Private Internet Access Quick Review

Why should I use PIA?

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Pay anonymously with many major brand gift cards including Starbucks, Walmart, Best Buy and many more accepted. But many users tend to care about the numbers. My skepticism stems from some my other experiences related to VPNs. PIA claims to have a 7 day money back guarantee. Your review must be at least characters long. This is called Split Tunneling and it's very handy, particularly for games and video streaming apps, which need to be whitelisted in order to function properly. In the latency test, it had the worst results by far.

Features and Pricing

Private Internet Access Review

I'm looking forward to enjoying a freer internet experience. Private Internet Access is the leading VPN Service provider specializing in secure, encrypted VPN tunnels which create several layers of privacy and security providing you safety on the internet.

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Watch our 1 minute intro video. Trusted By Companies Including: Why should I use PIA? Browse anonymously with a hidden ip , and enable wifi security with our VPN service.

The most secure, anonymous VPN tunnel is now at your fingertips. Connect immediately to our private VPN service with our instant vpn setup. Featuring one-click installers, your VPN service will be enabled immediately.

Buy a VPN account to get started! The Apache Software Foundation. VPN technology comes in a handful of flavors, with a few different protocols used to create the encrypted tunnel.

My preferred one is OpenVPN, which is open-source and therefore examined by volunteers for potential vulnerabilities. It also has a strong reputation for speed and reliability. I don't recommend using these other two, but it's good to have options. With a subscription to Private Internet Access, you get access to the company's 3, servers spread out over 44 locations in 28 countries.

While VPN services will spin servers up and down to meet demand, a large number of servers is a sign of the service's robustness. It also means you're less likely to have to share data with a lot of other users accessing the same VPN server. For many years, Private Internet Access had the most servers of any service I had tested.

NordVPN now takes that honor with 3, servers. The number of server locations is also important. Numerous server locations also mean you have more choices to spoof your location. Although it's a good mix, it could use improvement. It also has only two options in all of Central and South America. Note that while Private Internet Access used to support servers in Russia, it no longer does.

This change was in response to new VPN laws in Russia that Private Internet Access felt would have prevented it from adequately protecting user privacy. Other VPN services have weighed in on the issue, but Private Internet Access is among the very few to cease Russian operations entirely. Some VPN services make use of virtual servers, which mimic a server in a given country but may actually be located somewhere else.

While the practical upshot is the same—your traffic appears to be coming from the country you select—consumers may have legal concerns about where their data is actually going. Not every country has agreeable data and privacy protection laws, after all. That's not an issue with Private Internet Access. A company representative told me that while it does use virtual servers in its overall operations, it does not use virtual servers for forwarding user traffic.

Each location you select is exactly where it says it is. VPN companies advertise their privacy and security bona fides , but they also come with risks. When you route your traffic through a VPN, the company could have enormous insight into what you do online—the kind of insight your ISP has and that you're probably using a VPN to prevent.

A company representative explained that Private Internet Access does not insert advertising into your web traffic and does not profit from user data.

While the technology that a VPN company offers is important, its physical location and the legal jurisdiction the company operates under also makes a difference. Given the checkered past of the US Intelligence apparatus, that might seem like a hard sell. It's important to note, however, that the US does not have any legal requirements for mandatory data gathering and retention. I am neither a network engineer with access to each and every one of the company's servers, nor am I legal expert. I have, however, asked the company direct questions and been satisfied by the answers I received.

Still, I encourage everyone to read a VPN company's privacy policy for themselves. If you feel uncomfortable, look elsewhere. Trust, after all, is paramount when it comes to security companies. I received new login credentials in the purchase confirmation email, a practice that gives you extra anonymity but may be confusing for novices.

It's minimal to the point of being nearly nonexistent. There is a login window, which also acts as a settings page for things such as the encryption type, the servers to connect to, and proxy information. Everything else is buried in the system tray icon's right-click menu.

When you're connected to a Private Internet Access server, the icon glows green. If you're disconnected, it's red. If the software is in the process of trying to establish a connection, the icon is gray.

The service plays well with Windows 10 notifications, which makes it easier to tell what's happening with your connection. Because the interface is so minimal, it's impossible to find information like the load any given server is experiencing. NordVPN does a great job of conveying critical information like this. Not having an app to poke around with might throw off some new users. I know I was confused the first time I used the service.

Experienced security wonks, however, may appreciate having a VPN that stays out of the way and doesn't waste resources on fancy graphics. This is probably Private Internet Access' most divisive aspect. Thankfully, Private Internet Access also offers hour live chat support in case you're confused. I always try to watch Netflix with a VPN as part of my testing. Many streaming services—be they music or movies—block VPNs, because they have geographically limited licenses for streaming content. The show Star Trek: I test with Netflix because of its enormous popularity and because it is particularly aggressive at blocking VPN users.

Unfortunately, I received an error warning from Netflix saying I would have to shut down my proxy before I could continue. All of these services did work with Netflix as of writing. Keep in mind, however, that using a VPN to circumvent a service's restrictions may violate terms of service you've agreed to. Many VPN companies include additional privacy and security features in order to entice consumers. When engaged, this tool specifically blocks pesky advertisements plastered across web pages and trackers that allow companies to track your movements across the Internet.

Of course, some might balk at the idea of blocking ads, since doing so makes it harder for those in the media, from solo webcomic artists to decades-old technology review websites, to earn a living. It's worth noting that few of the VPNs I have reviewed offer ad blocking: It's important to remember that blocking ads isn't just about saving yourself from annoyance or the ever-encroaching presence of late-stage capitalism.

Savvy attackers will sometimes purchase ads from legitimate advertising networks and use them to launch "malvertising" attacks. In a blog post, Private Internet Access explained that its product blocks ads and trackers by running DNS requests through a black list.

According to the company, "PIA doesn't do anything besides block domains associated with advertisements, trackers, and malware at the DNS level.

Using a VPN will protect your privacy, within certain limitations. Advertisers can identify you in a number of other ways, such as browser "fingerprinting," which identifies your specific software and hardware configurations. The Tor service is far better at providing real anonymity than a VPN. Regardless of the VPN you use, it will affect your web browsing speeds. To gauge the level of that impact, I measure latency, download speeds, and upload speeds using the Ookla speed test app.

Here's how I test VPN speeds: I take five measurements with and without the VPN active on a nearby server, drop the highest and lowest results, average the remaining three, and then find a percent change. This is second round is a stress test of the service, while testing on domestic servers is more reflective of how average people more typically use VPN services.

For the latency tests, I found that Private Internet Access increased latency by TunnelBear had the smallest impact on latency in the international tests, increasing latency by Latency in particular can be of great concern to gamers.

Fortunately, there are a handful of VPNs for gaming. You can also opt for a VPN that lets you select which apps send their data through the VPN's encrypted tunnel and which don't. That way, you can secure the most important information without restricting your game's connection. Private Internet Access fared better in the all-important download speed test, in which it reduced speeds by only 5.

It also had a strong international test score, reducing download speeds by only TorGuard VPN has the best speed score domestically, slowing download speeds by only 3. AnchorFree Hotspot Shield Elite took that honor in the international download speed test, dropping download speeds by In the domestic upload test, Private Internet Access brought speeds down by 5.

IPVanish took the victory here, reducing speeds by only 2. In the international test, Private Internet Access slowed upload speeds by Speed alone isn't the best metric for choosing a VPN. For one thing, speeds vary depending on a number of factors.

VPN Features

Private Internet Access is the leading VPN Service provider specializing in secure, encrypted VPN tunnels which create several layers of privacy and security providing you safety on the internet. Our service is backed by multiple gateways worldwide with access in 30+ countries, 50+ regions. Private Internet Access (PIA) has a reputation for protecting its users—a reputation that was bolstered in early At the time, reports /5. Private Internet Access is the leading VPN Service provider specializing in secure, encrypted VPN tunnels which create several layers of privacy and security providing you safety on the internet. Our service is backed by multiple gateways worldwide with access in 33+ countries, 53+ regions.