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ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access: Which VPN is better?

Should I choose ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access?

Last Updated on 19/05/2024

Choosing between ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA) isn’t easy. Both draw in consistently high ratings. ExpressVPN never fails to impress with its lightning-fast speeds, while torrentors and streamers tend to swear by PIA.

So, which is better – ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access? Of course, this all depends on what kinds of features will be most beneficial for you personally when you come to connect. In our view, both are superb all-rounders that are highly unlikely to disappoint – though we hope this guide will help you determine which is right for you.

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Compare the best VPN service providers

ExpressVPN
Recommended
Favicon
4.6/5
  • Wide server coverage and continuous expansion
  • Lightning-fast VPN speeds
  • Flexible pricing plans with a money-back guarantee
Data Logging
No
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Netflix
Hulu
bbc_iplayer
from $8,32 / Month
Visit Site
Payment Methods
Mastercard
Visa
PayPal
+
Apps
Show less
CyberGhost
Hot Offer
Favicon
4.6/5
  • Robust server network
  • Fast WireGuard connections
  • Wide streaming compatibility
Data Logging
No
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Netflix
Torrents
Hulu
from $2,37 / Month
Visit Site
Payment Methods
PayPal
Visa
Mastercard
+
Apps
Show less
NordVPN
Hot Offer
Favicon
4.5/5
  • Lightning-fast server speeds
  • Wide server coverage globally
  • Advanced security features
Data Logging
No
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Netflix
Torrents
Hulu
from $3,59 / Month
Visit Site
Payment Methods
Google Pay
Mastercard
Visa
+
Apps
Show less
Private Internet Access
4.
Favicon
4.5/5
  • High streaming performance and extensive server network
  • Robust security features and privacy measures
  • Affordable pricing plans and reliable service
Data Logging
No
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Netflix
Torrents
Hulu
from $1,98 / Month
Visit Site
Payment Methods
Visa
Mastercard
PayPal
+
Apps
Show More
Surfshark
5.
Favicon
4.5/5
  • Wide server network, extensive coverage
  • Unlimited device connections
  • Excellent streaming capabilities
Data Logging
No
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Netflix
Torrents
Hulu
from $2,49 / Month
Visit Site
Payment Methods
Visa
Mastercard
PayPal
+
Apps
Show More
Hide.me
6.
Favicon
4.5/5
  • Top-rated VPN for privacy
  • Lightning-fast connection speeds
  • Innovative features for security
Data Logging
Yes
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Torrents
Netflix
bbc_iplayer
from $2,59 / Month
Visit Site
Payment Methods
Visa
Mastercard
American Express
+
Apps
Show More
PureVPN
7.
Favicon
4.5/5
  • Always-on auditing for transparency
  • AES-256 encryption and obfuscation
  • Competitive pricing and streaming
Data Logging
No
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Netflix
Hulu
bbc_iplayer
from 2,04€ / Month
Visit Site
Payment Methods
Mastercard
Visa
American Express
+
Apps
Show More
ivacy VPN
8.
Favicon
4.5/5
  • High-speed streaming and browsing
  • Robust security and privacy
  • Affordable long-term plans
Data Logging
No
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Netflix
Torrents
from $1,00 / Month
Visit Site
Payment Methods
Visa
Mastercard
American Express
+
Apps
Show More
ProtonVPN
9.
Favicon
4.5/5
  • Free version with excellent features
  • Extensive server network
  • Top-tier encryption and security
Data Logging
No
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Netflix
Torrents
from $4,99 / Month
Visit Site
Payment Methods
Visa
Mastercard
PayPal
+
Apps
Show More
StrongVPN
10.
Favicon
4.5/5
  • User-friendly VPN for beginners
  • Strong privacy and security features
  • Access to 950 servers
Data Logging
No
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Netflix
Torrents
from $3,97 / Month
Visit Site
Payment Methods
Visa
Mastercard
PayPal
+
Apps
Show More
Bitdefender
11.
Favicon
4.4/5
  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Robust encryption and security
  • Impressive server network
Data Logging
Yes
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Torrents
from $2,50 / Month
Visit Site
Payment Methods
PayPal
Bank Transfer
Visa
+
Show More
Atlas VPN
12.
Favicon
  • Impressive free VPN service
  • Solid security features
  • Optimized for streaming
Data Logging
No
P2P/Torrenting
Yes
Works with
Netflix
Hulu
bbc_iplayer
Best Alternative
ExpressVPN Go to ExpressVPN
Payment Methods
Mastercard
Visa
JCB
+
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VPN 101 – what are VPNs, and how do they work?

If this is your first time using a VPN, here’s a quick crash course. Feel free to skip to the good bit if you don’t match this description, though.

“VPN” is short for Virtual Private Network – which is exactly what services like ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access offer. In a nutshell, a VPN can hide your IP address (i.e., your digital location) and re-route your online traffic through encrypted servers – which are usually located in various countries around the world. This affords you several amazing benefits, such as:

  • Greater security when using public Wi-Fi or working remotely.
  • The ability to access streaming and other content that’s usually geo-locked to other countries.
  • More online anonymity and the ability to hide from potential hackers and trackers.
ExpressVPNPrivate Internet Access
CompanyExpress VPN International LtdPrivate Internet Access, Inc
Web Sitewww.expressvpn.comwww.privateinternetaccess.com
Customer SupportLive Chat, Email SupportLive Chat, Email Support
Licence
Verified byn/an/a
Payment Methods
Mastercard
Visa
PayPal
+
Visa
Mastercard
PayPal
+
Bonusfrom $8,32 / Monthfrom $1,98 / Month
VisitGo to ExpressVPN
T&Cs apply, 18+
Go to Private Internet Access
T&Cs apply, 18+

A quick comparison between ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access

ExpressVPN and PIA are key players in the VPN space. For those of you short on time, here’s how the two stack up against each other stats-wise:

Features ExpressVPN Private Internet Access (PIA)
Lowest price offer $6.67 monthly over 12 months $2.03 monthly over 3 years
Latest promotion 3 months free and 30-day money-back guarantee 83% discount with 3 months free and 30-day money-back guarantee
Speed 10Gbps (advertised) 10 Gbps (advertised)
Streaming Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, etc. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, etc.
Torrenting Unrestricted P2P sharing Ultra-fast P2P speeds
Security and encryption AES-256-secured tunnels AES-256, OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols
Servers in how many countries? 94 countries 84 countries

ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access price – which is cheapest?

As you can see, PIA blows ExpressVPN right out of the water on pricing, with plans starting from as little as $2.03 monthly. That said, you’ll need to commit yourself to a three-year contract to enjoy PIA’s best deal, which doesn’t offer you much flexibility if you change your mind about PIA later down the line.

That said, both providers do also offer a very handy 30-day money-back guarantee, which you can effectively treat as a try-before-you-buy policy if you act quickly enough. In collaboration with Strafe.com, you can also claim additional promos via either provider.

ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access speed – which is fastest?

ExpressVPN replaced all its 1Gbps servers with 10 Gbps ones in 2022, while PIA has been running on 10 Gbps for quite some time now. That said, independent tests and audits largely seem to agree that the former is the faster VPN, thanks to its state-of-the-art Lightway protocol.

2023 tests on US servers revealed the following stats:

VPN Download speed average Upload speed average
ExpressVPN 115 Mbps 140 Mbps
PIA 78 Mbps 60 Mbps

More great VPN service providers

ExpressVPN
1.
Favicon
4.6/5
from $8,32 / Month
Mastercard
Visa
PayPal
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
CyberGhost
2.
Favicon
4.6/5
from $2,37 / Month
PayPal
Visa
Mastercard
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
NordVPN
3.
Favicon
4.5/5
from $3,59 / Month
Google Pay
Mastercard
Visa
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
Private Internet Access
4.
Favicon
4.5/5
from $1,98 / Month
Visa
Mastercard
PayPal
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
Surfshark
5.
Favicon
4.5/5
from $2,49 / Month
Visa
Mastercard
PayPal
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+

Is ExpressVPN better than Private Internet Access in other categories?

To be honest, while PIA is clearly much more affordable and ExpressVPN is evidently a lot faster, it’s a real close call between the two in other important categories. Read on for more info.

Streaming

Whether you go for ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access, both are great at helping you unlock streaming content that is ordinarily geo-restricted. User reviews suggest that PIA is a little faster and more consistent in this department, though the tests we performed on Netflix and Amazon Prime using ExpressVPN did not disappoint.

Torrenting

One of PIA’s standout features is its ability to bypass ISP throttling, geo-restrictions, and other frustrating barriers. Confused? This basically just means its real good at keeping you connected to shows, apps and games from different countries when you travel. They also allow torrenting in the USA via all available servers with ultra-fast peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing speeds. That said, so do ExpressVPN…

Security and encryption

Private Internet Access VPN is a brand best known for its privacy protection software. They insist that zero usage logs will be kept of your online activities. They also have more than 10 years’ experience in the industry, though this doesn’t quite match up to ExpressVPN’s 14.

Naturally, ExpressVPN won’t log your data either. They’ll also transmit it through AES-256-secured tunnels – the same encryption standard relied upon by the US Government. That said, while ExpressVPN has an amazing rep here, we were impressed by PIA’s use of additional tunnelling protocols like WireGuard and OpenVPN. This is nerd speak for “they’re both super-safe.”

Number/range of servers

In the big Express VPN vs Private Internet Access debate, ExpressVPN stands out a little more here, offering ultra-fast servers in 94 different countries. With PIA, you can tap into servers in 84 countries by way of comparison and enjoy multi-hop capabilities and unlimited bandwidth. Unsurprisingly, though, ExpressVPN imposes no bandwidth restrictions, either. So, it’s much of a muchness here.

ExpressVPN
4.6/5
from $8,32 / Month
T&Cs apply, 18+
Go to ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN Highlights
  • Wide server coverage and continuous expansion
  • Lightning-fast VPN speeds
  • Flexible pricing plans with a money-back guarantee
Private Internet Access
4.5/5
from $1,98 / Month
T&Cs apply, 18+
Go to Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access Highlights
  • High streaming performance and extensive server network
  • Robust security features and privacy measures
  • Affordable pricing plans and reliable service

Are there any other top VPNs worth trying out?

Why, of course there are. There’s a lot of competition in the VPN market and each provider has its own pros and cons depending on the standpoint you’re scrutinising them from. We’re hopeful our guides and reviews will help you locate the best VPN for you. Here are some alternatives to consider:

Feature Nord VPN Surfshark IP Vanish
Best price plan From $6.67 monthly 240 Mbps 60+ countries
Real-world speed average From $2.39 monthly 310 Mbps 100+ countries
Servers From $2.92 monthly 426 Mbps 50+ countries
Security protocols IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN IKEv2 and WireGuard WireGuard
Simultaneous connections permitted 6 devices maximum Unmetered Unmetered

Conclusion – here’s how to decide whether to go for ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access

You’re looking at two killer VPNs here, and there really isn’t much in it in terms of whether Express VPN or PIA is best overall. As you can see, both offer fantastic services, though they tend to target their offerings at different kinds of consumers, to a certain extent.

As such, our tip would be to opt for ExpressVPN if you’re dead serious about having the fastest speeds available or going with the provider with the best reputation in its field. But if your primary motivation for getting a VPN is to unlock streaming services’ content from other countries, or to share torrents and online files with friends, PIA probably makes the most sense – particularly if you’re on a budget.

Our choice VPN deals right now

ExpressVPN
1.
Favicon
4.6/5
from $8,32 / Month
Mastercard
Visa
PayPal
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
CyberGhost
2.
Favicon
4.6/5
from $2,37 / Month
PayPal
Visa
Mastercard
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
NordVPN
3.
Favicon
4.5/5
from $3,59 / Month
Google Pay
Mastercard
Visa
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
Private Internet Access
4.
Favicon
4.5/5
from $1,98 / Month
Visa
Mastercard
PayPal
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
Surfshark
5.
Favicon
4.5/5
from $2,49 / Month
Visa
Mastercard
PayPal
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+

ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access FAQ

❓ Which should I buy, ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access?

Both ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access offer amazing features, as well as some unfortunate pitfalls that might not suit everyone. Compare the pros and cons of each with Strafe.com today.

⏱️ Is ExpressVPN the world’s fastest?

There’s a lot of variation between different VPN providers in terms of upload and download speeds in the real world. Discover the fastest VPNs with Strafe.com now.

📁 Is Private Internet Access the best VPN for file sharing?

Some VPNs are undoubtedly better than others for torrenting, file sharing and streaming. You can compare the best VPNs currently available for these purposes using our expert comparisons and guides.

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