Are you looking for an updated NordVPN vs PIA review in 2021?
PIA is a great vpn if you are looking for a vpn that will deliver very fast connection speeds but how does its other features compare with NordVPN?
In this Private Internet Access vs NordVPN review in 2021 we are going to look at the pros and cons of NordVPN and PIA.
I hope that by the end of this review you’ll be able to decide which is the best vpn for you.
We are going to compare NordVPN and PIA along the lines of server collection and distribution, streaming capabilities and torrenting support… among others.
So let’s get started.
Here is a quick summary of this comparison.
|NordVPN||Private Internet Access|
|Streaming||Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iPlayer||Netflix US|
|Torrenting||P2P servers||All servers|
|Works in China?||YES||NO|
|Pricing||$ 3.49/month||$ 3.33/month|
NordVPN is a very popular VPN company based in Panama that enables you to access the internet with complete anonymity.
Here is a detailed NordVPN review.
PIA is a company based in the USA that provides VPN services to internet users for safe and secure internet access.
Find a detailed Private Internet Access review here.
How many servers does PIA and NordVPN have in total?
NordVPN has a total collection of 5,200 vpn servers which are fairly distributed across 59 different countries.
PIA on the other hand has a total of 3,340 servers spread over 32 different countries.
In this case NordVPN clearly has a larger collection of servers and has coverage in much more countries than PIA.
If you are looking for a vpn that has servers in most countries then I recommend NordVPN.
According to recent vpn usage stats, streaming geo restricted entertainment content is the main reason most people purchase vpns in 2021.
So before you purchase a vpn you should make sure it is capable of unblocking your favorite streaming platforms.
This way you’ll be able to access your favorite tv shows on the platform where you have a subscription even if you are outside the country.
NordVPN will be able to successfully unblock Netflix in most countries like the USA, UK, Germany, Japan and Brazil.
PIA on the other hand is able to successfully unblock Netflix for a few countries like the USA.
However, it is quite limited on the number of streaming platforms it can unblock since it won’t be able to unblock other platforms like Hulu, BBC iPlayer or Amazon Prime.
So if you are looking for a vpn that is great for streaming that will enable you streaming content from a variety of the online streaming platforms then I recommend NordVPN.
Internet connection speeds is usually a big concern to internet users who are considering using a vpn to access the internet.
While it is okay for your internet speeds to drop a little when connecting to a vpn, it should not drop to an extent where your browsing speeds are drastically affected.
How does NordVPN and Private Internet Access compare in terms of connection speeds?
I used speedtest.net by Ookla to test for ping, download and upload speeds when connected to NordVPN and PIA servers.
After connecting to three different servers based in the USA, UK and Hong Kong here is what I found out…
NordVPN had an average speed drop to 83% of my original connection speeds.
PIA on the other hand maintained an average of 94% of my original download speeds in all the three servers.
It is therefore clear that PIA vpn delivers faster vpn connection speeds than NordVPN.
If you are looking for a vpn that will make your internet access faster then I recommend Private Internet Access instead of NordVPN.
As a rule of thumb, never download any torrent files without first connecting to a vpn or proxy server.
Anti piracy laws are getting tougher in 2021 and you don’t want to be found on the wrong side of the law.
Now that that’s out of the way…
Let’s find out: does NordVPN and PIA allow torrenting on their servers?
NordVPN allows torrenting only on certain P2P optimized servers.
So in order to start torrenting you first need to head over to the menu and click on P2P servers so that you get a list of servers dedicated to torrenting.
Once connected, you’ll be able to enjoy private anonymous torrenting at rather great speeds.
PIA vpn on the other hand supports torrenting on all of its servers.
You don’t need to collect to any special servers in order start torrenting… just from the server you are currently connected to.
Even though PIA seems to have better support for torrenting because you can torrent from all servers, both of these vpns offer you safe anonymous torrenting because they don’t keep logs of the torrent sites you visit.
If you are looking for a vpn that is great for torrenting, both NordVPN and PIA are great options.
Complete privacy on the internet is becoming harder and harder to achieve.
Even though vpns are support to keep your adventures on the internet your top secret, most vpns have opted to keep logs of your internet usage which just the whole purpose of using a vpn in the first place.
So do NordVPN and PIA keep logs of your internet activities while connected to their vpns?
Let’s find out.
NordVPN being a vpn company based in Panama, is located in one of the countries that are very privacy friendly.
It therefore means there are no activity logs on NordVPN servers that can tied you to certain activities or that can be used to identify who you are.
PIA vpn on the other hand is based in the USA which is not a very privacy friendly country.
It forms parts of the 14 eyes countries which get a kick out of spying on their citizens and sharing this information among themselves.
Even the US currently doesn’t have laws that obligate vpn companies to keep activity logs of their users, vpn companies are required by the law to comply in case the government demands for user logs through a court order.
On the flip side, though, PIA is keen on the privacy of their users and implements strict no logs policy.
It means they don’t log your IP address, connection timestamp, DNS queries or bandwidth usage.
I would however appreciate it if PIA came out clear out clear on what data they keep and what they don’t keep… just saying we don’t keep activity logs is not good enough.
We know vpns needs at least some kind of logs to be able to run.
If you are looking for a vpn that is very transparent and doesn’t keep any logs of your internet usage then I recommend NordVPN.
Using weak encryption technologies has led to various data breaches in the past.
In order for your data to be safe while being transmitted over a vpn tunnel, it needs to be encrypted using the toughest encryption algorithms available.
What encryption technologies does PIA and NordVPN use?
NordVPN uses an NSA recommended AES 256-bit encryption technology that is impossible to crack.
PIA vpn on the other hand uses a 128-bit encryption technology that is equally strong and has never been cracked before.
Either way, both PIA and NordVPN offers you tamper proof encryption technologies.
VPNs apps rely on certain connection protocols in order to be able to communicate with the vpn servers.
While some vpn protocols have proven to be weak and vulnerable to attacks before, there are some that are strong and reliable and guarantee you a security and speed.
Which vpn protocol do NordVPN and Private Internet Access use?
NordVPN uses two of the most secure vpn protocols: OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec.
OpenVPN is the default protocol in all NordVPN desktop and Android apps while IKEv2 is used in the iOS app.
PIA supports much more vpn protocols than NordVPN and these include: OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP and IPSec.
Protocols like PPTP should not be used as it has proven to be insecure and vulnerable to attacks and hackers.
While PIA vpn provides you with more options when it comes to vpn protocols, I find the two protocols provided by NordVPN sufficient in most cases anyway…
Most internet users have become blind to advertisements these days.
This has made websites that rely solely on ads as their source of revenue to get very aggressive with their ad placements.
As a result of this, browsing an ad heavy website can prove very disruptive and annoying.
Most vpns come with a functionality that enables you disable most of these ads.
In this PIA vs NordVPN comparison, let’s look at the adware blocking capabilities of these two popular vpn services.
NordVPN comes with a feature called CyberSec in all its apps.
When turned on, CyberSec will disable ads in most websites that you visit… leading an ad free browsing experience.
In addition to its ad blocking capability, CyberSec is also able to protect your devices from malware by blocking these websites anytime you accidentally visit them… before that can cause any harm to your device.
PIA also has an ad blocking technology called PIA MACE.
Once turned on, PIA MACE will ensure ads are blocked on the websites that you visit so that those intrusive video ads that autoplay in the background cannot run anymore.
It also has a database of over one million websites that are infected by malware and will block these sites from infecting your device with malware anytime you visit them.
If you are looking for a vpn that will deliver a great browsing experience and protection from malware then both PIA and NordVPN are great options.
A dedicated IP enables you to connect to the internet using the same IP always.
You should know that using the same IP address is not very optimal for your anonymity online.
The reason vpns connect you to shared public IP is so that activities on the server cannot be tied to one particular person.
This way it becomes impossible to know who used a particular IP to access certain content because there could potentially be hundreds, if not thousands, of people using the same IP at the same time.
A vpn dedicated IP address on the other side can easily be traced back to you.
However, there are times when you need a dedicated IP, for example when you need to connect to your home security camera feed remotely…
… or you need an IP address to whitelist so that you can access your work network remotely.
So does NordVPN and PIA provide dedicated IP addresses?
NordVPN has a dedicated IP feature that comes with all of its apps.
It enables you to choose to connect the internet using the same IP address every time.
In order to connect to a dedicated IP on a NordVPN app, you need to click on the dedicated IP option in the menu and choose from a list of locations with dedicated IPs.
Private Internet Access, unfortunately, does not support dedicated IPs.
You won’t have the option of connecting to the internet using the same IP address every time using PIA vpn.
If you are looking for a vpn that avails a dedicated IP for you use, then I recommend NordVPN.
In order to stay completely anonymous online and maintain your internet usage private, you need to ensure you always only access the internet using a vpn.
Internet connections usually drops a couple times a day and reconnects often without you even realizing it.
A vpn kill switch ensures that every time your vpn app disconnects from the server, internet access for your entire devices is blocked until your internet is restored and your app reconnects to the vpn server.
This ensures that your real IP address is not revealed which might be bad for you if you were running your torrenting client during this time.
Both NordVPN and PIA have amazing automatic kill switch functionality that when turned on ensures your internet access is always only through a vpn tunnel.
If you are looking for a vpn with kill switch functionalities then both PIA and NordVPN are great options for you.
Split tunneling enables you to specify certain applications to be exempted from having their traffic through your vpn connection.
It could for example be your backup app that you don’t want slowed down by the vpn speed drops.
NordVPN has a split tunnel that enables you to set certain apps whose traffic will not be encrypted through the vpn.
PIA unfortunately does not have a split tunneling feature so you won’t be able to exempt certain apps from your having their internet blocked when your connection drops and your kill switch kicks in.
If your are looking for the best vpn split tunnel then I recommend NordVPN.
Works in China?
Will you be able to use NordVPN or PIA vpn in China?
China has a firewall with a deep packet inspection technology that is able to detect and block vpn traffic.
In order to bypass China’s firewall and access censored content in China, a vpn has to make its traffic look like normal https traffic traffic so that it is not detected by the DPI technology.
NordVPN is able to bypass China’s firewall and access restricted content in China but only if your connect using specific servers.
In the menu options there is an obfuscated servers option that provides you a list of servers to choose from.
These servers implement an obfuscation technology that enables you to access censored websites like Google from within China.
NordVPN works in China.
PIA vpn traffic on the other hand is very transparent to China’s firewall and is immediately blocked.
You won’t be able to use your PIA vpn in China.
If you are looking for a vpn that works in China then I recommend NordVPN.
How much does it cost to use NordVPN or PIA?
NordVPN has its cheapest plan being the 3 year plan that costs $ 3.48/month.
PIA cheapest plan is the 1 year subscription that costs $ 3.33/month.
When comparing PIA vs NordVPN pricing it seems like PIA is cheaper… even though they don’t have a plan that is longer than a year.
I am always curious to know whether a vpn company offers payment options that involve revealing as little information about me as possible.
This could be in the form of gift card and cryptocurrency payments;
So what payment options does PIA and NordVPN provide?
NordVPN enables you to pay for your subscription using any of the major credit cards, payment and platforms and Bitcoins.
It however does not support PayPal payments.
PIA on the other hand supports all major credit cards, payment platforms including PayPal as well as crypto payments using Bitcoin.
Even though NordVPN does not support PayPal, both vpn companies offer great payment options.
If you want to give as little information about you as possible, you could signup with a disposable email address and pay with some Bitcoins.
I hope you learnt not only the similarities but also the key differences between PIA and NordVPN through this NordVPN vs PIA review in 2021.
Overall, I find NordVPN a better vpn than PIA if you are looking for a vpn that unblocks the most streaming platforms.
However, if your main concern is the connection speed then I recommend PIA vpn because NordVPN cannot match the download and upload speeds that PIA provides.
Have you used NordVPN or PIA before?
Please share your experience in the comments below.