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Anyone who is a bit more knowledgeable about VPNs will tell you that US-based providers are probably not the best options to choose from. Yet that rarely dissuades people from using these services as long as they have all the necessary anonymity features.
Two such VPN providers are TorGuard and PIA (Private Internet Access). Although based in the USA (a member of the Five Eyes surveillance alliance), they are well known in the industry and have loyal fanbases around the world. They provide a great variety of features for security, anonymity, torrenting, or streaming.
On the surface, these two VPNs seem indistinguishable from each other. But that could not be further from the truth. As they say, the devil is in the details.
So where exactly do they diverge? Let’s have a look at all the relevant aspects of these providers to figure out what makes them so different.
|“Best of” nominee||N/A||Best overall, Best for Netflix, Best for USA|
|Price starts from||$4.17/month||$2.19/month|
|Review||TorGuard review||PIA review|
The first criteria for this comparison will be connection speed and server coverage. When we talk about speed and fastest VPN providers, first we need to have a look at the number and spread of VPN servers.
When it comes to server coverage, these two providers are in quite different situations. TorGuard boasts 3000+ servers in 50+ countries globally while PIA darts ahead by having almost 29300+ servers in 78+ countries.
This makes PIA the clear winner when it comes to server count and coverage. But what about speed? Both providers have implemented the WireGuard tunneling protocol and so their connection speeds are comparable, which is further reinforced by testing the VPN speeds manually. This makes these two VPNs tied in the speed category.
TorGuard vs Private Internet Access: 14-Day Speed Average
|TorGuard||Private Internet Access|
|Download Speed||768 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||914 Mbps|
|Download Speed||810 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||731 Mbps|
|Download Speed||622 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||1,079 Mbps|
However, in the table above, the comparison is between TorGuard’s WireGuard speeds and PIA’s OpenVPN speeds. That’s because we have not integrated PIA’s version of WireGuard into our speed comparison tool yet, so the results in the table should be viewed with a grain of salt.
|Physical servers||Not all||All|
|Owns all servers||No||No|
PIA has a larger fleet of servers at its disposal and a greater choice of countries. Another key difference from TorGuard is that all of their servers are physical. Both providers support p2p on all of their servers.
|Money-back guarantee||7 days||30 days|
Even though TorGuard has more pricing options to choose from, Private Internet Access offers fairer prices overall and a better refund policy.
Of course, if you also consider what features and what level of privacy and security you get for these prices, you may go for the somewhat more expensive choice, i.e., TorGuard.
Both of these VPN solutions offer anonymous payment options, which is vital if you take your privacy seriously.
TorGuard and Private Internet Access video review
|Protocols||OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2||WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2|
|Kill switch||Internet and app-level kill switch||Internet kill switch|
|DNS and IP leaks||No leaks||No leaks|
|Security Features||Split tunneling (Android), StealthVPN, Ad & malware blocker, SOCKS5 proxy, Shadowsocks||Split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, PIA MACE, Shadowsocks, HNS|
These two providers are quite similar to each other in the security department. Both offer great features if your priority is torrenting (split tunneling, Shadowsocks, SOCKS5 proxies) as well as ad and malware blockers against other threats.
However, TorGuard has the added benefit of StealthVPN, which adds more versatility to the service. Meanwhile, PIA has their HNS (Handshake naming system), allowing users to use that instead of the regular DNS (Domain name system) for a more decentralized and censorship-free browsing experience.
|Jurisdiction||United States||United States|
|Logging||No-logs policy||Court-proven no-logs policy|
|Anonymous payment||Cryptocurrencies||Cryptocurrencies, gift cards|
Unfortunately, this is the part where both VPNs break hard as they are operated under US jurisdiction. This is one of the worst imaginable scenarios if you consider that the US is one of the most surveillance-friendly countries in the world. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), eager tech and telecommunication companies, the NSA, and other government agencies snooping on your internet communications is not the most ideal environment for a VPN provider.
Another vital point where the TorGuard vs PIA race can be resolved is the question of logs. Fortunately, both VPN solutions claim a strict no-logs policy meaning that they do not record either usage or connection logs. In fact, PIA has already proven their no-logging claims twice. They were asked by law enforcement agents to provide user-identifying logs, but they were unable to give them anything useful, thus solidifying their strict no-logs policy. As a result, PIA has a better track record of securing user privacy.
|Major dedicated apps||Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android||Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android|
|Other dedicated apps||Fire TV & Fire Stick||N/A|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Edge||Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera|
|Manual setup||Routers, Chromebook, Raspberry Pi, NAS, Apple TV||Routers|
In the compatibility competition, these two providers are quite similar. But some key differences stand out once we zoom in on the details.
Basically, both of these VPN solutions support the major platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android as well as a few main browsers. Both services can also be used to configure routers and secure your entire network.
But TorGuard comes out ahead when it comes to supporting a few extra devices. For example, it has dedicated apps for Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire Stick, while PIA does not. PIA also does not support Chromebook, Raspberry PI, or NAS (Network Access Servers). With a single PIA subscription, you can have more devices connected simultaneously, but that seems redundant when there aren’t that many apps available in the first place.
A VPN is better when it has a lot of use cases. Support for a lot of devices can surely help with that. That’s why TorGuard wins in this category.
|Other Netflix libraries||No||Netherlands|
It’s almost a draw since, surprisingly, both VPNs can bypass the Netflix VPN detection. With that said, you need to keep in mind that this may not always work and not with all the servers. It’s most likely that you’ll only stream Netflix US or a European catalog.
TorGuard offers dedicated streaming IP addresses to purchase, which could provide a more sustainable solution for streaming. That makes it the winner of the Netflix round. Also, TorGuard is a good VPN for Kodi.
Torrenting and P2P
|Allowed on||All servers||All servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||Yes||Yes|
|Split tunneling||Android only||Yes|
Another area where these two services are almost identical is torrenting. Both TorGuard and Private Internet Access can be used for torrenting and other P2P file-sharing. They also provide the necessary safeguards and extra features.
But TorGuard seems to be slow at implementing split tunneling for desktop users. This is a serious hindrance considering that PIA has the feature on desktop already.
|Works in China||Yes||Yes|
|Tor over VPN||No||No|
As for China, both providers have features for dealing with the Great Firewall of China. Private Internet Access has Shadowsocks, a proxy that is commonly used to circumvent Chinese censorship. TorGuard has Stealth VPN, which is meant to mask VPN traffic and make it look like regular HTTPS traffic.
Neither of these VPNs really excel at circumventing such heavy censorship, but they won’t leave you completely in the dark either. As such, they are tied in this category.
Another avenue with a lot of similarities is customer support. Both provide live-chat features, neither of which are 24/7 though. They also have extensive knowledge bases with various guides to help you out. Naturally, you can simply use email to inquire about whatever issues might be troubling you.
The key difference might be how helpful the support agents will be once you get in contact. In my experience, both services provided adequate assistance.
TorGuard vs Private Internet Access: Best VPN by category
|Speed and servers||Tie||Tie|
|Total wins||2 out of 9||4 out of 9|
TorGuard vs PIA – which is better?
When we look at the overall results, it is clear that PIA performs better and provides a higher level of privacy and security. And it’s even a lot more affordable than TorGuard.
However, this doesn’t mean that TorGuard doesn’t have its use cases. Even though it’s more expensive, it has more dedicated apps for other devices and has a better track record of unblocking geo-restricted streaming content. So if your main reason for getting a VPN is streaming, TorGuard is not a bad option. Still, it’s not the best service either.
Which provider is better suited for your needs? Let us know by leaving a comment!
Hopefully, this TorGuard vs Private Internet Access comparison can help you with your decision. However, if you need further information and want to know what else we have uncovered about these VPN services, please check out their full reviews for more details.
Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.
Ethan is a security researcher and digital privacy advocate. He spends his time unraveling various anonymity and security tools, plus contributing to open-source projects. Otherwise, he keeps a low profile by hiking or cycling around the countryside.