Private Internet Access (PIA) is not only a huge name in the VPN industry but is also well known for its support and activities regarding users’ internet privacy rights.
Although PIA is a US based VPN service, but it has proved to be on the users’ side on more than one occasion by protecting their privacy on the web.
It does not only say that it does not keep, it is one of the very few who have proved that they really do not track, keep or distribute any kind of users’ logs.
So, now we are going to put our PIA VPN review forward and see what makes it so popular, preferable and unbeatable in term of price in the industry.
PIA VPN Review Summary
In our PIA VPN review we are analyzing everything about Private Internet Access that makes it one of the most popular VPN service providers in the industry.
Although it is a US based VPN provider, but it has proved its string stance on users’ privacy.
Additionally, it is the most affordable VPN provider in the top tier and the price it offers seems impossible to beat by majority of the good VPN providers.
Also, in our PIA VPN review, we also analyzed the impressive encryption of PIA and saw the overall performance of wide variety of its servers via apps.
It certainly does qualify to be a go to VPN service for many people, except for the fact that it does not offer many advanced features.
Our PIA VPN Review Score
- Features: 4.3
- Apps: 4.4
- Security: 4.6
- Speed: 4.3
- Overall: 4.4
PIA VPN Review in Points
- P2P & Torrenting Allowed
- Very affordable
- Functional desktop and mobile apps
- All the major VPN protocols
- Strong encryption
- Strict No logs policy
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Chrome, Opera and Firefox Extensions
- VPN apps for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and Linux
- Based in the US (Five Eyes)
- Limited Customer Support
- All things pretty or just fine. Nothing ugly here!
If you are one of those who have heard the term Virtual Private Network (VPN) for the first time or does not know much about it, then we suggest you to read our detailed what is a VPN guide first before going further on our Private Internet Access Review.
PIA’s Logging Policy Review
Being a US based VPN provider puts you under a lot of heat because of the obvious reasons.
However, still claiming to keep no logs is easier said than done. It is commendable for Private Internet Access that it has managed to prove its claim true not once but twice, that too in front of the federal courts.
Despite the fact that the accused were requiring to be tracked back for significant crimes. Still, PIA did not hand over users’ information over to FBI because they could not.
Saying that a VPN provider does not keep any logs is different from actually not keeping logs. We have seen that with multiple significant VPN providers who actually handed over the users’ information for significant cases.
However, the issue at hand is that if you claim not to keep any logs then you should not be able to hand those over no matter what because you clearly do not have them. PIA VPN is the one which passed this test in the wild twice.
So, in our overall PIA VPN review we can safely say that users’ privacy is something which Private Internet Access will never compromise.
PIA VPN Features Review
Now that the infamous logging policy of PIA has been discussed, we will move to the features in our PIA VPN review.
It is not a service provider to whom you would want to go to if you are looking for various advanced features or someone stop solution for complete online security.
However, being a VPN provider, Private Internet Access is brilliantly amazing. Let’s look into the major features PIA offers.
P2P & Torrenting Support
Despite being a VPN provider based in the US, PIA does support peer to peer file sharing and torrenting.
The most important aspect of using a VPN for torrenting is staying anonymous and protecting your privacy and since PIA does not only have a strict no log policy but it has also proved that it does not keep any logs of users at all.
So, it is quite safe to use PIA for torrenting and the cherry on top is the speed. PIA gives nice speed to make it even more desirable.
5 Simultaneous Connections
Apart from being an extremely affordable VPN service which we will discuss later in our PIA VPN review, it also offers five simultaneous connections with every account which benefits the users to use their single VPN account multiple devices and they can even share it with their family members.
It becomes a really great deal if you get the whole family and home network covered with just a single account of PIA that too at a very low price.
Block Ads, Trackers, and Malware with PIA MACE
We personally like the name that PIA has given to their ads blocker which also stops trackers and malware. It is dubbed as Private Internet Access MACE™ and it is integrated in the apps of PIA for all the major platforms.
With these ad blocking powers, PIA has become one of the very few VPN service providers who offers this feature integrated in the apps.
For those who already are PIA users but still are unaware about MACE then they need to update their clients to v60 and they will get these ad blocking powers along with a decent VPN service.
The ad blocker is quite affective and blocked all the ads we tested it for.
Many of you must know about proxies as an alternate to VPNs and that is actually true to a major extent. T
he only major difference is the level of security, which VPN provides due to added encryption. Proxies too provide some level of security but it does not encrypt the data.
However, to improve security SOCKS5, a popular kind of proxy, limits the users from accessing the server if they do not authenticate.
This way only the authorized users are allowed to access the server, which makes it safer than other proxy servers.
Private Internet Access is one of the handful service providers who offers SOCKS5 proxy with its subscription.
However, users have to access the proxy from proxy-nl.privateinternetaccess.com with port 1080. Also, the users would need a different username and password to use the SOCKS5 proxy which are generated from the control panel in the PIA client.
Private Internet Access offers two data encryption protocols which are AES-256 and AES-128. AES-256 is the highest data encryption protocol which is provided by most of the VPN providers claiming to provide military grade encryption which is true.
The option to reduce data encryption to AES-128 is for those users who are looking for better speed and they can afford to reduce their encryption over the internet.
It is great about PIA that it offer such data encryption, but it is not something which is not too common. Good for users and their privacy.
So, here we have analyzed the major features in our PIA VPN review, which seems decent, but not extra ordinary except for the ad blocker. Now we will move to the pricing of PIA.
PIA VPN Prices Review
Private Internet Access offers three different plans, monthly, yearly, and two years plan, all of which are quite reasonable and affordable, considering the level of privacy it offers and the decency of performance it gives. Following are the prices:
1 Month: $9.99/Month
1 Year: $5.99/Month i.e. $71.88/Year
2 Years: $3.49/Month i.e. $83.87/2 Years
Being a top tier VPN provider, one of the most amazing things about PIA is its pricing which has always been a challenge for the competitors to beat.
In addition, all the plans come with a 7-day money back guarantee, so the users can test it to the fullest and get satisfied or simply just ask for the refund for any reason.
Also, PIA supports various payment options like credit card, PayPal, bitcoin, and a few more.
So, the users can easily pay for the service via their preferred payment method, even if they want to be traceless and anonymous by using bitcoin. Hands down, Private Internet Access is a beast when it comes to pricing and it certainly is hard to beat.
Private Internet Access Speed Test
Speed Test result without VPN connection:
UK server Speed Test:
Speed Test France Server:
PIA VPN Protocols Review
So, now we will analyze the offered protocols in our PIA VPN review which also seems promising. PIA offers all the major VPN protocols including OpenVPN, PPTP and IPSEC/L2TP.
However, it does not offer SSTP protocol which is arguably the most secure VPN protocol.
OpenVPN is the most commonly used VPN protocol because of the speed and the level of security. PIA by default uses the OpenVPN protocol for the users, but the users still can change the protocols as per their needs and purpose of usage. In our evaluation, OpenVPN worked really well on 10 different servers we tested.
The speed and connection have been really impressive and we do recommend users to try it out.
PIA VPN Servers & Locations Review
Private Internet Access offers more than 3300+ servers in 48 locations across 32 countries which covers all the continents of the world.
More than 1700 servers are in the United States because of the fact that most of the users from around the globe wish to connect to US servers.
Unfortunately PIA does not work with US Netflix due to the overall VPN crackdown by Netflix. There are only a handful of VPN providers which works fine with US Netflix and PIA is not one of them.
Still, it works like charm for most of the blocked sites and services and with the huge network of servers, the performance and speed is quite impressive.
Even the connections on most of the servers we tested were reliable. So, as per our PIA VPN review, it is safe to say that PIA is one of the few VPN providers which can recommended, if you are looking for some advanced features in your VPN which some other providers do offer.
PIA VPN for Mac
The first thing we analyzed in our PIA VPN review for mac app was to check the app on the official Mac App Store but we could not find it like many of you who tried.
The reason is that PIA only provides the VPN app for mac via their website, but their installer is really impressive as the app will be up and running in no time for any mac user.
PIA VPN for mac app is not even good in looks as it seems the odd one out in the mac OS among other apps. The reason mainly was the fact that it seems to be mostly imported from the Windows app.
But that is just the looks of it. The performance of the mac app was nice in terms of speed and connection.
Even though it might not look too pretty for the mac users, but it is just fine in functionality and options. However, it certainly is not the best app of PIA if compared with other platforms. Looks ugly does fine, up to you now if you want to give it a go.
PIA VPN for iPhone
The app of PIA VPN for iPhone and iPad users is quite decent and simple. The UI has kept to be extremely user friendly and functional.
We also believe that simple is beautiful when pulled off the right way and PIA VPN for iPhone and iPad is one of those. Users’ can easily get it from the app store and start using it in no time which is a big quality.
In terms of options, the main screen has a huge on and off button along with server selection and settings options.
So, if someone’s just looking to keep his or her internet data secure then it shouldn’t take more than 10 seconds to open the app and connect the VPN. Still, the app does have various protocols and MACE which is the adblocker.
So, the app having powers of ad blocking and VPN integrated in a user friendly way is something we admire.
So, in our Private Internet Access review we sure do say that PIA for iPhone is recommendable. It is because of its affordability, nice UI and functions, and value for users’ privacy.
PIA VPN for Windows
Like all the other platforms and because of the fact that PIA does not offer too many features, the Windows client of PIA VPN is simple is in design and operate.
The nice thing about the Windows client is that users’ can connect the VPN by simply clicking on the PIA icon in the Windows toolbar.
Also, the Windows client also have the impressive PIA Mace which helps protect users from trackers and malware along with blocking ads.
In addition, the windows app also has the VPN kill switch, port forwarding and IPv6 leaks protection which are arguably the basic VPN features for all the ace VPN providers in the industry.
The server selection is very detailed as users’ can explore and select any particular server via their mouse only.
Over all PIA VPN app for Windows is very simple in design and very user friendly for the ease of its users.
PIA VPN for Android
The Android app of PIA VPN is also available on the Google Playstore and this too is as impressive as the iOS version of the app is. But, Android app have some additional options than the iOS app.
The Android app is also equipped with Private Internet Access MACE which helps block ads and stop malware and trackers.
Additionally, the Android app of PIA also has split tunneling which gives users’ freedom to choose between apps which should use the VPN network while the other will use the local network they have connected.
Also, the app has the option of Smart Packets which reduces the size of data that the phone transfers.
So overall, the app is nice to use and the options it has are those which most of the decent providers offer, except for Mace. The performance and speed is also satisfactory for most of the average users. Being a good service provider, PIA VPN for Android is worth a try.
PIA VPN for Router
Like a few other VPN providers, PIA VPN too offer pre-configured routers via Flash routers which is a little too expensive than buying a good router and setting PIA VPN up on it. PIA VPN supports all Tomato, PFsense and DDWRT routers, however, the setup would be manual.
The manual guides and video tutorials for setting up PIA on routers is extremely useful and can make any not so tech savvy person to setup VPN on router in a short while.
The biggest benefit of setting up VPN on router is the fact that it only consumes one connection out of the five which PIA offers with every account.
Also, setting up VPN on router helps protects the home network and all the devices connected with it as well.
In our PIA VPN review we have analyzed all the important aspects of the service and we can easily say that PIA is one of best options for those who are seeking a service with good basic functionality at an affordable price.
The logging policy of PIA is commendable and their actions to back it up in the cases makes it a trustworthy provider.
However, it is also a fact that it is based in the US and that is one of the five eyes countries because of which people use VPNs.
Also, the performance and speed of the service is satisfactory considering the price as it certainly is one of the cheapest VPN services in the industry, regardless of tiers.
It definitely is worth a shot, but do not expect too many features as you can see in our Private Internet Access review.