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PureVPN vs Private Internet Access: which VPN is better


Private Internet Access (PIA) and PureVPN are robust mid-tier VPN providers that feel very evenly matched. Both services offer similar prices and plans, security solutions, and torrenting capabilities, but which provider is an overall better choice in 2024? In this comparison, we review their differences to find the VPN that suits your needs.

Our winner is determined by superiority in security, streaming performance, affordability, speeds, available locations, and usability. Alongside the ease of use, we finalize the comparison by evaluating customer support options.

After completing in-house tests and comparing their differences, our winner is PureVPN. In a very close battle, PiureVPN was better than PIA for streaming, speed, stability of connections, server availability, and customer support.

PureVPN vs Private Internet Access

PureVPNPrivate Internet Access VPN
⭐ Rating:
4.2
3.9
🥇 Overall rank:#8 out of #42#15 out of #42
🖥️ Servers:6,500 + servers in 65 countries30,000 + servers in 91 countries
📖 No logs policy:No logsNo logs
💵 Price:From $2.11/monthFrom $2.03/month
🔥 Coupons:PureVPN coupon 83% OFFPIA coupon 83% OFF
🔒 VPN protocols:WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, L2TP/IPSecWireguard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTubeNetflix, YouTube, Hulu, BBC iPlayer
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera
📥 Simultaneous connections:10Unlimited
💁🏻 Support:Knowledge base, tickets, live chatKnowledge base, tickets, live chat

In comparison to Private Internet Access, PureVPN offered faster speeds, especially with the better use of a shared WireGuard protocol, superior infrastructure for streaming, more transparency on server locations, and lower prices. While PIA has a strong advantage in available features, PureVPN wins or is equal to its competitor in every remaining category.

Netflix and streaming performance

PlatformPureVPNPrivate Internet Access
Netflix✅ Yes (US, UK, Japan, and more)✅ Yes (US only)
YouTube✅ Yes✅ Yes
BBC iPlayer✅ Yes❌ No
Hulu✅ Yes✅ Yes

Private Internet Access (PIA) and PureVPN are solid options that unlock some Netflix libraries and other platforms. While not as effective as the top choices in our list of best VPNs for streaming, both providers can access Netflix. However, PureVPN worked for the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, and South Africa. Meanwhile, PIA only managed to unblock the US library.

With Netflix as the top streaming platform, effectiveness in more locations is a big deal because it greatly expands the list of available shows for our viewing experience. Especially with the highly-rated local libraries in Japan and the UK, PureVPN is a better option for Netflix.

For other streaming services, we see similar success. During in-house testing, both providers accessed Hulu and YouTube without difficulties, but PureVPN is better because it unlocked BBC iPlayer, which PIA failed to do.

Another influential factor is the speed of VPN connections. Fast connections guarantee maximum enjoyment of movies and TV shows in Full HD, without buffering, and PureVPN is a faster provider than PIA. The gap is most apparent with the fastest WireGuard protocol, where the speedier provider is our go-to choice, and PureVPN offers better performance for streaming.

Wrapping up
All things considered, PureVPN is a better option for streaming because it unblocks more Netflix libraries and streaming sites, and faster speeds result in better streaming without buffering.

Plans and pricing

As we look at Private Internet Access vs PureVPN and their offered plans, every subscription offers the same features, but longer deals let you save money. With two providers delivering solid performance and versatility, pricing is a major determining factor in finding the better option.

PlanPureVPNPrivate Internet Access
Monthly$10.95/month$11.99/month
Six months$7.50/month
One year$6.24/month
Two years$2.11/month$2.03/month
Check PureVPN DiscountsCheck PIA Discounts

For a simple monthly subscription, PureVPN is a bit cheaper, coming at $10.95/month. Meanwhile, PIA is very close, with its first-tier deal costing $11.99/month. As we go up, we have a Private Internet Access 6-month mid-tier deal for $7.50/month. The second option for PureVPN is longer – a one-year subscription for $6.24/month.

The cheapest deal for both providers is very close. Both plans are two-year subscriptions, but PureVPN is slightly more affordable for $2.11/month, while PIA costs $2.03/month.

While their plans are similar, Private Internet Access has one more downside: a lack of free trial. PureVPN lets you test the service via a 7-day free trial, while its competitor has no such option. Still, there is a workaround – both providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

To save more money, use our PureVPN coupons for even cheaper deals.

Wrapping up
With lower prices and an available free trial, PureVPN is a better choice than Private Internet Access in terms of plans and pricing.

PureVPN vs Private Internet Access: which is more secure?

PureVPNPrivate Internet Access
EncryptionAES-256AES-128 and AES-256
HashSHA-512SHA-512
RAM serversNoYes
A member of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance?NoYes
No-logs policyIndependently AuditedIndependently Audited
Kill switchYesYes
Ad blockerNoYes
DNS leak protectionYesYes

As we compare Private Internet Access vs PureVPN in terms of security and privacy, their overall effectiveness is very close despite the differences in the main safety suite and the offered extra features. At first, PIA seems like a superior option with RAM-only servers and an antivirus program as an additional feature.

On the other hand, it is located in the United States, a part of the Five-Eyes Alliance, while PureVPN is in The British Virgin Islands – a location with far better privacy laws.

Infrastructure

Right off the bat, Private Internet Access gets our praise for creating an infrastructure of RAM-only servers. Without disks, the provider protects clients' data and makes it more secure against cyber attacks. With data erased after every reboot, RAM-only servers complete their function without unnecessary endangerment of information.

PureVPN has a less secure network because it does not have RAM-only servers like its competitor and other industry titans like NordVPN. We hope that the provider follows the other best VPNs and commits to a switch for diskless servers.

While reviewing PureVPN vs PIA, we also tested the versatility of a VPN service via their support for available tunneling protocols, and PureVPN seems like a better option. Both providers offer WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2, but PureVPN also offers L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and SSTP protocols.

Privacy

A concerning downside of Private Internet Access is its location: the provider is based in the US – a major member of intelligence-sharing alliances and has an infamous reputation for disregarding user privacy. PureVPN seems like a more private option in The British Virgin Islands.

Both providers have an integrated kill switch in their apps to keep your private data secure if the VPN connection gets interrupted. However, this essential tool is not available for PureVPN on iOS devices.

For VPN encryption, PureVPN uses the near impenetrable AES-256 protocol, while PIA lets you swap out for a less safe but lighter AES-128 standard. Both options are considered strong, and having the option to balance between security and efficiency is a nice perk.

As for more privacy, each provider lets you purchase dedicated IPs and add an extra layer of security with multi-hop features and obfuscation, plus DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC for leak protection.

Logging

Regarding no-logs policies, PureVPN led the industry as one of the first providers to adopt a strict, independently audited no-logs policy. KPMG – one of the major auditing firms and an expert on advising professional services, has examined PureVPN two times in 2020 and 2021 and confirmed the provider’s dedication to the privacy of its clients.

Private Internet Access follows a court-proven and independently audited no-logs policy, but it collects your identity information upon registration and data usage during active sessions.

While the provider does not intervene in your private browsing sessions, what concerns us is the company’s privacy policy. It claims that Private Internet Access may share private data with the ultimate company and its subsidiaries, which sounds very unclear and leaves potential loopholes for using and collecting our information.

To find the best option for online privacy, check out our list of no-log VPNs.

Wrapping up
Every time it looks like Private Internet Access is pulling ahead, PureVPN manages to catch up with simple, reliable, and transparent security solutions. PIA has RAM-only servers, but its competitor is based in a location with better privacy laws. With no traits to make one provider a clear favorite, we declare a draw.

Speed comparison: PureVPN vs Private Internet Access

In this comparison, we tested Private Internet Access and PureVPN and their speed performance with the fastest and most commonly used WireGuard protocol, as well as OpenVPN with TCP and UDP protocols. While there were instances where PIA kept up and even outperformed its competitor, PureVPN remains an overall faster VPN provider.

Let’s take a deeper look at their performance metrics with an identical baseline. The provider with smaller download and upload speed drops is the winner, and test results for WireGuard show PureVPN as a better, faster option than Private Internet Access.

  • Baseline: 300 Mbps download/ 300 Mbps upload
WireGuardPrivate Internet AccessPureVPN
Download average:124 Mbps200 Mbps
Upload average:
155 Mbps210 Mbps

On average, PureVPN kept 66% of its initial speed for downloads and 70% on uploads. PIA performed worse than its competitor, keeping less than half – 41% of its download speed and only 51% of its upload speed.

For OpenVPN and it is slower, but most secure TCP protocol, the speeds are very close:

  • Baseline: 300 Mbps download/ 300 Mbps upload
OpenVPN TCPPrivate Internet AccessPureVPN
Download average:33 Mbps37 Mbps
Upload average:
38 Mbps14 Mbps

The results are very close: Private Internet Access VPN kept 11% of its download speed, while PureVPN is barely ahead with 12%. The gap is bigger for Upload averages, where PIA retains 12% of its speed and lags behind below 5%.

However, with speed as the priority, we mainly focus on the OpenVPN UDP protocol:

  • Baseline: 300 Mbps download/ 300 Mbps upload
OpenVPN UDPPrivate Internet AccessPureVPN
Download average:127 Mbps145 Mbps
Upload average:
131 Mbps141 Mbps

Oddly enough, PIA’s OpenVPN UDP protocol was faster on downloads than its WireGuard protocol. However, this metric does not highlight its impressive speed but the poor optimization of WireGuard. That said, PureVPN is better again, keeping 48% of its download speed and 47% for uploads. PIA’s fastest downloads only retain 42%, while uploads are at 44%.

Wrapping up
PureVPN is better than PIA in speeds, with 10% faster downloads and 4% in uploads. Also, it wins big where it matters most. With the fastest WireGuard protocol, PureVPN beats its competitor by 25% for download speeds and 19% for uploads.

PureVPN vs Private Internet Access features

PureVPNPrivate Internet Access
Split tunneling✅Yes✅Yes
Kill switch✅Yes✅Yes
Smart DNS❌No✅Yes
RAM-only servers❌No✅Yes
Stealth VPN❌No❌No

Both PureVPN and Private Internet Access have a split tunneling tool, but PIA has an advantage with more features. Meanwhile, PureVPN supports more operating systems and devices.

PIA and PureVPN are evenly matched in pricing, so the slightest difference in additional features can determine the winner of this category. First, let’s compare the availability of the most demanded tools in the top VPNs.

Split tunneling

VPN connections are slower than internet traffic, and split tunneling tools let us only choose which apps and processes need it. We are relieved that both providers have options for selective routing in their settings.

PureVPN has split tunneling options, but only for Windows and Android devices. Once you click on its menu label, a simple toggle button enables the feature and lets you add a list of programs whose data packets will travel through a VPN tunnel.

PureVPN split tunneling features

PIA also has a split tunneling tool which is located in the network section and works in a very similar manner. However, during in-house testing, some programs did not use VPN servers despite being in the filtered list. That being said, selective routing worked for all browsers, which covers most use cases.

PIA split tunneling

Server obfuscation

Having the option to hide your VPN activity is essential, and Private Internet Access has a feature for VPN obfuscation. It provides an option to bypass firewalls and heavy censorship on Windows, macOS, Android, and Linux.

PureVPN is worse because it does not have a stealth VPN. It is a worse option if you are in a location where VPN use is blocked or severely restricted.

Multi-hop VPN

Multi-hop routing provides an extra level of security by using multiple VPN servers to reach the destination instead of one. Private Internet Access has this feature, letting you use a double VPN for privacy and security.

Again, PureVPN is missing a crucial tool, as it does not support multi-hop routing. That is a downside for internet privacy enthusiasts because tracing these connections back to the source is far more difficult.

Smart DNS

An essential tool for streaming, Smart DNS lets you access streaming sites even if the device doesn't support VPN applications, and Private Internet Access has a Smart DNS tool, along with informative installation guides for Android TV and other streaming devices.

PureVPN does not offer this tool, which makes it a less flexible choice for enjoying movies and TV shows.

Other features

While PureVPN does not include as many additional features as PIA does, the provider has other options to enhance or complement the service. PIA has other tools in its base package, while PureVPN has some separate features that you can add with separate payments.

On top of the tools discussed above, PIA VPN has a section for email breach monitoring called Identity Guard. Through the same app, you can check your address to make sure that it was never leaked. The package also includes an internet filtering tool PIA MACE and a free port forwarding option.

PureVPN has a solid set of features that can be unlocked for extra money. First, let’s start with PurePrivacy - a multifunctional tool for ad blocking, social media security, and automated privacy checkups, which you can unlock for $1.66/month.

For extra protection, you can also get a password manager called PureKeep for $0.99/month. There is also an extensive feature for DDoS protection at $3.99/month.

Wrapping up
While PureVPN offers more external features for overall online protection, Private Internet Access has a better base package with more tools for effective VPN use, which makes it the winner of this category.

Server locations

PureVPNPrivate Internet Access
Servers6500+Thousands of servers
Countries (total)65+91+
Virtual locationsYesNo
Dedicated IPsYesYes

To compare Private Internet Access (PIA) vs Pure VPN and their server locations, we review their coverage of countries and the available server fleet. At first, it may be concerning that PIA does not disclose its server count. While the number is believed to be in the thousands, with PureVPN, we get direct numbers – 6500+ servers in 65 countries.

Private Internet Access has a slight advantage over PureVPN in global coverage. It has servers in 91 locations, which is a bit more than offered by its competitor. Still, without knowing an approximate server count, we cannot tell if the distribution of locations is even, therefore, the performance of some locations can be very inconsistent.

Wrapping up
While both providers have a close number of covered countries, PureVPN wins because it provides more information about its server fleet.

Torrenting

For torrenting, we checked Private Internet Access and PureVPN and tested their torrenting and P2P communication capabilities. Both providers performed well and have a kill switch to prevent data leaks during downloads. However, Private Internet Access has a slight edge over its opponent. Its services are great for torrenting, the processes can be separated with a split tunneling tool, and all available servers support P2P communication.

While PureVPN has a robust server fleet that supports torrenting, its P2P connections only work in regions without restrictions. Also, faster download and upload speeds show PIA as the better VPN for torrenting.

Wrapping up
PIA and PureVPN bring different strengths to torrenting, which complicates of a better provider. However, faster speeds and consistent P2P support across all regions are valuable strengths that help PIA become the winner of this category.

Platforms, interface, and ease of use

PureVPNPrivate Internet Access
Supported OSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
Other software and devicesAndroid TV, Fire devices, KodiAndroid TV, Fire devices, Kodi
Browser extensionsChrome, FirefoxChrome, Firefox
Simultaneous connections1010
Usability levelEasy to set upEasy to set up

Both PureVPN and Private Internet Access have a quick and simple installation process for their apps, but are they easy to use? We can see that they have comfortable applications for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS – all the major platforms.

While PIA and PureVPN offer browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, Private Internet Access also supports Opera, which is rare for VPN providers. PureVPN strikes back by offering more for unconventional devices: Google Chromebook, Raspberry PI, QNAP, and more niche gadgets. Their matchup feels very even, especially since both providers support up to 10 simultaneous connections.

Wrapping up
With similar support across major platforms, intuitive user interfaces, and different strengths that cancel each other out, we find PureVPN and PIA too close to each other to determine the winner of this category, hence we declare a draw.

Desktop apps

PureVPN has a light and simple app that displays the location of a connected VPN server, as well as used data for downloads and uploads. On the left, we have a vertical menu bar with icons organizing available settings and configurations.

PureVPN Windows interface

The macOS app looks very similar but removes the general information about the connection. However, it makes up for it with a more clear navigation panel, where the icons have a text beside them to help find configurations and solutions faster.

Mac interface PureVPN

PureVPN gets extra love for providing a proper Linux app with an intuitive user interface. Here you get all the essential privacy and security features and access to its fastest tunneling protocols.

Connecting PureVPN on Linux 1

PIA has a simple Windows app that can switch between a light and a dark theme, but its functionality is inconsistent. Still, with a simple vertical application, it presents information about the VPN connection: its tunneling protocol, encryption, speeds, and data use.

pia-windows-interface

The macOS app looks exactly like its Windows counterpart, but it delivered a much more stable performance during in-house testing. This version did not experience any crashes, and the service plus its additional features functioned as intended.

pia-mac-interface

Just like with PureVPN, PIA’s Linux app is easy to use and offers a very comfortable and informative menu bar. From there, you can access all the settings and configurations, and the right amount of subsections offers clear and intuitive navigation.

PIA Linux app

Mobile apps

For mobile, PureVPN has some additional tools for Android users. The application lets you choose different configurations for your VPN servers: Stream, Internet Freedom, Security/Privacy, and File Sharing. PureVPN for android also has a split tunneling feature alongside other optional tools.

purevpn android

Its iOS apps look near identical, but the additional features that left a good first impression for Android are gone here. Because of that, it seems like Private Internet Access has an advantage over PureVPN with Apple devices.

Private Internet Access has identical apps for Android and iOS. Even more, they look like slightly adjusted versions of the desktop platforms. The user switching between connections will have an easy time adjusting to the mobile versions.

pia-android-interface

Customer support

Like most providers, Private Internet Access and PureVPN have a similar approach to customer support, but PureVPN is the better option because it has a speedy 24/7 live chat. On top of that, clients can reach both of them via the ticket system or e-mail support.

We can also find information and help on their websites full of informative guides and tutorials. Again, PureVPN offers better resources for help because it includes video guides that walk you through problematic areas step-by-step.

Wrapping up
PureVPN is a VPN provider with better customer support than Private Internet Access because it has the most popular live chat option and more diversity in providing assistance and knowledge to its customers.

PureVPN vs Private Internet Access – which one wins?

CategoryPureVPNPrivate Internet Access
Speed
Features
Protection
Streaming
Torrenting
Price
Server locations
Ease of use
Customer support

While the comparison seems close, PureVPN is our winner with strong advantages in major categories. It is a better choice than Private Internet Access (PIA) for streaming – one of the major use cases for VPN services, and its speeds are faster too.

For categories without a clear winner, PIA can be a solid alternative, and its biggest strength is its set of VPN-oriented features. Still, despite these advantages, the victory goes to PureVPN as the faster and more reliable VPN.


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