Is Private Internet Access A Good VPN
There are many things that a VPN needs to be considered good. Privacy and security protection is important, as is the size of VPN providers server networks and their ability to unblock restricted content online. But other factors also contribute to the quality of a VPN, such as the extra features on offer, customer support, and speed.
As part of our Private Internet Access VPN review, weve examined several areas of the VPN service in greater detail to give you a better look at what the provider offers.
Speed & Server Locations
Private Internet Access has approximately 3,351 servers located in various locations across 31 different countries worldwide. The VPN platform is still planning to add more servers in more countries in the next few years. Another thing that I learned is that the VPN provider only uses bare-metal servers for better performance and for better security.
In 14 different locations in the United States alone, Private Internet Access has 1,525 servers. It is then followed by the Netherlands which has access to 548 servers concentrated in 1 location. Canada has 246 servers in 3 different locations. On the other hand, the United Kingdom has 188 servers in 3 locations. There are also 110 servers in 3 different locations in Australia. There are also 100 servers in Sweden.
The rest of the servers are located in Germany, New Zealand, Albania, Norway, Denmark, Finland Switzerland, France, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Romania, Hungary, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Israel, Mexico, and India. We can see that the distribution of servers across geographical regions is well-balanced. The company is also happy to announce that the VPN platform does not limit the speed. In fact, supports unlimited bandwidth.
Check the table below to know more about the latency, upload speed, and download speed of the Private Internet Access on different locations based on independent tests I personally conducted.
Private Internet Access: Privacy Anonymity And Trust
PIA is owned and operated by Kape Technologies, a company based in the U.K. with offices in Israel. Kape was formerly known as Crossrider, and at the time was a platform that developers used to build ad injection capabilities into their software. These days its focusing not on ads but on user security software such as VPNs and antivirus. Kapes CEO is Ido Erlichman, and its owned by Teddy Sagi. Kape has been going on a VPN buying spree of late picking up ExpressVPN, and it also owns CyberGhost and ZenMate VPN, as well as Mac antivirus firm Intego.
A lot has been made about the background of one of the co-founders of Crossrider who was a member of Unit 8200, an elite intelligence unit within the Israel Defense Forces. The suggestion being possible connections between the company and Israeli intelligence circles. While its difficult to verify such a claim, I can tell you that Unit 8200 acts as a de facto talent pipeline for Israels startup industry. It would be pretty difficult to find an Israeli startup, established company, or any major foreign company with offices in Israel that didnt have former 8200 members. Its as common a pipeline in Israel as universities like Berkley or Stanford are to Silicon Valley.
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Pia Is A Tested And Proven No Logs VPN
Many VPN services claim to be no logs but few have actually been tested and/or verified.
Private Internet Access is one of the few verified no logs VPN services that has survived real-world tests. There were two separate court cases where Private Internet Access was subpoenaed for data logs, but they could not provide any information.
The first court case occurred in 2016 when the FBI demanded logs concerning a PIA user who had allegedly been making bomb threats. As discussed in official court records, the only information PIA was able to provide was a cluster of VPN IP addresses that were allegedly used for the crime:
A subpoena was sent to London Trust Media and the only information they could provide is that the cluster of IP addresses being used was from the east coast of the United States.
The second court case occurred in June 2018, when US authorities again demanded data logs for a criminal investigation. Once again, however, PIA was not able to provide any data on the accused VPN user:
While PIA has not undergone an audit to verify their no logs policies, such as with NordVPN and VyprVPN, these two court cases certainly validate their claims.
Court cases are indeed a good test to verify logging claims. After all, a court case revealed that PureVPN had been logging customer data and handing it over to US authorities, despite claiming to be a no logs VPN service.
Private Internet Access VPN Review
- Has internet kill switch protection
- Supports P2P function & split tunneling
- 256-bit AES, SHA256, and RSA-4096
- Can block adware, malware & trackers
- Has DNS leak & IPv6 leak protections
- Supports PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec
- Supports SOCKS5 VPN protocol
- Has port forwarding system & encrypted Wi-Fi
- Zero-logging policy & can access Netflix US
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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.
Where Is Pia VPN Based
Private Internet Access is based in the US. While the service has pretty good privacy options, the fact that it is based in the US is actually a downside to it.
You see, the US is one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to online privacy. The countrys ISPs are doing their best to record everything, and its government agencies are known for heavy online surveillance.
Not only that, but the US is one of the founding members of the 5 Eyes Surveillance Alliance, which eventually grew to become a 14 Eyes Surveillance Alliance. The member countries all record any scrap of data they can, and share it with one another. While PIA VPN can protect you from them to an extent it is obligated to surrender data, if the governments come knocking and demanding it.
Fortunately, the company has a strong no traffic logs policy, meaning that it does not store user data. However, if the government comes and demands that it starts recording what you do, we are unsure whether or not the service will be able to disobey.
It is likely that it will comply with the orders, and that you wont even be notified of the change, so it is highly recommended to not do anything that could get you in trouble with the law if you use it.
Of course, we would recommend that either way, as performing illegal actions is wrong, in general, and we do not support it.
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Private Internet Access Prices
The prices for Private Internet Access will vary depending on the subscription you choose. There is a lot of money to save if you sign up for a VPN connection for one or more years. Here, you will get a monthly fee of 2.50 or 3.10 . If you only need a VPN connection for a short period of time, it is slightly more expensive even though it is still affordable and competitive when looking at the features. A monthly connection costs 9.29. These prices are very average for VPN subscriptions, so you should not worry that you are paying too much. You are not.
Should I Be Concerned
Online privacy sites such as privacytools.io recommend staying away from VPN Providers located within the 14 Eyes countries as it could potentially mean that Security Agencies are able to demand access to customer data. Furthermore, they could gag the VPN provider to ensure secrecy and prevent transparency.
This is why at PIA, we have designed our operations to prevent this from happening in the first place. There are no logs. There is no identifying information that can be collected, regardless of the amount of force applied. There are several companies who claim they dont log but have been proven to be the opposite. In contrast, we have stated in multiple court cases that we do not log. One case is available for anyone to read :
All of the responses from 1& 1, Facebook, Twitter, and Tracfone have been traced back by IP address to privateinternetaccess.com. A subpoena was sent and the only information they could provide is that the cluster of IP addresses being used was from the east coast of the United States. However, did provide that they accept payment for their services with a vendor company of Stripe and/or Amazon. They also accept forms of payment online through PayPal, bitpay, bitcoin, cashyou, ripple, ok pay, and pay garden.
Our response was to immediately shut down operations in Russia:
And this, in summary, is why Private Internet Access isn’t concerned about being located in a Fourteen Eyes Country.
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Torrent Download Speeds Are Fast With Pia
Some VPN services will restrict torrenting to specific servers, but PIA isnt one of them. It also isnt one that just pays lip service to support torrent downloads either. I hopped on to the best server for my region and ran BitTorrent at full blast.
The speed I managed to get wasnt blindingly fast, but it was pretty good nonetheless. Far better than I imagined it would be. Torrenting on PIA is one of the best experiences Ive had on a VPN to date.
If youre someone who torrents a lot, this is something that you wont easily find on another VPN service provider. Even VPN services Ive tested that claim to specialize in torrent performance have so far not beaten PIA in this regard.
Surfshark Privacy And Logs
They also maintain a warrant canary to warn about privacy-related issues. Since this comparison guide was published, we have not seen any reports in the warrant canary about surveillance or data collection activities.
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Private Internet Access Compatibility Support
Private Internet Access is compatible with all the major platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. In addition, other features and add-ons are pretty much similar on all the platforms.
Private Internet Access also provides you with secure browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. In addition, you can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously with a single subscription plan, which is an advantage compared to other competitors.
Private Internet Access is compatible with:
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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Private Internet Access Key Features
Private Internet Access is an overall solid VPN with a number of great features. It has a seriously impressive 30,000 servers distributed across 84 countries, making it one of the most server-rich VPN providers on the market.
A small number of these servers are virtual , but most are physical.
PIA comes with apps for Mac, Windows, and Linux, as well as most mobile devices, smart TVs, and even gaming consoles. Their apps are clear and intuitive enough for beginners to use with ease.
In addition to the apps, PIA also has extensions for popular web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. The extensions are easy to install and manage, and users can choose their location and turn the VPN on and off the same way they can with the apps.
Lets take a look at some of the other key features that PIA VPN has to offer.
Private Internet Access For Prime Video
You can watch Prime Video shows not normally available in your country using Private Internet Access. In our tests, streaming in HD was smooth and buffer-free using VPN servers based in North America.
As much Mary J. Blige as you can handle
Youll need to be a paid-up member of Prime Video, of course, and while its perfectly legal to use a VPN to watch Amazon Prime Video shows from the US or other countries, disguising your location by any means is against the platforms terms of service.
Amazon focuses its efforts on identifying VPN traffic and blocking it en masse, rather than going after any individual users. If the site detects youre using a VPN, youll be shown a notification and will be unable to watch any content until you disconnect from it.
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Private Internet Access Servers & Ip Addresses
PIA has servers in 78 countries.
While other VPNs have servers in more countries , PIA still has a server located in nearly every region of the world, allowing you to connect to a close server no matter where youre located.
While I like that PIA tells you the latency for each server and indicates whether the latency is low or high I would like to see PIA also display the server load percentage for each server . This would allow you to choose a server that isnt overcrowded.
PIA uses shared static IP addresses, which is good because youre using the same IP address as possibly thousands of other users, making it very difficult for someone to trace the IP address back to you.
PIA also offers dedicated IP addresses for a small additional cost. Dedicated IPs are useful because they reduce the risk of being blacklisted by banks and streaming sites. PIA has dedicated IPs for 5 locations, including the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and Germany.
Overall, PIA has servers all over the world. All of its servers are P2P-friendly, it uses shared IP addresses, and offers dedicated IP addresses.
How Does Private Internet Access VPN Work
So, how does Private Internet Access actually work? Much like any other Virtual Private Network software, PIA provides data encryption to protect your privacy and hide your online activity from your Internet Service Provider or any other third parties that may want to view it.
Private Internet Access encrypts your data by sending it through an encrypted VPN tunnel to a server . All data you receive on your phone is also encrypted and sent back via a VPN tunnel from the same VPN server. PIA ensures that your data remains encrypted by using advanced encryption and secure tunneling protocols such as OpenVPN. Encryption is the best defense against prying eyes that want to see your data and is essential when connecting to unsecured public wifi networks.
When you connect to a PIA VPN server, youll also be assigned a new IP address. Private Internet Access has thousands of shared IP addresses on its network, which is good since you will become anonymous online. By using a shared IP address, any activity done under that IP cannot be directly linked back to you, as many other users will have been using the same IP.
Since PIA has many different IP addresses, there is the option to access more online content than ever before. Websites detect your physical location by your IP address, so PIA helps users to access blocked streaming sites and other websites by giving you an IP from the country of your choice while keeping your data safe online.
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Network Coverage And Servers
The larger a VPNs network and coverage is, the better. Its because such VPNs efficiently evade VPN bans, server congestion, and speed issues.
However, finding such a VPN is always tricky.
Nonetheless, Private Internet Access is one such VPN that boasts an almost unmatchable network coverage.
Can you guess how many servers this VPN would offer generally? You might think of it up to 8000 or 10,000 servers but, youre still wrong.
Private Internet Access has one of the largest networks with over 29,000 servers.
They have distributed this huge number of servers in 99 locations across 77 countries.
Certainly, theyre comparable to our favorite ExpressVPN that has a far smaller number of servers, which they have distributed across 94 countries.
While you may not get as many locations with PIA as ExpressVPN offers to you. Yet, PIA works excellent if you need a high-speed, uninterrupted, and secure connection to the same location.
Thanks to its vast number of servers for individual locations, youll always enjoy a smooth browsing experience without worrying about network congestion issues.