PIA VPN review


Private Internet Access is one of the oldest and most well-known VPN services among experts and users. It is owned by Kape Technologies, along with VPNs like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.

PIA VPN is a privacy-focused service – it is one of the few VPNs that offer anonymous payment methods. It is also known for low prices, a huge server network, and unlimited simultaneous connections. Despite these benefits, PIA VPN also falls behind major VPN services like NordVPN and Surfshark mostly due to low original speed retention rates.

To help you make an informed decision, in this Private Internet Access VPN review, I’ve put it through multiple hands-on in-house tests and evaluated its torrenting performance, ability to unblock streaming sites, speed retention rates, and more.

TOP Choice
NordVPNPrivate Internet Access VPN
⭐ Rating:
4.9
3.9
🥇 Overall rank:#1 out of #42#15 out of #42
🖥️ Servers:6,300 + servers in 111 countries30,000 + servers in 91 countries
📖 No logs policy:No logsNo logs
💵 Price:From $3.09/monthFrom $2.03/month
🔥 Coupons:NordVPN coupon 69% OFFPIA coupon 83% OFF
🔒 VPN protocols:OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard (NordLynx)Wireguard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreNetflix, YouTube, Hulu, BBC iPlayer
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera
📥 Simultaneous connections:10Unlimited
💁🏻 Support:Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chatKnowledge base, tickets, live chat
Best PIA alternatives

Private Internet Access pros & cons

PIA VPN review – key takeaways

PIA VPN is considered by many users and industry experts as one of the best VPNs on the market. Here’s a brief overview of what it has to offer:

  • Security. I found PIA VPN to be a secure service, working on RAM-only servers and offering a functional kill switch. However, it offers only basic protection with customizable encryption levels, which might sometimes confuse beginners.
  • Performance. Private Internet Access VPN offers decent performance, thanks to the powerful WireGuard protocol. Besides, it offers thousands of servers worldwide and, therefore is one of the best VPNs for streaming and torrenting.
  • Privacy. PIA VPN implements no-logs practices and has been independently audited. However, what concerns me is that it is based in a privacy-unfriendly country – the US, which is a member of the 5 Eyes Alliance.
  • Features. PIA VPN offers an excellent selection of features, including extra ones for no additional cost, like an ad blocker, a private browser, and Identity Guard.
  • Pricing. This provider offers excellent value for money, being one of the most affordable VPNs on the market. It also gives a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Is PIA VPN safe?

PIA is a secure VPN provider, however, it wouldn’t top our most secure VPNs list. This VPN has customizable encryption levels and works on RAM-only servers, but is based in a privacy-unfriendly jurisdiction.

Overall, PIA offers basic protection for your data protection and anonymity, however, this is not one of the safest VPNs on the market right now.

JurisdictionUSA
EncryptionAES-128 (GCM), AES-256 (GCM)
Tunneling protocolsWireGuard, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), IKEv2/IPSec
Kill switch✅Yes
RAM servers✅Yes
Privacy policyIndependently audited no-logs policy
Security auditsAudit by Deloitte in 2022

Encryption and tunneling protocols

When using PIA VPN with the OpenVPN protocol, it’s up to you to set the level of encryption. So, here are your choices once you open the Connections tab:

  • AES-128 (GCM)
  • AES-256 (GCM)

These options are really secure, but there exist a few differences between them. For example, even though AES-128 and AES-256 are both impenetrable to brute force attacks, AES-256 is more secure and is thus considered the golden standard. For authentication, PIA uses the SHA2 hashing algorithm and the RSA-4096 handshake.

PIA VPN offers a standard selection of tunneling protocols:

WireGuardStrong security aside, it offers much faster speeds than other VPN protocols.
OpenVPN (UDP/TCP)PIA VPN lets you choose between two versions, UDP (faster) and TCP (a bit slower but more stable).
IKEv2/IPSecIt’s great for mobile devices, as it offers great speed and stability. However, it's only available for the iOS PIA app.

No-logs policy

Private Internet Access VPN is based in Colorado, US. This is not the most privacy-friendly country you could think of, as it belongs to the 5 Eyes Alliance. Therefore, it’s important to get acquainted with PIA’s privacy policy. Keep in mind, that the countries belonging to the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes Alliance have obligations to hand over the information on users’ online activities if requested by authorities.

In the PIA privacy policy, the provider claims to not collect any activity logs. The only data they collect is your email address and payment info – needed for the signing-up process. PIA VPN also logs cookie identifiers, the territory of origin, and your ZIP code. In addition, PIA’s privacy policy states:

“While we may disclose collected Personal Data to necessary members in our group of companies (across our ultimate holding company and all its subsidiaries) insofar as is reasonably necessary to continue our Service in line with this Policy, we regard our commitment to user privacy as paramount.”

Another important thing in terms of logging is the PIA’s NextGen network. Its servers are RAM-only, which means that their data is wiped out with every server reboot. This reduces the risk of third-party breaches and doesn’t allow such data as your browsing activity to be collected.

Additionally, PIA has successfully gone through a third-party audit in August 2022. The VPN was audited by Deloitte Audit Romania. The audit firm tested PIA’s infrastructure and confirmed that the server configurations are in alignment with PIA’s internal privacy policies. Thus, you can rest assured that PIA does not collect your activity data.

Kill Switch

PIA VPN has two options of a reliable kill switch: a regular VPN kill switch and an advanced one. A regular kill switch will disconnect you from the internet if your VPN connection gets interrupted. The advanced kill switch prevents leaks by blocking any traffic from your device, even if your VPN is turned off. This ensures excellent IP and DNS leak protection.

PIA Windows kill switch options

You have to reconnect to the VPN or turn on your Wi-Fi manually in order to restore the connection. In this way, your real IP address won’t accidentally leak.

But bear in mind that the two types of kill switches are only available on the Windows app – other apps have only the regular kill switch.

How much does Private Internet Access cost?

PIA VPN offers three billing plans, with prices starting at $2.03/month for the 2-year plan. The longer the subscription, the better deal you get:

PlanPrice
1-month plan$11.99/month
6-month plan
$7.50/month ($45 in total)
2-year plan
$2.03/month ($56.94 in total)

Buying the half a year subscription results in $7.50/month, which would cost you $45 in total. You will pay the most for a single-month plan, which costs $11.99. As usual, their monthly plan is the most expensive. By contrast, Surfshark offers lower pricing for its monthly plans – the price for the 1-month subscription is cheaper at $15.45/month.

Unlike NordVPN or Surfshark, PIA VPN doesn't offer a free trial. On the other hand, if you subscribe to PIA VPN, you get a free email breach monitor. Besides, you can use their 30-day money-back guarantee if you realize that PIA and you are not a good fit.

Additionally, you can also now get a dedicated IP at an extra cost. Much like with VPN plans, the pricing for dedicated IP increases with the subscription duration, starting from $2.50/month for the 2-year plan.

In terms of payment options, PIA VPN offers a few different ones, like credit cards, gift cards, PayPal, and lots of cryptocurrency options like using BitPay to pay with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Etherium, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and more.

  • Private Internet Access might be one of the cheapest VPNs of them all – however, if you're still not sure, check out our PIA VPN coupon page and get the best PIA deal for you. Otherwise, take a look at our list of the most affordable VPNs.

Speed performance: is PIA VPN fast?

Right off the bat – Private Internet Access is not the fastest VPN out there. If you want blazing-fast speed, this provider might not always fulfill your needs to the max.

  • Baseline: 300 Mbps download, 300 Mbps upload
LocationDownload speed (Mbps)
Upload speed (Mbps)
US (NY)
111168
UK140222
Switzerland294254
Japan5788
Australia6777

Despite high PIA’s server count, it's not always able to deliver speeds that are as good as the ones of NordVPN or Surfshark. To get the optimal experience with PIA, you'll often have to pick the closest server to you. This again is unfortunate if you want to access, for example, streaming libraries from farther countries. However, I understand that people don’t want to spend their time checking every VPN’s speed until they find the best match. That’s where my Cybernews team and I come in.

Despite the fact PIA VPN shows slower speeds, the WireGuard protocol (which is currently regarded as the fastest protocol on the market) showed decent performance. The average drop in download speed over the five locations was 45%. WireGuard also retained 54% of the original upload speed on average, which is a little bit more than the download. I have tried streaming several Netflix libraries on 4K quality and did not experience any stuttering – something most users would look for in a VPN.

This is how PIA's average download speed looks when compared to other top VPN providers:

ProviderAverage download speed retention
PIA45%
NordVPN90% 🏆
Surfshark86%

PIA app performance with other protocols

While WireGuard may be the most popular PIA protocol, let’s not forget that there are others as well. Let’s take a look at the average download and upload speeds of each protocol, I have tested across 10 different locations:

  • WireGuard: 124Mbps/154Mbps
  • OpenVPN (default settings) TCP: 32Mbps/37Mbps
  • OpenVPN (default settings) UDP: 126Mbps/131Mbps
  • OpenVPN (secure settings) TCP: 11Mbps/41Mbps
  • OpenVPN (secure settings) UDP: 139Mbps/137Mbps

The difference between OpenVPN default and secure settings is that PIA’s default encryption is AES-128 paired with RSA-2048 key, which is a little bit less secure than AES-256 paired with RSA-4096. I tested OpenVPN protocols with both the AES-128 (default) and AES-256 (secure) encryption settings.

Intuitively, you may think that lesser encryption will result in higher speeds, but as we can see, that is not the case. In fact, OpenVPN UDP protocol under the secure settings presents the best download speed of all protocols, with a drop being 54%. And even with default settings, the UDP protocol is significantly faster than the TCP.

ProtocolSpeedSecurityConnection stability
WireGuardHighest 🏆HighMedium
OpenVPN (TCP)
LowHighHigh
OpenVPN (UDP)
HighHighMedium

PIA VPN compared to other VPNs

The VPN market is full of services that are high-quality. Here's how Private Internet Access stacks up against other VPNs:

PIANordVPNSurfsharkIPVanishExpressVPN
BrandPIA logo for tablesSurfsharkVPN comparison table logo NEWExpressVPN
Rating
3.9
4.9
4.7
4.5
4.3
Price (lowest price per month)$2.03/month3.09/month2.29/month2.75/month$6.67/month
Free trial❌No✅Yes, 7-day✅Yes, 7-day❌No✅Yes, 7-day for mobile devices
ServersUndisclosed number of servers in 91 countries6300+ servers in 111 countries3200+ servers in 100 countries2200+ servers in 52 countriesUndisclosed number of servers in 105 countries
WireGuard tunneling protocol✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes
StreamingNetflix, YouTube, Hulu, BBC iPlayerNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and moreNetflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and moreNetflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Disney+, and moreNetflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more
AES-256 encryption✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes
LoggingNo logs, independently audited by DeloitteNo logs, independently audited twice by PwCNo logs, independently audited by Cure 53No logs, independently audited by LeviathanNo logs, independently audited by Cure53
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited10UnlimitedUnlimited8

PIA VPN servers and locations

Private Internet Access VPN has a large selection of servers: right now, it offers an undisclosed number of VPN and proxy servers across 91 countries and over 140 locations. What impressed me the most is that it offers servers in all US states.

RegionsNumber of countries
Europe43 countries
Americas17 countries
Asia Pacific
19 countries
M. East, Africa, and C. Asia12 countries

The servers are located in Europe, South America, North America, Africa, Asia, as well as Australia and Oceania. However, a small part of the servers is virtual (PIA refers to them as “geo-located”), as it’s not possible to have physical servers in some countries due to certain regulatory reasons. For example, the Hong Kong servers are actually located in Singapore. Nevertheless, because of its extensive server network, PIA VPN is an excellent VPN for travel.

Virtual servers still behave as if you're located in the selected country, but they may be prone to more giveaway signs that you're using a VPN server.

Selecting a server to connect to is also pretty straightforward. Upon opening the app, you need to select the VPN server section and then connect to any of them.

What security features does PIA VPN offer?

Even though it's rich in features, PIA VPN makes sure you’re not overwhelmed by them. You can find everything you need in its Settings tab, neatly grouped into different categories. They range from additional privacy features to advanced functions that will be very useful to experienced users.

Split tunneling

Under the Split Tunneling tab of Private Internet Access VPN there are lots of options for setting up split tunneling. It’s quite a useful feature that lets you select the applications that use (or don’t use) the VPN connection.

PIA split tunneling tab

It can be helpful when you want to use online banking on one browser while privately browsing with another. However, split tunneling is not limited to browsers – you can also include/exclude games and other apps that use the internet connection.

When I tested this feature, I found that the Bypass VPN option did not work for some apps but worked for others. Oracle VM VirtualBox didn’t work with the split tunneling feature at all (it functioned as if it was not on the split tunneling list). However, Google Chrome functioned as it should.

Port forwarding

PIA VPN supports port forwarding, an advanced feature that helps you connect to a remote device (among other things).

However, I found port forwarding a bit frustrating to use since a forwarded port gets assigned to you randomly. As a result, you need to configure your network to forward that port as well. It is also important to note that PIA’s US servers don’t support port forwarding at all.

What I did like about this feature is that you can further customize it with a command line interface and write your own scripts.

Multi-hop

PIA VPN allows you to use a proxy if you want to redirect the VPN connection through an additional location for an extra layer of anonymity and obfuscation when torrenting. You can also use this feature on your torrenting client or browser to save bandwidth.

PIA multi-hop feature

Simply go to the Multi-hop tab and select the option you want your connection to go through. You can choose between the SOCKS5 Proxy and Shadowsocks. The latter might even bypass the Great Firewall of China. It offers six proxy countries in total: the UK, Switzerland, Canada, the US, the Netherlands, and Japan.

Ad blocking

If you don’t want to see annoying ads anymore, then PIA’s got your back. All of its apps include an ad-blocking feature called MACE that blocks online ads at the DNS level. This means that you won’t encounter any pop-ups or banners anymore.

What’s even better is that PIA will also block YouTube ads, which will save you a lot of time and nerves. You also won’t accidentally open malicious websites. In addition, the tool blocks trackers that can compromise your online security.

To activate the feature, simply open the VPN application and enable the MACE setting.

Dedicated IP

Unlike the IP addresses on regular VPN servers, dedicated IP addresses are only used by you. This helps prevent regular Captcha interruptions and ensures a smoother browsing experience. Plus, a dedicated IP address lets you access IP-restricted networks.

Currently, PIA offers dedicated IPs in 25 locations in 10 countries: Belgium, Sweden, the US, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, the UK, Japan, and Singapore. A dedicated IP costs extra, and is not included with your regular PIA subscription.

InBrowser – Private Browsing

PIA VPN also offers a private (incognito) browser called InBrowser. Each time you exit the browser, everything, including cookies and history, gets wiped out. But if you want InBrowser to remember active tabs, you can customize the privacy settings.

PIA VPN inbrowser

I really liked the fact you can lock your favorite sites using biometrics, such as TouchID or FaceID.

The browser is only available on mobile devices, including Android and iOS. And the best part – it’s completely free.

Identity Guard

PIA’s Identity Guard monitors whether your email address has been a part of a data breach. In other words, it checks where your sensitive data has been obtained without your knowledge.

You won’t find this feature in any of PIA VPN’s apps. It’s only available on your web account in the left menu.

PIA identity guard

Once you click on the feature, you’ll be taken to the breach monitor where you’ll have to enter your email address. Then, you’ll need to confirm it for security reasons, and you’ll be able to view any past breaches in one place.

Other security features

Besides all of the above-mentioned security features, PIA VPN offers other additional features:

  • DNS Leak Protection – you can connect to default DNS servers or customize your own settings to prevent DNS leaks.
  • Obfuscation – this allows you to hide your VPN usage and make your traffic appear as a regular one.
  • Automation – you can set your VPN to automatically connect to certain networks, depending on your own preferences.
  • P2P servers – all PIA VPN servers support P2P connection for safer file sharing.

Is PIA good for streaming?

PIA VPN has streaming-optimized servers and is capable of unblocking US libraries of some of the most popular streaming platforms.

PlatformDoes it work?
Netflix✅ Yes
BBC iPlayer✅ Yes
YouTube✅ Yes
Hulu✅ Yes

As for libraries in other countries, or streaming services other than Netflix, PIA VPN might not be as good when compared to NordVPN, as noted in our PIA vs NordVPN comparison. Nevertheless, let's take a closer look at how well PIA VPN works for streaming.

Unblocking Netflix with PIA

I tested PIA VPN with Netflix on multiple servers on both Windows and Android applications. It did work, and I was able to access Netflix US and UK.

All in all, Private Internet Access is a pretty good VPN for Netflix if you want to access the US library. But if you want to stream content from the whole wide world, we suggest you look into other streaming VPNs.

Unblocking other streaming services with PIA

PIA VPN unblocked geo-blocked videos on YouTube and BBC iPlayer without breaking a sweat. It also seems that all of their US servers unblock Hulu. So, if you're looking into ways to unblock US streaming libraries, PIA can be helpful.

However, if you find that PIA is struggling with streaming services other than Netflix, you can find VPNs that work perfectly well here:

Here’s how PIA compares to other providers in terms of geo-restriction bypassing capabilities and streaming features:

PIA VPNNordVPNSurfshark
BrandPIA logo for tables
Netflix✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes
BBC iPlayer✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes
YouTube✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes
Hulu✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes
Smart DNS feature✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes
Speed retention45%90%86%
Visit PIAVisit NordVPNVisit Surfshark

PIA, NordVPN and Surfshark are all roughly on the same level when it comes to unblocking streaming platforms. They also all offer Smart DNS, which lets you stream content even on devices that don’t support VPNs. However, with PIA VPN, you’re likely to experience buffering issues due to low-speed retention rates.

Is PIA good for torrenting?

As our latest test results show, PIA is good for torrenting, as all of its servers support P2P and torrenting. The VPN also offers an integrated SOCKS5 proxy and the Shadowsocks option to reroute your internet traffic for even more protection (or to protect only your torrent client, for example). According to my tests, you can expect PIA to work with the following torrenting clients:

  • uTorrent
  • BitTorrent
  • qBittorrent

For this PIA VPN review, I tried torrenting on a macOS device. I was pleasantly surprised by PIA’s performance. That’s because torrenting not only worked – it was really fast and almost on par with all the other torrenting VPNs that I tried. I was constantly getting 10-15 MB/s speeds (80-120 Mbps). There was no need to connect to specific servers for P2P support. Even the largest files didn’t take too long to download.

How to use PIA VPN?

Using PIA VPN is very simple, just like with any other VPN. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Go to the official website of PIA and choose a plan
  2. Download the VPN and follow the installation instructions
  3. Log in and connect to the VPN
  4. Enjoy a secure and encrypted connection

Compatibility, interface, and ease of use

On the PIA website, you download applications to your Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. In addition, there are browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera that help when you want to block ads.

PlatformExperience
WindowsGenerally good, although a little bit buggy app
macOSThe smoothest PIA experience
LinuxIncredibly easy to install and use
MobileEasy to use and navigate
BrowserChrome extension offers some exclusive features

All PIA’s apps are intuitive and user-friendly. I found the design easy on the eyes, and it allowed me to choose either a dark or light theme. You also won’t have any problems with the installation process, as it’s quick, smooth, and doesn't require any prior knowledge.

However, it still seems like the VPN is geared towards more advanced users, as the abundance of different stats may confuse people who have never used a VPN before.

It’s also worth noting that all the Private Internet Access apps offer OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, while the iOS app also supports IKEv2/IPsec.

Windows

The PIA Windows app installs quickly and without fuss. Once launched, it opens up a simple and easy-to-navigate interface. The main window lets you manage the VPN connection, while the Settings window allows you to customize the VPN to your needs. You can also customize whether the app will be in light or dark modes.

I like the fact that the main window displays a lot of information about your connection like the protocol, encryption, port, and authentication cipher. It also includes a connection speed graph with a counter that tracks the amount of data you sent and received during the VPN session.

It’s also nice that you can snooze the VPN for a specified amount of time. However, I find it a bit inconvenient that there’s no map to choose a server from, as trying to select a server from a list is not as intuitive. You'll get a big button which, when pressed, will connect to a nearby location automatically.

pia windows app interface

I also experienced a weird bug that happened when connecting to a server. It caused my whole device to freeze up for a few minutes. Then, the app crashed, and the PC started working normally again.

There’s one more thing you should know. Under the General tab, there’s the option to choose how the app is displayed on your screen (Attached to Tray/Window). Even though the default setting is Attached to Tray, we suggest you switch to Window as soon as possible – the former option makes the app automatically close as soon as you click outside it. Also, the Settings window is displayed behind the main tab, obscuring the view.

Mac

The PIA app for Mac is just as easy to install as the one for Windows, and the app opens up an interface that looks almost identical. Most of the features are there, including port forwarding, and the kill switch. Split tunneling is available for the pre-Moneterey Mac version, so it’s not available on devices released after 2021. During my tests, the app was working smoothly and didn't crash once, which was a nice change after the Windows experience.

pia-mac-interface

Linux

Installing and using the Private Internet Access VPN app on Linux was surprisingly easy. All I had to do was download an installation script and run it. It has the same user interface as the macOS and Windows apps.

The application offers the same features as its Windows and macOS counterparts. However, the split tunneling feature is more complicated, because you need to be acquainted with the basics of the Linux filesystem to be able to use it. On the other hand, it has an additional option for virtual machines.

PIA mobile apps

The design of both of PIA’s mobile apps (Android and iOS) is almost identical to the desktop versions.

pia-android-interface-2

The functionality is also very similar. For example, you can view the full connection info, and snooze the VPN for a selected amount of time.

On the mobile operating system, the Settings menu is a bit different. Most features are renamed and simplified in comparison to the desktop apps of PIA VPN. For instance, the Android app allows you to use split tunneling only for specific apps but not for specific websites.

Browser extensions

Private Internet Access has extensions for three browsers – Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. Out of all of them, I chose to test Chrome and Firefox.

Overall, PIA's Chrome extension is worth installing on your browser even if you already have the app on your device. It offers some neat features that browser extensions of other VPNs don’t have.

For example, it can block access to your camera, microphone, and location from websites that do not ask for permission. On top of that, it also disables the credit card and address autofill function, meaning you won’t accidentally buy something you didn’t mean to or your credentials won’t get stolen.

The PIA VPN Firefox extension does pretty much the same as the Chome extension. Besides, it blocks network predictions to pre-select web pages based on your browsing history and protects your fingerprint from websites tracking your device configuration.

PIA VPN on router

I have also tested PIA VPN on a router to see how it works. Unfortunately, PIA VPN does not offer a router applet, so I had to set it up manually. But this was not a big issue, as the provider gives clear VPN setup guides for routers.

Setting up the VPN on a router did not take too long and was not too complicated. However, it will most likely be for beginners. Besides, the speeds dropped dramatically, and I couldn’t properly stream Netflix without buffering. It’s also worth remembering that once you set up the VPN on a router, all of your devices that are connected to it will go through the VPN network, hence you won't be able to choose different servers on different devices.

I’d better suggest going the traditional way installing PIA VPN apps on all devices separately. Remember – they offer unlimited simultaneous connections on a single account, making PIA VPN one of the best VPNs for big households.

Customer support

PIA VPN has quite a few customer support options in its arsenal. If you need some quick human assistance, you can contact the agents through the 24/7 live chat.

Private Internet Access
24/7 live chat
✅Yes
Email✅Yes
Phone line❌No
Guides or articles✅Yes
Community forum✅Yes

If you’re more of a DIY person, you’ll benefit from the knowledge base on PIA VPN’s website. Just note that there’s no phone support, which is not surprising as that’s not something VPN providers often offer.

You can also fill in a support ticket or reach an agent through live chat. However, PIA’s customer support didn’t manage to solve my problem with the WireGuard connection. The agent insisted that the problem was related to my device instead of the VPN.

Despite this, I still managed to get PIA to work. All things considered, I’d say that their customer service agents are qualified and polite. This really makes solving all problems that you might have much easier.

Conclusion: is PIA VPN good?

PIA VPN is a good VPN that offers basic security for a low price, but it could do some polishing here and there. It’s a service with a huge server count, good speeds for torrenting, and a strong emphasis on security options. However, its best qualities can’t make one turn a blind eye to its flaws, such as the below-average speed retention rates.

Plus, the VPN is based in the US (a 5-Eyes country), and the customizable security levels with OpenVPN protocols may be nice for experienced users but confusing for those who haven’t used a VPN before.

All in all, Private Internet Access is a VPN for essential security measures, but my tests showed that there are other VPNs that offer much better value for your money. NordVPN, for example, offers an exceptional average speed retention rate of 90% and effortlessly unblocks streaming platforms.

How we tested PIA VPN

Together with the Cybernews expert research team, I have conducted a series of tests on Private Internet Access VPN to evaluate its security and performance. The testing process includes PIA speed testing across different server locations, as well as real-world tests for security features. Among the tested features were the kill switch, DNS leak testing, obfuscation, and others. I have also tested PIA apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS, as well as browser extensions, to assess the ease of use, features, and overall performance.

Recent PIA VPN updates

Like many other VPNs, PIA is constantly rolling out new updates. Here’s what’s changed over time:

  • 2024 March: launched Apple TV VPN app
  • 2024 February: rereleased split tunneling for macOS
  • 2023 November: introduced a new DNS functionality for Android
  • 2023 March: switched from 10 to unlimited simultaneous connections
  • 2022 October: introduced a Bug Bounty program
  • 2022 August: passed its first independent no-logs policy audit by Deloitte

More on VPN providers from Cybernews:


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Comments

Jim
prefix 2 years ago
I have been using PIA for over five years installed on my two Windows laptops, a 2009 MacBook running Ubuntu Mate, a 2014 Mac Mini running Ubuntu Mate, a Chormebook, an Android tablet, an iPad, and two Android phones. I usually have at least four connected and running at the same time. My internet connection is with xFinity and my speeds are over 100 Mbps, with very rare exceptions down to 70 Mpbs. I secure all my devices with antivirus running in the background.
goodman
prefix 2 years ago
it honestly seems like a deal, feature rich, average price, okay speed, supports streaming services, the only downside is that private internet access is based in 5 eyes country, that kind of defeats the privacy purpose of using a vpn
moves like jagger
prefix 2 years ago
Anything over 100 mbps for me seems like a good enogh speed for streaming, but the PIA speed drops seems pretty substantial. Also the server count is impressive.
loyds
prefix 2 years ago
Support for 10 devices! Wow I guess you could try using PIA for sneaker copping, not sure about their IPs. Are they well known and get blocked easily? Speed might be a problem as well.
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 2 years ago
Hello! PIA has thousands of servers, so IP blocking shouldn’t be an issue here. However, if you’re concerned with speeds, I’d suggest NordVPN or Surfshark instead.
Max
prefix 3 years ago
surfshark has unlimited devices. using pia vpn how many devices can you connect at the same time? i don’t need unlimited like surfshark, but if pia has less than 4, then i will consider other options. i want to install it on router and connect all smart devices.
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 3 years ago
Hi, Max! I think PIA would be the right VPN for you because it supports 10 simultaneous connections. You can also set up PIA on your router, however, the speed will be a bit worse. You will find all the setup guides here.
Louie
prefix 3 years ago
According to review pia seems like a very suitable vpn for me. I really like, that it is not expensive, torrenting is also very fast. The only concern I have that it is not working with Netflix. But. does pia work with popcorn time? I don’t care about netflix, but popcorn time is a must for me.
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 3 years ago
Hi, Louie! PIA VPN should work with Popcorn Time without trouble. In fact, Popcorn Time even encourages you to use a VPN for enhanced safety. You can check our guide of the best VPNs for Popcorn Time.
pia user
prefix 3 years ago
How to install private internet access on amazon fire stick ? This vpn doesn’t have a dedicated app for fire stick, so it might be difficult to install it. Do you have any guide on how to do it? 
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 3 years ago
Hello, PIA user! You’re right – there’s no dedicated app for Amazon Fire Stick, and the installation process is a bit complicated. Luckily, PIA VPN has an extensive guide on how to do this in the most efficient way possible.
terrance colls
prefix 3 years ago
private internet access vpn roku is the best combo for me. roku is better than firestick to me. using it with private internet access made everything approachable. this vpn doesn’t lag, the speed is good, and so far, no one detected that i’m using a vpn!
jai
prefix 3 years ago
Hey, Cybernews team! I’m not a techie at all. I’m planning on buying a VPN. After reading a couple of reviews I’m leaning towards this one. But what is private internet access simultaneous connections ? I’m looking for a VPN that can allow many connections at the same time :phone, tablet, pc, and if this feature is allowing it, then I’m buying it! 
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 3 years ago
Hello, Jai! Having simultaneous connections means that you can use the VPN on a bunch of different devices at the same time: your laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc. As I understood from your comment, this is exactly what you need, because PIA allows you to have 10 connections at the same time. Hope this helped!
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