Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN software has been originally developed by London Trust Media Inc. since 2010, but it was acquired by Kape Technologies in 2019. The company is headquartered in Isle of Man and focuses on developing a truly global privacy and security service. The server network of Private Internet Access has been continually expanded since the software was first published. Now, PIA operates over 3300 VPN servers in 40 different countries worldwide.
Private Internet Access allows users to stream movies and series from selected media platforms without interruptions or restrictions. The VPN software works with all streaming providers, including Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. Users can also watch live broadcasts, browse anonymously with a private IP address, and download files from the Internet safely and securely thanks to the encryption protocols. The VPN client works with all common file sharing platforms such as Deluge and BitTorrent, offering no-logs policy and unlimited downloading bandwidth. Each user is assigned a secure and non-traceable IP address. With this, Private Internet Access customers can bypass censorship and blocks and can freely use the Internet in any country around the world as they could in the US, although the service might not always work reliably in China.
After signing up, users can find answers to all important questions in the help and FAQ section in their dashboard. Alternatively, customers can easily contact the live chat support available between 4pm and midnight, London time. Support is also available via email. Undecided users can test the Private Internet Access software for 30 days at no risk at all.
Streaming platforms have long gained more popularity than broadcasting on television. They come with multiple advantages, such as the possibility to access a large selection of movies and series on demand, no ads, and better quality. Besides a wide range of options available on local websites, connecting to a VPN can get you access to all kinds of websites that are not normally available in your area, such as international Netflix sites or Amazon Prime Video. Live broadcast of sports events is also available to users in the US.
Private Internet Access assigns an anonymous IP address to each user, changing their virtual location based on the location of the website that you are trying to access. Streaming providers will see you as being located in the right country, so you can view, for instance, Europe-only content. Bypassing the protection systems of most platforms is relatively easy. The VPN client can unblock streaming and live broadcasting platforms worldwide, including from countries such as Turkey, China, Russia, and Japan.
Users looking to download music, videos, movies, or other multimedia content through torrents will also be satisfied with PIA’s performance. The VPN client supports P2P in the true meaning of the word. You can use torrents from any location. Private Internet Access poses no bandwidth or other limits to restrict your activity. Not only you can download torrents, but Private Internet Access also offers support for port forwarding.
This feature enables redirecting incoming connections to bypass NAT firewalls. In some cases, it may even improve P2P download speeds. Since torrent users often share copyright-protected and illegal content, PIA users should not expect much help with file sharing from the platform. While the VPN client mentions the port forwarding feature, it offers no further clues.
Torrents apart, Private Internet Access also scores well on fundamentals, such as Bitcoin support, large network, and no logs. Overall, it is a fair choice for torrenting.
Users browsing from countries with strict Internet censoring policies, such as Russia, China, or Turkey, may often be unable to access well-known social media or streaming platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Netflix. These countries often operate their own social media and streaming or live broadcasting websites, which are unavailable to users around the world.
No matter in which category you are, Private Internet Access can bypass most firewalls and unblock restricted websites, including company and public institutions websites.
The VPN client encrypts data connections and masks the IP address, so the targeted servers will see you in the right location. All communication takes place through a secure tunnel, so the firewalls in the various countries won’t recognize the VPN connections as unwanted. Private Internet Access users will be able to browse the Internet without restrictions or censorship.
Private Internet Access operates over 3300 servers in 40 locations worldwide and provides over 3200 IP addresses to its customers. The network has excellent performance compared to other providers, although it sometimes struggles to overcome firewalls in China. Strong 256-bit AES encryption offers PIA customers peace of mind while browsing the Internet without restrictions, from mobile or desktop.
Security & anonymity
Private Internet Access offers a secure service to users looking to surf the Internet anonymously. Various security layers prevent companies and authorities from retrieving your real IP address, thanks to the OpenVPN protocol that can be set on both desktop and mobile devices. The protocol does a lot on its own, but users can go one step further and tweak protocol settings to meet their needs. With just a few clicks, users can set the encryption type to AES-128, AES-256, CBC, or GCM. Encryption can be turned off completely if all you need is speed.
Further layers of protection include data authentication and handshake methods.The VPN software also allows users to choose the connection type and local or remote ports. Particularly useful is the MACE feature that blocks access to domains used by malware, ads, or trackers. To reduce the chances of DNS leak, Private Internet Access also provides its own DNS. The flexible app lets users set the DNS of your choice or can use a default DNS. Committed to protecting users’ security and anonymity, PIA can also disable Internet access automatically if the VPN drops.
|Protocol||Private Internet Access|
|Open VPN (TCP& UDP)||✅|
Table 1: Protocols
To protect user anonymity, the VPN provider only stores the login data of its customers and does not store user activity data. The VPN subscription can be paid for anonymously via gift cards or Bitcoin payments. All security features are summarized in the following table.
|Security features||Private Internet Access|
|AES 256 data encryption||✅|
|DNS server ownership||✅|
|DNS leaking blocking||✅|
|Accepts Coin payments or gift cards||✅|
Table 2: Summary of the security and anonymity features
Private Internet Access network consists of more than 3300 servers in 40 countries worldwide. Users can always find a free and fitting IP address from the more than 3,200 available addresses. The maximum download rate of 98 Mbps is above average, making the provider well suited for streaming all kinds of content, including 4K videos or movies. The maximum upload speed of 18 Mbit per second is equally convincing.
Private Internet Access impresses with its short connection time of just 6 seconds and a very good ping time of 36 milliseconds. This makes the VPN client excellently suited for video streaming and online gaming. The software generally stands out with its high stability and reliability. Private Internet Access users enjoy the automatic server change function and unlimited data volume.
|Performance feature||Private Internet Access|
|Max download speed||98 Mb/s|
|Max upload speed||18 Mb/s|
|Ping time||36 ms|
|Average time to connect||6s|
Table 3: Performance data
Private Internet Access is very easy to install. Within a few minutes, you can install it on computers running on Windows. Linux, or Macintosh. iOS and Android compatibility also make it possible to use the VPN client on mobile devices, too.
|Device||Private Internet Access|
|DDRW router||Manual installation|
Table 4: Device compatibility
The user area of the website contains a comprehensive help section and guides. You can also contact the friendly customer support team via live chat or email. The support is quick and competent, even if live chat is not available 24/7.
Private Internet Access has been around since 2010 for a reason. It provides a reliable, worldwide server network. With over 3300 VPN servers in 40 countries around the globe, it ensures private and secure connections whenever you need them. Outstanding download and upload speeds are also convincing. Users also benefit from secure encryption and a practical kill switch function that turns off the Internet if the VPN connection is lost. DNS leak protection brings further advantages.
Users also praise the unlimited bandwidth and low ping, two features that makes the VPN client particularly suitable for torrents and online gaming. Quick download rates deliver seamless streaming, too, from a variety of platforms including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Common payment options include anonymous Coin or gift card payments. Interested users can try out Private Internet Access for 30 days and get their money back if they are not satisfied. Customer support is easy to reach via email or live chat.