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Private Internet Access review

Last updated on 15/09/2020 by Melvyn and co.

Snapshot

Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the most secure and privacy friendly VPNs on the market. Users are protected by the best encryption out there, a suite of leading protocols, and an absolute zero logs policy. With its 3,300+ servers spread across 32 countries, you can stream, torrent and unblock the best content from around the globe with super-fast speeds!

Compatible with
Apple(Logo)(2)
Windows(Logo)(3)
Android(Logo)(2)
Linux(Logo)(2)
Rating

Our score:

4.6

4.6/5
Pricing

Price from:

$3.33

per month

Pros
Cons

Introduction

PIA state they offer ‘fast, multi-gigabit VPN tunnel gateways, worldwide, from the most trusted name in the anonymous VPN service’. A big claim calling themselves the most trusted name, but as you’ll find out in our review below, they certainly do offer a great product!

Privacy is at the core of their service. Not only are they completely zero logs, whilst using their apps users can choose from a variety of encryption variations depending on their needs which we feel will suit the more advanced users who require access to a multitude of settings. Similarly, default settings are extremely robust if you’re just after a well-designed, user-friendly product without the fuss!

When it comes to speed, PIA are certainly no slouch, delivering exceptional performance on both local and long-distance connections. Something that will excite our peer-to-peer readers out there no doubt, especially with unlimited torrenting permitted on all servers.

Speed and streaming usually go hand in hand but unfortunately PIA fails quite considerably here. During testing, we couldn’t successfully unblock BBC iPlayer or the US Netflix store from our UK offices, so we can’t say their service is recommended if you enjoy geo-restricted content!

Its streaming capabilities have been improved massively in recent weeks and the service now consistently unblocks the likes of US Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other popular channels (a key area they have previously fallen short on!).

Users can protect up to 10 devices with just the one account which is a highly generous offering, and with decent levels of customer support and a 7-day money back guarantee, PIA is the perfect choice if you want exceptional privacy, speeds plus the ability to torrent and stream the latest HD content.

Pricing

Considering its array of premium security features, PIA doesn’t come at a premium price! Plans are currently available on monthly (1 or 6) or yearly deals. Yearly plans represent the best value for money and are currently on special offer of 67% off when purchased through our website. It’s also reassuring to know that all plans come with an up to 7-day money back guarantee.

For payment, PIA currently accepts a wide range of options including most major debit and credit cards (including American Express) and PayPal. Additional methods include Bitcoin (as well as many other cryptocurrencies), Alipay, DotPay, Neosurf and a whole host of gift cards.

1 month plan

$ 9
95
per month
  • Billed $6.95 every month

6 month plan

$ 5
99
per month
  • Billed $35.95 every 6 months
SAVE 40%

1 year plan

$ 3
33
per month
  • Billed $39.95 every year
SAVE 67%

Features

PIA is certainly not short of features, giving a wide variety of users exactly what they need from a VPN. Privacy and speed are what places PIA up there with the best in the industry, and this is in part thanks to its large network of 3,300+ servers located in 32 countries.

Your IP address is kept private behind gold standard AES-256 bit encryption (as long as your VPN is turned on!) and PIA gives users the choice of pairing this with different levels of authentication. Multiple VPN protocols can also be selected and include our favoured OpenVPN.

Further advanced features include the must have VPN kill switch, DNS leak blocking, IPV6 leak blocking, Ad blocker, SOCKS5 proxy and more! This also makes PIA a good choice for overcoming government censorship and geo-restricted content blocks.

Platforms and devices

PIA generously allows users to protect up to 10 devices with one account ensuring every element of your online profile is private and protected.

Their user-friendly apps can be installed on macOS, Windows & Linux operating systems as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. If using a Fire TV (Amazon Firestick) or Kodi is your thing… they’ve got you covered too, as well as Chrome, Firefox and Opera browser users. It’s also easy enough to configure your home router and protect your entire wi-fi network with a PIA VPN.

Streaming

In October 2019 we were delighted to see Private Internet Access announce that they can now consistently and successfully overcome streaming blocks meaning users can now access many of the most popular geo-restricted streaming providers such as BBC iPlayer and US Netflix, previously unavailable. PIA users can now enjoy the same luxury of choice as many of their VPN rivals who offer great unlimited streaming with the security and privacy of a robust VPN provider.

Torrenting​

PIA are an ideal provider for torrenting and P2P file sharing with unlimited activity permitted on all of their servers. Delivering both exceptionally high upload and download speeds paired with robust security measures and a zero logs policy, their service is perfect for anyone who likes to P2P file share. In the unlikely event your VPN connection drops whilst file sharing, their built in VPN kill switch keeps you securely hidden and completely untraceable.

Speed

We’re pleased to share that PIA are right up there with the best on the market when it comes to its lightning fast speeds! During testing, we achieved speeds of up to 301Mbs when connecting locally from our office in London, and even when connecting far away, our global speed averaged at 87Mbps which is certainly not to be sniffed at!

We also experienced extremely low latency when using their service which will suit our readers who spend a lot of their time online gaming.

Security

When it comes to security, PIA’s setup is one of the strongest we have seen. It’s also one of the most customisable with a whole host of different settings available to the user.

They hide users IP address with either AES-128 or the gold standard AES-256 encryption, offer an array of great VPN protocols including our favoured OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), as well as PPTP and IPSec/L2TP, as well as including SOCKS5 proxy.

They offer many other advanced security features such as DNS and IPv6 leak protection, first party DNS WebRTC leak blocking as well as supporting TCP port 443.

The must have VPN kill switch which protects you in the event your VPN loses connection is also built in to their applications as well as an ad, tracker and malware blocker. Finally, bypassing government censorship and accessing blocked websites can be achieved safely with PIA, so if privacy is a major concern of yours, PIA is certainly a sensible choice. They have pretty much covered everything you could expect from a premium VPN security wise!

Applications

The PIA applications are very well designed and user friendly across all platforms and devices. They have recently been improved dramatically and will suit both beginners and advanced users. You can easily connect to the best sever in a touch of a button but equally it has one of the most customisable setups we have tested allowing users to modify and play with a whole manner of VPN configurations should they wish. Server lists are easy to navigate but going in to the settings menu may overwhelm total novices.

The PIA app can be downloaded on a whole host of popular devices such as iOS, Windows and Android, and works perfectly on the Amazon Firestick or Android TV.

Customer service

PIA offers a pretty good level of customer support with the ability to assist via either email or live chat, but it’s worth noting their live chat support isn’t available 24/7. Whilst live chat not being 24/7 isn’t a biggy… it does put them slightly behind many of the other premium providers when it comes to customer care.

They do however offer one of the best and most detailed knowledge bases we have come across so users will in most cases find the answer they are looking for on there should they have any questions or concerns.

Log policy

PIA put their user’s data and privacy at the forefront of its operations and pleasingly operate a zero logs policy. They refuse to log any data so it’s impossible for any user to be individually identified as a result of using their VPN. For more information you can visit PIA’s guide on logs here.

PIA explains… “We can unequivocally state that our company has not and still does not maintain metadata logs regarding when a subscriber accesses the VPN service, how long a subscriber’s use was, and what IP address a subscriber originated from.

Moreover, the encryption system does not allow us to view and thus log what IP addresses a subscriber is visiting or has visited.” Moreover, they have even proven this claim in court following a subpoena being issued in the USA. The court documents showed that the only information PIA had was clusters of server IP addresses and absolutely no user data.

Jurisdiction

PIA operates from Colorado, USA, which on the face of it isn’t the most ideal location for a privacy focussed VPN. The USA has strict privacy and data laws as well as being a member of government sharing schemes such as ‘Five Eyes’. Despite this, we aren’t too concerned thanks to how robust PIA are on security and the fact that they don’t log a shred of user data, meaning nothing could be handed over to any authority should it be requested.

The verdict

Overall, we are really impressed with Private Internet Access. Not only is it a superb option for the privacy conscious with its array of advanced security features, it’s also super-fast! It’s pretty cheap too given how secure a service it offers, especially when compared to some of its rivals who offer considerably less but for more money.

Users who like to fully customise their VPN experience have a whole host of settings to play with whilst beginners or those less interested in doing much more than clicking a city or country flag will also enjoy their app experience. The inclusion of a big round quick connect button can make the whole experience simply a one button job!

When it comes to torrenting, PIA have you well covered with their exceptional speeds, unlimited activity and robust security measures. The announcement in October 2019 now makes them a great VPN for streaming thanks to its exceptional speeds and ability to unblock geo-restricted content from the likes of US Netflix store or BBC iPlayer.

Melvyn and the team at comparemyvpn.com happily recommend Private Internet Access to our users as a highly secure, great all round VPN service!

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