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PIA vs. Surfshark Comparison Review

Surfshark and PIA are among the top-rated VPN services. They share quite a lot in common, but Surfshark is the best bang for the buck at the end of the day.

But what are the differences between the two?


Surfshark is a better VPN than Private Internet Access as it offers faster speeds and guarantees privacy and confidentiality. It also comes with several extras, is available at a reasonable price, and allows for unlimited simultaneous connections. On the other hand, PIA has a vast network of P2P servers and is better at torrenting and P2P sharing but limits the number of connections.

🏆 Winner

Comparison Table

Private Internet Access Surfshark
🖥️ PlatformsPCs, Mobile, Routers, TV Sticks, Gaming ConsolesPCs, Mobile, Routers, TV Sticks, Gaming Consoles
💻 Devices10Unlimited
📜 Encryption256-bit AES encryption256-bit AES encryption
🌐 ProtocolsWireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, WireGuard
🪪 JurisdictionUnited StatesNetherlands
🤷 Logging Policy100% No Logging100% No Logging
🖥 Server Network35,000 servers in 78 countries3,200 servers across 65 countries
🧪 Leak TestsNegativeNegative
📺 Streaming✔️✔️
🏴‍☠️ Torrenting✔️✔️
🎮 Gaming✔️✔️
👨‍🔧 Support24/7 live chat, FAQ24/7 live chat, FAQ
🆓 Free Version
Free Trial✔️✔️
🛡️ Guarantee30-day moneyback guarantee30-day money-back guarantee

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Pros and Cons PIA vs. Surfshark

PIA Pros
  • Vast server network compared to Surfshark’s
  • All Private Internet Access servers are P2P compatible
  • Available across all devices, mobile, desktops, routers, gaming consoles, etc
  • It features an ad-blocker and anti-tracking as well as malware protection
  • PIA excels in P2P downloading, torrenting, and streaming
  • Adds extra security with SOCKS5 proxy
Surfshark Pros
  • Excellent speeds and state-of-the-art online security
  • All-round unlimited protection on mobile and desktops, routers, TV sticks, gaming consoles, etc
  • Unlocks all the popular geo-restricted streaming sites without a problem
  • Surfshark guarantees online privacy and confidentiality courtesy of a strict no logging policy
  • Several unique security features, for example, Camouflage Mode and MultiHop
  • Surfshark relies on RAM-only servers for improved performance
PIA Cons
  • PIA is based in a 5-Eyes country, so privacy and confidentiality is not a guarantee
  • Speeds drop drastically when using AES 256-bit encryption
  • Supports a maximum of 10 simultaneous device connections
Surfshark Cons
  • Small server network compared to PIA
  • Surfshark no longer supports Shadowsocks proxy

PIA and Surfshark Comparison Review

Onto the day’s main business, how does Private Internet Access (PIA) compare to Surfshark? To help you get the most out of this comparison review, we have pitted the two providers in an 11-round bout comparing all the important factors considered when choosing the best VPN.

Brand Trust

Before settling on any VPN provider, find out whether it is a trusted brand or not. There are thousands of VPN providers, some genuine but others are not worth your time for one reason or another. So, which of the two brands has better ratings?

PIA Brand Trust

Started in 2010, Private Internet Access has been one of the household names in the VPN industry. It is owned by Kape Technologies, the same venture behind CyberGhost, another top-rated VPN.

We scoured VPN forums and followed PIA’s mentions on social media, and we are glad to report that it has good reviews from both consumers and cybersecurity experts.

But, of course, there are a few negative reviews. At the time of writing, Private Internet Access has a rating of 4.4/5 on Trustpilot, after around 9,000 reviews.

Surfshark Brand Trust

Owned and operated by Surfshark Ltd., Surfshark is also a trusted VPN brand. Established in 2018, the brand has quickly risen the ranks to become one of the best VPN providers on the market.

The award-winning VPN enjoys positive reviews online and was named CNN’s best VPN in 2020.

We checked most forums and Surfshark mentions, and there were no negative reviews. The next stop was on Trustpilot, where Surfshark has a rating of 4.4/5 after 21,500 reviews.

2. Supported Devices

In the second round, let’s assess the supported devices. The best VPN should support various devices for all-round online security and privacy. Besides the supported devices, it’s also important to check the number of devices that can be connected simultaneously.

Surfshark also excels when it comes to device and browser compatibility. This VPN works with all PCs, be it Windows and Linux PCs or Macs. What’s more? All mobile devices, iOS and Android are supported. Surfshark is also compatible with routers, TV sticks, and gaming consoles.

While PIA is similar to Surfshark, support for unlimited devices makes Surfshark the best choice. Additionally, there are no limits to the number of simultaneous device connections.

3. Usability

Private Internet Access is a user-friendly VPN that anyone can use without having any special skills. To get started, click the ‘Get Started with VPN’ and you will be redirected to a page where you have to choose a plan.

After that, download the client software login, select a server, and that’s it. However, configuring devices such as routers and consoles might require some knowledge. The good thing is that there are many resources to guide you.

Using Surfshark is equally easy. To get started, go to the Surfshark website and click the ‘Get Surfshark’ option. Next, choose a plan and create your account. Once you have an account, download and install the client software or extension, sign in, and select a server.

This is the procedure for ordinary devices, talk of desktops and mobile. However, configuring routers, PlayStation consoles, and other devices might require technical knowledge.

4. Security

The best VPNs on the market come with a few extras. So, what do PIA and Surfshark offer?

Private Internet Access

PIA includes DNS and IP leak protection so users can be rest assured that they are always safe. We did DNS and IP leak tests, and the results were negative. This VPN also includes an advanced automatic kill switch that disconnects your device from the internet immediately the VPN connection drops.

Another security extra worth mentioning is split tunneling which allows you to select the apps that should connect to the VPN. There’s also PIA Mace that blocks specific domains and ads & malware blocking alongside SOCKS5. For the record, Shadowsocks proxy used to be available, but the service was terminated in 2021.


While PIA is similar to Surfshark in terms of security, the latter wins when it comes to security extras. First, this VPN comes with DNS & leak protection and CleanWeb (ads trackers, phishing, and malware blocker).

There’s a kill switch that also comes in handy when your VPN connection drops. Another feature is Bypasser, which works similarly to PIA’s split tunneling. One of the unique features of Surfshark is Camouflage Mode, which makes sure to conceal your activity such that even ISPs won’t know you are using a VPN.

Encryption PIA

Private Internet Access is a secure VPN that deploys AES-128/256 GCM and CBC encryption alongside ECC-256k1/256r1/521 and RSA-2048/3072/4096 handshake options. These encryption and handshake technologies guarantee airtight security always. For the record, users can deploy either 128-bit encryption or 256-bit, the industry standard.

Encryption Surfshark

Surfshark is an equally secure VPN that uses AES 256-bit encryption that guards all your crucial data against snoopers and spies. 256-bit encryption is the best encryption technology and is impossible to penetrate. It would take up to 2,117.8 trillion years to perform a successful brute force attack.

Protocols PIA

Private Internet Access is a robust VPN that uses three trusted open-source protocols. First is OpenVPN, which is the most popular VPN protocol because of the easy configuration, and support for several cryptographic algorithms.

It also bypasses firewalls easily. Users can also opt for IKEv2/IPSec, which is known for mobility and speed. Last is WireGuard, which offers almost the same functionality as IKEv2/IPSec but is much better in terms of performance.

Protocols Surfshark

Surfshark is not different from PIA in terms of VPN protocols supported. The difference here is that IKEv2/IPsec is the default protocol on all apps. As mentioned above, this protocol is more efficient than OpenVPN.

Users can also opt for Surfshark’s OpenVPN protocol for easy configuration and state-of-the-art security. The last protocol supported by Surfshark is WireGuard which has been engineered for streaming, video calls, and browsing.


Surfshark is in the Netherlands, a jurisdiction that is part of the 9 Eyes organization. That means the company can submit user data when the authorities demand. Some sites suggest that Surfshark is in the British Virgin Islands but we got confirmation for Surfshark that the company is in the Netherlands.

Logging Policy

Despite being in a jurisdiction that subscribes to the global surveillance organizations, Surfshark also has a strict no-logging policy. The company doesn’t keep logs of your digital footprint. This is the only way to ensure that all your activity remains private and confidential. Surfshark also has a clear privacy policy that stipulates the information that the company collects and how it is stored and used.

5. Server Network and Distribution

How many servers does the VPN on your wishlist have? Where are they located? What types of servers are available? These are crucial questions to ask when selecting a VPN. So, how does PIA compare to Surfshark in terms of the server network and server distribution?

Surfshark doesn’t have a vast server network like Private Internet Access. At the time of writing, this VPN boasts over 3,200 RAM-only servers in 65 countries.

While Surfshark’s servers are fewer, they guarantee fast speeds courtesy of a single 1Gbps port on all servers and new 10Gbps ports added daily. These servers are faster compared to PIA’s and offer unlimited bandwidth.

6. Streaming and Torrenting

Today, VPNs are not just about online security and privacy, they also come in handy when streaming and torrenting. In this segment, find out the best VPN for unblocking geo-restricted content, torrenting and P2P file sharing.

Private Internet Access unblocks geo-restricted streaming sites such as Netflix. We tried unblocking Netflix UK and US, and the results were fantastic.

However, PIA failed to unblock other Netflix sites. As for the likes of Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Crunchyroll, and the rest, PIA is ready for the task. When it comes to torrenting and P2P file sharing, we are glad all PIA servers are P2P-friendly.

One of the features that make Surfshark stand out is its ability to stream, torrent, and share files via peer-to-peer networks. We tested its ability to unblock Netflix, and the results were outstanding. Unlike PIA, which unblocks Netflix US and UK only, Surfshark unblocked all Netflix platforms.

It also unblocked other geo-restricted streaming sites, including BBC iPlayer, Kodi, Popcorn Time, Paramount+, Peacock, and Hulu. As for P2P file sharing, Surfshark might not be the best as not all servers are P2P friendly, but it still gets the job done.

7. Customer Support

A good VPN should have a robust customer service infrastructure to help players when they are stuck. So, which of these VPN providers has the best support?

Surfshark also has reliable customer support. There is live chat available 24/7, but before using it, there is an AI-based support system that tries to sort out inquiries before escalating to support agents.

We are glad the agents are resourceful, but on technical matters, most are not well versed with the cogs involved. Besides, there is an email ticketing system, tutorials, and FAQ sections that have solutions to most of the issues customers face.

8. Plans, Pricing, Free Trials, and Payment Options

In this last segment of this PIA vs. Surfshark comparison review, find out which VPN provider offers the best value for money in terms of plans and pricing.

Private Internet Access Surfshark
3-years$2.03 / mo
2-year planN/AStarter $1.99 / mo
One $2.69 / mo
One+ $3.99 / mo
1-year plan$3.33 / moStarter $3.49 / mo
One $4.09 / mo
One+ $6.49 / mo
6 months
monthly plan$11.95 / moStarter $10.99 / mo
One $14.99 / mo
One+ $21.99 / mo

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Speed comparison: is Surfshark faster than PIA VPN?

📥 DownloadPrivate Internet Access Surfshark
🇺🇸 USA(CA)70Mbps/100Mbps73Mbps/100Mbps
🇨🇦 Canada72Mbps/100Mbps71Mbps/100Mbps
🇬🇧 United Kingdom69Mbps/100Mbps68Mbps/100Mbps
🇩🇪 Germany64Mbps/100Mbps64Mbps/100Mbps
🇫🇷 France69Mbps/100Mbps68Mbps/100Mbps
📤 UploadPrivate Internet Access Surfshark
🇺🇸 USA(CA)56Mbps/100Mbps68Mbps/100Mbps
🇨🇦 Canada57Mbps/100Mbps66Mbps/100Mbps
🇬🇧 United Kingdom51Mbps/100Mbps62Mbps/100Mbps
🇩🇪 Germany62Mbps/100Mbps59Mbps/100Mbps
🇫🇷 France59Mbps/100Mbps57Mbps/100Mbps

Wrapping Up

That’s it, folks, a candid Private Internet Access vs. Surfshark comparison review. So, what’s the best choice? Well, both VPNs have advantages and disadvantages. But at the end of the day, Surfshark carries the day. It is slightly more expensive than Private Internet Access but tags along with several extras.

Importantly, Surfshark allows for unlimited device connections, whereas PIA supports a maximum of 10 devices.