Private Internet Access, or PIA, was initially launched in 2010 and then acquired by Kape Technologies in 2019. We all know that their new owner had some security breach controversies in the past, but did this affect the VPN’s security policy? We’ll find out everything about the service in this Private Internet Access review, so stay tuned.
Private Internet Access VPN holds its place among the most prominent VPNs on the market right now, and for a good reason. It offers premium features and lots of streaming and torrenting options that you won’t find with most of its rivals. Meanwhile, as you’ll see further on in our Private Internet Access VPN review, the vendor does have some downsides. Nonetheless, it is still a great and user-friendly option if you’re looking to invest an extra buck in your internet safety and privacy.
Ranging from customizable encryption to adhering to a strict no-logs policy, PIA has a lot to offer to users who see security as a top priority. Read on to see what the vendor has in store to keep you safe.
While the default encryption you get with PIA VPN is AES 128-bit, you can manually adjust and customize your algorithm and protocols, and set the encryption to the superior AES 256-bit encryption, which governments often use. However, with most premium VPNs using the 265-bit encryption by default, in a PIA vs Avast VPN encryption showdown, the former would emerge as the losing side.
Our research for this PIA VPN review has shown that the apps’ default protocol is OpenVPN, but you can choose between UDP and TCP connections. Manual configuration is supported with OpenVPN, PIA proxy — SOCKS5, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP.
On the other hand, the iOS app is the exception and uses IPsec. You can also switch to WireGuard, the latest security protocol on its mobile and desktop apps. While the service does well in terms of the number of its security protocols, our Private Internet Access review research has shown that if we were to compare PIA vs IPVanish, for example, we would get much better results with the latter.
Since PIA falls under the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance, it's no wonder that some users may be hesitant to choose it as their go-to VPN provider. PIA’s logs policy, however, clearly states that the service “does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network or Proxy.”
Our PIA review research has shown that the VPN provider stays true to its word and that, on two occasions, in 2015 and 2017, the US government asked the vendor for user data logs, and the VPN provider had nothing to hand them over. This can only mean that you can be sure that you’re safe while using the VPN by Private Internet Access for privacy and security.
Another security feature that most Private Internet Access VPN reviews rave about is the split tunneling on desktop apps. It allows users to decide which apps will pass through the VPN first and which will access the internet directly. This can be convenient if you, for example, want to access your banking data safely while streaming Netflix at the same time.
Turning on the split tunneling feature is easy. All you need to do is click the Network tab, then App Exclusions, and add the programs you want to bypass the PIA VPN.
Our Private Internet Access VPN review finds the MACE feature sets the service apart from the competition. It blocks adware, malware, and tracking anytime the VPN is enabled. It is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. At the same time, you can get it on Private Internet Access for Android, but unfortunately, not on iOS at the moment. The MACE feature successfully blocks all ads that users might otherwise encounter.
PIA torrenting is allowed on all servers in the network with full P2P support, while its strict no-logs policy allows for anonymous torrenting. The PIA kill switch keeps P2P activity secure even if the connection drops all of a sudden. Users also have the Private Internet Access point forwarding feature.
While researching speeds for our PIA VPN review, we discovered that, while the VPN provider boasts some great premium features, speed consistency may not be one of them.
Despite its network of 35,550+ PIA servers in 77 countries, the VPN provider still has some work to do on getting their speeds stable and consistent, meaning that you can expect a lightning-fast experience on some servers and laggy on others.
This can be inconvenient, especially if you’re looking for a good VPN for gaming or streaming. Having compared Private Internet Access vs Torguard as part of our PIA review, however, it’s safe to say that our VPN of the day has a lot more to offer in terms of speed.
The service unblocks Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. Still, it doesn’t hold up quite as well to the competition in terms of streaming. Comparing PIA vs NordVPN, we found that the latter seamlessly unblocks 400+ streaming platforms, compared to the former’s fairly limited streaming options. That makes NordVPN one of the top-ranked VPN services for streaming.
Our Private Internet Access review research shows that with Private Internet Access, Netflix can be unblocked from Canada’s, Denmark’s, and Australia’s servers as well as UK and US servers. You can also use PIA for Kodi and watch your favorite streams for free. The same goes for using Private Internet Access for Hulu, with the service being one of the best VPN choices for Hulu.
Private Internet Access has dedicated apps for all major platforms, including Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Linux. All of the apps use the OpenVPN protocol and include the MACE ad-blocking feature except for the iOS app that uses the IPsec protocol instead.
Additionally, scrolling through some user experiences for this Private Internet Access review, we found that most users think that the Private Internet Access Chrome extension works like a charm on all platforms, as well as Opera and Firefox.
As we already mentioned, there are 35,550+ PIA servers in 77 countries worldwide, but, unfortunately, the VPN does not do a great job bypassing geoblocks in heavily censored countries, including the Great Firewall of China. While some users do this using the L2TP protocol with Private Internet Access, there are better VPN options for China out there.
Many Private Internet Access VPN reviews that we came across agree on one thing — the vendor’s customer support seems to be a bit inconsistent. Naturally, we decided to put those reviews to the test.
We found that the vendor’s support page offers a knowledge base that allows users to troubleshoot on their own, but having compared Private Internet Access vs ExpressVPN support pages, we found the latter’s support pages to be better organized and user-friendly.
Private Internet Access VPN further,offers live chat and support ticket options. We, however, did not see any phone numbers.
We are slowly getting to the end of our Private Internet Access review with pricing. While there is no PIA free trial, the VPN provider does offer a generous two-month money-back guarantee, which lets you try out their service, and if you decide against it, you can get your money back in a couple of days. Occasionally, you might also come across a Private Internet Access coupon and get the service at a lower cost.
Speaking of costs, the monthly Private Internet Access VPN premium account costs $9.95/month, while the yearly plan will set you back $3.33/month. The two-year plan offers the best value at $2.19/month.
A Private Internet Access lifetime account, meanwhile, is not an option since the vendor wants to offer the best value for money, which is not easily done with lifetime accounts.
Private Internet Access is one of the top choices among multi-device VPN providers, even though our Private Internet Access review found areas that could use some improvement, most notably, inconsistent speeds across worldwide servers. Since PIA is one of the safest and cost-efficient VPNs around, the cons could possibly be overlooked.
The Private Internet Access number of devices you can use simultaneously is is ten, with few premium VPNs offering more. If we look at PIA vs CyberGhost, for example, the latter supports seven simultaneous connections.
Our PIA VPN review shows that this is a great provider, offering premium security features and a wide global server network.
Yes, but not on all worldwide servers.
PIA VPN is owned by Kape Technologies.
Yes, safety and privacy are among the vendor’s top priorities.
No, as we previously mentioned in our Private Internet Access review, this VPN provider has a strict no-logs policy.