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. 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 the perfect VPN for a wide range of users. It comes with high-end features, keeps you 100% 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 basic specifications. The following table lets you 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.||3,300+ servers in 30 countries.|
|Encryption Standards||AES-256; OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec.||AES-256; OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec.|
|Speed Reduction||19% on average.||8% on average.|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Web browsers, and routers.||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 is to help you identify potential problematic sides of ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access.
|ExpressVPN||Private Internet Access|
|Ease of Use||10/10||9/10|
|Security & Privacy||10/10||8/10|
|Speed & Performance||9/10||10/10|
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 – Which One’s Better?
Just like we did in our 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 VPNs is more aligned with your needs. So, let’s dive right in, shall we?
Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation
First things first. We will tell you about where these VPNs come from, and what that means for their subscribers. So, here’s some helpful 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 comes with no mandatory data retention laws. Also, it’s outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. This means that if someone wants to get to your data, their effort will need to be much harder than usual.
- 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 about what Edward Snowden said about mass-surveillance happening in this country, and this is something to keep in mind. However, PIA has once proven that it collects no data – even after being pressured by the FBI. However, there are no recent audits to prove that PIA is still following that philosophy.
Winner: In all honesty, both ExpressVPN and PIA seem like trustworthy options. However, considering that it comes from the USA, we can’t recommend Private Internet Access to those who want to be fully anonymous on the Web.
Supported Platforms & Devices
You’ll want a VPN that’s present on a wide range of platforms and devices. Ideally, you want to protect all Web-connected devices at your home – and use a VPN on-the-go as well. So, let’s see if these VPNs answer those expectations.
- ExpressVPN: It’s safe to say that ExpressVPN covers all 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 apps for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. And finally, it even offers apps for Windows Phone, Fire OS, and plenty more. Routers are included as well, and you get 10 connections per each subscription.
Winner: Both ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access are amazing examples of today’s VPN platform compatibility. However, considering the PIA can be used on up to 10 devices, it wins this round.
Installation & Initial Configuration
Do these VPNs come with an easy installation? Are there guides that help you, if you’re a complete beginner? And how long it takes to set everything up? Let’s find out!
- ExpressVPN: This VPN comes with a centralized dashboard on its website. This is from where you can download its applications, check setup guides, and more. You also get an activation code using which you can easily log-in to your apps. 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 came with a somewhat complicated installation method. However, this is no longer the case. Today, you simply download apps from its website and install them – as you would do with any 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 PIA come with easy installation methods – suitable for beginners as well. Therefore, when it comes to this round, we’ll call it a tie.
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: We believe that ExpressVPN brings just the right balance between simplicity and complexity. That’s because it works automatically, on its own. You simply select a server and your Web connection becomes encrypted and secured. We’re talking about AES-256 encryption, in addition to a wide range of VPN protocols. Then, you get to unblock websites, hide your true IP address, browse anonymously, and more. There are more advanced features as well, like split-tunneling and this VPN’s unique TrustedServer technology.
- Private Internet Access: This VPN also comes with everything you’ll need to protect your online data. We’re talking about preventing DNS and IPv4 leaks (there’s no support for IPv6 here). In terms of more advanced features, PIA brings an ad-blocker and there’s a kill-switch as well. And also, this VPN supports split-tunneling – but only on desktop applications for now.
Winner: Both of these VPNs are similar in what they offer. However, we do believe that ExpressVPN goes one step further than its competitor and therefore takes another win in this article.
So, how many servers you can 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: 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.
- Private Internet Access: Interestingly enough, PIA has over 3,300 servers – so, more than ExpressVPN. However, these servers can be found in only around 30 countries and 50+ locations in total. So, even though PIA has a larger server network, it’s not as wide in comparison to its competitor.
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
VPNs are no longer overly complicated applications. These days, they come designed for average 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 that you can simply choose a server, and this application 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 Web 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. And now, we would really have to nitpick to find something wrong about its UI. However, it’s true that there are some small annoyances that might be frustrating in the long run, as noted in our review of this VPN.
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
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, so here’s what you need to know.
- ExpressVPN: Without a single doubt, ExpressVPN is the best media streaming solution on the market. It unblocks any website, no matter how strong its VPN-blocking efforts can be. As per our tests, we managed to unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. 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, but that’s about it. We didn’t manage to unblock any other major media streaming website out there. 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 at all costs.
Winner: The winner of this round of our ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access comparison is clear – and that would be ExpressVPN. In terms of media streaming, this is where you’ll find one of the strongest differences between the two VPN services.
Security & Privacy
The primary role of any VPN is to safeguard your online privacy. This is done by 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 that your anonymity is guaranteed.
- Private Internet Access: Interestingly enough, PIA also uses AES-256 encryption and also comes with the same protocols as offered by its competitor. Even though PIA has never gone through an audit, it was proven that it logs no personal data. We also checked this VPN for any leaks, and we failed to detect any – which means that 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 the same set of privacy-related features. Furthermore, both of these can help you be 100% anonymous online.
Speed & Performance
So, what kind of performance you can expect out of these VPNs? Will they throttle your Web connection in a noticeable way? We’ve checked both nearby and remote servers and we’ve done some speed tests, so here are the results.
- ExpressVPN: Upon doing in-depth speed tests, we’ve concluded that ExpressVPN comes with some throttling. More precisely, this VPN slowed us by 19% on average. However, the chances are that you’ll experience much faster speeds – simply because there are so many servers offered by this VPN. Your best bet would be to connect to a nearby server, which seems like an easy possibility in this case.
- Private Internet Access: We were surprised to see that PIA made our Web connection slower by only 8% on average. It certainly looks like this VPN knows how to do its job. We were so impressed by its performance that we had to include in our overview of the fastest VPNs.
Winner: To declare the winner of this category, we don’t really have to think hard. Even though many of you will be more than happy with ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access is one of the fastest VPNs right now.
In general, you can expect from today’s VPN 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 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: Unfortunately, this VPN doesn’t come with a live chat. So, the fastest way is to send an email or open an official support ticket. However, don’t expect an answer to arrive instantly. While testing this VPN’s customer support team, we got a response within 72 hours – so not the fastest or the most helpful result.
Winner: One of the selling points of ExpressVPN is its impeccable customer support system. This VPN will never let you down, and its agents will always be there to assist. Therefore, it easily wins this round.
The final segment of our ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access comparison is about pricing. We’ll tell you how much you’ll need to pay for these VPNs, and which one offers more value for its price.
- ExpressVPN: If you want to pay on a monthly basis, know that ExpressVPN is priced at $12.95. We have to say that this isn’t the most affordable price you’ll find right now. 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 and you can pay via credit cards, PayPal, or Bitcoin.
- Private Internet Access: This VPN comes with a monthly price of $6.95 – so, it already seems like a better deal in this comparison. The annual plan brings the price down to $3.33 per month. You can pay via credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and numerous other payment processors. And when it comes to money-back guarantees, you have up to 7 days to change your mind.
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 – Which One to Pick?
As you can tell, choosing between these VPNs can tough. However, after everything said in this article, we conclude the following. Private Internet Access is a great pick for non-demanding home users – those who simply want to secure their Web connection. Unblocking Netflix is an interesting benefit here as well. However, ExpressVPN brings a more complete package and caters to a wider range 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 found this comparison to be helpful, we’d like to ask you to share this article online. You can also follow us via our social media profiles, on Facebook and Twitter.