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Private Internet Access VPN Service Review

Four-Star Reader Ratings

☆ Rating:✓ Pros: The speed and anonymity.✗ Cons: The windows client itself can be a little clunky to use at times, particularly if running in a sandbox VM. You often have to close and reopen the client to get it to connect when starting up your VM.☁ Comments:PIA works as advertised. With a little bit of setup, you can even use a bit torrent client and use about 90% of your available bandwidth.
☆ Rating:✓ Pros: It worked every time I used it. The torrent download speeds are good. Offers multiple locations within US, UK and other countries to choose from.✗ Cons: Doesn't work with Hulu as they are able to identify PIA servers and prevent streaming services. But in PIA's defense this is an issue with HULU preventing access.☁ Comments: PIA offers OpenVPN, PPTP and IPSEC/L2TP. The prices are reasonable and cheaper than the competition.
☆ Rating:✓ Pros: Works smoothly.✗ Cons: Some configuration options are restricted to the official application. Those options, like AES-256, RSA-4096 cannot be configured through pfsense, for example. There is also a lack of support for non-nist certified encryption for openvpn, e.g CAMELLIA-256-CBC.☁ Comments: Great service and price. Minus one star for lack of advanced configuration options for pfsense/router vpn setup.
☆ Rating:✓ Pros: PIA's price is very competitive when compared to similarly featured VPNs. One subscription allows for as many as 5 simultaneous connections across many OSes. Nodes are available throughout the world and don't increase latency too severely.✗ Cons: Speed is reduced no matter how you slice it. This isn't the biggest problem, nor is it unexpected, but it is a drawback. This is a little frustrating when downloading *ahem* large files, but isn't a issue for most streaming or online games.☁ Comments: Good anonymity for a reasonable price, but speed leaves something to be desired.
☆ Rating:✓ Pros: Many dispersed geographic locations plus locations in my area. Supports multiple clients (don't have to put it on a dedicated server or router)  Reasonable cost  No transfer limits. ✗ Cons: The 'native' client seems to have overhead issues (activity on the link when no traffic is flowing).  I use the OPENVPN access to move my GitHub traffic (pulls, syncs etc.) for my firmware projects.☁ Comments: This is an easy-to-use VPN service with many possible end-points.
☆ Rating:✓ Pros: Price is great in my book.  I like the number of locations they have in the US.✗ Cons: My main complaint is that they do not have an API where you can stop some applications from running if the link is down. They will stop all traffic but I would like more control.  The other issue is that they do not auto connect all the time. Wish the software would auto reset to try to start the session again.☁ Comments: I have been very pleased with this service. Have used it for a couple of years and find the price to be very reasonable.

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  • xstrike9999
    Review VPN Unlimited please!
  • Marko Milic
    PIA gets good once setup. The default settings caused me slow speeds.
  • dbaps22
    Being a Verizon Fios customer, over the last six - nine months I have noticed, at times,significant drops in bandwidth. It got so bad that I started testing privateinternetaccess on and off. The results are laughable. Im paying for160Kbps up and down. Now if I look at those speedtests Verizon gives you, that I am getting what I paid for...But I did large download and upload file transfers and the speed would drop down to 5 or 10 Kbps. I'm not joking either. I wrote two letters to the FCC. The first was about VerizonWireless capping my unlimited monthly service. The second was about this with Fios. We pay a lot of money for Fios.

    This doesn't happen all the time. It's in the evenings as you would expect. I will run 5-10 tests in a row and they are all the same, appearing to be throttled. I'm not changing anything except turning on and off the VPN connection.
  • greenmr
    One more comment. PIA allows payment by gift card for improved anonymity, but only US gift cards work. Apparently SOME foreign gift cards will work if they are issued by a US-based company, but the only way to find out if a foreign card works is to buy it and try to use it for payment to PIA. If it doesn't work you are SOL. Also note that due to transaction costs, using a gift card for payment means your subscription will cost extra.
  • greenmr
    I've been using PIA for a couple of weeks and I am mostly pleased with it, but a few things should be noted...

    1. While PIA advertises port forwarding, you are only allowed on forwarded port, which is a problem if you like to run, say, eMule and a bittorrent client at the same time. Luckily eMule allows you to put the TCP and UDP listeners on the same port, but if you try to tell your torrent client to use the same port then eMule will be unable to get a high ID or use KAD.

    2. Even if you can get away with a single forwarded port, port forwarding with PIA is very spotty. Only some of the endpoints support it, and no matter how I try, even many of the listed ones absolutely refuse to forward for me. I find myself always using one Canadian endpoint that has a higher success rate, but even then I often have to reconnect three or four times before PIA forwards a port for me. PIA support told me to turn off forwarding and connect to a different endpoint, then disconnect again, turn on forwarding, then reconnect to the desired endpoint. This does improve chances of getting a forwarded port, but it is cumbersome, to say the least. I have read other users reporting that the list of forwarding endpoints is not up to date, and that in fact some of the other endpoints support it, while some of the listed ones actually don't.

    3. If, like me, you do your torrenting in a VM to protect your main files against malicious sites, you should know that PIA does not provide support for its service when used in a VM.

    4. I am unable to use the highest encryption level for authentication with PIA, I am forced to use SHA1 for authentication and AES-128 for data encryption. PIS support told me that some older processors are unable to manage higher encryption levels, but I'm running a quad-core i7 Haswell. On hearing this PIA support fell back on the "Virtual machines are unsupport" argument.

    5. Connectivity sometimes just goes away with no obvious notification. My P2P clients will suddenly drop to zero throughput and web browsers are then unable to resolve DNS or transfer any packets. The PIA icon in the taskbar will still be reporting a good connection, but the only solution is to disconnect and reconnect again.

  • Jetpil0t
    As other users have reported, the client is a major problem for PIA. Often the client will reduce your throughput to nothing, despite being connected, requiring a service/client restart as the application or Virtual Adapter has clearly failed. The client will also push extreme resource utilization and present with poor performance before failing to work at all, requiring a system restart in some cases. Very annoying.

    I also find in Windows 7 and 8 the client is really unreliable, especially if you use the Kill Switch and DNS Leak protection features. When you exit the application, it will "sometimes" remove the DNS Leak protection and Kill Switch settings, often however it won't, forcing you to revert your physical adapter settings manually, a real chore if you are using a static IP. The implementation of either of these features within the PIA client is poor and I believe just forces system registry edits to do it, so if you use Tea Timer or a registry control application, these features won't work at all.

    Also the client fails to work correctly on a laptop when coming in and out of standby mode, it will attempt to reconnect on wake, but will never connect, requiring user intervention to manually reestablish connection.

    Local server performance in AU can vary wildly, especially during peak periods.

    When it works, it works great, but it's just a very unreliable application if you wish to use it consistently. If you can configure another application to manage your VPN connection, I would recommend that.

    The OSX client appears to significantly more stable.