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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

Private Internet Access Review 2024: Good, but Is It Safe?

Our Score: 9.5/10
Ranked 3rd out of 298 VPNs
Angela Jovanoska Updated on 6th May 2024 Cybersecurity Researcher

Private Internet Access has one of the cheapest VPN subscriptions available — you can sign up for as little as $2.19/month. With such a low price, I wondered whether PIA could really stand out against its higher-priced competitors. It’s been around for 10+ years, so it could be one of the best-value VPNs out there.

I decided to find out just how good it is by looking into the company’s logging policy, security features, and testing out its speeds. In addition, I performed in-depth tests on its streaming compatibility, its torrenting performance, and every other aspect of the VPN to see where it ranks among other top VPNs.

Overall, Private Internet Access is a secure choice and great value for the money. With its streaming abilities, strong torrenting performance, and customizable security options, it’s impressive that you can get a subscription for so little. On top of that, you get unlimited device connections.

The fact that it comes with a trustworthy 30-day money-back guarantee shows that PIA really stands behind its product. With that said, even though it’s one of the cheapest, I wouldn’t call it the best. There are still a couple of VPNs out there that it falls short of in certain areas.

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company.Try PIA Risk-Free >>

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

Pros

Cons

May 2024 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 82% off!

Private Internet Access Features — 2024 Update

9.0
💸 Price 2.19 USD/month
📆 Money Back Guarantee 30 Days
📝 Does VPN keep logs? No
🖥 Number of servers 29650+
🛡 Kill switch Yes
🗺 Based in country United States
🛠 Support 24/7 Live Chat Support
📥 Supports torrenting Yes

Streaming — Great Video Quality With Optimized Servers

9.6

PIA is a great choice for secure streaming with solid quality and minimal load times. I worked with an international team to test the VPN with Netflix from 17 countries, Disney+, Max, Amazon Prime Video, and more. We received the best results with its streaming-optimized servers.

You could theoretically use a VPN like Private Internet Access to watch streaming platforms that aren’t available in your region. However, please be aware that this will probably break your terms of service agreements and result in a copyright violation.

We used PIA servers within our own countries to watch the following platforms:

Netflix Disney+ HBO Max Hulu Amazon Prime Video
BBC iPlayer Paramount+ Peacock Crunchyroll YouTube
CBC Eurosport FranceTV Canal+ ZDF
ARD Hotstar India RaiPlay All 4 ITV
ESPN/ESPN+ Spotify SlingTV Comedy Central CBS
Ruutu YLE Kodi C More C More SE
MTV Finland HBO Nordics hbonordic SE DRTV tv4play
Important! The vpnMentor team is against any form of copyright infringement. Private Internet Access promises to never monitor any of your online activities. This means it’s up to you to use it responsibly. We encourage you to never break any of the rules or regulations of any app, site, or service you engage with. Unblocked: Netflix (US, Canada, Japan, and 14 Other Libraries)

Works With: Netflix (US, Canada, Japan, and 14 other countries)

PIA let me and my team watch Netflix safely from 17 separate countries and stream without lag. Its streaming-optimized servers worked seamlessly and let us watch Netflix with no difficulty. From my location in the United States, I could watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World without interruptions.

Screenshot of Netflix player streaming Scott Pilgrim vs. the World while connected to PIA's US West Streaming Optimized ServerMy speeds on PIA’s optimized server were fast enough for streaming in Ultra HD

The regular servers in the US also worked well and offered similar speeds, for the most part. In addition, our testers in Japan, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Germany, and Sweden could easily watch their complete home libraries.

Works With: Disney+

Our testers in multiple countries could watch Disney+ securely while connected to PIA. Its US East Streaming Optimized server gave me the best quality, so I could watch The Incredibles without buffering.

Screenshot showing that PIA can unblock Disney+My connection remained stable while I watched Disney+ with PIA

My team could also watch Disney+Italy and Disney+ Hotstar in the countries where each is available. While there is no server optimized for Disney+ UK, our correspondent in the country had no problem watching their home library while connected to a regular UK server.

Works With: Hulu

I could watch Hulu with PIA’s optimized servers, but not with regular ones. During my first test with the west coast US optimized server, I was able to stream without issues.

Screenshot showing that PIA can unblock HuluI experienced no lags even when skipping to different parts of the show while streaming Hulu

However, when I tested non-optimized servers in New York and Massachusetts, it didn’t work.

Works With: Amazon Prime Video

PIA’s streaming-optimized servers worked reliably with Amazon Prime Video in the US. These let me watch How to Train Your Dragon without any interruptions. However, like with Hulu, none of the normal servers in the US worked.

Screenshot of Amazon Prime Video player streaming How to Train Your Dragon while connected to PIA's US East Streaming Optimized serverPIA’s high speeds let me stream in HD without any instances of buffering

My teammates in Denmark and Japan could also watch Prime Video with encrypted connections on optimized servers in their countries.

Works With: BBC iPlayer

As you might expect, the UK Streaming server let my colleague in the UK watch BBC iPlayer. It took a few seconds for her to load Mary Queen of Scots, but then it played back normally.

Screenshot of BBC iPlayer streaming Mary Queen of Scots while connected to PIA's UK Streaming Optimized serverShe didn’t experience any buffering even when she skipped around to different scenes

Unfortunately, the trend continued, and there was no way for her to watch BBC iPlayer with the standard UK servers.

Also Works With: Max, ITV, Crunchyroll, Peacock, and YouTube TV

During my tests in the US, I could stream Crunchyroll and Max smoothly using the optimized servers in the country. These even worked with a few of the regular servers. Watching Peacock TV and YouTube TV was just as easy, with regular and optimized servers. Our UK tester could also watch ITV with PIA’s London server.

I was eventually able to watch ESPN+ too. At first, the New Hampshire server wouldn’t let me log in. I tried switching to a few other US servers but was still unsuccessful. Finally, I was able to watch it after a support agent helped troubleshoot the issue. Unfortunately, they couldn’t help during my team’s final 2 tests.

Doesn’t Work With: DAZN and Sky GO

The only platforms my team weren’t able to watch with PIA were DAZN and Sky Go. My teammates in the countries where these services are available tried troubleshooting techniques like using new servers or switching to browsers instead of apps. However, nothing worked.

We also reached out to its live chat. A support agent basically told us that these platforms are not supported. They sent us a list of platforms PIA claims to work with, and neither one of these services were listed.

All in all, I was impressed with how well PIA works with streaming. I never go online without an encrypted connection, so I need to make sure a VPN won’t prevent me from doing any of my normal online activities, like streaming. However, it would be nice if more of the regular servers worked because you never know when the optimized ones might get overcrowded.

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Speed — Great on Nearby Servers, but Speeds Drop At Long Distances

9.0

Overall, PIA offers impressive speeds, especially on nearby servers. Our dedicated speed tester got some speed loss at long-distance servers but reported it wasn’t enough to disrupt their browsing and streaming experience.

When testing PIA’s speeds, we look at 3 different things:

  • Download speed is how fast you receive data from the server you’re connected to. It impacts activities like streaming and web page loading and it’s measured in Mbps (megabits per second).
  • Upload speed is the rate at which data is sent from your device. It affects how fast you can send files, post on social media, upload videos, etc. It’s also measured in megabits per second.
  • Ping is the time it takes for data to travel between the game server and your device. If the ping is too high, you will have noticeable latency in your gaming session. Ping is measured in milliseconds (ms)

Our dedicated speed expert measured PIA’s speeds over several months from the same UK location. In the chart below, you can see the average speeds of 10 tests performed on each server.

Chart showing PIA's global speed test resultsDownload speeds dropped an average of 8% on nearby servers and 47% on long-distance ones

Overall, these are excellent results you’d expect from a premium VPN like PIA. Considering it’s normal for a VPN to drop your speeds by 20% on nearby servers, PIA’s speeds are impressive. Speeds did drop by nearly half on some long-distance servers, but that is normal when you factor in their distance from the UK.

Local Speed

To check how PIA performs on local servers, our speed tester first checked their base speed with the VPN disconnected.

No VPN (London, UK)

Ping (ms) 7
Download (Mbps) 114.44
Upload (Mbps) 15.86

To make sure our dedicated speed tester got the best speeds, they used PIA’s WireGuard protocol to test its speeds. First, they used the “Choose Automatically” option, which connects you to the fastest server based on location. In this case, it was Southampton, UK. They got excellent speeds, with almost no noticeable slowdown.

Southampton, UK

Ping (ms) 9
Download (Mbps) 106.43 (7% drop)
Upload (Mbps) 15.3 (4% drop)

Then, they tried a server in a nearby country, Paris, France. Surprisingly, our speed tester reported even faster speeds than what they got with the Quick Connect server.

Paris, France

Ping (ms) 22
Download (Mbps) 108.46 (5% drop)
Upload (Mbps) 15.23 (4% drop)

Next, our speed tester tried servers in two other European countries (Germany and Ukraine) and still got impressive speeds. When connected to the Ukraine server, they recorded 102.41 download speeds, a drop of only 11%. This is impressive considering how far it is from my actual location.

Our speed tester said they could stream and browse uninterrupted when testing PIA’s nearby servers, without any considerable slowdown compared to their base speeds.

Screenshot of Ookla speed tests with no VPN connected and connected to PIA's France serverI experienced almost no slowdown on PIA’s nearby servers

Long-Distance Speed

PIA’s long-distance servers were much slower than local ones. Our speed tester’s download speeds dropped by nearly half on some US servers, while upload speeds remained almost the same. They also reported some inconsistencies — some connections were faster even though they were further away from their actual location.

They first tested US servers on the East and West coast.

New York, United States

Ping (ms) 78
Download (Mbps) 61.69 (46% drop)
Upload (Mbps) 15.28 (4% drop)

Los Angeles, United States

Ping (ms) 144
Download (Mbps) 68.2 (40% drop)
Upload (Mbps) 14.73 (7% drop)

It’s interesting that, when connected to PIA’s Toronto, Canada location, they measured download speeds of 101.34 Mbps, which is only an 11% speed loss.

As expected, speeds dropped much more on the Brazil, India, Japan, and Australia servers. Our speed tester experienced the biggest speed loss when testing the India server, up to 79%.

Screenshots of Ookla speed tests while connected to CyberGhost servers in Japan and AustraliaSpeeds dropped by 33% on the Japan server, and by 56% on the Australia one

Although there was a significant speed loss at these distances, our speed testers connection never dropped below the 24 Mbps mark. So they still had decent speeds for high-bandwidth activities, like streaming.

Gaming — Great Speeds on Nearby Servers, but Slowdowns at Long Distances

9.0

PIA offers fast enough speeds for smooth gaming on nearby servers, but I experienced some lagging on long-distance connections.

To begin my tests, I first connected to the optimal server for my location and then launched Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Steam. I waited for less than a minute for the game to start and I played without any slowdown or interruptions, with a ping of only 17 ms. Next, I connected to a server in France, and my results were nearly identical (19 ms ping).

Screenshot of gaming with PIA's optimal serverPIA's servers each display their ping rate to make it easy to choose a fast gaming connection

I then decided to test PIA’s New York server, to see how it performs at long distances. I waited for nearly 3 minutes for the game to load and measured a ping of 96 ms. This isn’t ideal, considering you need a ping of at least 60 ms to avoid any delays. The game was still playable but with some lagging.

I had an even more significant slowdown when connected to a server on the West Coast. Sadly, the game wasn’t even playable at even longer distances, such as Japan and Australia.

Server Network — A Large Network With Great Coverage

9.8

PIA has one of the largest server networks of any VPN. It currently offers over 29,650 servers in 91 worldwide — more than any other VPN I’ve tested.

That said, PIA’s coverage is not as widely dispersed as some other VPNs. For example, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost both have fewer servers in total, but they cover more countries than PIA.

One thing I really liked, however, is that PIA offers servers in every US state, which is not the case with most VPNs. This makes it one of the best VPNs for optimizing your speeds in the United States.

Continent Number of server locations Countries
Asia Pacific 17 Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau SAR China, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam
Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia 12 Algeria, Armenia, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi, Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates
Americas 13 United States, Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Greenland, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela
Europe 46 Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom

Does PIA Use Virtual Locations? Yes

Private Internet Access has virtual servers in 80 locations. There are 145 locations total, so virtual locations make up over 50% of its server network. That’s not a problem for me since I don’t mind using these servers. However, there are VPNs that don’t use any if this concerns you.

You can also disable virtual servers in the app settings. All you have to do is go to “Show Geo-located Regions” in the app settings and toggle it off.

One negative of having virtual locations is that it might lower your speeds. Since the server is actually in another country, it might be farther away from you than it appears, which means your data will have to travel farther.

On the positive side, having virtual locations allows PIA to offer locations in countries where it can be unsafe to have physical servers. It used to have physical servers in Brazil and Russia but removed them over privacy concerns. You can still use locations in these countries, but it’s now done through virtual servers.

Screenshots of PIA's website and app showing its virtual server locationsThe other icons next to the servers are latency and favorites

Private Internet Access also owns all of its servers, so you don’t have to worry about a third party handling your data. PIA’s customer support confirmed this. Most VPNs use outside companies to handle at least a few of their servers, and some VPNs only use rented servers. It also gives you the option to use DNS servers owned by the company. All the work put into these servers is impressive and shows that Private Internet Access is dedicated to protecting your data.

Dedicated IP Addresses

For a small extra fee, PIA offers dedicated or static IP addresses, which means you can use the same IP address every time you log into the VPN. Dedicated IP addresses are used only by you, and they can be very useful for things like running a website where you need a consistent IP.

PIA has dedicated IPs in seven locations, including the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, and Singapore. They are only available on PIA’s apps (Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS), so you will not be able to use them on devices that are not VPN-compatible.

RAM-Only Servers

For added privacy, PIA’s entire network runs entirely on RAM (volatile memory). RAM-only servers are much more secure than traditional HDD-based servers, as your private data is automatically wiped from the server with each reboot.

Quick Connect

PIA lets you connect to the fastest server available based on your location. Clicking on the “Choose Automatically” option found at the top of its server list will automatically connect you to the server with the lowest latency.

Plus, the VPN displays the latency next to each server, so you can also choose the fastest server to use manually. This feature is available on all PIA apps, desktop and mobile.

Security — Good, With Several Customization Options

9.6

Private Internet Access has all the standard security features of a premium VPN. This includes military-grade encryption, a reliable kill switch, a powerful ad-blocker, and several security protocols to choose from.

It’s unique in that it lets you choose your encryption level, a feature you will not find in most VPNs. Plus, its apps are fully open-source, which means anyone can check the code for security vulnerabilities. With PIA, you also get full protection against DNS and Web RTC leaks.

PIA doesn’t offer obfuscated or double VPN servers, but you can create an additional proxy connection with SOCKS5 or Shadowsocks. I liked this feature even more than traditional double VPN servers, as it provides extra security without significantly reducing speeds.

Solid Encryption

Private Internet Access offers military-grade 256-bit encryption, which makes it impossible for anyone to spy on your data. With the OpenVPN protocol, the default setting is 128-bit encryption, but I recommend moving it up to 256-bit. I didn’t find any difference in speeds during my tests, so there’s no reason not to use the highest level of encryption for the highest level of protection. If you’re using WireGuard, the encryption level is always 256-bit.

Screenshot of Private Internet Access Protocols menu where you can change encryption levelsI recommend using 256-bit encryption since it didn't affect my speeds

In addition, you can no longer change the handshake settings or choose between a few data authentication options. Private Internet Access removed this customization option to fix compatibility issues and make the VPN more stable. While these were nice options for advanced users, I don’t see it as a problem. Now, the VPN defaults to the most secure settings (GCM ciphers and the RSA-4096 certificate), so you’ll still get top-notch security. The same level is used for both protocols. It also offers 4 remote ports for both TCP (8443, 853, 443, 80) and UDP (8080, 853, 123, 53) or you can enter a local port in the PIA client.

Leak Test Results — Passed

PIA offers full protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IP leaks. I tested 10+ virtual and physical servers, including locations in the US, Germany, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia, and never experienced any data leaks. My real IP address stayed hidden every time.

Screenshot of PIA passing leak test on ipleaknetPIA successfully hid my real IP address during my leak tests

If a VPN leak occurs, it can expose your IP address, browsing activity, and DNS requests to your ISP, so it’s a huge plus that PIA is leakproof. Plus, PIA’s leak protection feature is turned on by default, so you don’t need to enable it manually, which is great news if you’re new to VPNs.

Open Source Apps

All of PIA’s apps are open source, which makes them safer because anyone can check them for security vulnerabilities. Making these applications open source shows that Private Internet Access is transparent with its customers and anyone concerned with internet security.

Reliable Kill Switch

PIA's kill switch blocks your internet traffic if the VPN gets disconnected. This is an essential feature because it ensures there’s never a chance for hackers to steal your data because your real IP can’t be accidentally leaked. For my tests, I kept a browser open while I switched servers and the page wouldn’t load if the VPN was still connecting. That’s how I knew it was working. You have the option to turn it off, but I recommend always keeping it set to on. You can also use the "Advanced Kill Switch," which blocks all traffic until the VPN is connected.

Screenshot of the kill switch options in the Private Internet Access Windows appThe Advanced Kill Switch blocks all traffic until the VPN is connected

This feature is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices.

Split Tunneling to Reroute Traffic

This feature lets you route some traffic through the VPN tunnel and the rest through your regular connection. I like to keep my banking app outside of the VPN, so my account isn’t blocked, for example.

Screenshot of the kill switch options in the Private Internet Access Windows appYou can keep access to your local news while you watch a Netflix library from another country

It’s available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and you can exempt apps (not websites) on Android devices. In the Android app, you can find the split tunneling feature under “Per App Settings.” It’s not currently available for iOS devices.

Security Protocols — 3 Good Options

PIA uses OpenVPN and WireGuard— two of the most secure protocols available. They are available on all its desktop apps (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and Android. For iOS devices, it also offers IPSec (IKEv2). This is a good selection of protocols, but unlike some services, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, PIA doesn’t have its own proprietary VPN protocol.

  • WireGuard: If you want to use the VPN for data-intensive tasks, such as streaming and torrenting, the WireGuard protocol is your best option. During speed tests, WireGurad gave me the fastest speeds. It uses ChaCha20 authenticated encryption, a type of “stream” encryption that is quicker and less complex than AES, while also being very secure.
  • OpenVPN: This protocol doesn’t offer speeds as fast as WireGuard, but it’s been around for much longer, so it’s considered the safer option. It can transfer data with UDP or TCP and supports several encryption ciphers, up to AES-256-GCM. It’s also open source, so the code is publicly available to be checked and modified.
  • IPSec: PIA offers IPSec on iOS devices only. This is an older protocol that offers decent speeds, but it’s not as secure as OpenVPN or WireGuard, so I don’t recommend it.
screenshot of PIA's protocol settings in the app256-bit encryption is best for security — 128-bit is less secure but better for speeds

PIA automatically chooses the best VPN protocol for you, but you can change it manually if you prefer. You can easily switch between protocols in the Settings menu, under Protocols.

MACE Ad Blocker — Effective At Blocking Malicious Ads, But Not Paid Ads

PIA comes with a powerful ad blocker, called MACE, that serves primarily to block malicious ads. To get more info on PIA’s ad blocker, I contacted a support agent, who confirmed that MACE doesn’t block all ads — only those that contain malicious content.

Screenshot of Can You Block It? site accessed while connected to Private Internet Access with MACE ad-blocker activatedIt also can't block YouTube ads

To test this, I visited the ad-heavy websites Forbes and Daily Mail, and most of the ads on these sites still got through. MACE also doesn’t block ads on YouTube videos. Plus, there’s no option to exclude certain domains from the ad blocker or make other adjustments. It can be simply turned on or off.

Although not perfect, I still recommend keeping MACE on whenever you use the VPN, as it’s still very effective at preventing malware from entering your device. If you want an ad-free browsing experience, you’re better off using a separate ad-blocker, though.

InBrowser — Fast Incognito Browsing for Mobile Devices

Private Internet Access also offers its own incognito browser called InBrowser. It’s only available for Android and iOS. It can work in conjunction with the TOR network, and it deletes your history, cookies, and session data every time you log off.

Screenshot of InBrowser and Private Internet Access' Chrome browser extensioniOS users can't access extensions or InBrowser, but they have an ad-blocker for Safari

It doubled the speeds on my phone (from 22.81 Mbps with Chrome to 46.49 Mbps with InBrowser). I was surprised with how fast it was. Incognito browsers are usually a little faster because they don’t run as many extensions. However, the incognito browser on Chrome is only 17 percent faster on average for me (while InBrowser was 102 percent faster). InBrowser is a nice addition, but you should use it with the VPN. It will only protect your browser and not fully encrypt the device like the VPN will.

Identity Guard

PIA also has a feature that shows you if your email address has been exposed in a data breach. You can access this through the Client Support Panel, under the tab “Identity Guard.” It will regularly search for your email address, and you can set up email alerts to notify you if it’s ever compromised.

Private DNS Servers

Private Internet Access also runs its own private DNS servers. This means that it can handle your DNS requests instead of your ISP, which is more secure. ISPs do store and could share your DNS queries, and since they can tie them back to your IP address, this gives them a way to track you. You can also set the Windows client to use any custom DNS you want, but I recommend using PIA’s.

Privacy — A Proven No-Logs Policy, but It’s Located in the US

9.8

Overall, PIA is a good option for privacy due to its strict no-logs policy and the features it offers. Although, it's based in the US, which is not so privacy-friendly. Still, you can be assured that even if your data were requested by government agencies, there would be nothing to show. This has been proven on numerous occasions.

Does Private Internet Access Keep Logs? No

Private Internet Access ensures that no identifiable information about you is stored. The only details it keeps are your email address, payment information, state and zip code (for taxation reasons), and anonymized data that aids in service improvement. For heightened security, it allows you to make payments using cryptocurrency. Furthermore, it guarantees that customer information will never be rented or sold.

Its privacy policy has been verified in court. In 2016, the FBI requested information about a user, and Private Internet Access couldn’t provide any data on their activities because none were stored. The Russian government also seized PIA servers in 2016, but they did not find any identifiable data. After this, PIA took down all of its Russian VPN servers. In 2018, its policy was proven once again when the US government asked PIA to hand over identifiable information about a user, and it had nothing to share.

Screenshot of Private Internet Access' Privacy PolicyIt only collects enough data to maintain accounts and comply with tax regulations

Independently Audited

In June 2022, PIA's no-logs policy was independently audited by Big Four auditing firm Deloitte. It found that PIA's server configurations are in line with its internal privacy policies, don't store logs, and cannot identify users or track their activities. This means there is no record of your online activity on PIA's servers.

Plus, its network architecture is designed to prevent data retention. PIA’s service runs on RAM-only servers. These servers use RAM modules rather than traditional hard disks and restart themselves regularly. All user data is lost when the servers are rebooted, so you can be confident that your data can't be shared since it's never stored.

Ownership and Company History

Private Internet Access is owned by Kape Technologies, which was formerly known as Crossrider and operated in the mobile advertisement and browser extension development sectors. In 2018, the company faced criticism when its software was exploited by hackers to include adware in some of its downloads.

However, since the name change, the company no longer works in advertising and now focuses on VPNs. Kape also owns CyberGhost and ExpressVPN, 2 other trustworthy VPNs. Plus, I ran tests on the app, and it was completely free of malware.

Regardless of its ownership, Private Internet Access has been a trusted VPN for over 10 years. It supports non-profit organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Creative Commons, which are dedicated to internet freedom. Most importantly, Private Internet Access’ privacy policy has been proven in court, so I trust it to be responsible with my data.

Based in the US

Private Internet Access operates out of the United States, which isn’t the most privacy-friendly country. The US was one of the founding members of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. This is a pact between governments where they promise to share information on people they’re suspicious of.

Nevertheless, Private Internet Access adheres to a robust no-logs policy that has been frequently audited and verified. Having operated for more than ten years without storing or sharing any identifiable user information, it has earned my trust regarding data protection.

Does Private Internet Access Work in China? No.

PIA lacks key security features (like obfuscation) that would allow it to work in China. So, unfortunately, it’s not the best option for overcoming tough governmental firewalls.

To verify the present situation, I contacted PIA’s live support for clarification. The representative informed me that the Great Firewall is so robust that PIA cannot bypass it.

Screenshot of a conversation with PIA's live chat rep confirming that the VPN doesn't work in China.There are very few VPNs that can overcome the Great Firewall of China as it’s one of the toughest firewalls

Torrenting — Download on Any Server with Fast Speeds

9.6

PIA allows P2P file sharing across all its servers. I found this really convenient as there is no need to look for specialized P2P servers to download torrent files.

To test its torrenting speeds, I first connected to a UK server and started downloading the movie The Last Man on Earth (copyright-free) on uTorrent. It was a 1.23 GB file that took less than 10 minutes to download. This is similar to the speeds I usually get without a VPN connection.

Download a torrent file with PIAI downloaded a 1.23 GB file in less than 10 minutes

Next, I used a more distant U.S. server to download "The Chase," a 900 MB file that is free from copyright restrictions. The download process was completed in no more than 3 minutes.

You can also increase your speeds by turning on PIA’s port forwarding feature. This will increase the number of seeders and allow you to download torrent files even faster. I didn’t like that port forwarding is not available on US servers, though. After asking a support agent about this, I was only told that it was due to legal reasons.

There is also the option to use a SOCKS5 proxy, but I don’t recommend it. PIA’s proxies work as a double-hop, meaning it sends your connection to the proxy, then the VPN tunnel. This slows speeds quite a bit (91 percent for me). Even if you could connect directly to the proxy, it’s not a good idea because it wouldn’t encrypt your traffic.

Overall, I was impressed with PIA’s torrenting abilities. It not only offers fast speeds for torrenting but also has military-grade encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and strong leak protection. This will allow you to torrent safely without worrying about your activity and personal data being exposed.

My team and I do not condone any illegal activities. Downloading copyrighted files is now allowed in most countries, so you should always check your country’s local laws and regulations before torrenting with PIA.

Installation & Apps

9.6

PIA has advanced settings options for techies, but can also give you simple connections. After installing the VPN onto your device, all you need to do is click on the large power button and you will be instantly connected to a server. Clicking on the map opens up the full list of servers, and you can look for specific servers using the search box at the top.

You can also “favorite” specific servers by clicking on the heart next to them, which is really handy, as it gives you quick access to the ones you use most frequently. Next to each server, there’s also the latency displayed, which allows you to quickly find the one that is closest to your location.

Screenshot of PIA's app displaying latency and the favorite optionPIA’s app may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s really intuitive

Clicking on the Settings menu opens up a range of customization options, which can be overwhelming at first, especially for VPN-beginners. For example, there are connection automation rules you can set, different protocols and encryption levels, and a range of DNS settings.

Although, these settings are just there for those who wish to fine-tune their VPN use. The most important security features are pre-configured. That said, once you get familiar with navigating PIA, these adjustable settings make its apps super intuitive.

Setup & Installation — Quick and Easy With Native Apps

Setting up PIA on my devices was very straightforward. I downloaded the Windows app from its official site and waited for a few minutes for the installation to complete. Then, I logged in and started using the VPN.

Downloading PIA's Windows app from its official websiteIt took less than 3 minutes to download and install the Windows app onto my device

Setting up PIA on my iPhone and Android tablet was no different. I downloaded the apps from the official website, waited for the installation to complete, and logged in to the VPN. PIA is one of the few VPNs that offer a dedicated Linux app, so installation on Linux is just as easy.

Quick Guide: How to Set up PIA in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Pick a plan. Go to PIA’s official website and choose your preferred plan. Then, enter your payment info. PIA offers a tried and tested 30-day guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.
  2. Download the app onto your device. PIA has dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Simply download the app from its official website and log in to your account.
  3. Connect to a server. Start browsing, streaming, or torrenting safely with PIA.

Device Compatibility

PIA offers native apps for every major operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS), and they’re all full-featured. Its native Android app can also be used on Firestick and Fire TV devices.

PIA also works with almost all routers that are VPN-compatible. This allows you to connect the VPN to devices that don’t natively support VPNs, such as Roku and gaming consoles. There are detailed guides on its official website that can be of great help when setting up the VPN on your router.

Desktop — Apps For Windows, macOS, and Linux

PIA’s desktop apps are easy to use and intuitive. Setting up the VPN on my Windows laptop was simple — installation and setup didn’t take more than 5 minutes.

The Windows and Mac have nearly identical interfaces. The only major difference between the apps is that the split tunneling feature is no longer available on the Mac app. PIA’s support agent confirmed this, explaining that the main reason for disabling the feature was to ensure enhanced security and privacy for users.

Screenshot of PIA's Windows and Mac appsThe only difference between the desktop apps is that split tunneling isn’t available on macOS

PIA also features a full GUI for Linux. The Linux app has pretty much the same interface and functions as the Windows version. This is convenient, as most VPNs either offer very basic Linux apps or applications that run on command-based systems only. The Linux app is compatible with Ubuntu 18.04+ (LTS), Mint, Debian, Fedora, and Arch.

Android and iPhone (iOS)

PIA’s mobile apps are very similar to desktop ones. There are some features missing, though. For example, if you download the Android app from the Google Play Store, you will miss out on the MACE ad blocker. If you want to use MACE on Android, you need to download an APK file of the app from Private Internet Access directly.

On iOS, MACE is not available. You can use InBrowser though, and you can also enable Safari Content Blocker when using the VPN. One feature unique to the iOS app is the IPSec security protocol. Plus, you can link the iOS app to Siri and use voice commands to connect and disconnect from the VPN.

PIA’s Android and iOS apps also include a 7-day free trial, which is not available on desktop.

Screenshot of PIA's Android and iOS appsYou can try PIA for free for 7 days on Android and iOS

Browser Extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera

Windows and Mac users can download browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Each extension has identical features. The server list is limited, but they offer several unique security options that aren’t available in the VPN app.

For example, you can block WebRTC IP detection and disable access to your microphone, camera, or location. You can also convert websites that use an unencrypted connection (HTTP) to more secure HTTPS connections.

Plus, the extensions allow you to prevent tracking. You can disable third-party cookies and website referrers. This will prevent your browser from sending the address of the page you’re on after following a link. Plus, you can disable hyperlink auditing, which will prevent trackers from receiving notifications when you click on a link.

Overall, I was impressed by the extra features offered by PIA’s extensions. Still, they will only protect your browser, not your entire device, so I still recommend using its apps for full protection.

Apps for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku TV, Chromecast, etc

It is easy to set up PIA on your Android TV. Simply download the Android app and install it on your device. The process is no different from installing it on your Android phone. PIA doesn’t have a native app for Fire Devices, but you can also use the Android app to set up the VPN on your Fire TV and Firestick.

There’s no PIA app available for Apple TV and Roku TV, as they don’t support VPNs.

Apps for Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, etc

The easiest way to connect PIA to devices like these, that don’t fully support VPNs, is to use its Smart DNS feature. This feature doesn’t encrypt your traffic so it’s not as secure. Still, it’s very useful for streaming, as it allows you to stream on devices that are not VPN-compatible.

Setting up smart DNS on my PlayStation didn’t take more than 5 minutes. PIA’s official website contains easy-to-understand guides on how to set up smart DNS on different devices, which was of great help. All I had to do was enter a special smart DNS address into my PlayStation’s network settings.

Since I’m in the US, I tested the United States location PIA’s smart DNS sets you up with. It didn’t interfere with my normal viewing habits, and I could still watch Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+. While you could hypothetically use this to access US platforms from another country, we are strongly against this since it could result in copyright violations.

Router Compatibility

Unlike some VPNs, PIA offers a dedicated router app. You can still set up the VPN on your router manually, which will allow you to use the VPN on any device connected to your home network. This is another way you can use PIA on devices that aren’t compatible with VPNs, like smart TVs and consoles.

PIA works with TP-Link, DD-WRT, Tomato, Pfsense, LEDE, OpenWRT, Merlin, AsusWRT, and OpenVPN-compatible routers. It also offers detailed tutorials on its site that make the whole process really straightforward.

It didn’t take me more than 15 minutes to configure the VPN on my TP-Link router. Plus, its 24/7 live chat support is always available in case you need help during setup.

Simultaneous Device Connections — Unlimited Devices Connections

You can use Private Internet Access on an unlimited number of devices at the same time with one subscription, making it great value for money. To test it out, I connected my Fire TV, 2 laptops, my phone, and a friend’s. I started streaming shows on each one, and I never noticed any difference in the playback quality. It’s a standout feature since many VPNs only let you use 5 devices.

Pricing

9.5
2 Years + 2 Months Free
$ 2.19 / month per month
6 Months
$ 7.5 / month per month
1 Month
$ 11.99 / month per month

PIA offers great value with its long-term plans. At only $2.19/month a month, the 3-year subscription is the cheapest and comes with 3 months of free service. If you’re not willing to commit that long, PIA also offers a relatively affordable yearly plan.

As with most VPNs, PIA’s monthly plan is much more expensive than its long-term plans. There’s no difference in features regardless of which plan you choose — plus, its prices won’t go up upon renewal, which isn’t the case with many VPNs. At checkout, you can also add PIA’s antivirus and a dedicated IP address to your subscription.

PIA payment methods include credit card (VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) and PayPal. If you’re privacy-conscious, you can also pay with cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin. For added anonymity, you can also use retail gift cards (Starbucks, Walmart, etc.). If you subscribe on mobile, you can use Google Pay or iTunes for payment.

Personally, I recommend PIA’s 3-year plan as it’s the cheapest in the long run.

All PIA plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a full refund if you’re not satisfied with how the VPN works.

To test this, I asked for a refund using PIA’s live chat option. The support agent first offered to help with any issues I may have, and asked me to reconsider, but then proceeded with my request.

While I was waiting, I was disconnected from the original agent, but within 1 minute, was reconnected with a new one. This rep confirmed that my refund had already been initiated. In total, the chat took about 7 minutes, and I received a full refund within 3 business days.

A live agent agreeing to process a refund via PIA's 24/7 live chat featureI told the agent that there were no issues to resolve, but I realized I didn’t need the service

Reliability & Support

9.8

Polite and Informative Support, But Sometimes Slow to Respond

PIA offers 24/7 support through its live chat option. It is available in almost all languages. There’s also no need to enter your email address or other personal info to use PIA’s live chat — simply click on the Transfer to Agent button and you’ll be connected.

Most of the time, I could speak to an agent in less than a minute and got polite and informative responses. For instance, I was impressed when I needed help watching ESPN+ in the US while connected to the VPN.

The support agent suggested switching servers and clearing my browser cache, but that didn’t work. Then, they suggested switching to the WireGuard protocol and reconnecting to the server. After doing that, I could live stream sports again while staying safe online.

Resolving an issue with PIA's live chatWhen the connection to the live chat was established, the support agent was helpful and polite every time

Still, there were a few times when I had to wait up to 5 minutes to get in touch, which can be annoying, especially when you have an urgent issue you want to resolve.

When there is no support agent available, you are advised to open a support ticket instead.
This option is great for less urgent issues. To test it out, I contacted PIA and got a reply via email the next business day.

PIA also has a dedicated Support Portal that is filled with useful articles on different topics. Plus, there’s a comprehensive knowledge base where you can get answers to the most frequently asked questions.

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict: Great Price for Customizable Security on Any Device

Private Internet Access provides strong security with several customization options. Plus, its large server network is great for torrenting since every location allows P2P downloads. I was even able to download twice as fast with its port forwarding option. On top of that, it has full-featured versions for every major OS, including one of the best Linux apps around.

It’s a great value for the price, especially with its longest-term subscription (and because it offers an unlimited number of device connections). In addition, its privacy policy has been proven in 2 different court cases. Regular transparency reports are further proof it’s a company you can trust to handle your data.

There are a few flaws. The customer support is hit-or-miss. On top of that, it has inconsistent speeds on local servers, and it’s really slow on long-distance ones.

Overall, I recommend Private Internet Access if you want to torrent on a wide variety of devices safely, and at a great price.

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  • Great for every major OS
  • Fast P2P downloads on any server
  • Works with Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more
  • Vast server network with 29,650 servers in 91 locations
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Proven no-logs policy
  • Automatic kill switch
  • Highly customizable security features
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

FAQs on Private Internet Access

Is Private Internet Access a good VPN?

Yes, Private Internet Access is an excellent VPN, especially if you’re looking for a good streaming VPN. It has one of the largest server networks of any VPN, and it owns all of its servers for improved privacy. Plus, it has highly customizable security features and you can use it on an unlimited number of devices.

Does Private Internet Access work with Netflix?

Private Internet access works with Netflix in more than 17 countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, and Japan. Aside from Netflix, its streaming-optimized servers also work with most other streaming platforms, including Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Max.

I can confirm this because I collaborated with a team of international testers to make sure it works in all these locations. We only used servers within our respective countries to watch the platforms available where we live. During all of our tests, PIA’s fast speeds allowed us to stream smoothly in the highest quality.

You could theoretically use a VPN like PIA to access streaming platforms that aren’t available in your region. However, we recommend you never do this because it will most likely result in a copyright violation. My team and I don’t condone any form of copyright infringement.

Is PIA safe?

It is — PIA offers military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, which is almost impossible to crack, making it extremely safe. It is also one of the few VPNs that lets you customize your encryption level based on whether you prefer speed or security. PIA’s strict no-logs policy has been audited several times, proving the company doesn’t collect or store any personal information.

Is there a PIA Firestick app?

No, PIA doesn’t have a native Firestick app, but you can use its Android app for your Fire TV and Firestick device. Simply download the Android app from PIA’s official website and install it on your device.

Can I get a PIA Chrome extension?

PIA does offer a Chrome browser extension, but it’s only a proxy. It gives you a certain degree of privacy by changing your virtual location, but it doesn’t offer encryption, like the full VPN app does. So, in situations when strong security is most needed (such as online banking), I recommend using the PIA’s full VPN app. This protects your entire device, including your browsing sessions.

Aside from Chrome, PIA browser extensions are also available for Firefox and Opera.

Is there a PIA Linux app?

Yes, PIA is one of the few VPNs to offer a native GUI app for Linux. It offers the same features as its Windows and Mac apps and currently supports the WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols. It is currently compatible with Ubuntu 18.04+ (LTS), Mint, Debian, Fedora, and Arch.

Can I get PIA for free?

PIA doesn’t have a free plan, but it offers a 7-day free trial on its Android and iOS apps. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee that you can use to try the service risk-free. If you don’t like how it works, you are entitled to a full refund. PIA is also one of the most affordable VPNs on the market, and frequently, with frequent discounts on its yearly plan.

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Number of devices per license: Unlimited
We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
Private Internet Access User Reviews (User reviews are not verified)
6.8
Based on 216 reviews in 29 languages

Write a Review on Private Internet Access

Please rate VPN.

All Speed Streaming Security Сustomer service
Ez
Ez
10/10
Best VPN Out on The Market

I like PIA VPN the best for the following reasons: ● It's a reliable and trustworthy policy; they don't record anything harmful to you; strict no logs. ● I've been using it for one month and there are specific times when it speeds up my internet speed (varies by internet) ● It's a distinctive feature of DIP (dedicated IP) - I think not many popular VPNs have this feature, I also purchased this feature to avoid getting the captcha verification and it never showed up ever since. It's only been a month using this VPN but as I gain more experience with this client, I'm pretty sure I will find more good features and utilize them. Thanks for having read my review:)

Mark
Mark
10/10
I have been using PIA for years and have been very happy with the service so far.

I've been using PIA VPN for many years and have been very happy with it. Just took advantage of the holiday 3 year special to save even more money off the yearly plan I was on previously. I signed up years ago thinking I would only keep it for a short time but ended up using it ever since. I travel and live abroad so it comes in handy sometimes since my ISP here in Asia throttles lots of things.

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson
2/10
PIA no longer works on Amazon Fire devices.

I have used PIA for several years with no issues. Currently, amazon fire devices can no longer sign in to the account. Used on 3 TVs with 3 different fire devices with the same result. There is no way to resolve the issue.

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Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, Cyberghost and Expressvpn are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company.

About the Author

Angela is a tech content writer with a keen interest in data protection and cyber threats. She enjoys researching and writing about the latest cybersecurity trends and believes strongly in the importance of online privacy.

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