“How private is PIA in 2023?” To answer this, I’ve decided to put together a PIA VPN review. I’ll examine its current features, security protocols, and logging policies, and see how it performs under various conditions. I’ll share my personal experience, provide insights from other users, tap into expert analysis, and reflect on the latest trends.
My goal with this review is to offer an up-to-date, comprehensive assessment of PIA VPN and its capacity to maintain our online privacy and security in the ever-evolving digital world.
What is Private Internet Access VPN?
Private Internet Access (also known as PIA) is an open-source VPN service popular for its focus on privacy and security for the casual user.
PIA offers solid security credentials, a privacy-friendly service, and great speeds for torrenting and streaming, especially in the west.
If you’re looking for a VPN provider that helps you download files securely, protects your information from cyber threats, and unblock Netflix libraries in other countries, PIA may be a good fit for you.
As of November 2019, Private Internet Access was acquired by Kape Technologies, the large cybersecurity company behind Cyberghost.
What does PIA offer?
Now that you understand what Private Internet Access is all about, the question becomes: what does it offer? More importantly, is it worth it?
The short answer is that it depends on what you’re looking for.
If you’re a casual user looking for a balance between affordability and reliability and your goal is to get better entertainment while improving your security, PIA is definitely worth it.
To help you make a more informed decision, though, let’s cover exactly what PIA brings to the table, starting with features.
PIA’s top features
In terms of features, Private Internet Access offers everything you need to keep your information secure, including:
- Encrypted Wi-Fi: Get access to military-grade encryption and protect your wireless network.
- P2P support: Download large files securely and with speed.
- WireGuard and OpenVPN: Access lower ping times and much faster speeds.
- Adblocker: Prevent advertisers from installing trackers, block ads, and avoid websites with malware.
- SOCKS5 proxy: A general-purpose proxy that supports HTTP, SMTP, and FTP traffic.
- Multiple VPN gateways: Share available bandwidth with multiple VPN tunnels.
- Instant setup: simple, fast, and secure setup to start using the service immediately.
- Multi-device compatibility: use up to 10 different devices simultaneously.
Speed and performance
Keep in mind; all VPN services will lower your speed a bit.
You’re never going to find a VPN that doesn’t lower your speed. The trick is finding a service that can keep the speed reduction as small as possible.
As far as speed, we found PIA to be fast enough, especially for Europe, U.S., and Canada-based servers.
On average, speeds on Windows are 25 Mbps, when you have a starting speed of 50 Mbps. iOS speeds were slightly lower, with Apple’s mobile devices seemingly impacted more when the VPN connection was on.
These speeds are enough to load Ultra HD movies from Netflix and other major streaming platforms, access fast torrenting, and experience high-quality VOIP.
Besides, PIA offers multiple protocols, including:
This gives you the flexibility you need to find the fastest server quickly.
Security and privacy
Private Internet Access is best-known for its no-log policy.
What does this mean for you?
PIA is located in the U.S., a country with strong surveillance laws where companies are forced to provide users’ data to the government when requested.
PIA’s no-log policy, however, states that it doesn’t keep any logs, which keeps your data secure.
So, even though PIA is based in a privacy-unfriendly country, it doesn’t keep your information, so you have nothing to worry about.
The service even provides you with a transparency report, where you’re shown how many times the government has demanded users’ data and how many logs were produced.
In terms of encryption, PIA offers AES-256, which is military-grade encryption. It also provides you with a kill switch and leak protection for all the protocols it offers.
In short, PIA offers a great level of security for casual users.
Private Internet Access VPN is compatible with the following operating systems:
It also provides native apps for a myriad of operating systems for both mobile and desktop, including:
PIA offers a browser extension for the following browsers:
- Google Chrome v48+
- Firefox v57+
- Opera v52+
You can use PIA with compatible devices, including Tomato and DD-WRT. Router support is extensive and includes:
In the context of torrenting support, Private Internet Access allows you to torrent from any server location. Besides, you get access to unlimited bandwidth.
PIA doesn’t limit P2P traffic and comes with port forwarding features, which is great for fast torrenting.
How much does PIA cost?
PIA is one of the most popular VPN providers available, and one of the main reasons for this is its low pricing.
Private Internet Access offers three time-based paid plans:
- Monthly — $11.99/mo with a 30-day money-back guarantee
- 6 Months — $7.50/mo with a 30-day money-back guarantee
- Two Years — $2.19 with two months free and a 30-day money-back guarantee
Compared to other major VPN providers, PIA is pretty affordable.
Sadly, PIA doesn’t offer a free trial. It does, however, come with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Pros and cons of using PIA
At this point, you already know the basics of Private Internet Access. Here’s a quick summary of everything we’ve covered so far:
- 35,000+ servers in 84+ countries
- Up to 10 simultaneous connections
- No traffic logs
- Android and iPhone apps are superb
- Great pricing
- Great speeds for streaming and torrenting
- Amazing security for casual users
- No free trial, but does include a 30-day money-back guarantee
Our final verdict
Private Internet Access focuses on the traditional VPN model and offers the right balance between security and functionality.
If you’re looking for an affordable VPN service that’s also robust and reliable, Private Internet Access might be the right choice.
If you’re looking for something different, though, take a look through the alternatives described above and see if any of them feel like a better fit.
Hopefully, you now have all the information you need to make an informed decision. And if you’re looking for more reviews like this, check out our comprehensive VPN reviews.