Private Internet Access (PIA) has long been a company favorite with members of Reddit’s privacy forums. This Provider is based in the United States which is not considered to be an ideal location for a VPN provider to be based, but it has no compulsory data retention laws, so therefore, giving PIA a chance to be no-logs VPN service.
I have used this VPN service for years and also recommended it for people, who in turn gives positive feedback. Thus, I am well aware of its Pros and Cons.
By the end of this review, you will not only be glad you came across this article but also without a doubt, know if Private Internet Access (PIA) is the right option for you.
Let’s Dive right in.
To walk you smoothly through this review numbered below are the key areas I will be covering.
- About the Company (Overview)
- Compatible Devices
- Speed and Performance
- Price (Free or Paid version)
- Privacy and Security
- Pros and Cons
You can click on any of the subheadings above to jump to that section otherwise, scroll down to read as ordered above.
1. About the Company (Overview)
Private Internet Access (usually abbreviated as PIA) is one of the larger VPN out there on the VPN market, having a large number of servers about 3322 and still growing at this moment. One of their best features is its focus on privacy.
This provider ensures a strict no-log policy, this is why torrent users are very familiar and popular with it.
In addition, Private Internet Access is widely known for its minimalistic and compact programs and app. Some consumers think this is a plus, while others might consider it a letdown.
We also tested this service and looked at its internet speeds, privacy, user-friendliness, security, server network, and other extra features. This is what we found.
PIA was recently bought by Kape Technologies. This company Kape Technologies are known to be the owners of the VPN providers CyberGhost (a Popularly known VPN) and Zenmate in the last couple of years.
This could mean some changes for PIA in the years to come. However, it is difficult to say what will happen exactly. We will be watching to see if the change has any effect on the safety and privacy of their users.
Watch the video below to see why you should use PIA.
2. Compatible Devices
The PIA software can be downloaded for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. There are also extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Hence, PIA is said to be compatible with almost all devices.
Once you click on The ‘Download’ page of PIA’s website, it shows you all your options neatly displayed. All you have to do is to click the right operating system to download the relevant file.
We will be giving an example by explaining the download instructions for Windows, since we used the Windows application of PIA. As soon as you open the downloaded file, the installer will start.
Installing the dashboard takes less than a minute, but is nevertheless carefully explained step-by-step by PIA. Use your account information to log in. Now you can really get started.
The thing about PIA that we must not forget to mention is the company’s staggering number of servers, which is over 3322 and still growing.
With this number of servers, you can see how popular the service is, and how reliable, that you can easily connect to a local server with minimal problems.
PIA has virtually all of most the common VPN features, including 3 different VPN tunneling protocols (PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPSec), multiple VPN gateways, 5 simultaneous connections, and ad and malware-blockers.
You might end up not using all this features but their low cost will serve as a motivation that you’ll never feel like you are overpaying for options you will never use.
And if you are someone who loves to mess around with VPN configurations (a hobby I never had thought I’d pick up), then at least those options are there.
PIA also includes a SOCK5 Proxy option. Although this technically not a VPN (it’s a little complicated), it gives a faster connection that still provides some level of anonymity, Unfortunately, SOCK5 Proxy option have no data encryption and your activity can easily be monitored.
There are few VPN providers out there that give users this option, so it’s definitely a feature that makes PIA stand out from the crowd.
Streaming – Does PIA Work with Netflix?
With popular streaming sites like Netflix constantly cracking down on VPN use, there’s no guarantee that most VPNs will be able to access geo-blocked streaming content.
We had mixed results with PIA. However, it was a good thing that all three of the US servers that we tested were able to access US Netflix content without being blocked by the dreaded proxy error.
Apart from accessing the UK Netflix on both servers that we tested, we were also able to access Netflix content in Canada and Australia.
However, to every good side, there will be a bad side, the downsides to this VPN is that we were not to access Netflix in other server locations that we tested, including Mexico, Germany and Japan.
Another thing was that, it also wasn’t able to access content on Hulu, Amazon Video, or BBC iPlayer in any of our tests, So if you are someone that happens to use Hulu, BBC iPlayer and so on, it can be a downside to you.
If you’re looking to unblock Netflix and other streaming sites from across the globe, NordVPN is a reliable choice. It’s fast, secure, and unlimited.
4. Speed and Performance
In a short while, I will be providing a look at the download speeds of PIA’s protected connections. But, before I do, let’s take a quick look at how VPN provider’s speed figures was determined at Pixel privacy.
All of our VPN speed tests was performed using a Windows machine based in the United States, connected to a gigabit Ethernet connection.
We perform all tests using the PIA Windows app, connected to an OpenVPN over UDP.
We make test connections to 3 different servers, which are located in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Hong Kong.
We perform tests for 3 days, 3 times per day, with at least 4 hours in between each round of tests.
The average protected connection speeds measured by PIA was at 78.89 Mbps during testing, which is better than most VPN and should easily be able to handle just about any online activity you can throw at it.
5. Price (Free or Paid version)
PIA offers three pricing packages, but each package offers the same features. The only difference between plans is the subscription length. Discounts are offered on longer subscriptions.
PIA does not offer a free trial but does have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you want to try out the service, we recommend purchasing a monthly plan and taking advantage of the money-back guarantee to decide if PIA is right for you before purchasing a longer subscription.
There are many different payment options, including major credit cards and popular online payment platforms.
PIA also accepts payment in form of gift cards, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, thus increasing anonymity.
6. Privacy and Security
PIA is a strong advocate for a full and complete online anonymity. That’s why, to assure their users of their reliable service, they have a strict no-logs policy in place.
However, it came to our notice that PIA store a little bit of data about their users. But that’s mostly payment information and details about the users’ website experience for affiliate partners and Google Analytics data.
Despite that, they never store information about what you’re doing online whenever you are connected to their VPN service.
PIA offers you a lot of choices to customize your encryption algorithm and protocols. The default setting offers AES 128-bit encryption and protect your connection with it.
This algorithm is extremely secure, but not at the same level as the now common AES 256-bit encryption.
Luckily, it’s simple to change this setting if you prefer. From the setting interface, you can manually select your encryption algorithm and handshake encryption.
If you don’t know what any of this means, don’t worry. PIA has detailed explanations on their website of each encryption type and how to decide which is best for you.
PIA’s dedicated apps allows you to use an OpenVPN protocol, with an option to choose between UDP and TCP connections. The exception is the iOS app, which uses IPsec, which is faster but less secure.
Read Our Article on VPN Protocol to know the best Protocol to use
Manual configuration can also be supported with L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, OpenVPN and SOCKS5 Proxy.
8. Pros and Cons
- 24/7 North American VPN Support
- The Most Anonymous VPN Service
- Highest quality for the lowest price Period.
- Worldwide coverage with 31+ countries
- Massive network with 3322+ gateways
- Easy to use custom VPN software
- Private Internet Access® 3322 Gbps+ Network
- No logging. Period.
- No free trial
- No chat feature
- Takes a few hours to get an answer from Customer Support
I can body say this VPN is a trustworthy one that values user privacy and offers strong security, adblocking, and anonymous torrenting, PIA may be a good option for you.
The service is also wrapped up in an extremely user-friendly package.
This brings us to the end of this review. I hope you enjoyed reading it….
…. It’s your turn to give me feedback…
Do you have an account with PIA? If not, what do you think about signing up?
Do you think PIA is safe and secure? Or
……maybe you have a question.
Either way, let me know in the comment section right away.
- BeeVPN Review (2020)- The Comprehensive Guide - June 24, 2020
- Ultrasurf Review (2020): The Comprehensive Guide - June 5, 2020
- Private WiFi Review (2020): The Comprehensive Guide - May 30, 2020