Private Internet Access vs PrivateVPN

Chances are you’ve looked at a number of VPN services, all of which claim to offer plenty of servers, fast connections, and strong security. While their claims are all very impressive, it’s difficult to know what’s true and what’s not. At the same time, you can’t reasonably try every VPN for yourself. That would be far too expensive and time consuming! Fortunately, there’s a quicker and easier way to find out how a particular VPN matches up with others.

We regularly compare and contrast different VPN services. This involves extensive hands-on testing of each VPN. We look at every single aspect, be it a VPN’s ability to unblock popular streaming services, the location of its servers, or the speed of response to email enquiries. In this post, we’re studying Private Internet Access (PIA) and PrivateVPN, providing side-by-side comparison tables so you can clearly see their differences.

Don’t have time to read the full post? Here are the main benefits of each VPN (spoiler alert: PrivateVPN wins this contest):

Highlights

Private Internet Access

  • Good speeds for streaming
  • Up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Works with Netflix
  • Plenty of security features

PrivateVPN

  • Fast server speeds
  • Particularly strong unblocking
  • Secure 10 devices at once
  • No-logs policy protects privacy

Private Internet Access vs PrivateVPN pricing

Private Internet Access
PrivateVPN
Subscription periodsOne month

One month

One year

One year

Three years (and three months)

Three years

Special offerGet 83 percent off with PIA’s three year plan (works out at $2.03 monthly).

Highest price per month$11.95

$9.90

Lowest price per month
$2.03

$2.00

One-year price
$39.95

$71.96 (x4 three month plans)

Money-back guarantee
30 days

30 days

Private Internet Access and PrivateVPN both offer one month plans. This is worth considering if you don’t need a VPN for long (such as if you’re traveling on vacation) or if you simply don’t want to commit long-term. However, the per month cost is higher at $11.95 and $9.90 respectively.

The main difference is that of the two VPNs, only PIA has a one-year plan. This is priced at $3.33 a month or $39.95 a year. Unusually, PrivateVPN has a three-month deal instead. While it’s is currently available at a 50 percent discount ($6 a month), it still works out to $71.96 for the whole year.

Both PIA and PrivateVPN have three year subscription options. While this is a much more long-term commitment, this is where you can get the biggest savings. Indeed, PIA’s three year subscription costs $2.03 a month ($79 per three years), a saving of 83 percent. You can save 85 percent with PrivateVPN’s three year plan, paying $2 a month ($72 for the entire 36 months).

PrivateVPN has the cheapest monthly plan while PIA is more affordable if you want to commit for a year. You can pay significantly less per month if you’re willing to commit long-term with PrivateVPN working out marginally cheaper (a difference of just $7). Either way, both come with 30-day money-back guarantees so you can try any plan risk-free and get a full refund if you change your mind.

BEST DEAL FOR PRIVATE INTERNET ACCESS:Save 60 percent: Save 83 percent and get three months free with the PIA three year subscription plan ($2.03 a month).

BEST DEAL FOR PRIVATE VPN:Pay $1.83 a month: Pay just $2 a month with the PrivateVPN three year plan, which comes with a discount of 85 percent.

PIA vs PrivateVPN features

Private Internet Access
PrivateVPN
Simultaneous connections
Up to 10

Up to 10

Operating system appsWindows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV

Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV

Manual install devices
Routers, set-top boxes

Linux, routers, set-top boxes

Split tunneling
Windows, Mac, and Linux

None

Free extras
Ad and malware blocker, Chrome and Firefox browser extensions

Stealth mode

As should be expected from any quality VPN, PIA and PrivateVPN offer apps for desktop and mobile. Specifically, you’ll find them for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. They both also offer an app for Amazon Fire TV. However, the key difference is that only PIA has a Linux app. To use PrivateVPN with Linux, you’ll need to manually install it (PrivateVPN provides instructions for this).

Both VPNs can be used with select compatible wifi routers, but manual setup is needed. It’s worth noting that PIA even includes browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox although this only secures your browser traffic and not other apps. Unlike PrivateVPN, PIA also has split tunneling on its desktop apps so you can choose which apps use the VPN and which can bypass it.

Overall, it’s PIA that offers more free extras. This includes an ad, malware, and tracker blocker for an extra layer of protection. You can find this on all of PIA’s desktop apps. On the other hand, PrivateVPN is the only one of the two VPNs to have a stealth mode. This obfuscates traffic and bypasses deep packet inspection for evading censorship (such as in China).

Streaming and unblocking

Private Internet Access
PrivateVPN
NetflixYes, multiple libraries including the US and UKYes, multiple libraries including the US and UK
Amazon Prime VideoNoYes
BBC iPlayerYesYes
DAZNNoYes (Canada)
Disney+YesYes
HBO Max
YesYes
HuluYesYes
Sky Go
YesYes
YouTube TV
YesYes

When you travel abroad, you’ll find that some websites and services are no longer accessible. This is often due to copyright and licensing restrictions. Many people use VPNs to continue browsing as normal as if they were still at home. This is particularly common with streaming services such as NetflixAmazon Prime Video, and Disney+. However, not all VPNs provide consistent unblocking, which is why we test them for ourselves!

The good news is that we found PIA and PrivateVPN to be very consistent in accessing the most popular streaming platforms. Indeed, both worked well with Netflix and were compatible with multiple libraries including the US and UK. They also successfully unblocked the likes of BBC iPlayer and HBO Max. However, PIA struggles with Amazon Prime Video as well as DAZN (PrivateVPN worked with Prime Video and DAZN Canada).

China

China is a particularly tricky country for using a VPN due to the strict online censorship in place. Indeed, many VPNs are blocked by the Great Firewall of China. This uses a variety of tactics to prevent them from working, such as IP blocking and URL filtering. The websites of Private Internet Access and PrivateVPN are blocked in China, which means that to use either, you’d need to have the VPN downloaded and installed ahead of your visit.

Unfortunately, PIA is like most VPNs we’ve tested in that it doesn’t work in China. PrivateVPN does work in China thanks to its Stealth VPN mode. Stealth mode can disguise VPN traffic as regular web traffic so you can bypass firewalls (including those that use deep packet inspection). The Stealth VPN feature can quickly and easily be toggled on or off as and when you need it, allowing you to browse without restriction while in China.

Setup and interface

Private Internet AccessPrivateVPN
Automatic setup wizard
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux

Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS

Main location selectionList-based

List-based

Extra settings page
YesYes
Mobile-friendlyYesYes

PIA and PrivateVPN couldn’t be simpler to download and install. It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two. Once signed in to the desktop or mobile app of either VPN, you’ll be able to connect to the best available server in just one click. You can also browse the various server locations from a dropdown list (or via a search bar) where you’ll see server ping. In both cases, it’s possible to favorite servers so you can find them faster in future.

As you’d expect, the mobile apps are simpler than their desktop counterparts in that they present a little less information on the default view. The server connection button is the main feature but there’s also a small window which expands to provide the full server list. Settings are easily accessible on all apps with various toggle buttons in the case of PrivateVPN, which is probably the easiest of the two to use.

If anything PIA’s apps aren’t quite as easy to navigate but there’s plenty of customization with the option to switch up interface elements or even remove them completely. Both VPNs let you change your VPN protocol or activate the kill switch. There are even more options with PIA such as the ability to snooze the VPN for a short time. Overall, you shouldn’t have too many issues with either service’s apps, even if it’s your first time using a VPN.

Servers and performance

Private Internet AccessPrivateVPN
Server countries
8463
Total number of servers
3,000+

200+

Server speed94 Mbps

71 Mbps

When it comes to the size of their server networks, it’s PIA that comfortably comes out on top. PIA has servers in more than 80 countries compared to the 60+ of PrivateVPN. Indeed, it offers some 3,000+ servers while PrivateVPN’s network is particularly small at just over 200 servers.

Both VPNs have servers in the most popular locations including the US. PIA is your best bet if you’re looking for a server in a smaller country such as Andorra or Slovenia. Despite the difference in the number of servers offered, you won’t notice a vast difference in performance. Both VPNs provide more than enough for their users.

PIA and PrivateVPN make our list of the fastest VPNs on the market. We ran speed tests that measured average speeds of 94 Mbps and 71 Mbps respectively. Either way, both VPNs are more than fast enough for streaming, torrenting, and online gaming. The two VPNs have unlimited bandwidth so there’s no restriction to what you can do online.

Here’s a full list of the countries in which Private Internet Access and PrivateVPN have servers:

CountryPrivate Internet Accesshttps://www.comparitech.com/go/privatevpn-piavspri/
Albania
Algeria
Andorra
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bangladesh
Belarus
Belgium
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Brazil
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Chile
China
Colombia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador
Egypt
Estonia
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Guatemala
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Malta
Mexico
Moldova
Montenegro
Morocco
Myanmar
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nigeria
North Macedonia
Norway
Pakistan
Panama
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Thailand
Turkey
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Venezuela
Vietnam

Security

https://www.comparitech.com/go/pia-private-internet-access-piavspri/ https://www.comparitech.com/go/privatevpn-piavspri/
VPN protocolsWireGuard and OpenVPN

OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP

OpenVPN data encryption256-bit AES

256-bit AES

OpenVPN control channel encryption
RSA-4096

RSA-2048

Cloaking technologyNoneStealth VPN

App securityKill switch, ad and malware blocker

Kill switch

DNS statusPrivate DNS

Private DNS

With PIA, you can choose between the WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols. PrivateVPN has three options in OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP. Of these options, WireGuard is arguably the fastest, which would explain the slightly faster speeds of PIA. While an increasing number of VPNssupport WireGuard, OpenVPN remains highly popular thanks to its versatility and security.

Connecting to a PIA or PrivateVPN server ensures your internet traffic is routed through a 256-bit AES encrypted tunnel. This means that third parties such as your ISP, hackers, and your government can’t see your online data. In the case of Private Internet Access, the keys it uses (4096-bit) are twice as long as those of PrivateVPN (2048-bit). Either way, both are considered secure enough so this shouldn’t be a deciding factor.

When it comes to extra security features, both VPNs provide a kill switch, although this is only available via the Windows app with PrivateVPN. PIA also offers an ad, malware, and tracker blocker for free as part of a subscription. This is supported by its Windows, Mac, and Linux apps.

Privacy

Private Internet AccessPrivateVPN
HeadquartersUnited States

Sweden

Connection logsNoNo
Activity logsNoNo
User details for signupEmail address

Email address

Anonymous payment optionsCryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency

PIA is headquartered in the US, a member of Five Eyes. However, PrivateVPN has headquarters located in Sweden, a 14 Eyes member. The significance of this is that, were any user data to be obtained by these governments, it could theoretically be shared with the other governments within the alliance.

Fortunately, neither PIA nor PrivateVPN keep any identifying logs of its users. In fact, unlike many VPNs, neither keeps any metadata such as timestamps or IP addresses. Indeed, they both operate no-logs policies, making them particularly strong options if you’re seeking a VPN that protects your privacy.

What’s also notable is that neither VPN requires much personal information for signup. You need only enter an email address, which can be a burner account if you’d like to further safeguard your identity. There’s even the option to pay anonymously in cryptocurrency, particularly if you use a Bitcoin mixer or tumbler beforehand.

Configuration

Private Internet AccessPrivateVPN
Address allocationSharedShared
Dedicated/static IP address possibleYes (for an extra monthly fee)

No
DDoS protectionNoNo
NAT firewallYesYes

PIA and PrivateVPN use shared address allocation. This is advantageous for privacy reasons. Users on the same server share the same IP address, so everyone’s online activity is mixed together. This makes it all the more difficult for an outside observer to determine who is responsible for what.

While it’s possible to get a dedicated IP address in the case of PIA, this costs an extra $2.50 on top of your VPN subscription each month. Locations are available in AustraliaCanadaGermanyJapanSingaporeSwitzerland, the UK, and the USA. The fact that only you can access the IP address means it’s less likely to be blacklisted by streaming services.

Note that while neither PIA nor PrivateVPN have specific DDoS protection, you have much greater protection from DDoS attacks just by using a VPN. Instead of your IP address being targeted, it will be that of the VPN. Should this impact the server you’re using, you need only switch servers and continue browsing as normal.

Customer Service

Private Internet AccessPrivateVPN
Live chatYesYes
Ticket supportYesYes
Email supportYesYes
Phone supportNoNo
Average email response time2 hours and 30 minutes

1 minute and 20 seconds

Searchable knowledge baseYesYes
Video guidesYesYes

As we explained further above in this post, the PIA and PrivateVPN apps are beginner-friendly so you shouldn’t run into too many problems. Despite this, there may be times when you do have a question. Both VPNs have live chat, providing the quickest and easiest way for you to get an answer. There’s also the option of email support although neither offers phone support (IPVanish is one of the very few VPNs that does).

If you prefer to resolve an issue yourself, know that there’s a searchable knowledge base in each case, complete with setup guides and frequently asked questions. Of the two, PIA’s is slightly the more comprehensive. However, the step-by-step setup guides of both are easy to follow, particularly because they include screenshots. PIA and PrivateVPN even have their own YouTube channels with video guides.

The live chat of the two VPNs was fast as you’d expect. However, we also tested their response time to emails. Private Internet Access had an average response time of two hours and 30 minutes, but this was only because one reply took some seven hours. The other two took only 11 minutes and 30 minutes respectively. PrivateVPN’s email support is by far the fastest we’ve come across with an average response time of one minute and 20 seconds.

Private Internet Access
QuestionResponse timeNumber of emailsQuestion answered
Does PIA work in China?7 hours

1Yes
Will PIA slow down my internet speed?11 minutes1Yes
How do I install PIA on my router?30 minutes1Yes
PrivateVPN
QuestionResponse timeNumber of emailsQuestion answered
Does PrivateVPN work in China?1 minute1Yes
Will PrivateVPN slow down my internet speed?1 minute1Yes
How do I install PrivateVPN on my router?2 minutes1Yes

The Winner: PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.PrivateVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Private Internet Access has plenty of selling points. It’s slightly faster than PrivateVPN and has a much larger network of servers. It also offers an ad and malware blocker as well as the option of dedicated IP addresses (for an additional monthly fee). Like PrivateVPN, it lets you connect up to 10 of your devices at the same time.

Despite this, PrivateVPN is the winner of this VPN comparison. It’s also fast but provides stronger unblocking, consistently accessing all of the top streaming services we tested it with. Its apps are arguably easier to use than those of PIA and, unlike many VPNs, it works well in China thanks to its excellent Stealth VPN feature. PrivateVPN also has the fastest email support of any VPN provider.

Overall, there’s not a great deal to separate PIA and PrivateVPN. PrivateVPN is the more affordable of the two if you opt for a monthly subscription. Both have similarly reduced three year plans. They also offer 30-day money-back guarantees so that if you want to try them, you can do so risk-free and request a full refund if they don’t meet your expectations.

PrivateVPN Coupon
SAVE 90% on the three year plan
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Discount applied automatically

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