Is Private Internet Access a reliable VPN as it claims, especially regarding client anonymity and privacy? How does it work when it comes to matters to do with safety, torrenting, and streaming? Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the most mainstream VPNs available. Consistent with its name, this VPN service provider is most famous for its stringent no-logs policy and obligation to client security.
According to tests done on PIA and customer feedback, some of its useful features before we look at them in detail include; robust security, support of 10 devices at a time, user-friendly interface, and anonymous torrenting, just to mention a few. Drawbacks include; unpredictable ability to unblock popular streaming sites and variable speeds. Though, PIA can access Netflix in DE, UK, US, JP, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.
Now let us look at Private Internet Access VPN in detail.
Private Internet Access Summary
Easy to use, pocket-friendly, takes privacy seriously, but has a couple of downsides.
- Keeps its word of the no-logs policy
- Bandwidth and usage is unlimited
- Can support up to 10 simultaneous connections
- Several appealing features, including P2P support, ad blocker, Kill switch, and Ipv6 leak protection.
- Many servers (2176) are distributed in 76 countries around the globe.
- PIA interface is user-friendly
- 30-days money-back guarantee.
Streaming – Does PIA Work with Netflix?
Popular streaming sites such as Netflix can indeed crackdown on VPN use. This means that there is no assurance that most VPNs will unblock geo-blocked streaming material. With PIA, the results are inconsistent. However, the good news is that all of the PIA servers in the US can unblock Netflix content minus being stopped by the dreaded proxy server. PIA can also access Netflix in the United Kingdom as well as Australia and Canada.
It can likewise access Netflix in Denmark and Japan. The only drawback with PIA when it comes to streaming is that it cannot access Netflix in other server locations such as Germany and Mexico. NordVPN is the most reliable when it comes to unblocking Netflix across the globe.
Private Internet Access Speeds
Private Internet Access has a vast network of 21,976 servers distributed in 76 countries. This extensive server network is impressive news because the more the servers, the less crowding. Before connecting to a VPN server, it is paramount to know the starting connection speed so that you better understand a VPN’s speed.
The starting speed would then be able to be contrasted with the speeds you get when connected with the VPN’s servers.
PIA connection speeds are also inconsistent, and they depend on the location. For instance, when we tried PIA’s automatic connection feature, it directed us to a server in the US, and the connection speed was an average of 34 Mbps. However, when we tested the same a couple of minutes later on the same server, the connection speed was less than 16 Mbps. The other connection speed tests were also inconsistent. The highest speed that PIA recorded was 58 Mbps, and it was on one of the United Kingdom servers.
One of PIA’s Canadian servers also recorded a connection speed of 51 Mbps. However, a number of servers recorded connection speeds of less than 20 Mbps. Test speed in Germany was also 16 Mbps. Some other locations like Australia and Hong Kong recorded extremely low connection speeds of less than 10 Mbps. Inconsistent connections are disappointing, especially when it comes to streaming and browsing.
Although Private Internet Access gave incredible connection speeds in some areas, the speeds were not consistent, and several locations recorded low connection speeds. The performance of PIA varies depending on your physical location and the server locations you intend to utilize regularly.
Private Internet Access and Torrenting
Private Internet Access states clearly on their site that they provide full support for P2P. All servers in their network allow torrenting. PIA’s stringent no-logs policy is amazing for anonymous torrenting. PIA also provides its clients with an automated kill switch that makes sure your P2P activity is secure in case the connection fails unexpectedly, as well as port forwarding.
Security – Is PIA Safe?
PIA professes to be an excellent VPN for anonymity and security. The security structures provided by this VPN mirror the VPN’s emphasis on safety. In case you don’t intend to look at PIA’s advanced features, PIA will mask your connection, encrypt your data, protect IPv6 leak and DNS leak, as well as a firewall.
When our team attempted connecting to the VPN before clicking on any settings, PIA successfully protected us with no IP or DNS leaks. Individuals who are conversant with VPNs will be intrigued by PIA’s advanced security structures that can be enabled easily in the application’s setting. Some of these amazing security features include; protection against tracking and malware, automatic kill switch, and port forwarding.
Check How to Stay safe on public WiFi
Does Private Internet Access Have A Kill Switch?
A kill switch sometimes referred to as disconnect protection or network lock feature, simply means that if a VPN drops or fails, the website or software you were connected to will shut automatically. This kill switch makes sure that your connection doesn’t leak and is protected from the public network.
Private Internet Access Protocols
Protocols determine how information is conveyed across a network. Consider them as various courses that you can take to get to a place. A few courses will be quicker than others; some will be more secure than others, so PIA VPN utilizes a blend of various protocols to accomplish both security and connection speed.
PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) is a very common protocol that has been utilized since the nineties. Instead of doing the encryption on its own, this protocol creates tunnels that encapsulate the data packages. PPTP utilizes a secondary protocol that does the actual encryption. PPTP is not that secure on its own.
IPSec and L2TP are like Batman and Robin. The work of L2TP ( Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) is to generate the tunnel. IPSec (IP Security), on the other hand, deals with encryption, ensures that the tunnel is secure, and confirms that the data arrived is intact. The IPSec can either encrypt the entire data packet or only the data packet message. When the two work together, they create a highly secure VPN client.
SOCKS5 is an intermediary that will dole out another IP address before it takes you to your location. While SOCKS proxy needs last bandwidth than the really VPN, its data isn’t encrypted, and this makes it less secure. That is the reason Private Internet Access utilizes SOCKS together with encryption protocols stated above.
OpenVPN is an incredibly regularly utilized VPN program since it’s the most secure. It’s incredible at skirting firewalls, the fundamental nature of a VPN. However, it doesn’t slow down your internet connection speed too much. The best thing with OpenVPN is that it is crowd-sourced, not created by any company. The VPN industry is continually fiddling with OpenVPN to ensure that observation offices aren’t altering it. This sounds good to VPN lovers.
Private Internet Access and Split Tunneling
PIA VPN provides excellent freedom on your online activity. It offers split tunneling on its PC applications. This amazing feature gives you the freedom to choose the applications that will access the internet directly and pass through the VPN first.
With this feature, you can use PIA to secure your banking data or be safe when torrenting, browsing, or streaming out of the encrypted VPN tunnel on the same device.
To turn on split tunneling, simply go to the Network tab and click on App Exclusions. From there, select the programs you want to bypass the masking.
Does PIA Keep Logs?
The most intriguing feature about PIA is that it keeps its word of no-log policy. PIA is located in the US, and consequently, it is obligatory to consent to US laws and requests. This implies that in case the state demands data from PIA, at that point, PIA is legally required to hand over any applicable information that they have gathered.
Since its headquarters are in the US, Private Internet Access VPN is under the jurisdiction of 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance, something that individuals who love privacy nervous about. However, with PIA VPN, there is nothing to worry about.
When compares to many VPN service providers, PIA’s policy on privacy is very clear. It overtly states that “PIA does not collect and keep or log any traffic or use its VPN or proxy.”
PIA has likewise had a few occasions to demonstrate that they adhere to their no-logs policy. In the year 2015 and 2017, the authorities requested log information from PIA concerning an ongoing probe. On both occasions, PIA didn’t have anything to hand over.
While it’s hard to test whether a VPN retains the data logs of its users or not, these events are a great sign that PIA indeed does not keep any logs.
While it’s difficult to test whether a VPN holds information logs of its clients or not, these occasions are a great sign that PIA genuinely doesn’t keep any logs.
Does PIA Have an Adblocker?
PIA, like other VPNs, also has an adblocking option as part of its MACE feature. This feature can be easily activated in its settings.
The MACE features are responsible for blocking tracking, adware, and malware any time the VPN is activated. This feature is available on Mac, Linux, Windows, and Android, but at the moment, it is not available on iOS.
We tested PIA’s adblocker on several websites that are typically filled with advertisements. The MACE feature was able to block all of the ads that we encountered successfully.
We tried PIA’s adblocker on a few sites that are ordinarily loaded up with promotions. The MACE feature had the option to effectively stop the entirety of the advertisements that we experienced.
Does PIA Work in China?
If you are interested or have used a VPN, you know how challenging it is to bypass the great China Firewall. Most VPNs have tried, but all was in vain.
The bad news is that still, Private Internet Access VPN cannot offer reliable services to clients in China. Some clients in China have had success with PIA VPN using the L2TP that is less secure though harder to detect. However, even with this, you are not guaranteed. While you may be among the few lucky ones, PIA is not the best option for use in China.
PIA Price and Value for Money
One reason that makes PIA such a good VPN service provider is a result of its sensible costs. Numerous top-notch VPNs with similar features charge more for their services.
If your main interest on a VPN is anonymity and security when torrenting or browsing, Private Internet Access provides the best value for the cost. Furthermore, when you look at its huge discounts on longer subscription plans, the value is far much better. However, many VPN service providers with the same pricing in the VPN industry offer extra features that PIA doesn’t provide, like stable streaming support and dependable connection speeds. What matters more is what you are looking for in a VPN.
The most shocking thing about PIA is that it doesn’t offer a free trial. The best way to test out their services is to go for an affordable monthly plan. If you are not satisfied with PIA’s services, you can take advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee.
PIA accepts a variety of payment methods, including credit cards and popular online payment platforms such as PayPal. It also allows numerous anonymous payments such as Cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, gift cards, and others.
Is PIA Compatible with my Device?
Private Internet Access VPN is compatible with major dedicated apps and platforms, including; Linux, Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android. The features are the same on all applications apart from iOS, which doesn’t have the MACE adblocking feature, and instead of using OpenVPN, it uses IPSec protocol.
PIA also provides secure browser extensions for Opera, Chrome, and Firefox.
Private Internet Access provides its customers with detailed installation guides on their web in case you prefer manual installation. PIA is also compatible with routers such as Tomato, pfSense, and DD-WRT.
One appealing feature that makes PIA beat its competitors is its ability to connect to 10 devices using a single account.
PIA Customer Service
PIA customer service is one area that has made it to catch up with top-notch competitors in the market. Currently, PIA offers 24/7 live chat support, something that we always expect from VPNs on the market.
PIA’s website is the most significant positive feature when it comes to customer support. Their site’s support section has a couple of resourceful information, including installation guides that are easy to follow, FAQs, searchable knowledgebase, and troubleshooting guides.
In case you’re willing to invest the energy looking through these resources, you can presumably discover the answer for most issues without expecting to contact the support staff in person.
PIA User Experience
Even though the Private Internet Access site looks somewhat dated from the start, installing this VPN is quick and simple. After picking a membership plan and finishing payment, you will get an email containing your login certifications.
Downloading the right app for your PC barely takes 2 minutes if your network connection speed is good. When you first open the app, getting started is as simple as keying in the login information you were emailed when you purchased the subscription.
Once you have entered the login details, getting started is simple. With a single click on the power button, you can connect to your recent server location. When you connect for the first time, the application will automatically set and connect you to the fastest server in your location.
To select your server location manually, just click on the current location, and a list of available server locations will show up. From there, you can choose your preferred server and then click the power button.
The interface for selecting servers is simple to navigate through. The interface lists current ping times for every server location in ms. Shorter ping times are better, and the fastest servers have green ping times while slower servers have their ping times displayed in yellow. You are also at liberty to come up with your favorite server list.
Now let us get back to the VPN app’s main page. To access the settings is simple because there are three dots in the upper right corner that are meant to navigate you through the settings. The settings interface is well-arranged, giving you the freedom to easily customize your features without a struggle.
Generally, Private Internet Access is among those VPNs with the most simple interface and intuitive applications.
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Does PIA Location in the US matter?
Location of Private Internet Access VPN in the United States is a big issue for many VPN users. The United States has some of the most stringent, most privacy-intruding surveillance restrictions in the developed world, which applies to VPN service providers. The US government is best known for pressurizing VPN service providers to supply them with their clients’ data with secret warrants. This has worried privacy advocates.
The fact that Private Internet Access keeps its word of no-logs policy means they have no data to give in case the United States authorities come knocking. However, the truth remains that they may not have an alternative to giving out your data to the authorities if at all they have. It doesn’t matter how long you have been their customer or how much you have contributed to them.
We have had cases where VPN service providers have been forced to give information about their clients. For instance, in 2017, PureVPN supported the Federal Bureau of Investigation by giving them data about their client.
Should PIA’s location In the United States worry you? Maybe yes, or perhaps not. There is information that the NSA once broke the encryption of some VPNs. This can mean that the authorities may be secretly snooping on your connection. However, this is less likely if you are utilizing maximum security recommendations.
Since the combination of intelligence-sharing agreements and surveillance laws in the United States, it is good to look for VPNs outside the US. But, this does not mean that the VPNs based in the US are bad. What you intend to do on the internet also matters a lot.
Private Internet Access offers a solid VPN service at pocket-friendly prices despite not having the best connection speeds and not able to bypass the great Chine Firewall. PIA may be the best option in case you are looking for a trusted VPN provider that takes privacy seriously, values user security, and values your money. It also great when it comes to anonymous torrenting and adblocking.
However, unstable connection speed and a geo-spoofing ability are inconsistent. That means that Private Internet Access VPN may not be suitable for high-bandwidth gaming and HD streaming. Even though it can access Netflix in Denmark, United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and others, PIA cannot unblock Netflix libraries in some locations. All in all, the PIA package is wrapped up in an amazing user-friendly package.