Private Internet Access Overview September 2021
Private Internet Access is a popular VPN with affordable prices and a large user base. However, with the VPN market being more competitive than ever, is PIA still a leading provider or a service you can do without? I wanted to find out if its bargain pricing comes at the sacrifice of good performance, so I thoroughly tested its speed, security, privacy, and more. The result? PIA may be budget-friendly, but its also a very good VPN!
As a cautious VPN user, two things may give you pause PIAs headquarters in the US and its change in ownership to Kape Technologies. PIA maintains that it has a strong no-logs policy and keeps customer data safe with secure server infrastructure and anonymous payment methods. Im also satisfied that PIAs acquisition by Kape is nothing to be worried about and that it still operates as an independent entity.
There are some things that PIA can improve on, but as a whole, I came away more impressed than anything else. Read on to discover all my test results, or check PIA out for yourself risk-free by signing up with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If youre not fully satisfied, you can request a full refund at any time within 30 days of purchase.
Are There Any Tips On Using A VPN Router
Yes, we have several tips on using a VPN router, which will help you avoid technical issues and make using any VPN as simple as possible. Take a look below.
- Avoid double coverage:;Once you set up a VPN on your router, theres no need to use VPN clients on other devices. You may think that youre getting double coverage that way, which isnt the case. Instead, you might encounter technical issues, leading to having your data leak outside your secure VPN tunnel.;
- Bookmark your routers login page:;To access your VPN router, youll need to use its admin panel. So, it would be a wise decision to bookmark that page, so you could easily access your router from any Web-connected device in your home.;
- Use a separate router:;And lastly, if you wish to exclude some devices from your VPN tunnel, you could use a different router for that purpose. By using two routers, youll have access to two Wi-Fi networks, one of which could be protected by your VPN, and the one with a free flow of Web data.;
That would be all for this short guide on how does a VPN router work. We hope that weve answered all your questions but if thats not the case, let us know by using the comments section below. And lastly, thank you for reading!
Private Internet Access Customer Support
There are few things more frustrating than having to call customer support for a technical issue. It takes all the calming yogic breaths I have in me not to have a full-on temper tantrum. So when looking at VPNs, I want to make sure the customer support is there before I download anything on my computer.
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Which Pia Servers Unblock Netflix
For the purpose of this test, I chose the 10 countries with large Netflix libraries where Private Internet Access has servers available. I picked the fastest servers in each location , as speed is always a factor when streaming.;
After connecting to the first Private Internet Access Netflix server I wanted to test, I cleared the cache on my browser and logged in to Netflix. I then checked my account settings to ensure it was showing an IP address that matched my servers location.;
Once I was happy that I was logged in to the Netflix library of my chosen country, I tested the first title that appeared on the home, TV shows, movies and new & popular pages. I left this streaming for two to three minutes to test if the connection was strong enough to work with Netflix. Here are the results of the Private Internet Access-Netflix matchup:
These results were a pleasant surprise. I easily unblocked Netflix with Private Internet Access in every location I tested.;
The only problem that I encountered during the testing phase was that PIAs streaming-optimized servers in the U.S. didnt work reliably. One day I could get a clean, fast connection, and the next I couldnt get any connection at all. I switched to the fastest available alternative in the U.S. to resolve the problem.;
How Good Is Pia For Streaming
One of the most popular VPN uses is to change location to access geo-blocked content on sites like Netflix and iPlayer and we put PIA through its paces to see how it performed.
First up was US Netflix, and PIA certainly impressed. On every server we tried, we were able to unblock US-only content. However, unlike services that truly specialize in this, PIA wasnt able to unblock exclusive content from Canada, the UK, Japan or Australia. For casual Netflix users, though, this shouldnt be too much of an issue.
BBC iPlayer often proves difficult to access, and unfortunately the BBCs defences were too much for PIA. We simply werent able to access iPlayer content.
However, performance improved when we tried to access restricted content on Disney+ and Amazon Prime, and we had success every time we tested.
So, in the grand scheme, PIA is quite a capable streaming VPN. However, a select few providers like NordVPN and ExpressVPN are able to unblock the full gamut of services, as well as more regional Netflix libraries.
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Mac Os X 106 Snow Leopard
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was released on August 28, 2009. Rather than delivering big changes to the appearance and end user functionality like the previous releases of Mac OS X, Snow Leopard focused on “under the hood” changes, increasing the performance, efficiency, and stability of the operating system. For most users, the most noticeable changes were: the disk space that the operating system frees up after a clean install compared to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, a more responsive rewritten in , faster backups, more reliable and user-friendly disk ejects, a more powerful version of the Preview application, as well as a faster web browser. Snow Leopard only supported machines with Intel CPUs, required at least 1;GB of , and dropped default support for applications built for the architecture ” rel=”nofollow”>Rosetta could be installed as an additional component to retain support for PowerPC-only applications).
Snow Leopard also featured new technology capable of supporting greater amounts of , improved support for multi-core processors through , and advanced GPU performance with .
The 10.6.6 update introduced support for the , Apple’s digital distribution platform for macOS applications.
What Is A VPN Router In The First Place
VPN routers are more powerful hardware units capable of connecting to VPN servers and protecting all your Web data.
When it comes to standard routers , theyre in charge of connecting your devices to the Web. Some of them might come with more advanced options, such as parental controls, for example. However, none of those standard routers can be used with VPNs, which require extra processing power.
Now, heres where VPN routers come into play. If you want to connect your router to a VPN server, you need a device capable enough to make that happen. As you can see in our guide to the;best VPN routers, those devices come with powerful CPUs, dedicated memory modules, and powerful internal components. The result of that is the ability to transmit encrypted data between your devices and Web servers, rerouted using a specific VPN server.
In simpler terms, VPN routers do everything that standard routers already do but they also go beyond that by securing your Web data. Thats the reason why VPN routers usually cost more than typical home routers.
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Browser Extensions: Chrome Firefox And Opera
You can download PIA browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
PIAs Chrome and Firefox extensionsareHTTPS proxy addons. This is good, but keep in mind that only your web traffic will be affected.
Chrome and Firefox extensions arent the only way to use a Private Internet Access proxy each subscription includes a SOCKS5 proxy. Youll need a separate password to use it, which you can generate on the Client Control Panel.
Final Verdict: Is Pia A Good VPN
So here are the major pros and cons that Ive found out:
|Incredible security and tight encryption||Limited customer support|
Additionally, looking at this comparison, I strongly recommend this particular VPN.
Numerous amazing features make it one of the best VPNs on the market. The price is low, and youve no excuse for not protecting your internet browsing habits.
Private Internet Access should be on your VPN consideration list.
How To Set Up Split Tunneling On Your VPN
Different VPN services implement split tunneling in different ways, but its typically extremely easy to set up.
Well use the example of split tunneling with NordVPN on Windows to show you how it works:
Is Private Internet Access Customer Service Any Good
It took about three minutes to connect to a live chat support agent through PIAs website on a weekday evening. The agent didnt respond quickly to my questions, though, and I had to wait a couple of minutes between questions, presumably so they could look up the answers. I also had issues with some of my messages not being delivered through the chat interface. The answers I eventually received could have been more clear.
Private Internet Access has a blog and plenty of support materials to help you troubleshoot issues and keep up to date with the service. Its also one of the only VPN providers to run its own forum where customers can post questions and comments to the developers and other users.
On the downside, much of the material in the blog posts and forums is out of date. That made it difficult in some cases to find clear and accurate answers to my questions.
A debug logging mode in the apps can be useful when troubleshooting connection issues. Instead of trying to describe the problem to customer support, I can enable this mode and then hand over the debug log so technicians can quickly pinpoint the issue. Just remember to turn it off when youre done to prevent unnecessary logging.
How To Use Private Internet Access For Netflix
Unless youve used Private Internet Access for Netflix in the past, you might be questioning how you go about unblocking Netflix as a PIA user. Fortunately, its straightforward and wont take long.
Firstly, youll need to sign up for a PIA plan . You can find a variety of premium plans by heading over to the PIA website. When youve chosen a subscription and created a PIA account, youll need to download its official app on your streaming device of choice and set it up.
After setting up the PIA app, you can then connect to a VPN server in the country where youre looking to access Netflix. Once youve connected to a server, you can open the Netflix app on your device of choice and stream content in a different Netflix library. Although it’s worth pointing out again that PIA isn’t all that thorough when it comes to international blocking. So don’t expect to jump on a Japan server and suddenly begin streaming Japanese exclusive content… you may end up having to rely on PIA’s 30-day money back guarantee!
Encryption And Tunneling Protocols
PIA uses strong encryption namely, AES-128 and AES-256. The app offers more cryptographic choices than are commonly available: you can pick your level of data encryption, the handshake, and the authentication standard.
The primary tunneling protocol used by PIA is OpenVPN, but the iOS app also has mobile-friendly IKEv2. Its also nice to see that the company is futureproofing its security measures and has now added a preview of the WireGuard® tunneling protocol on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. This places the service high up on our list not many providers have mastered the new technology to include it in their apps.
Speed Up Your Connection
Using a VPN service is slower than connecting directly to the web. The extra hop to the VPN server takes some time, and the encryption that the VPN performs also causes a delay.
Among the top five fastest VPNs, youll typically see a connection slowdown of between 10% and 35% when connecting from the UK to the US , or an equivalent distance.
About Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access, a subsidiary of London Trust Media, is based in Denver, Colorado. Not that I dont love Denver, but Im a bit surprised about their location. I prefer my VPN companies to be located in places where theres no surveillance alliance, such as Panama. Being in the U.S,;Private Internet Access is subject to the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliances. These are international alliances between countries that make accessing citizens data legal. The fact that;Private Internet Access is based in the U.S is definitely a drawback, as they could be legally forced to give up information. Well talk more about what data Private Internet Access actually stores in a bit.
Heres what else you should know about;Private Internet Access they have over 3,194 servers in 33 countries. The amount of servers, as well as their locations, matters a ton. You want to be as close to a server as possible for a fast Internet connection. For more details on;Private Internet Accesss servers locations, check out their website or our page on Private Internet Access costs.
By Step: How To Use Private Internet Access With Netflix
Open the PIA app and in the box titled VPN server. This will take you to a list of locations and servers. you wish to connect to. If you want to choose a different server within that country, next to the country name. A dropdown box will appear, and youll be able to see all the available servers.
After you click on your chosen server, you will be taken back to the main display. You will see the server listed beneath a big, yellow on style button. and wait to be connected to the server.
Open Netflix. Hopefully, your new IP address has worked its magic and youre now able to watch Netflix. If its not working, check out the simple fixes below.
How Much Does Private Internet Access VPN Cost
Private Internet Access has three billing options, starting at $9.95 per month. That’s below the $10.11 per month average we’ve seen across the VPNs we review. While affordable, it’s a little too rich for our list of the best cheap VPNsits previous price of $6.95 would have easily made the cut. Comparable top VPNs do more for less. Editors’ Choice winner Mullvad VPN costs a mere $5.46 .
Like most VPNs, Private Internet Access incentivizes longer subscriptions with steep discounts. A one-year plan costs $39.95, which is significantly less than the $70.06 average we’ve seen across the VPNs we’ve reviewed. Private Internet Access also has a three-year plan for $79. The company changes up its discounted subscriptions frequently, but you should expect most of the deals to hover around those price points. Still, we caution against starting out with a long-term subscription. Instead, start with a short-term plan so you can test the service in your home and see if the VPN meets your needs.
Private Internet Access is affordable, but it’s worth noting that there are also some worthy free VPN services to choose from. Hotspot Shield and Editors’ Choice winner TunnelBear offer free subscriptions with data limitations500MB per month and per day, respectively. ProtonVPN, however, is the best free VPN we’ve yet tested, in large part because it places no data restrictions on free users.
Does Pia Block Ads
Yes, by turning on PIAs MACE feature you can effectively block many of the ads you encounter online. PIA has built a database of ad, malware, and tracker servers, and actively blocks them before they can reach your device. Note that this feature is only available on Windows, Mac, and Android unfortunately, Apple forced PIA to remove it from the iOS version.
Pia Works In China Again
Our remote-access server in Shanghai, China routinely tests if a VPN can beat restrictions and access a free, open internet. Obfuscation technologies and nearby servers are also a contributing factor.
This rating does not directly contribute to the Overall Rating, but instead makes up a portion of the Security & Features rating.
Private Internet Access is one of the most reliable VPNs for bypassing censorship. As it stands, we can confirm that PIA works in China. It also works in other heavily restricted regions such as Russia, Turkey, and the UAE.
We test PIA VPNs access in China weekly, using our test Shanghai server. We make a remote connection from within the country and verify whether PIA truly works in China, or not.
To bypass the Great Firewall with PIA, use the OpenVPN protocol and enable the Shadowsocks proxy within the apps settings.
The;Great Firewall of China;is the name given to the combination of tools utilized by the Chinese government to enforce mass censorship. This firewall, and those like it, are so effective that only anti-censorship VPNs;can bypass them.
We were able to access blocked websites when using PIA VPN.