VPN Private Internet Access Best Review here
Private Internet Access: is it worth your purchase?
The VPN Private Internet Access service is easy to configure and use, with many functions and a great offer of servers spread all over the world. Without a doubt, it is a very important tool to consider.
- Many features
- 2-year plan with great discount
- Payments with gift cards or Bitcoin
- Doesn’t unlock BBC iPlayer
- The mobile app version is upgradeable
- No dedicated App for Smart TV
Retail price (RRP)
From $ 3.33 per month
VPN Private Internet Access Best Review here
The Private Internet Access VPN service (PIA onwards) celebrates in this 2020 its tenth anniversary since its start of operations, something that gives it some recognition among the wide offer that exists in the market with the improvements implemented over the years .
And it is that in a single year, PIA has added hundreds of servers to its offer to the more than 3000 it already had, so that it now covers 48 countries of the 32 it had in 2019. Thus, its network allows it to compete with the best VPN services from around the world.
It offers applications for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Linux and browser extensions for the main browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Opera.
Unlike some VPN services, it doesn’t have specialized servers for P2P streaming or other tasks; you can connect to any of them and do whatever it takes. Unlock Netflix, for example, no matter which of the US servers you choose. The same goes for Hulu or Disney +.
However, we have found that it still does not unlock BBC iPlayer for those who want to access channels from outside the UK.
Features and applications
Starting with the Windows application, it should be noted that it is easy to install from the PIA website. There is a big connect button that automatically connects you to the best server.
Initially, it seems that the panel is permanently connected to the taskbar, which can be somewhat annoying, but quickly you discover that you have infinite settings at hand, with the possibility of keeping it as a floating window.
It is good that it shows your current IP address and, when you are connected to a server, your virtual IP address. Not many people will need this information, but it is a good visual reminder that you are protected at all times.
The panel is expandable, which is great for geeks as it shows current upload and download speeds, plus the amount of data sent and received. There are shortcut icons to enable and disable advanced features.
We also detected a practical ‘VPN snooze’ timer that allows you to configure a short period in which the VPN will be disabled for some reason that interests you, and then automatically reactivate without having to worry or remember it again.
The configuration is divided into several sections and includes options to start PIA at startup, manage the ‘Privacy’ options, or even block domains that display ads, crawl, or are malware drivers .
The shutdown switch is enabled by default, so all traffic will be blocked if the VPN connection is cut. There’s also PIA MACE which is nothing more than an ad blocker and trackers.
Under ‘Network’ you will find the option to use PIA’s DNS servers (the default) but you can also use their ISPs (not recommended) or even your own custom server settings.
PIA offers protection against information leakage for both IPv4 and IPv6, and there is now an option to use WireGuard instead of OpenVPN. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to test her speed from our home location to see if there were any significant differences.
But the interesting factor is that under the Windows application you will find countless interesting functions, including the ability to forward ports, which can speed up P2P downloads, and a new Proxy section where you can configure additional protection.
It is also difficult to find VPN services that allow you to select the type of encryption, link protocol and type of connection to use. By default, PIA uses AES-128 bit encryption, but most VPNs use AES-256 which is more secure.
In return, you get a connection that is generally faster. In this way, the PIA service allows you to modify these settings depending on whether you are looking for maximum security, or you choose the option of speeding up your connections to the servers.
Another function that we receive with open arms, since the last time we tested the service it did not have it, is the possibility of dividing the connection tunnel. With it, you will be able to indicate the specific applications that pass through the VPN instead of all web traffic.
This will avoid having to constantly activate or deactivate the VPN depending on the use you make of your computer or device, whether it is to surf the Internet, to see a series of a streaming platform, or to play on the network from a remote server .
The server list is located on the main interface of the application, and is ordered by latency. You can search and add servers as favorites to locate them in future connections. Everything is much easier.
If you only want your VPN to be protected by your VPN, you can install Chrome, Firefox or Opera extensions. They look a lot like the main Windows application and work the same way, making them easy to configure. The same is true for macOS.
Android and iOS apps often lack a power off switch, but with PIA, you get a visible switch on both platforms, which is welcome. Next, the appearance of the Android app.
PIA is based in the US, and while authorities may ask PIA to release your data, its no-record policy means there is no data to release about your tracking or movement on the network.
Several court cases support this fact, in which it has not provided any data that can identify individual users. However, we would like PIA to make its registration policy much more prominent on its website.
Add also the fact that you can pay anonymously through gift cards or Bitcoin and no one will be able to identify your situation or status.
PIA did well in our initial tests, with no DNS or IP leaks. This means that our actual location was always kept hidden from connections. Testing the speed of a VPN is somewhat complicated, as they vary all the time and are affected by many factors.
However, all of the tests we conducted (except for a single anomaly with a US server) showed that PIA has fast servers around the world. Connection times are fast and we only had one occasion when the connection was cut.
Tests (which we conducted prior to the coronavirus outbreak) of all three UK servers saw performance similar to that of our leased line, with an impressive 93 Mb / s upload speed to the London server.
The download speeds weren’t the fastest we’ve seen, but they all kept the transmission speed you demand for HD video quality. And it is that in this section of streaming video, PIA is a good option to use services that are not available in your country, such as HBONow .
Instead, we tried to view and access BBC iPlayer channels outside the UK and found it impossible, so for some reason this service is not covered at the moment.
The company has a live chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer technical questions and offer support. This eliminates the tedious process of having to fill out a contact form with the details of your problem and waiting for a response.
Plans and prices
At the time of performing this service test, PIA offers the possibility of obtaining 2 months free as a test, after which, you will have to accept the cost of the service from € 2.50 per month if you opt for the modality of 2 year contract. With this you save 73% of its price.
Among the languages in which it is available, you will find it in Spanish from Mexico, but not in Spanish for Spain. That does not mean that you can enjoy the more than 3,263 servers that the service offers spread over more than 48 countries.
There is another monthly plan that does not imply any permanence at a price of € 9.29, with access to all features, as well as a third one that is annual at a price of € 3.10, which means a cost per year of 37 € 19. You can check all the plans here.
In general, we have seen that the PIA VPN service is very complete and offers great functionality at a reasonable price. It does not keep any type of registration and allows you to pay anonymously with cards and gift vouchers.
You will also find a series of advanced options that you will not find in other VPNs, with a well-worked and intuitive interface for Windows to activate or manage its functions. Technical support has improved with 24-hour live chat.
As long as you don’t need to unblock channels like BBC iPlayer, PIA is an excellent VPN service for geeks and those looking for pretty solid privacy, now with split app tunnel and WireGuard.