ExpressVPN vs. Private Internet Access 2021 – We’ll Help You Spend Your Money Wisely by Comparing These Two VPN Titans!

Both ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access have armies of loyal fans. So, checking online about which one is better can often lead to plenty of wrong conclusions. Users of these VPNs are passionate about their tools of choice, which means that you need an unbiased opinion.

Well, after reviewing dozens and dozens of VPN services and putting them all through the same series of tests, we know a thing or two about what to expect. With this said, we wish you a warm welcome to our ExpressVPN vs. Private Internet Access comparison!

As you probably know, ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs around. It’s been on the market for many years now, and it managed to build a reputation for caring about its users. As evident from our ExpressVPN review, we felt impressed by this tool, and we’re quick to recommend it.

However, Private Internet Access can also be a perfect VPN for a wide range of users. It comes with high-end features, keeps you protected on the Web, and has a few tricks up its sleeve. You can read all about that in our Private Internet Access review. So, let’s see what these two VPNs offer and which one’s better.

First, let’s quickly go over their essential specifications. The following table enables you to compare these VPNs by checking what they say "on the box."

  ExpressVPN Private Internet Access
Jurisdiction The British Virgin Islands The United States
Logs No logs collected. No logs collected.
Number of Servers 3,000 servers in 90+ countries. 17,400+ servers in 75+ countries.
Parallel Connections 5 10
Encryption Standards AES-256; OpenVPN, Lightway, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, PPTP. AES-256; OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPsec.
Speed Reduction 44.7%, on average. 72.1%, on average.
P2P Support YES YES
Supported Platforms Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Web browsers, routers, and media streaming devices. Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Web browsers, and routers.
Visit ExpressVPN Private Internet Access

Next, we will provide scores of individual aspects of these VPNs based on our reviews. The goal here is to help you identify the potential problematic sides of ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, as well as their biggest strengths.

  ExpressVPN Private Internet Access
Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation 10/10 8.5/10
Supported Platforms & Devices 10/10 10/10
Installation & Initial Configuration 10/10 10/10
Prominent Features 9.5/10 9/10
Server Count & Infrastructure 8.5/10 10/10
UI/UX Design & Ease of Use 10/10 10/10
Media Streaming & Torrenting Support 10/10 5/10
Security & Privacy 10/10 9/10
Speed & Performance 8.5/10 7/10
Customer Support 10/10 10/10
Pricing 9/10 8.5/10
Overall Score 9.6/10 8.8/10

So, are you ready to dive deep into everything these VPNs offer? If you are, join us for our full ExpressVPN vs. Private Internet Access comparison.

ExpressVPN vs. Private Internet Access (2021) – Which VPN Should You Pick?

Just like we did in other VPN comparisons published on TechNadu, we will be going through a series of individual aspects. By the end of this article, you’ll see which of these two VPNs is more aligned with your needs. So, let’s dive right in, shall we?

Table of Contents

Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation

British Virgin Islands Map

First things first. We will tell you about where these VPNs come from and what that means for their subscribers. So, here’s some essential background information.

  • ExpressVPN: You might be surprised to know that ExpressVPN comes from the British Virgin Islands. However, this country wasn’t chosen by accident. ExpressVPN is a certified no-logs VPN service, and this country has no mandatory data retention laws. Also, it’s outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. That means that if someone wants to get to your data, they'll face a long list of obstacles (even though ExpressVPN has no means to collect personal data).
  • Private Internet Access: Then, we have a USA-based VPN service. As you can probably guess, this can be a big problem for those who seek total online anonymity. We all know what Edward Snowden said about mass-surveillance happening in this country, which is something to keep in mind. On top of that, PIA is now owned by Kape Technologies, the same company that owns CyberGhost VPN and ZenMate VPN. This is a very complex situation that can be seen as an obstacle to recommending this VPN. With that said, PIA has once proven that it collects no data – even after being pressured by the FBI. Still, there are no recent audits to confirm that PIA is still following that philosophy.

Winner: In all honesty, both ExpressVPN and PIA seem like trustworthy options. Still, considering that it comes from the USA, we can’t recommend Private Internet Access to those who want to be fully and absolutely anonymous on the Web. Therefore, ExpressVPN wins this round.

Supported Platforms & Devices

List of Private Internet Access Supported Platforms

You’ll want a VPN that’s present on a wide range of platforms and devices. Ideally, you also want to protect all Web-connected devices at your home - and use a VPN on-the-go. So, let’s see if these two VPNs meet those expectations.

ExpressVPN Private Internet Access
Desktop Platforms Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS. Windows, macOS, Linux.
Mobile Platforms Android, iOS, Amazon Kindle Fire, Nook HD. Android, iOS.
Web Browsers Chrome, Firefox, Edge. Chrome, Firefox, opera.
Routers DD-WRT, Tomato, and more. DD-WRT, Tomato, and more.
Other Devices Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and more. N/A.
  • ExpressVPN: It’s safe to say that ExpressVPN covers all of the currently popular and not-as-popular platforms. You can install and use it on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Then, there are apps for various media streaming devices, Web browsers, and you can even use it on a router. And finally, you get to use ExpressVPN on up to 5 devices at the same time.
  • Private Internet Access: Everything said about its competitor applies to PIA as well. It comes with apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Then, there are extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Routers are included as well, and you get 10 connections per each subscription. With that said, we're sure you'll have a hard time reaching the limits of PIA's subscription plans.

Winner: Both ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access are outstanding examples of today’s VPN platform compatibility. However, considering the PIA can be used on up to 10 devices, it wins this round easily.

Installation & Initial Configuration

Private Internet Access Installation Guide for MacOS

Do these VPNs come with an easy installation? Are there guides that can help you if you’re a complete beginner? And how long does it take to set everything up? Let’s find out!

  • ExpressVPN: This VPN comes with a centralized dashboard on its website. This is where you can download its applications from, check setup guides (written in a user-friendly tone), and plenty more. You also get an activation code using which you can quickly log in to the VPN app. All in all, the entire process takes only a few minutes of your time. And more importantly, it’s suitable for complete beginners as well.
  • Private Internet Access: Up until recently, PIA used to come with a somewhat complicated installation. However, that is no longer the case. Today, you simply download apps from its website and install them – as you would do with any other software. There are no unexpected situations, and everything runs smoothly. There’s even a helpful tutorial showing you how to use the app.

Winner: Both ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access come with easy installation methods – suitable for complete beginners as well. Therefore, when it comes to this round, we’ll call it a tie.

Prominent Features

List of ExpressVPN Features

In this segment of our ExpressVPN vs. Private Internet Access comparison, we will be checking what kinds of features to expect. So, let’s see if these VPNs are made for average home users or more experienced individuals.

ExpressVPN Private Internet Access
DNS Leak Protection YES YES
IPv6 Leak Protection YES YES
Kill Switch YES YES
Split Tunneling YES YES
Dedicated/Static IP NO NO
Ad-Blocker, Anti-Malware NO YES
Unlimited Server Switches YES YES
Unlimited Bandwidth YES YES
Unlimited Data YES YES
  • ExpressVPN: We believe that ExpressVPN brings just the right balance between simplicity and complexity. That’s because it works automatically, on its own. You select a server, and your Web connection becomes encrypted and secured. Then, you get to unblock websites, hide your real IP address, browse anonymously, and more. There are more advanced features as well, like split-tunneling (Windows, macOS, Android, and routers) and a kill switch (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, routers). Even those (more advanced) features are implemented in a user-friendly way, which means you don't have to be an expert to use ExpressVPN.
  • Private Internet Access: This VPN also comes with everything you need to protect your online data. We’re talking about preventing pretty much any kind of data leaks. In terms of more advanced features, PIA brings an ad-blocker, split tunneling (on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android), and there’s a kill-switch (present on all PIA's apps) as well. However, to fine-tune those features, you need to dive a bit deeper into VPN terminology. And as you'll see from other aspects of PIA, this VPN is made for more advanced users, in general.

Winner: Both of these VPNs are similar in what they offer - and they're among the most capable and powerful VPNs available today. With that said, if you need a highly streamlined option (suitable for average home users), you should pick ExpressVPN. And if you need a more challenging option, Pirate Internet Access should do the job just fine.

Server Count

List of Private Internet Access Servers

So, how many servers can you expect to have at your disposal? More precisely, how many countries and locations are covered by these VPNs? Here’s what you need to know.

ExpressVPN Private Internet Access
Number of Servers 3,000+ 17,400+
Number of Locations 160 95+
Number of Countries 94 75+
Specific Cities Selection YES YES (for some countries)
Unlimited Switching YES YES
  • ExpressVPN: At the moment, you can expect ExpressVPN to offer more than 3,000 servers across the world. These are spread across 90+ countries and cover over 160 locations in total. Considering that these servers are strategically placed, you can expect to always find a nearby one – which, in turn, should provide reliable performance. This is also great news for unblocking any kind of website, as having servers in that many countries means you should get a wide range of IP addresses as well.
  • Private Internet Access: During the last year or so, PIA has been switching to a "next-generation" network, which is why it now offers over 17,000 servers. Therefore, it has more servers than its direct competitor. However, ExpressVPN offers wider coverage, as it has servers in 20 countries more than PIA. Therefore, your pick should depend on whether you want as many servers as possible or if you need servers in as many countries as possible.

Winner: Do you care about having more servers in total or having access to servers in more countries? We believe that ExpressVPN is the winner of this category, considering that it has servers in 90+ countries.

Ease of Use

ExpressVPN Home Screen When Connected to a Server

VPNs are no longer overly complicated or technical applications. Today, they come designed for average home users. However, even though they might look simple on the outside, top-rated VPNs also cater to more demanding users.

  • ExpressVPN: During the previous year, ExpressVPN went through a redesign. This is now a highly polished application that’s a pure joy to use. If you don’t want to dive deep into its options, you’ll see that ExpressVPN works out-of-the-box. This means you can only pick a server, and the VPN will do the rest. However, more advanced users are going to be happy as well. There’s a healthy number of options that can be customized, so you can really fine-tune your Internet connectivity.
  • Private Internet Access: Quite recently, this VPN also went through a redesign. Previously, this application was known to be somewhat complicated, with many buttons and toggles on its home screen. Even though PIA has truly refined its interface (across all of its available apps), many of the newly-redesigned panels still come with plenty of buttons. If you're looking to become a power VPN user, or if you have plenty of experience using VPNs, you're really going to love everything about PIA.

Winner: Both ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access are highly polished applications. However, we believe that ExpressVPN has done a better job of offering a uniform UI across all of its apps, and it works great on both small and large screens.

Media Streaming & Torrenting Support

Accessing US Netflix by Using ExpressVPN

We are sure that many of you care about media streaming. After all, many use VPNs to unblock Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and other hugely popular services. Don’t worry - we’ve tested these two VPN services hands-on, so here’s what you need to know.

ExpressVPN Private Internet Access
Netflix US YES YES
Disney+ YES YES
BBC iPlayer YES NO
Amazon Prime Video YES NO
Torrenting (P2P) Support YES YES
  • ExpressVPN: Without a single doubt, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for media streaming on the market in 2021. It unblocks numerous streaming platforms, no matter how strong their VPN-blocking efforts might be. As per our tests, we managed to unblock Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more. Furthermore, this VPN plays nice with P2P file downloads, as all of its servers support this kind of Web traffic.
  • Private Internet Access: Unfortunately, we can’t recommend PIA if you need a VPN for media streaming. It can help you unblock the US version of Netflix and Disney+, but that’s about it. We didn’t manage to unblock any other major media streaming platforms. On the plus side, it does support torrenting. Still, remember that this is a US-based VPN service, so make sure to avoid copyright infringement.

Winner: The winner of this round of our ExpressVPN vs. Private Internet Access comparison is clear – and that would be ExpressVPN. When it comes to media streaming and torrenting, this is where you’ll find one of the biggest differences between the two VPN services.

Security & Privacy

Private Internet Access Privacy Policy

The primary role of any VPN is to safeguard your digital privacy. This is done using encryption, VPN protocols, and other technologies. So, let’s see how well these VPNs protect your privacy.

  • ExpressVPN: If you decide to use this VPN, you can count on AES-256 encryption, perhaps the most secure type of encryption available right now. Then, there’s a nice range of VPN protocols, with OpenVPN being the most secure one. By combining this protocol with AES-256 encryption, you can be sure that no one will see what you do online. And let’s not forget that ExpressVPN proves that it logs no data, which means your anonymity is guaranteed.
  • Private Internet Access: Interestingly enough, PIA also uses AES-256 encryption and also comes with a range of powerful protocols. Private Internet Access also doesn't log any personal data, even though it would be nice to see this VPN going through an independent audit. We also checked the VPN for any leaks, and we failed to detect any – which means the VPN tunnel provided by Private Internet Access is a highly secure one.

Winner: It would be impossible to choose a winner of this round. That’s because both ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access come with a similar set of privacy-related features. Furthermore, both of these can help you be 100% anonymous online.

Speed & Performance

Netflix Region Changed with ExpressVPN

So, what kind of performance you can expect out of these VPNs? Will they throttle your Web connection noticeably? We’ve checked both nearby and remote servers, and we’ve done some speed tests, so here are the results.

SPEED REDUCTION ExpressVPN Private Internet Access
Italy 40.6% 19.7%
United Kingdom 35.5% 77.5%
United States 35.3% 82.8%
Canada 39.2% 76.1%
India 50.3% 99.1%
Australia 67.5% 77.6%
  • ExpressVPN: Upon doing in-depth speed tests, we’ve concluded that ExpressVPN brings some throttling. More precisely, this VPN slowed us by 44.7% on average. However, the chances are that you’ll experience much faster speeds – especially if you optimize your VPN connection by choosing a different protocol or connecting to a nearby server. All in all, ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs available now - and it deserves praise for its performance.
  • Private Internet Access: As noted earlier, this VPN now comes with a next-generation network, promising instant connectivity and fast performance. However, we didn't really experience that while testing PIA. On average, it made our Internet connection slower by 72.1% - so, nothing impressive there. However, the truth is that if you're willing to dive deep into this VPN's settings and spend some time tweaking those, you can get faster performance overall.

Winner: It's easy to pick a winner in this category of our ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access comparison. Based on our hands-on speed tests, ExpressVPN is much faster than its competitors, no matter if you plan on using nearby or remote servers.

Customer Support

Private Internet Access Customer Support System

In general, you can expect today’s VPNs to work without any issues. However, just like with any software, problems may arise at some point. Therefore, it’s crucial to know what kind of support you can get in those situations.

  • ExpressVPN: You can be 100% sure that ExpressVPN knows how to treat its customers. There’s a helpful 24/7 live chat option on its website, with knowledgeable customer support agents waiting on your questions. Then, there are nicely written and informative troubleshooting guides, setup tutorials, and plenty more. And to stay on top of the latest VPN- and privacy-related information, make sure to follow this company’s frequently updated blog.
  • Private Internet Access: In the past, one of the biggest drawbacks of PIA was its customer support. However, that's no longer the case, as PIA now offers live chat, email support, plenty of guides, and other types of helpful resources. These resources are often updated (following PIA's updates), which is always a welcome thing to see.

Winner: Today, there's practically no difference between ExpressVPN's and PIA's customer support systems. No matter which VPN you pick, you can count on having your questions answered and your problems resolved in record time.


The final segment of our ExpressVPN versus Private Internet Access comparison is about pricing. We’ll tell you how much you’ll need to pay for these VPNs, as well as which one offers more value for its price.

ExpressVPN Private Internet Access
1-Month Plan $12.95 $11.95
6-Month Plan $59.95 ($9.99/month) N/A
1-Year Plan $99.95 ($6.67/month) + 3 FREE Months $39.95 ($3.33/month)
3-Year Plan N/A $79.00 ($2.19/month)
  • ExpressVPN: If you want to pay every month, know that ExpressVPN is priced at $12.95. We have to say that this isn’t the most affordable price out there. However, there are some great incentives to choose long-term plans. For example, the annual plan also comes with 3 additional months of use – and brings the price down to $6.67 per month. There is a 30-days money-back guarantee, which makes buying ExpressVPN's subscription a risk-free investment.
  • Private Internet Access: No matter which subscription plan of this VPN we compare to ExpressVPN, you'll see the same thing. PIA comes at a really affordable price, with the biggest differences found in PIA's long-term plans. If you pick the VPN's 1-year plan, you'll pay only $3.33 per month. The biggest savings are found in PIA's 3-year plan, whose price comes down to $2.19 per month. On top of that, you get 30-day money-back guarantees.

Winner: If you’re looking for a more affordable option, Private Internet Access should be your pick. However, we also have to note that ExpressVPN brings plenty of value for its price – but be prepared for an upfront payment, as its long-term plans bring more value.

ExpressVPN vs. Private Internet Access – So, Which of These VPNs Is Better?

Even though they might appear the same on the outside, there are many crucial differences between ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access. With that said, we strongly believe that ExpressVPN is the right pick for the majority of users.

There’s a good reason why ExpressVPN is among the best-selling VPNs right now. It protects your privacy in the very best way possible, without overcomplicating things. You get to unblock websites with ease, enjoy fast Web connectivity, and plenty more. So, we highly recommend you subscribe to ExpressVPN.

So, this is where we conclude our ExpressVPN vs. Private Internet Access comparison. In case you've found this comparison to be helpful, we’d like to ask you to share this article online. And in case you have any questions or doubts, make sure to post your comment below. Thanks!

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