Private Internet Access VS Surfshark Comparison
Submitted By Gavin Miller on 01/08/
This is a perfect vpn from people like myself who use it for streaming, and gaming and for torrents. Streaming speed has been the fastest out of all the vpns I’ve tried so far. Other and eaqualiy important feature, at least for me, is that you can completely mask your IP address by jumping from one server to another. However, it really slows your internet so I suggest you do it only when necessary.
Submitted By Harley Andrade on 12/20/
The first time I came across surfshark I’ve read that it only has an app for android, however by the time I was deciding on what to buy they’ve already transitioned to Windows and IOS and after I’ve read its awesome review it was a no brainer. I went fro one year subscription straight away which is $ per month for one year and so far I’ve been very pleased with everything.
Submitted By J. Bennet on 12/02/
I got a Surfshark subscription during Black Friday, so obviously I'm quite happy with the price. I mainly needed it to unblock Netflix and Disney+ so I read some reviews (including this one) before buying it to make sure. I did have some downtime on Disney+, but when I contacted their customer support, they gave me and exact SLA of when it will be fixed and added a free week to my subscription. I'd say it was handled very well.
Submitted By SJ on 11/20/
Yes, Surfshark is affordable, but service is patchy. I wanted Surfshark to connect to a certain website, and all VPNs in a certain location fail to "geolocate" to that location. I contacted Surfshark within the 30 days warranty period and customer support failed to fix the problem or refund my money as requested. Customer support is no good. If they refund my money or fix the problem, I will update this review. Until thenavoid Surfshark.
Surfshark vs Private Internet Access (PIA)
Today we are testing Surfshark vs PIA (Private Internet Access). Both of these VPNs are well-known, but only one came out on top in our head-to-head tests.
PIA was once one of the leading VPN services but a lot has changed. It has fallen behind in recent years with performance and features. A few years ago it was sold off to a company with a history of infecting devices with malware.
Meanwhile, Surfshark is one of todays best VPN services and it continues to gain popularity. It offers excellent speeds with the WireGuard VPN protocol and comes packed with features. In this PIA vs Surfshark VPN comparison, well find out if Private Internet Access or Surfshark is the leader in these eight categories:
- Company and Jurisdiction
- Security and Encryption
- Privacy and Logs
- Netflix, Streaming, and Torrenting
- Reliability and Support
- Price and Value
Lets get down to work.
1. Company and Jurisdiction: PIA vs Surfshark
Most people use a VPN to protect their privacy online. Using sophisticated encryption techniques, a secure VPN service will prevent outsiders from reading your message traffic. With a quality VPN, the only people who can potentially see your traffic are at the VPN provider. Knowing a bit about the company and jurisdiction they are based in will make it easier to decide if you can trust them.
Surfshark company and jurisdiction
Surfshark LTD was incorporated in Since that time, they have maintained a sterling reputation for providing secure, private VPN services to a large and growing audience. We know of no privacy or security violations with this service. It has also passed an independent security audit performed by Cure
Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), an excellent location for any pro-privacy company. The BVI has strong privacy laws, is independent from the US and UK, and are not members of any international surveillance alliances, such as the Five Eyes. We also see other VPNs operating there, as noted in our ExpressVPN review.
Private Internet Access company and jurisdiction
For many years, Private Internet Access had an excellent reputation in the privacy community. However, as we noted in our PIA review, things began to slowly change. Support deteriorated, debt accumulated, and eventually the company founders decided to sell out.
In Kape purchased Private Internet Access. Kape was previously named Crossrider, a company known for infecting devices with malware. While the company claims they now provide privacy for their users, we cannot in good conscience recommend a VPN service with a long history of producing malware.
Additionally, Private Internet Access is based in the United States, which is one of the worst jurisdictions in the world for a privacy-focused business. There have been many cases of the US government forcing US VPNs or email providers to collect data on users for various investigations. For example, we have seen this happen with Lavabit, IPVanish, and RiseUp. Consequently, we do not recommend any US-based VPN services, including PIA, due to the security and privacy risks. (We covered this issue more in our NordVPN vs IPVanish comparison.)
While Surfshark has a squeaky-clean record, PIA has two major drawbacks: its now owned by a company with a history of producing malware and it operates from the US, a horrible privacy jurisdiction. Theres a clear winner in this Surfshark vs PIA background check category.
Company and Jurisdiction winner: Surfshark
2. Surfshark vs Private Internet Access speeds
If a VPN service is too slow, everything you do online through the VPN will be a real drag. Because both Surfshark and PIA support the WireGuard protocol, we would expect them to be fast. Lets see what the tests reveal.
We run our speed tests using the fastest VPN protocol supported by each service. That means WireGuard for both of these contenders. All speed tests were conducted on a Mbps internet connection using the latest VPN apps.
Test #1: Los Angeles
Surfshark Los Angeles speed test results: Mbps.
Right away we see Surfshark performing at an extremely high level above Mbps. Can PIA match this?
Here was the Private Internet Access server speed for Los Angeles: 85 Mbps.
Surfshark was about four times faster than PIA for the Los Angeles test run quite a big difference.
Test #2: Seattle
Surfshark Seattle results: Mbps.
Another great test result from Surfshark, still delivering speeds over Mbps.
Here was the PIA Seattle server speed: 41 Mbps.
This is another slow speed test result from Private Internet Access. PIAs Seattle results were half as fast as their Los Angeles results. As a result, Surfshark was 7 times faster than PIA on this test.
Test #3: New York
Surfshark New York results: Mbps.
Few VPNs have ever been this fast with the New York server location.
PIA New York results: 23 Mbps.
PIA turned in results that are again, about half as fast as on the previous test, while Surfshark was faster than ever. So for the New York location, Surfshark was 17 times faster than PIA. We see Surfshark is clearly the best VPN for USA server speeds in these tests.
Test #4, United Kingdom
Heres a transatlantic test. Surely PIA cant continue their trend of ever-decreasing speeds, can they?
Surfshark UK speed test results: Mbps.
This kind of speed helped Surfshark make our list of the best VPNs for the UK. And here we can also see that even with higher latency (ping), Surfshark still delivers excellent performance.
PIA London, UK results: 10 Mbps.
For the UK location, Surfshark was about 33 times faster than PIA. Ouch.
PIA is really falling behind in this Surfshark vs PIA speed category. We found similar results in our NordVPN vs PIA comparison. This is interesting, especially since PIA supports WireGuard and you would think speeds would be faster.
Speed test winner: Surfshark
3. PIA vs Surfshark features
A VPN that doesnt have the features you need is worthless (to you). This section gives a quick overview of each VPNs feature set.
Surfshark is full of useful features. Start with their super fast network of around 3, servers in 65 countries. Surfshark runs all servers in RAM-disk mode, which eliminates the need for hard drives and also means no data can ever be stored on a server. We also see this server feature with both Surfshark and ExpressVPN.
Surfshark also offers different types of specialty servers:
- P2P servers that are optimized for fast torrenting speeds (one of the best VPNs for torrenting)
- Trust DNS are private and secure DNS servers that anyone can use
- Double-VPN servers to encrypt traffic over two separate locations (an extra layer of security)
Surfshark also has a Camouflage mode feature that allows you to get through network restrictions. This is useful if you need a good VPN for China or any other location where VPNs are blocked, including work and school networks.
Need a VPN for all of your devices? Surfshark offers a huge selection of apps with built in leak protection. All the basics are covered: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Linux. Surfshark is also a great VPN for gaming systems, Smart TVs, and VPN routers. Lastly, if you need a VPN for Firestick, Surfshark has you covered with a dedicated app in the Amazon App Store.
All of the above apps include an effective kill switch which acts to keep your traffic off the internet if you lose the connection to the VPN. Surfsharks VPN apps offer some great features, including:
- Whitelister, which is a split tunneling feature that allows you to route apps or websites outside the VPN tunnel
- Leak protection with a kill switch to ensure there are no IPv4, IPv6, or DNS leaks
- CleanWeb, which blocks ads, trackers, and malware domains
The CleanWeb feature is a great VPN ad blocker to improve privacy and security, beyond just encrypting traffic. CleanWeb can also improve page load speeds since ads and trackers can eat up lots of resources. This is a great feature to enable when using a VPN for Android or iOS mobile devices.
There are also two (paid) add-ons you can include in your VPN subscription:
- Surfshark Alert, which monitors for theft of your private information (extra cost)
- Surfshark Search, a private search engine that helps keep the spies off your trail (extra cost)
And perhaps the top feature of all: support for unlimited simultaneous connections. Most VPNs provide you with about five or six simultaneous connections, as we noted in our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison. Surfshark gives you as many connections as you want under a single subscription.
Weve already touched on PIAs move to support the WireGuard protocol, which is a feature most VPNs still do not have. Beyond that, however, Private Internet Access is fairly simple. Their apps include a kill switch and a basic VPN ad blocker called PIA MACE. Ad blocking with VPNs is becoming more common we also see it with CyberGhost and NordVPN.
Servers PIA claims to have 23, servers in 77 countries. That is truly a huge number, although it is surprising that with so many servers they dont provide any special-purpose servers, or for that matter better performance during speed tests. It also appears that most of these are virtual server locations, rather than physical servers. You can see these are labeled as geo-located on their server page.
Below is the PIA Windows app I tested. Recent updates include a split tunneling feature for desktop operating systems. And while its not the best VPN for PC systems, the PIA desktop app did not have any bugs or crashes in my tests.
Unlike with Surfshark, we do not see any double-VPN servers or split tunneling feature in the PIA VPN app. There are also no added privacy features, such as the private search engine or alert system for data exposures.
Surfshark has a richer feature set, without a doubt. It wins the Surfshark vs PIA features category.
Features winner: Surfshark
4. Security and Encryption: Private Internet Access vs Surfshark
Protecting your privacy requires a VPN to have excellent security. And that means excellent encryption, along with any other special security measures a service might take. Here is what each VPN offers in terms of security and encryption.
This category shows a lot of promise for PIA. Thats because both Surfshark and PIA use the WireGuard VPN protocol along with OpenVPN. Their WireGuard implementations use ChaCha20 encryption and other advanced encryption technology. Their OpenVPN implementations use AES encryption.
It is in the additional security features where the shark pulls ahead. Surfshark has converted all their servers to operate in only volatile RAM memory with no hard disk drives. operation. And with no disk drives to potentially hold private information, even seizing a Surfshark server for analysis cant expose any user data. This is a major advantage.
Like the vast majority of VPN services, PIA is still using disk drives in their servers. This means data stored on the VPN server could potentially be seized by a third party.
Surfshark has also passed a third-party security audit. The audit was conducted by German cybersecurity firm Cure53, and turned out well for Surfshark.
If Private Internet Access has had an independent security audit, they havent seen fit to publish the results.
Security and encryption winner: Surfshark
5. Privacy and Logs
Surfshark privacy and logs
They also maintain a warrant canary to warn about privacy-related issues. As of January 13, , the warrant canary showed no issues.
PIA privacy and logs
PIA has both strengths and weaknesses in the privacy and logs category. For strengths, it is a verified no logs VPN service, having been validated in two different court cases. But this is less reassuring when you remember that PIA is based in the United States. This means it could be forced to log users at any time by US authorities, as we have seen at least three times before.
Another major privacy red flag, which we covered above, is the parent company of PIA, which is called Kape. With a history of producing malware, can this company earn your trust? Only you can decide that, but we cant recommend this VPN.
Privacy and logs winner: Surfshark
6. Netflix, Streaming, and Torrenting
When it comes to Netflix and streaming, the choice is pretty stark.
Surfshark is fast and unblocks a huge selection of services. It is one of the best VPNs for streaming. It and officially supports 17 different Netflix regions. Below Im streaming UK Netflix through a Surfshark server in London with no problems!
But thats not all. Surfshark is also a reliable VPN for BBC iPlayer, DAZN, Disney Plus, Hulu, and more.
According to our own tests (and PIAs own support staff) Private Internet Access gets blocked by Netflix much of the time. They also have trouble with other top streaming services like Hulu. Below you can see PIA getting blocked by Netflix in our tests. It is definitely not the best VPN for Netflix.
Surfshark is the winner when it comes to Netflix and streaming.
When it comes to torrenting (P2P file transfers), things are a little more nuanced. Our testing shows that Surfshark is among the best VPNs for torrenting. With leak protection and kill switches built into their apps, this is a very fast network that allows torrenting and P2P downloads on every server.
PIA is also solid on the technology side of the issue, if not as fast as we would like. And while they do support port forwarding, which is beneficial for torrenting, the speeds are too slow. This prevents us from recommending PIA for torrenting or any other high-bandwidth activity.
Netflix, streaming, and torrenting winner: Surfshark
7. Reliability and Support
Surfshark is a reliable service. We had no problems with the VPN during our testing. We did, however, communicate with their 24/7 live chat customer support team on a few different occasions. We found the support team to be quick to respond, and very helpful.
Private Internet Access was also reliable during out testing. And they also provide 24/7 live chat support. However we didnt find their support team to be as available or helpful as you would expect.
Reliability and support winner: Surfshark
8. Price and Value
PIA pricing is a strong point. As you can see below, their prices are even lower than Surfshark. Below you can see the three pricing tiers for PIA:
At under $3 per month, Private Internet Access is certainly affordable. All PIA subscriptions come with a 30 day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark is also an affordable VPN service. Like PIA, Surfshark offers three different pricing tiers, with the cheapest rate coming in at $ per month, making it slightly less expensive than Private Internet Access.
With the two-year plan at only $ per month, Surfshark is one of the cheapest VPNs in the industry that is still high quality. It even beat out NordVPN in the price category for the NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison. And just like PIA, Surfshark also offers a 30 day money-back guarantee with all subscription plans.
Based strictly on price, Surfshark is the winner.
And when you consider value, Surfshark really pays off. In comparison to PIA, Surfshark is much faster, offers far more features, streams content better, and comes from a solid company based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.
Where VPNs offer different capabilities or performance, your personal circumstances and needs determine which one provides the most value to you. But at other times, one service will be a better value under virtually any circumstances.
This is our situation today. Surfshark does everything that PIA does, all at a better price. And it does each of those things as well or better, while also having a better privacy record and being based in a better privacy jurisdiction.
Price and value winner: Surfshark
Conclusion: Surfshark wins
Surfshark won every category, although a couple were close. It is clearly the better value and the best product. We can recommend Surfshark to you without reservations.
If you decide to give Surfshark a try, youll want to take advantage of the discount offer below to get the best possible price. Youll have plenty of time to really put Surfshark through the ringer. We expect youll like what you see, and with their 30 day money-back guarantee you literally have nothing to lose.
Have you used Surfshark or PIA? Feel free to share your honest review in the comments below.
This comparison guide was last updated with new information on June 3,
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Surfshark VS PIA
In recent years, VPNs have become all the rage with savvy internet users who want to make sure their online data is secure. But choosing a VPN can be a bit of a daunting task. Thats why we have compared Surfshark vs PIA to help you choose the best between these two.
VPNs give you a safe way to browse the internet and stream your favorite shows without worrying about your information falling into the hands of third parties.
Surfshark vs PIA Showdown
Surfshark is the winning champion! Based on:
- Anonymous torrent downloading
- Unblocks Netflix
- Access in China
Check out the whole comparison summary of PIA vs Surfshark here:
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands||US|
|Logging Policy||No Logs||No Logs|
|Server Network||+ Servers|
|Customer Support||Tutorials, Tickets, FAQs, Knowledge base||Tutorials, FAQs, Knowledge base|
Now lets look at the comparison in detail.
Having security online should not cost you an arm and a leg. A one-month plan for Surfshark will set you back $ while a monthly plan with PIA costs only $
However, the real savings come when you opt for annual subscriptions. A one-year plan with PIA costs $ a month, but a two-year plan with Surfshark costs only $ a month.
In terms of getting the biggest bang for your back, Surfshark offers the best deal when you go for a two-year plan, which is not available at PIA.
You can pay for either one using a good variety of payment options, including credit card, PayPal and Bitcoin. You should also consider the fact Surfshark has a money-back guarantee that lasts up to 30 days when you first sign up.
Meanwhile, PIA only has a money-back guarantee for seven days. When it comes to pricing between Surfshark vs PIA, Surfshark is the clear winner, offering great savings and a reliable refund policy.
|Apps||Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, IOS, Amazon Fire||Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, IOS, Amazon Fire|
|Automatic Kill Switch||Yes||Yes|
|Customer Support||Email, Live Chat, Tutorials|
|Email, Live Chat, Tutorials, Tickets|
|Added Features||Browser Extension, DNS Leak Protection, No-logs policy, split tunneling, Multi-platform protection, Obfuscation features||Browser Extensions, Malware Protection, Ad-Blocker, Wi-Fi Protection, No-logs policy, Multi-platform protection, DNS Leak Protection|
When you download the Surfshark app, you will find it to be incredibly responsive. It is a well-designed piece of software that provides you with superb connectivity.
PIA does not have a very attractive app. It is basic looking and lives within the taskbar, so it is nothing to write home about. Its connectivity works just fine. For the best performance possible between Surfshark vs PIA, Surfshark will be your best bet.
|Number of servers||+ Servers||+ Servers|
|Number of Countries||61 Countries||33 Countries|
Ideally, you want a VPN that has an expansive network availability. This plays a vital role in any VPN’s success. When it comes to this quality, PIA has definitely put in the work. The service has over 3, servers located in more than 33 countries around the globe.
Surfshark is more of a newcomer in the VPN industry. As of this writing, the company has about servers located in over 50 countries. It is certainly an impressive array of servers, but it does not hold a candle to what you get with Private Internet Access, which has been around for much longer.
Ultimately, the VPN with the fastest speed will come down to where you live and a host of other factors. However, by and large, most users will find that Surfshark is the clear winner. On average, Surfshark has a download speed of Mbps. Meanwhile, PIA only has a download speed of Mbps.
Surfshark (Speed Test):
PIA (Speed Test):
It may not seem like much, but such a vast difference can really impact what you do and watch while you are online. You can enjoy decent streaming capabilities with Surfshark, so when speed is on your mind that is the one to go with.
Privacy and Security
|Security and Privacy||Surfshark||PIA|
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands||USA|
|Logging Policy (Connection, Usage Logs)||Yes||Yes|
|Tunneling Protocols||OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, PPTP||OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, PPTP, IKEv2|
|DNS Leak Protection||Yes||Yes|
|Secure Payment Method||PayPal||PayPal|
There are plenty of great security features you can find with either VPN service. Surfshark offers WhiteLister, which is a split-tunneling service.
It also provides you with CleanWeb, which blocks ads and malware, and like most other VPNs, you get a kill switch feature that automatically logs you off in the event your connection becomes spotty. However, one of the best features you get with Surfshark is that you can log on to as many devices as you want at the same time.
PIA offers many of the same features. You still get an ad blocker, but you can only log onto up to 10 devices simultaneously. Both services are perfectly fine when it comes to security, but if you want the extra benefit of being able to log into as many devices as you want, then Surfshark is the way to go.
|Geo Unblocking Capabilities||Surfshark||PIA|
Surfshark vs Private Internet Access Netflix Unblocking
One reason many people want to acquire a VPN is so that they can unlock their favorite movies and television shows from around the globe. A VPN allows you to access Netflix content from different countries, so you can see virtually anything you want. Surfshark is the preferable VPN to use for this endeavor. It unblocks Netflix with ease.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of PIA. In years past, it was able to unblock Netflix in the United States. It can no longer do that service, so if streaming is your ultimate goal with your VPN, then you will want to opt for Surfshark.
One way in which you can tell a VPN works well by how many logs the service keeps. Surfshark really wins in this category because it does not keep any logs related to its users. The same cannot be said of PIA, which has not clearly stated what its logging policy is.
Regardless of which VPN you decide to buy, you know you will end up with problems eventually. You deserve to know where you can turn to when you end up with a shoddy connection, and both VPNs offer some impressive services.
With PIA, you will find FAQs and tutorials on the website. They also have a form-based complaint system where you can speak to a real person within a matter of hours.
Surfshark also has a FAQ page and plenty of tutorials. This particular VPN differs in the fact that it has a live chat feature. This allows you to talk to someone in a matter of minutes instead of hours. When you need help right then and there, Surfshark has your back.
Who Is the Winner?
Surfshark comes ahead in most categories, so between these two, it is your best option for a high-quality VPN. Its low price and super-fast speeds give it a strong edge over PIA VPN. However, PIA is also not that bad of an option for a VPN.
To check out more VPNs go head to head, check out our Top VPN Comparisons.
Among the top players in the industry are Surfshark and PIA. Each is highly-acclaimed with many users. However, my tests have consistently shown that Surfshark is a step ahead. To know why, we must dwell on the details. Luckily, this comparative guide is here to assist you.
We’re going to examine everything that each service has to offer. I’ll break things down by category and assign a winner for each.
Overall Winner: Surfshark
First, we’ll get an overview of the specifications that Surfshark and PIA have. Below is a table that compares one with the other:
Private Internet Access
|Logging Policy||No Logging||No Logging|
|Jurisdiction||The British Virgin Islands||United States (Five-Eyes Member|
SHA Hash Authentication
bit RSA Key Exchange
SHA Hash Authentication
bit RSA Key Exchange
|Ad and malware blockers||Yes||Yes|
|Leak Tests||No Leaks Found||No Leaks Found|
|Torrenting & P2P||Yes (Optimized P2P Servers)||Yes (On All Servers)|
Roku (Via Router)
Apple TV (Via SmartDNS)
Xbox One (Via DNS or Router)
PS4 (Via DNS or Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via DNS or Router)
Xbox One (Via Router)
PS4 (Via Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via Router)
|China||Yes||Sometimes (1 Out of 3 Servers Worked)|
|Split Tunneling||Yes (As Whitelister)||Yes|
HackLock (Add-On Feature)
BlindSearch (Add-On Feature)
$/month (6 Months)
|$ (1 Month)|
Overall Winner: Surfshark
Privacy & Security
PIA is disadvantaged as it’s headquartered in the US and, therefore, under Five Eyes jurisdiction. It must follow strict copyright and privacy laws or face being shut down.
In comparison, Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands. As such, it’s not restricted by any laws that make operating a VPN difficult.
Surfshark and PIA adhere to strong encryption standards. Both utilize military-grade AES bit encryption with SHA hash authentication and a RSA handshake. A difference is that Surfshark VPN also makes use of ChaCha encryption on Android. This is great, as there’s a backup for AES in case of failure of unavailability.
The two VPNs share support for OpenVPN (UDP & TCP) and IPSec (L2TP). Setting them apart is Surfshark’s support for IKEv2 along with Shadowsocks and PIA’s for WireGuard.
Note that WireGuard implementation on all servers has been announced by Surfshark. Once done, it’ll receive a considerable upgrade since WireGuard is the newest and most secure protocol available.
PIA and Surfshark claim to provide complete DNS and IP address leak protection. The two also have a kill switch on all their apps. Furthermore, they regularly subject themselves to independent audits to ensure they’re trustworthy.
To see whether both live up to their claims, I conducted leak tests using IPLeak.net. Before looking at the results, here’s a screenshot of a test that I ran without using a VPN:
Now here’s the outcome after I connected to Surfshark’s server in Hong Kong:
And this is the result once I switched to PIA’s Singapore server:
Neither of the two failed to mask my real IP address. Thus, both can be trusted to keep my identity anonymous whenever I browse the internet. Using them, troublemakers won’t be able to know my location and do me harm.
PIA doesn’t run their servers in RAM-disk mode while Surfshark does. That means that keeping logs isn’t possible with Surfshark making it more secure. Nevertheless, PIA has announced its plans to implement RAM-disk servers across its entire network soon.
Another advantage that Surfshark has when it comes to server security is HackLock. This extra feature (an additional subscription) is an alarm system that informs you when your data gets involved in a security breach.
Surfshark’s use of military-grade and Chacha encryption and its running RAM-disk servers make it the winner of this category.
PIA has excellent security measures in place, supports WireGuard, and uses AES bit encryption. Unfortunately, the service falls short since it doesn’t have a RAM-disk server network yet. Moreover, it’s based in the United States, which has laws that make it easy to access your private information.
Speed is something that Surfshark is known for. The same can’t be said for PIA, which has been criticized for being sluggish. It hampers your internet connection, making it difficult to download files, play games, and stream movies.
To see if what people say is true, I did some tests. Let’s first check out my base connection:
Here’s how Surfshark’s server in Singapore fared:
Lastly, these are the results after connecting to PIA’s Singapore server:
To my surprise, both services did well. However, Surfshark is a faster VPN. While my downloading got better after moving to PIA, the ping and uploading took a hit. Still, the results weren’t as bad as I expected. I’ve got to say that by no means is it slow.
Torrenting & P2P
Most services encourage torrenting on their servers. Surfshark and PIA are no different, with Surfshark even saying that it’s the best VPN for torrenting. That said, it hasn’t enabled P2P on all its servers.
In contrast, PIA has a fully enabled P2P network. Hence, on paper, it’s better optimized for downloading torrents.
Surfshark has a workaround for its lack of a complete P2P-enabled network. The service detects torrenting activity and automatically switches you to a P2P-friendly server.
I put each service to the test to see whether they can truly protect me when I’m torrenting. Let’s first look at the results of a test without me using any VPN:
Now, these are the results after connecting to Surfshark’s London server:
And here’s the results after I transferred to PIA’s server in California:
The two services were able to hide my real IP address as I torrented. Nevertheless, my winner for this round Surfshark vs PIA is Private Internet Access. I chose it because it’s got a fully enabled P2P server network. In addition, it is quick enough to ensure that I finish downloading in no time.
Winner: Private Internet Access
I’m a movie buff that streams almost daily. Due to that, I must have the right VPN for the job. Surfshark is known for being great at bypassing the geoblocks of most streaming websites. On the other side of the spectrum is PIA, which is reputed to be terrible at working around geoblocks.
Since Netflix is the world’s #1 streaming platform, I had to see if each VPN could access foreign libraries on it. The first service that I tried was Surfshark VPN. I tried watching Spotlight on its server in New York:
After that, I accessed the title once more while connected to PIA’s NY server:
As you can see, both VPNs bypass Netflix USA’s geoblocks. Sadly, only Surfshark performed well as PIA wasn’t able to load the title in full resolution. Additionally, it caused some buffering that almost ruined my viewing experience. Because of that, my winner in this round is Surfshark.
The gaming capabilities of a VPN is a great measure of its quality. A service must protect you while also linking you to foreign game servers. Moreover, it has to work on consoles as well as smartphones and computers.
I’m a Call of Duty Mobile addict that plays whenever I have free time. Due to that, I used the game to test out Surfshark and PIA’s gaming capabilities.
The first service that I tried was Surfshark. My server of choice was the one in Hong Kong. I played 3 matches that were all great. For each one, there was zero lagging or frame drops. Everything ran so smoothly that I forgot that I was using a VPN.
After my initial try, I moved over to Private Internet Access’ server in Singapore. Unlike with Surfshark, I experienced some lagging. Fortunately, the delays weren’t game-breaking. Still, they were frustrating since I’m used to gaming without hindrances.
The winner of this category is Surfshark. Without a doubt, it’s an excellent VPN for gaming that’ll meet your needs. Although PIA didn’t perform poorly, it still didn’t manage to satisfy my needs as a gamer due to its lags.
A VPN would be useless if it weren’t compatible with your devices. Hence, it’s a must that you subscribe to a service with a high degree of compatibility. In this regard, PIA and Surfshark both shine as they have apps for many operating systems. Additionally, they can also be installed on compatible routers.
To get a better insight on what each VPN works on, refer to the table below:
|Surfshark||Private Internet Access|
Surfshark is compatible with Chromebook, while PIA is not. Meanwhile, Private Internet Access has a browser extension for Opera; something Surfshark doesn’t have. It should be noted, though, that Surfshark has apps for some smart TVs like Android TV.
My winner in this round of our Surfshark vs Private Internet access battle is Surfshark because it supports Chromebooks and a few smart TVs. PIA may have a foothold with Opera, but that browser isn’t popular.
A VPN that allows for more simultaneous connections gives you more value for your money. It can protect more members of your family or business organization. As such, it’s best if you select a service that allows for more concurrent device pairings.
PIA lets you connect up to 10 gadgets at the same time. It stands out in the industry because of this. Only a few other VPNs match its offering or provide a better one. An example of which is Surfshark that allows for unlimited simultaneous connections.
More servers make it easier for a VPN to hide your IP address. Thus, a service with a larger network is a better one. Luckily, both PIA and Surfshark have a decent amount of servers that make them worthy of praise.
Surfshark has managed to create a network of + in just a few years. Its rapid growth makes it an attractive prospect. The service still has a lot of catching up to do, though, as PIA boasts a network of more than servers. Because of that, it’s the winner of this category.
Winner: Private Internet Access
Only a few VPNs can bypass the Great Firewall of China. The task has been holding PIA back from gaining a better reputation. Reports state that only 1 out of 3 servers can climb the Great Firewall. To make things worse, the capable servers don’t even perform with consistency.
In comparison, Surfshark has received nothing but praise for its ability to work around the Great Firewall. It consistently does so without difficulty. For that reason, it is recommended by many as a go-to for anyone going to China.
Interface & Usability
PIA and Surfshark both have user-friendly apps with simple interfaces. Even their color schemes are similar, with both taking on a dark theme by default. However, PIA gives you the option to switch to a light theme. In that sense, it has the edge over its competitor.
Unlike most VPNs, PIA’s Windows app doesn’t minimize to the taskbar. Instead, it hides in the system tray.
Once opened, you’ll immediately see a large quick connect button. A full list of servers can be accessed by pressing the “VPN SERVER” button below. The settings are accessed by clicking the three-dot icon on the top right corner of the app.
Surfshark also shows you a quick connect button after opening its Windows app. Under that is a list of servers that you recently connected to. On the side is a bar where you may access the settings, unique features, and a full list of servers that the VPN has.
My preference lies with Surfshark’s app because I don’t like how PIA’s minimizes into the system tray. The overall vibe of Surfshark’s app is also much more inviting. As such, I’m declaring it as the winner of this round of our Private Internet Access vs Surfshark match.
PIA has a built-in adblocker called PIA MACE, which is effective at keeping malware away. It isn’t the best adblocker, but it’s decent enough.
Nevertheless, I recommend that you use a different blocker if you’re looking to be fully protected. It should also be noted that Surfshark has a counterpart called CleanWeb.
Meanwhile, Surfshark has a feature called Whitelister, which is its version of split tunneling. With it, you’ll get to provide your information to specific websites and services that need it.
It also has MultiHop. The feature routes your web traffic through two servers to increase security.
The VPN also boasts two paid add-on features. The first is HackLock, an alert system informing you if your data has been involved in a data breach. Second is a proprietary search engine called BlindSearch.
The winner of this round is Surfshark, as it has more features that you may find useful daily.
Surfshark and PIA offer excellent customer service. You may contact them in a variety of ways. I did so via chat, as I had a few questions regarding their pricing. The representatives of both services quickly gave me detailed answers in a cordial manner.
Below is a quick overview of what each service offers in regards to customer support:
|Surfshark||Private Internet Access|
|Online Knowledge Base||Yes||Yes|
|Average Response Time||4 Hours||39 Minutes|
The two VPNs are equal in what they offer. However, Private Internet Access wins this round of our PIA vs Surfshark match because of its faster response times.
Winner: Private Internet Access
PIA is known for its affordability. Compared to most in the industry, it’s cheaper, making it a prime choice for those on a budget. In comparison, Surfshark VPN’s prices are almost on par with those of NordVPN and ExpressVPN. Neither are known for being affordable services.
To get a better understanding of how much each VPN costs, refer to the table:
|Surfshark||Private Internet Access|
|Subscription Lengths||$/Month||1 Month ($/Month)|
|$/month (6 Months)||1 Year ($/Month)|
|$/Month (2-Year)||2 Years ($/Month)|
|Highest Price Per Month||$||$|
|Lowest Price Per Month||$||$|
|One Year Price||$||$|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 Days||30 Days|
|Special Offer||81% discount for a 2-year plan|
50% discount for a 6-month plan
|73% discount for a 2-year plan + 2 months free|
PIA and Surfshark offer the same plan schemes. That said, the difference in price between the two is quite large. PIA is very much cheaper than Surfshark, whose one year price is almost double that of PIA’s.
Winner: Private Internet Access
Is Surfshark better than PIA?
Yes. Surfshark dominates in almost every category. The fewer servers that it has shall only increase with time. And, though it’s more expensive, it can be installed on an unlimited number of devices. If anything, the service gives you incredible value for your money.
Surfshark is faster and provides better security. The VPN can be used in China, which makes it able to tap into a whole new demographic. Finally, it’s got more extra features and better apps.
Overall Winner: Surfshark
Surfshark private internet access vs
Surfshark vs Private Internet Access vs Ivacy VPN VPN Comparison
- Amazing prices
- Easy to use
- Safe jurisdiction
- Great security
- Extremely affordable
- Doesnt log your information
- Allows torrenting
- Supports an unlimited number of devices
- Super affordable
- Doesnt log your data
- Good speed
- Quite Fast
- Amazing Device Compatibility
- Some plans could have higher discounts
- Speed tends to fluctuate
- Not too many servers
- Located in the United States
- No live customer support
- Five Eyes Jurisdiction
- Not Compatible with TOR
- Tricky Money-back Guarantee
Value For Money
Save 68%All NordVPN Coupons
Get 81% OFFAll Surfshark Coupons
Save 73%All Private Internet Access Coupons
Anonymous Payment Support
P2P File Sharing
Number of Servers
Number of Countries
Money Back Guarantee
Number of Plans
Full Company Name
Year of Origin
NordVPN has garnered a reputation of being on the top of the VPN game, and that’s not without good reason. This service provider offers amazing prices, a ton of read moreAaron S. - Security Expert
Surfshark is a very simple and approachable VPN provider. Its young age isn’t an obstacle when it comes to providing most of the features that all of the top-dogs read moreAaron S. - Security Expert
Private Internet Access is an ever-growing name in the world of VPNs. And with good reason - it’s fast, safe, offers a lot of the features that
Ivacy VPN is compatible with almost every device in the market place. It offers great pricing, pretty good speed, very strong security, encryption protocols, and has a read moreLaura M. - Senior Editor
Monday, October 25th
VPN Service Provider Reviews
Private Internet Access
- Cost: From $ to $ monthly
- 7-day money-back guarantee
Private Internet Access is a U.S.-based VPN service that provides a secure tunnel through which you can browse the Internet. It has instant activation and unmetered VPN transfer at the lowest price of all services we've reviewed. We love the low price but wish they had a longer money-back guarantee period.
- Cost: $ per month billed every 2 years
- $ per month billed each year
- $ per month billed every 6 months
- $ per month billed monthly
Surfshark VPN is a quick and easy to use VPN service. They offer a very good online experience with unrestricted content, ultra-fast speed, and friendly support 24/7. They offer a day money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to risk by trying their service..
What's the Best VPN Service?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It does just what it says. It creates a virtual (as opposed to physical) private network for you by encrypting (or scrambling) each and every piece of data that goes from your computer out onto the Internet as well as any data that comes back to you from the Internet.
So, who needs a VPN? If you're concerned about the rising problem of "hackers" - people who infiltrate computers and networks to steal or misuse information - you should be looking at a VPN service. Or, if you think your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may log, monitor, or analyze what you do online, a VPN is for you.
Continue reading below
A Virtual Private Network is security software that hides your personal identity and information from hackers, businesses, and government agencies. You will want to use a VPN if you're concerned about a person or entity finding out which websites you've visited and when or monitoring your general activities online.
Nothing in technology is % secure. You should research which VPNs offer the best security and choose from among those options. Every VPN provider is operated by human beings who can make mistakes. But there are several that have strict policies, protocols, processes, and procedures for ensuring that user data is protected.
VPNs give you an alternative IP address to the one your hometown internet service provider will give you. The alternative IP address can be located in another town, region, or a whole other country entirely. It's usually up to you. When you browse with a VPN, it's harder if not impossible for a hacker, business, or government agency to trace your web activity to your precise location. Another thing a VPN does is fully encrypt or scramble your data transfers so that anyone trying to peek at your data stream will not be able to interpret what they see.
In most cases using a VPN is very simple. You sign up for a pricing plan and then download the VPN software to your computer. Once you install the software, it may ask you for some information so it can configure your services. After it's done, every time you start your computer the VPN software can immediately begin hiding your activity online.
A VPN can be useful if you want to access websites, watch videos, or transfer file content to or from other countries that ban foreign IP addresses. For example, if you want to watch a streaming movie that is only available in the Netherlands, simply open your VPN software and choose an IP address location in the Netherlands. The VPN will make it appear to the movie streaming service as if you're online in that country. However, be aware that streaming video service providers are becoming increasingly sophisticated at detecting VPN use and blocking you. Be sure to research what you can and cannot do with a specific VPN.
It could be, so definitely do your research. With some VPN providers, your IP address is fully logged or tracked. In that case, you are not % protected from inquiries by businesses or law enforcement organizations in the event that your connection is compromised or comes under suspicion of illegal activities. Even if a VPN provider says they don't log your IP address, it's not necessarily a good idea to take them at their word. Many VPN companies want to protect themselves first in the case of a court order or law enforcement action against any users on their service.
Most democratic countries do not have laws against using a VPN. In some countries, however, it is highly illegal to use a VPN. Be sure to read the terms of service of the VPN provider as well as research the laws in your country before buying, installing, or using a VPN solution.
You don't need to use a VPN at home if your connection is protected from intrusion by a properly-configured router and Wi-Fi access point. VPNs are most useful when you're connecting from a public hotspot such as at a cafe or library. But, home use still has the advantage of helping to further secure your data and hide your location from outside entities that try to watch what you're doing online.
Continued from above
Millions of credit cards can be exposed online at any given moment as people purchase things from popular ecommerce sites. If the ecommerce site you're buying from doesn't bother to encrypt that information, a hacker can "sniff" that information right out of your connection with the website. Anything you type into a vendor's website form becomes fair game for identity fraudsters and thieves.
Furthermore, ISPs have been known to sell their user's information to marketers and advertisers. Or, they can use it to restrict (throttle) your bandwidth and block access to sites they don't want you to see.
Finally, a VPN is useful for people who live in countries where governments regularly censor information not flattering to the state, or that they deem to be harmful to their citizens. Protests, rallies, and citizen actions that get started online usually don't have a chance of being successful without some type of VPN service protecting the organizers from being spied on.
To choose a VPN service, you need to research their features and compare their costs, reputations, security, performance, and customer service. Some of the factors to use when researching VPN services include:
- Features: Which VPN features set one service apart from all the others? Why is it important to have those features?
- Cost: Are their free trials and/or money-back guarantees? Is there a way to save more in the long term by paying quarterly or annually, or even longer?
- Reputation: How do current and former customers feel about their experience using a particular VPN solution? If they had a bad experience, how long had they been using the VPN?
- Security: Are there redundancies and safety nets built into the system in case of failure? Are logs kept of your activities? Are there enough IP addresses and servers scattered throughout the world to more effectively hide every user's activity and location?
- Performance: Are VPN connections significantly slower than unsecured connections?
- Customer Service: How quickly and easily can you get help from the VPN provider? How is the follow-up done?
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best VPN Services available today. We hope these reviews will help you find the right VPN service to make browsing the Web % secure!
Compare VPN Service Providers
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PIA vs Surfshark
|Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Firestick||Compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Firestick|
Both PIA and Surfshark have literally won hearts of their subscribers in terms of compatibility. You are free to download and install these privacy providers on multiple operating systems and devices. Due to its free trial, Surfshark is considered the best free VPN for PC with unlimited bandwidth.
Furthermore, you can install these brands on Smart TVs and routers too. Surfshark also offers unlimited simultaneous connections so you can use it on multiple devices at the same time. IPVanish is another VPN that allows unlimited multi-logins. Check out our latest IPVanish vs. PureVPN comparison to see which one is more compatible with a wide range of devices.
8. Security and Privacy
Result: Surfshark offers wider security features than PIA
Surfshark provides excellent privacy and security features including WhiteLister (split-tunneling), CleanWeb (malware and ad blocker), Killswitch, Multi-hop, and unlimited multi-logins.
PIA doesnt offer a lot of extra features, but it does offer an ad blocker (MACE), 10 simultaneous connections, and SOCKS5 protocol.
Result: Both providers offer a good number of protocols
|OpenVPN, PPTP, & L2TP/IPsec||OpenVPN & IKEv2|
Surfshark only offers OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols to its subscribers because of security reasons. Older VPN protocols are no longer deemed secure enough to be in use and have thus been discontinued by Surfshark. It supports newer protocols including WireGuard as it offers higher speed and security. This was also the case in TorGuard and NordVPN comparison as NordVPN has also stopped supporting older protocols and has moved towards newer ones that are more efficient.
On the other hand, PIA VPN offers some older protocols like L2TP and PPTP in addition to OpenVPN.
Torrenting / P2P
Result: Surfshark is safer for torrenting
|Unsafe jurisdiction for torrents||Safe jurisdiction for torrents|
Surfshark supports P2P activities on selected servers. In addition, Surfshark has the advantage of being headquartered in British Virgin Islands that doesnt have to comply with DMCA like the US.
PIA also supports torrenting on its servers. However, since it is based in the US, it might not be a good idea to use this VPN for torrenting. Nonetheless, many users do use PIA for torrenting and they havent experienced any serious troubles with it.
Result: Surfshark is % faster than PIA
Surfshark has surprised to its users to certain degree. Yes, you have read it accurately. Its one of the fastest VPN service and you can enjoy decent streaming speeds while watching your favorite media stuff.
When I used 30 Mbps connection, I received Mbps for PIA on a US server. Surfshark offers better speeds, as it recorded Mbps while connected to a USA server.
Result: Surfshark has a better logging policy
|Vague logging policy||Keeps no logs|
PIA has set itself apart from other VPN services by some long distance. Yes, you read it correctly. Recently, the US based service had to prove its innocence against its no logging claims.
On the other hand, Surfshark has an excellent logging policy and keeps no logs of user information.
Result: Surfshark has better customer support (live chat)
|Form-based complaint system||Email ticketing|
Surfshark has added an impressive customer support feature in its armory. Likewise, you can contact its live chat to solve all your queries timely.
PIA also provides an efficient customer assistance to their users. However, it lacks live chat support.
Result:Surfshark works better with Netflix
|Does not unblock Netflix||Unblocks Netflix|
As I already said, you will have to rely on Surfshark to unblock Netflix US content. Unfortunately, PIA does not offer such kind of luxury to its users at present.
Previously, PIA was able to unblock US Netflix but it cannot do the same for users anymore. This was also the same in Private Internet Access vs TunnelBear, and Private Internet Access vs IPVanish, where PIA managed to unblock only Netflix US and no other regional library. We had to try several servers before actually finding the one that works with Netflix.
Result: Surfshark has a better overall rating when it comes to being an all-rounder
|Workable in China||0||8|
|Apps & Functionality||9||9|
|Total Points (70)||44|
I expect you would be now in a better state to make a wise decision about your privacy. I invested time and efforts to provide a realistic comparison between Surfshark vs PIA.
Trustpilot Score: Surfshark VPN vs PIA
Trustpilot is one of the most popular customer review sites that offer unbiased review about distinct products and services. Surfshark is far from being perfect product.
However, it has received positive reviews from users mostly.
If I compare PIA with Surfshark, I was able to found positive reviews from PIA users as well.
Winner: PIA is an obvious victor as it has more than + reviews on Trustpilot. Besides, numerous users have raised their voices in favor of Private Internet Access.
Surfshark is the winner in this comparison with PIA.
The provider managed to outperform PIA in many critical areas such as Netflix unblocking, speed, jurisdiction, and logging policy.
Although PIA is a renowned VPN service that is rated among the best, it lacks some of the extra oomph that Surfshark so effortlessly delivers.
Get Surfshark ($/mo)