Private Internet Access: Feel the Taste of a Genuine Online Freedom
With dozens of VPN services providers available, choosing the best one can be quite a challenge. But Private Internet Access a.k.a. PIA is definitely one of those services that are worthy of a closer look. Apart from being incredibly affordable, it has much to be loved for: a zero-log policy, a good feature set, and a consistent performance. But still, it is not a completely flawless service. Read our Private Internet Access review to know the details.
When it comes to PIA performance, experts’ opinions vary. For example, in different Private Internet Access reviews, you’ll find different speed test results. To some extent, it can be explained by recent improvements made by the provider. Our results are as follows:
Pros and Cons
Strengths of Private Internet Access VPN apparently overweigh its weaknesses. However, like any VPN product, Private Internet Access is not absolutely perfect.
- It’s a cross-platform solution.
- Zero-log policy ensures higher privacy.
- Good for torrenting.
- It is really cheap, especially if you opt for a 2-year plan.
- Complies with the highest encryption standards.
- Nice extra features, such as malware protection.
- An easy-to-navigate website.
- A lot of useful information can be found in the PIA blog.
- 7-days money-back policy.
- A mediocre support service.
- Private Internet Access Netflix capabilities are disappointing.
- Its servers are located in 29 countries only. Most counterparts can boast a wider coverage.
- It is based in the USA, Michigan.
PIA is an experienced player in the field of providing VPN services. The company was officially established in 2010; as of now, it has a reputation of a reliable provider that lives up to its commitments honestly. Though it can’t boast a worldwide coverage like, for example, HMA VPN, it still offers an impressive network of over 3000 own Private Internet Access servers in 28 countries.
Apart from OpenVPN, Private Internet Access supports some alternative protocols, such as IPSec/L2TP, PPTP, and Socks5 proxy. By default, OpenVPN is commonly recommended. PIA offers software for multiple platforms, including Windows (version 7 and younger), iOS, Android, Mac, Linux, as well as extensions for popular browsers. Under one license, up to 5 simultaneous connections can be established.
Private Internet Access torrenting capabilities are worthy of special mentioning. Due to P2P support, it allows virtually unlimited file sharing opportunities. PIA is often described as a torrent-oriented product. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about streaming. In some reviews, customers write about their successful experience of Netflix unblocking with PIA, but we didn’t manage to access neither Netflix nor BBC iPlayer.
Other Private Internet Access features include some extra options, such as an ad- and malware blocker, an auto-connection option, and a kill switch. However, it doesn’t offer split tunneling, which is a pity.
Performance and Speed
Speed is an important characteristic of any VPN service, especially when it comes to torrenting. Private Internet Access VPN does its job well, though you should not expect any groundbreaking results from it. It’s not the fastest VPN ever, but at least, we didn’t record severe speed drops during tests. A nice proprietary feature is an opportunity to check the speed of any available server “on the spot” right in a Private Internet Access client.
PIA offers extensions for two popular browsers – Chrome and Firefox. Both options are included in the basic package: once you’ve bought it, you may download any extension at any time for free. The browser version offers exactly the same features and capabilities as the full-fledged client, so choosing between them is just a matter of taste.
Safety and Encryption
Ensuring the maximum safety level is a key task of a VPN service. Private Internet Access claims a zero-log policy. In simple terms, it means that it doesn’t track users’ online behavior and doesn’t store this information. Consequently, it can’t provide this data to anyone, even to the governmental agencies on their request. On the other hand, the company is located in the US and falls under the jurisdiction of this country. Theoretically, NSA can reach it out. But as of the moment of our Private Internet Access review writing, there haven’t been any recorded cases of sensitive data leaks, so we tend to believe PIA’s claims.
When it comes to encryption, Private Internet Access VPN fully complies with modern requirements. AES-256 cipher for both data and control channels is a guarantee of the reliable protection of users’ data.
Pricing Plans and Payment Methods
The basic current price of the only Private Internet Access plan is $6.95 per month. However, you may save 52% or 58% by choosing a one- or two-year option respectively. Thus, if you buy a 2-year plan, the price per month will be just $3.33. Unfortunately, this VPN doesn’t have a trial period, though it offers a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Payment methods available are the traditional MasterCard and Visa, various e-wallets, including PayPal, gift cards, and Bitcoins.
Earlier in our Private Internet Access VPN review, we wrote that the support service is a weak point of PIA. Truly saying, it is not exactly this way. They offer a great FAQ section, a forum, and a blog where one can find answers to the majority of questions. But if you’re a complete newbie or want to get a consultation from a live agent, you’ll be disappointed. There is no 24/7 chat on the site, so you’ll have to look for information by yourself or ask the community.
How to Use and Installing
To start using Private Internet Access download its software from the official site and install the client, simply following the instructions. Beware that you’ll need to open an account and verify it via e-mail. The e-mail can be fake, but it must be active. The program itself has a clean laconic interface and is very easy to navigate. All the options and settings are displayed in pop-up windows and are (de)activated with the help of simple sliders.
The Bottom Line
There is more than one reason to download Private Internet Access. It is an affordable, fast and secure service. Moreover, Private Internet Access torrenting capabilities are really great, so if your goal is an unlimited access to content downloading, PIA is a good choice.
In this Private Internet Access review, we’ve covered its main features, but the best way to check whether it complies with your expectations is a real-life testing. Keep in mind that if you don’t like the product, you can get refunded within a week of the purchase.
- Buy a two-year plan to get the maximum discount of 58%.
- Use PIA for an easy file exchange via torrents – it is secure and reliable.
- But if your goal is streaming, opt for another provider, as PIA can’t unblock an access to the world’s best services, including Netflix and BBC iPlayer.