With the number of people relying on the internet for everyday tasks growing each year, more and more people are concerned about online privacy. There are various ways in which your data can be collected and used without your knowledge, and most people are not even aware of the privacy implications of the services they use on a daily basis. In order to stay secure while browsing the web, it’s important to select a VPN that suits your needs. Here, we will compare the NordVPN and the Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN services, outlining some of the differences between them.
Price And Scalability
The cost of subscribing to both NordVPN and PIA is pretty close to equal. While there’s no exact figure available, we do know that both services offer a free trial, after which you’ll be asked to pay either $2.95 per month or $29.95 per year. For a smaller business, this may not seem like much — but if you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, you may want to consider taking a look at the offerings from NordVPN. This VPN provider offers significant discounts for students and military personnel, as well as multi-level marketing companies.
As for scalability, both NordVPN and PIA offer robust connections that can be scaled to match your needs. If you have a small business that needs to be able to securely access the internet from a single location, you may want to consider NordVPN. As for home users, PIA is slightly better suited to this purpose, although you may want to consider NordVPN as well. If you have a couple of devices connected to your home network and you need them all to be accessible from around the world, PIA is the better option. Keep in mind that if you exceed your monthly data cap, you’ll be charged $10 for every additional 500MB.
NordVPN features a fairly standard set of functionality, including a kill switch that disables network connections when the device is forcibly removed from the internet, a secure VPN connection that protects your data while browsing, a 24/7 live chat support, and a seven-day money back guarantee. While not earth-shattering, this is pretty much what you’d expect from a VPN provider in this price range. We should also point out that this VPN provider is based in Panama, which has strong data protection laws and regulations.
PIA, on the other hand, is a bit more versatile when it comes to features. This VPN provider offers a no-logs policy, which is pretty standard across the industry as far as we know. Besides this, PIA also offers a kill switch, a dedicated IP address that allows you to create a secure connection even if you’re behind NAT, an optional payment wall that allows you to restrict access to certain sites, and a free domain privacy option that masks your actual IP address. That’s quite a few extra perks, all told! Even if you’re not specifically looking for these features, it’s still worth noting that PIA offers something a little different.
Both NordVPN and PIA offer live chat support via online help desks available around the clock. In our experience, the level of customer support offered by NordVPN is on par with that of PIA. This could be because both companies use a third-party provider for customer support, or it could just be that these two companies are actually equally good at providing support.
Speaking of which, let’s get to the parts where we’re comparing NordVPN to PIA.
Strength Of The VPN Connection
We’ll start with the basics: the strength of the VPN connection. These two VPN providers use a combination of OpenVPN and L2TP protocols to establish an encrypted connection that prevents eavesdropping by malicious third parties. Both protocols have been around for ages and are considered to be industry standards, so it’s important to know that your data is actually protected when you’re using these VPNs.
The next thing we’ll discuss is the general user experience. This is usually tied to how quickly and easily you can get set up and using a VPN. The reality is that both NordVPN and PIA offer sleek, easy-to-use interfaces that require no significant technical knowledge to get started with.
The setup process of either of these VPNs is extremely straightforward. For users that haven’t installed a VPN on a device before, you’ll simply need to enter a username and password, and then you’re ready to go. Once you’ve logged in for the first time, you’ll have the opportunity to link a payment method to your account. For users who already have a paid account with a VPN provider, they can use the same login credentials to access their account.
Speaking of which, let’s discuss the security of these two VPNs. Both NordVPN and PIA state that they use a combination of RSA and AES encryption when securing user data. This is standard for most VPN providers, and it’s actually quite good encryption as far as we know. These two VPNs also ensure that your data is at least 128 bits encrypted, which is considered to be pretty high-end nowadays.
Security & Privacy
We’ll discuss security & privacy next, starting with the basics: logging and transparency. This is usually tied to how much information a VPN divulges about its users. While there are various nuances related to this topic, we’ll keep it simple and focus on the basics. When you sign up for a VPN, you will be asked to give the company some basic information about yourself, including your name and email address. Beyond this, the company will have no other contact with you. Your personal information is completely encrypted, so even if a hacker stole the database containing your personal information, they’d have a hard time breaking it.
We now come to the part where we discuss the logging policies of these two VPNs. NordVPN keeps no records of your activities while connected to its service, while PIA does keep some limited records of your activity. For example, the VPN provider may keep some connection logs to be able to offer troubleshooting assistance or identify prohibited or illegal behaviors. However, this information is not used for marketing purposes, and it is completely anonymous. This is also why many people use VPNs: to hide their true identity when accessing the internet.
Finally, we’ll touch on the server location. The server location of a VPN is, quite simply, the country in which the company is based. This is significant because it determines where the company’s “root” jurisdiction lies. In most cases, the server location will be either America or Europe. In some instances, companies may have servers that are physically located in other countries, such as China or Russia. It is important to keep in mind that your specific geographic location will determine which content is available to you, as websites often block content from certain countries.
Depending on your needs, you may want to limit which countries you allow to see your content, either through your VPN connection or your web browser. If you’re located in the U.S., you may want to limit which countries you allow to see your content to only Canada or Mexico, for example. In terms of data retention, both NordVPN and PIA offer a full 30 days of free usage before you’re asked to renew your service. To avoid data charges, you may want to consider a dedicated IP address that allows you to access the internet from anywhere, or the use of a VPN that permits you to set time limits on your connections (e.g. after using it for a certain number of hours, you’ll be asked to logoff).
In the end, both of these VPNs offer robust security, privacy, and freedom of speech protections to users around the world. This makes them a perfect choice for anyone seeking these characteristics in a VPN.