Today we will talk about Private Internet Access (PIA), the company is registered in the United States, which as we know is part of the 5 eyes alliance, not the best country to register a company, but this VPN provider has a zero-logging policy, so if the government and present a warrant for information about users, PIA can not help.
The service has established itself as a reliable VPN provider, trusted by 15 million users, providing anonymous Internet surfing and privacy of your digital identity through advanced security features such as MACE ad and malware blocker, split tunneling, killswitch, DNS leak protection, IPv6 leak protection, as well as strong modern AES 256 encryption and Wireguard, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and SOCKS5-proxy protocols. You can connect up to 10 devices at the same time, the applications are well optimized, have some differences for different operating systems, but in general work stably. Let's check how PIA copes with opening access to different streaming platforms and test the speed.
|Cheapest price||Logging policy||Torrenting policy||Servers count||Customer support||Money back guarantee||Local speed (Avg.)|
|2.08$||No logs||Permitted||105||30 days||35 Mbps|
Privacy & Security
The PIA VPN in the app uses AES 128 GCM encryption by default, but you can very easily change it by going into the settings and selecting AES 256 GCM, as it is a more secure and advanced standard for data encryption. The service offers us Wireguard, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and SOCKS5-proxy protocols, of which OpenVPN and Wireguard are open-source, but recently Wireguard becomes more popular and VPN providers use it more and more often, as Wireguard uses modern cryptography and is considered more efficient in comparison with other protocols, the connection is made by simple key exchange and this protocol is easy to use.
Another advantage of PIA VPN is the use of open-source applications, not many VPNs on the market today can boast about it and it shows that the service does not hide anything and is confident in its reliability.
We also tested for IPv6 and DNS leaks. IPv6 traffic can be tracked by VPN providers and lead to a leak of your data, disabling this data transfer channel PIA VPN provides you anonymity on the Internet. When testing DNS leaks also was not detected, my real location is Russia (at the time of writing this review), DNS leak test site showed a Latvian IP, which means that my real DNS was successfully masked.
Logging policy & Jurisdiction
PIA VPN is registered in the USA, as we know, not the most favorable country for the choice of a VPN, as the USA is considered one of the founders of the 5 eyes alliance and besides sharing intelligence the USA is also known for mass surveillance of its citizens and not only, covering it all as the fight against terrorism only, the country allows VPN and values freedom of speech and free access to the Internet, however, the reputation of the Five Eyes Alliance and Edward Snowden's articles about mass surveillance is not the best choice for a VPN. But even if the government or other agencies demand data about their users legally, the PIA VPN can not help in any way, because it has a zero-logging policy, which means your IP address connection time, history of your website visits and other information is not stored on the PIA VPN servers and is not tracked.
Also worth trusting PIA for the reason that once every 6 months they post a transparency report, which shows the court order, subpoena, and warrants, eventually received 16 applications, but the logs were not provided because there is simply nothing on the servers due to the zero log policy, so PIA VPN could not help anything, which is good news for us.
Performance (speed & reliability)
An important point when choosing a VPN is the speed, if the VPN provider has a large server network, the load on the server is distributed evenly, and you can choose the server closest to you because the closer it is, the better will be the speed, testing PIA VPN results were ambiguous, on the one hand, when I connected to the recommended closest server, the results were impressive, without a VPN connection speed was 60.30 Mbps, after connecting the speed was 46.78 Mbps and this is an excellent result for the VPN. Then I connected to the server in Germany, Frankfurt, and here I was disappointed because the speed decreased by 88% and was 7.39 Mbps and I had a slight slow download in my browser, although Germany is not far away from me. When I set the VPN connection to the US server, the situation was slightly better and the speed was 16.29 Mbps, it shows that the speed of PIA VPN in some places is not stable.
Features & Usability
PIA VPN is a multifunctional service and now we will look at its additional features that provide you with anonymity, privacy and make your surfing on the Internet more secure. To begin with, I would like to mention the PIA MACE ad and malware blocker, which blocks pop-up unwanted windows on various sites, this personally annoys me when browsing content and is distracting, PIA MACE does its job well in advance by blocking ads before they appear.
Split tunneling - as PIA VPN claims, this is advanced split tunneling and leads it in comparison to other VPN providers to a level higher, to me, it is no different from the others, the essence of split tunneling is that you can choose applications or sites, where you do not need to use VPN, internet banking, applications that detect VPN traffic and block it, remote connection, etc., that is, you choose when to use the VPN channel and when to use the local network.
Kill Switch - automatic disconnection from the Internet, a useful feature when you have a broken connection VPN, at this point your data becomes easy prey for hackers and ISP, as they are not protected by the VPN client and VPN servers through which encrypted your Internet traffic. Also, PIA VPN provides a dedicated IP address, which will belong only to you, using a dedicated IP address, you will not have to enter the captcha several times, and the reputation of the IP depends only on you.
I liked the PIA VPN apps as they are easy to use, well optimized, intuitive, and with an attractive design, I especially wanted to highlight the Android app, which with the automatic connection instantly establishes a connection with the server, the app is informative, you will find in it all the settings you need, the only thing I did not like, I could not find such a simple thing as a language change.
PIA VPN has at its disposal a massive server network represented in 78 countries, the number VPN servers location - 105. Why is it so important for a VPN provider to have a large server network at its disposal? Firstly, the closer the server is located to you, the faster will be your speed, and secondly, the load on the servers is lower, which eventually also affects the speed, the PIA VPN focus on U.S. servers, thus providing high speed, both within the country and abroad. Another advantage is the unlimited bandwidth of the servers.
List of countries:
Canada, Vietnam, Venezuela, Ukraine, Turkey, Slovakia, Singapore, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Moldova, Qatar, Poland, Philippines, Panama, New Zealand, Norway, Netherlands, Nigeria, Mexico, Malta, Macao, Mongolia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Indonesia, Morocco, Latvia, Luxemburg, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Cambodia, Japan, Italy, India, Hong Kong, Israel, Ireland, Hungary, Croatia, Greece, Greenland, Georgia, Great Britain, France, Finland, Spain, Egypt, Estonia, Algeria, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Cyprus, China, Switzerland, Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Belgium, Bangladesh, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Argentina, Armenia, Albania, UAE, Andorra, South Africa.
How good is the PIA VPN for streaming and torrenting?
As you know, recently famous streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer have learned to recognize VPN traffic and block it. PIA VPN was able to bypass the blocking of Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, which restrict video content for geographical reasons, we have no problem opening the site and the content was downloaded without buffering and in HD, it concerns the servers from the U.S., Britain, Canada. Unfortunately, the server in Germany disappointed me, I could not access Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu opened without problems. If you are considering working with PIA VPN for streaming, not the best choice. The service manages to bypass the great Chinese firewall, but the results are mixed, not always a stable connection, and sometimes even blocked access.
PIA VPN has at its disposal optimized for torrent, P2P servers with unlimited bandwidth and support BitTorrent, killswitch function while downloading torrents prevents the risk of data leakage if suddenly you have problems with VPN connection, the speed when downloading torrents is sometimes excellent, sometimes too low, indicating instability.
Platforms & Devices
You can connect up to 10 devices at a time, PIA VPN has applications for Windows, Linux, iOS, macOS, Android, as well as extensions for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. In the application for Android among the protocols you can choose Wireguard or Open VPN and change the settings of encryption, two types of AES 128 GCM and AES 256 GCM are available, the application with very good performance, pleasant interface, intuitive even for beginners, in the application for iOS you will be available only protocol L2TP/IPSec.
You can also install a PIA VPN on your router, thereby increasing the level of security by protecting the source of your Internet traffic.
It's easy to install and download the app, and there are guides on the website if you have any questions.
PIA VPNs are competitively priced considering the features and functions they offer. There are three plans to choose from
1 month - $11.95 per month
1 year - $3.33 per month
3 years - $2.08 per month
There is a free 7 day trial period for Andriod and iOS applications and if for any reason you decide it is not suitable for you, you can get your money back as PIA VPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
You can pay for your subscription with credit/debit cards, Walmart, BestBuy, Starbucks gift cards, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitpay cryptocurrency.
Support is available 24/7, but what disappointed me, you can contact the support team only through the mail and usually, the waiting time takes about 15 hours, yes, you do offer a constructive solution to your problem and answer the question, but if the situation requires an immediate solution, this method is not suitable. The site has guides for installing and configuring applications, as well as a blog where you can find useful articles and a section with frequently asked questions, and one more thing I liked, before you send a letter via email you have to fill out a lot of items, in the end, it takes a very long time. To sum it up, PIA VPN tech support doesn't reach the premium service because there is no live chat, but there is a lot of useful information on the website so you can figure it all out on your own, including topics, articles, news, knowledge base, blog and FAQ section.
Pros & Cons
✓ Zero logging policy
✓ 10 simultaneous connections
✓ Works with a variety of streaming platforms
✓ Well-optimized applications
✓ Reliable security features
✘ No live chat
✘ Unstable speeds
✘ USA, where PIA is registered, is a member of the Five Eyes Alliance
Last edited on Aug 2, 2022