Private Internet Access Review of 2017 – Why should I use PIA VPN?
Every now and then we pick a VPN service provider. We analyze every feature associated with the service and test its promises via rigid scrutiny measures. We do this to facilitate the purchase decision of new users seeking a VPN.
Furthermore, through our reviews, we also provide alternatives to the users dissatisfied from their current VPN service provider. Today, we have selected Private Internet Access for review. We will analyze and test every promise made by Private Internet Access VPN against its performance.
The findings of our PIA VPN review would be impartial and based only on the findings extracted.
Pros of PIA VPN
- High emphasis on privacy & security
- Offers anonymous payment options
- Expansive server spread in major countries
- Does not keep any logs
- Offers easy to use apps & software
- Provides leading protocols and military grade encryption
- 24/7 customer support
- 7 day money back guarantee
- 3284+ servers in 24 countries
Cons of PIA VPN
- No free trial to test the service
- Variable speed performance on some servers
What is Private Internet Access?
Private Internet Access is one of the leading VPN providers in the industry. Its emphasis on privacy and security are without comparison the best when it comes to picking a VPN service. With top of the line features, military grade encryption, secure tunneling, no logging policy, and a global server spread, PIA provides online anonymity and protection against most dangerous cyber threats. You can even subscribe to the VPN service through anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin. So, if you are looking for a VPN that guarantees online safety and internet freedom, you should definitely try Private Internet Access.
Private Internet Access Plans and Pricing
There are three basic package plans offered by PIA VPN service: monthly package plan, 6 month package plan and yearly package plan. An interesting thing that we acknowledged in package plans was the uniformity of features associated with each plan.
PIA with its no log policy represents feature-rich package plans offering unlimited bandwidth, multiple gateways, Wi-Fi encryption and P2P along with VoIP support.
After studying the pricing plans of the service for our PIA VPN review and concluded that you can subscribe to monthly package for just $6.95. Amazed already? But wait, there’s more. PIA offers 6 months package plan for just $5.99/month; in addition, if you decide to commit for an elongated period, you get the best value package as yearly package costs as low as $3.33/month.
There are many reasons that justify the need of a VPN. Number of servers offered by a VPN service provider serves as the key enforcer while making a purchase decision. VPN servers along with the geographic location of their presence allow users to access broad range of geo-restricted content. PIA VPN gives you access to more than 3,018 servers geographically scattered in different regions.
When you connect to a particular server, you will be assigned an IP of that respective region. Hence, you can access any geo-restricted content produced for the native eyes only.
PIA Decides To Close Services in Russia
A new data retention law has just been passed in Russia which mandates telecom companies and web-based services operating in Russia to store metadata, communications, and internet traffic history of their users.
In light of such events, Russian law enforcement authorities have seized PIA servers located in Russia without any notice. The VPN service announced that it has discontinued all its Russian Gateways and will no longer be operating in Russia. It has ensured all its users that no information was compromised since the VPN service does not keep any logs.
For preventive measures, PIA has rotated all its certificates and has advised its users to update their VPN clients and apps from respective app stores. If anyone is using OpenVPN then they should download the new configuration files. PIA remains firm that it will not compromise on its subscribers privacy and will be evaluating policies of other countries as well.
PIA’s Response to Pulling out from Russia
To dig deep into the implications of the decision made by PIA, we at VPNRanks conducted an interview with their CEO, Ted Kim. From the interview, it can be clearly stated that PIA remains steadfast in preserving its subscribers privacy.
We initially inquired about how the VPN service will facilitate users looking for Russian servers and when can we expect PIA to operate again in Russia. PIA responded that it will not setup servers in countries that don’t ensure privacy of its customers and it is impossible to say when can the service return back in Russia.
When we inquired about the long term implications of such data retention laws on the VPN industry, PIA retorted that people who are concerned about their privacy will continue to use a VPN. It went onto say that laws such these are a compelling reason to use VPN services that guarantee ultimate online privacy.
Protocols and Encryption
Despite of all the value added features and benefits you can enjoy by connecting a VPN, encryption is one of the core ingredients that satisfy the most basic and important needs – privacy and security.
A VPN ensures your confidentiality through its diverse tunneling protocols. Furthermore, through its encryption protocols, a VPN encrypts your data which minimizes the possibility of unauthorized access and data abuse.
We studied the security features of the service for our PIA VPN review and concluded that the provider offers three tunneling protocols: PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) and OpenVPN. Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is usually preferred by VPN users who want to access geo-restricted content.
In addition, it satisfies the needs associated with anonymity as your real IP is masked the moment you connect a VPN. PPTP has minimal affect on your Internet speed; but, it in return offers shallow security.
Those who are concerned about their security prefer L2TP instead. L2TP is a sophisticated protocol that offers absolute anonymity and competent security. OpenVPN is on the other hand is not always a preferable protocol to adopt. All three different protocols liberalize users’ freedom of choice along with diversity.
How to Use PIA VPN With uTorrent
Torrenting and P2P file sharing are the most popular and economical method to get popular movies, songs, documentaries, videos, games and softwares for free. However, with a crackdown against torrent giants like torrentz and piratebay, law enforcement agencies are lurking to catch and penalize torrenters. But fortunately, PIA VPN with an excellent set of strong tunneling protocols offers top-notch torrenting protection to users.
Once configured on users’ system, PIA VPN encrypts the entire torrent traffic of users and makes them anonymous to DMCA, ISP monitoring and copyright owners. For users ease, we’ve created an easy step by step configuration guide below; that will help you to use PIA VPN with uTorrent.
Here’s how to use PIA VPN with uTorrent client:
- Make an account on PIA VPN site
- Choose a VPN package plan of your choice and make payment
- Now, setup uTorrent client on your system
- Launch uTorrent client, click on Menu>Options>Preferences
- From Preferences, select Connection
- Now make configuration as mentioned below:
Proxy server type: Socks5
Connection port: 1080
- Next, enter the username and password as provided by provider and proceed.
Once the setup is finished, restart uTorrent client and start downloading endless torrents safely and anonymously from any corner of the world. Moreover, if you face any issues with the PIA VPN setup on uTorrent then feel free to drop a query in the comment box at the end of this review.
Private Internet Access Compatibility
Device compatibility is another key aspect of a VPN service we would like to explore in this PIA VPN review.
Imagine a VPN service with feature-rich package plans offered in exchange of cheap price or a VPN service with 2000+ servers in 50 regions. But, you can connect this VPN on your PC only. All the features and tempting offers would go straight into the trash.
We live a busy lifestyle in a technologically advanced era. Life today is literally on the go. Device compatibility therefore is one of the most essential constituents you may consider before purchasing a VPN.
Let’s talk about the security of your Smartphone now. Private Internet Access VPN is also compatible with Android which is one of the most readily adopted Smartphone platforms along with iOS. In addition, you can easily configure PIA VPN on your Boxee Box and it is also compatible with DD-WRT and TomatoRouter.
After sales service is one of the key enforcers to retain your clients; especially, when you operate in a service industry. However, when it comes to a VPN, customer service becomes something more than just necessary.
Customer service representative is often a life saver when you are in middle of something and can’t get through. All these services add value to the service purchased and probably augment retention.
Customer and tech-support of PIA VPN is just extraordinary and the provider claims 24/7/365 live tech-support. To validate this claim, we tried to test their customer service. Below mentioned snapshot is the conversation between me and customer service representative.
For our PIA VPN review we explored company’s official website and found that the provider only supports PPTP protocol on DD-WRT Router. So, we decided to inquire about other supported protocols for DD-WRT Router, if any.
Here’s You can see the response we received from PIA representative – and yes it was very prompt (received within 10 seconds). On the basis of this short yet useful conversation, I would rate PIA VPN 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Unique Selling Proposition
After in-depth analysis of Private Internet Access’s features and package plans in our PIA VPN review, we have concluded several characteristics that comprise unique selling proposition of Private Internet Access VPN such as variety of payment options, number of servers and device compatibility. However, all these features seem nothing compared to DNS leak protection.
When we connect a VPN on a preferred device – we ensure our privacy and security, no doubt about that. However, there are still some loopholes left to be filled. After a VPN is connected on our device, we become absolutely invisible to the digital universe.
However, our Internet service provider can still track our activities such as which platform or website we accessed; but, won’t be able to view our data. All this information is transferred through our DNS.
What leak protection does – you might be wondering? DNS Leak Protection even blinds our Internet service providers – making them monitor absolutely NOTHING. Private Internet Access VPN along with other lucrative offers provides DNS Leak Protection. This can indeed be reviewed as PIA’s unique selling proposition in this PIA VPN review.
Software and Tutorials Provided
Payment Methods of Privae Internet Access
Diversity in payment methods offered by a VPN service provider is another key enforcer to a purchase decision. Diversity in payment options facilitates the transaction process liberalizing subscribers to choose a payment method as per their convenience.
Private Internet Access VPN currently accepts payments via Credit Cards, Bitcoin, PayPal, Amazon, Ripple, CashU and OKPay. Google Wallet is another option you may include in the list; however, it is currently inactive.
“Private Internet Access does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Proxy”.
This is something we witness once in a blue moon. A VPN service provider with a claim like that is definitely worth a shot; however, the only hurdle is the lack of free trial. Nevertheless, there is nothing more luxurious than privacy itself – is it? There might be several VPN service providers out there – offering FREE trials and cheap price.
Free Trial of Private Internet Access
I know most of you would have tried to find this section the moment you accessed this article. However, I don’t have good news to offer here; because, Private Internet Access VPN does not offer a free trial. I know most of you would be shocked after reading our PIA VPN review. In fact, some of you might decide to turn down Private Internet Access VPN for this reason.
Nonetheless, there might be another aspect of this. A free trial is often offered to people so that they can try the services and purchase them if they’re satisfied. However, some VPN service providers show something and sell another. People often complain that connectivity, speed and privileges associated with a VPN at the time of trial are just not the same now.
The VPN service providers that do not offer a free trial often present a money back guarantee with their service. But, a FREE trial is an enforcer like no other; hence, it can be regarded as a loophole of Private Internet Access VPN.
Private Internet Access Speed Test
No matter how much we research about Private Internet Access VPN, we can only hypothesize about its performance. In order to add valid rationale justifying PIA VPN’s performance, we conducted some speed tests to check reliability of the service in our PIA VPN review.
For this, we first tested our connection speed and then connected our device to different servers of PIA to compare the results. We are currently using a 100 Mbps connection and the results revealed by speed test are portrayed by the snapshot given below (Ping – 0 ms, Download Speed – 74.33 Mbps, Upload Speed – 4.49 Mbps).
After testing different servers of PIA, it can be deduced that download speed was significantly affected every time we connected a VPN. However, this is a widely accepted fact that a VPN affects your actual Internet speed. So, an approximate drop of Internet speed by 40-45% should really be a concern here – I guess.
The results derived for PIA VPN review worth notifying and include download speed, upload speed and ping statistics. PIA VPN’s servers don’t affect the upload speed much which is the good news for all those who love to share. Furthermore, the ping isn’t affected as well which is more than just good news for all gamers seeking a VPN.
The rise of technology has made our security vulnerable. We currently are experiencing different threats directed to our privacy. It is almost impossible to acknowledge Internet liberty now; because, someone, somewhere is always monitoring our online activities. No matter who is behind the privacy threats we encounter – either it is the NSA vigilantes or the cyber-goons, absolute anonymity has become a myth.
A VPN in this regard serves as a great remedy. A VPN is an ultimate solution to all the concerns we encounter with respect to Internet security and online privacy. However, there are many VPN service providers trading in the market. Most of them have resembling package plans and often confuse new users with their tempting offers and promotions. We are here to help you in this regard.
After thorough analysis and testing of package plans and features representing Private Internet Access VPN, we can conclude that PIA offers feature-rich package plans at affordable price. Not only this, PIA has wide range of servers allowing you to break through divergent geo-restrictions. DNS Leak Protection in addition is a feature that adjoins more value to the package plans.
PIA VPN doesn’t depict much effect on either Internet speed or ping; hence, it can be considered as a viable alternative. Nonetheless, PIA doesn’t offer a FREE trial which will probably be a loophole hindering purchase decision of many. We therefore give 3/5 to the service in our PIA VPN review.
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