Private Internet Access VPN Review
Do you ever think about digital security? No, we don’t mean the antivirus protection you have on your device, but the protection of all your sensitive data when you use the Internet, especially public Wi-Fi connections. With everyone around you, including your ISP and government, hungry to gather your personal information, a VPN is essential.
Private Internet Access VPN has been operating in the industry for several years now and is one of the few VPN services that is well-regarded for its reliability, privacy and security. The VPN service has been getting a lot of mixed reviews over the past few years. Let’s see how the service is now.
Is My Privacy Protected with Private Internet Access?
Private Internet Access is located in the United States, perhaps not be the best country for an online security provider like a VPN. The United States government can issue a warrant to any provider, meaning companies could be mandated by law to provide customers’ personal data without their consent. Private Internet Access states that it stores no VPN traffic logs. Their website makes it clear: "PIA absolutely does not keep any logs, of any kind, period.”
This is good to know, especially given that the corporate headquarters is in the US. The information the VPN service collects from its clients includes their email address and payment data. They store your email address to send you promotional emails, payment confirmation, and other notices. Your payment data is used “to manage client sign ups, payments, and cancellations." There is also a statement that Private Internet Access “will comply with all valid subpoena requests…”. Unless you have nothing illegal to do with the VPN service, there is no point worrying about losing your data to the officials. Overall, the level of privacy offered by Private Internet Access is great, and the VPN service provides a kill switch for enhanced privacy online.
How Much is Private Internet Access? Is There a Free Trial?
Private Internet Access is one of the least expensive VPN services around and it benefits those users who are ready to commit for a longer period of time.
As seen here, Private Internet Access offers users three different pricing plans: a monthly plan, a yearly plan, and a two-year plan. The monthly plan costs $6.95 per month, the yearly plan $39.95 to be paid annually ($3.33 per month), and the two-year plan $69.95 to be paid every two years ($2.91 per month). All these plans include the same feature set. Price comparisons with other VPN services place Private Internet Access certainly as one of the least expensive options available out there. There is no free trial, however, they do offer a seven-day money back guarantee on all plans, so you can test them out before committing to a longer duration.
Private Internet Access accepts all kinds of payment methods and also all major gift cards.
Private Internet Access Speed Test
When it comes to speed, Private Internet Access doesn’t give a lot away on its website. While many other VPN providers boast about their speeds on their sites, the lack of speed information on Private Internet Access’s website is perplexing and raises a lot of doubts and questions.
We were able to determine through our own tests that Private Internet Access VPN delivers decent speed, though not as fast as some of the other super-fast VPNs on the market. The connection speed of the VPN service was quite good, and its download and upload speeds were faster than many other VPN services we have previously tested. They provide P2P support, as mentioned on its website, but there is no mention about torrenting or streaming. However, with its decent speeds you should have no problem accessing video streaming websites from your location, provided the platform doesn’t detect the VPN.
How is Customer Service at Private Internet Access?
A good, reliable, and leading VPN service always provides 24/7 live chat support. Unfortunately, Private Internet Access doesn’t offer this support feature. The Contact Us link available right at the top of the main page takes you only to the help center, where there are answers to questions on Account, Payment, Technical, and also an FAQs section.
If you wish to access the VPN’s customer support team, you can do so only through their ticket system, where you'll be required to enter information such as your name, email address, subject, and the actual message. There is no specific response time given on the page. From what we know, response can take several hours, which is not ideal. There is a Private Internet Access forum you can access, and you can also follow and contact the VPN service on various social media channels.
Signing up to Private Internet Access and the installation and setup is an effortless process. All you need to do is enter your email address and choose a preferred payment method. The website itself is quite decent and easy to navigate. While the website is transparent, we couldn’t help but feel that it was a bit cluttered on the whole.
Firstly, the different VPN protocols supported by Private Internet Access VPN are PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, and SOCKS5 Proxy. The service is compatible with a lot of different operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. The VPN service has more than 3000 servers operating in 43 different locations across 28 countries. The various features offered by the service are quite extensive and include:
- Encrypted Wi-Fi.
- Block ads, malware, and trackers.
- P2P support.
- Multiple VPN gateways.
- Unlimited bandwidth.
- SOCKS5 Proxy.
- Instant setup.
- Five simultaneous device connections.
Is Private Internet Access Safe?
When it comes to security, or encryption for that matter, Private Internet Access is highly secure, though there are a lot of different options to choose from. As mentioned before, the VPN supports PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and SOCKS5 Proxy protocols.
They have a dedicated VPN Encryption page where it recommends encryption settings for varied requirements. For maximum protection, they suggest the use of AES-256 data encryption, which is the best. You can also choose your Data Authentication and Handshake Encryption standards. However, having so much information can actually be confusing, especially for beginners. Nevertheless, Private Internet Access VPN provides the highest level of online security for its users, and we did not encounter any IP or DNS leaks when using the service.
Private Internet Access is a high-quality VPN service that provides strong and customizable encryption options, great features, easy-to-use apps and website, and affordable pricing. The VPN service best suits those who already have experience using VPN services because of inefficient customer support, which could be problematic for beginners. Speed is another area the VPN has to concentrate on. Overall, Private Internet Access VPN is a decent offering currently available in the industry.