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PrivateInternetAccess Review

Our summary

This is an exceptional VPN for the price that provides excellent speeds and privacy

Highlights

  • Super low price point for a VPN that really delivers
  • Private and secure thanks to an admirable zero logging policy
  • Strong encryption to keep your data secure at home and on public WiFi
  • Super fast connections to enjoying streaming in HD
  • Servers in 25 countries for all your geo-unblocking needs
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Private Internet Access Review: PIA in 2017

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that is well known for providing high levels of privacy and a reliable service. Robust encryption, an outstanding privacy policy, and servers located all over the world – coupled with amazingly budget prices – inevitably makes PIA an easy VPN to recommend.

Despite this, more recently we have noticed a surprising increase in complaints about Private Internet Access VPN. Add this to an ever-increasing amount of competition in the VPN market, and we have rightly decided to revisit this review for consumers.

Has Private Internet Access VPN allowed its service to slip? Can complaints being made about the service be substantiated?  We think these questions are highly important, and on a personal level I can;t wait to find out! So, let’s dive in head first and take a look at this famous VPN provider to see if it still deserves the reputation that it has grown to have. 

PIA’s Pricing and Plans

When it comes to the cost of Private Internet Access, there can be no doubt that it is cheap. The VPN rewards subscribers for committing for a longer period of time. Apart from that, the various plans are identical. The most expensive option is a one-month subscription, which at $6.95 per month is still insanely cheap for what you get.

Next, users may opt for the $35.95 six-month plan ($5.95 per month). This is much more reasonable, though why you wouldn’t pay just $4.00 more to get the $39.95 yearly plan is beyond me. Paying annually brings down the monthly cost to $3.33, which is amazing considering the privacy levels that PIA provides.

Of course, if you do decide to commit for a longer period of time you will be stuck with the VPN for longer too, and Private Internet Access certainly seems to be suffering from some problems of late. For this reason, we urge you to read this article in its entirety before deciding on a subscribing.

However, don’t forget that PIA does have a 7-day money back guarantee! So you can test it risk-free and get your money back if you decide against it for any reason!

PIA accepts many different payment methods, including credit cards, PayPal, and various other online payments. Users can also pay with “hundreds of different gift cards,” including Starbucks, Bestbuy, and Walmart.

In addition, PIA accepts Bitcoins, so you can pay anonymously for added privacy if you wish. Ripple did use to be an option, but PIA appears to have removed it since last time we reviewed the VPN. However, a new option to pay with Z-cash is now available.

PIA: Summary

  • ProsPROS
  • Cheaper than most VPNs that are similar
  • Extremely private and secure
  • Plenty of encryption options (including OpenVPN, our recommended protocol)
  • Fast connection speeds for streaming
  • Servers all around the world
  • ConsCONS
  • Very bad customer care with exceedingly long waiting times for responses to questions
  • Not great for beginners who need plenty of support
  • Some complaints about the PIA software for Mac and iOS

 

Private Internet Access Features

Private Internet Access is based in Michigan in the US. The VPN provides access to 3,253 servers in 25 countries. Although that is fewer countries than some VPN providers, it’s still a huge amount of choice considering the budget price of this VPN. In addition, those servers are superbly well placed around the globe and will definitely allow you to unblock most things we can think of.

PIA has a lot of pro features such as a kill switch, Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection, a built in Socket Secure (SOCKS5) proxy, a choice of encryption protocols, an auto connect feature that connects the VPN as soon as it is launched and apps for all platforms (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome). It also permits five simultaneous connections.

Another sweet feature is that the website shows server counts, locations, and bandwidth stats. 

Visit PIA »

Video Review

We here at BestVPN.com have put together a video review of PrivateInternetAccess for your viewing pleasure.

Is Private Internet Access Secure?

As mentioned, Private Internet Access VPN is based in the US (in the state of Indiana). This isn’t perfect in terms of privacy because the US government can impose warrants and gag orders. In addition, the US is home to the NSA and the CIA. It is also part of the Five Eyes surveillance agreement.

The good news is that PIA does make up for this with its zero logs policy (which is as good as logging policies can get). However, because it is in the US it could be served a gag order, and a warrant, and subscribers would be none the wiser. This is always a concern with US-based VPN providers and is one reason that we tend to encourage people to subscribe to VPNs based in other locations

Having said that, as far as we can tell PIA has never disclosed any information about its subscribers to the authorities. With that in mind, it seems likely that the vast majority of people will be secure using PIA as their VPN.

Private Internet Access Review

Encryption Options

As far as encryption is concerned, PIA is very secure. It gives users lots of options including Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)/Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), or OpenVPN. Here at BestVPN.com, we highly recommend OpenVPN because it is by far the most secure (and open source) encryption protocol. If you do get a PIA subscription, we strongly encourage you to connect using OpenVPN!

OpenVPN encryption is handled via a military grade AES-256 cipher, with strong SHA256 for authorization, and handshake of RSA 4096. This is truly superb. Arguably, in fact, the handshake could be a little weaker and you would still be secure. So feel free to set it manually to RSA 2048 if you plan to do a lot of streaming with your VPN (this will make it faster).

Having so many options can be a bit confusing for VPN beginners. However, having those options means that people who need the strongest encryption can get it. Those who don’t really need it can lower it manually. As such, this is a positive aspect of the service.

The only trouble with more features and options is that, for beginners, the lack of customer support can lead to confusion, frustration, and annoyance. This lack of support has led to a large number of complaints in recent times. For this reason, we recommend reading the “Customer Care” section below before subscribing to PIA.

PIA Logs

The Website

The PIA website is well designed, looks awesome, and doesn’t attempt to hide any important details about the service. Details about encryption are readily available, and the firm makes no attempt to hide that it is based in the US. We applaud PIA for this transparency.

At the top of the homepage, you’ll find a navigation banner, which easily connects you to all the different parts of the website. Those are clearly labeled: Home, How It Works, Downloads and Support, Contact Us and Join Now. In addition, there is a link in the top right that says Member Login.
Private Internet Access VPN

One of the most impressive thing about the Private Internet Access website is its excellent blog. That blog is written by the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, Rick Falkvinge. Falkvinge acts as head of privacy at PIA, and writes the blog content. That blog is available to everybody including non-OIA subscribers. It is an excellent source of privacy news.

PIA Blogs

In addition, PIA has excellent guides and an FAQ section that includes video tutorials to help users solve problems. These range from setting up PIA VPN on a DD-WRT router, to changing and updating your password.

PIA Support

This is an excellent resource. It is intended to allow subscribers to keep the service running smoothly without having to contact support. Despite this, when compared to other services the lack of easily attainable support is what lets Private Internet Access VPN down.

The website can be viewed in 18 languages. This is astounding, and demonstrates the international aspirations of this VPN.

PIA Support

Support is the most lacking part of Private Internet Access’ VPN service. While the best VPN services are proud to have 24/7 live chat support, PIA’s customer support is close to non-existent. Here at BestVPN.com we hear stories, time and time again, about PIA users seeking help using the ticket system, only to be left waiting for a response for weeks at a time.

This rightly raises concerns from subscribers, who ask questions like:

“If they can’t be bothered to provide adequate support, how can I be sure that they are running the servers and the business with the privacy that they claim?”

This question is perfectly valid. For a VPN provider that obviouly desires to sell its services globally, the lack of desire to support its clients is rather shocking. A VPN service is all about helping people to get privacy and online freedom. PIA appears to have got a bit sloppy when it comes to this critical side of the service.

Only a few years ago, PIA was gaining endorsements from online hubs like LifeHacker, Wired, and Gizmodo. Now, however, PIA is living off of those endorsements, which it plasters on its homepage like badges of honor.

With an obvious will to gain subscribers from all over the world, one wishes that PIA would employ the few staff necessary to man a 24/7 live chat support. After all, this has become a vital element of a world-class VPN service, and PIA is falling short.

The Process

Signing Up

Subscribing and setting up Private Internet Access VPN is an easy job. All one has to do is register with an active email address and make a payment. The level of anonymity depends entirely on you, and whether you decide to use Bitcoins or a gift card to subscribe. Doing this means that you could use a fake name in order to further protect you digital footprint.

Once you subscribe, you can head over to the download area and get the software you need for your platform. The software is available for all the most popular platforms. The .ovpn files are available for people who want to connect using third party OpenVPN GUI, OpenVPN connect (iOS) or OpenVPN for Android.

The PIA Windows VPN Client

The Private Internet Access software is a fully featured custom VPN client. It has lots of top-end features and options. It might not be the most stylish front end ever, but in terms of functionality, it is excellent.

PIA Windows ClientYou can easily access all of the settings by using the Simple/Advanced button in the bottom left corner. In simple mode, the client shows login setting options and a drop-down menu for selecting from server locations.Private Internet Access Software Client

In advanced mode, you can select your encryption preferences. The Connection button brings up useful features such as port forwarding – you can use this to get around firewalls. You can also turn on a per-app kill switch to protect your data in case the VPN drops out.

I’ve noticed people complaining that the kill switch is a bit temperamental. However, this is said to have been improved in one of the more recent updates. It certainly appeared to work fine during my short time testing it.  
PIA Windows Clent Connection Settings

In addition, there is both DNS and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) protection. You can see the results of my tests of these features below. One thing worth bearing in mind is that PIA does not auto-update or have an update checker. Thus you will need to periodically check the website to see if PIA has released a new version of the client.

PIA Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 Tests)

Speeds were tested on a 50 Mbps Virgin Media fiber connection using testmy.net. As you can see from the base tests, my internet connection was being unusually sluggish on the day of the tests (averaging at just over 30 Mbps).

I tested the Netherlands and UK servers from a UK test server. The US server was tested using an East Coast (New York) test server. Speeds were impressive on all three servers. I tested each server five times, and some of the tests came out very close to the base tests. Certainly, PIA is good enough for streaming in HD – there is no doubt about that.

I used ipleak.net to test for IP leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks. I am happy to report that there were no leaks of this nature during my tests.

However, I did note that some people have discovered a WebRTC leak while using PIA. The WebRTC bug could reveal your true location. Thus, if you use PIA, we recommend plugging this hole yourself by disabling WebRTC in your browser. This is pretty easy in Firefox. In Chrome, you can use this browser extension to stop WebRTC leaks.

This is probably unnecessary, as I discovered no WebRTC leaks during my tests. However, at BestVPN.com we believe it is always worth using ipleak.net yourself to check for leaks on your system. For more info on WebRTC leaks and how to plug them, please look here.

Other Platforms

Private Internet Access VPN is compatible and has software for Android, Mac, iOS, and Linux, as well as the Windows client that I tested. In addition, it can be installed directly on DD-WRT and Tomato routers. It has guides for setting these up.

PIA Platforms

In fact, there are setup guides and tutorials to help set up every single platform. As such, despite its poor customer care, PIA does have just about every base covered – as long as you don’t mind not communicating with someone directly (without having to wait an excruciatingly long time).

Android

Private Internet Access has a dedicated Android app. I decided to give it a once over. To look at, it is exactly the same as the Windows version. It even has all the same top end features, such as the kill switch and the wide variety of encryption options. The same is also true of the auto-connect and SSL features. Furthermore, it is possible to select between Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP), which might come in handy when out and about using public WiFi.

I found the Android app to work well. A quick check of speeds revealed that they were no different to those experienced in the Windows version.

Private Internet Access Android Client
 

Private Internet Access VPN Review: Conclusion

I liked:

  • Strong encryption and lots of options
  • Software is the same on various platforms
  • Zero logs (but it’s based in the US, so could be served a warrant)
  • Fully featured with a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and auto-connect
  • Accepts Bitcoin and Z-coin
  • Really cheap if you get a yearly subscription
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Unblocks BBC iPlayer

I wasn’t so sure about:

  • Performance fluctuations on some servers (according to consumers)
  • Kill switch fails occasionally (according to consumers)

I hated:

  • Doesn’t unblock US Netflix

PIA has very professional software that does exactly what it is supposed to. This leaves me extremely saddened by the way that PIA is being run. It could be one of the best VPNs in the world if PIA just took better care of its subscribers.

When it comes to PIA, the old saying “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be more true. One can’t help feeling, however, that maybe PIA would be better off charging just a few extra dollars in order to imporove its customer support.

In the end, PIA is perfect for people who are accustomed to VPNs and are confident with fixing any issues that might arise. Even people with the patience to look through the website to sort out any issues will probably be OK with a PIA subscription.

However, with the cost of a premium VPN service averaging as little as $70 per year, one can’t help feeling that, for most people, getting a VPN that has everything is a better way to go. After all, that isn’t a massive sum of money.

With that said, if you’re looking for a workable VPN service that is a bargain then PIA still remains one of the best options on the market. I think PIA knows that too, so don’t hold your breath for any sudden improvements – PIA is what it is: a cheaper option that has a few flaws. It’s still much better than the vast majority of VPNs on the market!

Visit PIA »

Ray Walsh

I am a freelance journalist and blogger from England. I am highly interested in politics and in particular the subject of IR. I am an advocate for freedom of speech, equality, and personal privacy. On a more personal level I like to stay active, love snowboarding, swimming and cycling, enjoy seafood, and love to listen to trap music.

82 responses to “Private Internet Access VPN Review

  1. This is a case of you get what you pay for. As mentioned in the article, support is very poor. What isn’t mentioned is the frequent billing issues. For the last two years I have been double billed and have had to refer to my credit card. I thought the first was just an innocent mistake, but not twice. I am cancelling service

  2. I am from Russia, we have new anti internet freedom laws so I decided to buy a good VPN subscription. I chose PIA after reading several reviews. I bought a yearly subscription. I installed it and it worked fine, but after restarting my PC I cannot launch the application again. I have tried everything to launch it again and obviously contacted technical support, but they are giving me standard advice that does not apply to my problem and seem to be going around in circles. I have asked for a refund but since it’s after some “7 day period” I can’t get my money back even though the product that I bought is faulty and simply does not work! I could not have asked for a refund within the 7 days as I did not realize that the problem existed at that point. The company has been horrible to me and I advise everyone to avoid it. There are a ton of other options available and I will be trying one as well.
    I can post screens of my emails with the support if you need them, but trust me, the guy is just copying notes from some manual instead of actually trying to help 🙁

    1. Hi Alexey,

      The first thing I suggest you do is competetly remove every trace of PIA’s software from your PC using Revo Uninstaller (the free version is fine for this), then reinstall the software. If this doesn’t work then get back to me, and will try to assist you as best I can. I am aware that PIA’s support is not its strong point.

  3. Hi, I found this site only because I was researching a replacement for PIA. Initially, the service was great but over the past year the speeds have been variable and I was getting disconnects. Disconnects that their software did not warn me about at times so I was surfing “naked”.

    When I sent in a support ticket complaining about the above, it took about 2-3 days for a reply which was just copy and paste from their support manual. Seriously?

    Luckily, my subscription was just about up but I was going to leave anyways.

  4. I recently had an account issue, submitted a ticket and within an hour or so had an email conversation with a very helpful PIA tech support person who solved my problem. I use PIA on a Macbook Pro, a Dell PC two IPads and two iPhones and I have zero complaints. For the price and the service provided, I have no reason to look for anything else. I am definitely getting what I am paying for.

  5. PIA does not unblock BBC iplayer – I used to be able to access it, but alas no more! Somehow BBC has figured out I’m using a VPN.

    1. Hi al,

      There is no mystery behind how these blocks work. Services such as the BBC and and Netflix simply block all IP addresses known to belong to VPN providers.

    I’m in the UK and have tried many VPNs. I find PIA not only meets all my needs but the speeds I get are excellent (5% down on my 200mbps when not on VPN). I don’t have any comments relating to support because I’ve never had to use it but I’m willing to accept the comments of others are true and accurate.
    As a package I can rate PIA only as I find it and that’s pretty good.

    Signed up ten days ago. None of the servers work, and no customer service. What pirates!

    1. Hi John.

      Hmm. Very strange. I can only assure you that PIA is indeed a reputeable service. Its customer service does leave something to be desired, though.

  6. If good support is a selling point then keep searching cause you will not find it with these incompetent group of people labeling themselves as a company!

  7. Purchased 4 days ago. 4 emails later and still no reply except that it was received ,but oh so busy. I have loaded onto 4 devices android, ios and windows.Disabled my McAffee as well to try this. None will work for netflix. Keeping getting the same messages . whoopps,something went wrong….Streaming error.
    Does or does not PIA work on Netflix. All i want is an honest answer otherwise i may have made a big mistake for signing for 12 months.

  8. No customer support. eight days I have been emailing them daily and have had no response back. Doesn’t work for what I wanted and asked for a refund the same day I signed up, within hours. Might be good for other peoples needs but the lack of communication is horrible and not to be trusted.

    Useless.

    It was fine for a long time but no longer – the reviewer is out-of-date. Their customer service/response is non-existent and it can no longer be used to access Sky, BBC and the like from overseas. If you check their IP addresses for the two UK server locations in London and Southampton you will see that only the last 2 digits change each time so for someone like BBC they just block all IP addresses using the first three unchanging sets of numbers.

    1. I don’t think you read the review? It was updated not long ago and does clearly specify the lack of customer support and inability to unblock Netflix US. Having said that, calling it useless is a bit of a stretch! Many users love PIA!

  9. PIA advertises itself as needed for VOIP connections. However, they BLOCK the VOIP connections. Misleading. You do not buy a VPN to censor your internet, you buy a VPN to unlock your internet.

    Customer care is hard to reach or does not react at all (even after weeks there is no answer). So that sucks.

    You do not pay much, and you get very little, too little.
    I am looking for something else.

    1. Hi Hi,

      Keeping up with this very fluid situation is hard. We are, however, working on a system to provide as much up-to-date information on VPNs and wjether they work with key streaming servcies such as US Netflix and BBC iPlayer as possible.

  10. I hate 3 letter word organizations or companies. Perhaps, CIA is using PIA as a facade – we’ll never know.

    Much improved. Had some problems at first now it seems to be working ok. Good tech support . No complaints!

    I have been a PIA user for years (main reason for staying was the price and features but with all the new entrants it is getting less noteworthy).

    My biggest gripe is that the customer support is rather terrible. If you ask them anything technical they repeat the same questions and don’t appear to read your replies (seem to be following the “support script” asking for extraneous info). I usually figure out the issue myself after wondering why I even bothered to contact them in the first place.

    The online ticket system doesn’t work for me for some reason so I’ve always had to contact them by email.

    On the plus side the reliability is pretty high with only the rare drop. Also I like that you can setup various levels of security from strong (256bit AES) to weak (PPTP). Privacy also appears to be very high.

    I’m going to start shopping around for a new provider though, to see if I can get higher speeds (only get ~30Mbps on a Gig connection with OpenVPN) and better support.

    Price is good, but you get what you pay for as PIA has one of the worst customer services I have experienced in my life! I got replies to three technical questions more almost three weeks after I submitted them. Also, their servers are very slow to send emails to reset passwords. I also tried to get in touch with them via Facebook, no one replied. I can understand it could take some time, but someone there posted some news on the page less than one hour after, then, why not answer me before posting anything crap about some news happening somewhere else? I guess this is a different department, but I am not impressed. If they manage servers and security the way they manage customer service, I am not reassured their service is really protecting my data! I have no other choice but to cancel my credit card to make sure I won’t get charged next month.

  11. Not Satisfied with PIA… worked for two weeks on OS X, then major crashes and constant slow downs. Customer Service took almost 3 weeks to get back to me after I opened about 7-8 service requests. Would not recommend even though they came highly recommended.

    Their support is non-existent. There’s no phone support and no chat; you must submit a ticket thru their system. When you submit a ticket, there is a notice that they are experiencing a high load of support requests and will answer you when they come to you in the queue. This notice has been there for months. I needed help and waited over two weeks for them to get back to me. I had solved the problem by then with help from others on the internet. I guess that is what they want–just don’t bother their one tech support guy with your little problem. I’ve spent my last dime with them and will find another provider when my subscription runs out.

  12. I have used PIA VPN for over an year now. Excellent software, good servers and even better security. Their forum is excellent for getting help from others while you wait for official tech support. I have had no complaints.

  13. I asked for a refund after 1.5 hours because their Private Internet Access VPN service wouldn’t install all I got was auto generated ticket numbers 355119, 355125, 355137, 358647, 355169, 356235 and there were many more, but no real reply and no refund. Private Internet Access’s 7 day money back guarantee is worth a bucket of goat shit.

    1. I’ll just note that this comment arrived two minutes after adrian’s one, which is very similar…

  14. I couldn’t even log in to Private Internet Access VPN and when I asked for assistance I got no reply. After a couple hours I requested a refund, in accordance with you 7 day money back policy No reply. If it is this complicated just to get a log in correct and get assistance i rather go to someone else. Stay away from Private Internet Access

    Requested a refund on 4th of June but never heard from them. I’m afraid I lost my money. No one ever replied to me from their team, so I’m still unaware if the started a refund procedure. I decided to leave this review on several sites to save other people from losing money. I now think that they bought all these editorial reviews because it was the main reason why I subscribed to the service. Which now I massively regret. For the money I paid ($39.95), I can buy a private mobile Wi-Fi router, which I plan to do after such horrible experience. HORRIBLE!!!

    Really poor support: when things do not work they do not respond to emails.
    They once had a live chat. Now they offer to open a ‘ticket’ but nobody does respond and they leave you in trouble. They do not care about their paying customers and their issues: better look somewhere else

  15. PURE VPN is grabage,!! A total waste! NEVER worked correctly on MAC OS X Sierra, and spent more time on tec support than i did actually doing something I wanted to on the computer. Its a good thing they have tec-support, youre guaranteed to NEED it. PUREVPN take a lesson,.. NORD VPN offered a FREE trial…. it downloaded in seconds and was up and running on hulu without having to manually set anything up or reconfigure anything. The NORD vpn seems faster too. and its less expensive,. while they may not have as many servers,.. it works and its pretty fast. thats my two cents.

  16. What is udp? On iOS, does one have to download the OpenVPN app to use the OpenVPN protocol or is that option available in the PIA app?

    1. Hi Don,

      Please check out my article on OpenVPN over TCP vs. UDP. Unlike its Android app (which uses OpenVPN by default), PIA’s iOS app does not support the OpenVPN protocol. Setup instructions are available here, however, for using the third party OpenVPN Connect app with PIA.

  17. Worked fine at first but the last 2-3 months (Late 2016) its very slow to connect to websites. Takes 5+ seconds compared to 1 sec without it. Have tried other connections,ports,settings,etc and tried reinstalling on windows 10 but still slow. Seriously considering changing to another vpn.

  18. I’ve been using PIA for a year now. And I have no complaints. It did take some work getting the TAP adapter working correctly at setup but eventually it did. In the time i’ve used it it has only dropped out twice, and a pop up tells you this and it automatically reconnected, again telling me with a popup. The one caveat to this is if you are streaming from a website and the stream stalls you will have to close your browser and the client and restart both (in my experience). If you are having problems with the service it is probably in your setup and not with the client. I would give PIA a 4.5 out of 5

    For many of the same reasons I have just cancelled my PIA account, am now using Avira. The Australian Government has forced ISP’s to block certain sites, as a trial I went to these sites while using PIA and got an online notice tat the site had been blocked. It appears that there is no privacy using PIA.

    1. Hi DD,

      This should not be happening. Have you checked out my Complete Guide to IP leaks? Another possibility is that the websites you are visiting are not being blocked by your ISP at the behest of the Australian Government, but are themselves blocking VPN users. This is the case with US Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPLayer. These websites simply block IPs known to belong to VPN providers. And although annoying, this does not constitute a threat to your privacy.

      1. I second this. Heck, even some websites like target.com (surprisingly) or some web forums deny access. Once had my account locked (not a bad thing) by Paypal but that was from my location jumping.

    Since PIA has their own internal mail, they are getting the mail but aren’t replying … being the biggest provider I thought their service would be better ..

  19. Signed up with PIA, but they failed to provide User Name & Password on two different accounts(CC & gift card paying the full $50 a multi year account), its been 1 week with no reply on one account the other 24 hrs. checked spam & getting emails,(even sent backup email acct. to PIA) have had them for the previous year. I’ve been pretty happy and just wanted to sign up for a longer term but the lack of reasonable timely support makes my question the service. I may have made a mistake going with PIA Sent support ticket to PayGarden hopefully they can help me..

  20. I have been used it for about 3 years and i like it very much.
    I never had problems and most servers are pretty fast. Great service for a little price.

  21. I am surprised at the negative comments here. I have used PIA as my VPN for 3 years on various Linux boxes with excellent speed of download. In those 3 years, I could probably count my dropped connections on one hand. All of my connections are set up manually on OpenVPN since I want Network Manager to do the heavy lifting and don’t want to use the PIA client (I think it is kind of ugly and unnecessary). I use the PIA .ovpn files under ‘Import a saved VPN configuration’ in Network Connections, and setup is a breeze for several servers in different countries. I wonder if most of the noted problems are due to Windows? I know it sounds like I work for PIA, but I assure you I do not. I don’t know about their customer service since I never use them. For me, I have no complaints, except they are making it more difficult to do your own installs without their client.

    1. I am same I’ve been with pia a few years now and had not one problem with them and service. It’s people that have not got a clue I think. The only things that get blocked are site’s that block vpn. It doesn’t matter who ur vpn provider is it will be blocked. Any vpn can be detected. Not so easy to encrypt it.

      1. Hi Anthony,

        Um… well… I use AirVPN, and it is not blocked by US Netflix, Hulu, or BBC iPlayer. I also know for a fact that ExpressVPN is not blocked by these sites either, and many other VPN providers have also found ways around the blocks.

  22. In my first year subscription of PIA. Works well, except for one major design flaw, and I will not renew. They require a Windows user to have admin privileges. No one should require having admin privileges, because if you are hacked the consequences of the hack can be much more severe if you are an admin. You should always run as a standard user. Run specific apps in admin mode if you need them for that app. But that’s not what PIA requires. You trade off getting some security protection with PIA versus additional 24/7 security concerns running in admin mode. You bring that to their attention and they don’t understand, which means they don’t understand security so you should use it.

    1. The reason for the escalated privileges are so it can disconnect your internet connection in case your connection to the VPN drops. I know it may seem ‘fishy’ but it’s a security feature.

      1. Hi ManTaboo,

        But any VPN client that uses a firewall based kill switch can do this without the need for admin privileges.

  23. An important thing to note that is not mentioned in this review.

    After a good look around the web it seems to me that PIA is not a good choice for getting around geo-locking or for streaming video/tv services. There are also reports that all of their servers have been blocked by Netflix so you’ll need to turn to (most likely) a more expensive provider like expressVPN if this is what you want to get out of using such a service.

    That being said they look pretty high quality for a budget service and if all you need is browsing the internet in privacy or some occasional p2p.

    1. Hi James,

      Netflix is trying to block all VPN users, and whether one works or not these is very hit and miss. Most of BestVPN’s recent reviews (and all of mine) include a “Netflix test” (and BBC iPlayer).

  24. Well, I read some mixed reviews about PIA. In the end I gave it a try to have my own experiences. I used the Linux version, which means I downloaded the Linux client and installed it – so far so good. First: Connecting issues because of DNS. After I solved this, I could connect to the service. Once I connected, some ip checking sites still showed me my own ip. I even tried the network-manager-vpn-setup version of PIA, but I had some connecting issues this way as well. This service did not convince me. I applied for money back.

    Excellent security no dns or webrtc leaks, some fast servers, some slow, very good price for 1 year.

  25. PIA has one of the worst teams ever. It’s a notch higher than a free VPN. Their apps are outdated, buggy. Plus, the security is so terrible that there seems to be hackers using their services to the point that their servers/IPs are getting blocked by many sites unlike every other VPN i use.

    1. Hi Mario,

      PIA cannot really be blamed for the actions of its customers. How would you suggest it improve its “security” to prevent this happening?

    This VPN just randomly drops it’s connection from time to time and during that time you are unprotected. I have had numerous “copyright infringement” emails because while PIA drops it’s protection, BitTorrent and the likes just keeps on downloading.

    This turns otherwise good software into useless garbage.

    DO NOT WASTE ONE PENNY ON THIS GARBAGE…..

  26. The problem with PIA is that their VPN goes down randomly, then stays down… so now you’re using the network unprotected, and there’s no warning. It’s very unsafe, it’s not real protection.

      1. Douglas can you show details on setting up the internet kill switch on a mac without PIA shutting off the firewall? When I use the PIA software it shuts my mac firewall off. Thanks

        1. Hi JT,

          I’m afraid that I don’t have a Mac. In Windows the PIA client does not turn off any firewall that is running, but I do not think doing so on a Mac is anything to worry about. The PIA client uses its own firewall to ensure that no traffic can enter or exit your Mac outside the VPN connection. This acts as both a kill switch and DNS/IP leak protection. It should also do everything that OSX’s built-in firewall does.

    1. Hi kolawole,

      Simply visit the PIA website, subscribe to its service, and follow the instructions PIA then sends to you.

  27. Target, JC penny etc. have been blocking USA IP addresses pf private internet access s give below:
    Access Denied
    You don’t have permission to access “http://www.cuddledown.com/itemdy00.aspx?” on this server.
    Reference #18.a6711f45.1464020493.7ca903e
    While using PIA US California198.8.80.40
    —————————————————————-
    Access Denied
    You don’t have permission to access “http://www.target.com/store-locator/state-listing” on this server.
    Reference #18.893819b8.1464102530.1268ab6e
    While using PIA US Silicon Valley 104.156.228.162
    ————————————————————————–
    Access Denied
    You don’t have permission to access “http://www.jcpenney.com/index.jsp?” on this server.
    Reference #18.365df6d8.1464102723.ab
    While using PIA US Silicon Valley 104.156.228.162
    ————————————————————-
    Access Denied
    You don’t have permission to access “http://www.jcpenney.com/for-the-home/home-decor/chair-cushions/cat.jump?” on this server.
    Reference #18.2a951645.1464148322.19f3765
    While using PIA US Silicon Valley 104.156.228.162
    ———————————————————————————————
    The reply of PIA customer service is give below”
    Hey Dharam,
    Thanks for reaching out to us!

    Online content providers have provisions in their terms of service that allow them to detect the ip address you broadcast when you connect to their services.

    When you use a VPN to connect to one of these service providers website, they detect that you are using a shared IP.

    That being the case, they block said IP. They can’t tell if you are actually in the USA , Canada or Russia. Only that you are using a service that allows you to appear to be somewhere else.

    This is why you may not have access to the services like OLG and other geo-locked sites, as they reserve the right to protect this content using the detection of shared ip addresses to determine if you are connecting through a proxy/VPN.

    If you wish to make sure that your service is working properly you can go to our website:
    https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/

    At the top left, in the green bar will be the status of your connection.

    I apologize for any inconvenience,
    Best of luck!

    Hailey E, Tier I Support
    Private Internet Access™

    Ticket Details
    ________________________________________
    Ticket ID: SKD-688-63546
    Department: Tier I Technical Support

    1. Hi dharam,

      Hmm. The sites you mention do require you to be located in the US, but I just tested them using my VPN (AirVPN) connected to a US server, and can access them without issue. They must have blacklisted PIA’s IPs…

  28. I bought your service just under a year ago. I found it nothing but a pain in the ass!
    Are your reviews generated by yourself?
    Everytime I needed to use it, it needed re-install and configuration…imo, its a time consuming app thats more trouble than anything else.
    Sorry I bought it.

    Hope you can handle criticism.

    1. Hi skybandit,

      We are a review website, and have no particular connection to PIA. I used to use PIA, but stopped mainly because O do not trust any US based service (NSA spying).

    2. I agree whole heartedly with skybandit. This VPN sucks and they offer you no recourse. They continually take funds from your bank account, all the while, revealing your true geographical location. You are wasting your time and money if you rely on Private Internet Access. Shame on them for such “shoddy” business practices. I will continue to complain to every agency available until this issue is solved. I don’t mind paying but I darn well want what I paid for. PIA does not deliver.

  29. I am a PIA user and am pleased with it. I have however been having connection drop-outs lately. Curious if anyone else is having the same problem.
    One thing you did not cover was the “Kill Switch” option. They pop up a rather cryptic warning dialog box when you select it and I have run across several complaints about recovering the network connection after a kill event. Would appreciate additional information concerning this feature if possible.
    Thank you,
    David

    1. Hi David,

      I no longer use PIA, but I used to, and I remember experiencing this problem from time to time. In order to re-establish my internet connection once the kill switch had kicked in, I would have to right-click on the internet connection -> Troubleshoot problems. This resets the internet connection.

      1. Hi Douglas,

        I notice you’ve mentioned a couple of times that you no longer use PIA, would you mind sharing the name of the service you use now? Interested in real user experience rather than just that of reviewers.

        Thanks!

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