Private Internet Acces review

PIA or Private Internet Access is an American company owned by London Trust Media. The company itself was founded back in 2010 August and the service is named as one of the best VPN’s available in the market. However, we had different assumptions about the quality of the service. It is cheap, but would you want to rely on it?

We have doubts and this is the first reason: in 2018, PIA decided to hire Mark Karpeles as their CTO and the internet went wild. A short background about Mr. Karpeles – he was arrested on 2015 August because of a huge possible fraud with Bitcoin cryptocurrency. He previously was the CEO of BTC exchange platform Mt. Gox where he received charges for falsifying data. The whole story can be read here, and this is a serious reason why you shouldn’t expect much from a VPN provider as PIA. Hiring people with such a dirty background is definitely not an example a cybersecurity company should follow.

Private Internet Access is also known for supporting many profit and non-profit organizations, including athletes as well.

However, let’s speak about the service itself. Here is our full Private Internet Access review.

PROS

+ Good speeds
+ No DNS/IP leaks
+ Kill switch
+ Big variety of servers
+ Cheap

CONS

– Located in the US
– Questionable logging policies
– Scandals in the past
– No live chat

FeatureAnswer
Overall position#9
Logging policies?Unclear
Location?United States
Encryption protocolsPPTP, Socks5, OpenVPN, IPSec/L2TP
TorrentingAllowed
Customer supportEmail support
Unblocks US Netflix?Yes
Money back guarantee?7 days
Option to pay with cryptocurrencies?No
Cost$3.33 – $6.95
Websiteprivateinternetaccess.com

Supported devices

Private Internet Access, as well as many other VPN providers, does support all the major devices and operating systems. Here’s what kind of clients do they have:

– Windows (Windows 7 & up)
– macOS
– Linux
– Android
– iOs
– Chrome extension
– Opera extension
– Firefox extension

Unfortunately, we did not find any SmartTV or FirestickTV clients. That is a big con, as you will not be able to enjoy Kodi or other similar services.

Servers & Locations

Private Internet Access has quite a big number of servers (3380 in total). However, their location selection is pretty poor as there are only 32 countries you can connect to.

The biggest variety of different servers is, of course, available in the United States (1535 servers in 14 locations) and that is almost half of the total server amount. 

Unfortunately, Private Internet Access does not seem to work in China so that shouldn’t be your choice if you are willing to visit this country.


Privacy & Security

Does PIA hold any logs? The answer after our Private Internet Access review is YES. They claim to have a no-logging policy. Here is their own statement. However, we did a way deeper research and if you are looking for a reliable VPN provider, Private Internet Access is not the choice you’d like to make.

It is important to know that PIA is based in the US, which is a member of the 14 eyes alliance. Not only a member but a founder itself. Countries that are members of 5-9-14 eyes alliance work together: they collect, use and share internet users data and you would not want anyone to spy on you.

Performance

As usual, we do our own speed tests to see how fast speeds you can get while using a specific VPN provider. PIA connection speeds were quite stable and here are the results:

No VPN (Europe)
Ping: 6ms

Download: 134.16 Mbps
Upload: 89.91 Mbps

US Server (Los Angeles)

  • Ping: 164ms
  • Download: 28.81 Mbps
  • Upload: 13.53 Mbps

Japan (Tokyo)

  • Ping: 123ms
  • Download: 34.40 Mbps
  • Upload: 17.12 Mbps

Europe server (Rome)

  • Ping: 25ms
  • Download: 56.52 Mbps
  • Upload: 31.93 Mbps

Australian server (Sydney)

  • Ping: 197ms
  • Download: 12.13 Mbps
  • Upload: 9.11 Mbps

As you can see, we received some decent speeds while connected to various PIA’s servers. It is way better than Cyberghost and sometimes might even compete with ExpressVPN, which in our review was awarded as the fastest VPN.

Customer support

Before doing our Private Internet Access review, we had a look at their site. As it is super important to have qualified and responsive customer support, we were kind of disappointed. We did not find any visible “Live chat” buttons on their website. The only available option to receive support was this Helpdesk. You can find the most often issues and questions there, but it is not as helpful as a live chat. We believe that customer support is one of the essential things VPN providers must have and. Unfortunately, PIA is not prepared at all.

Pricing

In our Private Internet Access review, the provider received a big plus for its pricing. They do offer a -67% discount for their yearly subscription, which would cost you $3.33 per month (billed 39.95 USD yearly). PIA also offers 6 months and 1 month subscriptions. You can get the half-year subscription for $35.95 ($5.99/mo) or one month for $6.95. It is definitely affordable, but don’t hurry and read our final verdict.


Verdict
Private Internet Access is a good service when it comes to speed and connection reliability. However, it lacks lots of key features such as live customer support or real no-logging policies. If you are looking for a VPN provider to watch Netflix or any other platform – it is a good and definitely affordable option. However, if privacy and anonymity is your main concern – we suggest taking a look at our top rated VPN’s – NordVPN or ExpressVPN.

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