ExpressVPN vs. Private Internet Access VPN: Who is the Winner?

ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access are names to reckon with among VPN users. Both are powerful enough in their server base, safety features, privacy protection, and bypassing Geo-restrictions.

However, as experts and users, we conducted a thorough ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access trial. So, who was the winner? Read this article to know who gets the laurel.

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Last updated on 18 June 2024

ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access Comparison Table

If you are in a hurry and want to know who wins the ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access battle, have a look at our comparison table. ExpressVPN is the overall winner scoring much better in speed, security, unblocking streaming sites, and torrenting.

Further, both services are at par when it comes to network and bypassing Geo-restrictions, privacy and anonymity, and customer service. Also, Private Internet Access leaves ExpressVPN behind only in matters of price and simultaneous connections and operating systems.

Criteria ExpressVPN Private Internet Access VPN
Servers Equal Equal
Speed Win Lose
Security Win Lose
Privacy and Anonymity Equal Equal
Unblock streaming Win Lose
Torrent Win Lose
Price Lose Win
Simultaneous connection Lose Win
Customer Support Equal Equal

Try the winner: ExpressVPN

A Brief Presentation of Expressvpn vs Private internet access

Before we get into ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access comparison, we also need to know a little about both VPN providers to see their background and how they develop their safety for VPN technology.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN, based in the British Virgin Islands, has been associated with user data safety and online privacy from its day of inception. It started in 2009, and Express Technologies Ltd was its parent company. Dan Pomerantz and Peter Burchhardt started this VPN service. However, at present, Kape Technologies run this top VPN service. Further, ExpressVPN has been a member of the VPN Trust Initiative since 2019.

ExpressVPN comparison

Features of ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN stands out because of its unique features. First of all, with speed-optimized servers in 94 countries and private DNS on every server, It is unbeatable when it comes to blocking streaming sites. Further, its obfuscated servers make the VPN traffic look like a regular one, eliminating the chance of VPN blocking by any streaming site in any country.

Also, after the introduction of TrustedServer technology in 2019, ExpressVPN’s servers run on RAM or volatile memory. So, the information of a user stored on a server gets deleted immediately when the user shuts down his/her device.

Lightway stands out for ExpressVPN feature. This protocol, launched in 2020, makes ExpressVPN the best in speed. You can learn more about this leading VPN from the ExpressVPN review.

Private Internet Access

It started in 2010, and London Trust Media Inc. was its parent company. Andrew Lee founded it, and its country of origin is the USA. This VPN system came into being to stop Internet Relay Chat from revealing the IP address of the users. However, since 2019, Kape Technologies has been operating PIA.

PIA comparison

Features of PIA

PIA is close to ExpressVPN in terms of the number of countries where its servers are present. It has servers in 84 nations. Further, its 100% open-source VPN applications ensure complete transparency for users. Further, it promises great speed, safety, and privacy thanks to its advanced protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard®.

Also, it has an efficient split tunneling feature available on Android devices and desktops. You can learn more about the features of PIA by reading the PIA review.

Try the winner: ExpressVPN

It’s time to get into the details of the Private Internet Access VPN vs ExpressVPN test. As the table mentioned earlier, we have done the comparison based on network and bypassing Geo-blocking, speed, security, privacy and anonymity, unblocking streaming sites, torrenting, pricing and plan, simultaneous connections, and operating system and customer service.

Let’s find out between ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access, who will win this battle?

Network and Bypassing Geo-Restrictions

ExpressVPN vs PIA are equal if we take a look at the Private Internet Access VPN vs ExpressVPN comparison in terms of network and the ability to bypass Geo-blocks.

ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries, and PIA has servers in 84 nations. Further, ExpressVPN has over 3000 servers, and PIA has more than 29300 servers. Also, the servers of both VPNs are P2P compatible.

Now, in this category, we have also tested the coverage in India, and if the service works in China for Private Internet Access VPN vs ExpressVPN.

Do They Work in India

Neither ExpressVPN nor PIA has physical servers in India. But that does not mean that these VPNs do not work in India. They have removed their physical servers from India in response to the recent regulations on collecting and handing over user data. However, ExpressVPN works in India through virtual servers in the UK and Singapore. PIA, on the other hand, has virtual servers in Singapore, providing Indian IP addresses to users.

Do They Work in China

The third parameter in this segment of the ExpressVPN and PIA test is the functionality of these servers in China. Though both the services claim to work in China, we don’t think that PIA is a good option as it does not have obfuscation. Obfuscation is very important in countries like China, where internet censorship is strict and digital freedom is at stake.

Further, for using PIA in China, you will have to do a lot of manual configurations. Also, finding a server that works in China is a challenge for PIA. In addition, this VPN has to take help from third-party scripts to overcome the “DNS Poisoning” of China. Using ExpressVPN in China is much safer and easier as all the servers can evade restrictions.

Speed of Private Internet Access VPN vs ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN wins the Private Internet Access VPN vs ExpressVPN contest for speed. To name the best in the PIA VPN vs ExpressVPN, we have done local speed tests in India and long-distance speed tests in the USA on a 500 Mbps line.

Both the results show why ExpressVPN has no match in speed. In the USA result, the download speed for ExpressVPN was 214.02 Mbps, and the upload speed was 13.92 Mbps. In India, ExpressVPN’s download speed was 86.11 Mbps, and the upload speed was 37.28 Mbps.

For PIA, the upload and download speeds in the USA were 14.62 and 11.41, respectively. In India, PIA recorded a 5 Mbps download speed and a 2 Mbps upload speed.

ExpressVPN is always very fast because it comes with Lightway protocol, which works around 2.5 times faster than OpenVPN and other previous protocols. Though PIA’s WireGuard is a close match, it gets defeated by Lightway as the latter has wolfSSL encryption.

ExpressVPN PIA VPN Speed comparison

Private Internet Access VPN vs ExpressVPN in Security

In the ExpressVPN and PIA test, ExpressVPN is the winner in security. We have tested the encryption standard, protocol, ad and malware blocker, leak protection, specialty servers, server security, and security infrastructure audits.

Encryption Standard

Between PIA vs ExpressVPN, ExpressVPN offers the best protection, as its default military-grade encryption standard is AES-256. PIA, on the other hand, comes with an encryption standard of AES-128. On any given day, AES-256 is much full proof than AES-128.

The other encryption standard offered by ExpressVPN is ChaCha20/Poly1305 encryption, available on the Lightway protocol. With this encryption, you can get better security even if your mobile device is weak. Though AES-128 (CBC) is the default for PIA, you can also use standards like AES-128(GCM), AES-256(GCM), and AES-256 (GCM).

In terms of hashing algorithms, ExpressVPN only uses SHA-512, a member of the SHA-2 family. PIA uses SHA-1 and SHA-2 both in hashing algorithms. Now, SHA-512 is more secure than SHA-1, and every time you use ExpressVPN, this hash function will be used.

Try the winner: ExpressVPN

VPN Protocol

If we talk about tunneling protocols of PIA vs Express VPN, ExpressVPN is much better. The protocol that makes it stand out is Lightway, which is the most secure and the fastest. The protocols of ExpressVPN are OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), IKEv2/IPsec, and L2TP/IPsec. The protocols of PIA are WireGuard, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), and IKEv2/IPsec.

L2TP/IPsec, the oldest VPN protocol, does not come with PIA. Further, though WireGuard is an advanced protocol, Lightway is more consistent and stronger.

Ad and Malware Blocker

ExpressVPN comes with the Threat Manager feature. This feature can stop websites and apps browsing on your device to connect to malicious third parties that track your online activities and make you a victim of malware and adware attacks. PIA has a similar feature in the form of MACE. But you can only use it with the updated version of v60.

Leak Protection

With private DNS on every server, ExpressVPN offers optimum DNS leak protection. Thus, it does not let any third party, even your internet service provider, know which websites and apps you visit online. ExpressVPN DNS protection works because its DNS servers are very fast, the servers don’t keep logs of activities or connections, and the encryption between the DNS servers are the connected device are always end-to-end.

With ExpressVPN, you can also expect great protection against IP leakage. It has a kill switch mechanism. So, it stops the inflow and outflow of traffic instantly to and from your device when the VPN connection is lost. PIA also has private DNS servers and offers DNS and IP leak protection. In addition, both VPNs have a Smart DNS service.

Specialty Servers

ExpressVPN has speed-optimized specialty servers, also known as obfuscated servers. These servers, with an extra layer of protection, make the VPN traffic looks like the usual one. So, the VPN continues to function even if the situation is strict. Unfortunately, PIA does not have obfuscated or specialty servers.

PIA vs Express VPN Protocol

Server Security

ExpressVPN gets the edge in server security because of its TrustedServer technology. This technology is an answer to the major risks and problems faced with traditional server setups. The best thing about this technology is that it makes servers work on RAM. So, no user data is stored in the server, eliminating the chance of sharing it with third parties, including government agencies.

Further, thanks to this technology, ExpressVPN can track each activity on every server. Therefore, security is improved, and threats and misconfiguration issues are minimized. PIA also works with RAM-only servers to ensure the security and safety of the users.

However, between Private Internet Access VPN vs ExpressVPN, it lags behind ExpressVPN in terms of the hashing language used by ExpressVPN servers. ExpressVPN, by default, used SHA-512. But PIA works on SHA-1 and SHA-2. SHA-1 is anyway more vulnerable than SHA-2, which is a more advanced version.

Further, a Google report published in 2016 says that SHA-1 has some hashes which are not unique, and that is a big security threat. Yes, PIA does support SHA-2, but the maximum protection in hashing it can offer is SHA-256, which is weaker than SHA-512.

Security Infrastructure Audits of ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access

ExpressVPN takes infrastructure audits very seriously. So, it makes sure that the audits are done regularly. The security audits done so far are:

  • KPMG Audit in September 2022 for no log policy
  • Cue53 audit in July 2022 for Aircove router
  • Cure53 audit in May 2022 for TrustedServer technology
  • F-Secure audit in March 2022 for Windows v10 app
  • Cure53 audit in August 2021 for Lightway
  • PwC Switzerland audit in June 2020 for build verification process
  • PwC Switzerland audit in June 2019 for TrustedServer Technology and in-house policy compliance
  • Cure53 audit in November 2018 for the browser extension

According to a report published on 30th August 2022 by PIA, the VPN service has been audited by Deloitte. Deloitte Audit Romania tested the server network and management of PIA. The audit report says that it follows a no-log policy, server configurations are done as per the internal privacy policies, and the VPN does not track user identities and activities.

Try the winner: ExpressVPN

Privacy and Anonymity of Private Internet Access VPN vs ExpressVPN

In the PIA vs ExpressVPN test for privacy and anonymity, both are winners. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is not a 5,9, or 14 Eyes country. So, data surveillance, collection, and sharing are never concerns for ExpressVPN users.

However, PIA is based in the USA, a member of 5, 9, or 14 Eyes countries. But PIA claims that it follows a strict no-log policy and promises not to share user data with third parties.

Further, both VPNs work with RAM servers. So, the question of storing user data and sharing it does not arise. Most importantly, both VPNs have moved their physical servers outside India as they are not ready to follow the data retention and sharing norms applied by the Government of India.

In addition, both services are independently audited by reputed names like PwC, Deloitte, Cure53, F-Secure, etc., to build the trust of the users.

If you want to sign up for ExpressVPN, you will only have to fill in your email address and payment details. To create an account with PIA, you need to provide your email address, payment details, and your state and zip code.

Either Express VPN or PIA, both VPNs are also quite similar as they accept payments through anonymous methods. You can pay with cryptocurrencies. ExpressVPN also accepts payments through PayPal, offering partial anonymity.

Though neither VPN has come up with a Warrant Canary declaration, you can be assured of privacy and anonymity as they are audited and always believe in internet freedom.

Private Internet Access vs ExpressVPN in Unblocking Streaming

In this Private Internet Access vs Express VPN comparison for unblocking streaming sites, ExpressVPN is the winner. As we have already mentioned, ExpressVPN has obfuscated servers, which PIA doesn’t. Further, streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and many others use strong detection technologies today so that the violation of Geo-blocking norms followed by them do not get broken by VPN traffic.

The obfuscation technology of the ExpressVPN servers ensures that the VPN traffic is similar in appearance when compared to the usual traffic. So, the traffic does not get detected or blocked by the streaming sites.

ExpressVPN PIA VPN streaming comparison

ExpressVPN or PIA: Which is Better in Torrenting?

ExpressVPN is better than PIA in torrenting in the Private Internet Access VPN vs ExpressVPN test. The servers of both VPNs are good for torrenting. But no one can beat ExpressVPN in speed and security, thanks to Lightway and its AES-256 default encryption standard. So, for torrenting and P2P sharing, we will always keep ExpressVPN ahead. Even our test done with both VPNs suggests this result.

Try the winner: ExpressVPN

Price and Plan of Private Internet Access vpn vs ExpressVPN

PIA is the winner in the Private Internet Access VPN vs ExpressVPN comparison of price and plan.

  • Private Internet Access comes with three plans.

You can buy the monthly plan at INR 915. Also, you can get a 6-months plan at INR 570 per month. However, the best deal is the plan for 2 years, where you get an 82% discount with 2 months free subscription. The 2-year package will cost you INR 4290 for the first two years. So, the cost per month will be INR 165.

PIA comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee for all users and a 7-day free trial for iOS and Android app users.

  • ExpressVPN also comes with three plans.

ExpressVPN is a bit expensive. Its monthly package comes at $12.95. Further, its 6-months package costs $9.99 every month. However, you will get a 49% discount and 3 months subscription free with its 12-months plan. The 12-months plan comes at $6.67 per month.

Similar to PIA, ExpressVPN also has a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can even try its 7-day free trial on Android or iOS phones.

Both these VPNs keep offering great discount coupons during holidays, festivals, and special occasions like Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales. You just have to make the most of these offers.

Simultaneous Connections and Operating System

Between ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access, PIA is the winner in terms of simultaneous connections offered. PIA allows you to connect to 10 devices at a time, while the number is just 5 for ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN works with many operating systems and devices. You can use it on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook PCs and laptops. Further, it works on Amazon Fire Tablet, iOS, and Android phones. ExpressVPN even is compatible with various streaming consoles, smart devices, and routers.

PIA is compatible with operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. It also works with many gaming consoles, smart devices, and routers.

ExpressVPN vs PIA

ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access in Customer Service

ExpressVPN Customer Service and PIA Customer Service both are winners in the category of customer service. Both services offer instant support through live chats. You will also find a lot of blogs, updates, news, and dedicated FAQ sections on the official websites of these VPNs.

Further, you can also mail the ExpressVPN team at support@expressvpn.zendesk.com or the PIA team at helpdesk@privateinternetaccess.com to address your concern. We mailed both services asking some questions during our test and got prompt replies from both.

Final Words on ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access Test

To sum up, we can call ExpressVPN the winner in this ExpressVPN and PIA comparison. With advanced protocol and the best encryption standard, ExpressVPN is more consistent and reliable if we even think as just users.

Even though, Private Internet Acess has much lower price with various features. But as experts, we found ExpressVPN way superior to PIA in features, as you can see in the detailed discussion in the article.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to subscribe to ExpressVPN and boost your online experience to the max!

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Radha is a writer by heart, with a particular passion for writing in the realm of technology. She has been a geek ever since her preschool days, and looking back, she sees her journey from a reader to an author as incredibly fulfilling. Moreover, Radha finds joy in inspiring kids, much like herself, to pursue their own paths. With a background in Computer Science, Radha's knowledge and expertise are further enriched by her career as a technical support specialist. For any inquiries or collaboration opportunities, you can contact Radha via email at radha@thebestvpn.in.

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