PureVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA)

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a well-known VPN, and PureVPN is relatively popular among VPN users. The two are often compared to one another for a few reasons; for one thing, they have similar logos, but that isn’t the main reason why many comparisons are made about these two VPNs. PIA and PureVPN have excellent features in common and are great VPNs for torrenting.

If you’ve narrowed down your Virtual Private Network search to these two providers, or you’re simply interested in learning more about them, read our comparison. We’ve examing PureVPN and Private Internet Access in several key areas to help you make the right choice and purchase the best VPN. Let’s take a look.

Table of content

PureVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA): Security and privacy

The best VPN providers should offer great security and privacy features to secure users’ web traffic and ensure that no third parties can view it. There are many ways in which VPNs can do this, including using the most advanced encryption and making a commitment not to misuse customer data.

Encryption and protocols

When you connect to a VPN server, all of your web traffic is sent via an encrypted tunnel. The level of encryption varies depending on your VPN, and PureVPN and PIA offer different encryption levels.

PureVPN does offer AES-256 encryption, but it also uses AES-128 and no encryption depending on your connection. While users can choose their level of encryption, the encryption level in the PureVPN apps is always set to optional upon download. To ensure your web traffic is always protected, you need to change this feature in the settings before accessing the internet.

Regarding tunneling protocols, PureVPN provides a choice of OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2. However, like the encryption levels, PureVPN may switch between protocols without your knowledge to connect you to the server of your choice. So, you may have chosen OpenVPN, but instead, your connection is running over the less-secure PPTP. This is something we don’t like about PureVPN.

PIA, like Pure, also offers various encryption levels. Users can switch between AES-256 and AES-128 depending on whether they are looking for more secure or faster encryption. Protocols also play a part in encrypting your connection, and PIA offers a variety of choices. Users can choose from OpenVPN over TCP/UDP, WireGuard, IPSec, and PPTP. OpenVPN is the default option, and we’d recommend only changing this if necessary.

No-logging policy

Does Private Internet Access VPN keep logs? If a VPN provider doesn’t have a strict zero-logs policy, then it is worth avoiding.

Both Private Internet Access and PureVPN claim to offer no-logs policies. Firstly, PIA doesn’t monitor or store browsing activity on its network or any other sensitive user data such as IP addresses. The only information that PIA logs account details like your name, email, and billing details.

PIA also releases an annual transparency report, informing users of any security breaches or data subpoenas in the past year. It is great to see this level of transparency between a provider and customers.

PureVPN also has a strict zero-logging policy, promising not to log email addresses or any other sensitive data. PureVPN goes one step further than PIA and has an ‘always-on’ auditing policy in place. This means that at any time, a third-party company, KPMG, can audit the provider’s privacy policy with no warning. Security audits are important and offer a lot of reassurance to subscribers.

VPN jurisdiction

A provider’s jurisdiction affects whether the company will need to store logs or provide them to the government legally. PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, and the autonomous region is not a member of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance. The 5 Eyes is a data-sharing surveillance agreement between many countries, including the United States.

Of course, some users may be worried about PureVPN being based in Hong Kong since the region is falling more under China’s control, a country known for its strict VPN laws. However, at the moment, this is no issue.

Worryingly, PIA is a US-based VPN. The United States is known for having lax data protection laws and is a leading 5 Eyes member. However, PIA can protect user privacy by not storing browsing data or real IP addresses on its server network. This ensures that even if the provider is forced to share data from its servers, nothing will be produced.

Additional security features

PureVPN and PIA both offer extra security features. PureVPN has an internet kill switch, a secure wi-fi tool that automatically protects you whenever you connect to an unknown network, and an in-built ad blocker. There is also IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS leak protection. All of these features are, in our view, essential, but none more so than the kill switch, which ensures you never browse the web without VPN protection.

PIA rivals PureVPN when it comes to security features. There is an automatic kill switch to cut off your internet connection if the server connection drops. As well as this, PIA provides users access to the MACE feature, an ad, tracker, and malware blocker.

PIA also owns its own DNS on its server network, which means there is no risk of a DNS leak when using PIA VPN. There is also IPv6 leak protection to ensure your real IP address is never accidentally exposed.

The winner: It’s an extremely close call. In terms of privacy policies, we like that PureVPN has a transparent audit policy. However, PIA offers more secure encryption, which in our eyes is extremely important. We’d say that PIA is slightly better in terms of security since it never switches your tunneling protocols without your knowledge.

PureVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA): Features

When it comes to features, is Private Internet Access a good VPN, or does PureVPN offer better value for money in this area?

Simultaneous connections

Users get 10 simultaneous connections with both PureVPN and PIA. This is a good amount since the industry-standard of simultaneous connections is 5, so both providers offer double that.

With 10 device connections, users can employ the software on their computers, tablets, Smart TVs, and mobile devices with a few connections left over to spare.

Unlimited bandwidth

Some VPNs seem too good to be true, and that can oftentimes be the case. If your provider offers an abundance of security and extra features, you may find data and bandwidth caps, as is common with free VPNs.

Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about bandwidth limits with PureVPN or PIA since both offer unlimited bandwidth. This is great for avid streamers and torrenters and ensures that you can carry out all your internet tasks without worrying about restrictions.

Streaming

Providing access to streaming services is an integral feature of VPNs and something that most VPN providers aim to offer. PureVPN and PIA are not known as the best VPNs for streaming, but they provide customers with some access to streaming platforms.

Both VPNs work well with Netflix, depending on the region. Both were successful in unblocking Netflix USA, as well as Netflix Germany and Japan. PureVPN also provided us access to YouTube and Disney+ catalogs around the world.

Like PureVPN, PIA also worked well with Disney+ during our tests, but both providers fell short when we tried to access BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video. This could down to many factors, including the specific server we chose, the IP address we were using, which could be blacklisted, or that the streaming services had upped their anti-VPN technology.

If you’re looking for an exceptional streaming VPN, consider NordVPN or Surfshark.

Torrenting

If you’re torrenting without a VPN, you’re doing it wrong. You may be revealing your IP address to thousands of other users on P2P networks, as well as your download data to snooping third parties.

PureVPN is great for torrenting since it offers dedicated P2P servers in its network. Along with no bandwidth caps, excellent encryption, and a kill switch, it is a great option for torrenters.

However, PIA is simply one of the best VPN services for torrenting. Not only does it offer everything that PureVPN does, but users can torrent when connected to any PIA server. Moreover, the provider offers a SOCKS5 proxy that provides faster speeds and port forwarding, enabling connections to bypass the NAT firewall and, ultimately, crates faster download speeds.

Split tunneling

Split tunneling is an innovative feature that allows users to control which websites are accessed via a server and via the regular network. Again, both VPNs offer this feature, which, while not necessary, is extremely useful.

If you’re streaming something in your own country whilst simultaneously carrying out some online tasks that you’d prefer were protected, you can use split-tunneling. Split tunneling is great since it also offers faster internet speeds and page load times.

The winner: It’s a tie when it comes to features. The two VPNs are extremely similar in this area.

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PureVPN vs Private Internet Access: Server network

The number of servers and server locations in a VPN provider’s network usually reflects the provider’s ability to bypass geo-blocks and is an indication of how large user server loads are. PureVPN and PIA are two of the best VPN services in terms of their expansive server networks.

PureVPN has over 6500 servers in 140 countries and 180 locations. This is extremely impressive, and the VPN provider has servers across Africa, in countries such as Ethiopia, Niger, Tanzania, and Nigeria, and restricted locations like Russia. It is great to see that PureVPN pays attention to countries that other providers often ignore.

Private Internet Access has an even larger server network with more than 24,300 servers worldwide. With a server network that big, you’d expect PIA to have more locations than PureVPN, but it doesn’t. The provider is spread across 77 countries which, while good, doesn’t compare to PureVPN.

Both VPN providers use physical and proxy servers, explaining why they can offer so many servers to users. While many customers are against using virtual servers, we think that they are a good security measure in countries such as Russia.

The winner: It’s a close call; if server network size is more important to you, then PIA is the better choice. However, if you want a broader range of location options, go for PureVPN.

Private Internet Access vs PureVPN: Prices

PureVPN offers three subscription plans:

Private Internet Access also has three subscription lengths:

Both providers accept various payment methods, and Private Internet Access even accepts cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The winner: In terms of price, PIA is the clear winner. However, PureVPN offers a free trial and a long refund policy that may appeal to some users.

PureVPN vs PIA: Speed and performance

Is Private Internet Access fast? Or does it fall behind PureVPN? We ran several speed tests to determine which is the best provider if you’re looking for a fast internet connection.

We started with a base speed of 39Mbps, which is fairly fast. With PIA, we connected to one of its servers in the USA and noticed a slight decrease to 37Mbps. A UK server produced a download speed of 34Mbps, which dropped to 31Mbps in Japan.

We put PureVPN to the test with the same locations. In the USA, we enjoyed a fast download speed of 38Mbps, slightly faster than PIA. However, once we tested servers outside of the United States, our speeds dropped dramatically.

In the UK, we had an average download speed of 32Mbps, and in Japan, 28Mbps. While both of these are good, it was quite a change from the base speed we had started with.

The winner: Private Internet Access is definitely the faster of the two service providers and a better option if you want reliable and consistent speeds.

PureVPN vs PIA: Device support

There is support for various operating systems with both PIA and PureVPN. PIA provides support for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android devices and routers with compatible firmware. There are also PIA browser extensions for Chome, Firefox, and Opera.

Like PIA, PureVPN also has support for different platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. You can also use the VPN on your Android TV or Amazon Fire TV or connect it to your router to protect your gaming consoles and other devices on your network.

Both providers offer easy-to-use apps that allow you to configure the settings and enable certain features. They are both excellent for novices who are getting to grips with VPN software.

The winner: It’s a tie since both providers offer support for various devices.

PureVPN vs PIA: Customer support

Customer support is essential, and the best VPNs offer a lot of support to users. Pure and PIA offer 24/7 live chat support and help sections full of guides, manuals, and FAQs. Users can also enjoy an email support service if they have an issue that needs more explaining.

Disappointingly, there is no phone support with either VPN at the moment. However, both websites’ live chat provides a direct line of contact with the customer service team.

The winner: It’s another tie since both VPNs offer email support and live chat service.

PureVPN vs PIA Comparison: Which VPN is the Best?

PureVPN and Private Internet Access are pretty evenly matched in every area. Firstly, both VPNs are easy to use, have large server networks, and offer a whole host of extra features. There is support for the most popular devices and the ability to use both VPN on your router.

However, for overall quality and reliability, we recommend Private Internet Access. This is a well-known VPN service that has a good reputation and is great for torrenting. As well as this, you get access to excellent features such as split tunneling, the ability to bypass geo-restrictions, and watch streaming services across the globe.

Author Madeleine Hodson

I’m Madeleine and an author for VPNSurfers. I have a keen interest in VPNs and believe that everyone deserves internet freedom and security. I have lived in several countries, including a two year stay in Hong Kong which incl...
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Last updated: April 15, 2021