Private Internet Access Review in 2023 – Our Take

Private Internet Access (PIA) Feature Image

When we looked into Private Internet Access VPN (PIA), it drew questions to whether if it is a legitimate VPN service provider or not. Safe to say, after a quick digging around, it is a legitimate VPN service provider.

Private Internet Access is known for its speediness, and can give Hotspot Shield a run for their money.

Before we go any further, there are several criteria for you to look into before settling for any one VPN service provider that includes Private Internet Access.

Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN Review – Why choose it?

Private Internet Access VPN may not be a big gun VPN service provider but it is a popular VPN among a lot of users. One of the main reasons for its popularity is because of its speediness. Although that was what users have said, we have also found contradicting opinions from other groups of users.

What are the number of servers and server locations using PIA VPN?

Private Internet Access VPN  has over 3200 servers across 29 countries and 52 locations. The number of servers don’t always stay the same as VPN services often increase and decrease server numbers to meet demand.

As mentioned previously, a large number of servers is a sign of the service’s robustness. At the same time it also means you are less likely to have to share bandwidth with a lot of users using the same server as you are.

Private Internet Access has a really good mix of server locations across Asia, Central America, Europe, India, South and North America, and Europe. That is acceptable, if not competitive against a lot of other major VPN services.

Some users may voice concern and dissatisfaction as Private Internet Access have very limited server locations in Africa and Central and South America. Compared to ExpressVPN, its number of servers and server locations may pale in comparison so to speak.

We have found out that previously Private Internet Access used to have servers in Russian. Now it no longer has servers in Russia. That change was in response to new VPN laws in Russia, which Private Internet Access felt would have prevented it from protecting its users adequately. Most VPN service providers have weigh in on the issue but Private Internet Access is one of the few that stops Russian operations entirely.

At the same time, we also found out that Private Internet Access’s servers are all physical servers located at its legitimate physical location. Some VPN service providers have servers in virtual location, meaning they do not have a physical serve there but a virtual one instead?

Private Internet Access’s servers are all physical servers according to their representatives. At the same time, we found out that it boasts 1gigabit to 10gigabit connections for its servers.

What is the content access using PIA VPN?

Are you looking for a VPN service provider that can let you access Netflix? Although Netflix is a popular streaming site, its contents are not available in every region it is available at. At the same time, not every VPN service provider can help you access Netflix.

If you are wondering if Netflix has blocked Private Internet Access, it hasn’t. You still can access Netflix with Private Internet Access and is not blocked.

Users who have tested this out can indeed affirm that. They have no problems and issues watching movies while connected to a US-based VPN server. They are also able to stream from Netflix while connected to a Canadian and UK-based server.

Unfortunately, users said they are unable to access Netflix while connected from an Australian server. Although you can’t access Netflix from an Australian server, it is still a strong showing.

Although the users said they have very little problems accessing Netflix with the help of Private Internet Access, it does not mean you will be able to. That being said, whatever may work back then at that point of time may not work now. Netflix may have blocked certain server locations by the time you are trying it out.

We should also mention that whatever contents that are available on Netflix USA may not be available outside of Netflix USA, and vice versa. That means if you want to access contents that are specific to regional Netflix, you will have to connect to a server in that region.

For example, if you want to access Netflix content that is only available in Netflix USA, you will have to connect to a US server. If you were to connect to a UK server, you will not be able to access the content that is for Netflix USA. This applies to every Netflix regional special, so to speak.

How fast is PIA’s connection speed?

Users have claimed that Private Internet Access’s speediness is “above average”. They have claimed that they were connected to a 75mbps internet speed. When connected to a UK server, their speed has only decreased by 4% to 65-66mbps.

However, when they were connected to a US server decreased slightly less. As they were connected to a 475mbps connection while trying out a US server, their speed decreases to 314mbps. The fastest median speed was around 452mbps. That was pretty impressive as most VPNs’ average on that kind of baseline speed will only produce up to around 150-200mbps.

Some people may say that information is irrelevant if their connection baseline speed is limited to 50-100mbps. It’s still good news though. Even though you may be a user whose baseline connection speed is much slower, it suggests that Private Internet Access’s servers have more bandwidth than many other competitors.

In other words, Private Internet Access is less likely to get swamped by other users during peak times.

However, some users have reported back with less than satisfactory speeds. As a user, you should know that latency and download speed can vary widely between one VPN and the next.

One user said that after trying out Private Internet Access, the results were a little disappointing. Private Internet Access’s results, according to this user, were at the point where regular web browsing was a lot slower. That has quite an impact on torrenting and streaming.

The user mentioned how its original download speed was 59.33mbps, and his upload speed was 6.66mbps. After connected to Private Internet Access, his download speed decreased by quite a huge difference to 15.58mbps. So was his upload speed, although the speed reduction was a lot less dramatic – from 6.66mbps to 5.69mbps. Not forgetting to mention how his latency spiked from 17ms to 89ms.

What are Private Access Internet’s privacy and security features?

In terms of security features, Private Internet Access claims to not keep any logs. Any traffic logs, data transfer amounts, and session times are not recoded. That is a major win as many other VPNs do keep some kind of logs.

We also found that Private Internet Access’s VPN tunneling methods use AES-256 encryption, which is one of the best VPN service available. Although they run on one of the best data encryptions, a lot of other VPNs do the same too. It’s not a selling point, but it’s worth the mention.

Some users say that you can switch things up with options such as RSA4096 or SHA1 encryption. Those are levels of flexibility you probably will never need to use.

At the same time, Private Internet Access also have some useful security features which is an add-ons that goes beyond the standard suite. That includes a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a shared IP system. Those are relevant if you are very particular with maximizing your security all around the clock.

What are Private Internet Access subscription plans and exclusive deals?

Private Internet Access offers 3 subscription plans for you to choose from. Surprisingly it is one of the more affordable VPNs you can actually find on the market.

  • 1 month: US$9.95 per month
  • 6 months: US$59.70 for 6 months
  • 1 year: US$119.40 per year

As mentioned previously how Private Internet Access is one of the more affordable ones, which means it is a good option for students or for those who are in a tight budget.

The average pricing per plan is a bit more than US$10 per month. Private Internet Access’s price is slightly below the average, hence making it one of the more affordable ones among other VPN companies.

Should you be using PIA VPN?

Yes, we’d say one of the best things about Private Internet Access is the fact that it is a bit more affordable than the average VPN service provider. For that kind of price where you can access blocked contents, we can say it’s a steal and the price is a pretty good deal too.

On top of that, users have said that the user interface and user experience is pretty user-friendly where customer support is available on their website you in case if you require any assistance. That means if you are not a tech wizard, then this VPN service provider will be suitable for you though there are tech tutorials available for you.

We can also say that we are quite impressed with its security and privacy policies as an entry- to mid-level range VPN service provider. All that offered at a competitive pricing with various payment methods.

The Cons of using Private Internet Access VPN

Unfortunately there is no perfect VPN service providers. Private Internet Access is no exception to that.

The downside to Private Internet Access is that its connection speed is volatile and unstable at times. If you are someone who is a heavy internet user, then Private Internet Access is not recommended. However, it is an all right VPN service provider for those who uses it for basic internet access.

At the same time, we also have to mention that its Netflix accessibility is not that solid and strong. Sometimes you can access it, some other time you totally cannot access it at all. If you really want to access Netflix in its full capacity, then Private Internet Access isn’t exactly one that we will recommend.

The Final Verdict – Is PIA really good?

Conclusively, we can say that Private Internet Access is an all right entry-level VPN service provider. For users who only uses VPNs to surf the internet or for basic uses, then Private Internet Access falls within the realms of the basic users’ needs.

If you are more of an advanced user, then we will not recommend Private Internet Access as it does not meet the advance user’s needs. The volatile speed is proof enough that it is not able to support much advance uses.

Overall, we can say it isn’t perfect. It does score all right in most important areas. It runs on almost anything, is easy to use, and offers better than average performances for an excellent price.

Despite its shortcomings, as a VPN service provider it meets most of the basic features. For that, it is a VPN service we would definitely recommend for the regular Joe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Private Internet Access safe?

Yes, Private Internet Access is safe. Your data and personal information is kept safe as it moves through a highly secured tunnel that is invisible to hackers. As mentioned before, Private Internet Access runs on some of the world’s best security system.

That means you don’t have to worry about hackers stealing your information for their own exploits.

Does Private Internet Access work with Netflix?

You can access Netflix with Private Internet Access, but the Netflix accessibility is unreliable. Despite its impressive network, some users said they cannot reliably connect to Netflix. Also, Private Internet Access seems much more focused on providing their users with privacy and security when using the internet. Supplying users with reliable streaming services (including that of Netflix’s) does not seem like a priority.

Is Private Internet Access a good VPN?

Private Internet Access is a good VPN service, but not a top-notch VPN. With that being said, it does not mean it is not completely devoid of any good features.

We have touched previously on how its security is one of the best among its VPN peers. Although it does not measure up to leading VPN service providers, it works pretty good for an entry to mid-range VPN.

Its encryption is pretty solid and guarantees total security online. Furthermore, the company has a 0 logs policy and therefore is one of the best VPN for torrenting files.

How many devices can you have on Private Internet Access?

Private Internet Access permits 10 simultaneous connections to their services from a single subscription. That can be a mix of routers, computers, or mobile devices that you choose. The service can be installed on as many devices as you like. However, only 10 will be able to connect at any given time.

Having said that, that means this puts Private Internet Access as one of the most affordable VPN services you can find. No matter how little users have made Private Internet Access to be, it’s actually not a bad VPN.

Who owns PIA VPN company?

Private Internet Access was released in August 2010 by London Trust Media by Ted Kim and Andrew Lee. In November 2019 it was merged and owned by Kape Technologies. 

Kape Technologies is the same company that operates 2 other competing VPN service providers – Cyberghost and Zenmate. Some users have objected to the acquisiting as Kape has previously developed browser toolbars bundled with potentially unwanted programs.

Does Private Internet Access work in China?

Private Internet Access could not reliably surpass The Great Firewall in China. Some users said that you will have to try many servers numerous times until you find one that works. Assuming that you can get through to any of the servers.

To play safe, it is best not to choose Private Internet Access if you plan on using it in China. Try some other options first, the ones that actually (and legitimately) can work in China.

Can Private Internet Access work on iOS or Android devices?

Yes, PIA can run perfectly on Android and iOS. This includes Linux, macOS, and Windows as well. We’ve have even tested that PIA VPN is suitable to be used as browser extensions that could help you to unblock ads in Chrome, Firefox and Opera which would increase the overall user experience. 

Besides that, PIA apps offers OpenVPN and WireGuard where iOS devices could support IKEv2/IPsec.

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