Private Internet Access Review

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Summary

Private Internet Access is a US based company that takes advantage of the fact that the US does not have mandatory data retention law, allowing it to offer a very high level of guaranteed anonymity to its customers. In our tests we found that Private Internet Access had a good overall attitude to users’ privacy which, when combined with blazing fast connection speeds, a simple but very easy to use VPN client, and extremely competitive pricing, meant that we liked it very much.

In fact, but for support of 256-bit OpenVPN encryption and the fact there is no free trial or money back guarantee, we would have given it a perfect score.

We do think Private Internet Access is the best value for money for a VPN service.

Click here to visit their site and sign up now.

Video Review

We’ve made a video review of how VyprVPN works, you can check it out below:

Pricing and Features

Private Internet Access offers just one “kitchen sink” plan for $6.95 p/m, although buying a yearly package for $39.95 reduces this to a very pocket friendly $3.33 per month.

For that, you get an OpenVPN (with PPTP and L2TP IP Sec for those who want or need it) connection to 18 servers (with 199+ gateways) in 9 countries (8 in the US, the rest in Canada, the UK and the Europe).

Also provided is a Socks5 Proxy, which may be useful for those wishing to configure a BitTorrent client so it can be used anonymously, without the need to connect via VPN. For the truly paranoid this will also provide a double, if somewhat unnecessary, layer of protection if used in conjunction with the VPN service.

pricing

The only disappointment here comes from the fact there is no free trial or money back guarantee.

» Visit Private Internet Access »

Website & Customer Service

The Private Internet Access website is a polished affair, easy to navigate, clearly laid out and featuring a swanky promotional video. There is also a fair of bit general information on VPN, and how using Private Internet Access’ service can benefit its users.

Customer service comes in the form of live chat and a ticketed email system. We emailed a query out of US office hours, and received an answer in timely fashion (about the same time that the Chat system came on-line) so while simple, the service seems efficient.

There is also a FAQ, but it’s a little on the sparse side.

Security & Privacy

Based in the US, and therefore with no requirement to collect or log traffic use or monitor users activities, Private Internet Access does not do so. Also, because they use shared IPs, it is impossible to match an individual user to any activity on their system. Records of email addresses and payment data are kept, but Private Internet Access recommend the use of disposable emails addresses, and accept anonymous Bitcoin payments.

On a technical level, Private Internet Access offers the more secure OpenVPN protocol as standard, although only 128-bit version (CBC Blowfish), which is absolutely fine for most purposes but doesn’t set our world on fire.

On a much more positive note, the supplied VPN client features DNS leak protection, and auto-disconnection from the internet should your VPN connection go down, both features that are great for protecting users’ identity.

All in all, we think that Private Internet Access offers a superior service in terms of security and privacy.

» Visit Private Internet Access »

The Process

Signing Up

Signing up was one of the easiest experiences we have yet encountered with a VPN provider, with absolutely no information being asked of us. On choosing to pay via PayPal we were taken straight the PayPal payment page and that was it! Of course, Private Internet Access will obtain your email address form the payment process, but mentioned above, they accept Bitcoin, and encourage the use of anonymous email. We found this simplicity refreshing, and also appreciated the wide choice of payment options on offer.

paymnt 1

Account activation emails appeared in our Inbox within seconds, and were soon downloading the Windows VPN client.

The Windows Client

Installing the client was breeze, and we were soon presented with its Simple settings page. A nice touch was that, downloaded from the email link, the username and password fields were already correctly filled in which saved us the chore.

client 1

The Advanced settings are also a little basic, but the option to turn on DNS leak protection and a VPN kill switch are very welcome. The VPN kill switch completely stops your computer’s internet connection if you become disconnected from the VPN so that, for instance, your BitTorrent client will not keep downloading files and possibly reveal your true IP address to prying eyes.

client 2

One important feature that is missing from the client (or alternatively the website) is information on server loads. However, as our speedtest.net results showed, this may in practice not be too important.

Once the settings are saved a cute robot icon appears in the task bar (far left).

client 3

Right click on it to select a server or let Private Internet Access choose one for you automatically.

client 4

And hey presto… you’re connected!

client 5

Speedtest.net results

Testing Private Internet Access’s service using our 10 megabyte UK broadband connection achieved the following results:

spt.without
Without VPN

spt.uk
Connected to a UK VPN server

spt.holland
Connected to a VPN server in the Netherlands

As you can see, the results were superb.

Other Platforms

Private Internet Access provides dedicated clients for Windows and OSX, as well as setup guides for manually configuring OSX, Windows, Android, Boxee Box, and DD-WRT routers for PPTP, Android, iOS Windows and OSX for L2TP/IP Sec, and Windows, OSX, Ubuntu, DD-WRT, Tomato, PFSense, and Android 4.0 for OpenVPN (along with the necessary configuration files).

Android

We decided to test the L2TP/ IP Sec service using an Android phone. The instructions were simple and easy to follow (although for an older version of Android than we were using).

2013-02-26 14.10.44
Some simple settings had to entered manually, but nothing too complex

Once we had entered our password, it off to speedtest.net to put it through the connection through its paces:

mobile.stn.without
Without VP

mobile.stn.uk
With VPN

Again, the results were very good.

Conclusion

We Liked

  • No logs kept of users’ IP addresses or internet activity
  • Very fast speedtest.net results
  • Signing-up process almost non-existent
  • Bitcoin payment option
  • Simple client that worked well
  • VNP kill switch in client
  • DNS leak protection in client

We weren’t so sure about

  • No free trial or money back guarantee
  • OpenVPN encryption is ok but could be better
  • No information on server loads

We hated

  • Nothing

Private Internet Access offers a fairly no frills VPN service, but it does so quite slickly, and delivers very well on the things that matter most to a VPN provider: anonymity, ease of use, and speed. Although we would prefer to see 256-bit OpenVPN encryption, this is really a bit of a quibble, and we have no hesitation in recommending this service.

58 Responses to “Private Internet Access Review”

  1. Brennan says:
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    One of the best VPN’s I have ever tried. Virtually no impact on internet speed, fully compatible with my network (which seems to block most other VPN’s), and great customer service. The user interface is clean, simple, and has some great features. No logging — which is must for any VPN. The price is great — $40/year is unbeatable. Should be everyone’s #1 choice.

    In response to the reviewer above, there is a 7 day money back guarantee over which time you can cancel the service. I don’t believe It says this explicitly on their website, but because VPN’s rarely work on my network, I contacted customer support which reaffirmed that there is in fact a 7 day money back guarantee. Didn’t need it though! Great VPN!

    • Matt says:
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      This service works brilliantly on a computer or laptop but if you wish to use it for a games console it won’t work. The service is very easy to use and there is no performance degradation at all. My only negative is that I will say is that their online chat help person was not the friendliest at all!

  2. Stephen says:
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    After hearing all the stories in the news about governments seeking more & more information about individual’s online activities, I decided I needed to find a way to be anonymous. I was not seeking to be anonymous for anything negative, malicious or illegal, I just don’t think anyone has a right too snoop my online activities, anymore than I do someone opening my mail.

    The 2nd reason was my concern over security, not just for myself, but my elderly parents too.

    I checked out all the VPN services I could find, I started with Private Internet Access, after hearing about it in a forum. After researching & even signing up with another VPN service, I ended up cancelling the other service & staying with Private Internet Access. Why? Well they don’t log anything, everything is secured, high speed connections, they have top notch support staff, their software client is VERY easy to use, you can have 3 devices connected to the VPN at the same time (laptop, desktop & smartphone all at once) & they are incredibly affordable.

    If you have more devices than 3 or you just want everything that uses the Internet protected (Xbox, PS3, iPod), you can buy a router with powerful software installed on it that connects to Private Internet Access.

    I could not be happier with the service. It’s fast, it’s easy to use, you set it & forget it. It just works & works very well!

    The don’t openly advertise it, but they do offer a 7 day money back option if you’re not happy.

    Stephen
    Network Engineer 18+ years experience
    NO! I do NOT work for or have anything to do with Private Internet Access with the exception of being a satisfied customer.

  3. cham says:
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    The soft is very easy to use.
    The only problem is that they don’t deliver invoice.
    I need an invoice for my payment… and they won’t give me the bill.

  4. goat999 says:
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    Price: Awesome. If you get the yearly plan it works out at around £2 a month
    Features: No logging of any kind (some do, Hidemyass for instance) so extremely private. Easy install program sets everything up for you. Loads of servers to choose from
    Reliability: Disconnects are few and far between
    Speed: Once connected to the VPN my download speed dropped by around 1mbps. Upload speed actually increases!?!
    Customer Service: Excellent. Chatted to them online serveral times and they are always extremely helpful

    All in all fab service, I can highly recommend them over the likes of hidemyass (log connections) and BT Guard (terribly slow servers)

  5. jaffrocker says:
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    good vpn

  6. Carol says:
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    Terrible! Just spent two hours with tech support and they said I have to fill out a ticket as they can’t help me. I connected my MacAir was am not able to connect the ipad3, iPhone 4S nor the iPhone 5. These are not obscure devices. Unbelievable.

    • Chin says:
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      What tosh! I have both my MacBook Air and IPhone 5 connected to PIA. The connections are blazingly fast, literally takes 5 sec to connect or change server and I cannot be happier. One of the best, kf not the best out there
      There must be something wrong with your configuration.

    • rhinobryan says:
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      Well theres your problem! Everything you mentioned is made by Crapple! Stop grazing with the other cows and jump the fence into the wonderful jungle of Microsoft. You fall into the same trap as people who just have to have the most expensive name brand crap. At least try to be original and stop wasting Web space with your whining. Of course you are having problems. Crapple doesn’t care if you have compatibility issues with anything other than what they offer. Blame them.

  7. Kriss says:
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    Good VPN easy install on Ubuntu based sys, manual setup required for Debian.
    The speed is most of the time 100%

  8. Lee says:
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    Carol, you’re the only review I’ve read claiming these guys are ‘terrible’. You’ve had trouble with your devices, but I note they all have one thing in common: Apple. You can’t blame a VPN company for the problems you’re experiencing due to Apple’s restricted implementation of locked-down software (i.e. iOS).
    Had you used a non-restrictive platform like Andoid, Linux etc you’d have had no trouble setting up the VPN whether through L2TP/IPSEC or OpenVPN. Unfortunately Apple deems its users don’t want, need or are capable of operating such ‘advanced’ things and makes it very difficult or impossible to achieve.
    I’ve been using PIA for a month now and get my full internet speed of 100/10Mbps at all times. I use OpenVPN/SSL for most connections (on Linux, Widows 8 and Android 4.2) but my fiancee’s iPhone uses L2TP/IPSEC for the reasons stated above. I also use the SOCKS5 proxy for torrents and can’t fault the service or the support. I’ll be buying a full year when next month’s payment comes due! Highly recommended.

  9. Rizzo says:
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    I was disgusted with my previous VPN so I canceled and decided to try Private Internet
    Access aka PIA. I read a lot of positive reviews all over on them. I bought the $39.95
    annual plan because of their 7 day money back guarantee policy. I’m on day 3 of using
    PIA and so far I am 100% satisfied. I’m keeping it. It was money well spent, and a
    bargain at $3.33 per month what with the annual plan. Setup was simplicity in itself.
    the installer runs in a command prompt window and installs everything from there,
    which is very unusual.

    PIA itself is very easy to use and configure. the little PIA robot sits in the System
    Tray and if it’s connected to the VPN, it’s green. When disconnected, it’s red. You can
    just right click on PIA and you can go into the settings or choose to connect to one of
    the 17 different servers listed. Very handy.

    For the technically inclined, the PIA settings have a lot of useful things that other
    VPNs lack; connection type udp or tcp, remote port to auto or to the port of your choice,
    option to use Port Forwarding, and for the paranoid, a VPN Kill Switch (loved by people
    who download torrents), if one gets disconnected from the VPN while downloading
    Torrents, everyone will see his true ip address – so to circumvent this, when you have
    the VPM Kill Switch on, and if by chance the PIA VPN goes down or dissconects for
    whatever reason, your regular internet connection also gets disconnected as well the
    true ip address will not be seen.

    Settings also includes DNS Leak Protection, again for the paranoid. It happens rarely
    but sometimes even when connected to a VPN, the PC will continue to use its regular
    IP address settings instead of the annonymous VPNs and everyone can see your true
    IP address, Oh Dear. The DNS Leak Protection solves that problem. It also has IPv6
    (internet protocol – which provides an id and location for computers on networks and
    routes the traffic over the Internet). It’s mandatory that IPv6 Leak Protection be
    enabled while you use PIA VPN.

    Settings also has the option to autorun PIA when the computer starts up and to
    auto-connect as well if you wish. Finally, it has a Region dropdown menu of 17
    different servers in America and Europe. PIA is one of the very few VPNs who also
    provide their customers a proxy as part of their account, for games and software
    like uTorrent. The region is selected and a port number appears over PIA in the
    system tray, and you use that port in your game or uTorrent. Plus you have to sign
    in to your account and generate a special user name and password for the proxy to
    authenticate. Some of the extremely paranoid use the regular PIA VPN and the proxy
    as well but I think that’s overkill.

    As you can see, its has a lot of extra technical features Geeks love and other VPNs
    don’t bother to provide. But for regular guys and gals who just wants annonymity while
    on the internet, you don’t have to mess with any of that technical computer mumbo
    jumbo. Simply leave the default settings as is. Except on mine, I also have it set to
    start PIA automaticaly when PC starts and to auto connect as well so I don’t have to
    bother manually connecting it everytime I turn on my computer. I leave everything else
    as default, the region set to the default auto so PIA automatically connects to servers
    inside or near your country. The speed through PIA’s VPN is very fast. I was impressed.
    You won’t notice much difference between the speed of your regular ISP and PIA’s
    VPN.

    I haven’t had to contact technical support….yet, but from what I heard, the seem to
    know what the hell they’re doing and work with their customers to resolve problems
    they may be having with PIA. They have live chat technical support on their website
    as well as a help forum for additional help and tips on using PIA.

    PIA is the best VPN on the market and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s
    interested in setting a a VPN for anonymity. You’ll be very pleased.

  10. Charles says:
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    Terrible!!!
    I got the 1 year and the service is terrible. I am from Brazil. I used StrongVPN and liked. I thought: “I will test other vpn”. I got 1 year, because the comments is good in many forums. It was my mistake.

    First: dd-wrt
    dd-wrt is not working. The private internet access page has “Client support –
    DD-WRT: VPN PPTP Setup”. I thought: “Ok, it is the same steps on StrongVPN. Cool”. But, it isn’t working. I contact the support and I received the answer “It doesn’t work. You need to use the OpenVPN.” What is the problem? The connection is very slow because cryptography. The support recommendation about it: “It is better you don’t use your router… try to use the computer”. So, now, I can’t use my ps3 and I can’t watch the Hulu.

    Second: support
    If you want the support, it is the worse. I was chatting with the support and the support said “You will need get the ticket in the web site. Without the ticket, i cant help”. It is shame.

    Third: slow speed
    The speed is terrible. I has 10 Mbps in Brazil and I tested in speedtest dot com . With the strong VPN I got 6 Mbps. With private internet access i get 2.3 Mbps. The hulu is not working correctly. I can’t see any movie or tv show.

    Advise: if you want the private access internet, get 1 month and test before. Please, don’t make the same mistake that I made.

  11. sammy kahan says:
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    I found they are patchy. the good they are pretty fast and pretty cheap and i like the no logs actually being private and taking bitcoin thing. The bad I have found their software can be pretty rough round the edges, half formed and plain badly written. The new dns leak feature broke my internet for days I found the fix in the end MYSELF (uninstalling also doesnt really work)
    Their support also seems very distant I had so much fun submitting tickets for support and simply being ignored. Customer service is very weak in my experience. Also not that many locations compared to HMA. HMA software is IMO much more user friendly but then they keep records etc. I think it suits the geeks not an average user you will be on your own if you need help with their clunky badly written windows installer

  12. Michael Wels says:
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    Few locations and slow servers all round, didn’t like the simple Windows client, most of the features didn’t really work and where implemented very poorly, will be looking for a new provider at the end of the month. Who to try next ?

  13. Ernie says:
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    A bit too slow for me and support knowledge was not very good in my opinion, i moved from HMA due to the HMA VPN logging my activity.

    I see in PIA configs *verb 1* this still logs the times you login and out so NOT happy.

    Ernie

  14. Jenkins says:
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    I used this VPN for about 1 and half month and I am very satisfied with it! When I connect to the internet with it – it works even faster due to my ISP NAT limitations! So I am very happy. Those guys are really offer a good service!
    Пиздатый впн, братики! Надо брать! Из моего говнопровайдера выжимает больше скорости!

  15. everyday says:
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    when i tried them they were slow. mush slower than my currentprovider.

    woohoo for dns leak protection, everything that dnscrypt which is free has been doing for years.

    As for Customer service they were very rude to me, so I told them to shove it and charged back my money ha!

  16. John says:
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    Firstly I wanted to congratulate you on a very informative website. It helped me to choose Private Internet Access which works fine on a Chromebook.

    I did notice a few of details in your review of PIA which are incorrect…

    1. The monthly price for PIA, if you take out a 12 month contract, is just $3.33 ($39.95/year) The price you quote ($6.95/month) is if you only take up their service for one month.

    2. The maximum number of devices that can be connected simultaneously with PIA is now FIVE, rather than the three previously.

    3. Although PIA do not have a free trial, they do offer a moneyback guarantee if you cancel the service within 7 days.

    4. PIA’s website seems to suggest that they do offer 256 bit OpenVPN, but as this is not the default and they do not provide settings for a 256 bit connection, I cannot verify those claims.

    I have been using PIA for a few months now and very happy with it too. I am using an Asus router with Merlin firmware, which is derived from Tomato. Luckily the Tomato settings on the PIA website work fine.

    On a Chromebook I use L2TP and once Chromebook get their OpenVPN certificate problems sorted, I will switch to OpenVPN on the Chromebook. At least I get OpenVPN on the router when I am at home.

    PIA barely reduces internet speed – either empirically or as measured by speed tests. When I am feeling really paranoid I use a VPN on the computer as well as the router and, even then, the speed drop is barely noticeable.

    But the real reason for choosing PIA is that it works on so many platforms – I use it on Windows, Chromebook and Android.

    Cannot comment on the customer service yet, but their website is pretty informative, hence only three stars – it would not let me avoid the rating.

  17. Douglas Crawford says:
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    Hi John,
    Thanks for your comments. Note that this review is a now around eight months old, and a number of things have changed. To answer your points in order:

    1. We always take the monthly price as the baseline. As you can see in the article, we do have a screenshot which also displays bulk buy reductions.
    2. Thanks for pointing that out
    3. Yes, we understand this to be the case, but it is not clearly advertised on the website
    4. PIA has released a beta client (currently only available for Windows), which offers up to 256-bit AES, with SHA1 authentication and 2048-bit RSA key encryption. See our article https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/7682/5-best-vpn-apps/ for a detailed look at this.

    On a personal level, I use PIA at home, and have been very happy with its service. However, Snowden’s NSA revelations have made me deeply distrustful of any US based company, and I simply cannot believe that PIA has not been compromised (and the fact that PIA strives so hard to deny this undermines what other trust I have in the company). Therefore, when my annual subscription runs out, I will switch to a non-US based provider (such as AirVPN or Privacy.i.o).

  18. frenchie971 says:
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    Cheap, reliable (no disconnection until today). Slowing the connection a little (choose a location not too far).
    Works at home in a guest Windows XP virtual machine, for bittorrent use. In the meantime, I keep a direct connection with my ISP with my Linux host.
    Androïd setting (on a tablet) was also a breeze.
    I didn’t have to call the Customer Service, so I can’t rate it.

  19. oroboros says:
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    First off, I have been using VPN services for about 10 years now, including StrongVPN and some others which are no longer around. So I’m not new to the process at all.

    Second, different networks have different configurations, and it’s difficult to have a “one size fits all” product for these sorts of things. So what I am about to write I am sure is not applicable to all people in all situations.

    Having said that, PIA has been one of the WORST services I have ever tried, by far. I still have service with another VPN provider, which works okay, that I’m trying to switch away from, so I know the issues I am about to describe are not from my end of things. And yes, I uninstalled this other service before trying to use PIA. Then reinstalled it just to make sure it was PIA that was failing and not my machine/connection. It was PIA.

    PIA effectively has 3 ways to connect – PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN.

    For PPTP & L2TP you need to create a separate login/pw combo. I used their wizard, instructions, and some pbk’s that they provided on their forum for each of these two options, but neither ever worked. 800 and 807 network connection errors for both, every time. Server actively refusing connections, interrupted connections, etc. Tried different settings, different servers, scoured PIA’s forum for 2 days looking for clues, no help. Never worked. Every utility I used to diagnose the problem pointed to their servers as the failing point.

    Their OpenVPN service, OTOH, works pretty well … except for the one purpose I want VPN service for most – P2P & torrents. And here is where PIA’s OpenVPN, too, fails miserably. Every torrent would fail with the message of “Error: Offline – do data received from tracker”. Every one. When I turned off the PIA VPN service, all torrents would work normally again. I tried auto ports, specific ports, different local ports, different remote ports, port forwarding, different servers (not all servers work with port forwarding), different encryption settings, different connection types, and on and on. Nothing worked. All torrents would always fail, regardless of settings. The rest of the net worked fine, but torrents would always fail. I’ve never had this issue with any of my previous VPN services.

    Another problem with PIA’s OpenVPN service is that it will silently fail and not automatically reconnect. Unlike PPTP/L2TP/SSTP setups which can be set to auto reconnect, PIA’s OpenVPN does not. Again, for P2P reasons, this is pretty bad (if P2P worked at all, that is, which it doesn’t).

    On the plus side, I must admit that PIA’s OpenVPN speeds were very good – probably the best I’ve ever seen. If all you want to do is surf the net anonymously, PIA works pretty well.

    If PIA’s service works for you, great, but if you have a problem, god help you, because this is a bare-bones VPN service with little/no customer support; you’re basically on your own and SOL. Get a refund, like I’m doing.

  20. Douglas Crawford says:
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    Hi oroboros,

    As you say, everyone’s experience may differ. I have been using PIA personally for over a year now, and have found its service to be excellent. I only bother using OpenVPN (why would you want to use the less secure alternatives), and have never had a problem when P2P downloading using uTorrent. I will switch away from PIA when my annual subscription runs out because I do not trust that it as a US company (and in my view almost certainly compromised by the NSA, whatever it says), but not because it performance has been anything other than stellar.

    As for being a ‘bare bones’ service, I consider PIA to be one of the most fully featured out there – a dedicated client with IPv6 leak protection, DNS leak protection, port forwarding, internet kill switch, and the (optional) choice of very high levels of encryption. PIA supplies an excellent OpenVPN Android client, claims to keeps no logs, uses shared IPs, has setup guides for just about every device out there, allows up to 5 devices to connect at once, is cheap, accepts Bitcoin payments and now payment using gift cards… what more do you want? As I say, that PIA is a US company bugs me considerably, but other than that you get a huge amount for your money…

  21. Dr.Akky says:
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    Used to be a good service about a year ago when you could get instant help with any issue through the livechat option, however their customer service is now a frustratingly feeble offering, whereby you submit a ticket and wait to be served at their convenience.

    It seems as though their time is now infinitely more important to them, rather than looking after their customers.

    When their service runs, it seems to run fairly okay (but not brilliantly as there are regular disconnections etc during browsing) However if things do fail with their service, (as they seem to be doing with alarming regularity these days) then be prepared for an uphill struggle to get things sorted out.

    I gave the service a go about a year ago, but i would never sign back up with them in their current form.

  22. Hopew says:
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    How do you get a response from these people? I’ve been having consistent problems with this service since I purchased it. They provide no way to speak with them directly, and they don’t respond to email. Also, I’ve received dozens and dozens of automated emails from them confirming my purchase. (My computer is protected from viruses et al, and I’m not having this problem with any other emails.) Because I am unable to use the service I paid for, I am giving them low marks across the board. This is a waste of money.

  23. Douglas Crawford says:
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    Hi Hopew,

    That must be very annoying. You could try asking on http://www.reddit.com/r/VPN/, where PIA staff regularly hang out and answer questions…

  24. fred martin says:
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    Best of several tries to find a vpn. Itshidden had a simple interface but refused to answer emails even if you wanted to send money. Hidemyass not only logs but reprimands and suspends you, which means you can’t get a refund once suspended, Watta con. Torguard has OK product, confusing coupons and specials, and I suspect their entire support team is one really cranky guy locked in a basement somewhere who never reads the entire ticket anyway. This is best so far as per the review. A tip — if the “ruby” component fries your firewall software, they have an alternative Openvpn installer which works just fine.

  25. Thor says:
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    I had some connection problems in the first hours after signing up. I guess it was because my user name and password was not spread to all their servers. But now – next day – everything works like a charm – I have tried several servers – all working fine. And to Carol – I have absolutely no problems using it on my Apple products (iPhone 5 and MacBook Pro with Mavericks). My own speed tests are fine – also higher than normal upload speed. I have rated Customer Service 5 but I have not used them yet – so I might be wrong there.

  26. tim says:
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    I’m sure it’s a great product IF YOU CAN EVER GET IT TO WORK.
    I rent a desk in an office-awesome network etcetc.

    Thing is-PIA JUST DOESN’T WORK.
    You’ll spend hours with support going through a myriad of connection options. If you want to have fun contact them via email-you’ll get one response a day so by 2 weeks in you’ll still be no closer to a solution as the 5 different things they tell you (1 per email) won’t work so you respond to them. Then you wait. And then they respond to you. and oooon and oooon.
    But the REALLY hilarious thing? It says you’re connected to your VPN-wait for it….even if you’re not!! Hilarious! So you think you’re protected-but you’re not! Fantastic stuff. Just have to do IP location finder every ******* 5 mins as you can’t trust the PIA icon to say if you’re actually protected or not. I wonder if all the positive reviewers have ever actually done this-I would guess not as PIA don’t like to shout about it I’m sure…

  27. scon says:
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    Easy to set up. Worked well. Feature rich. I Liked the port forwarding feature that allowed me to forward incoming connections for a web server I host. Decent price. BUT My speeds were terrible. My standard connection without a VPN is only around 3.76Mbs download, while using this VPN service my download speed was reduced to around 2 – 1.2Mbs depending on the server I was connected to. I have used other proxy’s before and not had any speed reduction at all. Granted I had a terrible ping, but a reduction in speeds like that gave me reason to discontinue using this service. As a side note, I’m not normally one to get much spam in my inbox. But from the moment I signed up to this service I’ve been getting tonnes of spam. Could be a coincidence, but I would suggest using a throw away email address if you choose to try these guys out.

  28. Brian says:
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    Heres a copy/paste from my chat with support:

    Now online: Leave a question or comment and our agents will try to attend to you shortly.
    You (click to change)
    Why does there not arive an email upon a password reset request?
    You are currently being served by
    Soub A
    Soub A
    Hello Visitor 33309298. What email address did you sign up with?
    You (click to change)
    This is not the first time this has happened and the last time I signed up with another email, the same thing happened and I had to request support to reset the password, why is that?
    Soub A
    It could be that the system is not able to find your email.
    You (click to change)
    There seems to be a clear pattern here.
    How could that be, I got the confirmation of payment.
    I guess you get a lot of requests in support from people who don’t receive a reset?
    Soub A
    That is why I asked what your email was, so that I can investigate.
    You (click to change)
    *****@gmail.com
    Soub A
    So, you are not receiving an email, because the account was canceled.
    You (click to change)
    Thats the old account
    I opened a new because I needed to change credit card
    Soub A
    That is the only account I have found with that email.
    You (click to change)
    with the same email and I got confirmation
    Today at 23:45:
    Dear Customer,
    This is a verification that your payment was received for $39.95.
    Thank you for your payment,
    London Trust Media, Inc. / Private Internet Access
    Soub A
    Again, that is the only account I have found with that email.
    You (click to change)
    So there is an error in your system
    the payment has been charged to my new card
    Soub A
    Basically, what has happened is your transaction was flagged as fraudulent by our anti-fraud system. This sometimes happens to perfectly legitimate transactions for a number of reasons. What we need to do is verify the transaction is indeed legit and get your email address white listed so when you try to sign up again, it will know not to flag the transaction.
    In order to do this, we need you to cover your name, the expiration date, and all but the last four digits of your credit card number on the front of your credit card. Please make sure everything but the last four digits of the card number is covered to ensure that your personal information remains private and secure. Once this is done, take a photo of the card, and send it to us. To send us the photo, please submit a ticket to http://support.privateinternetaccess.com/index.php?/Tickets/Submit and Billing will get this cleared up as quickly as possible.
    You (click to change)
    Okay, this is no good! I am gonna have to contact my bank and have them redraw the money then.
    Dammit!
    Soub A
    The money was already refunded.
    You (click to change)
    Please check the account *******
    What has happened to that?
    Soub A
    That is the one that is canceled.
    You (click to change)
    But why?
    Soub A
    because your transaction was flagged as fraudulent by our anti-fraud system
    You (click to change)
    Why haven’t I received a cancellation mail?
    Soub A
    You will not get one.
    You (click to change)
    Anti-fraud?
    Alright.. I’ll find another VPN then. Thanks.
    Crazy shit.. I have been using pia for months now on another account.
    Soub A
    Is there anything else I can help you with?

  29. Richard says:
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    Hello. This is the best provider and I’ll explain why.
    This is the best provider and I’ll explain why. $ 39.95 per year you offer 5 sodineny on any device (pptp, l2tp/ipsec, openvpn,), unlimited bandwidth and speed (well, almost), a sufficient number of countries, port forwarding, DNS protection, disabling ipv6, if necessary, and the best proposed ports (most secure even when restricted by your ISP), for example, 443 TCP.
    In compiling the ticket immediately respond.
    Anonymous payment, lack of logs (although there is already 100% no one can guarantee anywhere).

  30. hlbtoo says:
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    The service is sporadic at best and if you try to get help it can take days and sometimes weeks…I would not recommend this service for anyone who is not a techie. Their rules are great, the price is excellent….but ask yourself how much that matters if you are not getting the service.

  31. No one says:
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    You (click to change)
    Hi, I used a walmart gift card to get 366 days of access a few days ago. I just used another one – with the intention of extending my existing account. It seems to have generated a NEW account. I don’t want that – I just want 366 MORE days added to my existing account. Help?
    Please wait while our agents attend to you. There are currently 2 visitor(s) waiting to be served.
    You (click to change)
    My first account: ########
    My second account: ######
    can you… merge them?
    Customer Service
    We apologize for keeping you waiting. Our operators are busy at the moment, please open a ticket at http://support.privateinternetaccess.com or if you would prefer to wait, one of our operators should be able to assist you soon.
    You are currently being served by
    Samantha B
    Samantha B
    Hello Visitor 56616112, my name is Samantha B. Our billing system is not configured to change or edit customer subscriptions or payment information, for privacy reasons (we can’t edit what we can’t see, and such information is not visible to us, for your privacy). As such, we cannot merge accounts, or edit the cost or duration of your subscription, nor pro-rate a refund of the difference.
    You (click to change)
    huh
    so… im just screwed?
    that’s pretty unfortunate.
    as i obviously cant use 2 accounts at the same time
    and i was logged in to my account when i made the second purchase
    and i used the same email address
    Samantha B
    Our system configured that way so that every account is created as a separate account, and can’t be upgraded to a different type because of the way that the Subscription service works. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to merge the accounts.
    You (click to change)
    ok. so, just to be clear, there is nothing that can be done to cancel or refund money, or merge accounts, nor is there any value in using two vpn accounts simultaneously – I’m just 100% completely screwed?
    Samantha B
    Since giftcards are non refundable there isn’t anything that we can do as there isn’t a way to merge accounts.
    You (click to change)
    ok then!
    welp, have a nice day!
    Samantha B
    Thanks for contacting Private Internet Access. Have a great day.
    Samantha B has left the chat

  32. Douglas Crawford says:
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    Hi No one,

    Although I can feel your frustration, what that transcript tells me is that PIA takes its claim that it doesn’t keep account logs seriously. In your case it has left you screwed and out of pocket, but it is one of the best features of PIAs service that they cannot link an account to an individual, a claim that your (unfortunate) experience confirms the veracity of…

  33. Andrew B says:
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    I just joined Private Internet Access for 1 month on a trial basis, tried to get the system to work on my MacBook Pro with OSX 10.9.1 following their exact instructions, and kept getting the same error message. So no big deal; this is a pay service, which means you should get support that at least *eventually* helps you get things working, right? Wrong. The actual purpose of their chat service is an absolute mystery to me. After asking me what the error message was, Colby responds, “Although I understand your query for assistance, the nature of this chat is for quick responses. This would be considered more complex, we have 24/7 around the clock support on tickets, and are answered in the order they are received.” Dude, this is supposed to be a tech support service. What kind of “quick response” are you expecting? Could you have responded if I asked you your favorite color? Anyway, after my 3rd attempt to get a customer support phone number, he finally gives it to me (1-855-266-6876), and no one answers the phone for either customer service (to get the thing working) or billing (to refund the money I just paid). Seriously, it just goes straight to voicemail, and it’s late morning Pacific time and the middle of the day Eastern time, so these are probably just phones set up in someone’s mom’s basement. I finished wasting my time on LifeHacker by calling my credit card company and disputing the charge, saying I couldn’t get it working, they clearly had no intention of lifting a finger to help, and basically I paid a company for service, and there’s apparently no useful mechanism for ensuring that system works OR for issuing refunds when it doesn’t (which is the exact purpose of disputing charges). Bottom line: if you happen to get this working on the first try and you know the technology inside and out, and maybe if the prices are better than other services, then it might be worth considering. But if you expect any form of real customer service, *ever*, steer clear of this company that clearly has no interest in supporting its users.

  34. jerry says:
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    i try to use it, but i can not use it. so i want to refund my money. he tell me need 3-5 days.
    Now ,wait for my money back now. i will give a final evaluate.

  35. NMe_aNytiMe says:
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    This was a great choice after a 1month testing i decided to get a 1yr plan. My speed is fast to what my limit is 15mbsps. i havent gotten any slow speeds i kept most of my settings as they were. Region auto, Vpn kill switch On, Dns Leak On, Ipv6 Leak On, Connection type udp, Remote port auto. I cant give costomer Service a review only that they send me a email of them accepting my payment really fast and my username and password fast too.

    Simple to use i just click connect and its ready.

  36. D Johnston says:
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    Good:
    Being able to connect 5 devices at the same time is far easier than having to hack a router.
    No connection issues
    Bad:
    I found it very slow in comparison to other VPN’s.
    Not many servers, only around 20 and the 10 servers close to me I tried were all banned from using twitch.
    I didn’t see any part of the site that displayed how busy each server was so I was unable to switch from busy servers. I didn’t have that issue when I used airVPN
    Port Forwarding is very confusing and I wasn’t able to play hearthstone while connected.

    Also the fact that they are located in america means they are not to be trusted. There is a possibility that the government will force them to give them the encryption keys they use and keep quiet about it in the same way lavabit was almost forced to. They may already have turned them over and have been given gag orders to stay silent about it.

  37. James Abraham Ford says:
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    I agree with much of the above, with the exception of Carol.

    I had an issue connecting my Android smart phone and was told to email a support ticket, which I did. As I was using a newer version of Android I was given new settings to enter and was up and running in minutes. Apple have, in recent years, become somewhat similar to Microsoft with regard to their attitude toward the end user.

    The service is fantastic, the price very, very good. I would recommend this VPN provider to anyone.

  38. khalis says:
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    Great VPN, very good software.
    Can use TCP or UDP. Amazing speed, I can reach the max of my ISP (100Mbts).
    Accept gift card payment, for a stronger anonymous.

  39. Pierre says:
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    Privateinternetaccess is a great vpn provider. Answered very fast to all my questions and servers are very fast. Much better than more expensive providers. I tried a monthly subscription and was so happy about speed an reconnecting after changing from wifi to umts. This is the first provider doing that without problems. Now I am in a annual subscription even could use my refund to that, cause I decided to do within the first three days. It don’t have servers in so much countries but for me enough. They have for example in US, UK, Germany. For me was important to have a server in Germany to have access to my VOD service when I am in holiday and in US and UK for my Netflix account. It works perfect, can watch all in HD quality.

  40. Curaçao says:
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    I’ve been using PIA for about a month and a half now, and it’s simple, BUT… customer service is a bit lacking, barely any support and I feel like they can’t fix anything.

    I used their VPN app for a while, but it kept disconnecting, the only solution was a restart. I run on OSX 10.9.3, and they gave me a bunch of scripted options to do, but nothing seems to work besides a restart. Now also, a new added plot twist! Every few days and so my internet gets stuck, or better said my laptop can’t connect anymore it’s just says no internet connection. My phone is online, my tablet is, but my Macbook Air won’t connect unless I do a restart, my mind is boggled. This all started happening since I got that PIA software.

    My last solution is now using Viscosity for PIA, I’ll see how that goes and otherwise I guess my router/network/Gandalf Spirit Network doesn’t work with PIA? I’ve encountered more Mac users with this problem across the interwebs though…

    And…that was my rant review

  41. Brent says:
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    This needs to be updated by the editor, as the page seems to be outdated

  42. pixelrogue says:
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    Been a PIA customer for many months and it is important to share with you, reading this review, the gotcha’s because they won’t give your money back. REALLY wish I saw these reviews before signing up. Many of the reviews below are accurate. Utterly poor poor service.

    Good:

    Best signup process ever. Fastest, clean and secure. Couldn’t believe how smooth it was to become a customer and was actually excited for a bit thinking PIA would be great. The fun stops there.

    Cons:

    OpenVPN on iOS:

    OpenVPN options are not supported for iOS Devices. They’ll cut/paste links where if you want to spend hours configuring you might get something working..sort-of… and when things aren’t working, you get the ‘sorry, we do not support that method.’

    iOS options are really poor. In addition to lack of OpenVPN support, they only offer PPTP and L2TP….rather weak poor options. Some might say it is better than nothing, however there is no certificate to actually keep them on so you have to manually turn these guys on every few minutes, making this completely unusable and unacceptable.

    Configuration:

    Prepare to spend hours in online tutorials, help links, experimenting. I’m not a novice, but not an expert and found the PIA service truly a PIA. Things still aren’t working right. Really poor job of building tools that average users can manage. Expect most of the positive professional reviews were written by people w/a lot of domain networking knowledge, or the reviewers were paid by PIA ’cause otherwise they’d trash the service for its ease of use.

    Nothing works out of the box. The Mac desktop client still requires configuration…so be prepared to spend hours in configuration land.

    Website Problems:

    Hulu – yep… forget about it. BBC? PIA will say this is Hulu’s policy…keep pointing fingers. Hulu has ALWAYS blocked IPs… and is a VPN provider’s job to manage. Craig’s List, other web sites – you might have problems. You’ll find yourself spending 5 minutes just finding a gateway so you can access some sites. Sometimes you will notice that even though your desktop client shows you are connected, you are not connected.

    Support:

    Support can be fine for really easy stuff. BUT, if you are having issues that fall outside the usual suspects, expect support to more-or-less provide you instructions and say ‘good luck with that’. Support responses are only handled via chat and email. Chat is only the most basic and most times they will say create a ticket. Create a ticket and support can take a long time. In addition, your ticket is handed by whoever gets the ticket, so no ownership to see the job through to resolution. If you have a more complex situation, the next person never takes the time to read the notes and you just keep getting repeat cut/paste instructions so the ticket can be quickly closed. Few of the reps carry a serious attitude and you’ll get stonewalled no matter how nice.

    Speed:

    You’ll notice slowdown. Switch to another gateway, gets faster for a little bit… then slow. Streaming you’ll need to sit and let the buffer really build. Sometimes the speed slows down to a crawl and sometimes everything just plain stops (until you disconnect from PIA)

    Other;

    Email – for ‘security’ reasons you will have email problems and will need to have your servers whitelisted.

    Small item, but worth mentioning. If you want to easily switch gateways (via Mac desktop client) you need to either a) completely disconnect…wait…select a new gateway..wait…wait…) or b) open up the entire preference panel switch…manually close. Forgot about keyboard shortcuts too…. lot more tlc needed for the mac desktop client.

    Summary:

    Wish I knew a lot of this before becoming a paid customer. Ripped off and bamboozled. It is pretty hard being a customer and the PIA acronym is truly deserved. I’ve been patient, spent countless hours articulating the problems. Took about 2 months to get services somewhat connected. Several months in, and still having problems. Really regret the purchase.

    Requested refund, since services are not as advertised… no response.
    7 day refund doesn’t matter ’cause it will take you 30-60 days to get through all the configuration.

  43. Josh says:
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    I just began using Private Internet Access and have enjoyed it quite a bit! Besides being incredibly affordable, I was very happy with how quickly I was able to download and install the VPN.

    I had a few snags setting up my iPad (I’m not a fan of how I had to do that manually) but their online support got me going again quickly.

    Check out the setup tutorial I put together that walk through how fast I was able to get my desktop setup and the problems (and solution) I had with my iOS device.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPH5v6kGXbo

    Overall I’m quite pleased with Private Internet Access. Good service.

  44. bruce says:
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    I signed up with PIA on April 1st for 1 month test. That first month went well with no issues-I was super pleased. After the month was over I signed up for a year.

    However, since then I have experienced CONTINUOUS issues, one of which is a CRITICAL DANGEROUS issue.

    The problems are:

    1. PIA has a KILL option to disconnect my internet if their VPN service is interrupted. Two problems with that are that every time my session is “KILLED” by PIA I cannot log back onto the internet until I shut down EVERYTHING and reboot my Mac. Lately, their sessions KILL my internet about every 3-5 minutes so this becomes a repeated effort of trying to use the internet. The second problem is that their KILL option doesn’t always work leaving me exposed and vulnerable.

    2. It seems that their VPN can go from “Connected” to “Connecting” which seems to again leave me exposed but does not KILL my session.

    Now, these problems do not always occur. There are times where I can be using PIA for hours without a problem however, this uncertainty and unreliability has created a lack of trust in their technology.

    I have worked with their technicians at least SIX times to try and correct these VERY serious issues. They imply the issue is with my Mac and I have followed their instructions to “fix” my Mac all six times, yet the problems persist. If the problem is with my Mac why are their times where I have ZERO issues. It seems apparent the problem is with their totally unreliable technology and their Level 1 and Level 2 “technicians” have NO clue how to fix it.

    I strongly recommend NOT using PIA as leaving me exposed and vulnerable totally defeats the purpose of my using them.

  45. Danny C says:
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    First of all, I’d like to thank “BestVPN” for all the great reviews on VPN providers.

    At first, I was not really sure which VPN provider to select. I am using this service mostly to watch Netflix from the USA (since Netflix is not yet in my region) and also the German/Swiss TV’s when I travel.

    My decision was for PIA but I was really thinking about Express VPN and VyprVPN as well. I think the main issue was for me that you can connect 5 devices as well as the PC Magazine’s Editor Choice.

    Installation was really easy and it worked very well, even though one review in July 2014 was really bad. I really cannot understand why this person had such problems, maybe his Laptop setup.

    The setup for mobile devices (iPad) was straight forward even though I admit that the PIA missed to mention in detail, that you have to login to your account and generate Username & PW. There is a link on top of the setup guide, but you hardly see it and after, no word. But we can hope, that this company will make an easy app very soon like ExpressVPN has for mobile devices. It is a shame not to have it, when you have a good product.

    A little more explaination about the DNS Leak option would also be good and how you can test your IP. I looked a YouTube video from BestVPN and they explained it very well. When you are connected to say us-florida.privateinternetaccess.com, enter in your browser the following:

    http://www.iplocation.net and better
    http://www.dnsleaktest.com

    Unfortunately, nothing has been mentioned in the Website of PIA. Too bad but the product is excellent and I can only recommend it to anybody out there.
    Thanks again to BestVPN and keep going. Danke
    Danny

  46. Louie says:
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    I just got it and it works fine :)
    didn’t expect it to be this easy, their customer service was the best I’ve probably encountered ever XD

  47. Ted says:
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    Dramatically reduces internet speeds and horrible customer service.

  48. Will says:
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    Once paid, you cannot find the cancel button or the refund button, when you email the customer serves, it will take them hours to reply to you. Price is very cheep but it comes with a price as well. The product and functionality cannot compare with some other larger providers like Astrill, VyprVPN, Hide My Ass, or even ExpressVPN. In more restrictive networks, PIA will have absolutely ZERO chance to connect. The software compatibility is another problem, does not run an new Mac OS X Yosemite, does not have a native IOS app or config package, etc. The protocols offered are very limited as well. Nevertheless, the live chat window never actually worked on any browser on any devices.

    • Douglas Crawford says:
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      Hi Will,

      We seem to get this a lot. PIA’s Windows and Android software is great (really), but it’s OSX and iOS clients result in many complaints…

  49. Daniel says:
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    Thieves!

    During a web chat with this company, I asked if they offered a free trial so I could see if I could improve my speed issues over my current provider.

    They said they don’t offer a free trial but I can request a refund within 3 days if I was not satisfied.

    VPN Service was even slower than my current provider. Customer services just copied and pasted standard troubleshooting text to me which was irrelevant to my issues. Bizarrely, everyone I spoke to on web chat was called Kyle, but he failed to remember the conversation we had 2 minutes prior LOL

    Refund was requested 3 times and ignored 3 times.

    Stay clear of this company. Most shoddy service ever experienced.

  50. The Person says:
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    1) At the beginning you state “In fact, but for support of 256-bit OpenVPN encryption and the fact there is no free trial or money back guarantee, we would have given it a perfect score.” Well, they do have support for 256-bit OpenVPN encryption (I am using it!). At least on Mac they do. And on iOS, I use the OpenVPN Connect app.

    2) I have been experiencing frequent dropped connections with PIA using OpenVPN Connect. Do you think this is because of PIA’s servers, or the OpenVPN app?

  51. HKW says:
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    I bought a monthly package specifically for travel in China, where it didn\’t connect even once. Wasn\’t a problem with my set up as there was no problem connecting in other Asian countries including Vietnam. To rub salt into the wound I met many other people in China who were successfully using free VPNs.

    • Douglas Crawford says:
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      Hi HKW,

      The problem PIA has when it comes to China is that it is a large well known VPN company, so its IPs are high on the list of ones blocked by the GFW. As we describe in this article (www.bestvpn.com/blog/4169/accessing-websites-from-china/)knowing what does work in China is very hit and miss (and changes all the time). Anyway, thanks for the info!

  52. Luna Skylark says:
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    I love this VPN! =^-^=

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Customer Service

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Price
Features
Reliability
Speed
Customer Service
Author Picture Written by Pete Zaborszky
Pete runs Best VPN and wants to get detailed information to the readers. He is dedicated to being the best and providing the highest quality at anything he does. You can also find him on Twitter or Google+


Operating Systems

  • Linux Compatible
  • Mac Compatible
  • PC Compatible

Devices

  • Android Compatible
  • Cellphone access
  • DDWRT Router
  • iOS Compatible
  • Tablet Compatible
  • Tomato Router
  • Windows Mobile

Payment Options

  • American Express
  • Bitcoin
  • Google Checkout
  • Paypal
  • Visa / Mastercard

Support Types

  • Live Chat

IP Types

  • Shared IP (Dynamic)

Protocols

  • L2TP/IPSec
  • OpenVPN
  • PPTP
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