Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

Январь 25, 2018

Private Internet Access Review: PIA in 2018

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that has been around for a number of years. It is a well-regarded VPN, typically known for providing high levels of privacy and reliability. Strong encryption options, an excellent privacy policy, and plenty of servers around the globe at an extremely low price point make PIA an attractive VPN option for just about anybody

Six months ago, I found PIA still providing an excellent service for the money. However, in some regards, it had allowed itself to slip from the benchmark set by other VPN providers. Speeds were OK, but nothing to phone home about. Customer care was close to nonexistent – causing many complaints.

Now, PIA claims to have improved some parts of its service, so we thought it only fair to once again revisit this review. Has PIA significantly improved its service in such a short space of time? Let’s find out!  

PIA’s Pricing and Plans

Private Internet Access is a cheap VPN that rewards subscribers for committing for a longer period of time. Amazingly, since the last time I reviewed PIA, it has added an even cheaper two-year plan.

All of PIA’s VPN plans are exactly the same, providing the same software choices, server options, encryption levels, and privacy options. The packages only differ in price. The most costly option is the one-month subscription for $6.95 per month, which is still fantastic value for money.  

For the cost of $39.95, users can get a one-year subscription ($3.33 per month). This is a superb price point that really is hard to beat considering what you get.

Finally, VPN aficionados have the option to subscribe for two years at the cost of $69.95. Paying for a two-year contract brings the average monthly cost down to just $2.91. That price is extremely competitive and allows just about anybody to join the world of premium, unlimited use secure VPNs, without having to break the bank. 

Of course, it is worth remembering that if you do choose to subscribe for a longer period of time, you will be stuck with PIA for longer too. So please be sure that you definitely want this VPN before jumping in at the deep end. It is a great VPN, so you may well be happy with it – but I still recommend reading this review in its entirety. 

In addition, don’t forget that PIA provides an excellent seven-day money back guarantee! That means you can test the VPN thoroughly for a week and then get your money back if you wish. 

When it comes to paying, PIA accepts credit cards, PayPal, and various other online payment systems. Users may also elect to pay with “hundreds of different gift cards,” including Starbucks, Bestbuy, and Walmart.

PIA also accepts some cryptocurrencies. Bitcoins and Z-cash are accepted, though Ripple appears to have been removed as an option for about a year now. 

PIA: Summary

  • ProsPROS
  • Cheaper than most similar VPNs
  • Great for privacy and security
  • Lots of encryption options (including OpenVPN, our recommended protocol)
  • Fast connection speeds for streaming
  • Servers all over the world
  • ConsCONS
  • Not the best VPN for beginners who need hands-on support
  • Doesn’t unblock some popular websites (Netflix US and BBC iPlayer for instance)

Private Internet Access Features

Private Internet Access is a US-based VPN located in Michigan. The VPN provides access to 3,236 servers in 29 countries. Although that is fewer server locations than some premium VPN providers – it is still a considerable amount of choice. What’s more, the servers are well-located around the globe and permit subscribers to unblock most online content.

PIA has a lot of advanced features. These include a kill switch, Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection, a built-in Socket Secure (SOCKS5) proxy, a choice of encryption protocols, auto-connect feature (that connects the VPN as soon as it is launched), port forwarding, best server detection feature, and apps for all platforms (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome). It also permits five simultaneous connections and allows P2P torrenting.

Another nice feature is that the website shows server counts, locations, and bandwidth stats. In addition, users can select each individual VPN server and perform an on-the-spot speed test to see how it is performing. This is a unique feature, which I  test later in this review. 

Visit PIA »

PIA VPN Video Review


Is Private Internet Access Secure?

Private Internet Access VPN is based in the US (in the state of Indiana). This isn’t ideal because the US government can impose warrants and gag orders on any firm located there. This literally means that PIA could be served a warrant telling it to begin retaining and handing over all user data AND be told to keep it a secret.  The US is also home to the NSA and CIA – and is part of the Five Eyes surveillance agreement. For this reason, privacy-conscious organizations such as PrivacyTools.io tend to warn against using US-based privacy firms – their guarantees can’t be completely trusted. 

The good news is that PIA does attempt to make up for this by providing a zero logs policy (which is as good as logging policies ever get). However, as mentioned, PIA could be served a gag order, and a warrant, and subscribers would have no clue. This is always a concern with US-based VPN providers and is something that you will need to consider on a personal level.

At the end of the day, we have no reason to suspect that PIA is under warrant and gag order, and for general privacy and unblocking it is more than likely a perfectly good option. As far as I can tell, PIA has never disclosed any information about its subscribers to the authorities. In addition, it has proved its no logs claim in court (which only very few VPNs have ever done). With that in mind, the vast majority of people will be happy using PIA.

Private Internet Access Review

Encryption Options

In terms of encryption, PIA is highly secure. It gives users a choice of options including Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP/IPSec), or OpenVPN. Here at BestVPN.com, we recommend against using PPTP, because it is outdated and insecure. With that in mind – users only really get two secure options.

We recommend OpenVPN because it is by far the most secure (open source) encryption protocol. If you do get a PIA subscription, we strongly encourage you to connect using OpenVPN.

OpenVPN Encryption
Data hash auth
Control hash auth
Forward Secrecy
Logs & Legal

OpenVPN encryption is implemented excellently, which is one of the best things about PIA’s service:

Data channel: AES-256 cipher, with strong SHA256 for authorization and a handshake of RSA 4096. The Control channel is protected with AES-256 cipher with SHA384 authentication. Perfect Forward Secrecy is delivered with a DHE+RSA exchange for RSA handshakes, or ECDHE+ECDSA for ECC handshakes.

Encryption set to those levels is extremely strong. In fact, you could argue that the handshake could be made a bit weaker and your data would still be secure. For this reason, you can make use of PIA’s advanced settings to set it manually to RSA 2048. If you intend to do a lot of streaming with your VPN this will make it perform at optimum levels. PIA gives users a lot of customizable options where encryption is concerned.

Although having so many options can be a bit confusing for VPN beginners, those options are a positive part of PIA’s service. More options allow the people who need the strongest encryption to get it. Those who don’t really need it can lower it manually. Please head over to the VPN encryption page (you can find a link to it in the menu at the bottom of any page) to understand the large list of encryption options that PIA gives you. This guide is comprehensive and it will stop you from accidentally making your encryption levels too weak.

PIA Logs

The Website

The PIA website looks awesome and is easy to navigate. Unlike many VPNs, it doesn’t conceal or make it hard to find any important details about the service. Details about encryption are freely available, and the firm does not attempt to hide that it is based in the US (though it does attempt to make it seem like a positive aspect when in reality it isn’t).

I applaud PIA for its transparency. In fact, it is fair to say that I have never seen a VPN that provides such good navigation (specifically at the bottom of every page in the fine print menu). Users can find a huge number of links to data about a massive variety of issues such as the KRACK WiFi vulnerability, IoT security, Tor vs VPN – and many others. 

At the top of the homepage, users will find a navigation banner, which easily connects them to all the most important 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.

One of the best things about Private Internet Access’ website is its fantastic VPN 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-PIA subscribers. It is a truly outstanding source of privacy news and VPN information. We recommend this blog to everyone.

PIA also has outstanding guides and an FAQ section that includes video tutorials. These resources are truly fantastic and will allow most people to solve problems quickly. Topics range from setting up PIA VPN on a DD-WRT or Tomato router (advanced), to changing and updating your password (simple). Private Internet Access really does have one of the best VPN websites out there.

PIA Support

The website is a formidable resource, 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 24/7 support is what lets Private Internet Access VPN down. These days it is common for VPNs to have live chat support, and this is something that PIA does not have. However, considering how cheap it is, this is probably a reasonable tradeoff for most people. 

Finally, the website can be viewed in 18 languages. This is pretty awesome and demonstrates the international aspirations of this VPN provider.

PIA Support

The very best VPN services provide 24/7 live chat support. Sadly this isn’t the case when it comes to PIA. Admittedly, the FAQ, blog, and website in general, are way above average. So it is a shame that PIA is lacking when it comes to this critical side of the service. Most annoyingly, PIA does advertise 24/7 support on its website. However, this was not my experience.

I decided to very carefully test PIA’s support, because they recently told BestVPN.com that they had improved their service. I tested the ticket system using my private email (instead of a work one), a fake name, and a very easy question. This, I thought, would allow them to get back to me as quickly as possible – without complications.

After clicking “submit”, I received the following message:

Moments later I received an automated email response with a tracking number. The message told me my request had been received and was in the process of being reviewed by support staff.

From that point, I had to wait seven hours for a response. This isn’t bad and is definitely an improvement on the wait I experienced last time. However, PIA claims that it has 24/7 support staff working in North America – so, in reality, a response should have arrived sooner.

Many premium VPNs have live chat support and even those that don’t often provide responses in 15 minutes or under. I would have been happy with even a two to three-hour wait, but longer than that is hard to consider 24/7. Still, seven hours is better than weeks.

The Process

Signing Up

Subscribing to Private Internet Access VPN and setting up the software is very easy. All that is needed is an active email address and a valid payment method. Your level of anonymity is completely up to you because you can use Bitcoins or a gift card. This means you could use a fake name in order to further protect your digital footprint.

Once payment is accepted, subscribers can navigate to the download area to get the software they need. The PIA client is available for all popular platforms. The .ovpn config files are also available for anybody that wants to connect using third party OpenVPN GUI, OpenVPN Connect (iOS), or OpenVPN for Android.

The PIA Windows VPN Client

The Private Internet Access client (VPN software) for Windows is a fully featured VPN client. It has all the most important, top of the range features and options. It might not be the best looking or most stylish front-end I have ever seen, but it is definitely functional, easy to navigate, and extremely feature packed.

Users can easily gain access to all of the advanced VPN settings by clicking “Advanced settings” on and off in the bottom left-hand corner. In simple mode, the client shows login setting options, and a drop-down menu for choosing between server locations.

Frustratingly, however, this version of the Windows client (V75) no longer has a “connect” button in the client. For this reason, you will need to connect to the VPN by right-clicking on the PIA icon in your system tray in the bottom right of your screen.

This isn’t a huge problem, but it certainly isn’t as ergonomic as other VPN clients on the market. The good news is that you can set PIA to auto-connect – so that you don’t have to manually connect in this manner every time you start up your computer.

In advanced mode, users can select their encryption preferences. The Connection button gives users access to useful features such as port forwarding (you can use this if you’re hosting mail or gaming servers). You can also turn on a per-app kill switch to protect your data in case the VPN connection drops out (this stops you from accidentally leaking data to your ISP). Users can also select between OpenVPN UDP and TCP. UDP is better for streaming media as it typically provides slightly faster speeds. 

I have noticed some people complaining that the kill switch can be bit temperamental. However, this is believed to have been improved in one of the more recent software updates. It certainly seemed to work fine during my time testing PIA, though, to be fair, I didn’t notice the VPN connection drop out. 

PIA also provides DNS and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) protection. You can see the results of my tests of these features in the next section. PIA users can also select “smaller packets” which “fixes issues on some networks.”

Finally, PIA now also has a feature called PIA Mace. This blocks malware, trackers, and adverts while you are connected to the VPN. It’s a nice extra. I disabled my adblockers on an advert-heavy website and found it to work fine (for blocking adverts).

One thing worth remembering is that the PIA client does not auto-update or have an update checker. As such, you will need to check the website from time to time to see if PIA has released a new version of the VPN client.

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

In the latter part of last year, BestVPN.com invested in the world’s most efficient speed test system. It is a server-based solution that allows BestVPN.com to get much more accurate speed test results than any other VPN comparison website. For a detailed explanation of how our new scientific speed test system works, please look here.

Our new method of speed testing VPNs is far better than using online speed test websites and services. However, if you want to test your VPN’s speeds yourself you are welcome to do so using this website here. (It is the best site for this that I have discovered so far.)

All speed tests were conducted using OpenVPN config files. As you can see from the graph below, PIA provides average download speeds of 17.8 Mbit/s and Max speeds of 71.8 Mbit/s (average across all server locations). These results are for the period running from 11/18/2017 to 01/18/2018:

As you can see, PIA compares favorably to two popular VPN providers. However, it is quite a bit slower than the current fastest VPNs.

I decided to compare PIA’s UK speeds using our reliable speed test methodology against the speeds provided by PIA’s website speed test system. I tested the London server using PIA’s website and selected GB in our speed test server front end. According to PIA, download speeds were 42.93 Mbit/s. Our test servers (I set the average to the last 24 hours) displayed results of 18.1 Mbit/s.

This is quite a large difference, which makes me slightly suspicious of PIA’s speed test system. Of course, it is possible that PIA is testing its servers with a PPTP connection, which would explain the faster speeds.

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. IPv6 leaks also came back negative (I had a colleague test for these types of leaks with IPv6 leak protection enabled). 

I will mention that some people have discovered a WebRTC leak while using PIA in the past. The WebRTC bug can reveal your true location. For this reason, PIA users may want to plug this possible hole by disabling WebRTC in their browser. This is an easy job in Firefox (just Google it). In Chrome, you can use this browser extension to stop WebRTC leaks. As far as I am concerned this is unnecessary because I discovered no WebRTC leaks during my tests.

However, at BestVPN.com we do recommend using ipleak.net to check for leaks yourself from time to time. For more info on WebRTC leaks and how to plug them, please look here.

Other Platforms

Private Internet Access VPN has compatible 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

To make life easier, PIA has setup guides and tutorials to help set up every single platform. This means that even beginners should be able to set up and use PIA on any platform without much trouble.


Private Internet Access has a dedicated Android app. I decided to give it a quick look to see how it compares to its Windows counterpart. In the looks department, the Android client is exactly the same as its Windows counterpart. It even has all the same premium features, such as the kill switch and the wide variety of encryption options. The same is also true of auto-connect. In addition, it is also possible to select between Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP), which is handy if you want to use OpenVPN UDP to stream.

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 VPN Review: Conclusion

I liked:

  • Strong encryption and lots of customizable options
  • Software of a high standard on all 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
  • Super cheap if you get a yearly or two-yearly subscription
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Easy to use
  • Amazing website and blog
  • Excellent FAQs and Guides
  • P2P is permitted

I wasn’t so sure about:

  • Customer care response took seven hours
  • Killswitch fails occasionally (according to consumers)

I hated:

  • Doesn’t unblock US Netflix
  • Doesn’t unblock BBC iPlayer

PIA runs a high-quality VPN service that provides fantastic levels of privacy. The software is easy to use and has all the best VPN features. In addition, customer care problems (that were being reported regularly last year) appear to have been fixed. I managed to get a response from their team within half a day. 

PIA is perfect for people who are accustomed to VPNs and are confident with fixing any small issues that might arise. Even people with the patience to look through the website to sort out any issues should have a good experience with PIA. However, if you prefer 24/7 live chat support- please look elsewhere.

Speeds are pretty good and are comparable to many other premium VPNs. However, it is not the fastest VPN available by any stretch of the imagination. In addition, my tests revealed that PIA VPN does not unblock Netflix US or BBC iPlayer – you get what you pay for!

If you want the very best VPN, with super fast speeds and all the best unblocking capabilities – or perhaps a VPN that isn’t based in the US (with its warrants and gag orders) – you should probably spend a few extra dollars. However, if you are looking for a workable VPN for privacy – that costs very little – Private Internet Access still remains one of the best options on the market.  

Visit PIA »

Ray Walsh


Опубликовано: Январь 25, 2018.

March 22nd, 2018

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.

86 ответы на “Private Internet Access VPN

  1. Branden :

    I made the mistake of purchasing this service for 1 year. After about 14 days of the service working just fine, it started to get very finicky. It would literally disconnect me from the internet. After about a week of this, I found a new VPN. I asked for a refund or partial refund and they refused. Some customer service with a garbage service provided. If they service isn’t working, they should at least offer a partial refund.

  2. Ian Gardener :


    I paid for a sub and never got my activation email. I got my receipt instantly, auto responses to my complaints immediately, but no software,no refund and nobody answers my queries. BEWARE !!!

  3. Teevy :

    Yeah, if you’re on mac osx their client sucks. It will work for a while then it will have to be reinstalled which includes opening the terminal and removing deep files, then restarting. It won’t work across accounts on the same computer and after almost a year they won’t fix it. They’re nice, but they won’t fix it.

  4. Emilio Aguilar Ladrón de Bolonia :

    Utilizo PIA desde Europa. La mayoría de los servidores en paises europeos son muy rápidos y fiables. Se conecta pronto y no hay interrupciones del servicio. Es una VPN totalmente aconsejable y después de probar otras, decidí seguir con ellos (ya son tres años). Actualmente pago 59,95 $ por dos años de servicio.
    Mi único temor es que la NSA o cualquier otro servicio de los EEUU puedan acceder a la red PIA, quiero creer en su profesionalidad pero la duda siempre existe.

  5. Michael Dembski :

    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

  6. kingu3 :

    the Chrome extension  unblock netflix t
    9/10 for me

  7. Alexey Trubetskoy :

    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. Douglas Crawford :

      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.

  8. Lee :

    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.

    1. Douglas Crawford :

      Hi Lee,

      Support is definitely one of PIA’s weaknesses.

  9. Rich :

    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.

  10. al :

    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. Douglas Crawford :

      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.

  11. Steve D :

    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.

  12. John :

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

    1. Douglas Crawford :

      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.

  13. Beven Spangenberg :

    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!

  14. Jack :

    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.

    1. Douglas Crawford :

      Hi Jack,

      Netflix is blocking the IPs belonging to many VPN services, and it seems PIA is on the list. Please check out How To Unblock The Netflix Proxy Block for a list of VPN services that currently work with Netflix.

  15. wright :

    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.

  16. David Ireland :


    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. Ray Walsh :

      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!

  17. H. Uffington :

    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.

  18. Hi :

    Pia dose unblock Netflix now

    1. Douglas Crawford :

      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.

  19. Hate3LetterOrg :

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

  20. Chuck :

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

  21. Gordon :

    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.

  22. T.P. :

    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.

  23. Steve :

    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.

  24. Dan Sysco :

    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.

  25. Anirban :

    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.

  26. mike :

    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. Douglas Crawford :

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

  27. adrian :

    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

  28. Volodymyr :

    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!!!

  29. Marco :

    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

  30. integrity :

    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.

  31. Don :

    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. Douglas Crawford :

      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.

  32. Omir :

    I am looking for a VPN which balances security and privacy as a priority. Might there a few suggestions on any?

  33. pr :

    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.

  34. TC :

    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

  35. DD :

    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. Douglas Crawford :

      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. PIA User :

        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.

        1. Douglas Crawford :

          Hi PIA User,

          Do you know if its a Cloudflare thing?

  36. M :

    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 ..

  37. M :

    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..

  38. Oscat Delgadillo :

    Como hago para comprar usuario y contraseña pia

    1. Douglas Crawford :

      Hola Oscat,

      To but a subscription for PIA, visit the website and click on the relevant link.

      Para una suscripción a PIA, visite el sitio web y haga clic en el enlace correspondiente.

  39. Erling Hansen :

    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.

    1. Vitor Rozsas :

      Why? Explain.

  40. Jefe :

    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. Anthony Dickinson :

      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. Douglas Crawford :

        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.

  41. Luke :

    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. Douglas Crawford :

      Hi Luke,

      You are right that a VPN app should not require admin privileges. So good point.

    2. ManTaboo :

      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. Douglas Crawford :

        Hi ManTaboo,

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

  42. James :

    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. Douglas Crawford :

      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).

  43. brad :

    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.

  44. nickolas :

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

  45. Mario :

    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. Douglas Crawford :

      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?

  46. Shaun McMaster :

    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.


    1. Douglas Crawford :

      Hi Shaun,

      The PIA desktop client does include a kill switch, which should help with this.

  47. Josh Yelon :

    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 Crawford :

      Hi Josh,

      The PIA desktop client does include a kill switch to help prevent this problem.

      1. JT :

        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. Douglas Crawford :

          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.

  48. kolawole :

    How can I get this vpn on my laptop please I need enlightment please…

    1. Douglas Crawford :

      Hi kolawole,

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

  49. dharam :

    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
    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
    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
    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:

    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. Douglas Crawford :

      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…

  50. skybandit :

    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. Douglas Crawford :

      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. Cynthia Jensen :

      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.

  51. David :

    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,

    1. Douglas Crawford :

      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. Tom John :

        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.


        1. Douglas Crawford :

          Hi Tom,

          I personally use AirVPN. Check out my review to find out why.

  52. Dimitri M :

    Leave your feelings on PIA here.

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