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PIA VPN Review

Our rating:
4.5/5

PIA VPN is a genuine contender in the crowded VPN market. With solid speed, reliability and at an affordable price, you won’t go far wrong. However with a recent price hike and no free trial or money-back offer, you’ll have to take our word (or theirs) for it.

PIA VPN Review
Leona

Leona Baker, Author

Riley Marsden, Chief Editor

Contents

With so much of our daily lives on the web, the security of our personal information and daily activity has become a real concern. When using both public and home internet access, we can never be totally sure we are operating without a security risk.

This is where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help make your internet access private and hidden it from outside eyes. There are several VPN providers on the market that enable you to access private internet.

Which should you choose? Today we are going to give you a comprehensive review of Private Internet Access, or PIA, to help you determine if this particular provider is right for you.

PIA is a popular VPN provider, and it boasts superior speeds with server locations in several countries and easy to use functionality when compared to competitors.

Users can have up to 10 connections simultaneously, and PIA is compatible with devices that use all major platforms. So whether you use Windows Mac, iOS, Android, or Linux, you will be able to function with PIA.

Performance is kept high while privacy is kept locked down with PIA’s firm no-log policy. Secure browser extensions are also offered by PIA for Chrome Firefox, and Opera but these add-ons, while easier to use, limit security to browser traffic only. PIA is definitely a top runner in VPN providers, particularly when it comes to privacy.

PIA VPN Speed

With over 3,000 servers in almost 30 countries, speed and performance with PIA are kept up due to less crowding on the network.

Verified performance tests have shown acceptable download speeds when using closer servers. Speeds significantly lowered when farther servers across the world were used, which is a reasonable occurrence due to the distance.

However, even the lower speeds achieved are proficient for most general internet use. All in all, PIA’s speed and performance capabilities are acceptable in the world of VPN providers.

We performed 3 different tests across 3 different locations globally. Ping, upload and download speed tests give a good idea of how performance will look for you as a PIA VPN user:

  • US – New York
    • Ping: 42ms
    • Download: 34.11 Mbps
    • Upload: 9.12 Mbps

  • EU – London
    • Ping: 106ms
    • Download: 58.50 Mbps
    • Upload: 8.54 Mbps

  • Asia – Hong Kong
    • Ping: 248
    • Download: 8.55 Mbps
    • Upload: 7.39 Mbps

PIA VPN Privacy

Many VPN providers say they don’t keep logs of their users’ activity, but this claim is difficult to test or confirm. With PIA, however, users can trust this claim a bit more.

On two separate occasions, one in 2015 and one in 2017, the US government required that PIA turn over their log data to help in a federal investigation. In both instances, even though a subpoena was issued, PIA simply did not have anything to offer due to its no-log policy.

PIA publishes a Transparency Report that users can access, which details all official subpoenas issued to the provider and the resulting information given by PIA.

The information provided in all 2020 instances so far have contained only the server IP locations or user email address and no user data at all.

The above instances, however, are still just PIA declaring that they do not log user data. This is why PIA has announced that they will be working on a “verifiably secure infrastructure” with the use of open-sourcing and external auditors to ensure users’ trust in PIA’s guaranteed privacy.

In addition, PIA offers its users a blocking tool called MACE. This tool blocks advertisements on web pages as well as their internet usage trackers.

This feature is yet another layer of user privacy that brings PIA to the next level when it comes to VPN providers.

This is all comforting for users who are sticklers for privacy as these instances and products have given PIA an opportunity to prove that they stick to their guns when it comes to the user privacy policy.

How does PIA VPN Work?

Gaming, torrenting, and streaming from your home network can often pose some roadblocks. Blocked content, bandwidth issues, as well as lack of anonymity and security, are all frustrating issues. Using a VPN for these functions, however, can often allow you to bypass regional restrictions and let you gain access to content that is otherwise blocked by your internet provider due to your location.

Streaming with PIA VPN - Does it Work With Netflix?

When streaming, you often run into blocks on certain international content due to licensing restrictions on the streaming service. Several tests have shown that unblocking these sites with PIA VPN is successful with Netflix and many other services. However, there is never any guarantee that you will be able to access certain geo-blocked content since streaming services re-block VPNs periodically.
NordVPN for Netflix

Torrenting with PIA VPN

PIA’s website does state that it offers Peer to Peer (P2P) support. Torrents can be used on all servers and from anywhere with no limitations to bandwidth. Since PIA has a strict no-log policy, your torrenting will remain anonymous.

Gaming with PIA VPN

There are some significant benefits to gaming using a VPN. For example, your internet service provider might sometimes “traffic shape,” which gives online gaming sessions less priority.

You can bypass throttling using the VPN since it encrypts or masks your activity. VPNs also enable gamers to purchase games cheaper by taking advantage of lower prices in other regions.

Most of all, a VPN can minimize security risks like the high propensity of exposed IPs for gamers.

PIA VPN FAQ

Is PIA VPN Secure?

Standard security features with PIA protect you with AES 128-bit data encryption, IPv6 and DNS leak protection, firewall, and IP masking.

Many have performed a leak test with PIA’s default settings, which has revealed ample security and no IP or DNS leaks. If you are looking for even more in the realm of advanced security features, additional functions can be enabled in the settings of your app.

Advanced features include protection from tracking and malware as well as port forwarding. An automatic kill switch also keeps you secure even if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly.

Is PIA VPN Secure?

PIA did recently up the monthly price of their VPN service from $6.95 to $9.95, which is still lower than many other VPN providers, and even lower monthly prices are available with PIA if you commit to one or two years of service.

They accept several payment methods, including credit card, Paypal, Bitcoin, and even select gift cards from retailers like Bloomingdale’s and Starbucks.

While the price jump is disappointing, PIA’s new interface means that their technical abilities have been given a boost while their functionality remains user friendly, which makes the increased price tag worth it.

Who owns PIA VPN?

Kape Technologies purchased PIA in 2019 from London Trust Media for $95.5 million. They have purchased two other VPN providers in the past, CyberGhost, and ZenMate, and they have a high focus on digital cyber protection. PIA is in very capable hands when it comes to user security.

Pros and Cons

Pros
Cons

The Verdict

With so many positive characteristics on their side in areas like decent speed and affordability and top-notch verifiable privacy, PIA has proven to be a trusted and quality VPN provider when compared to their competitors. Purchase with confidence!

Rating

Our rating:
4.5/5