• Number of servers: 10/10
  • Speed: 9.5/10
  • Pricing: 9.5/10
  • Ease of use: 10/10
  • Reliability and support: 10/10

minimum price:

£8.09/monthly

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Private Internet Access (PIA) Review

Private Internet Access (PIA) Review

minimum price:

£8.09/monthly

Visit Website
  • Number of servers: 10/10
  • Speed: 9.5/10
  • Pricing: 9.5/10
  • Ease of use: 10/10
  • Reliability and support: 10/10

works on:

Android Android
Apple Apple
Linux Linux
Mac OS Mac OS
Windows Windows
Firefox Firefox
Chrome Chrome

Torrenting and security

STRENGTHS

  • Intuitive design
  • Supports ten simultaneous connections
  • ~34,000 servers across 78 countries
  • Advanced network settings
  • Many features
  • PIA unblocks Netflix and other major streaming platforms

WEAKNESSES

  • No Private Internet Access free version
  • Inconsistent speeds
  • Few additional privacy tools

Private Internet Access is a great VPN service for those who want to browse the internet privately and securely. Although speedс can sometimes be inconsistent, it has excellent features, a simple design, and close to 34,000 servers.

To find out more about what this provider offers, keep reading our Private Internet Access review.

Speed

Whichever VPN provider you choose, you have to be prepared to have at least some speed loss. The speed of your internet will mostly depend on your location and your connection.

Nevertheless, more than one PIA speed test shows inconsistent results across locations. In some places, the connection proved exceptionally fast, while in others, it was relatively slow.

On our 200Mpbs connection, the Private Internet Access download speed while connected via one of the local PIA UK servers was 158Mbps. This means you can expect minimal loss with Private Internet Access VPN UK servers. The Canadian server also didn’t disappoint, reaching 102Mbps. But when we connected to a US server, there was a significant drop in speed—it reached 28Mbps. The Australian and Hong Kong servers achieved even lower results, with an average speed of 16Mbps. So if a fast connection to distant locations is among your priorities, you might want to consider alternatives, such as ExpressVPN.

Despite the significant speed loss when connected to some servers, people are generally happy with PIA. What’s great about this service is that it allows you to have ten simultaneous connections at once while still maintaining the same speed.

Privacy and Security

Private Internet Access masks your IP address and offers data encryption. PIA also offers DNS and IPv6 leak protection, as well as a kill switch.

Encryption

PIA’s default encryption is AES-128 GCM, but you have the option to change it to AES-256 (GCM and CBC). You can also choose among two authentication methods—SHA1 or SHA256. What’s more, you can change the handshake encryption from RSA-2048 (which is the default setting) to RSA-4096 or other RSA and ECC options.

IP Addresses

Private Internet Access has proxy and VPN servers in 99 locations across 78 countries worldwide amounting to a total of around 34,000 servers across the globe. Each one has its own range of IPs. 

Of course, your IP address won’t be detected when using the VPN, so you won’t have to worry about IP leaks.

Jurisdiction

Another thing worth mentioning, especially for those who really care about their anonymity, is that the headquarters of PIA is in the US. So the provider falls under the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance, which means it’s required to disclose activity that goes through its servers if asked by authorities.

Data Logging

Despite the US jurisdiction, the company boasts a no-logs policy, which should keep your privacy protected.

Kill Switch

Private Internet Access has a kill switch, so if your VPN connection drops, your internet access is also immediately blocked, so no data is leaked. 

The PIA kill switch is available on desktop but also iOS and Android devices. That’s great news for iPhone users, as some of the biggest competitors of PIA, such as ExpressVPN, don’t offer this feature on their iOS apps.

PIA’s Primary Uses

You can use Private Internet Access’s VPN services for any of the below purposes.

Streaming

One of the best things about this VPN provider is that it gives you the chance to unlock major streaming platforms. Private Internet Access allows access to Netflix US, DE, JP and UK, Hulu, and Disney+. What’s more, with PIA you can watch BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video

Torrenting

Private Internet Access allows torrenting on all of its servers since it offers full P2P support. Still, you have to keep in mind that the speed can sometimes be inconsistent. On the bright side, Private Internet Access has port forwarding, which is helpful for torrenting.

Gaming

As we mentioned above, the speed may sometimes be unreliable with PIA, so it might not be the best option for high-bandwidth gaming. You may want to look into other providers, such as NordVPN. 

Also, if you want to use this service with gaming consoles, you’ll have to install Private Internet Access on your router.

Supported Platforms

Private Internet Access is available on all major operating systems and device types.

Windows, Mac, and Linux Apps

You can download Private Internet Access on Linux, Windows and Mac. There is also a Private Internet Access Chrome extension, as well as one for Firefox and Opera

The browser extensions make PIA very easy to use, but they only protect your browsing traffic. That’s why you might be better off with the desktop client, which offers split tunnelling. With this option, you can choose which apps access the web directly and which ones go through the VPN.

Android and iOS Apps

The Private Internet Access Android and iOS apps are almost identical in terms of features. The apps are very easy to use and have many options and settings—even more than the desktop VPN clients of some rivals.

You can set the app to protect you from unknown wireless networks automatically. You have a choice between OpenVPN UDP or TCP connections and set local and remote ports. You can even request port forwarding and enable the kill switch.

Pricing

Let’s check out Private Internet Access’ plans and prices:

Monthly plan £8.09/month
Annual plan £2.71/month
Two-year plan £2.19/month + two months free of charge

You also get a Boxcryptor cloud security licence with the two-year package. You can make your payment with credit cards, PayPal, BitCoin, AmazonPay, CashU, OK Pay, and even gift cards. PIA’s pricing is generally lower than some well-known competitors, such as CyberGhost and Surfshark.

There’s no free plan, but if you’re not happy with your purchase, you can get a refund within 30 days

Customer Support

If you want to reach Private Internet Access, you can do so at any time since they offer 24/7 customer support. You can contact them in the following ways:

  • Start a Live Chat with agents on the company’s website.
  • Click the Community option where you can make requests or suggestions.
  • Access the Knowledgebase, which includes a FAQ section.
  • Go to the News section to find the most recent updates about PIA.
  • Use the Contact Us page to send PIA a message.

Private Internet Access has a 4.1 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot, which is lower than that of ExpressVPN, but higher than TunnelBear’s, for instance. 63% of PIA’s users evaluate the service as excellent, and 11% rate it as bad. Most comments say that the service is easy to use, and the support team is friendly and helpful.

On the other hand, some of the bad Private Internet Access reviews include complaints about poor support and billing practices, as well as problems with the browser extensions.

Still, the high rating indicates that the many positive experiences outweigh the few complaints.

Alternatives

Although PIA is a top-notch VPN provider, there are other options you could consider. Let’s check out some of the Private Internet Access alternatives and see how they stack up:

PIA vs NordVPN

Both VPN services provide excellent privacy and security; both have unlimited bandwidth, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. But there are some differences too. Torrenting is allowed on all Private Internet Access servers, while NordVPN has special servers dedicated for that. What’s more, PIA has close to 34,000 servers, whereas NordVPN has 5,200.

On the other hand, NordVPN is based in Panama and doesn’t fall under US data retention laws.

ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access 

Private Internet Access and ExpressVPN are both high-quality VPN providers that offer more than sufficient privacy protection. Both have kill switches, unlimited bandwidth, and don’t keep logs. But in terms of server network size, PIA takes the cake. ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries, while Private Internet Access has around 34,000 in 78 countries. 

ExpressVPN is pricier at £9.68 for the one-month plan vs £8.09 for PIA. But ExpressVPN falls under the British Virgin Islands laws, which is out of reach of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. 

Bottom Line

Private Internet Access provides excellent protection and an overall exceptional VPN service, although it may not have the best speeds out there. What’s more, it’s very affordable and can be installed on your PC or mobile device. You can simultaneously connect up to ten devices. 

We hope the information we shared in our Private Internet Access review helped you pick a VPN provider that best serves your needs. 

FAQ

Is PIA a good VPN?

PIA is a great VPN—it provides decent speeds, security, anonymity, and many servers.

How safe is Private Internet Access?

PIA is safe. It uses OpenVPN and WireGuard, which are among the most secure protocols. The service uses strong encryption as verified by more than one DNS leak test of PIA.

Does PIA keep logs?

No. Although the company falls under US data retention laws, it doesn’t keep logs and conceals IP addresses.

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