PIA Review (2022)

5/5
SpecsSpecs
⭐ Rating:3.7 ★★★★☆
🥇 Overall rank:#15 out of #29
📖 No logs policy:Some logs
💵 Price:From $2.50/month
🖥️ Servers:1300+ servers in 48 countries
🍿 Streaming services:BBC iPlayer, YouTube

If you are searching for the best Private Internet Access review at the internet? No problem, we got you covered at ProXPN. The last couple of years, we saw an enormous growth in the amount of VPN providers at the market, which is quite logical since an estimated 35% of internet users have been using VPN services the past year. Choosing the right one can be quite a task, but don’t worry about it because we are here to help you out. Read our in-depth Private Internet Access guide and learn everything about this service, we are quite sure that once you’re done with reading you will know if this service suits you best.

Ben Grindlow

Ben Grindlow is the founder of ProXPN, a company that provides reviews about VPN products and services. Ben's interest in cybersecurity and privacy led him to start ProXPN, which has become one of the most well-respected VPN providers in the world. Ben is passionate about his work, and he is constantly exploring new ways to improve ProXPN's in-depth guides.

Last updated: 13:13PM 6/30/2022

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PrivadoVPN

Defend Your Data
$ 7
99
Monthly
  • Global internet access
  • Use on any device
  • Easy to use
First plan

Table of Contents

World's leading & most secure VPN provider

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Private Internet Access (PIA) can be seen as a very good and reliable VPN provider for a very competitive price. PIA excels when it comes to speed. That makes PIA very suitable for streaming, downloading and gaming. However, there are also areas for improvement: the head office is in the US, where privacy is not a top priority. Furthermore, customer service (live chat) is a bit messy.

VPN connection ease of use

Private Internet Access (PIA) scores 8.9 for its ease of use.

  • Private Internet Access is very easy to install
  • PIA’s apps work especially well on smartphones
  • Windows 7 is not supported with PIA
  • You can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • You can pay for the VPN service via credit card, iDEAL or bitcoin
  • PIA’s customer service can be improved

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Installation

Downloading and installing Private Internet Access is easy. You will receive a username and password via email so that you can quickly log into the service and use it. All fine.

Good to know

Private Internet Access has been part of Kape Technologies since 2019, which also includes CyberGhost and ZenMate.

Use

PIA’s Windows application is different from other VPN providers. The app always appears at the bottom right of the screen, but you cannot open it to full screen. It is also not possible to slide the app to another place on your screen.

Instead, the window stays compact and in the same place. It is designed to get in the way of the user as little as possible. Personally, I think this works well for most people. Nevertheless, it takes some getting used to. The Android and iOS apps work perfectly. They are very strong and work smoothly. We only noticed that the battery consumption on Android is a bit on the high side, especially as compared to ExpressVPN. A big plus is that the Private Internet Access apps are available in the local language. Great!

Support

PIA offers support for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android and iOS. In addition, there are browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. Unfortunately for people with a slightly older computer, it is a shame that Windows 7 is not supported. Still a small minus. Private Internet Access worked on routers as well, but the online environment of the website does not help you very well with this. With other VPN providers, such as ExpressVPN, this is much more clearly arranged. On the other hand, it is a big plus that you can connect as many as 10 devices simultaneously to PIA’s VPN servers.

Payment options

You can pay at PIA in the following ways:

  • Credit card
  • PayPal
  • iDEAL
  • Gift cards

You can also pay with crypto coins, specifically:

  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Ethereum
  • Litecoin

Customer Service

I tried to contact PIA customer support and ask a question via live chat.

Initially I was shown a screen in which I had to fill in all kinds of things, such as my email, operating system connection method, network, etc. Only then could I continue. Not very user-friendly and in my view completely unnecessary.

  1. Then I was unable to initiate a live chat. I was not connected to an employee. Fortunately, my second attempt was successful, and I was connected with Bryan.
  2. Initially, this contact was quick. It looked like my question would be answered in no time. However, little happened. There seemed to be some noise on the line. At some point, the connection turned out to be broken.
  3. In my third attempt, I finally got hold of an employee who responded quickly and helped me well, although his answer appeared to deviate slightly from the information on the PIA website.
  4. In short, there is still some room for improvement in PIA’s customer service.

Best alternative for your privacy

When you connect to the Internet via a VPN, the VPN app on your device (also called a VPN client) establishes a secure connection to a VPN server. Your traffic still goes past your internet provider, but they can no longer read it or see its final destination.

The websites you visit can no longer see your original IP address, only the IP address of the VPN server which is shared with many other users and changes regularly.

ProXPN Expert Score

3,8 /5
3.8/5

Privacy and safety

Private Internet Access (PIA) scores an 8.0 for privacy and security.

  • PIA is located in the United States; we would prefer a different location.
  • Given the location of its headquarters, Private Internet Access could theoretically be forced to cooperate with the US government.
  • This VPN provider does not keep user logs, however, as has been proven.
  • PIA uses the most secure protocols and encryption.
  • PIA’s kill switch has three positions and is well put together.

Account

To create an account at PIA, you basically only need to provide your email address, unless you pay by credit card.

Do you pay with Bitcoin? Then you are in fact very anonymous. Especially if you use an email address that is not linked to your real name. Then even PIA doesn’t know anything about you.

Log Policy

Like most other VPN services, Private Internet Access has a strict no logs policy. This means that it is not tracked which websites you visit as a user or which content you download.

PIA’s reputation for privacy is good, as a court request for information has proven to be unsuccessful in the past. Private Internet Access works with servers that act as if the data flowing through them does not exist. This makes it impossible to retrieve cases, for example if the government or a film studio’s law firm demands data or IP addresses from the judge.

In Russia, too, PIA has proven that the privacy and security of its users are of paramount importance. For example, PIA offers no Russian servers, because Russian law requires PIA to keep data for at least one year.

Despite its good reputation, Private Internet Access has not had an independent security audit performed, while the competition has. A bit of a shame, since you now have to take PIA at their word.

Headquarters location

When it comes to privacy, however, PIA is not all roses and sunshine. PIA is based in the United States. This is in my view – and those of cyber professionals – not the most ideal location for a VPN provider.

The Patriot Act has been in effect in the US since 2001. This law gives the American state many more possibilities to collect information, for example if there are suspicions of terrorist activities.

It is therefore a possibility that PIA would have to cooperate with a court order to monitor specific PIA users without their knowledge. (Incidentally, there are no known cases in which this has actually happened.)

There is also a claim that PIA is collaborating, or has collaborated with, the National Security Agency (NSA). There is no evidence for this claim either.

Encryption and protocols

In the field of encryption and protocols, PIA has done an excellent job.

On all operating systems you can only choose from secure protocols:

  • On Windows and Android only OpenVPN and WireGuard are offered
  • On iOS you can also choose from IKEv2, but customer service indicated that support for this may disappear in the long run.

According to the PIA website, you can choose from AES-128 or AES-256 for encryption.

ProXPN Expert Tip

When choosing a VPN, it’s important to consider everything that it offers. Many alternative options, like NordVPN, offer similar (or even better) no-logs policies, independent audits, and security features – without any doubts about their overall security practices.

Kill switch

Private Internet Access has a handy VPN kill switch with three options:

  • Kill switch out: speaks for itself
  • Auto Kill switch: Blocks outside internet traffic if the VPN is not enabled
  • Always kill switch: Blocks all traffic if the VPN is not enabled

To use the kill switch properly and make your private internet access safe, we recommended you launch PIA when you start up your smartphone, tablet or PC.

Internet speeds

Private Internet Access (PIA) scores 9.4 on speed tests.

  • Private Internet Access ranks among the fastest VPN providers in the world.
  • This VPN provider scores excellent at speedtest.net.
  • The VPN connection always remains fast and stable.
  • PIA is very suitable for all activities that demand fast internet speeds, such as streaming and gaming.

Daily use speed

I have been using PIA intensively and with pleasure for a few days, both on PC and on smartphone. I did not notice any loss in internet speed or stability.

I can conclude that PIA is suitable for all conceivable purposes, including:

  • Browsing and daily internet use
  • Watching videos on Youtube or Vimeo
  • Quick game downloading via Steam
  • Streaming via Netflix, Ziggo Go and NPO Start
  • Online gaming

Local server speed

PIA has proven itself to be a VPN provider with fast download and upload speeds and low ping.

Without VPN, we note the following speeds over our 100 Mbps connection:

With the VPN enabled we only sacrifice a little speed:

  • Ping: +1 ms
  • Download: -4.2%
  • Upload: -2.9%

The speed test on mobile also went well. It was striking that I achieved even higher speeds here than when the VPN was switched off. Also, the connection seemed to be more stable. This is remarkable.

US server speed

PIA’s American VPN servers are also fast. At speedtest.net I always chose the fastest available server in the US and got the following results:

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Possibilities

Private Internet Access (PIA) scores an 8.9 for the possibilities and options it offers.

  • PIA has an extremely large number of servers in 78 countries.
  • Streaming via Netflix, Disney+, HBO or Amazon Prime is no problem at all.
  • The VPN provider supports downloading torrents.
  • PIA has a range of useful tools and extra services.
  • PIA offers a money back guarantee in the first 30 days of your subscription if you are not satisfied.

Servers

At the time of writing, PIA has more than 33,000 servers. That is much more than the competition. The advantage of this is that you always have a fast and stable server at your disposal. PIA’s servers are spread over 78 countries.

In their own words, they mainly focus on the American market, although the servers work in Europe and Asia. This is also excellent, in my opinion.

Streaming and downloading

I was curious if Private Internet Access would also be suitable for streaming. I was pleasantly surprised, because all streaming services I tested seemed to work well, both on my PC and via the mobile app.

This is how I managed to:

  • Watch the American Netflix via Android and Windows

Although I have not tested this, Private Internet Access also appears to work via Disney+ and Amazon Prime, according to our colleagues at Techradar.com. Only the British BCC iPlayer would then not work.

It is also good to know that PIA also supports peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic. That means that the VPN service is suitable for downloading torrent files.

Streaming platformWorking
NetflixYes
BBC iPlayerNo
YouTubeYes
DAZNNo
HuluYes

Overview of functionalities

PIA offers a very large number of useful functionalities within its software, namely:

  • Split tunneling: a way to allow certain data traffic to run through your regular IP address
  • Dedicated IP: A fixed, but anonymous IP address (available in the US, Canada, Germany, UK and Australia)
  • PIA MACE: built-in tool to block ads, malware and trackers
  • Identity Guard: a tool to check if your email address has been leaked
  • Boxcryptor: Encrypt and secure files you upload to cloud services
  • InBrowser: a private browser with video support and TOR support

All these Private Internet Access functionalities have added value in my opinion. Class!

Free trial?

No free trials are offered at Private Internet Acess. You can, however, purchase a subscription and request your money back within 30 days. This money back guarantee complies with the standard.

Frequently asked questions

PIA is a wonderful VPN service with some unusual features not found in other providers. While performance is reasonable, power users will appreciate its strong privacy, torrenting tools, and all the extra features, while its effective Netflix unblocking is the cherry on top.

PIA does not, like NordVPN, provide double-VPN or Tor-over-VPN servers. These extra privacy and security benefits undoubtedly have their uses, as I illustrated in my multi-hop VPN service evaluation. NordVPN takes home the prize for most features with its complete portfolio of services.

PIA uses WireGuard and OpenVPN — two of the most popular open-source VPN protocols — as well as IPsec on iOS to provide our customers with complete transparency and security.

PIA (Private Internet Access) is an excellent VPN for torrenting since it offers considerably faster P2P speeds than other VPNs. Using AES-256 encryption, a zero-logs policy, and leak protection, PIA successfully masks your torrenting IP.

PIA does not sell, share, rent, or trade its users’ Personal Data with other parties unless expressly authorized by its Privacy Policy.

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