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ProtonVPN vs. PIA Comparison Review

Which is the best VPN? Private Internet Access is the best option as it offers excellent security and privacy. It is also faster and more reliable. But still, ProtonVPN is a worthy choice as it’s also secure and tags along with several unique extras.

ProtonVPN and Private Internet Access (PIA) are two household names in the VPN industry. They share quite a lot in common, but profound differences should inform your purchase decision.

EXPERT SUMMARY

The difference between ProtonVPN and Private Internet Access is the protocols supported, privacy, server network, speed, and support. ProtonVPN supports 4 protocols and has a proprietary protocol. It guarantees privacy as it’s in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and has an audited log policy. However, it’s slower, has a smaller server network, and has poor customer support. On the other hand, PIA works with 5 protocols, doesn’t guarantee online privacy as it’s based in the US, has an extensive server network, and has relatively faster speeds. In addition, the customer support is reliable compared to ProtonVPN’s.

For more regarding how the two compare, keep it right here.

Comparison Table

Private Internet Access ProtonVPN
🖥️ PlatformsPCs, Mobile, Routers, TV Sticks, Gaming ConsolesPCs, Mobile, Routers, Smart TVs, TV Sticks, Gaming Consoles
💻 Devices1010
📜 Encryption256-bit AES encryption256-bit AES encryption
🌐 ProtocolsWireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2IKEv2, OpenVPN, WireGuard, and Stealth
🪪 JurisdictionUnited StatesSwitzerland
🤷 Logging Policy100% No LoggingNo Log (Audited)
🖥 Server Network35,000 servers in 78 countries1,900+ servers in 67 countries
🧪 Leak TestsNegativeNegative
📺 Streaming✔️✔️
🏴‍☠️ Torrenting✔️✔️
🎮 Gaming✔️✔️
👨‍🔧 Support24/7 live chat, FAQHelp center
🆓 Free Version✔️
Free Trial✔️✔️
🛡️ Guarantee30-day moneyback guarantee30-day money-back guarantee

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Pros and Cons ProtonVPN vs. PIA VPN

ProtonVPN Pros
  • Offers all-round protection for PCs, mobile devices, routers, streaming devices, and gaming consoles
  • Guarantees online security courtesy of military-grade encryption – AES 256-bit
  • It is based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and has an audited no-log policy guaranteeing privacy
  • Comes with a good mix of security features, including Secure Core architecture, Tor over VPN, Perfect Forward Secrecy, and Always On VPN
  • There is a ProtonVPN free plan
PIA Pros
  • It is compatible with multiple devices, including PCs, mobile devices, routers, streaming devices, consoles, and so on
  • Guarantees online security courtesy of AES 256-bit encryption
  • Includes a SOCKS5 proxy for added security
  • A vast network of ultrafast RAM-only servers
  • Has a reliable multichannel support with 24/7 live chat
ProtonVPN Cons
  • Poor customer support – no live chat or email
PIA Cons
  • It is based in the United States, so your privacy and confidentiality are not guaranteed

ProtonVPN and PIA Comparison Review

To the day’s main business, how does ProtonVPN compare to Private Internet Access (PIA)? As usual, we will base our comparison on the essential factors considered when selecting the best VPN. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

1. Brand Trust

Established in 2017, ProtonVPN is owned by Proton AG, an employee-owned cybersecurity firm. It is backed by FONGIT, a not-for-profit foundation financed by the Swiss Federal Commission for Technology and Innovation alongside the European Commission.

It is a trusted VPN provider that boasts over 70 million users worldwide. We checked VPN forums, Reddit, and other platforms. We are glad it has quite a good reputation save for a few complaints from dissatisfied users, which is not unusual.

At the time of writing, the VPN has a Trustpilot Trustscore of 2.4 after over 390+ reviews. It’s worth noting that most negative reviews emanate from billing issues and poor customer service.

Private Internet Access, on the other hand, was established in 2010. Kape Technologies, the same venture behind other top-rated VPNs, including CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, and ZenMate, owns the company.

Private Internet Access company has remained a top VPN brand for over 10 years and boasts over 15 million users. We also did thorough background checks on the company, and we are glad it has a good reputation. It has been praised by both cybersecurity experts as well as users.

At the time of writing., PIA has a Trustpilot Trustscore of 4.4/5 after close to 9,000+ reviews which is very impressive.

2. Supported Devices


Private Internet Access also excels when it comes to supported devices. It works with several PC platforms, including Windows, Linux, Debian, and macOS. There are also apps for Android and iOS mobile devices.

Besides PC and mobile protection, this VPN is also compatible with Smart TVs, Apple TVs, routers, PlayStation, Xbox, and so on.

Regarding the allowed simultaneous connections, PIA allows 10 simultaneous connections. You can, however, add more devices via a connected router.

3. Usability


Private Internet Access is also a user-friendly VPN. Getting started is pretty simple. First, click the ‘Get VPN’ button redirecting to the plans page, where you have to select a preferred plan.

Then, add a payment method and complete the order. The next step will be creating an account, downloading and installing the software, and logging in.

You are all set now. The VPN’s user interface is also clean, with straightforward navigation and menu.

4. Security (Encryption,Protocols)

Encryption

ProtonVPN, one of the best VPNs out there, deploys state-of-the-art AES 256-bit encryption, the same encryption used by top government and banking institutions.

Systems secured using this encryption are impenetrable. It takes security a notch higher courtesy of 4096-bit RSA keys and HMAC with SHA384 for authentication.

There’s also a Diffie-Hellman key that securely exchanges cryptographic keys.

Private Internet Access also guarantees security courtesy of AES 256-bit encryption.

The VPN also works with AES 128-bit encryption which is less secure but offers faster speeds. With AES 256-bit encryption, you are guaranteed military-grade security.

PIA’s encryption is complemented by ECC-256k1/256r1/521 and RSA-2048/3072/4096 handshake options.

Protocols

IKEv2
OpenVPN
WireGuard
WireGuard
PPTP
L2TP/IPsec

Private Internet Access works with 5 protocols; PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard.
PPTP is a fast protocol for old devices, while L2TP/IPSec encrypts the data twice, making it more secure than PPTP. SSTP, on the other hand, can bypass even those firewalls that block L2TP connections but works with Windows platforms only. IKEv2 is stable and secure, while OpenVPN is a secure protocol that works with all devices. Last is WireGuard, which offers fast speeds and performance.

5. Privacy & Confidentiality (Jurisdiction,Log Policy)

Jurisdiction

ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, a privacy-friendly country not part of any surveillance organizations such as the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes. The country has strong privacy laws and doesn’t have any mandatory data retention laws.

Unfortunately, Private Internet Access is based in the United States, a founding member of the 5-Eyes alliance. The United States is also notorious for snooping on users’ online activity. Even though there are no mandatory data retention laws, the government can request ISPs to log users’ data for 180 days.

Log Policy

Keeps Logs
Audited Log Policy ✔️
Credibility Not Credible
Even though it is based in the United States, Private Internet Access doesn’t keep logs of your activity.

This is court-proven. The company only collects your email address, temporary cookies, and payment information. It does not log any personally identifiable information, such as browsing activity, IP addresses, timestamps, etc.

However, you should be worried as the government can ask ISPs to log data for 180 days. The good thing is that the company deploys RAM-only servers which wipe all data with every reboot.

6.Server Network and Distribution


One of the advantages of PIA is the extensive server network of 35000+ servers in 83 countries.

They also boast top-of-the-line hardware for reliability and speed. One interesting thing is that they are all RAM-only servers owned by the company.

Regarding speed, these servers have 10Gbps ports for seamless streaming, gaming, and torrenting. Besides, they have no bandwidth caps.

Also worth mentioning is the Smart Location feature that selects the best server for you.

7.Streaming, Torrenting, and Gaming

ProtonVPN is a good VPN for streaming courtesy of streaming-optimized servers available on the Plus, and Unlimited plans.
It unblocks most popular streaming sites with geo-locked content, for example, Netflix US, UK, Canada, and Japan. Besides Netflix, the VPN also works with Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Crunchyroll, and DAZN, among others.

You can also rely on this VPN to torrent without risks of bandwidth throttling and IP blocks. We managed to get all our files, and the speeds were decent. All this is courtesy of the select P2P servers, Perfect Forward Secrecy, VPN Over Tor, and Secure Core servers.

Last, on gaming, this VPN is secure enough to shield you from DDoS attacks and other threats. Besides, you can rely on it to access geo-restricted gaming content. However, the speeds were not up to the mark when playing Call of Duty, as the pings shot to around 31ms.

Private Internet Access is also reliable when it comes to streaming. It also comes with streaming-optimized servers that unblock several Netflix libraries, including Netflix UK, US, Canada, and Japan. It works with several other sites, including Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime Video, and DAZN.

When it comes to torrenting, it is also up to the task. We launched several sessions and got our files in record time with no bandwidth throttling or IP bans.

On gaming, it can also protect you from DDoS attacks and facilitate access to geo-restricted gaming content and discounts. However, there is room for improvement in performance as the speeds can’t match that of NordVPN and ExpressVPN. When playing Call of Duty, the average ping was 26ms which is fair.

8.Customer Support

On the other hand, PIA has multichannel customer support. The best option is the 24/7 live chat that offers instant feedback.
Besides live chat, you can opt for the email ticketing system. The company also has detailed guides, tutorials, and FAQs with answers to frequently asked questions.

9. Plans, Pricing, Payment Options

Private Internet Access ProtonVPN
3-years$2.03 / mo
2-year planN/A4.99 € / mo
1-year plan$3.33 / mo5.99 € / mo
6 months
monthly plan$11.95 / mo9.99 € / mo
Lifetime

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Speed comparison: is PIA VPN faster than ProtonVPN?

📥 DownloadPrivate Internet Access ProtonVPN
🇺🇸 USA(CA)70Mbps/100Mbps68Mbps/100Mbps
🇨🇦 Canada72Mbps/100Mbps66Mbps/100Mbps
🇬🇧 United Kingdom69Mbps/100Mbps65Mbps/100Mbps
🇩🇪 Germany64Mbps/100Mbps58Mbps/100Mbps
🇫🇷 France69Mbps/100Mbps62Mbps/100Mbps
📤 UploadPrivate Internet Access ProtonVPN
🇺🇸 USA(CA)56Mbps/100Mbps52Mbps/100Mbps
🇨🇦 Canada57Mbps/100Mbps54Mbps/100Mbps
🇬🇧 United Kingdom51Mbps/100Mbps49Mbps/100Mbps
🇩🇪 Germany62Mbps/100Mbps51Mbps/100Mbps
🇫🇷 France59Mbps/100Mbps60Mbps/100Mbps

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Proton VPN actually free?

Yes. There is a free version of ProtonVPN. However, it limits you to servers in just 3 countries; the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan.

2. Is Proton VPN safer than NordVPN?

While ProtonVPN offers excellent security, it can’t match NordVPN because NordVPN has more security audits than NordVPN. However, it’s worth mentioning that they both deploy AES 256-bit encryption.

3. Is Private Internet Access free?

No. Private Internet Access does not have a free plan. However, you can take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee. With the money-back guarantee, you can ask for a refund if you are not satisfied with the service within 30 days from the date of purchase.

4. Is Private Internet Access trustworthy?

Yes. PIA is a trusted VPN owned by Kape Technologies, the same company behind other top VPNs, including CyberGhost. The VPN offers excellent security and privacy, unblocks most streaming sites, and allows torrenting.

5. Is PIA better than ExpressVPN?

No. While they are both secure, ExpressVPN has the edge. It offers faster speeds courtesy of the Lightway protocol and is more secure and reliable when it comes to content access.

Wrapping Up

That’s the end of this comparison review. As you have seen, both providers guarantee security courtesy of banking-grade AES 256-bit encryption. They also work with multiple devices and support up to 10 simultaneous connections.

But which one should you go for? Well, if you are after online privacy and reliable streaming, ProtonVPN is the best match. It is in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and has an audited no-log policy. It is also reliable when it comes to streaming.

As for those looking for speeds and security, Private Internet Access should be on top of the wishlist as it is faster than ProtonVPN, making it suitable for torrenting and P2P sharing, and gaming. PIA also has a good mix of security features, including SOCKS5 proxy, Port Forwarding, Ad & malware blocking, PIA Mace.