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.
Advertising Disclosure

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: Is PIA VPN Good?

Our Score: 9.5/10
Ranked 3rd out of 203 VPNs
Keira Waddell Updated on 27th June 2024 Fact-checked by Christine Johansen Senior Writer

Private Internet Access (PIA) offers one of the cheapest VPN subscriptions, starting at just $2.03/month. With such a low price, I wondered whether PIA could really stand out against its higher-priced competitors. However, it prides itself on a 10-plus-year reputation of being safe and trustworthy, so it’s also one of the best-value VPNs available.

I’ve used PIA for a while and have examined its privacy policy, security features, and speeds in depth. I also tested its capabilities, including streaming and torrenting. It stands out for its reliable performance, customizable security options, and unlimited device connections. Plus, I like its add-on features, like dedicated IPs and the PIA Antivirus.

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 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

July 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 83% off!

Private Internet Access Features — 2024 Update

9.0
💸 Price 2.03 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 No

Streaming — Can Access 30+ Streaming Platforms, Including Netflix Libraries and Amazon Prime Video

9.6

PIA can access dozens of streaming platforms, making it possible to stream global content safely from anywhere. When our team of global testers and I tried PIA, we had success with over 30 major streaming services, including 17+ Netflix libraries, Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video.

PIA also offers streaming-optimized servers in 11 countries that work consistently with streaming platforms and deliver fast enough speeds for HD streaming. Most of its regular servers performed well, but some didn’t work with certain platforms.

My team and I were able to stream 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
Editor’s note: Private Internet Access adheres to a strict no-logs policy that prevents it from keeping track of (or even seeing) what you do online This means it’s your responsibility to use the VPN according to the rules and regulations of your country and the streaming service you’re using. My colleagues and I do not condone copyright infringement.

Works With: Netflix (US, Canada, Japan, and 14 Other Libraries)

PIA successfully accesses lots of different Netflix libraries. My global team and I could watch our local Netflix between 17 different countries. Our tester in New York streamed Bakugan on US Netflix using PIA's US East Streaming server without interruptions. Its regular US servers worked just as well for Netflix US.

We confirmed that its streaming servers also work well with Netflix in the UK, Canada, Japan, Denmark, Italy, Germany, and Sweden. The regular servers in these locations worked with the platform, too, but it’s nice to know that if that’s ever not the case, you have optimized servers as a reliable option.

Screenshot of PIA accessing US Netflix with US West streaming serverPIA’s optimized servers make it possible to stream global content in HD from anywhere

Works With: Disney+

From the UK, I was able to stream Disney+ UK with no issue. My colleague in the US also had good results with PIA’s US East Streaming Optimized server and played Grown-ish on Disney+ US without buffering. It can also access Disney+ Hotstar securely from anywhere.

Screenshot of PIA streaming US Disney+ with US East Streaming serverPIA's connections are stable and reliable for streaming from anywhere

Works With: Hulu

Hulu only worked well with PIA’s optimized servers. When our US team first tried its US West Streaming Optimized server, they were able to stream with minimal slowdowns, without buffering or interruptions.

Screenshot of streaming Hulu with PIA US West Streaming serverOur US testers experienced no lag even when skipping to different parts of the show while streaming Hulu

However, its regular servers, like US New York City and US Massachusetts, didn’t work with Hulu at all.

Works With: Amazon Prime Video

PIA’s streaming-optimized servers reliably access Prime Video’s US library, where our US tester watched Lost in Oz in the best quality buffer-free. However, like with Hulu, Amazon Prime Video didn’t work with the regular servers.

Screenshot of streaming Amazon Prime Video US with PIAThe quality was good throughout the whole video

I was able to watch my local library from my location in the UK, but I had to reach out to chat support for some tips to get it to work.

Also Works With: BBC iPlayer, (HBO) Max, ITV, Crunchyroll, Peacock, and YouTube TV

It was straightforward to access BBC iPlayer using PIA’s UK streaming server. Loading times weren’t longer than a few seconds, and I could watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK vs the World in the best possible quality without lag. I also had no issues watching ITV using the same server.

Screenshot of PIA streaming BBC iPlayer with London streaming serverPIA’s London Streaming server let me watch BBC iPlayer with zero slowdowns

Our testers in the US also had no issues streaming Crunchyroll and Max using its US East and West Streaming Optimized servers. They also reported that some regular US servers worked with these platforms.

Streaming on Peacock TV and YouTube TV was just as easy, with both its streaming and regular servers.

The only platform our testing team reported issues with was ESPN+. No matter which server my US colleague tried, it didn’t let them stream any content. After they reached out to PIA’s live chat, though, a support agent helped troubleshoot the issue and they were able to access their account and stream in HD.

Doesn’t Work With: DAZN and Sky Go

Two platforms that my team and I had no success with were DAZN and Sky Go. We tried multiple troubleshooting techniques, like switching servers and logging in via browsers (instead of apps), but nothing worked. As a final attempt, I used PIA’s live chat to ask for assistance.

Screenshot of conversation with PIA customer support confirming it doesn't work with Sky Go or DAZNVery few VPNs work with these platforms, so I wasn't too surprised with PIA's response

The support agent made it clear that PIA can’t access DAZN or Sky Go, and there are likely no troubleshooting techniques to get around this. At least the quick and direct response saved me time trying to fix the issue myself.

Speed — Great on Nearby Servers, but Slower 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.

Graph depicting speed test results of PIA on local and long-distance serversDownload speeds dropped an average of 14% on nearby servers and 49% 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) 6
Download (Mbps) 123.28
Upload (Mbps) 18.35

To make sure our dedicated speed tester got the best speeds, they used PIA’s WireGuard protocol. 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) 8
Download (Mbps) 114.71
Upload (Mbps) 17.41

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) 16
Download (Mbps) 115.01
Upload (Mbps) 17.51
Screenshot of Ookla speed tests results with PIA local serversI experienced almost no slowdown on PIA’s nearby servers

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 102.63 download speeds, a drop of only 17%. This is very good, considering how far it is from their actual location (over 2,500km).

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.

Long-Distance Speed

Generally, PIA’s long-distance servers were much slower than local ones. Our speed tester’s download speeds dropped more than half on some US servers, while upload speeds remained almost the same. However, the results were inconsistent — some connections were just as fast as local ones.

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

New York, United States

Ping (ms) 79
Download (Mbps) 114.16
Upload (Mbps) 17.62

Los Angeles, United States

Ping (ms) 151
Download (Mbps) 42.86
Upload (Mbps) 16.68

It’s interesting that, when connected to PIA’s New York server, the speeds were just as fast as when connected to a nearby server in France.

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

Screenshot of Ookla speed test results of PIA on long-distance serversThese speeds are still suitable for HD or 4K streaming, though

Although there was a significant speed loss at these distances, our speed testers' connection never dropped below the 27 Mbps mark.

Gaming — Smooth Gameplay on Local Servers but More Lagging Over 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 6 ms. Next, I connected to a server in France, and my ping only went up to 19 ms.

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

I then connected to the New York server to see how it performed at longer distances. I waited for nearly 3 minutes for the game to load and measured a ping of 79 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. It also uses dedicated 10 Gbps internet lines to offer increased bandwidth.

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 accessing US content in HD from anywhere.

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

Virtual Server Locations

PIA has virtual servers in around 80 locations. These servers give you an IP from the country they’re intended for, but they’re not physically located there. It has 150 locations total, so virtual locations make up over 50% of PIA’s 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.

Screenshot of PIA virtual servers in the app and list of virtual servers on websitePIA has a list on its websites with all its virtual servers and where the physical server is located

PIA owns all of its servers, so you don’t have to worry about a third party handling your data. Most VPNs use outside companies to handle at least a few of their servers, and some only use rented servers. This shows that PIA 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, so they are much less likely to be detected and blocked by streaming platforms and other sites.

PIA has dedicated IPs in multiple locations, including the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Belgium, and Sweden. They are only available on PIA’s apps (Windows, macOS, 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.

Private DNS Servers

PIA uses NextGen, colocated servers, meaning that it owns and operates its own private DNS servers. This means your DNS requests are handled privately by PIA, unlike standard DNS servers provided by ISPs. It enhances your internet privacy as your internet activities won’t get into the hands of unwanted third parties.

They can improve your speeds and connection reliability, too. Since your traffic goes by a more efficient route, it reduces the distance your data has to travel. You can also set the Windows client to use any custom DNS you want, but I recommend using PIA’s.

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.

Solid Encryption

Private Internet Access offers military-grade 256-bit encryption to prevent anyone from spying on your data. With the OpenVPN protocol, the default setting is 128-bit encryption, but I recommend moving it up to 256-bit. It can slow down your speeds slightly, but it’s worth it for the extra security. If you’re using WireGuard, the encryption level is always 256-bit.

Screenshot of PIA app showing encryption levelsI recommend using 256-bit encryption since it's more secure

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.

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.

IP/DNS Leak Protection and Kill Switch

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 leak test results proving IP and DNS leak protectionMy real UK location was never revealed with PIA

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.

PIA's kill switch blocks your internet traffic if the VPN gets disconnected. This is an essential feature because it reduces the chances for hackers to steal your data, as 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 on. You can also use the Advanced Kill Switch, which blocks all internet traffic until the VPN is connected.

The kill switch 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 PIA app showing the split tunnel featureSplit tunneling can give you better speeds by conserving your bandwidth for more data-intensive activities

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.
Screen of customizable features on PIA's appYou can choose between 2 encryption levels on the OpenVPN protocol, 128 or 256-bit

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.

Multi-Hop and Obfuscation

The Multi-Hop feature routes your traffic through 2 servers to bolster security. It travels through a combination of a SOCKS5 or Shadowsocks proxy and a VPN server. I liked this feature even more than traditional double VPN servers, as Multi-Hop provides extra security without significantly reducing speeds.

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.

To test it, I visited the ad-heavy websites Forbes and Daily Mail, and only 1 ad got through on each site, which is a big improvement.

Screenshot of PIA MACE feature blocking ads test resultsI haven't tested an ad blocker that blocks 100% of ads, so this is impressive

Unfortunately, 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.

Additional Security: Identity Guard and Antivirus

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.

I also appreciate its private mobile browser (InBrowser) that automatically deletes your activity, cookies, and history when you close the app. You can download it for free for iOS or Android.

There’s an Antivirus add-on for a small extra fee. It is designed to remove malware without user tracking or logging, emphasizing full control over data and digital privacy. It can be added to your subscription for $5, and it can be accessed using the same credentials as your VPN account.

Antivirus features a dashboard for real-time protection, a prevention engine for Zero-Day threats, and a web shield against malicious websites and downloads. It also offers various scan options (quick, complete, custom, and scheduled) and lets you “quarantine” malicious files. You can view security reports and adjust settings for notifications, security, and privacy.

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.

Screenshot of PIA's no logs policyIt only collects enough data to maintain accounts and comply with tax regulations

Its privacy policy has been verified in court. In 2016, the FBI requested information about a user, and PIA couldn’t provide any data on their activities because nothing was stored. The Russian government also seized PIA servers in 2016 but didn’t 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.

Was PIA VPN Audited? Yes

In June 2022, PIA's no-logs policy was independently audited by the 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.

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.

PIA is also 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.

Does Private Internet Access Work in China? Maybe, but It’s Not Guaranteed

PIA claims that it’s possible to use it in China, but you need to download the app to your device before you get there. Customer support also confirmed that it’s not always guaranteed to work in China and may require some troubleshooting. This isn’t surprising, though, as even the best VPNs for China don’t record 100% of uptime.

Screenshot of conversation with PIA customer support agent confirming that it works in ChinaThe agent also recommends using the WireGuard protocol in China

It’s also one of the few VPNs to offer servers in China. These are virtual, so they provide you with a Chinese IP address but aren’t physically located there to ensure a private connection. The downside is that these connections increased my ping to 278 ms and reduced my speeds by almost 80%.

The Chinese government only allows government-approved VPNs and enforces this by blocking VPN services in the country. However, there are no publicly reported cases of China going after tourists for using them. Nevertheless, we urge you to make yourself aware of the current laws and regulations about VPN use in China and the risks that might come with it.

Its customer support told me that PIA can also be accessed in other restrictive countries like Iran, UAE, Russia, or Turkey. However, again, it cannot guarantee that it will always work.

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 2 minutes to download. This is similar to the speeds I usually get without a VPN connection.

Screenshot of PIA torrenting on London serverI downloaded a 1.23 GB file in less than 2 minutes

Next, I used a more distant US server to download The Chase, a 900 MB file that is free from copyright restrictions. The download was complete in a minute and a few seconds.

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 for torrenting. PIA’s proxies work as a double-hop, meaning your connection is sent to the proxy and then the VPN tunnel. This slows speeds quite a bit (91% for me).

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 not allowed in most countries, so you should always check your country’s local laws and regulations before torrenting with PIA.

Installation & Apps

9.6

Quick and Easy With Native Apps

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 showing PIA Windows app server listThe server list displays the latency to choose one with the best speed

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

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.

Screenshot showing PIA's download pageIt 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 Download 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 money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.
  2. Download the app onto your device. PIA has dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, 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, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS), and they’re all full-featured. You can also install it on Fire Stick and Fire TV devices.

Plus, it works with almost all VPN-compatible routers. 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 apps have nearly the same interfaces. The only major difference is that the split tunneling feature is no longer supported 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.

Screenshots showing PIA Windows and macOS app side by sideThe 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. You get customization options, such as split tunneling and ad, tracker, and malware blocking. MACE is available through the Android APK file, while the iOS app has something called Safari Content Blocker, which is similar.

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 showing PIA iOS and Android appYou 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.

PIA 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.

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% faster on average for me (while InBrowser was 102% faster).

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.

Compatibility With Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku TV and Chromecast

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 has a native app for Fire devices, so you can easily install it on Fire Stick or Fire TV. There’s no PIA app available for Apple TV and Roku TV, as they don’t support VPNs.

Smart DNS for PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and More

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.

PIA doesn’t offer information on which platforms the Smart DNS can access. Still, my colleague in the US reported that they could access services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Max without an issue.

Router Compatibility

PIA doesn’t offer a dedicated router app and firmware like ExpressVPN, for example. But 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 With a Single Account

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 + 4 Months Free
$ 2.03 / month per month
6 Months
$ 7.5 / month per month
1 Month
$ 11.99 / month per month

Plans Are Affordable and Backed by a Money-Back Guarantee

PIA offers great value with its long-term plans. At only $2.03/month, the longest subscription is the cheapest and comes with a few months of free service. If you’re not willing to commit that long, PIA also offers shorter-term plans.

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 cards (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 longest 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.

Screenshot of conversation with PIA agent requesting refundI 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, when I had issues getting PIA to work with Amazon Prime Video, its agent provided me with simple steps to get it to work.

Screenshot of conversation with PIA live chat getting help with streaming issueWhen the connection to the live chat was established, the support agent was helpful and polite every time

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, it finally let me stream Road House.

Quick Comparison Table: PIA Compared With Other Top VPNs

Below, I’ve looked at some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a VPN. It’s difficult to compare top VPNs side-by-side across all features performance levels. For a more detailed comparison of the top VPNs out there, check out our in-depth guide to the top VPNs.

Lowest Price Average Speed Drop on Local Servers Server Network Number of Netflix libraries it can access Simultaneous Connections No-logs Policy Money-back Guarantee Our Rating
Private Internet Access $2.03/month 10% 29,650 servers in 91 countries 17+ Unlimited Independently audited 30 days 9.48
ExpressVPN $6.67/month 4% 3,000 servers in 105 countries 20+ 8 Independently audited 30 days 9.87
CyberGhost $2.03/month 5% 11,690 servers in 100 countries 18+ 7 Independently audited 45 days 9.69
NordVPN $6.39/month 9% 6,476 servers in 111 countries 15+ 10 Independently audited 30 days 9.37
Surfshark $2.19/month 6% 3,200 servers in 100 countries 16+ Unlimited Independently audited 30 days 9.34

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 makes it a great option for accessing global streaming platforms. It’s also 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 long-distance servers.

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

XTl3qnu7y54
n3KNaSsxKVQ
  • Great for every major OS
  • Fast P2P downloads on any server
  • Can access Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more
  • Vast server network with 29,650 servers in 91 countries
  • 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 VPN any good?

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 can easily access most platforms. 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?

Yes, PIA has a huge server network, making it possible to safely access many Netflix libraries. Our team of testers around the globe found that PIA works with more than 17 Netflix libraries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Japan. Aside from Netflix, its streaming-optimized servers facilitate smooth streams on Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and (HBO) Max. Plus, it offers fast speeds to allow buffer-free streaming without any lag.

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.

Does PIA sell your data?

No, PIA does not sell its users’ data. PIA adheres to a strict no-logs policy that has been independently audited and verified. This means it does not keep records of your IP address, bandwidth consumption, browsing history, DNS queries, VPN session timestamps, or connection logs.

Plus, the servers PIA uses are RAM-only, ensuring that any traces of your online sessions are automatically erased upon reboot. So, even if PIA were to share your data, it wouldn’t have anything to share.

What does Reddit say about Private Internet Access VPN?

Opinions are mixed, as with any opinions about VPNs on Reddit. Many appreciate its strong commitment to privacy, highlighted by its no-logs policy and the ability to pay anonymously with cryptocurrency. Users often cite PIA's open-source software and the successful independent audits of its no-logs policy as key factors for trust.

However, experiences with its customer support and performance can vary. Some users report high satisfaction with its speed and reliability across various servers, while others have faced challenges, particularly in regions with restrictive internet policies or streaming issues.

Is PIA good for torrenting?

PIA is a great VPN for torrenting. Its robust no-logs policy and P2P support across all its servers make it one of the best torrenting VPNs. Additionally, PIA offers advanced features like port forwarding and SOCKS5 proxy, which can enhance your torrenting speeds and efficiency.

Is there a PIA Fire Stick app?

Yes, PIA has a native Fire Stick app, so you can easily install it on your Fire device. Simply download the app from the Amazon Appstore, and your connection will be safe.

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 Private Internet Access 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.

Compare Private Internet Access With The Top Alternative VPNs
Our Score: 9.9
Our Score: 9.7
Our Score: 9.4
Our Score: 9.3
Editor's Note: Transparency and impartiality are important to us when bringing you our best selection of VPNs. Some of the industry-leading products on our list, including Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost, and ExpressVPN are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company. The VPNs we choose are derived from a thorough testing process.

About the Author

Keira is an experienced cybersecurity and tech writer dedicated to providing comprehensive insights on VPNs, online privacy, and internet censorship.

Was this review helpful?
Sorry about that!
(Minimum 10 characters.)