ExpressVPN vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access

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Today we are going to be taking a look at three of the most popular VPN providers, ExpressVPN vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access. We’re going to be investigating the features that really matter, such as the companies privacy policies, encryption standards, locations supported, who really operates these companies, the jurisdiction these companies operate out of, the price, and several other important features.

Disclaimer: All three links listed below are affiliate links. This means I get a small percentage of revenue if you click on the link and buy the service sometime within a few days. I would like to ensure you that this has not impacted the integrity of the comparison in any way. Some of the VPN’s rated lower on the list actually offer better payout.

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1. Private Internet Access (PIA)

Placing number one on the list is Private Internet Access (PIA), which may be a surprise to many who watched our comparison. Not only does PIA VPN have fewer features than NordVPN, but they also don’t have the most secure of encryption by default. However, with these falters, PIA still reigns at the top of the list for a number of reasons.

First, Private Internet Access sits at the cheapest VPN on the list, offering a truly unbeatable experience with such a small price tag. Not many VPN’s can provide the experience that Private Internet Access offers at such a low price. A majority of VPN’s today require you to pre-order years of service in advance before you start seeing any real change in price. It may sound like I am over-glorifying PIA VPN, which I may be a bit. Throughout all my years of VPN usage, Private Internet Access has always stuck out for its reliability, stability, speed and overall, price tag.

If you’ve never had a VPN before or are a VPN veteran, PIA’s apps are a truly enjoyable experience. The interface is so friendly I’ve actually gotten both my Mom and Grandpa to use it. Just point, click and you’re connected. Are you a VPN Enthusiast? Want to get into your settings and change the encryption or connection type? Click the Settings tab and the PIA app will introduce you to a whole new world of awesome privacy and security settings.

PIA is not perfect, in particular, the jurisdiction the company operates out of the United States of America. The United States is not a privacy-friendly country to operate a VPN out of for a few reasons. One, the United States is right in the heart of the 5 eyes spying program. Second, the government can put a gag order on any US-based company, forcing them to comply with authorities without disclosing this information to their customers. However, Private Internet Access has made it abundantly clear that they will take all measures to ensure customer data remains private.

Private Internet Access has been at the forefront of controversy and even in the courtroom. Back in 2017 the FBI had pressed Private Internet Access for user signup information and IP address logs. Private Internet Access was only able to hand over the email addresses that customers used for signup, leading the FBI to finding no relevant information. PIA offers a range of ways to pay and signup, some not even requiring an email address.

Highlights:

Privacy: No logs
Encryption: Not strongest by default, but allows you to set higher or lower level encryption (*only VPN with this feature)
Locations: 32
Jurisdiction: United States of America
Owner: Kape Technologies PLC
Free Proxy: One SOCKS 5
Dedicated DNS: Yes
Torrenting/P2P Allowed: Yes
Price:
1 month: $6.95
6 Months: $35.95
12 Months: $39.95

PIA VPN

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN

2. NordVPN

NordVPN comes in at second place on the list, just scathing below PIA for one simple reason. The price.

For starters, NordVPN has a huge network spanning over 60 countries, additional VPN connection types, has a dedicated app for just about every device and operates out of the jurisdiction of Panama. Right off the bat, NordVPN has a privacy advantage and a number of great features that PIA simply can not offer.

While I personally find NordVPN an exquisite VPN service, they do offer a few cool but non-practical “servers/connection types,” that I feel oversells the service. The first and foremost being the “double VPN.” While it sounds cool, routing your traffic through two VPNs is really unnecessary and just makes the connection slow. I do find their “Tor over VPN” to be a fantastic additional feature, however, it doesn’t intrigue me enough to add a couple of extra dollars VPN bill per month.

NordVPN offers an extremely nice client for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iPhone, Chrome, Linux and dozens of other systems. I’ve only tested the 6 I listed, and I can say NordVPN works easily across every device. From the NordVPN Chrome extension to their Android app, it just works. The NordVPN app is extremely well designed allowing you to connect to any specific server of your choosing, or allowing you to see how crowded each server is. If you’re lazy like me, you can skip all the leg work and use the one-click connect button.

NordVPN also comes with its own set of downfalls, some even more severe than the price. Just recently, NordVPN was exposed to have had a server in Finland breached in 2018, with the hacker revealing a single servers TLS certificates. The story is not as crazy as it sounds, and a full exposé on what happened with the NordVPN breach can be read at RestorePrivacy.

Overall, it comes down to the price. NordVPN does not come cheap, and they don’t offer a cheap package. If you want to go month to month, NordVPN starts at $12, and if that’s not to your liking, one level up is a one-year package starting at $83.

NordVPN is mainly for the users looking to stick with a VPN long-term. Basically you buy it and just know you’ll literally always have it.

Highlights:

Privacy: No logs
Encryption: AES-256-GCM &amp, SHA-1, 2048bit RSA key & IKEv2 (Strong encryption by default)
Locations: 60
Jurisdiction: Panama
Owners: Tefincom & Co., S.A
Free Proxy: Can use any NordVPN server as a proxy
Dedicated DNS: Yes
Torrenting/P2P Allowed: Yes
Additional Features:* Double VPN, Tor over VPN
Price:
1-month: $11.95
1-year: $83.88
2-year: $119.76
3-year: $125.64

NordVPN

ExpressVPN vs PIA

3. ExpressVPN

Coming in third place is ExpressVPN, for one big reason, the price. ExpressVPN has a vast number of great features, and though they keep very minor logs, this VPN could be superior to all others on the list.

You might be surprised to find that I would list ExpressVPN at the bottom, especially when they have the most secure encryption by default and quadruple the locations to connect to. The only main drawback is that there are no truly exclusive features that can help me justify the price.

Moving away from the price-point, ExpressVPN is an extremely solid and secure VPN. By default, ExpressVPN deploys the most secure encryption to date alongside providing a zero-knowledge DNS. To top it off, ExpressVPN has an amazing set of apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, a Chrome Extension and a FireFox extension. Making the VPN a true pleasure to use across your devices. Setup is even easier with a simple activation code, no username and password required. Personally, I think they have an amazing Windows and Android app.

The last thing to talk about is ExpressVPN’s huge number of locations. While ExpressVPN boasts more than 160 locations to connect to, they offer 94 different countries you can connect to. ExpressVPN has been at the forefront of some controversy regarding their number of locations, having been accused of using “virtual locations.” A virtual server location is when a VPN server announces an IP address that does not match the physical location of the server. ExpressVPN was able to clear that up and show that less than 3 percent of their servers are “virtual” so to speak. If you’re looking for amazing speeds all across the country or an obscure location, ExpressVPN has got you covered.

ExpressVPN can easily compete with PIA and NordVPN. At the end of the day, ExpressVPN sits on the more premium side of VPN’s. This VPN contains an array of high-quality servers literally spanning the entire globe. Covering more locations than nearly any VPN on the market today, not only its two competitors.

Highlights:

Privacy: Minor form of logs. Excerpt from ExpressVPN Privacy Policy: “We do not collect logs of your activity, including no logging of browsing history, traffic destination, data content, or DNS queries. We also never store connection logs, meaning no logs of your IP address, your outgoing VPN IP address, connection timestamp, or session duration.” ExpressVPN states they do collect: “Apps and app versions successfully activated, Dates (not times) when connected to the VPN service, choice of VPN server location, and total amount (in MB) of data transferred per day.
Encryption: AES-256-CBC & 4096bit RSA Key, SHA-2, Strongest encryption by default.
Locations: 94
Juridiction: British Virgin Islands
Owners: Express VPN International Limited
Free Proxy: No
Dedicated DNS: Yes
Torrenting/P2P Allowed: Yes
Price:
1 month: $12.95
6 Months: $59.95
12 Months: $99.95

ExpressVPN

Conclsuion

That’s ExpressVPN vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access. While these three VPN’s are loaded with features, it’s up to you to decide what you’re looking for. Price or features.

If you enjoyed the video, be sure to subscribe for more. If you want to see any other VPN comparisons or have any questions, be sure to leave it in the comments below. Or post your own experience with each VPN provider.

About Author

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Brandon Stosh is the CEO and founder of VPNFTW.com. Stosh is a cyber security researcher and professional consultant who enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world!

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