PureVPN vs Private Internet Access

Last updated: April 5, 2021
PureVPN vs Private Internet Access

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PureVPN and Private Internet Access (PIA) have few things in common besides their unique features.

Talking security, PureVPN features AES-256-CBC encryption running with an RSA-2048 handshake in addition to an SHA-1 hash authenticator. It has Ozone-enabled servers to offer you additional protection from malware, and IPS or IDS. The supported tunneling protocols are Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP), OpenVPN, Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2), and Secure Socket Tunnelling Protocol (SSTP). Just to mention, by default, PureVPN uses the PPTP protocol.

This VPN also has Split Tunneling, allowing users to decide which apps should stay outside the VPN tunnel. This helps users save bandwidth. PureVPN has a kill switch, but it is reportedly faulty. In the past, it also had problems with DNS, IPv6, and IPv4 leaks, and some of their servers are virtual, which is a concern when seeking complete privacy and anonymity.


In 2017, there was an FBI case involving PureVPN, which shed some light into how VPNs could be cheating on their “no logs” or “zero logs” policies. The FBI liaised with PureVPN to locate a cyber-stalker in the US who used the VPN service. On the positive front, PureVPN offers multiple-logins by allowing up to 5 devices to be connected at once. It also has crazy connectivity speeds to help stream content online and download your favorite videos and movies. Entertainment notwithstanding, if you are wondering which is the best when comparing PureVPN vs Private Internet Access, then the security and performance features should give you a clear line between them.

Virtual Private Networks are sometimes different from what we see on the surface – they go overboard with their promises or they can’t resist situations that are beyond their control. Governments and intelligence agencies may compel VPNs to act against the wishes of their subscribers. Having said that, now let’s switch to PIA, which stands for Private Internet Access. The VPN has both AES-256 and AES-128 encryptions. This is a great thing for PIA because users can switch between the two encryption types depending on their needs.

Speed & Performance

We ran our in-house speed test to determine which of these two performs better. The long-term results shown in the table below speak in favor of Private Internet Access. However, that is if we count the average, taking both upload and download numbers.

When it comes to performance in different countries, PureVPN may actually give you significantly better results. Of course, the best thing would be to test these services for yourself and see which one fares better. Both have a 30-day money-back guarantee, which should be enough to run some tests on your own.

PureVPN vs Private Internet Access: 14-Day Speed Average

More live data from our VPN Speed Test tool
PureVPN Private Internet Access
USA server
Download Speed 57 Mbps 96 Mbps
Upload Speed 83 Mbps 293 Mbps
UK server
Download Speed 104 Mbps 75 Mbps
Upload Speed 350 Mbps 239 Mbps
Germany server
Download Speed 227 Mbps 79 Mbps
Upload Speed 633 Mbps 243 Mbps

Installation & Download

Downloading and installing PIA isn’t difficult. When you go to their website, you will see the “Get Started Now” button. You will need to create an account, make a payment, and download the app for your platform. Installation is run from the browser or the Downloads directory on your device.

Downloading and installing PureVPN isn’t hard either, you simply choose the pricing plan and make your payment. You then download PureVPN for your platform.

Ease of Use

PureVPN’s user interface may not look professional, but its interactivity with users is straightforward. When you launch the client, you will log into your account. When logged in, you see different modes of use – for example, Dedicated IP, File-sharing or P2P, Security and Privacy, Stream, or Internet Freedom.

PIA’s client is pretty good looking. In the Settings menu, there are options for desktop notifications, connection by country or region, and auto-connect on launch. You can also choose the connection type, like UDP/TCP. The PIA MACE features an anti-tracker, ad-blocker, and anti-malware feature – these tools add an extra protection layer. In the Advanced settings, users can enable and disable the kill switch and the DNS/IPv6 leak protection.

Apps & Extensions

The PIA client supports different platforms, like Android, Linux, macOS, Windows, and iOS. The VPN supports browser extensions like Firefox and Chrome, which act as PIA’s proxy services. When you use these add-ons, the traffic from the browsers gets channeled through an HTTPS proxy.

PureVPN works with platforms like Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS, Android TV, routers, Amazon Firestick TV, and Android TV. It also supports Kodi add-on, Firefox and Chrome extensions.

Netflix and other entertainment platforms

PureVPN gives users access to Netflix and unblocks geo-blocked content. You can also use PureVPN with Kodi. Using Kodi allows you to stream media content from TV channels like iTV, BBC, HBO, Fox, and ESPN.

PIA, on the other hand, is not compatible with these streaming services and doesn’t appear to work with either Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

Torrents & P2P file-sharing

Accessing P2P websites to share files is another impressive aspect with PureVPN. One setback with PureVPN when it comes to torrenting and P2P file-sharing is that users are not permitted to use servers in main locations like Canada, the UK, and the US.

PIA isn’t bad at torrenting, at least it has some decent speeds for users in America and Europe. More importantly, it doesn’t share PureVPN’s security issues, which is very important to consider when torrenting.

PureVPN vs Private Internet Access: geo-coverage and use in China

PIA has a massive number of servers, totaling over 36700 scattered throughout 77 countries. It has servers in Beijing and Shanghai but since China blocks OpenVPN tunnel, subscribers may be forced to use alternative protocols like L2TP/IPSec. PureVPN has over 6500 servers all distributed in 140 plus countries and would be good for users in China if it weren’t for the terrible security situation.

Pricing & Money-back guarantee

Private Internet Access (PIA)

  • 1 month – $9.95
  • 1 year – $39.95 ($3.33/month)
  • 2 years – $69.95 ($2.69/month)
  • 7-day money-back guarantee


  • 1 month – $10.95
  • 6 months – $49.95 ($8.33/month)
  • 1 year – $77.88 ($5.75/month)
  • 31-day money-back guarantee

PureVPN vs PIA: The pros and cons

As with any VPN there is the good and the bad.

PIA Pros

  • *Very cheap
  • Decent security credentials
  • Allows torrents

PIA Cons

  • US-based
  • Not ideal for Netflix
  • Problems for users in China, especially when using OpenVPN
  • Has fewer servers outside the US and Europe

PureVPN Pros

  • Wide geographical coverage of over 140 countries
  • Quite low prices
  • Many platforms
  • Split Tunneling

PureVPN Disadvantages

  • Concerns over IPv4 and IPv6 leaks
  • Virtual server locations
  • Faulty kill switch
  • History of cooperation with law enforcement

Private Internet Access vs PureVPN: Wrap Up

Despite PureVPN having strong encryption and good speeds, it fails in the security department. As for Private Internet Access, it’s pretty cheap, and provides a solid service that should suit most users. Private Internet Access wins this one!

PureVPN Review
PIA Review
PureVPN vs NordVPN
PureVPN vs VyprVPN

Top VPN providers
9.6 / 10
30-day money-back guarantee
Military grade encryption
Friendly support
Surfshark VPN
9.4 / 10
Strong encryption
Excellent performance
Unlimited simultaneous connections

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  1. Smack Smuck

    As far as the pricing is concerned, PIA and PureVPN are almost neck to neck. It is their functionality that makes one better than the other. I have been using PIA for quite a while now and have never been disappointed with it!

  2. Dean Clibborn

    If I was watching boxing, this would be an undercard match before the main event between NordVPN and ExpressVPN. You know who the champs are but there’s always someone waiting to climb to the top. The question is whether it’s PureVPN or PIA? I don’t know. Even reading the review, I can’t help but think that PIA has a way to go and that PureVPN is the “Glass Joe” of VPN’s.

  3. Deano

    It’s a tough choice here. If you consider the strengths and weaknesses of the two, It’s difficult to choose a definitive winner. Each is better than the other in specific areas, for instance, Private Internet Access has a proven track record of protecting its users’ privacy, whereas PureVPN has a more extensive server network and can unblock more streaming platforms.

  4. Karen Clifford

    PureVPN doesn’t have the reputation of being a good VPN, the basics of a VPN is the privacy and the security and PureVPN simply fails in these categories. I’d rather pay more to have a powerful and trustworthy VPN. Thanks for the comparison though.

  5. Karen Clifford

    PureVPN doesn’t have the reputation of being a good VPN, the basics of a VPN is the privacy and security and PureVPN simply fails on those categories. It’s clearly not a great VPN and I’d rather pay more to have a powerful and trustworthy VPN. Thanks for the comparison though.

  6. Julie Cole Author

    Hi there – that’s definitely up to you, but we very rarely recommend PureVPN because security and privacy are paramount to us. Nonetheless, hope you enjoy it!

  7. Melissa40

    Thanks for the info. I have been searching on what VPN offers multiple-logins with good connectivity speed.
    Anyway, I’m going to give the pure VPN a try.

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