedicated IPs the neither ExpressVPN not PIA will help you… you could check out NordVPN or CyberGhost instead.

Kill Switch

A kill switch will block internet access for your entire device anytime that your vpn app disconnects from the server.

This usually occurs various times during the day your internet connection drops and reconnect without you even realizing it.

It is during these few seconds that your real IP address is exposed.

So does PIA or ExpressVPN provide you with a kill switch?

ExpressVPN and PIA vpn have an automatic internet kill switch that enables you to ensure that all your internet traffic is channelled through your vpn tunnel.

This way the kill ensures that your real IP is never exposed.

Split Tunnelling

Sometimes you may want to whitelist or exempt certain applications from having their traffic channelled through your vpn tunnel.

Because vpn connections always cause a drop in speed, some of your applications might be impacted by this speed drop.

For example, you may not want your application that runs backups to be slowed down by your vpn.

A split tunnel enables you to specify certain applications whose traffic will not be channelled through the vpn.

ExpressVPN and PIA, unfortunately, do not have any split tunnelling capabilities in any of their applications.

Remember that the applications whose traffic is exempted from the vpn do not benefit from the encryption and security that a vpn provides.

Besides, this traffic is now transparent to your ISP and you are not anonymous anymore on these apps.

If you are looking for a vpn that is great for split tunnelling, you should consider NordVPN instead.

Works in China?

If you are a digital nomad, you should know in advance if your vpn will be able to work in China.

This is because in a country like China, the government has heavy control of internet access and certain websites are completely blocked.

Especially for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

So will either ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access be able to work in China?

ExpressVPN is able to successfully work in China without being detected and blocked by the great firewall of China.

If you want to be able to access blocked websites like Google.com or YouTube.com when it China then ExpressVPN will help you with that.

PIA, on the other hand, is completely blocked in China.

You won’t be able to access censored content or any other content for that matter using PIA vpn in China.

PIA is completely blocked in China.

If you are looking for a vpn that works in China, then I recommend ExpressVPN.

Pricing

As we near the end of this ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access comparison in 2021, let’s compare the different pricing plans to establish the cheaper vpn between the two.

Just a quick tip: if you want to get the best price for a vpn, subscribe for a longer terms as the longer the term the bigger the discount for most vpns.

ExpressVPN has a 1 year subscription, being their longest and cheapest plan, that costs $ 8.32/month.

PIA also has a 1 year plan that costs $ 3.33/month that is also their longest and cheapest plan.

Clearly, PIA is a cheaper vpn compared to ExpressVPN.

I, however, hate that none of these vpns provide plans that last longer than a year. I find having to find a disposable email every and subscribe a new very cumbersome.

Overall, if you are looking for a cheap vpn that will enable you save some bucks then I recommend PIA.

Payment Options

Let’s finish this PIA vs ExpressVPN comparison by looking at the different payment options that are available to you.

A vpn that is great on privacy and anonymity online should provide you with anonymous payments methods.

With anonymous payments methods, you get to give as little information about you as possible because these payment methods do not require you to provide a billing or street address.

ExpressVPN and PIA, both support payment through all major credit cards and PayPal.

In addition to that, both these vpns support crypto payments through Bitcoin.

So if you want to give as little information about you as possible, sign up with a fake email address and pay with some Bitcoins.

If you are looking for a vpn that supports Bitcoin payments then I recommend either ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access.

In Conclusion

I hope this ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access comparison has helped you learn a ton about the pros and cons of these two vpns.

Are you now ready to make a choice between either ExpressVPN or PIA?

If you are looking for a vpn that is cheap, very fast and provides an ad blocker and malware protection then I recommend PIA.

However, if you are willing to pay a little more for a vpn with excellent streaming capabilities, covers a large geographical region and has been audited for privacy and anonymity then I recommend ExpressVPN.

Have you used either PIA or ExpressVPN before?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *