It is a US-based online privacy service that enables internet users to get online freedom and anonymity. This service offers a list of compelling features that make Private Internet Access an exciting choice for all its users globally.
This VPN provides access to 3,236 servers in 28 countries. Although that is fewer server locations than some premium VPN providers and it is still a considerable amount of choice.
PIA Pricing, Plans & Facts
- $3.33/mo ($39.95 per year)
- 2 years
- $2.91/mo ($69.95 per 2 years)
Features and Interface
Private Internet Access has a hybrid interface, and it’s upfront when you need it, but it can exist in the background. On a PC, you will need to right-click on its Windows taskbar robot icon to activate a connection. That brings up a white-and-green window, which can not be viewed full-screen but includes options for logging in, automatically starting the service upon startup and assigning which region you connect from.
However, it has a lot of advanced features. These include a Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection, kill switch, a built-in Socket Secure (SOCKS5) proxy, a choice of encryption protocols, auto-connect feature, best server detection feature, port forwarding and apps for all platforms. It also permits five immediate connections and permits P2P torrenting.
Another amazing feature is that the website shows server counts, locations, and bandwidth stats. Besides, users can select each VPN server and check its performance by on the spot speed test to see how it is performing. This is a unique feature as compared to others.
If you select Advanced Settings, the window’s size doubles and you’ll find a variety of selections for making Private Internet Access work for you.
You can turn on a “kill switch” to automatically slash all internet access if the VPN session drops, activate leak detection to avoid DNS queries, regulate the encryption level, alter between UDP and TCP connections, and adjust the data flow by using small packets. Overall, it gives you a lot of freedom of choice while keeping you secure.
Private Internet Access is an Editors’ Choice winner for all it has to offer, but we would love to see it reinvent itself with a user interface that is more approachable, and simple.
Simple and easy to navigate site for its users. At the top of the homepage, users will find a navigation banner, which easily connects them to all the most critical parts of the website. Those are labeled: Home, How It Works, Downloads and Support, Contact Us and Join Now.
One of the best things about the Private Internet Access website is its amazing VPN blog. That blog is written by the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, Rick Falkvinge.
Moreover, it also has outstanding guides and an FAQ section that includes video tutorials. These resources are genuinely fantastic and will allow most people to solve problems quickly. Topics range from setting up PIA VPN on a DD-WRT or Tomato router (advanced), to changing and updating your password (simple). Private Internet Access does have one of the best VPN websites out there.
Finally, the website can be viewed in 18 languages. This demonstrates the international aspirations of this VPN provider. Finally, the website can be viewed in 18 languages. This is pretty awesome and demonstrates the international aspirations of this VPN provider.
By default, PIA is set up with 128-bit AES encryption, but it takes only a few seconds to boost that to 256-AES encryption. SHA-1 or SHA-256 encryption can protect authentication, and handshakes between servers and client devices are set up with RSA-2048 public-key encryption.
Private Internet Access does not insert advertising into your web traffic and does not profit from user data. “No monitoring or logging is performed on either incoming or outgoing network traffic.”
Private internet access has never disclosed any information about its subscribers to the authorities. In addition, it has proved its no logs claim in court (which only very few VPNs have ever done) not once but twice. With that in mind, the vast majority of people will be more than happy using PIA.
Concerning encryption, it is highly secure. It offers users a choice of options including Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP/IPSec), or OpenVPN. OpenVPN is recommended because it is by far the most secure (open source) encryption protocol. If you do get a PIA subscription, we strongly encourage you to connect using OpenVPN.
Setup and Customer Support
The only hitch we had in setting up PIA’s Windows interface is that the built-in Windows Defender warns against installing the software. But after approving the 62MB installation package, everything loaded automatically.
We set up a PIA account, but you can’t use your name or email address as a username. Instead, PIA provides a random, complicated set of 8 letters and digits. Though you can change the password, but you cannot change the username. This is difficult but adds an extra level of anonymity.
It takes a little more than 3 minutes to complete the PIA client installation and get online securely. While it offers tech support via resources on the company website, such as FAQs and tips for significant problems. All personalized support is via email, with PIA promising a 6-hour response time to most queries. This process worked well when PIA’s support staff was asked a general question, but other VPN services offer online chat interactions that might solve problems more quickly.
Private Internet Access and Netflix
A while ago, Private Internet Access released a new policy mentioning that it does not support geo-locked content. This caused considerable confusion as well as panic and disappointment among its users.
Until just a few days ago, it was possible to stream US Netflix by connecting to the Private Internet Access server in Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, Netflix just blacklisted this server as well, eliminating the only remaining Private Internet Access server that offered this option, so it means it no longer works with Netflix. It is doubtful whether it will suggest this option ever again. Since the VPN services that still work with Netflix is reducing every day and VPN users are getting more and more exhausted of searching for ways to stream Netflix content, many people are turning to torrents as an alternative.
Thus, you will have to opt for other VPN services to fulfill your Netflix streaming desires. Netflix fans should not lower all their expectations. This is because you have other VPN which allow you to operate the Netflix media library from any place. The list of VPN providers which you can use to watch Netflix content anonymously includes:
Private Internet Access and Torrenting
Private Internet Access is one of the famous VPN services used in the world, and one of the preferred choices for BitTorrent users who are trying to make their downloads anonymous. It is one of the most affordable, torrent-friendly, and security conscious VPNs in the world.
The best thing about it is that a subscription to Private Internet Access involves both VPN and proxy service. They are among a few of the companies that include both. You will see, the ability to use a VPN and/or a proxy for downloading through your torrents will give you the maximum flexibility in how you download torrents anonymously.
PIA is very torrent-friendly and doesn’t limit torrents to particular servers or locations. In fact, they have an unbelievably unique solution for rerouting torrent activity to further torrent-friendly countries.
Each subscription to Private Internet Access consists of both VPN service and anonymous SOCKS proxy service. This provides you with a ton of flexibility in how you decide to be anonymous on your torrent downloads.
Here’s a quick guideline on how to use Private Internet Access with BitTorrent:
Only using a Proxy
Typically faster than with a VPN, but your only encryption option is to use your torrent client’s included encryption. This can be a trouble if your ISP blocks your torrents. With a proxy, your torrent IP address will be different than your web browser IP (which we like).
Using only a VPN
A VPN gives you powerful encryption and gives you more server locations. Downloading speed might be slower, but the torrent IP address will be similar as your browser IP.
Using a VPN + Proxy Together
We recommend using this as it is the best of both worlds. You get robust encryption, a double layer of anonymity (your IP is changed twice) and your torrent IP address is still different than your web browser IP.
Optimally you would use one company as a VPN service and a different one for your anonymous SOCKS proxy service, but the majority of users will be satisfied using PIA for both.
Private Internet Access and HBO
HBO has become the leading name in home entertainment. Thanks to the impressive original content that the network produces, audiences across the world recognize HBO as a top quality provider
PIA has enabled us to stream our favorite content from HBO very frequently. As speed is essential, Private Internet Access regularly excels in providing the best rate. The company is situated in the United States, and it has a vast amount of servers across the country. You can link to servers in California, Florida, Texas, and other areas, which means that no wonder where in the world you live, it is possible to find a US location that works well for you.
Private Internet Access also offers excellent security for its users, and since no activity logs are kept, your privacy is safe. Overall, PIA is a fast, reliable and incredibly affordable service that lets you enjoy watching HBO while enjoying a secure connection and freedom to access the content you want in up to 5 devices simultaneously.
Looking for a way to get online privately and anonymously without breaking the bank? Private Internet Access not only offers an excellent variety of servers worldwide but also provides unbeaten performance, from connection time and network latency to download and to upload speeds, among the 14 VPN services tested in the last two years. It’s also the reasonable paid service ever tried, with annual fees about half of what competitors are asking.
As it is located in the U.S., so PIA is subject to U.S. authorities but says it doesn’t reveal log user activity. So you have to use a mysterious series of letters and numbers to identify yourself online. Private Internet Access provides excellent security and a wide variety of ways to customize it.
Overall, it is the best VPN service, with top performance; servers located where they’re needed and an attractive price range.
Private Internet Access (PIA) - VPN
Overall, it is the best VPN service, with top performance; servers located where they're needed and an attractive price range.
- Low price ($2.91 per month)
- No logs
- Some decent security and privacy features
- Ad blocker (but very minimal)
- Great for privacy and security
- Lots of encryption options (including OpenVPN, our recommended protocol)
- Fast connection speeds for streaming
- Servers all over the world
- Poor support
- Limited on features
- Doesn’t unblock some popular websites (Netflix US and BBC iPlayer for instance)
- Our Score