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Pia VPN Review : Before You Buy Is It Worth It

Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN Review 2021 ð» Is This VPN Good Enoughâ?

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Pia VPN Advanced Features

These are some of the unique elements that help increase Private Internet Access protection and performance.

WireGuard®

The new WireGuard component is an open-source VPN protocol that is more secure, more stable, and faster than other protocols. PIA addressed privacy concerns with an RSA certificate-protected RESTful API, adding an additional layer of privacy to your connection.

Port Forwarding

Port forwarding gives external devices access to your device on a private network. This is useful for gaming, P2P sharing, remote desktop software, and accessing camera footage.

Given the risks inherent in opening ports for external access, many VPNs dont allow port forwarding. PIA allows it for all non-US servers.

Payment Methods: Bitcoin And Much More

The VPN currently accepts payments via Credit Cards, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, PayPal, Amazon, Ripple, Amazon Pay, and Mint. While most VPN providers take the high road when it comes to accepting cryptocurrencies, this VPN goes all in.

Moreover, you can use the PIA gift card option for anonymous payment. This shows that providers are serious about their commitment to the privacy of the users.

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Should You Use Pia For Twitch

With gaming becoming a mainstream hobby, streaming your own gameplay or watching others has become an increasing part of ones leisure time. As Twitch remains the #1 platform, having a VPN that works well with it is important. So how does PIA fare in this department? Does it even work with Twitch?

PIA is a great choice for streaming Twitch TV. For starters, it has the biggest server fleet among all VPNs. Whats more, its also pretty fast and very cheap. Finally, its court-proven no-logs policy means that you wont get caught streaming illegally.

However, if youre not from North America or Europe, expect a worse performance from Private Internet Access. Thats because most of its servers are concentrated in these two regions.

Security Protocols Strong Choices But Selection Could Be More Extensive

The best iOS VPN apps for privacy and security

PIA allows you to choose between OpenVPN, which is currently the most common security protocol, and WireGuard. iOS is slightly different, offering just IPsec as standard. You can select which VPN protocol youd like to use in the Connections tab. WireGuard is seen as the faster protocol, both in terms of potential speeds and connection time, but my tests didnt demonstrate this .

You can also manually configure your devices with PIA using OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, and SOCKS5 proxy. This is useful when you cant install or even download the native PIA app on a device.

You can also always add an extra hop to your VPNs security by going through a ShadowSOCKS or SOCKS5 proxy in your settings. During my tests, I used the France Server via the Switzerland ShadowSocks proxy to give me an additional hop to route my internet traffic through two locations at the same time. This granted me an extra layer of security but wont be necessary for most people.

Read Also: How To Use Windscribe VPN On Firestick

How To Set Up The Socks5 Proxy For Torrenting With Major P2p Clients

While there are many different torrenting clients around, qBittorrent and uTorrent are the two that have attracted the most attention among PIA users. Its worth dealing with them separately to give you some pointers, as both require a little tinkering before the VPN works perfectly.

For starters, youll need to generate separate login and password credentials for your SOCKS5 proxy. You can do that by visiting the Client Control Panel on the PIA website, going to the menu, and scrolling to the bottom.

Furthermore, we want to note that it is unnecessary to set up SOCKS5 on your torrent client for protection simply being connected to a VPN server is enough for most.

Will Private Internet Access Log My Data

Private Internet Access emphasizes the fact that they do not log data of any kind. That means theyll have no idea when youre using the VPN, for how long, what your IP address is, or what sites have you been visiting.

Weve never been asked for keys, nor handed over user dataWe dont have any logs whatsoever. We dont log metadata session data either. We will comply with anything, but we cant comply because we do not provide any logs. We dont log, period,

Private Internet Access founder Andrew Lee told ARS Technica in 2013. Granted this quote is a little dated, but still quite clear.

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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.

Is Private Internet Access Safe To Use

Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN review: is it good enough for you? | VPNpro

Yes, Private Internet Access VPN is completely safe to use because of the strong and powerful encryption it uses. PIA VPN uses a default AES-128 encryption but for maximum protection, it uses AES-256-bitencryption which is the strongest.

This is the symmetric cipher algorithm that helps you keep all your data encrypted. It also uses the two most important VPN protocols i.e. OpenVPN and WireGuard.

OpenVPN gives you the best online protection but at a slower speed. However, the new WireGuard protocol offered by PIA VPN offers fast speed with strong security.

Also Check: How To Install Pia VPN On Firestick

Where Is Private Internet Access Based & Who Owns It

Private Internet Access is based in Denver, Colorado, USA, which puts it at a significant disadvantage. Thats because the United States is a member of the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance. It has automatic systems placed that gather and share intelligence with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

Additionally, theres also the Patriot Act, which gives authorities the power to collect and keep data. They can also make businesses log and share data while keeping them under a gag order to prevent disclosure.

Openvpn Command Line Approach

Installation

Download OpenVPN configurations from PIA. Unzip the file and move all files to /etc/openvpn/client. Ensure the files have root as the owner.

Tip:

Usage

See OpenVPN#Starting OpenVPN.

Tip:

To test to see if you have successfully connected to the VPN, see this article which recommends the following four tools:

AUR

Also Check: How Much Data Does VPN Use

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.

Native Apps For Windows And Mac User

TorGuard vs PIA

Im a big fan of PIAs Windows and Mac apps. They have great user interfaces, which can be expanded to reveal plenty of detailed connectivity information, or collapsed to keep things simple. Finding the right server is easy since youre shown them in order of latency, so you can quickly choose the current fastest one for your location. Although there are no dedicated server categories, you will find some streaming optimized servers amongst the regular server locations. I also like being able to favorite my most-used servers so theyre easily accessible from the Quick Connect menu.

Settings are also easy to find and make sense of, with simple descriptions next to every option so you immediately know what youre changing. Its a good balance of some powerful connectivity options, combined with simpler functionality like turning on the kill switch or switching between the light and dark themes.

You can install PIA on Windows devices running Windows 8.1, and 10 , and macOS devices running 10.13 or newer. Note that the Windows and macOS apps both support OpenVPN and WireGuard.

You can find a range of the best VPNs for Windows if youd like to see how the top programs stack up against one another.

Recommended Reading: What Does VPN Mean On My Iphone

How Good Is Pia For Torrenting

On the surface, Private Internet Access is a very capable torrenting VPN, with full P2P support on its vast selection of servers worldwide. There are no bandwidth limitations, and speeds are acceptable, so its definitely a good candidate. And, in our testing, we had no issues when downloading some test files.

Whats more, for those looking to optimize their torrenting experience, PIA also offers a port forwarding function. By allowing incoming connections to bypass the NAT firewall, this can help improve download speeds but be aware that this does put you at more of a risk. Wed only use it if you already know what youre doing, and have a good grasp on what it does and doesnt allow you to do.

Also, its worth noting that while PIA offers these features, theres not much in the way of support on the website. Users are essentially given the tools and left to their own devices. This is quite understandable given the grey area that P2P sharing is, and most other providers do the same.

Otherwise though, PIA is very capable for torrenting, and has more dedicated P2P tools than most rivals. Its certainly worth considering if youre something of an expert and think you could get the most out of whats on offer without any hand-holding.

Extra Privacy And Security Features

Despite being a basic VPN service, Private Internet Access still offers some good privacy and security features.

In addition to the multi-level kill switch we discussed above, PIA also provides:

  • Various data encryption options, including WireGuard
  • A VPN ad blocking feature called PIA MACE

First, the WireGuard protocol is an excellent feature that usually offers big advantages with performance. However, in our tests for this PIA review, WireGuard speeds were not very good . Nonetheless, the WireGuard VPN protocol does still offer some advantages, including upgraded security and more reliability on mobile devices.

Below you can see the encryption options in the PIA Windows app:

In most cases, the WireGuard protocol offers big advantages over OpenVPN. For example, you can really see this in the recent NordVPN vs IPVanish comparison.

Recommended Reading: Should I Use A VPN On My Iphone

I Cannot Connect To Openvpn Using Pia Manager Or Openvpn Does Not Work

PIA manager still uses OpenVPN under the hood, so even if you do not directly use one of the OpenVPN methods, you still need it. Firstly, check that it is installed. If you used one of the installation scripts, this should be done for you.

If you are getting errors like #< Errno::ECONNREFUSED: Connection refused – connect for “127.0.0.1” port 31749> , that probably means TAP/TUN is not currently running. Either your kernel does not have it, in which case install a kernel which does , or it is not currently running, in which case it needs to be started:

# modprobe tun

Hands On With Private Internet Access VPN For Android

How to Configure PIAâs VPN Service on PFsense Router

To test the Private Internet Access Android VPN client, we used our Samsung A71 running Android 11. The Private Internet Access VPN apps default interface has a linen white background with bright green accents. There is a large connection button in the top center of the screen and below that you can choose the servers country and in some cases city of origin or choose a streaming optimized server. The dashboard features are like those found in the iOS version, but Android app includes a VPN snooze feature, which disconnects the VPN and reconnects after a specified amount of time.

The Android app also includes a Kill Switch, but you have to go to the Settings menu, scroll down to Privacy, and then toggle on the Always On VPN setting for your device. Other features include setting up a connection via a proxy, using a dedicated IP, and switching to a Dark theme . You can enable split tunneling Per App Settings.

Whenever you use a new VPN, its a good idea to make sure its working. We navigated to DNSLeakTest.com and ran an extended test while connected to a server based in Argentina. In testing, the VPN hid our real IP address and did not leak DNS information.

While still connected to the server in Argentina, we tested the servers speed and reliability by going to twitch.tv and watching a few streams. Each stream loaded quickly and played with highest video quality.

Also Check: Install Private Internet Access On Fire TV

Local Servers Vs Distant Servers

Since youll likely want to use your VPN to connect to some far off servers, its important to check how performance holds up. Unsurprisingly, PIAs local servers are multitudes faster than its distant servers, but that doesnt mean that they arent usable.

When I chose PIAs automatic server selection tool it immediately connected me to a Polish server, which was spot on since this is where Im based. The difference between my baseline speed and VPN speed were quite large, but this is simply amplified since I have a gigabit connection . In reality, a speed of over 320Mbps is fantastic, and more than capable of handling anything that you throw at it, from high-resolution streaming to large downloads.

Warsaw Poland
Ping 8

There was quite a large dropoff from my local server to the Brussels server. However, a speed of almost 190Mbps wont affect the behavior of any of your online tasks, allowing you to browse, stream, and download rapidly.

Brussels Belgium
Ping 32

Since New York is one of the closest US servers to me and US streaming libraries are home to some of the best content, I was curious how it would perform. I was disappointed by the speeds of just 11Mbps, which are enough to stream in full HD, but are nonetheless a huge drop from my nearby European speeds.

New York US
Ping 153
Australia Sydney

Whos Behind Private Internet Access

In November 2019, Kape Technologies acquired Private Internet Access from London Trust Media Inc. , a company with an established history in creating privacy tools, including PIA VPN in 2010.

At the time, the acquisition of PIA garnered a some controversy.

The bulk of the backlash stemmed from Kapes past activities in the advertising space when it was known as Crossrider. We discuss more about this in our CyberGhost VPN review.

On the whole, PIA VPN has always gone above and beyond to champion digital privacy, and theres no reason why you shouldnt trust this established VPN.

Equally, Kape is determined to move on from its Crossrider days and is doubling down on its commitments to privacy and internet security. It now operates three trustworthy VPN services, including CyberGhost and Zenmate, with a combined VPN subscriber base of over two million users.

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Pia Review: Final Verdict

Private Internet Access impresses with its ease of use, wide range of clients, support for torrenting, and advanced features and its also great value if you .

It strikes the right balance between usability and features with plug-and-play apps for all manner of devices, plus advanced functionality such as command line VPN control and multihop servers and that’s not to mention the incredible number of servers.

However, it lags behind class leaders like ExpressVPN in consistency, and while PIA can unblock some geo-blocked content and speeds are usually fine, other services offer more reliable content unblocking thats always fast and always works. Overall, though, it offers excellent value, and is definitely one to consider if youre glued to your smartphone or tablet 24/7.

Connect Up To 10 Devices With Pia

Private Internet Access [PIA VPN] Review [Updated] 2020 ...

PIA allows you to connect up to 10 devices simultaneously to their service. Having a high device-count allowance is more critical than you may think. When I first started using VPNs, I had one laptop and a smartphone. Today I run more than eight devices in my home alone.

Dont think of the VPN as simply personal protection, but as protection for your entire family. That means your PIA subscription can cover all the devices at home for one, single price.

If youre thinking of being smart and working around this by installing PIA on your router, Ill disillusion you right now. While it is possible, your speeds will crawl. Most routers can handle some encryption, but they werent built with that in mind.

Large volumes of VPN encryption will simply overwhelm the majority of consumer routers.

PIA is available for a wide range of platforms. These include:

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