Although Private Internet Access (PIA) has started offering their VPN services only in 2010 the word about them has already spread and currently it is one of the leading VPN providers. Private Internet Access stands out with a lot of positive reviews spread over the internet, affordable price and great software features.
Private Internet Access stands out for the convenience of their prices. Their monthly plan costs only $6.95 USD and for six months you would pay just $35.95 (which would be just $5.99 USD per month). Their best deal package is a 1 year plan for only $39.95, which means that each month would cost as little as $3.33, making them one of the most affordable VPN providers in the market. Unlike most other VPN providers PIA allows you to use up to 5 devices at a time enabling you to protect most of your devices without much of a problem. Furthermore, all packages have SOCKS5 Proxy included and supports P2P and VoIP services. Even though there is no free trial offered you can request for a refund 7 days after making a purchase if you are not happy with the service.
This VPN provider has a total of 21 servers located in the North America (the United States, Canada), Europe (Switzerland, Sweden, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania), Asia (Hong Kong, Japan, Israel) and Australia. PIA provides the access to 7 servers in the US (Chicago, New Jersey, Dallas, Bay Area, Seattle, Miami, Arizona) and 2 in Canada. The servers are located in nice distances between each other so every U.S. citizen will have an access to the server which is not far from him. This reduces ping and increases the actual Internet speeds.
PIA uses 3 most commonly used protocols to protect their client traffic: PPTP, L2TP/IPsec and OpenVPN. These three protocols has proved to be sufficient for the majority of VPN users and focuses on different aspects of VPN service: security and accessing restricted content. However, some people may find the security not optional since only 128-bit encryption is used to secure internet traffic.
It is crucial for any online service to provide a variety of payment options that would allow easily pay for purchase. PIA offers a variety of different payment options and you do not feel that you lack options to chose from. The payment gateways include: PayPal, Credit Cards, online wallets, Amazon, Bitcoin, gift cards, etc. We highly value the ability to pay using bitcoin since it promotes anonymity which a lot of VPN users look for.
In our opinion the layout of their guides is very complicated for anyone who is browsing their website for the first time. Therefore, you may need to contact customer supports to clear out any questions you may have about the VPN set up or general questions regarding VPN. You may contact them via live chat or email and should expect an answer in a timely manner.
PIA provides their own OpenVPN client, which is very easy to set up since it comes preconfigured with your username/password in the VPN activation email. The VPN software allows you to choose the region/country you want to connect to, as well as protocol and ports. They provide multiple ports for TCP (80, 110, 443) and UDP (53, 1194, 8080, 9201) connections. You may select protocols and ports from the Advanced settings menu. Another useful thing you can set is Port Forwarding (used by P2P clients or other software that requires direct access to your PC from the Internet). This feature is not supported by many other VPN providers. Port Forwarding is available on servers located in Canada, Switzerland, Netherlands and Romania. The software also include features like DNS Leak Protection, Disconnect Protection, Detect Best Server, Alternate Configurations to guarantee that you are using VPN to its full potential.
Considering that PIA uses only 128-bit encryption we were expecting to see no noticeable speed changes and that was just the case. We did not see any changes in download and upload speeds. The ping also did not suffer and only few milliseconds increase was noticed.
Private Internet Access offers a good VPN service that is acknowledged by the number of users they accumulated since they started working as a VPN provider. We liked a worldwide distribution of servers, their client’s features and no log policy. However, they should still redesign their support website which we found to be lacking in ease of use and improve their encryption strength to match the one used by other providers like NordVPN.