PureVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA) [Test Results 2019]

PureVPN and PIA are both top-tier VPN providers, so who’d win in a toe-to-toe brawl?

Initially released in 2007, PureVPN (as of today) boasts of a family of more than 3 million global users. Its extensive worldwide server coverage, affordable plans, and support for torrenting make it a top choice for accessing content from anywhere.  

Private Internet Access, on the other hand, offers indispensable internet protection and good speeds. Since its inception, PIA has proven alluring to internet users in need of fast local and international connections. 

Apart from featuring mentionable multi-platform support, it’s also an inexpensive VPN; thus, it’s an attractive option for users on a budget.

How to Choose a VPN

Virtual private networks offer a ton of benefits: from anonymous browsing and encryption to unique IP addresses. 

Considering there are more than 300 VPN service providers in the market today, how do you choose the best solution? 

Just like you won’t visit a computer store and purchase the first laptop you spot, we don’t expect you to subscribe to any VPN that screams, “buy me!”

If you are looking for a VPN to protect your entire family, you’ll need to look for a router-based VPN or a VPN that allows for simultaneous connections. However, if you want to stream movies, consider a service that offers unlimited bandwidth, reliable connections, and high speeds. 

This article provides a tete-a-tete comparison between PureVPN and Private Internet Access. It also covers all the key factors to consider before making a purchase decision. And yes, it takes a deep look at how both VPNs compete in each category. 

Connection Speed

It’s increasingly becoming difficult to name an electronic gadget that doesn’t connect to the internet. Starting with your personal computer, gaming consoles, mobile devices, all can link to the internet. 

With so many gadgets connected to the internet comes lots of downloading, uploading, and gaming. And you need speed, don’t you?

A fast, secure internet connection can help you accomplish all significant online activities in no time. The best VPN can take care of these. 

Which is the best VPN to access the internet fast? Good. We tested the speeds of PureVPN and PIA, both in the US and the UK.

Local Connection Speeds (US)

Private Internet Access recorded fast enough speeds, averaging 41.80 Mbps. It does, however, take a few seconds before making the initial connection. 

PureVPN, on the other hand, gave us breakneck speeds, with average download speeds of 73.41 Mbps and an upload speed of 39.06 Mbps, making it the fastest of the two. 

International Connection Speeds (US to the UK)

For international connections, PureVPN gave PIA a chase for its speeds. Averaging at 62.48 Mbps and an upload speed of 45.90 Mbps. Private Internet Access averaged 78.67 Mbps download speeds and 51.39 Mbps upload speeds. 

Average Connection Speed Winner: Private Internet Access

Pricing 

While low prices can be more enticing, always consider a VPN’s performance in all aspects. That said, both PureVPN and PIA are two competitors commonly associated with low pricing.

Despite both featuring some of the lowest prices in the market, we established that PIA is the least expensive: both for its annual and monthly subscription plans. 

PIA is unquestionably the best budget-priced provider. Its monthly tariff sets you back $6.95 while its six months plan costs $5.99 per month, while the annual plan tariff is $3.33/month. Plus, customers also get to enjoy a 7-day money-back guarantee.

For PureVPN, the month-to-month subscriptions start at $10.95 with the annual subscription plan costing $5.81/month. Its bi-annual rates are slightly higher and currently stand at $79.92, which translates to a monthly tariff of $3.33/month. A 31-day money-back guarantee is provided to all its clients regardless of the package duration. 

Pricing Winner: Private Internet Access

Privacy 

Privacy is a serious concern for many internet users and a key consideration when choosing a VPN. 

As mentioned, PIA is US-based, which is a part of the Five Eyes Countries. For a user, this means that countries like New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and the UK might spy on your internet activities and provide the US with all the information collected. Fortunately, PIA hasn’t let that happen. And can’t allow that to happen, or so they claim.

To keep you in wraps, PIA doesn’t retain zero user logs, meaning no one (including PIA) can locate your browsing information. 

The only detail PIA knows about you is the email you register with on the platform. So you can browse anonymously by using a throwaway email you sign-up with.

PureVPN, in the past, experienced some issues with customer privacy. It furnished the federal authorities (the FBI) with connection logs. Since then, PureVPN claims to have changed their policies and the data they retain.

With PureVPN, users interested in maintaining their privacy can sign-up anonymously and choose an untraceable payment method to pay for their subscription. 

Privacy Winner: Tie

Features 

PureVPN edges PIA in the sense that it provides an app for Amazon Firestick and Fire TV in addition to an official Kodi addon. 

Private Internet Access only installs on popular operating systems. Even so, both services count routers as single connections and, therefore, automatically protect each connected device. However, in both, the software installs manually.

The two VPNs also provide extensions for major browsers, so you can unblock high-profile websites while protecting your web-traffic. 

Nonetheless, there is a need to distinguish between a browser extension and a VPN app. The latter encrypts all web traffic coming and going from your device while the former only acts as a proxy for browser-related traffic. 

What this means is that with a browser extension, you cannot take advantage of anti-DDoS protection or use file-sharing applications. 

Features Winner: PureVPN

Encryption 

Both service providers support PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN protocols. PureVPN, however, allows its users to connect via IKEv2 or SSTP, improving their surfing speeds. Keep in mind, OpenVPN is the only available option in both the PIA mobile and desktop applications. 

Users are also required to set up their connections (manually) using diverse protocols. For many VPNs, this is unusual, as most allow users to switch freely between different protocols inside their applications. 

PureVPN and PIA both use military-grade 256-bit AES protection to protect internet traffic. So snoopers and hackers can’t access your information.

Users should, however, note that PIA uses 4096-bit RSA keys while PureVPN relies on RSA-2048 for authentication. Both authentication protocols are secure, but RSA-4096 is about twice as long as RSA-2048, thus more difficult to bypass. 

Neither solution includes a cloaking feature in its package, but both provide kill switches for their mobile and desktop applications. 

Encryption Winner: Private Internet Access

Simultaneous Connections 

Internet users who need to protect more than one device or need to safeguard multiple users have a reason to smile. For both VPNs, a single subscription lets you protect more than 3 devices simultaneously.

Speaking of connections, PureVPN lets you connect up to 5 devices at a go—all devices connect to the company’s servers using the same login credentials. Private Internet Access, on the other hand, allows users to connect up to 10 devices at the same time. 

Simultaneous Connections Winner: Private Internet Access

Torrent Support 

Many internet users enjoy P2P file-sharing using torrent services such as BitTorrent. It’s a legal and popular method to share files, and it’s used often by both personal and corporate users. 

Notwithstanding, the said distribution of copyrighted content, like applications, music, and movies, is considered illegal, and thus, it’s censored in many countries across the world.

Considering that this tech is, in many cases, used in illegal sharing of copyrighted content, it’s not uncommon for ISP providers to throttle internet connection speeds of peers sharing files via P2P applications. Some ISPs go as far as completely blocking torrent support. 

Access to a VPN means that your ISP will remain clueless as to whether you are using torrent services or not.

PureVPN allows users to utilize P2P file-sharing services on some of its servers. It has restricted these services to servers in 86 countries. In comparison, PIA lets its users torrent on all the company servers. Nonetheless, PureVPN runs a more extensive network of servers. 

Most importantly, both providers do not keep any logs, which means your P2P activities cannot be tracked. 

Torrent Support Winner: PureVPN

Global Server Coverage 

Global server coverage is an essential consideration, particularly for clients who want to access geo-blocked content from all over the world. And the best VPNs offer one of the easiest ways to access geo-restricted content. 

When it comes to comparing VPN servers, you need to look at several aspects, including dedicated torrenting servers, the number of locations worldwide, total server count, and so on.

Private Internet Access packs over 3,375 servers, but, all these servers are located in only 33 countries. For this reason, you may not access content from some prime locations —limiting your options when it comes to accessing your favourite content. 

PureVPN operates more than 2,000 servers spread across over 180 countries. Despite running on fewer servers than PIA, it boasts location in more countries. Access to many countries means that its users are in a better position to unblock a wide range of restricted content.

Both VPNs let you select a server in a particular city. However, you’ll need to instruct PIA’s desktop application to connect by region before cities pop up on the connection menu.

Global Server Coverage Winner: PureVPN

Multi-Platform Support 

Today, it seems as if all devices in the office and home are in one way or another connected to the internet. These include bathroom scales connected to home Wi-Fi, computers, mobile devices, and content streaming gadgets. 

With more devices in your home, you might want to use a VPN that features wide-ranging native support.

PureVPN supports a long list of devices and operating systems. It provides apps for Amazon Fire TV, Mac OS, Android TV, Windows, Android, Linux, and iOS platforms. 

Those with DD-WRT routers can opt to use the applet instead. The manual setup has also been made available for the other router models. For browser users, they can always turn to the convenient Firefox and Chrome extensions. 

Private Internet Access provides native support application for Linux, Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac OS platforms. It’s also possible to use the VPN solution with Tomato and DD-WRT enabled routers. Plus, it provides extensions for Opera, Firefox, and Chrome. 

Multi-Platform Support Winner: PureVPN

Customer Support 

Many VPNs offer easy-to-use applications and reliable services. However, things tend to go wrong every once in a while. 

Sometimes, you may want to inquire about their new features. Maybe you are a VPN beginner and can navigate your way through. A reliable customer support service should help you with such matters — any day and at any time.

PureVPN’s customer support team is available around the clock. It provides customer support via a FAQ section and searchable support knowledgebase. It features top-rated email support, trouble ticket tracking systems, and 24/7 live support. 

Private Internet Access, on the other hand, is known to provide reliable customer service, but this service is not always available. Despite providing a searchable support library, email support, and online ticket support form, the company lacks a live chat option. 

Customer Support Winner: PureVPN

Final Verdict

Without a doubt, either is a reliable choice. But we needed to credit the VPNs for aspects like support for native apps and the existence of dedicated servers. Moreover, we couldn’t ignore the lack of essential features such as live chat supports for users. 

PIA and PrivateVPN are both robust VPNs. All are fast, offer similar security, and feature decent support options. Even so, PIA scores well in simultaneous connection, pricing, connection speeds, and security. 

However, PureVPN earns extra points in torrenting, global server coverage, customer support, multi-platform support, features, and privacy. No wonder it won this battle.

 Despite this comparison not including technical aspects like Web RTC and DNC leaks, it’s a decent way to compare two top-tier service providers.