Comparison

PIA VPN review vs. Express VPN

⏳ Short on time? Here’s the overall winner.

The better choice between PIA VPN and ExpressVPN is ExpressVPN. Here are all the things which we’ve tested:

  • Privacy: PIA VPN has worse privacy features than ExpressVPN
  • Features: PIA VPN has more features than ExpressVPN
  • Speed: PIA VPN is faster than ExpressVPN
  • Countries:  PIA VPN has less countries available than ExpressVPN
  • Security: PIA VPN has better security than ExpressVPN
  • Price: PIA VPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN
  • Compatibility: PIA VPN supports less platforms than ExpressVPN
  • Support: PIA VPN has less options to contact support than ExpressVPN

1. Privacy

I’ll start with a comparison of the most important aspect of any VPN - privacy. During review I will consider whether VPN logs anything (IP address, traffic, DNS logs, bandwidth, or any type of timestamps) and the jurisdiction of VPN’s country of origin.

NamePIA VPNExpressVPN
IP addressNoNo
DNSNo No
TrafficNoNo
BandwidthNoNo
TimestampsNoNo

PIA VPN is located in United States which is part of 5 9 14 eyes countries and is part of enemies of the internet countries while ExpressVPN is located in British Virgin Island which is not part of 5 9 14 eyes countries and is part of enemies of the internet countries.

It’s important to note that If you are like me and you will be using VPN only to unblock GEO-restricted content, privacy will not be that important factor but it’s still essential for any VPN.

2. Features

The next category I want to compare are features of PIA VPN and ExpressVPN such as kill-switch, unblocking of streaming, support of P2P traffic (torrenting). I am a heavy user of various streaming platforms so for me it’s important whether VPN unblocks major streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO or BBC. I don’t do much torrenting but it’s always good to use a VPN while doing so. If this is an important factor for you, definitely look for a VPN which supports P2P traffic.

NamePIA VPNExpressVPN
Kill-switchYesYes
Streaming (Netflix)NoYes
P2P traffic - torrentsYesYes

As you can see from the comparison table above, PIA VPN has kill-switch, doesn't support streaming services, and supports torrenting. On the flipside ExpressVPN has kill-switch, supports streaming services, and supports torrenting.

3. Speed

Being hidden behind VPN shouldn’t limit the speed of your connection. I’ve measured the speed of each VPN against a 100mbps connection - which should be sufficient for any activities including heavy streaming in 4K or downloading large files.

In my test PIA VPN was more on the below average side while ExpressVPN had fast speed. If there were no limits in speed on a 100mbps connection, I consider VPN a “fast” one. If the speed is limited somehow but still achieving decent values, I categorize it as “average”. The “slow” is usually used for VPNs which limit your bandwidth significantly.

4. Security

I will start by comparing the type of encryption PIA VPN and ExpressVPN use, what tunnelling protocols are available, and finally we’ll test whether it leaks the IP address or DNS.

NamePIA VPNExpressVPN
Encryption256-bitAES 256-bit
Tunneling protocolsOpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP and SOCKS5 Proxy TunnelPPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and OpenVPN
IP leaksNoNo
DNS leaksNoNo

The most important factor of a VPN service is a strong encryption of the traffic which is forwarded through the VPN servers. The most common encryption types in cryptography are SHA encryption or AES encryption which are not really comparable against each other. There might be different lengths of encryptions (eg. 128-bit, 256-bit, 2048-bit) and while usually the higher is the better, for most use cases you will be fine with any encryption. Watch-out if there is no encryption at all. PIA VPN uses 256-bit and OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP and SOCKS5 Proxy Tunnel protocol and ExpressVPN uses AES 256-bit and es 256-bit and PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and OpenVPN protocols. I’ve tested both VPNs also for IP and DNS leaks and PIA VPN had no IP leaks and No DNS leaks while ExpressVPN had No IP leaks and No DNS leaks. 

5. Price

Probably one of the most important decision factor for the majority of users will be price. Shocking? Not really. We all love to compare things and I am not different. It’s always good to get the best value for your hard-earned money, isn’t it? So let’s see whether PIA VPN or ExpressVPN is cheaper.

NamePIA VPNExpressVPN
Price$3.33$8.32
Trial versionNoNo

6. Compatibility

PIA VPN supports 10 connections at the same time while it works fine on all the platforms below. You can use ExpressVPN on 5 devices at the same time with support of all these platforms:

NamePIA VPNExpressVPN
WindowsYesYes
MacOSYesYes
LinuxYes
AndroidYesYes
iOSYesYes

7. Support

Should you have any problems with PIA VPN or ExpressVPN you can reach out to their support via:

NamePIA VPNExpressVPN
LivechatNoYes
EmailYesYes
PhoneNoNo

Summary

PIA VPN ranked in our list on 19. position while ExpressVPN. is on 5 position. If you are looking for a better choice, see our rankings here.