Private Internet Access Full Review: Exceptional security
Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the well-known VPNs on the market. Private Internet Access offers exceptional security with its military-grade encryption. This thorough review will discuss how does Private Internet Access perform in categories like streaming, torrenting, and safety? And is Private Internet Access truly as reliable as they claim regarding protecting user privacy and anonymity?
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a user-friendly VPN, so you won't face many add-ons, additional privacy, and security features. Private Internet Access's malware blocker promises to protect against adware and different sort of viruses. Besides being super user-friendly, they allow you to connect up to ten devices at once, and it's compatible with all major platforms.
Most VPNs on the market, don't guarantee to access geo-blocked streaming content. That being said, we can assure you that Private Internet Access' technology allows you to watch Netflix US, UK, and Australia. You can watch other streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and many more. However, Private Internet Access struggles to unblock some streaming platforms in different countries in Asia or South America. So, you might face some challenges before you gain access to geo-blocked content. Hence, we don't see PIA as the ideal VPN for streaming. Several other trustworthy VPNs let you access any streaming platform without breaking a sweat.
Private Internet Access offers well-established P2P support, and Torrenting is allowed on all servers across the PIA network. They have a strict no-logs policy is excellent for torrenting as it keeps you and your traffic data anonymous.
In the event you decide to torrent with Private Internet Access, we recommend you pick a server situated in a country situated outside the 5-9-14 Eyes-Alliance.
Security & Privacy
Private Internet Access offers an automatic kill switch, which will keep your P2P activity secure even if the VPN connection surprisingly drops. They provide several features regarding security and privacy, including IP masking, data encryption, IPv6 leak protection, DNS leak protection, and a firewall.
Experienced users will have the chance to utilize the VPN's advanced security features such as an automatic kill switch, malware and tracking protection, and port forwarding in the application settings.
When it comes to encryption; you can customize encryption protocols. The default encryption setting is AES 128-bit encryption. While it's not as secure as the latest AES 256-bit encryption. It's still extremely secure and many argue it more than enough and is usually used instead for higher speed, as more intricate encryption hinders speed.
While the more secure AES 256-bit encryption is offered as a default by NordVPN and ExpressVPN, if you decide you want more safety then you can manually switch to a 256-bit encryption formulation.
For extra measures of transparency, PIA has open-sourced all of its desktop and mobile applications to allow any users to review their source code. This transparency ensures that they keep their promises.
Private Internet Access in-depth
Private Internet Access is a US-based company and required by law to comply with the government's requests to hand over any relevant data they have collected. However, they claim a no-logs policy which can only be 100% check via physical unannounced audits, unfortunately, no such reports are available for the public.
As a US-based company, Private Internet Access falls under the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance, which is not the best news for privacy fans.
Private Internet Access Servers and locations.
Private Internet Access has an extensive network of 26,400+ servers in more than 77 countries. It is undoubtedly the VPN service with the highest number of servers. Typically more servers mean less crowding and higher speeds which is better for users.
When it comes to everyday online activities such as browsing and streaming, inconsistent speeds can get frustrating. Thus, it must be noted that they offer excellent speeds in many locations. However, like other VPN providers, these speeds aren't stable, and there are significant drops in speed in several servers in different locations around the world.
As of December 2020, Private Internet Acess started providing Dedicated IP servers, as per requests from users.
What is a dedicated IP server?
This is a server assigned solely for your use, meaning you don't share an IP with others. A dedicated IP isn't something that is necessarily better than a shared IP. Whether you need a dedicated IP or not depends on your requirements.
When would I need a dedicated IP server?
This comes to play when one needs to secure their business server access for the purpose of security. Typically in a business service setting, you want encryption of data, as well as a select group of people to be able to login to your system. This is done by allowing particular IP addresses to log in. If your IP is shared and is not static, then this won't be possible. On the other hand, a dedicated IP means it's static and can be set as a log in condition.
Secure Online Payment
You might be wondering why shouldn't I just pay with the standard shared IP VPN service? Now I want you to imagine this picture from the bank's viewpoint, someone with the card number xxx has processed payments from 10 different countries around the world in the past week, for banks that sounds like a sane reason to block the card marking it as suspicious activity. However, when having a static IP, this issue is avoided as you are paying from the same IP/location every time.
Avoid getting blacklisted
The Blacklist effect, also known as the bad neighbor effect, revolves around the issue that other people with the same IP address could do things that might end up banning the owner of that specific IP address. In contrast, you might have done nothing wrong, but since you share the same IP as the person who got banned. You get banned/blacklisted as well. Since a dedicated IP means it's yours and yours only, this wouldn't happen.
Do you know these pesky bots with the audacity to question whether you're a bot or not? This CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) system is a security measure to protect you from getting your password hacked, protect you from spam, and many other uses. With a dedicated IP, you are less likely to encounter a CAPTCHA.
Avoid using a dedicated IP for P2P sharing instead, it's better to use a shared IP for that.
Apps, Extensions, and Compatibility
Private Internet Access is compatible with all the major platforms, including; Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. 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. You can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously with a single subscription plan, which is an advantage compared to other competitors.
Private Internet Access offers 24/7 live chat support. If you don't want to contact an agent you can check their website, you'll find easy-to-follow installation guides, troubleshooting walkthroughs, knowledgebase, and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section.
Pricing & Payment
Private Internet Access offers three main pricing plans starting from $2.19 per month. All these plans have the same features; the only difference between them is the subscription duration and price. Longer subscription plans are affordable and offer better value for money.
While there's no free trial or a free version, there's a 30-day money-back guarantee, for you to try and decide if it's the VPN for you.
You can pay for your plan using credit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and several forms of anonymous payment like gift cards and cryptocurrencies making it very variable in terms of payment options.
Even with the few downsides we mentioned in the article, Private Internet Access is an affordable and User-friendly VPN. With its satisfying security features and ease of use, and the largest number of available servers for a VPN company we believe that PIA is one of the best VPNs in the market. Only a few competitors can match both their features and price.