Private Internet Access is a VPN provider that is very affordable. You can get VPN service with Over 25,000 servers are available in 77 countries worldwide, it has one of the industry’s largest VPN networks. It’s apps and clients come packed with advantageous security settings while at the same time being intuitive and very simple to use. All of the features can be purchased for just a few dollars per month. This makes this VPN seem too good to miss.
PIA has a reputation for being inconsistent and unreliable. When it works, it can unblock and bypass any restriction—when it doesn’t, using it can be simply frustrating. Does it have the potential to be a leader in this industry? Here are the results from extensive tests of Private Internet Access.
TL; DR – Table Overview of Crucial Private Internet Access Features
|A huge server network||Based in the United States|
|Many advanced security settings are available||Not always reliable in going around geo-blocks|
|Maximum 10 simultaneous connections|
How Fast Is PIA? – Testing their Speed and Reliability
Private Internet Access is not the fastest VPN available. This was obvious when we started the performance testing phase. The VPN is still among the fastest on the market, and we were expecting stable performance. With that in mind here’s what we’ve learned from the PIA speed and reliability tests.
When testing Private Internet Access’ speed and performance, we used a dedicated network suitable for 1-2 users to ensure objective results unaffected by any other devices. First, let’s take a look at the baseline value we got for our network connection without using a VPN:
After establishing a baseline for network connection speed, several tests were conducted connecting to Private Internet Access servers. Here’s the speed of PIA’s local servers:
After testing the speed of their local servers, we expanded our test to examine how PIA connects to remote servers. Here’s how PIA’s service performed when connected to a server on the other side of the globe:
Lastly, we also wanted to try just how functional and smart is PIA’s “Choose Automatically” option, so we’ve tested the speed and performance of such a server as well. Here are the results.
We were impressed to see just how intuitive and functional their “Choose Automatically” feature is. This is especially due to the fact that it even outperformed a local server we’ve selected manually.
We want to point out that these screenshots represent averages of multiple tests performed on the same server. PIA gave inconsistent testing results between speed tests, so you can’t always expect the same performance, even when connected to a local server.
Overall, PIA offers above-average upload and download speeds as well as stable ping across all servers. That said, this service’s inconsistent performance is something to keep in mind if you’re primarily looking for a VPN that excelled in speed.
Private Internet Access Servers – Locations and Availability
Private Internet Access is likely to have the largest and most widespread server base among its competitors. Private Internet Access offers the following: More than 25,000 Proxy and VPN servers are available in 99 locations across 77 countriesNo matter where you live, you can count upon a reliable local network. PIA also comes standard with a SOCKS5 proxy included within its service.
The service highlights that it “only uses bare-metal servers for our VPN network for enhanced security and performance.” This is good to hear, as it means that there are Hackers cannot compromise virtual servers..
PIA began to roll out RAM servers in 2013 in an effort to reduce the gap between it and the other top players in the industry. Based on their Next Generation network of hardened VPN servers, PIA’s RAM servers are still in the beta phase but show a lot of promise going into the future.
Aside from the sheer number of locations, it’s important to mention that Private Internet Access offers Gigabit VPN port speeds, as well as unmetered VPN transfer. They also advertise “Premium VPN Bandwidth”, but we didn’t get a clear answer from their support on what this actually means except that it includes unlimited data bandwidth.
Is PIA secure? – Overview of their Security Features
While it may not be one of the most powerful VPNs in the market, they are still very secure and private. Private Internet Access is undoubtedly one of the best VPNs available.. If you’re a privacy-conscious user who pays great attention to every detail, here’s A detailed description of all security features of PIA:
- Kill Switch – This feature is set on by default on all apps and servers to block any leaks by cutting off your traffic in case of any sudden network connection drops.
- PIA Mace – A privacy preference you can tailor to block all domains used for ads, trackers, and malware.
- Split Tunneling – PIA’s split tunneling feature allows you to route some of your network traffic through its servers while maintaining your real IP for all other apps or services.
- Port forwarding – This VPN also supports port forwarding, enabling you to increase your torrenting speeds or remotely access your devices by rerouting incoming connections to bypass the NAT firewall.
- DNS Custom Configuration – As a part of their big Next Generation migration project, all of their servers now use private IPs instead of a public-facing DNS server.
- Proxy Preferences for Custom Clients – If you want to redirect your VPN connection through an additional location, you can also utilize PIA’s highly configurable proxy preferences.
- IP settings Dedicated – For an additional purchase, PIA also offers a dedicated IP from any country of your choice. Their dedicated IP is ideal for businesses that require high-security data transfers and provides greater security for sensitive information.
We were happy to see that, in addition to all the highly configurable features we have already mentioned, Customers can also customize the handshake and data encryption standards for the service.They want to be connected.
Does Private Internet Access Log User Data?
No, Private Internet Access doesn’t keep logs of any user activities nor personal user information. They don’t keep data records on your real IP address, the time you spent using their servers, or which sites you visit. If you’re looking for absolute privacy, the VPN has a stellar reputation for protecting customer privacy.
Private Internet Access Protocols
Private Internet Access is a bit more limited than other providers, but it does offer a few protocols that you can use to switch between the apps. Only a few protocols are supported by all of their apps. As part of their Next Generation project, PIA has taken out all other protocols from their apps except for two. This is what we have in mind. let’s go over the two Private Internet Access protocols in more details:
- OpenVPN (UDP Vs. TCP). – Easily configurable and offering the best balance between performance and security, the OpenVPN protocol is the default option in all PIA apps. It is the standard protocol for its category and works flawlessly on all platforms.
- WireGuard – A new open-source protocol created in 2016, WireGuard is an increasingly popular protocol that differs from all others available out there. It has a hundred times fewer lines of code compared to the above-listed protocol and is streamlined, minimalistic, and much less draining on your device’s performance.
If you’re looking for many different protocols from your new VPN provider, PIA’s lineup may seem a bit disappointing. And, while the lack of L2TP/IPSec and IKEv2 might be noticeable for more advanced users, casual VPN users and beginners won’t experience any performance lacks from the two currently available protocols.
Private Internet Access Streaming Capabilities
Streaming with Private Internet Access is not always easy. PIA servers weren’t reliable at unblocking streaming websites, especially Netflix, up until last year.. Although the service has improved its performance in the past year, there are still issues with blocking major sites.
PIA is reasonably helpful in providing access for the US, UK, Canadian Netflix versions. The main issue we had with their service in terms of streaming isn’t that it can’t unblock major sites. Instead, it’s that it can’t do this consistently on every try.
Apart from Netflix, we tried deblocking many other major streaming sites. PIA servers had trouble accessing BBC iPlayer consistently. However, they worked well on Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video..
Overall, PIA is a better streaming platform unblocker than many of its competitors. Despite this, it still can’t match what leading VPNs like ExpressVPN and NordVPN can offer, especially when it comes to unblocking Netflix. Until PIA can fix these issues, we recommend that you use a different VPN to stream.
PIA P2P Support – Can You Torrent Using this VPN?
Although this VPN service shouldn’t be your first choice if you’re looking for a reliable VPN for streaming, PIA is not only suitable for torrenting. This VPN is the best due to its large number of servers, advanced settings and unlimited bandwidth.
On top of this, the service has a zero-log policy, meaning that it won’t have any track records of your torrenting activities. PIA’s unique feature in torrenting is that it doesn’t keep track of your activities. it’s one of the few VPNs that offer port-forwarding. This tool will allow you to route torrent connections directly from your computer. This can greatly increase torrenting speed.
PIA is a highly-sophisticated VPN that makes torrenting super easy. This is due to the fact that PIA makes torrenting extremely easy. you can test each server’s P2P speed and performance just by connecting to it. Without downloading anything. Furthermore, Each PIA server supports torrenting. We were encouraged to conduct several P2P testing on remote and local servers.
We’d like to note that our dedicated network supports an upload speed of up to 2Mbps without a VPN connection. Here’s how it performed for torrenting when connected, first to a local and then a remote PIA server:
You can see that there is a significant drop in torrenting speeds between remote and local connections. Our regular download speed with a VPN is only half what the remote connection can reach. However, users who wish to access restricted P2P networks from remote servers can still enjoy solid performance.
Is private internet access expensive? – A Look at Their Pricing Plans
Private Internet Access offers its customers three price plans – monthly, yearly, and bi-yearly subscription. Their monthly plan is quite expensive and matches the prices of some of the most costly VPNs available. However, if you commit to their service over the long-term, you can still expect to save some great money, especially with the 2-year plan. The image below shows the exact price details.
The image above shows that paying an upfront payment for the bi-yearly plan could save you a lot in the long-term. This is because the service plan costs a little more than a few dollars per month if spread over two years. Plus Customers who choose the two-year plan for PIA subscriptions will also be able use BoxCryptor.
Other than the BoxCryptor bonus deal, it’s worth mentioning that All three subscription plans provide the same services features. These include the free email breach monitoring service, up to 10 concurrent connections, and 25,000+ servers across 77+ countries.
There are close to a dozen payment options available.. This includes major credit cards, PayPal and Amazon Payments. Alternative payment options such as Ripple, CashU and Bitcoin are also available for non-recurring subscribers.
Is it possible to get private internet access for free?
No, much like many other top subscription-based VPN services, Private Internet Access doesn’t offer a free trial plan you can try out without paying. That said, if you’re wary of the quality of their service, PIA offers a 30-day money back guaranteeYou can use this opportunity to test their service for free.
They have increased the offer as they used to offer only a one week money-back guarantee. It’s easy to get your money back. You simply need to open a new support ticket and they will quickly respond to your request for a refund.
Private Internet Access Apps & Programs
Private Internet Access created VPN apps and extensions that work on all major platforms. To make sure you get the most accurate and up-to-date information, we’ve tested each one. Let’s take Take a closer look at the performance of Private Internet Access across all platforms and devices.
Private Internet Access for Windows
If you’re a proficient VPN user who knows his way around all of the critical settings a client like this can offer, the PIA Windows app provides you with the ultimate freedom to tailor your online experience however you choose. Apart from general settings, the app can be divided into sections that provide specific features. Here’s a detailed overview of the PIA Windows app:
- Privacy – The featured privacy preferences allow you to adjust kill-switch settings in the app. You can also enable the PIA MACE setting, which blocks all malware and ads by default.
- Network – This part of their Windows client lets you switch between name servers, enable split tunneling, allow or disallow LAN traffic, or request port forwarding.
- Connection – The Windows app’s connection tab covers all settings that might interest you when tailoring your connection preferences. This includes but isn’t limited to the type of your connection, data encryption, preferred handshake, and configuration method.
- Proxy and Dedicated IP Sections – You can also tailor your proxy preferences to redirect your VPN connection through an additional location. The service also offers dedicated IP preferences that allow you to secure remote connections using a specific IP address.
Despite having many complicated features, the app is easy to use. The app is easy to useQuick ConnectYou can use this feature to connect with one of many recommended nearby servers. You can browse the server list to find the server you are looking for. There is also a Search barIf you are looking for a particular server, you can type it in. There are many other options available to the client, too. You can find useful information such as your downloads and uploads, as well an automatic VPN snooze feature.
Access private Internet for macOS
Similar to its Windows counterpart in design and features The Private Internet Access macOS app offers most of the same options as the ones we mentioned above, including split tunneling. While it does not have the same privacy features as the client, it provides advanced connection settings.
Although similarly designed, the macOS app is a bit more intuitive to use, as it’s not as overcluttered as the Windows app. Contrary to the Windows client is available in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. However, it only supports macOS 64-bit devices.
Android Private Internet Access
From switching between the two featured protocols to tailoring proxy settings and utilizing port forwarding, you won’t feel any lack of features compared to even the desktop clients. Plus, there’s also aFor maximum security, the kill switch is built inIf any Wi-Fi connection is lost.
The PIA Android App is available to download from the Google Play Store or directly from their website. It has a lot of features and fits nicely into a non-intrusive mobile app. The We found the only thing missing from the Android app to be split tunneling. available in PIA’s desktop apps.
Access to the private internet via iOS
Like most VPN apps for iOS, this one doesn’t let the abundance of its features impact the performance and user experience iOS devices can provide. There aren’t many significant differences between the Android and iOS appsBoth include the same settings, but they differ in how they are used. The latter is the most important. This is most notable because of the absence of the MACE ad blocking feature.
Private Internet Access Browser Extensions
This review was written at the time of this writing Private Internet Access offers three browser extensions that support Chrome, Firefox, or Opera.. All three browser extensions work by redirecting traffic through an HTTPS proxy.
The browser extension looks similar to the other client apps, so you’ll have no problem navigating your way through it. To limit your browser extension usage, simply tap the connect button. PIA browser extensions allow you to customize the extensions quite a bit.
Split-tunneling options can be modified and you can explore advanced privacy or security settings. Private Internet Access’ browser extensions aren’t dependent on the application, though you can use them together if you wish to. Their browser extensions are able to do much more than most VPN extensions.
Private Internet Access for Routers
Private Internet Access, like many of its competitors has made its service available to routers. Private Internet Access can be installed on routers to protect your entire network.
If your router supports this option, you can also set up PIA by yourself.. You can access detailed information about supported routers as well as how to set up PIA for your router on their website.
How to Install Private Internet Access Apps
Private Internet Access apps can be installed quickly, despite the fact that they come with tons of extensions and apps. The majority of the steps for installing the app are applicable to every device. Here’s A step-by-step guide to installing Private Internet Access apps:
- You can find the appropriate PIA application for your device at their website.
- The client can be downloaded and installed.
- Once installation is completed, you will need to enter your login credentials.
- If prompted, you will be asked to accept permissions and configuration confirmations.
- Connect to any server you choose by opening the app
These steps can be used on any device that you wish to install the service. PIA will assist you if you have any questions.
They’ve created an extensive knowledge base covering installation steps for each supported app. Their installation guides have step-by-step screenshots to make sure you get through the process without a hitch, even if you’ve never installed or used a similar app before.
PIA Customer Support & User Experience
Private Internet Access has the highest customer service rating of any VPN on the market. They offer Live chat support is available 24 hours a day to provide customer service..
Before you can get in touch with their live agents, we must remind you that you will need some information. These details include your email address and network type as well as the connection method.
If you have a query but don’t wish to get in touch with live customer support, you can submit a ticket directly on their site. Alternately, You can also visit their FAQ page and search their support section.. The latter features data on almost anything you would want to find out related to PIA’s service.
Apart from the on-site support channels they offer, PIA can also be found on the most popular social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.. It was also interesting to see that PIA maintains a very active presence on Reddit, but we’ll cover this part in more detail in one of the following sections.
The Web’s Best Private Internet Access Experience
Aside from testing every VPN’s customer support directly, we also like to browse the web to get a better feel of the general online consensus surrounding a particular service. Private Internet Access was a great choice, since this VPN has a strong social media presence.
This site is not the only one we use. We also visit many other review sites that offer customer feedback. Having said that, let’s take a closer look at how PIA polls among its users across the web:
Google Play: Private Internet Access User Opinions
Private Internet Access has a strong reputation on Google Play with over 32,000 reviews and a rating of 4.5.. However, we’ve noted that this service doesn’t respond to comments and reviews on Google Play, unlike some other top VPNs in the industry. We hope to see this change in the future as it could further boost their reputation for being a customer-friendly company. Let’s take a look at some of the recent praises and complaints this VPN has received on the site:
Reddit: What is Private Internet Access?
As we said above PIA runs it’s own subreddit with close to 13,000 members. They also post updates and interact regularly with Reddit’s community. You can ask them any question and get a prompt response.
Other than the PIA subreddit there are many Reddit threads discussing the VPN service. This is a clear indication of how popular PIA among privacy-conscious Internet users. Reddit has a great reputation for PIA. It is mainly praised for its torrenting capabilities, but it is also criticised for its ineffective streaming and buggy client apps.
Is PIA a good VPN service? – The Bottom Line
With all of the good and bad aspects of this service we’ve highlighted on this page, does PIA amount for a worthy VPN service? In short: Private Internet Access is an above-average VPN. Although their service is not perfect, it offers a robust VPN tool at an affordable price.
Private Internet Access has many great features, even though it is slow and sometimes difficult to unblock certain websites.. If you’re looking for a secure and private VPN, PIA is an excellent choice. Private Internet Access has one of the fastest VPNs for torrenting.
If streaming is your main priority, you might consider moving on to other services. Hopefully, they will also improve on their existing faults, as the service has a lot of potential to rank among the industry’s best.
FAQs about Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is Safe?
Private Internet Access is the most secure VPN on the market. Despite its lack of features, PIA does a fantastic job on privacy. It’s a very secure and transparent VPN that doesn’t keep any logs or user information on its customers.
Is Private Internet Access Available?
Private Internet Access is located in the United States, with its headquarters in Denver, Colorado. This is an unfortunate fact for privacy-conscious users as the US is a member of many major western intelligence operations. That said, since the US doesn’t have a mandatory data retention policy, PIA can’t be forced to log any data.
Who is the owner of Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access became Kape Technologies’ property at the close of 2019. Their parent company is well known in the VPN world as it previously acquired ZenMate (CyberGhost) and CyberGhost. The sale attracted a lot negative attention, since Kape Technologies had previously created browser toolbars that were bundled with potentially unwanted applications.
- WireGuard is supported on all platforms
- WG is currently in Beta testing phase
- No Request or Traffic logs
- You can use it with up to 10 devices simultaneously
- Unlimited Bandwidth at good speeds
- 3200+ Servers Available in 29 Countries
- 30-day money-back guarantee