Private Internet Access Alternatives
PIA is well-suited to privacy-conscious, tech savvy users who want to be able to customize their VPN security and network settings. But its not for everyone.
NordVPN is another great option with excellent security, albeit with slower overall speeds. Its great for unblocking region-locked streaming services and also works in China.
ExpressVPN offers comparable security, faster speeds, and better unblocking capabilities. It supports a wide range of devices and works in China.
Closer inspection reveals PIA does not own most of the servers it operates thru, so how exactly can it guarantee anything? Especially re privacy??? The answer is it cant.
Paul love youre work keep it going I have a VPN privateinternetaccess it slows down my kodi computer runs 190mpg and 12 upload with vpn
They dont show it up front in their directions, but a little searching yields directions on installation on ChromeOS, where it works like a charm.
PIA < – Da Beast. Works just perfect on old macbook, runs on debian with no problems. 30euro or something, 5-computer / devices connected simultaneously. Every protocol. Missing only VyprVPN Chameleon protocol. Anyway. Nice package, almost I can say it was the best 30euro paid for a while. Billed Annually PIA Charges 3.33dollars at month. Quick calculation would make it a 5pc having Private Internet Access, or in my case 3pc’s for now and a Playstation3.
*NS* Northern Syndicate
Performance And Leak Testing
I installed the Private Internet Access application on a fresh, fully-updated Windows 10 install. I always use a fresh install to do this kind of testing, so some other company’s VPN leftovers aren’t clogging up the system and possibly influencing results. I have a 1GB fiber feed, so my baseline network speed is rockin’ fast.
Pia Purchased By Kape Technologies
I have an article dedicated to the issue of Kape purchasing PIA VPN. Here are the main highlights:
- Kape purchased Private Internet Access in November 2019
- Kape was formerly named Crossrider and was often associated with malware
- In 2017, Crossrider purchased CyberGhost VPN, and then later Zenmate
- Crossrider changed its name to Kape due to controversial past activities but Crossrider never created or distributed malware
- In 2021, Kape purchased ExpressVPN for about $1 billion
As we have noted before, trust is a major factor when choosing Privacy Tools. After all, a VPN has the potential to record everything you do online when you decide to use it to encrypt traffic.
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Does Pia Work In China It Might With A Few Steps Before You Travel
The PIA support team informed me that PIA belongs to the group of VPNs that are blocked in China, but offered some workarounds. They suggested first connecting via the WireGuard protocol, and if that didnt work then using the OpenVPN protocols native app.
Although PIA doesnt run any obfuscated servers that would normally hide your VPN usage, you can configure a Shadowsocks proxy that works similarly. This creates an encrypted path to an outside server which is then the one that makes requests to content thats normally censored in China, before sending it back to you. So far, Shadowsocks has been remarkably good at bypassing Chinese online restrictions.
A live chat agent directed me to an article on PIAs knowledge base that guided me through how to set up OpenVPN with my subscription to work in China. Keep in mind that using a non-approved VPN provider in China is illegal. That said, there are no reports of tourists or foreigners on business trips getting in trouble for using one while in the country.
If theres a VPN my team has personally tested and confirmed to work 100% in China, its ExpressVPN. You can easily surf the internet safely in China with ExpressVPN. It even comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it for yourself.
Private Internet Access Review: Quick Expert Summary
Private Internet Access is very intuitive, really fast, and maintains some of the strongest security practices in the industry its apps are fully open-source, its no-logs policy has been repeatedly tested in court, and it offers a lot of high-security customization for advanced users.
PIA also offers more extra features than most other VPNs, including:
- Torrenting on all servers.
- And more
PIA is a good VPN for torrenting and gaming, and its one of my top choices for streaming PIA works with Netflix, as well as Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and many other streaming services. Plus, PIA works in countries that restrict access to the internet, like China.
Overall, PIA is one of the best VPNs out there. Its secure, its easy to use across all apps and platforms, and it also allows for 10 simultaneous connections on one account .
Private Internet Access has 1-month, 1-year, and 3-year payment plans . All plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
|Overall Rank||#2 out of 57 VPNs|
|Number of Servers|
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Pias Handshake Naming System
In August of 2019, Private Internet Access announced a new feature the Handshake Naming System . To put it in simple terms, the HNS is a blockchain alternative for the Domain Name System .
HNS completely decentralizes the domain name system and creates an additional layer of privacy for users. According to PIA, it also works as a tool against DNS-level blocking .
The HNS is definitely good and will be appreciated by power users. However, its usefulness for common folk is exaggerated. It is no more effective for bypassing DNS blocking than regular PIA DNS servers.
The only exceptions to this rule are marginal cases, and certainly not blocking websites like Facebook.
Pia Has Apps For All Popular Devices
Platforms & Devices
Private Internet Access has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
These extensions let you connect to a PIA VPN server directly from your browsers interface, hiding your IP address and securing your traffic with Squid HTTPS.
Remember that VPN browser extensions only browser traffic, and will not secure the rest of your computers activity. If you want to encrypt and protect all your web traffic, use full VPN software.
PIAs browser extensions come with many settings to explore, and on balance they work very well.
Bonus privacy features include the ability to prevent websites accessing your location, camera, or microphone, block Flash, and bypass particular websites.
You can also block third-party cookies, website referrers, and trackers. If youre looking to keep it simple, you can also just choose a location and click Connect.
We strongly recommend enabling Block WebRTC IP Detection in the PIA Firefox extension. Otherwise, your IP address will leak through WebRTC due to a privacy vulnerability in the Firefox browser.
PIAs browser extensions allow you to stream US Netflix with ease.
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Does Private Internet Access Keep Logs
Private Internet Access only collects users email addresses and payment information, which is what all VPN providers collect. When it comes to browsing history and other online activities, Private Internet Access doesnt keep any such information. So, dont worry, PIA logging data doesnt happen.
This makes for a safe, private, secure online browsing experience. While it does collect some basic user information, the important stuff is always deleted. This goes for all user browsing activities, IP addresses, locations, etc. Even if the government reached out to ask for any data, the company wouldnt be able to share it because nothing is stored on their servers.
Pia VPN Security And Protocols
A VPNs data protection depends mainly on their protocols. Protocols are different routes data takes to be transmitted over a network. Since speed and safety vary across protocols, PIA uses a combination to ensure performance while keeping your connection secure.
The default protocol PIAs apps use is OpenVPN, which is excellent at bypassing firewalls. You can choose between TCP and UDP connections. PIAs iOS version uses IPSec, which is slightly less advanced than OpenVPN but highly secure nonetheless.
The Private Internet Access security features allow the user to choose between the default AES 128-bit encryption or the more secure 256-bit AES encryption. Customers can find the best protection setting for their devices at the PIA support portal.
PIAs desktop and mobile apps are also available as open-source, allowing anyone to go through the source code to check if the VPN is fulfilling its security-related promises.
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Pia For Netflix Outside The Us
Canada, Montreal, 9 Mbps
Moving north resulted in speeds going south we were left on the outskirts of Montreal with 10 Mbps, which luckily was enough for HD streaming. The shows loading and skipping times took longer than in the US but not long enough to irritate us.
Australia, Sydney, 13 Mbps
Swimming to Australia meant drowning our hopes to access Netflix. If it ever becomes available via Private Internet Access servers, be aware that the speeds can vary significantly between the locations. In our case, Melbourne gave only 7 Mbps almost twice slower than Sydney and dangerously close to the minimum 5 Mbps needed for HD.
Japan, Tokyo, 15 Mbps
Trying to leave our grave memories behind, we moved to Japan. At first, it frightened us with the speed test numbers fluctuating around 3 Mbps, but our emotions shifted from fear to joy when they slowly crept up to 15 Mbps. Sadly, we ended this emotional rollercoaster on a sour note with our access to the biggest Netflix library denied.
The UK, Southampton, 13 Mbps
After our failures in Asia and Oceania, we moved back to Europe, hoping to compensate. We started in the UK with a horrible speed test result of 3.4 Mbps. Even though it changed to 13 Mbps later, its still inexcusably low. Luckily, PIA unblocked Netflix in the UK. We streamed our show smoothly, with loading times not exceeding a couple of seconds.
The Netherlands, 90 Mbps
Germany, Berlin, 86 Mbps
Private Internet Access VPN Specs
When you switch it on, a VPN encrypts all your internet traffic and pipes it off to a server controlled by the VPN company. This ensures no one, not even your ISP, can spy on your traffic and makes it harder for snoops and advertisers to track you across the web. While it’s one of the oldest surviving contenders in the field, Private Internet Access is still a contender for the title of best VPN. Its numerous simultaneous connections provide a great value, it boasts strong speed test scores, it sports an excellent interface, and its advanced network settings let tinkerers tinker. However, it still lacks a third-party audit to validate its privacy protections.
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Dont Have Time Heres A Short Summary
- I unblocked Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and more. Check out which streaming services I watched.
- Moderate connection speeds. While it doesnt have the fastest speeds, PIA is fast enough for HD streaming and gaming. See my speed test results.
- Huge roster of servers. PIA has one of the largest networks with over 34400 servers. .
- Military-grade security. Your information is safe with AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and other reliable options. Learn more about PIAs security features.
- User-friendly app selection. PIAs apps have highly usable and attractive interfaces across the board. Find out how the apps differ.
- Massive support network. With 24/7 live chat, email, and multiple help forums available, you can always get assistance for any question. Jump to see technical assistance options.
- Priced competitively. At a low monthly price, PIA is one of the most affordable VPNs available. You can even try it risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. See PIAs plans.
What Customer Support Does Pia Offer
PIA has a support center with articles for troubleshooting technical issues and problems with your account. The articles arent as detailed as those offered by competitors like ExpressVPN, but theyre numerous. A news page alerts you to reasons for any system outage.
If you need help from a human, your options are raising a support ticket or starting a live-chat conversation. In our testing, we typically received replies to support tickets within five hours, which is lengthy compared to some other VPN services, and the live chat is a new development we havent had a chance to test yet. However, we expect it to be fairly similar to competitors, which means an initially script-based chat, followed by more in-depth advice.
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What’s The Best VPN For Working From Home
If you’re working from home, you may be sharing your internet connection with multiple devices and family members or roommates. That’s a lot of simultaneous connections to a VPN and a lot of drag on a network. Pick a VPN that lets you use one subscription on as many devices as possible and has excellent speeds so your Wi-Fi isn’t bogged down. If your job involves handling sensitive information like financial or medical records, however, your priority VPN criteria is security. Our top three VPN picks are the most secure we’ve found, and each has a different number of connections they’ll allow for a base-level subscription. There are a few other factors worth considering for a home-office VPN, though, so check out our guide to picking the right VPN now that you’re working at home.
Is Pia Good For Torrenting And P2p Yes And No
PIA offers all the things you need to torrent: fast uploading speeds, unlimited bandwidth, port-forwarding capabilities, and a strict no-logs policy. During my testing, I was able to torrent speedily without any restrictions, and was pleased to find that P2P traffic is supported on all servers. Although the auto-select server feature always connected me to the fastest server at all times, you can handily see which has the lowest latency from the UI.
To check how PIAs servers handle torrenting, I successfully downloaded a 2.5 GB file in just 9 minutes. Although this average speed of 40Mbps was good, its far from the peak I achieved with the same server . However, individual torrent speeds are impacted by far more than just the server youre connected to , so theres not a huge amount we can draw from this.
PIA offers port forwarding to improve your P2P speeds, which you can activate from the Network tab under Settings to open up faster connections. It selects a port automatically for you, which is prominently displayed so you can easily insert it into your torrent program settings. Technically speaking, this allows you to bypass NAT firewalls and connect to more of your torrents peers for higher download speeds.
The included kill switch also ensures that should your VPN connection drop, the internet connection is blocked so your unmasked IP address is immediately hidden. This is especially useful for activities like torrenting.
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Does Pia Work With Netflix
Yes, PIA works with Netflix in multiple regions. I personally tested it and got it working with libraries from the US, UK, Germany, Japan, and more. I was especially happy with the performance with nearby servers , which had almost no noticeable increase in buffering versus if I wasnt connected to PIA. I experienced some longer buffering with Japan and Australia, but this is to be expected with servers over 15,000km from me.
Apps: What Devices Work With Private Internet Access
A single subscription allows me to connect up to 10 devices at once. PIA makes apps for the following devices:
- Windows 7, 8, and 10 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available
- MacOS 10.12 and newer
Web browser extensions are also available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
The apps are very lightweight, meaning they work well even on low-powered devices.
Servers can be ordered alphabetically or by latency . You can heart your favorite servers or find them through the search bar.
PIA is one of the only VPN providers to offer a full app for Linux users, complete with a graphical user interface. The few other providers that even bother making Linux apps usually settle for command-line interfaces.
Users can customize the layout of their apps. Elements of the interface can be reordered or removed entirely. There are also dark and light themes to choose from.
PIA boasts a few cool features that you wont find on many other VPNs. These include:
- A snooze function to temporarily disconnect the VPN for a few minutes
- A private browser for iOS and Android. This is a more secure and private browser than the stock Chrome and Safari browsers that come built into smartphones. It must be installed as a separate app.
- A built-in ad blocker
- Plenty of security and network customization options that Ill get into later in this review
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How Fast Is Pia VPN
Another critical aspect of any proper VPN service is the speed at which it performs. When youre using any VPN service, youre bound to experience a minimal loss of speed.
When it comes to using PIA, my tests vary. While some servers might provide superb speeds of operation, others perform poorly, when talking about speed.
If youre experiencing this problem, the solution is as simple as connecting to another service. I had no problem finding my way around the program. Its very user-friendly with its simple GUI.
Private Internet Access speed tests noted a download loss of only 7.49%, which is impressive for a VPN.
Can I Get Pia For Free
You cant get it for free, but you can use PIA risk-free with its money-back guarantee for 30 days. While youll have to pay upfront for your subscription, you can ask for a refund as long as you cancel before the end of the trial period.
Getting a refund is super easy. All you have to do is reach out to an agent on the 24/7 live chat and tell them that you want to cancel your account. If they ask you how they can keep your business, just tell them that you dont need the service anymore, and theyll process your refund quickly.
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