Who is Private Internet Access?
Below is a brief overview of Private Internet Access and its VPN services.
|Owned and Operated by||Private Internet Access|
|Base of Operations||USA|
|Operates in a Privacy-friendly Country?||No|
|Logging Policy||Zero logs|
|Encryption Used||AES 256-bit|
|Servers Located in||28+ countries|
Plans and Pricing
Private Internet Access is remarkably cheap, especially if you opt for the longer duration plans. All subscribers get access to the same powerful set of VPN tools to ensure a secure internet experience. Each plan also comes with unlimited data allowance and bandwidth allocation.
There’s plenty of payment options available. They accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover), PayPal, Amazon Pay, OKPay, Ripple, CashU, and bitcoin. In-app payments can also be made through Google Play and the iOS App Store. Finally, gift cards supported by PayGarden are also accepted.
They also offer a 7 day 100% money-back guarantee so that you don’t have to worry about wasting your cash should you be unhappy with their service.
Their plans are as follows:
|One Year||$3.33/mo ($39.95 billed)|
|Two Years||$2.91/mo ($69.95 billed)|
Servers and Locations
With more than 3000 servers located in 28 different countries, Private Internet Access has excellent network coverage. You’re likely to find a server that’s within reasonable proximity to you. And because of the sheer number of available servers, their VPN networks are rarely congested, so latency should never be an issue. Check out the official website where you can view the status of each server location and even perform speed tests to see how the service performs for you.
A small drawback is that users can’t manually select individual servers when connecting to Private Internet Access services. Instead, users choose a region and the application will automatically assign a server to them. That may come as a letdown to some people, but it’s hardly a dealbreaker.
Usability and Performance
If speed is your top priority, Private Internet Access is one of the best options available. Their VPN service consistently rates among the fastest on the market. With minimal bandwidth loss and lightning-fast connection times, users get to enjoy the privacy that VPNs provide without compromising too much on the end experience.
In terms of usability, Private Internet Access’s VPN software is fully functional, albeit a little unattractive. Advanced users who like to finetune their settings will be happy to know that the application allows for great control (more on this later). And although the UI looks dated, all the necessary tools are there and easy to find.
When it comes to actual usage, Private Internet Access permits subscribers to use P2P services with their VPN. This means users are free to torrent files if they want. However, reports indicate that streaming services like Netflix aren’t unblocked with the software.
Security and Privacy
Stronger encryption requires more computing power and thus, more bandwidth. You’d want to choose the right amount of protection for your needs, so that you don’t unnecessarily slow down your internet speeds. Fortunately, Private Internet Access allows users to manually change their settings to achieve appropriate levels of security.
Users can choose between PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN protocols. Of the three, OpenVPN is recommended by most experts. Users can opt for AES 128-bit or 256-bit encryption. Data authentication and handshakes can also be changed. Whatever your security needs, Private Internet Access gives you plenty of control when it comes to encryption. Also, the kill switch feature ensures that should your VPN connection timeout, your data still remains safe.
As for privacy, subscribers are assigned a randomized 8-character username to provide anonymity. And even though the company is based in the USA where internet surveillance is common, Private Internet Access promises a zero logs policy, so they won’t have any stored information regarding your internet activities.
Private Internet Access subscribers are able to connect up to five devices simultaneously. This should be enough for most users. Support for more devices will require additional subscriptions. You also have the option of installing a custom third-party firmware on your router should you wish to bypass this restriction.
As far as supported operating systems, Private Internet Access can be installed on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, and Android. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available.
Here are other great features that come with a Private Internet Access plan:
- MACE: This is Private Internet Access’s built-in ad, tracker, and malware blocker. It comes prepackaged with their VPN software and adds extra security against known malicious websites.
- Instant Setup: Connect to Private Internet Access tunnels painlessly with their one-click installers.
- SOCKS5 Proxy Ready: This feature allows users to reroute their internet activity through a different IP address. It doesn’t rely on encryption, so it works faster while still allowing you to conceal your IP address.
Private Internet Access’s website contains a wealth of helpful information for setting up and maintaining your VPN service. There’s plenty of guides and troubleshooting resources readily available for most customer concerns. Users can also look to the official forums to ask for help from moderators, specialists, or other users. Sadly, there isn’t a live chat option. If you want to speak to a customer representative directly, you’ll have to rely on their support ticket system. It’s not the fastest way of communication, but they do get back to you within a reasonable amount of time.
What's the Verdict on PIA?
Private Internet Access Review 2020 – Conclusion
If you’re an advanced user who wants customization options with their VPN, and if you can do without instant support, then Private Internet Access is a terrific option for you. Fully-featured and lightning fast, Private Internet Access delivers top-notch performance at a price that’s difficult to ignore.