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Private Internet Access VPN Service Review

Five-Star Reader Ratings

☆ Rating:✓ Pros: I have never had an issue with speeds, even when remote accessing my home computer at 1920x1200 with low compression and both ends being run through their service.  Latency is good, especially considering I am connecting from rural Alaska. I actually regularly get better latency through it, due to bad routing in my location.  Their wide variety of payment methods was initially a factor in what brought me here after trying quite a few others.  Well made apps are available for smartphones, never had an issue with them.  Good price.  Lots of servers to choose from around the world.  Good privacy policy, as close to anonymous purchasing as you can get.✗ Cons: In two years of service, I can't think of anything.  ☁ Comments: PIA provides flawless service at a good price, they support all major platforms well, and have a number of payment methods, including bitcoin.
☆ Rating:✓ Pros: Consistent speed, multiple regions (hope they add more EU countries!), and ease of use on multiple devices.✗ Cons: No iOS client (as of March 2015), but I hear they're in the process of releasing one.. can't wait!☁ Comments: PIA has consistently shown itself to value privacy, freedom of speech, and affordability. They don't have the most fancy client software, but their service rocks.
☆ Rating:✓ Pros: Lots of locations, most of the time can do 50+ mbps, they seem to care about privacy.✗ Cons: Some IPs get banned from some services (due to other users?), but can switch to a different server to get around the issue.☁ Comments: Good speeds and lots of servers/locations.
☆ Rating:✓ Pros: I like that there are lots access points to connect to. ✗ Cons: The popular hubs are crowded at peak times. e.g. East coast servers. Also, the higher encryption bit rates slow down the connection quite a bit. Lastly, I wish the VPN app would run without having to be installed on the computer.☁ Comments: It's best value for this type of VPN service.
☆ Rating:✓ Pros: PIA's price of $7/mo or $40/yr is excellent. I like the privacy reassurances given by shared IP and their no logging policy. On my 100mbps (advertised rate) internet I get 117mbps down and 11mbps up at 27ms ping on PIA's east cost server. Needless to say I am very impressed with the speed delivered by their servers. And finally a VPN is no good if it doesnt work on every platform you want to use it on so it's great that PIA supports Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, various flavors of Linux, even custom firmware such as DD-WRT for routers. They also allow multiple connection methods such as OpenVPN, L2TP and even SOCKS proxy. They have a wide variety of gateways in different countries. Their Windows and Mac clients offer killswitch and IPv6 leak protection which are always great features to have. In short, PIA is an excellent VPN service with little to no disadvantages.✗ Cons: They do limit to only 5 devices simultaneously but this can be worked around by either buying or configuring a router on your own that has PIA access built-in and then your whole household can share. Then the only separate access you'll need is for your mobile devices. I'd like to see the option to maybe pay a little more to have more than 5 devices on one account although I guess you could just sign up for 2 accounts (hassle with multiple usernames and passwords) I've used PIA for at least a year now and there are very little disadvantages and tons of advantages.☁ Comments: Price, performance, privacy via shared IP and compatibility with various platforms make PIA a standout service.
☆ Rating:✓ Pros: The client apps are automatically configured, so I don't have to be a network expert to set anything up. I just pick a destination server from a drop-down list and Presto! I'm connected from any location I choose, and fully anonymized. They have dozens of servers, a massive bandwidth, and no usage limitations. I get a fast, reliable connection 95% of the time. If there is anything laggy about the connection, I can just switch to another server and I'm back on track.✗ Cons: The service drops from time to time. I have to utilize an additional layer of security to shut down my processes in case PIA drops my IP address. I also have my firewall set up to try and block traffic through my regular IP. Most days, it's not a problem, but I'm still scared that one of these service breaks could compromise my privacy, even if just for 30-60 seconds.☁ Comments: PIA is inexpensive, secure, and hassle-free.
☆ Rating:✓ Pros: Android (and iOS) app, Windows 7 app. Good price for the year. Their attitude toward user privacy.✗ Cons: Occasionally I seem to route from US to Canada even though I select a US server. (Google will ask if I want to use Google.Ca instead of Some servers can be slow at times, but I would just disconnect and choose another server. On rare occasions, I do find several servers close to me to be slow at times. I would give a ridiculously slow failure rate (very slow for more than 10 minutes on most servers) of 4 times in 3 years, with almost daily usage.☁ Comments: Good service, policies and price with multiple servers to connect through on the PC and Android devices.

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MORE: VPN Services in the Forums

  • 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.