PureVPN vS. Private Internet Access (PIA)
Comparison & Test Results 2018
PureVPN will be attractive to users looking for a VPN provider that supplies comprehensive global server coverage, wide BitTorrent support and great multi-platform support, all at a low price.
The provider’s connection speeds weren’t quite as fast as Private Internet Access’, and they were also more expensive for month-to-month service.
Private Internet Access (PIA) will lure customers looking for fast connections in both the U.S. and internationally, and missed by only pennies per month in grabbing the low-price annual subscription crown.
Month-to-month subscribers will benefit from a lower price than that offered by PureVPN. PIA’s global server coverage suffers when compared to PureVPN, as does its BitTorrent support.
How to Choose a VPN
Deciding on the right provider for your needs is an important decision. Make the wrong one, and you’ll be saddled with an inferior VPN service that can’t be used to a VPN’s full potential. Always make sure to research each VPN you consider to make sure it performs well in all important categories.
In this “versus” article, I’ll be conducting a head-to-head comparison of two well-known VPN services, PureVPN and Private Internet Access. I’ll explain each service category to be considered and then share how well both providers perform in that category.
In each category, I will declare a winner, and at the end of the article I will declare an overall winner based upon each provider’s performance in all of the categories. By the end of this article, you should have enough information on hand to know which provider is a fit for your particular needs.
It seems as if every device you touch these days is connected to the internet. Your computer, mobile device, game console - even your toothbrush! - is somehow connected to the web. If your connection speeds are less than optimal, this can lead to an unsatisfactory experience.
I conduct my VPN connection speeds in the following manner:
Test my ISP-provided connection speeds. (I currently reside in the United States.)
Connect to each provider’s VPN servers, first to a server located in the United States and then to a server located in the United Kingdom.
Compare the ISP speeds and the VPN-provided speeds in order to calculate the speed percentages shown in the tables in each section.
Local Connection Speeds (U.S.)
Private Internet Access (PIA) is arguably best known for their bargain pricing. However, I was pleasantly surprised with their connection speeds. PIA’s U.S. connection speeds measured in at 94.2% of my unprotected ISP speeds.
PureVPN’s U.S. connection speeds came in at 83.2% of my ISP speeds. While that is considerably slower than the Private Internet Access numbers, they are still respectably fast.
International Connection Speeds (U.S. to U.K.)
The U.K. server speed tests showed Private Internet Access continuing to offer fast connection speeds, performing less than 1% slower than the U.S. numbers.
PureVPN’s performance dropped a precipitous 20%, down to just 63.2% of my ISP-provided speeds.
Both of the providers we’re comparing in this article are value-priced. They both offer subscription deals that come to just under $3.40 a month. Their pricing is an excellent deal, as you’ll see as we move forward and compare them in each category.
Private Internet Access is much cheaper than PureVPN when paying month-to-month, with a $6.95 fee per month. Things come close to even when purchasing a year’s worth of VPN service, coming in at $3.33 per month ($39.95 per year).
PureVPN’s month-to-month subscription tariff is $11.95. However, the provider’s price drops considerably if you opt for the 2-year service contract, falling to $3.25 per month ($39.00 per year, payable at $78.00 every 2 years).
While Private Internet Access offers a yearly subscription, PureVPN only offers a 2-year one. Because of that, their yearly prices are not comparable. So, in the table below, only their month-to-month prices are compared.
Money-Back Guarantee Period
In today’s online world, there is peril at every turn. It’s important to keep as much of your personal information and info about your online activities as undercover as possible.
Always make sure a VPN provider you’re considering offers good privacy protections. Consider the following privacy-related features of any VPN candidate: do they save any type of logs connected to a user’s online activities? Where are they located? Is it in a privacy-friendly country? Do they accept privacy-enhancing payment methods, such as merchant gift cards or Bitcoin?
PureVPN’s base of operations is in Hong Kong, where the government does not require VPN providers to retain any user logs. This means that even if a record company or movie studio came to PureVPN’s doorstep with a subpoena, there wouldn’t be anything to turn over. The provider accepts Bitcoin for subscription payments, so your privacy is protected there too.
Private Internet Access is based in the less-than-privacy-friendly United States, yet the company still sticks to a strict “no logs” policy. The provider accepts Bitcoin and merchant gift cards, so you have 2 great options to protect your payment information if you opt for PIA.
When researching any VPN provider, don’t fall in love with the idea that just one or two features are important when making a decision. Always consider every factor before putting your money on the table.
In this section, I’ll take a look at the features that are important to consider when looking at any VPN service. I’ll also share how well both services perform in each category.
Encryption is the layer of protection a VPN applies to your internet connection, keeping it safe from prying eyes.
Private Internet Access makes use of AES-256 with OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec to protect its customers’ connections and accompanying personal data.
PureVPN also offers AES-256 protection via the OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec protocols, providing the same protection to its users. While the provider also offers the SSTP and IKEv2, both are older and are not recommended for use.
Encryption Winner: Tied
AES-256 encryption, using OpenVPN, L2TP+PSK and PPTP
AES-256 encryption, using OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, L2TP, PPTP and IKEv2
If you have a family or own a small business, finding a VPN provider that allows you to connect multiple devices at once on one account can be a valuable asset.
Private Internet Access allows up to 5 simultaneous connections. PureVPN also allows up to 5 concurrent connections using the same VPN account.
Encryption Winner: Tied
BitTorrent/P2P file sharing provides a great way to share files among multiple users. While there are plenty of legal reasons to share files using BitTorrent, it can also be used for less-than-legal purposes, such as sharing copyrighted materials, including music or movies.
Whatever your reason for P2P file sharing, using a VPN is a great way to keep your sharing protected from prying eyes.
PureVPN is happy to allow P2P activity but restricts it to countries where it isn’t explicitly designated as illegal.
Private Internet Access agrees that you should be allowed to share files, but only on servers located in Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Germany, Romania and Israel.
No matter which of these providers you might use, you don’t have to worry about anyone finding out you downloaded that copy of Fire Maidens From Outer Space.
Global Server Coverage
Global server coverage is important, as a VPN provider that has their server farms strategically located around the globe will provide an excellent way for you to unblock geographically-restricted content, opening up a new world of content and gaming possibilities.
PureVPN has only 750+ servers, but they have them spread out in over 140 countries around the globe. While Private Internet Access offers what would seem like an impressive server count - 3,272+ - those servers are smushed into just 25 countries.
PureVPN’s larger country count will provide greater flexibility when you’re looking to access geo-blocked streaming or gaming content.
It seems like every electronic device we touch these days is connected to the internet. Even my wife’s water bottle, which she takes with her during her runs, is connected to the net.
While a VPN might not be able to protect my wife’s IoT water bottle while she is outside running, it can protect it when it’s connected to our home Wi-Fi network. Always look for comprehensive multi-platform support from any VPN provider you consider.
PureVPN provides native apps for the Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV platforms. They also make available a Kodi plug-in, extensions for the Google Chrome and Firefox browser platforms, and support for a good number of router brands and models.
Private Internet Access provides native apps for the popular desktop and mobile platforms, supporting Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Linux devices. Also available is a browser extension for the Chrome platform. Setup instructions are available for DD-WRT and Tomato-flashed routers.
Users who are not into the whole do-it-yourself thing can purchase plug-and-play routers for both VPN services through the FlashRouters.com website.
Features Star Ratings
Sure, today’s VPN apps and services are mostly a matter of a few clicks and the app is installed, resulting in a protected internet connection.
However, if you’re familiar with Murphy’s Law, then you know that "anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." So, you’re probably going to have to contact customer support for one reason or another.
PureVPN offers the big 3 of customer support, also known as live support chat, a trouble ticket submission system and a searchable knowledge base. The provider’s support staff did a good job of offering prompt and knowledgeable answers to my support inquiries. The knowledge base offered a great way to find a quick answer.
Private Internet Access bats 2 out of 3 in the support home-run derby, providing only a trouble ticket submission system and a searchable support library. However, I received quick replies to my inquiries, and the support library proved to be a great resource.
And The Winner Is...
While both providers would supply great protection for your internet connection, the whole idea of this article is to declare a winner.
PureVPN is the head-to-head victor in this faceoff, providing comprehensive global server coverage, top-notch customer service and excellent BitTorrent support. However, the provider lagged a bit compared to its opponent when it comes to subscription pricing and connection speeds.
Private Internet Access scored the highest when it comes to pricing and connection speeds, and does just as well as PureVPN when it comes to simultaneous connections allowed. Unfortunately, it lagged way behind when it came to global server coverage and BitTorrent support.