Disclaimer: affiliate links keep us 100% reader-supported.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the most popular VPN providers in the world, and it has gotten hundreds of thousands of real users.
In this honest Private Internet Access review, we want to find out whether the VPN is actually worth the hype or it’s just another crap.
So, let’s get started…
Private Internet Access VPN Review
WHAT WE LIKE
– An extremely large number of servers (3,000+)
– A wide variety of privacy and security features
– No logging
– Fast Download Speed
– Cheaper than most similar VPNs
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE
– Poor support
– Located in The US, a country known for privacy-invading surveillance laws
– No free plan or trial
– Doesn’t unblock some popular websites (Netflix US and BBC iPlayer for instance)
PRICING & DEALS
Private Internet Access really deserves a big kudos when it comes to their pricing. The company offers one of the cheapest prices in the industry. They have three basic plans, and each plan comes with a7-day money back guarantee.
It is worthy to note that PIA does not offer a free trial, nor does it have the option of a lifetime subscription.
Just as they promised a higher level of anonymity, you can pay for the VPN service using multiple methods, including your major credit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay, etc. They also accept payments via popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitpay, Litecoin, Zcash, among others.
To cap it all, you can also pay with gift cards for popular retailers like Starbucks, Costco, Best Buy, Target, but to mention a few.
Here’s a breakdown of the VIA Pricing (as at March 2019):
Plan One: Monthly – $9.99/month
Plan Two: Yearly – $5.99/mo ($71.88 per year)
Plan Three: 2 years – $3.49/mo ($83.87 per 2 years)
SPEED & RELIABILITY
The in-thing for every VPN providers is to be claiming the fastest & most reliable in the world, whereas that may not be true in real life. This is what prompted us to test for the actual speed levels of PIA VPN using several parameters on different servers. Some of the parameters include connection time, geolocation, Download speeds, and so on.
After running the connection test on over 50 servers, only one failed to connect, but it worked after a manual tweaking. One thing we noticed is that the Connection times and latency changes with distance I.e some servers are slower, while some are faster.
Another thing we tested for was the geolocation, in which we were able to get results that match what PIA claimed on their website.
The highest Download speeds we got was around 70Mbps, while the lowest was around 25Mbps.
PIA VPN currently has 3307+ Servers in 32 Countries, including Germany, UK, Australia, Brazil, Ghana, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, and lots more. With this huge list, PIA VPN is undoubtedly one of the VPNs With The Biggest VPN Server Count. The only VPNs that come close are NordVPN (4,400+ VPN Servers), TorGuard (3,000+ VPN Servers), CyberGhost (2,500+ VPN Servers), ExpressVPN (2,000+ VPN Servers).
With this huge server list, you will be able to enjoy your a seamless surfing and streaming experience.
PLATFORMS & DEVICES
PIA VPN offers Client software for virtually all the major platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. It also has a dedicated extension for popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Opera.
One thing about PIA VPN is that it works similarly on every platform and devices. This means that you will get the same features (speed, privacy, encryption, etc) whether you are surfing the internet with your smartphone or laptop computer.
STREAMING & TORRENTING
One of the basic reasons why people use a VPN is to access geoblocked contents, and we ran a test on that with the PIA VPN.
After connecting to different servers, we tried accessing some geoblocked websites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. But the VPN couldn’t unblock any of the two.
However, PIA VPN worked greatly upon visiting some streaming websites like putlockers, 123movies, Viooz, among others.
Put together, if you’re looking for a VPN that can help you unblock Netflix or BBC iPlayer, the PIA VPN is not for you, but you can use it to access non-geoblocked websites without any hassle.
ENCRYPTION & SECURITY
PIA is one of the few VPNs that offers a wide range of encryption settings in its apps. Some of which includes:
- Cisco IPsec, among others.
Again, PIA features killswitch on all platforms so as to provide its users with optimum privacy. Some of the encryption standards for OpenVPN includes:
PIA uses one of the best data security formation in the industry with its AES-256 cipher, alongside a strong SHA256 for authorization coupled with a handshake of RSA 4096.
A combination of all these makes PIA’s encryption more robust, and this is the secret behind its military-grade privacy and security of the data tunnel.
Private Internet Access (PIA) offers a wide range of protocol support, including the highly secure OpenVPN.
The default encryption used by PIA is the AES-128, alongside SHA1 authentication and RSA-2048 handshaking. This protects you against attack at local Wi-Fi hotspots.
Featured on the PIA apps again, is the DNS and IPv6 leak protection which protects you as you surf the internet.
PIA also comes with the kill switch, a feature that automatically disables your internet access whenever the VPN drops. However, this feature is made available on both the desktop, iOS and Android clients, (unlike most other VPNs).
Since PIA is based in the US, one may be skeptical about the company’s no-logs policy. Because the US is renown for demanding specific details and information from the companies operating there.
Well, we tested everything in this regard, and we found PIA to be honest with her claim.
This means that your browsing activity, download history, purchasing history, and all other sensitive information about you are not kept by PIA.
EASE OF USE
Downloading and installing PIA VPN is very simple; be it on your smartphone, or laptop, or even browsers.
Also, the PIA clients come with the easy-to-use interface; you don’t need any technical knowledge to tweak the settings.
Furthermore, the layout is well arranged so as to make navigation easier for all categories of users.
PIA on her website promised a “24/7 Customer support” and we worked towards validating this claim by testing out their support. Upon doing that, we waited for about seven hours before finally getting a response.
We also noticed that the VPN provider does not have a live chat support feature on its website. This is not necessarily bad though since the company’s services are reliable and that people may not really have problems using it. Should in case you want to reach their customer care, you can get support via email (ticket system), which is still ideal for some people.
PIA also offers a wide range of resources on her website, including a FAQ section and a blog. The resources are loaded with essential details and information to help users out.
Private Internet Access (PIA) offers a very wide server count, coupled with extreme speed, excellent app interface, strong no-logs policy, and robust security, all at unbeatable prices. The only downside of the VPN is that it cannot access geoblocked websites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Also, there is no live support feature on her website.
I hope the PIA VPN review will help you to make a decision on whether this service fits your needs. If not, check out reviews of other service providers.
Overall, we recommend the PIA for those looking for quality VPN services.