Private Internet Access or PIA is an American based VPN service that promises a lot in terms of compatibility and customer support service.
As you read along this Private Internet Access review, you will learn about its pricing, security features and other important aspects.
Furthermore, you will learn why PIA is on the best VPN services available.
Strong Points of Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is one of the leading VPN providers in the industry. As the name suggest, this VPN emphasizes on digital privacy of its users.
With top of the line features, military grade encryption, secure tunneling, no logging policy, and a global server spread, the VPN provides online anonymity and protection against most dangerous cyber threats.
It gets even better.
You can even subscribe to the VPN service through anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin.
Below, I have listed out the core strengths of the VPN.
- Kill Switch
- DNS Leaks
- Protocols and Encryption
- Torrenting Supported
- PIA VPN works in China
- Established VPN Service
The kill switch disconnects your internet if you lose your VPN connection for one reason or the other.
This stops your actual IP address from getting exposed to your local ISP or the site you are visiting.
PIA has a built-in kill switch that protects your identity even on unreliable servers.
Every VPN promises to store no logs at all. Yet, not all deliver on that promise. In fact, on the contrary, many VPNs have handed over customer data to third parties.
In my opinion, VPN providers should be crystal clear about what user they keep or not. If they record customer data for any purpose at all, they should come clean.
Most importantly, the VPN makes it clear that keeps no logs customer activity.
DNS leak protection routes through the dedicated Private Internet Access DNS servers. This puts an extra layer of security on your connection.
As you see, I tested the VPN for any potential leaks and the results showed no DNS or IP leak.
Protocols and Encryption: Capable Tools for Digital Security
I studied the security features of this VPN and learned that the provider offers three tunneling protocols:
- PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)
- L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)
- SOCKS5 Proxy Tunnel
PPTP is an obsolete protocol that has proven vulnerable. In spite of this, some Netizens use it for surpassing geo-limitations.
In addition, it satisfies the needs associated with anonymity as your real IP is masked the moment you connect a VPN. L2TP, on the other hand, is a sophisticated protocol that offers absolute anonymity and competent security.
OpenVPN is a popular protocol thanks to its open-source nature. It is widely used due to its ability of balancing speed with security.
A newer and unusual option is SOCKS5 proxy. This option is mostly used for streaming purpose as it provides good speed. PIA proxy settings provide minimalistic security but unblocks geo-locked content.
Along with these protocols, PIA offers military-grade 256-bit encryption. This encryption level has even found takers in global corporations and security agencies.
Furthermore, you can use its customized SHA-1 or SHA-256 encryption. Likewise, the VPN uses RSA-2048 public key encryption to setup handshakes between clients and servers.
Torrents work as a double-edge sword. They allow you to download variety of content while also exposing your device to multiple threats.
To use torrent safely, you need a VPN, preferably one that is not afraid of copyright allows.
PIA mentions that it supports P2P activities. It is also a go-to VPN for millions of torrent users.
Does Private Internet Access Work in China?
China with its Great Firewall is undoubtedly the worst place for Internet Freedom. It a place some of the most popular websites are blocked.
The only way to circumvent the cyber restrictions in China is by using a capable VPN service.
Private Internet Access in China only works through its L2TP connections.
Established VPN Service
Good reputation goes a long way in the VPN industry and this where PIA shines.
The VPN has been around since 2010 and has managed to establish loyal fan base in the online privacy world.
Other than this, PIA has frequently stood up with Netizens whenever powerful forces have infringed upon their internet rights.
Areas of Concern for Private Internet Access
Perfection is rarity in the world of Virtual Private Networks. Hence, even a fantastic VPN service has some flaws.
Customer Service: No Live Chat Feature
Customer service representative is often a lifesaver when you are in middle of a hassle. Moreover, Customer services add value to the product purchased and probably augment retention.
Unfortunately, I learned while writing the PIA VPN review 2018, the service has done away with its Live Chat feature. Instead, it has opted the more classical email ticketing system.
The providers answers Email queries within 10 to 12 hours. The replies are comprehensive, clear and helpful.
The good news is that the providers still offer a knowledgebase, Guides and a Blog. With the help of these services, you can set up this VPN on any of your preferred devices.
For instance, a detailed Private Internet Access Firestick guide. It helps you configure the VPN on the streaming service.
Nevertheless, there is no such as Live Chat when you need quick solutions.
Jurisdictions: The United States
On one hand, the USA has no law that requires VPNs to maintain activity log of the user. On the other hand, it is quite possibly the worst place for VPN to based in.
Ever since the revelation of Edward Snowden, everyone and their uncle know that American agencies spy on their citizens.
Moreover, the American government has some of the most advancement software to do that spying. Therefore, a US based VPN will always have a hard time convincing its users of guaranteed privacy.
Hence, I encourage you all to do your research. Read the privacy of this VPN before opting for it.
No 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; because, Private Internet Access free trial does not exist.
For many readers, this will be the most disappointing part of the Private Internet Access review. In fact, some of you might decide to turn down this VPN for this reason.
A free trial is often offered to people so that they can try the services and purchase them if they’re satisfied. This is because, some VPN service providers show something and sell another.
The VPN service providers that do not offer a free trial often present a money back guarantee with their service. PIA refund policy states that you can get your money back within 7 days of the payment.
Still, a free trial is an enforcer like no other. Hence, this is one of the aspects of the VPN, I did not like.
Private Internet Access Netflix: No Access
Netflix is a great source of entertainment. It provides access to quality movies, shows, documentaries and other similar content.
Yet, this streaming service has its limitation. It blocks certain content in some countries due to copyright issues.
Thankfully, VPNs can unlock restricted content on Netflix. With a capable VPN, you can enjoy Netflix with no limitations.
Bad news is that this VPN that is particularly good in unlocking content on Netflix. In my test, the streaming site detected the VPN with no real difficulty.
Hopefully the PIA Netflix service will improve in the near future. I look forward to a Private Internet Access update that makes it efficient on Netflix.
Until then, we can only dream of watching Netflix with Private Internet Access.
You can find out more information about Private Internet Access Netflix here.
PIA VPN Hulu: Does it unblock the Streaming Site?
Hulu is another popular streaming site that brings us entertaining shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale.
Unfortunately, this service is only available to American users. Hence, one needs VPN to access it in other countries.
The VPN I am reviewing does not offer any Netflix accessibility.
Average Speed: Not Up to the Standard
No matter how much I research about this VPN, I can only hypothesize about its performance.
In order to add valid rationale justifying the VPN’s performance, I conducted some speed tests to check reliability of the service in this review.
Find here the latest VPN speed tests results for various VPN services including PIA.
For this, I first tested my connection speed and then connected my device to different servers of this VPN to compare the results.
I connected using a 30 Mbps connection and the results revealed by speed test are portrayed by the snapshot given below.
After this, I examined the speed of Private Internet Access UK server. The snapshot given below portrays the PIA speed test results for the UK.
Ping has increased from 4 to 122 ms – which is a cause of concern. Download speed however was affected as it dropped from 22.60 Mbps to 18.46 Mbps. The good news is that upload speed wasn’t deteriorated much (30.34 Mbps – before connecting a VPN, 25.91 Mbps – after connecting a VPN).
Overall, in my test, this proved to be the fastest PIA server.
After testing the PIA VPN UK servers, I tested Switzerland in order to authenticate the results at much greater extent. The snapshot given below reveals the results of speed test after connecting to the Switzerland server. Ping enhanced a little bit more and the download speed was affected as well. However, upload speed improved as compared to the results extracted while being connected to a UK server.
The process does not end here. I tested the VPN’s France server as well. The ping rose from 0 ms to 311 ms here. Download speed after connecting a VPN was 11.62 Mbps and upload speed was 5.64 Mbps.
Wait! There’s more. I tested the Netherlands server also and the results were a little bit different than the previous ones. Ping was 144 ms, download speed was 6.26 Mbps and upload speed was 24.80 Mbps.
After testing different servers, it can be deduced that download speed was significantly affected every time I 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 show that the performance of this VPN is less than impressive.
The saving grace is that the VPN’s servers is that they do not affect the upload speed much. This is the good news for all those who love to share. Furthermore, the ping is affected as well, which is a bad news for all gamers seeking a VPN.
PIA VPN Performance: How Efficient is This VPN?
The performance of the service varies from server to server. My Private Internet Access VPN review discloses that you may find better downloading speeds on different servers. Conversely, you may experience slow downloading speeds on servers.
Furthermore, if you use the service during peak hours then you may face the connectivity issues. The users may anticipate buffering issues while watching their favorite media content on their devices.
Plans and Pricing: Affordable Service
There are three basic package plans offered by this VPN service: Monthly Package Plan, Yearly Package Plan and Two Years Package Plan.
All these provide the all the benefits that this VPN offers. This means you will get the same servers, protocol options and security features on all of these packages.
The VPN offers 12 months package plan for just $3.33/month. This is a ridiculously low price when you compare it with the cost of some other VPNs.
In addition, if you commit for a longer period, you get even more discount. There is no Private Internet Access Lifetime package that may extend to five years. Instead, the VPN offers a 2-year package.
The two years package requires you to pay $2.91/month. All this puts this VPN straight in the cheap VPN territory.
Payment Methods: Bitcoin and Much More
The VPN currently accepts payments via Credit Cards, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, PayPal, Amazon, Ripple, Amazon Pay and Mint. It also provides variety of cryptocurrencies.
While most VPN providers take the high road when it comes to accepting cryptocurrencies, this VPN goes all in.
Moreover, you can use PIA gift card option for anonymous payment.
This shows that providers are serious about their commitment to the privacy of the users.
Decent Server Coverage
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.
The VPN servers along with the geographic location of their presence allow users to access broad range of geo-restricted content. The VPN gives you access to more than 3160+ servers geographically scattered in different regions.
Currently the VPN has its servers located in more than 33 countries: U.S, Canada, U.K, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany, Romania, Isreal, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Hong Kong and others.
Keep in mind that many of these servers are in fact, PIA proxy servers.
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.
Private Internet Access vs. NordVPN
My private internet access review would not be complete without comparing it against a top VPN service. Here is the snapshot of comparison table that helps you to know about the hidden attributes of both the services.
|Features||Private Internet Access||NordVPN|
|Money Back Guarantee||7 Days||30 Days|
Private Internet Access vs. TunnelBear
TunnelBear, a VPN service in Canada is another impressive privacy provider that even offers free services. Below, a TunnelBear vs PIA review comparison tells you a VPN service in Canada.
|Features||Private Internet Access||TunnelBear|
|Money Back Guarantee||7 Days||No|
Private Internet Access on Different Devices
As I have previously stated in my Private Internet Access VPN review, the provider is compatible with multiple devices. Here is the list of operating systems and devices on which this VPN works:
PIA VPN on Windows
My PIA VPN review discloses that the service has a dedicated client for Windows. You can download PIA VPN on Windows devices to protect your online identity from online hackers and from other malicious threats.
I have used the Private Internet Access Windows 10 client myself and I found it to be a user-friendly software.
PIA VPN on MacOS
The same goes for MacOS because the service is compatible and provides amazing installation guides for MacOS. Thus, you need to install the software for your MacOS. By doing so, you are able to surf the web anonymously with your Private Internet Access Mac client.
Mac OS software of this VPN has an eye-catching interface and the same tools as the PIA Windows 10 client.
PIA VPN on Linux
The VPN provides user- friendly tutorials for Linux based operating system. The subscribers just have to download and follow the simple installation procedure to enjoy next level anonymity.
Although there is no dedicated PIA Linux client, you set it up on the device following few simple steps. You can use.
PIA VPN on iOS
Likewise, the users may opt the service to attain online privacy and freedom on their iOS devices. To achieve this purpose, you can download and install the relevant app on your iOS devices straightaway.
The Private Internet Access iPhone app is available to download from iTunes.
PIA VPN on Android
Our PIA VPN review suggests that the service is highly compatible with the Android platform. Through the official website, you can download and install the Android app on your Android devices instantly.
You can also download the Private Internet Access APK app from Google Play.
PIA VPN Chrome Extension
PIA Chrome extension comes with WebRTC blocking and Website URL whitelist. Adding it to the browser is a matter of few seconds.
This add-on can switched on and off with utmost ease. Overall, the Private Internet Access Chrome Extension is user-friendly and convenient tool for anyone seeking online privacy.
PIA VPN Firefox Extension
Unfortunately, there is no Private Internet Access Firefox extension. In its place, the providers offer Foxy Proxy.
The Foxy Proxy allows you to use the SOCK5 proxy server on your Firefox. It provides access to blocked content but offers little online privacy.
PIA VPN on Router
PIA VPN Installation Process
My PIA VPN review affirms that the process of installing the service on different devices is straightforward. Here is how you can do to achieve your objective.
- Subscribe to the service through the official website
- After subscribing to the service download the app on your device
- Once you have installed the app, just login by entering your PIA login credentials
- Select the VPN server of your choice from the list
- Enjoy the benefit of complete online freedom from anywhere
Private Internet Access Download and Login Process
Fortunately, the task of logging in through the VPN is straightforward and does not need any rocket science. According to this Private Internet Access VPN review, the users can download and install the preferred app on their devices.
My review unveils that the downloading this VPN is straightforward. You do not need to be a tech geek to download Private Internet Access on your device.
Once you have completed the download and have paid for the service, you can start using the service instantly. After entering your Private Internet Access Login credentials, you can connect to any server from the list and attain online anonymity.
London Trust Media Review
My review reveals that the service is a brainchild of London Trust Media. Interestingly, you can find different unbiased reviews about London Trust Media owned Private Internet Access VPN on ResellerRatings. Thus, you are able to discover the pros and cons of the service in a realistic manner.
Trustpilot is filled with overwhelming positive Private Internet Access reviews. Many users praise the technical support of the VPN.
Some subscribers praise this service for supporting torrenting.
Twitter users are mostly concerned with the server switching abilities of PIA. A function that the VPN performs with utmost efficiency.
It's working on some countries. Thanks the PIA vpn you can switch countries 😉
— Anthony (@AnthonyFenrir) October 17, 2018
PIA VPN gurantees privacy as one user highlights its no-log policy:
I will also say that PIA VPN has been tested twice in court and they we're not able to disclose records because they didn't have them. PIA is looking good.
— Frank Castle (@Ginsberg5150) June 19, 2018
Reddit is another place where loyal fans of this VPN are vocal in their support of the service.
However, concerns about the VPN’s speed remain among privacy seekers.
After thorough analysis and testing of package plans and features representing Private Internet Access VPN, I 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 does not depict much effect on either Internet speed or ping; hence, it can be considered as a viable alternative. Nonetheless, PIA does not offer a FREE trial which will probably be a loophole hindering purchase decision of many. I therefore give 4.1/5 to the service in my analysis of Private Internet Access review.