pia vpn private internet access review: devices screens

Private Internet Access Review

35400 +

Servers

78

Countries

10

Devices

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Top 5 Pros & Cons

Short Version

Private Internet Access review summary: “Despite being a veteran in the VPN space, PIA is by no means what we could call an old-school player. The VPN service has made consistent improvements over the years.

Nowadays, Private Internet Access ranks both among the most traditional and the best VPN providers available. Even though the service earned its spot in this select gallery, overall, it still presents limitations. It’s a solid choice for Torrenting and Security purposes, but PIA falls short on some other areas.

For example, when it comes to Streaming, this VPN still has a considerable gap to be filled in terms of speed, stability, and unblocking skills, notably regarding Netflix. While this VPN service may be suitable for everyday privacy needs as well, it’s important to mention that the company raises some suspicions about its trustworthiness.”

About Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access is a veteran VPN service in a relatively young market. The company was founded in 2010 by Andrew Lee, an American software developer. Since then, the service has gone through significant changes.

On the bright side, PIA revamped its service, growing the company at a fast pace. Improvements have taken place on several fronts, including infrastructure size, geographical coverage, technology, and marketing.

Over the last few years, PIA has established itself as a well-known brand and one of the most robust VPN services in the world.

But there’s also a potentially dark side in this story. The recent company’s ownership change raised some privacy concerns. In 2019, Private Internet Access was acquired by Kape Technologies PLC [1]. The software firm is the owner of CyberGhost, another popular VPN service worldwide, and also ZenMate. However, all this tradition in the software industry doesn’t necessarily guarantee trust.

Service Overview

United States
10 simultaneous connections
Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Opera
Unlimited
35400+ servers
78 countries
PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, WireGuard, OpenVPN, SOCKS5 (Proxy)
Torrenting, Security
30-day money-back guarantee
24/7 Live chat

Private Internet Access Features

Private Internet Access still has some work to do in terms of the features it offers. From the perspective of the average user, PIA might have a fair enough set of functionalities.

PIA’s Server Network

PIA’s flagship is its astonishing number of servers available, currently over 35,000 VPN and Proxy servers across 78 countries! Although the company doesn’t clarify how many of those are actually Proxies, it’s a pretty impressive mark. Of course, a massive number of servers alone does not assure a higher performance. But in the case of PIA, it’s way above the number of servers that NordVPN deploys, currently around 5,400 in total.

However, speeds are somewhat uneven throughout the network. For some specific location needs, clients might face below the average and even slow connection speeds. After all, the vast majority of the servers (80%) are in locations in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

Rare Apps and Dedicated IPs

Overall, the VPN service offers some excellent traits, like a native app for Linux users, a browser extension for Opera, and dedicated IPs, available at an additional cost.

Having a unique IP address can be handy in some cases, especially to bypass geo-blocks and get the most out of your Streaming services. Even extensive VPN networks can get their IPs blacklisted by the major video platforms.

Customizable Security

Security-wise, PIA’s service offers unique configuration possibilities. Users can switch between security levels at choice through neat encryption profiles. At this moment, there are four pre-formatted options for different needs: default protection; maximum protection; all speed, no safety, and risky business. Beyond the standard options, users have total and granular control over these settings for more advanced customization.

In practice, this option allows for a better balance between performance and security. It is possible to individually pick the desired authentication algorithm, handshake certificate, and cryptographic scheme.

The service also includes a free email breach monitoring tool, a sweet add-on to the package.

Features
Multi-hop connections
Kill-switch
Strict no-logs policy
Dedicated IP address
Split tunneling
Anonymous payment methods
Tor over VPN
Obfuscation
Torrenting allowed
Ad blocker
Malware blocker

Pricing & Deals

The pricing structure is another area where PIA has put some effort to pair with the competition. Over time, the service had become better and cheaper, probably due to the growth of the user base.

The brand offers a monthly no-commitment plan for a reasonable price of $9.95 a month. Typically, top dogs like ExpressVPN charge around $12 a month. In terms of long-term subscriptions, the company also offers competitive options to attract customers.

Discounted prices can drop by 78% ($2.19 monthly for a 3-year plan). This approach makes PIA subscription’s cheapest prices slightly lower than what you can get from VPNs like Surfshark, which delivers a superb value for money, but still higher than VyprVPN’s price.

Unfortunately to PIA, the latest competitor offer even more significant discounts, above 80%, for more complete service packages.

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Can You Trust Private Internet Access?

It depends. Let’s take a look at some facts so that you can make your judgment. The problem is new PIA’s owner, Kape Technologies, has a history with malicious software under its former name, Crossrider. The company became notorious for its engagement in ad injection and browser hijacking [2].

In other words, Crossrider used to be an adware company providing advertisers unauthorized access to user’s browsers and their private data. It’s quite the opposite of what a trustworthy VPN should do. I’m not saying they’re still on that business. But, honestly, doesn’t it remind you of a story about some fox in a chicken coop?

To be fair, Private Internet Access has been adopting harsh measures towards privacy protection lately. Despite being incorporated in the United States, where data disclosure can be legally required, PIA has proven to be an absolute no logs VPN.

The company has already been compelled by law to disclose its users’ activity data in several opportunities. As its Transparency Reports indicate [3], PIA hasn’t provided any logs to the authorities so far. Those consistent responses to all subpoenas, warrants and court orders constitute a pretty strong trust statement to this VPN’s clients.

Alternatives to Private Internet Access

References

  1. CrunchBase, 2019. Private Internet Access acquired by Kape Technologies. See reference
  2. Ad Injection at Scale: Assessing Deceptive Advertisement Modifications. Google, University of California, Berkeley, and others, 2015. See reference
  3. Private Internet Access Transparency Report (Online). See reference

User's Rating

4.6
4.6/5
Based on 130,553 reviews 🛈

Data from Trustpilot, Amazon, Apple App Store, and Google Play Store.

Table of Contents

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EDITOR’S PICK

nordvpn brand logo

Best Overall VPN in 2021

Best VPN for Streaming

Best VPN for Prime Video

Users' Rating

Based on Trustpilot, Amazon, Apple App Store, and Google Play Store customers' reviews.

4.4
4.4/5

Based on 695,912 reviews

Regular price: $11.95 /month
For just $3.30 /month

Valid for 2-year plans (+ 3 months FREE). Prices in US dollars.

100% money-back guarantee (30 days)

Save 72%

EDITOR’S PICK

nordvpn brand logo

Best Overall VPN in 2021

Best VPN for Streaming

Best VPN for Prime Video

Users' Rating

Based on Trustpilot, Amazon, Apple App Store, and Google Play Store customers' reviews.

4.4
4.4/5

Based on 695,912 reviews

Regular price: $11.95 /month
For just $3.30 /month

Valid for 2-year plans (+ 3 months FREE). Prices in US dollars.

100% money-back guarantee (30 days)

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