AirVPN Vs. Private Internet Access Comparison & Test Results 2019

At a Glance

AirVPN bills itself as a VPN run by and for privacy advocates, and it lives up to its billing, providing excellent encryption and top-notch privacy protections.

AirVPN logo

The provider also offers above-average domestic connection speeds, as well as good customer support.

Visit AirVPN

Private Internet Access (PIA) is an attractive option for budget-minded VPN shoppers. Despite a bargain-basement price, the provider offers excellent connection speeds, great privacy protections and support for P2P/BitTorrenting activity.

PIA logo

The provider also offers a decent number of simultaneous connections, and it supports all of the major desktop and mobile device platforms.

Visit Private Internet Access

How to Choose a VPN

Welcome to another round of one-on-one VPN competitions. In this matchup, we’ll see AirVPN going up against Private Internet Access.

I’ll be taking a look at the 10 most important categories to research when you’re deciding on a VPN provider. I’ll share why each category is critical, reveal how well each provider performs in the category and then declare a victor for the category.

After I’ve presented all 10 categories, I’ll tally the scores and name an overall head-to-head champion.

By the end of this article, you should have enough information at your fingertips to make an informed decision as to which of the two providers is a better fit for your needs.

Connection Speed

These days, it seems every electronic device connects to the internet. Your smartphone, your tablet, that Smart TV in the front room – they’re all connected. That makes a fast internet connection important for your user experience.

Pixel Privacy conducts all VPN connection speed tests using the Speedtest.net website and the following process:

  1. We use a Windows 10 server, with a gigabit Ethernet connection, based in North America.
  2. A team of 3 users test each VPN by connecting to 3 server locations in the United Kingdom, the United States and Hong Kong – for 3 days, at 3 different times of day.
  3. We use the Windows version of the provider’s app, configured to connect using the OpenVPN protocol over UDP.
  4. Once all of the speeds have been recorded, we calculate the average speed.

Average Connection Speed

While both providers deliver good download speeds, Private Internet Access is the clear head-to-head winner in this arena.

Private Internet Access offers download speeds that can easily handle any online activity. Users should find that it particularly shines when downloading and sharing large files.

Meanwhile, AirVPN’s connection speeds, while much slower than those that PIA delivers, can easily handle your everyday online activities. You probably won’t mind a few seconds’ wait when streaming, or the bit longer it takes to download a file.

Average Connection Speed Winner: Private Internet Access

Provider

Download Speed Link

Private Internet Access

84.18 Mbps Visit Site
Read Review

AirVPN

27.15 Mbps Visit Site

Pricing

Both of our competitors offer low-priced subscriptions, but Private Internet Access is the “bargain-basement” provider of the two.

Private Internet charges a month-to-month tariff equal to large cup of your favorite coffee shop brew. The monthly fee drops to the price of a small cup of Columbia’s best when you opt to pay annually.

As for AirVPN, it’s priced only slightly higher for both its monthly and annual subscriptions. The provider asks a little over a buck more in each case than its competitor does.

Pricing Winner: Private Internet Access

Provider

Money-Back 

Guarantee Period

Link

Private Internet Access

7 Days Visit Site
Read Review

AirVPN

3 Days Visit Site

Privacy

Whenever you’re connected to the internet, someone is attempting to track your activities.

It could be your Internet Service Provider (ISP) looking to record your travels to sell that information to advertisers, or even the government looking over your virtual shoulder to see what you’re up to.

When investigating how well a VPN provider protects your privacy, take a look at the following:

  • Is the provider’s base of operations located in a privacy-friendly country?
  • Does the provider retain logs related to their customers’ online activities?
  • Does the provider offer privacy-enhancing payment options, like Bitcoin?

AirVPN’s base of operations is in Italy, and the VPN provider follows the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). That means that AirVPN keeps no logs related to their customers’ online travels while connected to the service. The provider also accepts Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency for their services.

Despite the fact that Private Internet Access is located in the less-than-privacy-friendly United States, it still keeps no records of their users’ online antics. PIA accepts Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment for subscriptions.

As an added bonus, Private Internet Access also accepts merchant gift card balances as payment. So, if you just can’t choke down another Caramel Mocha Crappuccino, that Starbucks card balance won’t go to waste.

Privacy Winner: Tie

Provider

Privacy Ranking Link

AirVPN

5.0 Visit Site

Private Internet Access

5.0 Visit Site
Read Review

Features

Never concentrate on just one or two categories when researching VPN providers. Instead, be sure to consider a VPN’s performance across all of the important categories before laying your money down for a provider.

In this section, I’ll be taking a close look at the various features that our two contestants offer. I’ll explain each provider’s offerings in the category and then announce my decision as to which provider performs best in that particular area of service.

Security

Your VPN’s encryption is the hard-candy “magic” shell the provider lays on your connection, which prevents outsiders from monitoring your internet activities. In addition to encryption, VPNs should also offer additional connection security protections.

Private Internet Access provides AES-256 encryption for their customers’ connections via the OpenVPN, L2TP+PSK and PPTP protocols. In addition, the provider offers kill switch, DNS leak and IPv6 leak protections. Plus, it offers blocking for trackers, adware and malware.

AirVPN offers AES-256 encryption as protection for their customers’ connections. They use only OpenVPN with TCP/UDP – no other protocols are available. Kill switch protection, as well as DNS and IPv6 leak protections, also make the show.

Since both providers offer the uber safe and reliable OpenVPN protocol, I’m calling this one a tie.

(For more detailed information about VPN security, check out my VPN Security Features article.)

Security Winner: Tie

Provider

Overall Security Score Link

Private Internet Access

5.0 Visit Site
Read Review

AirVPN

5.0 Visit Site

Simultaneous Connections

Any VPN worth its salt will allow you to simultaneously have more than one device connected to their servers. This feature is especially important for users who have multiple computers or mobile devices, or for groups with a large number of users, like families and small business users.

Private Internet Access allows up to 10 simultaneous connections using the same set of login credentials.

AirVPN allows only 5 connections at once.

Both providers offer router support, which allows all of the connected devices in your home or office to be connected to the providers’ servers via a single point of access.

Simultaneous Connections Winner: Private Internet Access

Provider

Simultaneous Connections Allowed Link

Private Internet Access

10 Visit Site
Read Review

AirVPN

5 Visit Site

Streaming Support

There are dozens of streaming services available for your viewing pleasure, with more services being added on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, not all streaming services are available in all countries. Plus, streaming services don’t offer the same shows and movies in all of their available countries.

That’s why a VPN that provides reliable access to streaming services in other countries is such a valuable part of any online toolbox.

AirVPN claims it offers access to Netflix in the United States and the United Kingdom. I randomly tested various AirVPN servers in those countries, and I found the streaming support to be unreliable, almost random. Other streaming providers, such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer, did not work.

It’s the same with Private Internet Access, which also doesn’t claim to offer reliable streaming services access. Random testing with multiple servers and streaming services proved to be a futile effort.

Streaming Support Winner: While AirVPN technically wins, nobody wins in the streaming category – especially movie fans.

Provider

# of U.S. Streaming Services VPN Unblocks # of International Services VPN Unblocks Link

AirVPN

1 1 Visit Site

Private Internet Access

0 0 Visit Site
Read Review

BitTorrent Support

P2P/BitTorrent is arguably the most popular method of sharing files on the internet today. Both individuals and business owners use the method to legally share files.

However, since some P2P users share copyrighted materials, many ISPs block file sharing activity on their connections. Also, depending on where you live, you could pay financial or criminal penalties for sharing copyrighted materials.

Private Internet Access allows BitTorrent traffic on all of their servers (32 countries).

AirVPN also permits P2P activity on all of their servers (22 countries).

BitTorrent Winner: Private Internet Access

Provider

# of Countries Where VPN Allows BitTorrent Link

Private Internet Access

32 (all of them) Visit Site
Read Review

AirVPN

22 (all of them) Visit Site

Global Server Coverage

A VPN provider’s global server coverage allows you to access blocked content from around the globe. The wider the global server coverage, the better the chance of unblocking your favorite foreign content.

Private Internet Access has 3,380+ servers located in 32 countries around the globe.

I was able to find global server coverage information on the AirVPN website, which totals up to just 240+ servers located in 22 countries.

The number of available servers from any VPN provider changes on a regular basis, so check a provider’s website if you want to view their latest numbers.

Global Server Coverage Winner: Private Internet Access

Provider

Server Count Countries Link

Private Internet Access

3,380+ 32 Visit Site

Read Review

AirVPN

240+ 22 Visit Site

Multi-Platform Support

I’m willing to bet that most of my readers own and use more than one internet-connected device. That’s why a VPN provider’s multi-platform support is so important.

Private Internet Access provides native app support for the iOS, Windows, Linux, Android and macOS device platforms. The service also offers router support. Browser extensions are available for the Opera, Firefox and Chrome platforms.

AirVPN offers apps for the Linux, iOS, Android, macOS and Windows device platforms. They also provide setup instructions to use their service with Chromebook laptops, pfSense firewalls, and DD-WRT, Tomato and AsusWRT routers.

Multi-Platform Support Winner: Private Internet Access

Provider

Platforms Supported Browser Extensions? Link

Private Internet Access

5 Yes (Chrome, Firefox, Opera) Visit Site

Read Review

AirVPN

5 No Visit Site

Customer Support

Customer support is like that extra $20 bill you have tucked away in your billfold. You hope you never have a reason to use it, but it’s nice to know that it’s there.

Private Internet Access offers an extensive knowledge base, which just recently underwent extensive remodeling, adding more comprehensive search functionality and a new “Guides” section to walk you through installing and modifying your PIA VPN setup. The company also provides a trouble ticket tracking system. No live chat support, though.

AirVPN offers a contact form, an FAQ section and a user forum, where AirVPN personnel and customers can discuss issues.

Customer Support Winner: Private Internet Access

Provider

Customer Service Score Link

Private Internet Access

4.0 Visit Site

Read Review

AirVPN

3.5 Visit Site

And the Winner Is…

This battle quickly turned into a rout, with Private Internet Access (PIA) quickly racking up a lead that AirVPN could never overcome.

PIA logo

Private Internet Access took the top spot in the average connection speed, pricing, simultaneous connections, BitTorrent, global server coverage, multi-platform support and customer support competitions.

AirVPN took honors in the streaming category only, and I wouldn’t really recommend it for streaming, either.

The competitors offer equally excellent privacy and security protections.

Private Internet Access offers fast speeds, excellent privacy protection and BitTorrent activity on all of its servers. Their pricing is tough to beat, especially with the better-than-average service the provider delivers.

Visit the Private Internet Access website.