ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access

ExpressVPN-vs-PIA

ExpressVPN vs PIA – Summary

ExpressVPN is the winner because of:

  • High internet speed
  • Customer support
  • Access in China

Get ExpressVPN

Factors PIA ExpressVPN
Jurisdiction USA British Virgin Islands
Logging Policy No Logs No Logs
Pricing $9.95/month $6.67/month
Speed 5.36 Mbps 8.07 Mbps
Server Network 3000+ Servers

29 Countries

3000+ Servers

94 Countries

Customer Support Email, Setup Guides, Tickets Email, Live Chat, Video Tutorials, Tickets
Torrenting Supported Supported
Netflix Unblocking Supported Supported
Security High High
Website PIA.com ExpressVPN.com

Simply put, ExpressVPN is a tough competitor for many VPN providers because it offers dedicated servers, provides high internet speed, and helps you stay anonymous online. ExpressVPN has countless servers in many countries that makes it a secure VPN provider. Moreover, ExpressVPN doesn’t store any user logs and one of the few VPN providers with a PWC audit.

PIA, however, follows bank-grade security protocols to help users stay safe while they can download torrents and unblock Netflix. And PIA offers high internet speed and access to Netflix libraries as well. If you are using PIA then you can connect to dedicated servers for streaming or torrenting. Furthermore, PIA is much cheaper than ExpressVPN because they are geared towards creating a loyal fanbase.

The main commonalities between ExpressVPN and PIA are high number of servers, unblocking capabilities, and unlimited bandwidth. Both ExpressVPN and PIA have a user-friendly interface, and you can customize the settings anytime you want. Furthermore, both ExpressVPN and PIA offers more than 3000 servers that are best-suited for streaming and accessing geo-restricted websites.

But to compare ExpressVPN and PIA, we tested all the essential features to scoop out the real winner. So let’s talk about pricing plans first.

Pricing

Results: PIA

Price PIA ExpressVPN
Monthly $9.95/month $12.95/month
Yearly $39.95 $99.95
Best Plan $3.33/month

1-Year Plan

$6.67/month

15-Month Plan

As you can see for yourself that PIA offers very low pricing plans, ExpressVPN is an expensive option. You are paying more money every month with ExpressVPN even if you select their best plan. But ExpressVPN is better for unblocking Netflix, accessing geo-restricted websites, and downloading torrents. This is the reason why ExpressVPN charges very high.

But you are saving money and getting three months free if you choose the best plan of ExpressVPN. PIA is cheap but the downside is that they only offer a 7-day money-back guarantee.

Expert’s Advice: Rather than saving money and choosing a cheap VPN, we would suggest you pick the right provider that offers more features.

PIA

PIA-Pricing

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN-pricing

Payment Methods

Results: Draw

Payment Methods PIA ExpressVPN
Cards Yes Yes
PayPal Yes Yes
Money wall Yes Yes
Bitcoin Yes Yes

Both PIA and ExpressVPN offer reliable and seamless payment options. You can either use credit cards or PayPal to pay for a monthly subscription with PIA or ExpressVPN. But we would suggest you to avoid using Bitcoin because you won’t get a refund if you are paying with a Bitcoin. The support representatives of ExpressVPN told us that PayPal is a better option and we won’t face any problem getting a refund.

Refund Policy

Result: ExpressVPN

Refund Policy PIA ExpressVPN
Duration 7-Day Money-Back Guarantee 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Refunds Yes Yes

ExpressVPN offers a one-month money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their services. Whereas PIA is falling behind ExpressVPN because they only offer a 7-day money back guarantee. Even if you compare PIA to other VPN providers, a 7-day money-back guarantee is not enough. And customers will always prefer ExpressVPN if PIA doesn’t change their money-back policy.

Features

Results: ExpressVPN

Features PIA ExpressVPN
Multi-login 10 5
Apps Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, IOS, Amazon Fire Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, IOS, Amazon Fire
Kill Switch Yes Yes
Encryption AES 128-Bit AES 256-Bit
Split Tunneling Yes Yes
Customer Support Email Tickets, Setup Guides Email tickets, Live Chat, Video Tutorials
Added Features DNS Leak Protection, No-logs policy, Split tunneling DNS Leak Protection, No-logs policy, Split tunneling

ExpressVPN is a VPN leader due to its high-end features and some of them include split tunneling, platform compatibility, IP protection, and torrent downloads. As ExpressVPN uses gold standard encryption protocols, it is a reliable and secure VPN app. ExpressVPN does not leak IP addresses and protect your digital footprints.

PIA also uses major tunneling protocols and protect IP addresses whenever you are downloading torrents. But when it comes to torrent downloads, it is better to choose a top-rated VPN service provider. Downloading pirated content is illegal in many countries and you might have to serve prison time if you are found guilty. This is the reason why ExpressVPN is a better choice

If both ExpressVPN and PIA have same features then how can you find a better VPN provider? The answer is testing it on your own. You can either sign up for a free trial of ExpressVPN or PIA to test their services. But we have already done that for you. We have tested both ExpressVPN and PIA several times to find out who fulfills their promise.

The user interface of ExpressVPN is overly simple because the main features like a kill switch option is switched on. Also, you can use the settings options to customize tunneling protocols or server connections. ExpressVPN is easier to use even if you are using it for the first time. PIA, however, is a tiny bit complex because you have to struggle a bit to find servers or understand customization options.

Moreover, both ExpressVPN and PIA are compatible with several devices. As both ExpressVPN and PIA claim that they don’t store logs, only ExpressVPN has a PWC audit. But ExpressVPN might store timestamps of its users although they offer the best security protocols by default.

Geo Unblocking Capabilities

Results: ExpressVPN

Geo Unblocking Capabilities PIA ExpressVPN
Netflix Yes Yes
Hulu Yes Yes
BBC iPlayer No Yes
HBO US US
Sky Go Yes Yes
Amazon Prime Yes Yes
ABC No Yes
CBS Yes Yes
NBC Yes Yes
ITV Yes Yes
Channel 4 Yes Yes

You can connect up to 29 country-specific countries on PIA while ExpressVPN offers staggering 94 countries. This means ExpressVPN is better at unlocking more Netflix libraries instead of PIA. But PIA has jurisdiction in the United States and provides all-access to Netflix US libraries. PIA might struggle to unblock other Netflix libraries like Germany, France, or Australia.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for unblocking Netflix because of more servers and high internet speed. Even with heavy Netflix-restrictions, ExpressVPN can bypass these restrictions and unblock multiple libraries. Also, ExpressVPN offers high speed which is better for streaming Netflix buffer-free.

The bottom line is unblocking UK-based streaming websites like BBC iPlayer is challenging for PIA. Also, PIA struggled to access a few Netflix libraries as well.

ExpressVPN vs PIA – Torrenting

When it comes to torrent downloads, you must always use a reliable VPN provider. Because downloading torrents is illegal in many countries and you are punishable by law if you are ever caught installing pirated content. This is the reason why ExpressVPN is a better choice for torrent downloads.

PIA uses AES-128 encryption often which is not the safest security protocol. Whereas, ExpressVPN uses AES-256 encryption protocol which is as heavily coded as military-grade encryption. And that’s why ExpressVPN is considered a reliable VPN provider for downloading torrents. PIA is not our first choice when it comes to torrent downloads.

ExpressVPN: Best-suited for torrenting!

PIA: Not recommended!

ExpressVPN vs PIA – Netflix Unblocking

As Netflix has started banning many VPN providers, VPN providers can still help you access geo-restricted libraries. Both PIA and ExpressVPN can help you unblock Netflix libraries. PIA offers full access to US library because they have servers and jurisdiction in the United States. Also, ExpressVPN offers separate servers for streaming that you can use to watch country-specific Netflix shows.

Although both PIA and ExpressVPN are best for unblocking Netflix, we would prefer ExpressVPN because of its amazing speed and reliable servers. And internet speed is important especially when you are streaming geo-restricted Netflix libraries.

Final Verdict: Even though PIA has its jurisdiction in United States, ExpressVPN is still a better option to go around VPN blocks on Netflix.

China Unblocking

After China started banning VPNs and putting a strict block on certain websites, it was tough for many VPN providers to go around these country-wide blocks. ExpressVPN, however, is one of the few service providers that was the first one to act and notify their users about how the Chinese government is disrupting their services.

ExpressVPN does not have their main servers in China, which means the data retention laws do not apply to them. All you need to do is connect to a region-specific server and you can get access to geo-restricted websites in China. ExpressVPN continuously upgrades its tunneling protocols and that’s why it has become a go-to VPN provider in China.

Also, PIA works in China but there are mixed reports about it. If you are in China then you have to find reliable servers until you connect to a server that works effectively. Furthermore, PIA is not a good choice for bypassing China’s VPN blocks because your servers keep disconnecting. This is the reason why ExpressVPN is a better choice for overcoming heavy Chinese restrictions.

ExpressVPN: Works in China without a doubt!

PIA: Not our first choice to overcome China’s Great Firewall!

App Interface & Usability

Results: ExpressVPN

App Interface & Usability PIA ExpressVPN
User Friendly Apps MacOS, Linux, Windows, Android and IOS MacOS, Linux, Windows, Android and IOS
Server Selection List Based List Based
Automatic setup wizard MacOS, Linux, Windows, Android and IOS, DD-WRT Routers, and Tomato MacOS, Linux, Windows, Android and IOS, DD-WRT Routers, and Tomato
Auto Updates Available Yes Yes

To compare the user interfaces, we look at how convenient it is to find specific servers and customize settings. Does ExpressVPN offers seamless options or PIA? After using both PIA and ExpressVPN, we have to say that ExpressVPN is more user-friendly. If you are using a VPN for the first time then you need quick server connections. And ExpressVPN can help you connect to any desirable servers without any hassle.

PIA has a large connection button available on the primary user interface. You can also select servers after clicking a VPN server from the main menu and choose from a long list of servers. Whether you want to customize tunneling protocols or a kill switch option, PIA offers easy options.

ExpressVPN has also used all the essential features on the primary user interface to help their users with connectivity. There is a connection button on the front menu and you can choose any relevant server from a drop-down menu. With the help of ExpressVPN, you can choose streaming-optimized servers and start streaming your favorite channels.

Both PIA and ExpressVPN are compatible with many devices such as Amazon Fire TV, mobiles, or even MacOS. The user interfaces of PIA and ExpressVPN are a bit similar to their mobile app version. But both of these VPNs have platform-specific apps to make sure their users face no trouble in connecting to a VPN server and using it on their device.

When it comes to VPN blocks and website restrictions, both PIA and ExpressVPN stay ahead in providing regular updates to their users automatically. You don’t have to worry about buying an extension or add-ons whenever there is a new update on either PIA or ExpressVPN. With all of these amazing features, it is hard to choose a clear winner between ExpressVPN and PIA.

The bottom line is ExpressVPN has a slightly better user interface as they have kept everything minimal that does not confuse first-time VPN users.

PIA

PIA-User-Interface

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN-User-Interface

Servers

Results: ExpressVPN

Servers PIA ExpressVPN
Number of servers 3000+ Servers 3000+ Servers
Number of Countries 29+ Countries 94 Countries
Obfuscation Yes Yes
Virtual Servers Yes Yes
Speed 5.36 Mbps 8.07 Mbps

Is PIA faster than ExpressVPN? Or ExpressVPN the fastest VPN? To test both ExpressVPN and PIA, we checked internet speed and latency many times. Although ExpressVPN and PIA performed well during our speed tests, PIA was twitching a bit while we were browsing restricted channels. It might be a server-related problem or internet speed but PIA had minor connectivity issues.

Now let’s talk about servers! ExpressVPN has more dedicated servers than PIA and hence provides countless options for streaming geo-restricted websites. PIA has jurisdiction in the United States and provide countless US servers, which means you can easily stream Netflix US as well as other blocked channels like ABC or HBO. But ExpressVPN can also provide easy access to US-based restricted websites even if their jurisdiction is in the British Virgin Islands.

We have unblocked many geo-restricted channels like Fubo TV, Sling TV, and BT Sport by using both PIA and ExpressVPN. You can find available servers on PIA but might face connectivity issues. This is the reason why ExpressVPN is a better choice due to its high-end servers. Also, ExpressVPN offers unlimited bandwidth. That’s why ExpressVPN is better when it comes to server connections and streaming speed.

PIA: Speed Test

PIA-speed-test

ExpressVPN: Speed Test

ExpressVPN-speed-test

Security & Privacy

Results: ExpressVPN

Security and Privacy PIA ExpressVPN
Jurisdiction USA British Virgin Islands
Logging Policy (Connection, Usage Logs) No-Logs No-Logs
Encryption AES 256-bit AES 256-bit
Tunneling Protocols OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec, SSTP, PPTP OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec, SSTP, PPTP
IP Leak Prevention Yes Yes
WebRTC Leak Protection Yes Yes
DNS Leak Protection Yes Yes
Internet Kill Switch Yes Yes
Secure Payment Method PayPal PayPal

Device security is crucial when it comes to using a VPN. This is the reason why both PIA and ExpressVPN use major tunneling protocols like OpenVPN and AES-256 encryption for an extra layer of protection.

With the help of PPTP and OpenVPN protocols, your device information stays safe especially when you are downloading torrents. Also, both PIA and ExpressVPN follow a strict no-logs policy. Neither of these VPN providers store user logs, although they might save timestamps.

But both ExpressVPN and PIA are competing to provide better security to their users, PIA is in the US where they have to comply with country-wide data retention laws. This means if the government asks for user’s information then PIA has to comply and share their user logs. However, ExpressVPN is safe from data retention laws and it is one of the few VPNs with a PWC audit.

Besides a no-log policy, both PIA and ExpressVPN use AES-256 encryption protocols which is regarded as a bank-grade encryption protocol. And you can switch between AES-256 encryption and AES-128 encryption if you are using PIA. Another benefit of using either ExpressVPN or PIA is that they don’t leak IP addresses, and both of these VPNs are dead serious about protecting IPs.

Moreover, an internet kill switch option is also important when you are downloading torrents. Because torrent downloads are illegal in many countries and you might have to serve prison time if you are not safe. And both ExpressVPN and PIA offers an internet kill switch option as well as prevent DNS leaks.

PIA: DNS Leak Test

PIA-DNS-Leaks

ExpressVPN: DNS Leak Test

expressvpn-dns-leaks

Customer Service

Results: ExpressVPN

Customer Service PIA ExpressVPN
Live Chat No Yes
Email/Ticketing Yes Yes
Phone support No No
Searchable knowledge base Yes Yes
Video guides No Yes

Does live chat support really that important? In some cases, live chat support is helpful because you are talking to a real person instead of a bot. And ExpressVPN offers live chat support and they are quick to respond. We tested ExpressVPN’s live chat feature and was satisfied with the results. PIA, however, do not offer live chat support and has a ticketing system instead.

Besides live chat support, ExpressVPN shares video guides and detailed installation guides for an easy onboarding process. Even if you are using a VPN for the first time, you won’t face any problem in downloading ExpressVPN app on any device. These installation guides are not as generic as you might think. All you have to do is follow a step-by-step procedure and you can easily install ExpressVPN on your device.

PIA is a bit limited when it comes to helping their customers receive tailored support. PIA has a great ticketing system where you can send in your queries and one of their support representatives will respond via an email. But you have to fill up an entire form before you can send a ticket to PIA’s customer support team. And this can be off-putting for some VPN users.

As you can see in the pictures below, ExpressVPN has invested a lot to improve its customer support system. They are setting the bar very high when it comes to customer support. ExpressVPN has video guides, round-the-clock live chat support, easy installation guides, as well as a ticketing system. And PIA is surely falling behind ExpressVPN.

PIA

PIA-customer-support

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN-customer-support

Concluding Thoughts

ExpressVPN is a clear winner in this comparison because PIA cannot compete with a feature-rich and bonafide VPN service provider like ExpressVPN. There are a few VPNs that stay true to their claims, and ExpressVPN is one of them. We must declare that ExpressVPN is a go-to VPN provider because it can bypass China’s Great Firewall, overcome Netflix restrictions, and help download torrents anonymously.

PIA is much cheaper than ExpressVPN. But there’s more to a VPN than just pricing. And ExpressVPN has outperformed PIA on many levels which include bandwidth, latency, 3000 servers, and providing access in 94 countries. Moreover, PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) has audited ExpressVPN and claimed that it does not store user logs and only has timestamps.

The best part about using ExpressVPN is that you are subscribing to a reliable VPN that has earned a great reputation in recent years. You don’t have to worry about unblocking Netflix libraries or other streaming websites if you are using ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN doesn’t make any false claims about their services and unblocking abilities. This is the reason why ExpressVPN is winning.

If you still want to save money then PIA is a better option because of their low pricing plans. PIA can bypass Netflix restrictions and access geo-restricted websites like ABC, HBO, or BT Sport. However, it is better to put privacy first when it comes to buying a VPN. And ExpressVPN is better-suited than PIA and many other VPN providers in 2020.