We break down what Private Internet Access brings to the crowded market of VPN providers.
To its credit, Private Internet Access (PIA) is a Denver-based, no-nonsense company that does exactly what's said on the tin. Furthermore, this service promotes itself as “the most trusted VPN”. I couldn't point you to any quantifiable data on how the entire Internet's confidence levels were polled for this claim – but a lot of major tech outlets have said positive things.
So, yeah, maybe chalk that up to an overzealous marketing department.
Hyperbole aside, the service we have here is pretty mustard. You're buying into multi-layered security with IP cloaking and advanced privacy protection using VPN tunnelling. And this is all happening at a TCP/IP interface level, too. In layman's terms: every online-enabled program on your computer device will become eavesdrop-proof, not just your web browser.
Private Internet Access promo codes and discount vouchers
Popular PrivateInternetAccess coupon codes
|Last checked||Code description||Code|
|25 Sep 2018||Save 58% on two years of PIA VPN||********|
|30 Jun 2015||VPN from only $3.33 per month||********|
What features does Private Internet Access offer?
In terms of security features PIA is rock solid. It makes use of the OpenVPN protocol and the Blowfish CBC algorithm, a high grade encryption that offers impressive cryptographic security. If this doesn't suit your configuration and tastes PIA is versatile enough to allow its users to forgo that combo for arguably less secure technologies like IPSec/L2TP, PPTP and SOCKS5. Not sure why you would want to, but it's nice to have options.
What's also integrated is the advanced firewall and filtering capabilities of the Netfilter Project (a community-driven effort that's held to high insight and coding standards). This server-grade filtering software protects you from data snoopers while delivering optimal performance and guarding you against network intrusions from unapproved connection attempts.
Speaking of boundaries, PIA protects yours while allowing you to leap over ones being imposed on you. Most notably, geofences setup by streaming services like Netflix, plus firewall and/or censorship measures put in place by your ISP, typically at the behest of your government. In my own tests I managed to easily circumvent the regional blocks for all of the major streaming companies – getting access to the lion's share of US content was worth the price of admission only.
Beyond all that, setup is a piece of cake and PIA is easy to use. All you'll need is a valid email address at which point you'll be assigned an eight digit user name for extra anonymity. One license will allow you to use the service across 5 devices, which should suit most households just fine. The apps and browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox or Opera) offer a kill switch option and the Advanced Settings include DNS leak detection and toggling between UDP/TCP connections among other things. This is more fully-featured than most VPN apps I've used, but it's not presented in such a way as to overwhelm newcomers.
Speaking of outside parties and your Internet habits, being based in the US makes PIA a riskier proposition than, say, a competing VPN that's based in Switzerland or the Seychelles. If the United States government comes knocking with a warrant they'll have to turn over (what little) info they have. That said, PIA's “no logs” claim has been tested and ultimately prevailed over law enforcement in a 2017 court case. This inspires confidence, but then again the VPN landscape is always changing.
How much does Private Internet Access cost?
Monthly US$6.95. US$3.33 a month for a year (a 52% saving). Two years US$2.91 a month (58%). You can also do a quick reverse if the service isn't meeting your needs, thanks to a 7-day money-back guarantee.
What payment methods does Private Internet Access accept?
Quite a wide array of payment options are available, from Paypal to Amazon Pay, Bitcoin and a large collection of cryptocurrencies. You can also do it the old fashioned way with your choice of five major credit cards.
What devices does Private Internet Access support?
PIA offers downloadable apps for Linux, MacOS, Windows, Android and iOS.
What servers does Private Internet Access offer?
Unlike some VPN services who use virtual servers that spoof their location, PIA deals primarily in bare-metal servers for enhanced security and performance. You're looking at 3125 servers in 53 locations across 33 countries. Unlike many of their competitors PIA's website has a thorough country per country breakdown of its network.
|Provider||Private Internet Access|
|Control Ping (ms)||18|
|Control Download (Mbps)||75.1|
|Control Upload (Mbps)||17.1|
|AU server Ping (ms)||26|
|AU server Download (Mbps)||41.5|
|AU server Upload (Mbps)||16.5|
|US server Ping (ms)||301|
|US server Download (Mbps)||32.0|
|US server Upload (Mbps)||16.3|