Private Internet Access, or PIA, is up there with some of the most popular VPNs on the market. As you may have already gathered from the name of the company, they are best known for their privacy features, like their no-logs policy and more. Overall, this is a highly rated company.
However, something that you might be left wondering is are they as trustworthy as they claim to be when it comes to protecting the privacy of their users?
You might also be looking to find out more about their overall performance when it comes to streaming, torrenting, speeds, servers, and more. These are all things that we are going to explore here.
In this article, we are going to share our in-depth review of Private Internet Access, so you can find out everything that there is to know about them. We are going to look at both the pros and cons of this service, and explore some of the features that they have on offer for you to utilize.
Private Internet Access General Overview
Generally, Private Internet Access’ VPN is a great service to use. It features a user-friendly interface, has robust security, anonymous torrenting, and support for 10 simultaneous devices.
However, on the other hand, it has varying speeds, and an inconsistent ability to access some of the most popular streaming sites. Private Internet Access will be able to unblock Netflix US, DE, JP and UK, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. If you want to unblock Netflix libraries world wide, then you will have more consistent results with an alternative VPN.
Private Internet Access Main Features
Below are some of the main features that you will find with Private Internet Access:
- A low price of just $2.08 a month
- A 30 day money back guarantee
- They do not keep logs
- There is an impressive total of 29650 servers
- You can use it on up to 10 devices per license
- It features a kill switch
- It is based in the United States
- There is 24/7 live chat support
- This company supports torrenting
Does Private Internet Access Work With Netflix?
Now that more and more popular streaming sites, like Netflix, are beginning to crack down on the use of VPNs, there is no guarantee that they will always be able to access geo blocked streaming content. The results that you can get with Private Internet Access are mixed.
Private Internet Access is able to gain access to Netflix through the use of US servers without being blocked. You should also be able to access Uk Netflix on the majority of servers, as well as Netflix content in Canada, Denmark, and Australia.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that you will be able to access Netflix in other server locations, like Germany, Mexico, and Japan. If you are looking to unblock Netflix and other streaming sites from around the globe, you should know that this might not always be the case with Private Internet Access. There are other VPNs that are much more reliable for this purpose.
What Are the Speeds Like With Private Internet Access?
Private Internet Access has one of the largest networks of more than 29,650 servers in 70 different countries. The fact that they have a larger server network is great as the more servers that they have, the less crowded the servers will be.
You will be able to find out exactly how much of a difference there is in the speed of the VPN and your own speed by finding out what your starting connection speed is before you connect to a server. You can then compare this speed with the speed that you get while you are connected to the VPN servers.
The speed tests that we are about to talk about started with a base connection speed of 70 Mbps before connecting to the server.
If you are connecting to a server via the automatic connection feature, you are likely to be met with the best speeds and connection that you will find. It is unlikely that any of the other server’s speeds will be any faster than this.
However, it can sometimes direct you to a server that is not the fastest, which is why it is still worth checking out other nearby servers to see what the speeds are like. It is also worth noting that the speeds can vary from minute to minute depending on how many people are using the server, so the speeds that you get can go higher or lower.
The highest speed on average that you will get is between 50 and 60 Mbps, and the lowest can be anywhere between 10 and 20 Mbps.
This inconsistency can be quite annoying at times, but the hope is that you will be able to at least get speeds that are somewhere between 30 and 60 Mbps, which should be the case for servers that are not too far away.
The UK and US servers will usually offer the fastest speeds of somewhere between 40 and 60 Mbps. However, the further away that you get from your location, the slower the speeds are likely to be. The Canadian servers have also been known to provide speeds of around 50 Mbps.
Once you get to locations around the world that are further away, this is where you will start to find speeds that are lower than 20 Mbps. This can be said for servers that are in Germany, Hong Kong, and Australia. The lowest of these 3 options are Hong Kong and Australia, with speeds of less than 10 Mbps.
Unfortunately, this is so slow that you won’t be able to do much.
The majority of people will want to use a VPN for things like browsing, streaming, and gaming, and the inconsistent speeds that you get with Private Internet Access can be frustrating when it comes to these activities.
Even though Private Internet Access can offer you excellent speeds in certain locations, these speeds are not always the most stable, and lots of other locations will slow you down significantly.
The overall performance of Private Internet Access can vary depending on where you are physically located, and what server locations you plan on using regularly.
Can I Use Private Internet Access For Torrenting?
Yes, you can use Private Internet Access for the purpose of torrenting. They clearly state on their website that they offer full P2P support, and torrenting is allowed on all servers in the network.
Private Internet Access also offers a strict no-logs policy, which is great if you want to torrent anonymously. This VPN also has an automatic kill switch, and this will work to keep your P2P activity secure, even if the VPN connection was to drop unexpectedly.
Private Internet Access also features port forwarding, which is beneficial for anyone that wants to torrent.
Is Private Internet Access Secure?
Yes, Private Internet Access is the perfect VPN to use if you are looking for both security and anonymity. The security features that are offered by this company reflect their focus on safety and security. Private Internet Access has various different measures of security that will help to keep you safe while you are browsing.
Even if you don’t want to spend time making use of Private Internet Access’ advanced features, the VPN will still work to keep your connection safe with IP masking, data encryption, IPv6 leak protection, DNS leak protection, and a firewall.
Even if you connect to Private Internet Access without taking a look at any of the settings, the VPN will still be able to offer you full protection with no unwanted DNS or IP leaks detected. This is something that has been tested on various different websites with the same results.
So, you can be sure that Private Internet Access will not leak any of your information while you are connected to any of their servers.
No matter what server location you are connected to, your real IP address and physical location will remain hidden while you are connected to the VPN.
Although, if you are a more experienced user when it comes to VPNs, then you might want to take a look at some of Private Internet Access’ security features which can be easily found and enabled in the settings of the app. Some of these features include an automatic kill switch, malware and tracking protection, and port forwarding.
Private Internet Access Encryption
Private Internet Access provides you with a lot of freedom when it comes to customizing your encryption algorithm protocols, and the default settings will work to protect your connection with AES 128-bit encryption. The algorithm is very secure, but it isn’t on the same level as AES 256-bit encryption, which is now much more commonly used.
You will be able to change this setting in the app if you would prefer to, and you can manually select your encryption algorithm and handshake encryption in the settings interface.
If you have no idea what any of this means, you don’t have to worry. You will be able to find a detailed explanation of each encryption type and how to decide which one is best for you on the company’s website.
The dedicated Private Internet Access apps will default to the OpenVPN protocol, but you will also have the option to choose between UDP and TCP connections.
The one exception to this is the iOS app, which uses IPsec. The VPN also offers the option for you to switch to the latest security protocol on mobile and desktop apps. This protocol is called WireGuard.
Manual configuration is also supported with OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and SOCKS5 Proxy. Private Internet Access is very transparent with everything that they do, and they have open-sourced all of their desktop and mobile apps to allow anyone to review the source code of the apps and ensure that Private Internet Access is delivering everything that they promised they would.
Does PIA Offer Split Tunneling?
Yes, for those that were wondering, Private Internet Access does offer split tunneling on its desktop apps. This is a convenient feature that gives you more freedom over your online activity, as it allows you to decide which apps will access the internet directly, and which ones will have to pass through the VPN first.
When you are using the split tunneling feature, you will be able to use Private Internet Access to protect things like your banking data, and you will also be safe while torrenting. You can do both of these things all while streaming or web browsing outside of the encrypted VPN tunnel, all on the same device.
If you want to activate split tunneling, you will need to click on the network tab, then click app exclusions, and add any of the programs that you want to bypass the VPN.
Does Private Internet Access Keep Logs?
No, Private Internet Access has a no-logs policy, which means that they do not keep logs. This is a company that is based in the US, which means that it is required to comply with any US laws and demands.
This means that if the government were to request any data from them, then they would be required by law to hand over any data that they have collected.
Also due to the fact that they are based in the US, Private Internet Access also falls under the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance, which isn’t the best for those that like their privacy.
This is something that has actually already happened twice in the past, when the government has demanded log data from Private Internet Access regarding an ongoing investigation. On both occasions, Private Internet Access did not have any information to provide.
It is difficult to truly determine whether a VPN retains any data logs of its users or not through tests, but these occasions are a good sign that the company really doesn’t retain any logs.
Does Private Internet Access Have an Adblocker?
Yes, Private Internet Access has an ad blocker as part of their MACE feature, and this is something that can be easily turned on from within the settings. This means that you will be able to stream content without having to deal with any annoying pop ups.
If you were wondering, the MACE feature will work to block adware, tracking, and malware whenever the VPN is enabled. This feature is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and Linux devices, but it is not currently available with iOS.
Private Internet Access’ ad blocker has been tested on various different websites that are normally packed full of advertisements, and the MACE feature was able to successfully block all of the ads that you would otherwise normally encounter.
Does Private Internet Access Work in China?
Unfortunately for most VPN providers, bypassing the firewall of China is very challenging, which is why the majority of them do not work in China. Due to this, you will not be able to use Private Internet Access in China if you are looking for a guaranteed and reliable connection.
Some users that are in China will be able to use Private Internet Access by using the less secure L2TP protocol, as this is harder to detect. However, even this method is not guaranteed. So, you might get lucky using this VPN in China, but if you are specifically getting this VPN to solely use in China, then you might be better off choosing a different VPN that is more reliable.
Is Private Internet Access Good Value for Money?
One of the main reasons why Private Internet Access is such a popular service is due to their reasonable prices. Lots of other premium VPNs that have similar features will charge a lot more for the service.
If you are looking for a VPN that offers great security and anonymity while you are browsing or torrenting, then Private Internet Access is a great choice as it offers good value for the price.
They also offer big discounts if you subscribe for longer, which makes the value for money even better. However, there are some other VPNs that are within a similar price range that offer things that Private Internet Access does not.
Some of these things include stronger streaming support and more reliable speeds. It is up to you to weigh up the pros and cons and decide if this is everything that you are looking for in a VPN.
Another thing that you should be mindful of when it comes to Private Internet Access is the fact that there is no free trial option.
So, the only way for you to try out the service would be for you to purchase a monthly subscription and try it out for a month. However, if you do decide that Private Internet Access is not right for you, then you can take advantage of their 30 day money back guarantee.
What Devices Are Compatible With Private Internet Access?
Private Internet Access offers dedicated apps for all of the major platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. The majority of features are the same across all of the apps, with some exceptions.
The main difference is with the iOS app, which doesn’t have the MACE ad blocking feature, and it uses the IPsec protocol, instead of OpenVPN.
Private Internet Access also offers secure browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. So, no matter what device you are using, you are likely to be able to get Private Internet Access.
If you are the type of person that prefers a manual installation, there are also in depth installation guides on the Private Internet Access website. This VPN can also be installed on compatible routers like DD-WRT, Tomato, and pfSense.
One of the main advantages to the service that Private Internet Access has to offer is that you will be able to connect up to 10 devices to it at once, with just one account. This is more than a lot of other VPNs.
Private Internet Access Customer Service
One of the things that Private Internet Access has been working on recently is their customer service. Like many other VPN providers, Private Internet Access is now offering the 24/7 live chat support that is something you would expect from some of the top VPNs on the market.
This is really helpful for when you have questions that need to be answered promptly or you encounter any issues that you need help with.
Something else that is really great with this company when it comes to customer support is their website. They have a support section on their website that offers some excellent resources and easy to follow installation guides.
On this part of the website, you will also be able to find troubleshooting walkthroughs, FAQs, and a searchable knowledge base. More often than not, you will be able to find answers to your questions in the FAQ section, but failing this, you can contact customer support for more information.
If you are willing to spend the time searching through these resources, you will probably find the information that you need without having to contact the customer support team in person.
Private Internet Access User Experience
Another highlight of this service is the user-friendly interface of the Private Internet Access dedicated apps. When you first open the app, it is really easy to get started, as you simply need to enter the login credentials that will have been emailed to you when you purchased your subscription plan.
The apps are all minimalistic, which makes them super easy to navigate, and it is really easy to get started once you have entered your credentials.
You will be able to connect to your most recent server location with a single click of a button just by pressing the big power button that can be found in the center of the screen.
It is also really easy to switch between servers when you want to. The first time that you connect, the app will automatically connect you to the fastest server that it could find in your area.
If you then wish to manually select your server location, all you have to do is click on your current location. Once you have done this, a list of all the available server locations will pop up.
You can go ahead and select the one that you want to use, then click on the power button. You will be able to choose the fastest server for your location, or another server that is located somewhere else if you are looking to access something in specific.
The server selection interface is user friendly, and it will even list the current ping times for each individual server location in ms. If you didn’t already know, the shorter the ping time, the better.
Some of the fastest servers that you can find will have their ping times displayed in green. The slower servers will be displayed in yellow, and this makes it easier for you to choose the best server.
There is also the option for you to save servers to your list of favourites, which makes them easier to access.
When you look at the main page of the app, you will be able to change the settings by clicking the 3 dots in the upper right corner of the screen.
You then need to select settings, and all of the available options will come up on the screen. The settings interface in itself is well organized, and it will provide you with a lot of freedom to customize your settings and features without any issues.
If you want to log out of the app, you can either click on the 3 dots and log out, or you can simply close the app.
Overall, Private Internet Access is really easy to use, and it is one of the most user friendly and intuitive apps that you will find. It has plenty to offer to more experienced users, and those with little or no experience also shouldn’t have any problems when using this VPN.
Private Internet Access Overview
Even though this VPN does not offer the best speeds that are available, they do still offer a great overall VPN service at an affordable price.
If you are looking for a trustworthy provider that prides themselves on user privacy and strong security, as well as ad blocking and anonymous torrenting, then Private Internet Access could be the perfect solution for you. This service has all of the basic things that you would need.
However, Private Internet Access might not be the best choice for those that want to stream in HD or take part in high bandwidth gaming due to their sometimes unreliable speeds and inconsistent geo-spoofing abilities.
This VPN is able to unblock Netflix US, DE, JP and UK, but you will not be able to access Netflix libraries in other locations. If you are looking for reliable and fast access to hundreds of international streaming services, then you might want to consider an alternative VPN.
Is Private Internet Access Easy to Use?
Yes, Private Internet Access is very easy to use and install. The website does look a little bit outdated upon first glance, but installing PIA is both fast and easy. Once you have chosen a subscription plan and completed the payment process, you will receive an instant email that contains all of your login credentials.
You will then be able to download the correct software for the device that you are using, and this process will only take a minute or two. Once you have the application installed, all you have to do next is enter your login details and get ready to use Private Internet Access.
You will be able to connect to Private Internet Access straight away with the single click of a button, and the app will automatically connect you to a nearby server.
The settings are easy to navigate and access, and they will provide you with plenty of freedom to customize the app to your preferences. If you don’t want to do this, the VPN will still be ready, safe, and secure for you to use straight out of the box.
How Much Does Private Internet Access Cost?
When you consider everything that Private Internet Access has to offer, the price is very reasonable and affordable. Private Internet Access does sometimes off introductory offers, which are something to keep an eye out for.
If you choose the 3 year subscription plan, you will pay $2.08 a month, and you will even get an extra two months added on top of your plan for free. The 1 year subscription plan costs $3.33 a month. The final plan that you can choose is the monthly subscription plan, which costs a total of $11.95 a month.
So, there are 3 different packages for you to choose from. Each of these plans will offer the same features, and the only difference between them is the length of time that you subscribe for. The longer than you subscribe with Private Internet Access, the more of a discount you will receive.
As we have already mentioned, Private Internet Access does not offer a free trial, but they do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if you want to try out the service but you don’t want to commit long term, then you can purchase a monthly plan and take advantage of the money back guarantee if you decide that Private Internet Access is not the right company for you.
There are also quite a few different payment options to choose from. Private Internet Access accepts all major credit cards and popular online payment platforms. They will also accept various other forms of anonymous payment, including gift cards, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies.
How Reliable Are Private Internet Access?
There are lots of different helpful resources that you can make use of through the Private Internet Access website, including a searchable knowledge base, an FAQ section, and detailed installation guides. However, if you can’t find the information that you are looking for, you can contact customer support for help.
The customer support at Private Internet Access is very reliable, and the 24/7 live chat service is always available.
The only unreliable thing to be aware of with Private Internet Access is the fact that the speeds can go up and down all the time, making it difficult to find servers that you can depend on all the time.
Overall, Private Internet Access is a user friendly, affordable, and private VP service that features robust security features and more. They perform well when it comes to security and anonymity, but their inconsistent speeds and unreliable geo-spoofing abilities can be a letdown when it comes to streaming.