Are you looking for a VPN service that will keep your data secure while not punching a hole in your pocket? then surely, PIA will not disappoint you.
Today, I’m reviewing Private Internet Access, a VPN provider located in the United States established in 2009 by entrepreneur Andrew Lee. PIA now has over 100,000+ users and adheres to a rigorous no-logging policy. I’m fascinated. Private Internet Access is ranked No. 2 in my ranking of the Best VPNs of 2021.
PIA is an outstanding VPN service that has several unique features not often seen in standard providers. While speeds are pretty ordinary, hardcore users will enjoy the excellent privacy, torrenting tools, and other goodies, while the competent Netflix unblocking is the icing on the cake.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the most widely used virtual private networks (VPNs) on the market.
As its name implies, this service is well recognized for its rigorous no-logging policy and dedication to customer privacy.
Is PIA really as trustworthy as they say in terms of customer privacy and anonymity protection? How does it do in other areas like streaming, torrenting, and security?
I conducted my own tests to determine this, and the findings are in. PIA’s VPN service is notable for its user-friendly interface, strong support, anonymous torrenting, and robust security for up to ten concurrent devices.
PIA – Features
Their ad blocker safeguards you from viruses, trackers, and advertisements. It operates at the DNS level, which makes it quicker and more effective in preventing malicious queries from occurring in the first place.
Dedicated IP address:
PIA also provides a Dedicated IP service as an add-on. Utilizing your own anonymous static IP address combines the independence, privacy, and security of a VPN with the convenience of normal online surfing.
You have complete control over your internet connection. Automate and streamline your VPN experience by specifying which IP addresses or applications may escape the VPN tunnel.
Continue with their default settings or customize your VPN experience to meet your specific requirements. handshake encryptions, data authentication algorithms, and encryption standards may all be configured independently.
Rest confident that if your VPN connection breaks suddenly, their tried-and-true kill switch will quickly and automatically disconnect you from the internet, avoiding any data breaches. This one is my personal favorite and it works really well at PIA unlike in most other VPNs.
They utilize open-source VPN technologies such as OpenVPN and WireGuard that are available for anybody to inspect and change in order to provide full transparency to their users.
PIA – Speed and Performance
Whichever VPN you use, it will have an effect on your online surfing speeds. To determine the magnitude of that effect, I use the Ookla speed test software to evaluate upload speeds, download speeds, and latency.
During my testing, I discovered that Private Internet Access got extremely near to the median in all three areas but was never able to surpass them. Private Internet Access reduced my download and upload speeds by 5 and 8 percent, respectively. It resulted in a 2 percent increase in ping time.
Speeds vary according to a variety of variables. While overall pricing and simplicity of use are important, the true value of a VPN is in the privacy and security it provides.
PIA does reduce the speed, but keep in mind that it was never famous for its speed in the very first place.
Your Privacy with PIA
VPNs are not without dangers. When you use a VPN to tunnel your traffic, the business may get unprecedented visibility into your online activities—the sort of information that your ISP already possesses and that you’re presumably using a VPN to avoid.
Private Internet Access, according to a business spokesperson, does not maintain records of user behavior and does not benefit from customer data. According to the business, income is generated solely via user subscriptions.
While it does not seem as if Private Internet Access is benefiting from user data or amassing excessive records, it does collect certain information. According to a business spokesperson, Private Internet Access collects “username, IP address, and data consumption” and deletes it immediately upon service termination.
Private Internet Access is headquartered in the United States and is governed by US law. Although the United States does not have obligatory data retention regulations, Private Internet Access is obliged to comply with US government court demands.
PIA – Servers and Server Locations
Numerous server locations provide you additional options for spoofing your location and a high probability of connecting to a server close to where you are when you connect to the internet. Private Internet Access has a diverse geographic footprint, with servers in 78 countries.
That is okay but could be enhanced. Private Internet Access has just one server location in Africa and two in South and Central America combined. That is still superior to many rivals, who completely disregard such areas.
Certain VPN services make use of virtual servers, which seem to be located in a certain country but are really located elsewhere. While the practical effect is the same—your traffic seems to originate in the country you choose—consumers may have legal concerns about the destination of their data.
PIA – VPN Protocols
VPN technology comes in a variety of flavors, each with its own set of protocols for establishing the encrypted tunnel. I prefer OpenVPN, which is open-source and therefore subjected to vulnerability scanning by volunteers.
Private Internet Access is compatible with both OpenVPN and the legacy L2TP/IPSec protocol. I would avoid utilizing these other two if possible, but it’s always nice to have alternatives. The VPN business is expected to rapidly migrate to the new WireGuard protocol. Private Internet Access provides WireGuard as a beta service.
PIA – Mobile Applications
PIA offers mobile VPN applications for iPhone and Android, and they perform well when used. On a single subscription, you may connect up to ten devices concurrently, which is more than most VPN services offer.
At first glance, the Android VPN software seems to be simple and uncomplicated, with just a large on/off button, your IP address, and your selected region is shown on the main screen. By tapping the area, a list of other possible locations appears, along with a reference to anticipated latency, allowing you to make an informed choice.
It’s worth mentioning that these settings pages are rather cluttered, with a lot of information to process. This has no effect on usability, and also ensures that everything you need is readily accessible and not buried behind numerous menus.
The PIA iPhone VPN client is almost identical to the Android client. A Network Management tile provides the ability to automatically trust or untrust specific networks. For instance, you might use this to automatically activate your VPN when in a coffee shop and stop it when you return home.
Additionally, Siri shortcuts are supported, allowing you to activate and stop your VPN with a voice command. The iOS app is somewhat more attractive than the Android version, without sacrificing much in the process.
What makes the mobile clients really remarkable is their configurability. The settings menu is lengthy and includes a plethora of choices. For example, you may select between WireGuard and OpenVPN (IKEv2 is also supported on iOS). It is possible to provide a custom port or DNS server, and you may select between TCP and UDP connections.
Split tunneling is also available on Android – it’s referred to as ‘Per-App Settings’ – and little details like a single vibration rather than a notice to indicate that you’re connected demonstrate that much effort has gone into creating a fantastic piece of mobile software.
Finally, the mobile applications have a built-in kill switch similar to the desktop application. If the VPN connection is lost for any reason, your internet access is temporarily disabled until the VPN connection can be restored. This is noteworthy since a large number of big VPN providers do not provide a kill switch in their mobile applications.
In general, PIA’s mobile applications – both iOS and Android – are standout features of the provider’s software suite, and if you’re a mobile-first customer, PIA is certainly worth investigating.
PIA – Desktop Applications
PIA is simple to install on a desktop computer. I like that the download sites for each VPN client contain a comprehensive changelog that details the product’s evolution over time, and that older versions are readily accessible for download if an update isn’t working as expected. If you want to create your own application, OpenVPN configuration files are included, which is a great touch.
After installing and logging into the PIA desktop software, there is a large Connect button that instantly connects you to the nearest server. You can simply choose a VPN server from a list of countries and locations, and the majority of them display ping timings to give you an indication of the anticipated latency.
If you go into the options dialogue, you’ll discover one of the most customizable VPN clients available. For example, you may select WireGuard and OpenVPN or UDP over TCP. You may choose a custom port and encryption level (AES-128, AES-256), however, authentication and handshake settings have been removed to enhance app stability and performance. This is not a significant loss, but it must be noted.
Use Small Packets increases dependability on slow internet connections, and the previously stated port forwarding is simple to access and enable.
It’s easy to go to the server list, which includes information about the nation, city, and ping times.
You may arrange servers alphabetically or by ping, and there is a powerful search feature as well as a favorites system, which significantly enhances usage.
The PIA desktop client features a kill switch that immediately disconnects you from the internet if your VPN connection fails for any reason. This worked excellently in my tests, constantly alerting me of an internet connection problem and rejoining me without ever revealing my true IP address.
It’s worth noting that there is a command-line client named ‘piactl’. This implies that you may administer the VPN using a script. For instance, you may simply configure your VPN to automatically activate and stop at certain periods of the day.
Although the documentation for this functionality is sparse, it’s simple to grasp what a command like “piactl connects” does. With some tweaking, you might have your VPN doing quite complex automatic tasks.
Thus, although they seem to be very lightweight, PIA’s desktop applications are packed with additional functionality without making the UI unusable – in short, they’re rather remarkable.
I personally love how PIA has managed both its desktop and mobile applications. I hardly believe any other VPN providers can challenge them on this one.
PIA – Torrenting
On the surface, Private Internet Access seems to be a highly competent torrenting VPN, with complete P2P compatibility throughout its extensive global server network. There are no bandwidth constraints and the speeds are adequate, therefore this is an excellent option. Additionally, I had no problems throughout my testing while downloading certain test files.
Additionally, PIA provides a port forwarding service for individuals seeking to improve their torrenting experience. Allowing inbound connections to circumvent the NAT firewall may assist boost download speeds – but keep in mind that this increases your vulnerability. I’d recommend it just if you’re confident in your abilities and have a firm grip on what it allows and does not allow.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that, although PIA provides these capabilities, the website lacks substantial assistance. Essentially, users are provided with the necessary tools and then left to their own devices. This is quite reasonable given the murky nature of peer-to-peer sharing, and most other providers follow like.
Otherwise, PIA is very competent at torrenting and has more specialized P2P tools than the majority of competitors. It’s definitely worth exploring if you consider yourself to be an expert and believe you might make the most of what’s on offer without assistance.
PIA – Streaming
One of the most common VPN purposes is to alter the location in order to access geo-restricted material on websites such as Netflix and iPlayer – and I put PIA to the test to see how it worked.
The first stop was US Netflix, and PIA left a lasting impression. I was able to unblock US-only material on every server I tested. PIA, on the other hand, was unable to unblock unique material from Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, or Australia, unlike firms that specialize in this. This should not be a problem for casual Netflix customers.
BBC iPlayer is often difficult to access, and PIA was unable to overcome the BBC’s defenses. I was unable to access iPlayer content for a variety of reasons.
However, my performance improved significantly when I attempted to access Disney+ and Amazon Prime’s restricted material, and I was successful each time.
Thus, PIA is a very competent streaming VPN in the big scheme of things.
PIA – Plans and Pricing
Monthly plans for Private Internet Access start at an average of $ 9.95. Most services charge about that amount – Hotspot Shield, IPVanish, and Ivacy all charge around $ 10 per month – but a few charge more (Hide.me, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost all charge around $ 13).(If you’re looking for private internet access coupon code be sure to use verified private internet access coupon code to get the best deal)
The true bargain starts with the yearly plan, which is priced at a relatively reasonable $ 3.33 each month. Most major providers come close to that with limited-time promotional deals (Hide.me is just $ 3 per month for the first year, but $ 3.75 per month afterward.)
The two-year plan is even more affordable, costing $2.65 per month for the first term (with two months free), and $ 2.91 per month for renewal.
Additionally, the subscription includes complimentary one-year registration for BoxCryptor, a robust tool for encrypting cloud data from almost any provider (Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive, more.) This is already accessible for free for personal usage, however, what you’re purchasing here is a license for the more powerful Personal plan. This edition allows an infinite number of devices (the free version is restricted to two) and cloud providers, as well as email support, and would cost you $ 48 per year if bought individually.
Even if you have no interest in BoxCryptor, the two-year subscription seems to be a great bargain. It’s considerably less expensive than NordVPN’s two-year package ($ 3.71 per month), and although Surfshark’s two-year plan is somewhat lower ($ 2.49 per month), that’s just the introductory price – it doubles on renewal.
PIA now offers dedicated IP addresses in five locations: the US, UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia. This ensures that you always have the same IP address, and since it is not shared, you are less likely to be banned as a result of someone else’s dubious actions. However, sharing an IP address increases your chances of being identified by websites, so this is not a choice for everyone.
The monthly fee is reasonable at $ 5, with no savings for longer periods. NordVPN is somewhat more costly at $ 5.83 per month for an annual subscription, while CyberGhost is the cheapest at $ 2.25 per month for a three-year contract.
If you’re tempted to join up for one of these programs, a variety of payment options are available, including gift cards, Bitcoin, PayPal, and credit/debit cards.
Although there is no pia free trial period, PIA does provide a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Another surprise awaits you in PIA’s Terms and Conditions (and, unusually for tiny print, it’s a nice one.) Numerous VPN providers state that users are only eligible for one refund per year. According to Private Internet Access, you are entitled to another refund if you buy a new account more than three months after receiving the last one.
That is extraordinarily generous, but we believe it is reasonable. Whether you use a VPN and it does not work for you, it should make no difference if you received a refund three years ago; you should have the same money-back rights as everyone else.
PIA – Browser Extensions
While using the Private Internet Access applications is straightforward, constantly moving between your normal program and the VPN client may be inconvenient.
Private Internet Access, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, now provides browser add-ons for Opera, Firefox, and Chrome, allowing you to connect to the VPN straight from the browser interface. This just secures your browser traffic, but if that’s not a concern, the plugin significantly simplifies the usage of Private Internet Access.
Due to the extension’s near-identical appearance and feel to the other clients, there is little to no learning curve. A straightforward opening interface has a large Connect button for connecting to the nearest server, as well as a comprehensive list of locations, complete with latencies (and a Favorites system) if necessary. At the very least, you may activate the VPN with a few clicks from inside your browser.
A Bypass List of the split tunneling kind allows you to select websites for which you do not wish to utilize the VPN. If they do not function properly while the VPN is on, add them to the Bypass List and their traffic will be redirected through your normal connection.
PIA – Support
The Private Internet Access Support Center maintains an online knowledge base with articles addressing common issues such as troubleshooting, account issues, and technical difficulties. These are not usually as detailed as those for ExpressVPN, but they are also not just boring explanations of software functionality.
For instance, a Security Best Practices page on encryption provides users with valuable technical background on encryption, authentication, and handshaking techniques, among other topics.
A Guides section contains articles and instructions on how to configure each supported platform. While some of them are quite straightforward, there is still a lot to discover, including 12 articles on Android alone.
A convenient News page keeps customers informed about new servers, app upgrades, and service outages. That may save you a lot of time and aggravation on its own if you determine that your present issue is a result of a known system outage and that you are not required to call assistance or attempt to diagnose it yourself.
If you are unable to resolve your problems online, PIA now provides live chat and email assistance. I initiated a chat session and posed a possibly perplexing inquiry regarding the recently deprecated authentication and handshake options. Would the agent be familiar with the product at that level of detail, particularly given the recent change?
Yes, very much— the agent didn’t offer me any specific technical information but stated that they’d been dropped and sent me to a support website where I could learn more, which is exactly the kind of response I’d anticipate from any provider.
PIA – Pros and Cons
- Encryption that is advanced and customized
- A massive network of safe servers
- On all servers, torrenting is permitted.
- Compatible with Netflix in the United States and BBC iPlayer
- Verified no-logs policy on privacy
- Extremely high short-distance speeds
- Headquarters in the privacy-invading United States of America (FVEY jurisdiction)
- The Fire TV Stick application should be improved.
- There is no Smart DNS functionality.
Private Internet Access impresses with its simplicity of use, diverse client base, torrent support, and sophisticated capabilities – and it’s also a fantastic bargain if you choose for the three-year subscription.
It achieves the ideal mix of accessibility and features, with plug-and-play applications for a variety of devices and sophisticated capabilities such as command line VPN management and multihop servers – and that’s without even taking into account the staggering number of servers.
However, it falls short of class leaders like ExpressVPN in terms of consistency, and although PIA can unblock certain geo-restricted material and speeds are often adequate, other providers provide more dependable content unblocking that is always fast and always works. Overall, it’s a great bargain and is certainly worth considering if you’re always hooked to your tablet or smartphone.
Private Internet Access Review FAQs
Do the PIA keep logs?
Private Internet Access does not record a user’s online browsing history, their device’s IP address, the duration of their VPN session, or any other user data.
How does the Private Internet Access virtual private network (VPN) work?
Private Internet Access VPN works by routing a user’s internet connection via one of their servers, encrypting it, and replacing the device’s IP address. This implies that the user’s internet service provider cannot know which websites they visit or their private device’s IP address, thus making the user anonymous online.
Is Private Internet Access a kind of VPN?
Private Internet Access is a virtual private network (VPN) designed for personal usage. There are no memberships available for businesses or families; only subscriptions that allow ten simultaneous connections are offered.
Is Private Internet Access a reputable VPN service?
Private Internet Access is a reliable VPN service provider with over 3,000 VPN locations in 33 countries. While Private Internet Access does not record online activity or IP addresses and utilizes AES-256 encryption, privacy-conscious users may wish to avoid it due to its location in the United States, a founding Five Eyes member nation.
She is expertise in VPN,Cyber security also Over 5 years experience she is working in several diverse fields, including branding, SEO, small businesses, non-profits, alternative health and the mind/body/spirit industry.