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PureVPN vs Private Internet Access

PureVPN vs Private Internet Access in 2024: Which VPN Is Better for Streaming, Security & More?

PureVPN had an incident where the company gave user data to the FBI in 2017, but it now has an independently audited no-logs policy. PIA is based in the United States, a Five Eyes nation, but has not had logs to turn over when subpoenaed. Read on to see if these VPNs are safe.

Mindy BornAleksander HougenJasna Mishevska

Written by Mindy Born (Writer)

Reviewed by Aleksander Hougen (Co-Chief Editor)

Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska (Lead Fact-Checking Editor)

Last Updated: 2024-01-12T07:13:36+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

3.5
4.15
  • Apps for most devices
  • Built-in speed test
  • Budget friendly
  • Large server network
  • Affordable pricing
  • Kill switch
$2.29 / month(save 81%)(All Plans)

Key Takeaways: PureVPN vs Private Internet Access

  • The main difference between PureVPN and PIA is speed. PIA’s faster speeds make using the VPN app a smoother experience and lead to more comfortable viewing on Netflix.
  • PIA offers unlimited simultaneous connections, while PureVPN allows only 10.
  • PureVPN unblocks more streaming services.

PureVPN and PIA are both mid-tier VPNs. They are well-matched in features, although they do have some outstanding differences that we will cover in this detailed comparison. We will delve deeper into their features, performance and pricing to provide insights to help you decide which one is the best VPN.

We put both VPNs through their paces. In this guide, we will compare the results of our research into each VPN’s streaming capabilities, speed performance, security measures, privacy protocols, server distribution and more. Keep reading for all you need to know about these two VPNs.

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    Visit Private Internet AccessReview

Our Comparison Guidelines

In this comparison, we will examine Private Internet Access and PureVPN to determine what the two VPNs have in common and where they differ. We’ve taken a side-by-side look at how each of these VPNs stacks up in terms of privacy, security, user-friendliness and speed.

For users who need faster speeds and more server locations, Private Internet Access (PIA) will be the better VPN choice, while PureVPN will work well for those who value a slightly lower price and more streaming options – even if there is some buffering. In this PureVPN vs Private Internet Access comparison, we’ll look at the strengths and weaknesses of both VPNs.

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PureVPN allows 10 simultaneous connections and unblocks Netflix, but it didn’t do well on our speed tests. For more information, read our full PureVPN review. Private Internet Access has much better speeds, also unblocks Netflix (but not Hulu) and allows unlimited simultaneous connections. For more information, read our full Private Internet Access review.

Cloudwards Editor’s Choice

PIA has much better speeds and unlimited simultaneous connections, making it one of our best VPNs for multiple devices. It also has split tunneling, a kill switch and a huge server network, although it doesn’t have many in Africa. PIA’s customer service was responsive and easy to access. This VPN did well in our speed tests, and unblocks Netflix, but cannot access all streaming sites. 

Private Internet Access vs PureVPN: Comparison at a Glance

$2.29 / month(All Plans) 31-days money-back guarantee$2.19 / month(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee
ReviewReview
General
Payment methodsPayPal, Credit cardPayPal, Credit card, Amazon, Paygarden, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections 10 Unlimited
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial availableOnly on Android/iOS apps
Refund period
Worldwide server amount6,500 servers in 65 countries35,000+ servers in 91 countries
Desktop OSesWindows, MacOS, LinuxWindows, MacOS, Linux
Mobile OSesAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS
Browser extensionsChrome, Firefox, EdgeChrome, Firefox, Opera
Can be installed on routers
Streaming
Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video
Security
Encryption types256-AES128-AES, 256-AES
VPN protocols availableOpenVPN, IKEv2IPSec, OpenVPN, Wireguard
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included
Support
Live Chat24/724/7
Email support24/724/7
Phone support
User forum
Knowledgebase

Which Is Better: PureVPN vs Private Internet Access?

PIA stands out with its strong emphasis on security features, proven no-logs ethos and expansive server network. Additionally, PIA offers many extra features, such as an ad blocker, smart DNS and torrenting support. Plus, its Identity Guard feature allows you to see if your email address has been in an identity breach.

On the other hand, PureVPN offers more transparency about its server locations and unblocks Hulu and Disney+. 

If speed, connection stability and customer support are a priority, PIA is the better choice.

We Recommend PureVPN if You Want…

  • Access to Hulu or Disney+: PureVPN can unblock more streaming platforms than PIA can.
  • More Flexible Pricing: PureVPN offers several pricing tiers, and its cheapest plan is only a two-year commitment versus PIA’s three-year subscription.

We Recommend Private Internet Access if You Want…

  • Proven no-logs: PIA has been subpoenaed multiple times and asked for client data, which it was unable to produce due to keeping no logs.
  • Fast Streaming Speeds: Although PIA doesn’t unblock Hulu and Disney+, it does get into Netflix, and its speeds are fast enough not to have any noticeable buffering.
  • Unlimited Simultaneous Connections: PIA allows users to connect as many devices as they want under a single subscription.

If You Want to Consider Other Services, Check Out…

ExpressVPN is a tried and true VPN service that is excellent at unblocking all the major streaming services, and its speeds allow users to watch content online without buffering. 

Surfshark is in a similar price category as PIA and PureVPN, and it also offers unlimited simultaneous connections, split tunneling, and a kill switch. 

Have a look at our list of the best VPNs for more information. 

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PureVPN vs Private Internet Access: Similarities

pure server selection
PureVPN’s Android and Windows apps are easy to use.

Platforms, Interface and Ease of Use

Both PureVPN and PIA offer versatile platforms for diverse user needs. PureVPN’s Android app has multiple server modes, split tunneling, port forwarding options and a choice of dark or light themes. It supports WireGuard, IPSec and IKEv2 protocols, and it has a clean and intuitive interface.

PureVPN and PIA are both compatible with an array of devices, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, smart TVs, Kodi, Amazon Fire TV Stick and gaming consoles. Both VPNs are compatible with routers, although PIA doesn’t encourage router-based configurations due to the potential impact on speed.

pia mace
PIA has many useful security features, including its MACE malware blocker.

Security Features

Private Internet Access and PureVPN both use WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols. The VPNs both offer DNS leak protection and a kill switch. PIA uses an ad, tracker and malware blocker called MACE that blocks unwanted elements at a DNS level, while PureVPN does not have an inbuilt ad blocker.

PIA and PureVPN also both offer multi-hop so users can channel traffic through an additional server, adding a layer of encryption and therefore increased security. Both VPNs allow users to activate port forwarding on selected servers to increase download speeds and improve torrenting performance.

pure netflix
PureVPN and PIA both unblock Netflix.

Key Features

Both PIA and PureVPN desktop and mobile apps are easy to use and intuitively designed. PIA even made it onto our list of best VPNs for beginners. Both VPNs have all the key features one might expect from a quality VPN, including the ability to unblock Netflix, split tunneling and a kill switch.

PIA pricing
With three options, PIA has simple and straightforward pricing.

Plans and Pricing

PIA and PureVPN are similarly matched in terms of price. PIA offers monthly, yearly and three-year plans, and PureVPN offers monthly, yearly and two-year plans.

PureVPN offers competitive monthly rates compared to premium VPN services like ExpressVPN or NordVPN. Priced at $12.45 per month for the Standard plan, PureVPN is marginally cheaper than ExpressVPN ($12.95) but more expensive than PIA, which is $11.99 monthly.

The pricing for yearly plans is more competitive, with PIA costing $2.19 per month, while PureVPN charges $3.75 per month for its Standard plan. 

PIA does not have a two-year plan, opting instead for a three-year-plus-four-months offering, which is $7.50 per month billed upfront at $45. PureVPN offers a two-year plan plus three months at $2.29 per month for its Standard plan, billed at $54.95 for the first 27 months.

PureVPN has a three-tiered pricing structure, with each tier having a monthly option as well as yearly and two-year plans. The Standard plan includes the full-featured VPN while the other two tiers are add-ons like file encryption and a password manager.

Private Internet Access vs PureVPN: Differences

PIA and PureVPN have a lot of standard VPN features in common, but they differ in many important ways. We’ll take a closer look at the ways these two providers differ.

Speed

Download Speed (Higher is better)
Upload Speed (Higher is better)
Latency (Lower is better)
Source: Cloudwards VPN Speed Test. We test daily. Data from 04/28/24 to 05/26/24
Data for region:

PIA is part of our regular VPN speed tests, where it does very well with latency, keeping up with ExpressVPN and surpassing NordVPN and Surfshark. Its download speeds in the U.S. generally fall between ExpressVPN and NordVPN, while the upload speeds have remained consistently fast. 

Since we don’t run automatic speed tests for PureVPN from the same environment, we also tested the speeds at the time of writing using an unsecured connection speed of 137 Mbps.

Servers Speed Performance

Country:
Download

Upload

Latency

Download

Upload

Latency
🇺🇸 US91Mbps107Mbps130ms94Mbps9Mbps3ms
🇬🇧 UK80Mbps114Mbps126ms56Mbps9Mbps76ms
🇦🇺 Australia39Mbps49Mbps430ms88Mbps9Mbps217ms
🇧🇷 Brazil58Mbps30Mbps360ms41Mbps9Mbps132ms
🇿🇦 South Africa64Mbps31Mbps461ms31Mbps9Mbps202ms
🇸🇬 Singapore34Mbps79Mbps352ms45Mbps9Mbps132ms
Average:61Mbps68Mbps310ms59Mbps9Mbps149ms

LocationPing
ms
Download
Mbps
Upload
Mbps
Unprotected11146143
🇦🇱 Albania
68
138
60.8
🇬🇷 Greece
46
136
37.7
🇷🇸 Serbia
20
137
26.9
🇺🇸 USA (U.S. East)
124
106
41.8
🇩🇪 Germany (Frankfurt)
43
140
87.1
🇯🇵 Japan (Streaming Optimized)
287
54.7
10.7
Average
98
118.62
44.17

PureVPN had some interesting results. It didn’t slow much with nearby servers, which is normal for VPNs — they usually trade a bit of speed for security. However, when we connected to faraway servers in countries like Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Singapore, PureVPN showed significant reductions in speed.

LocationPing
ms
Download
Mbps
Upload
Mbps
Unprotected782.1225.09
🇺🇸 United States (NY)
130
81.24
25.72
🇬🇧 United Kingdom
126
77.11
21.22
🇦🇺 Australia
430
70.84
13.79
🇧🇷 Brazil
360
73.22
20.61
🇿🇦 South Africa
461
79.47
9.62
🇸🇬 Singapore
352
68.09
39.93
Average
310
75
21.82

While PureVPN has higher download rates in specific regions, such as the U.K., South Africa, and Brazil, PIA has a more consistent performance across server locations, particularly in terms of upload and latency. 

Streaming Performance

PureVPN does well unblocking major streaming platforms, successfully unblocking Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, Disney+ and BBC iPlayer. However, despite its ability to get into a wider variety of sites, we had some issues with lag once it was in.

pia netflix uk
Both VPNs have some work to do concerning streaming
capabilities, but both can get into Netflix.

PIA was a mixed bag of results with streaming services. While it unblocks Netflix U.K. and Germany without noticeable lag while playing high-quality video, it didn’t work with other platforms. HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video played HD content smoothly, but Hulu and Disney+ remained inaccessible. BBC iPlayer loaded effortlessly when testing from outside the U.K.

The conclusion is that PureVPN is better at getting into streaming platforms, but PIA is better for actually watching the content once inside the service. If streaming is something you do a lot of, check out our full article on the best VPNs for streaming.

Customer Support

PureVPN offers 24/7 live chat support, but the initial interaction is with a bot and it takes several questions and responses to connect to a live representative. PIA also offers 24/7 live chat support, and we were immediately connected with a live representative. 

Both PureVPN and PIA have a wealth of searchable information on their respective websites in the form of FAQs and knowledgebases. 

Parent Company & History

PureVPN is owned by GZ Systems Ltd. and was founded in 2007, with its jurisdiction currently in the British Virgin Islands. GZ Systems was started in Pakistan by Uzair Gadit. PIA was established by entrepreneur Andrew Lee in 2010 under the parent company London Trust Media and was acquired by Kape Technologies in 2019.

purevpn server list
PureVPN doesn’t have many servers in the Middle East.

VPN Servers and Locations

PureVPN has a large server network, with over 6,500 servers spanning more than 65 countries. However, despite the broad coverage, PureVPN’s server network is heavily concentrated in Europe, with 32 countries and 3,052 servers, and North America, with nine countries covered by 2,232 servers, potentially resulting in server congestion in regions like Africa, the Middle East and Central America due to fewer servers.

Region:PIA CountriesPureVPN Countries
North America 69
South America 105
Europe 4432
Asia 188
Africa 56
Oceania 21
Middle East 44

PIA has over 35,000 servers across 91 countries. Although PIA doesn’t provide detailed server information, the majority of its servers are in North America, followed by Europe, and with better representation in Asia and South America than PureVPN.

pia select servers
PureVPN and PIA both have large server networks, but PIA’s is massive.

Privacy

PureVPN is under the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands, which is not part of any data sharing alliances, while PIA has its jurisdiction in the United States, which is a Five Eyes nation. Both VPNs have strict no-logs policies and both have been independently audited to ensure that they are not keeping logs.

PIA’s no-logs policy was audited by Deloitte, and the VPN has been subpoenaed for logs multiple times but each time it had none to share. 

On the other hand, PureVPN was asked for logs by the FBI in 2017 and turned over data that helped the FBI in an investigation. Since then, PureVPN has updated its privacy policy, had independent audits that back up its no-logs claims and initiated an always-on audit wherein KPMG can conduct a surprise logs audit at any time. 

The Verdict: Why We Think Private Internet Access Wins Overall

Our verdict is that both PIA and PureVPN are safe VPNs. PureVPN turned over a user’s data to the FBI in 2017, but since then, it has changed its privacy policy and now has its no-logs claims independently audited by KPMG. 

Using PIA is a smoother experience than PureVPN due to its faster speeds. It has proven itself to be a truly no-logs VPN through independent audits as well as by not having logs to give to authorities when it has been subpoenaed. PIA doesn’t reliably unblock all streaming platforms, but despite this shortcoming, it is the clear winner between these two VPNs.

FAQ: Private Internet Access vs PureVPN

  • PureVPN has improved over the years, but it is a long way from the best VPN. Its sluggish speeds and lackluster customer support make it difficult to recommend.

  • PIA is a solid VPN with strong encryption, an extensive server network and good speeds. It is well worth its relatively low price tag.

  • PIA was purchased by Kape Technologies in 2019, and the acquisition gave some people pause given Kape’s speckled past with malware. However, Kape (Crossrider at the time) wasn’t directly responsible for the malware. Read more about it in our article about Kape and ExpressVPN.

  • We found PIA to be the better of the two VPNs due to its faster speeds, unlimited connections and ease of use. PIA also has better customer service and an extensive server network.

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