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Secure and private internet access, but also the ability to watch streaming services, reduce latency or download more securely from P2P networks. These are the reasons why people get a VPN. Do you want a fast and secure VPN? Then come read our review of Private Internet Access (PIA), which is a VPN that you can use on 10 devices at the same time. And what else can it do?
Introducing Private Internet Access VPN
Private Internet Access (PIA) has been on the market since 2010. It was founded by Korean-American entrepreneur Andrew Lee, who wanted to use the VPN service to support the anonymization of users of the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) chat system. However, as time moved on, people found many other uses for VPNs. In just over 10 years, it’s gone from a simple IP address hiding tool to a pretty sophisticated VPN with a lot of things you won’t find in the competition.
In 2019, Kape Technologies purchased this VPN, which has raised significant privacy concerns for many users. At the time, Kape Technologies went to great lengths to convince PIA users that privacy and security would remain the company’s top priority.
What is the main attraction of this VPN?
On behalf of myself as a user, I would like to highlight the simplicity of the application in the first place. All VPNs have simple apps like NordVPN, but Private Internet Access is probably the simplest VPN app I’ve seen so far. It has a lot of settings and features that you need in a VPN.
PIA is not just about a simple application, it’s about privacy. More paranoid users can take advantage of anonymous payments, for example, where they can pay for the VPN using cryptocurrencies or third-party gift cards, de facto protecting their identity from the VPN. That’s something you don’t see much of with competitors.
Security is what I expect from a VPN, so it’s good that the PIA is really committed to such things. What about technical matters? Private Internet Access promises the fastest VPN. This is not unusual, as almost every VPN promises the fastest servers in the world. In my personal test, I found PIA to have a stable connection and low latency, but be careful what servers you connect to. In more exotic areas, where there are fewer servers, latency can be higher, which will not please, for example, PC gaming enthusiasts. Private Internet Access is a fast VPN.
Best features of Private Internet Access
Why did I write the best features? Because Private Internet Access can do so much more, I’ll only describe the essential features that a VPN must not miss.
Protection when gaming
Because PIA is a fast VPN with low latency (ping), it is suitable as a VPN for gaming. Gamers will appreciate the high-speed connection without unnecessary delays. When playing some games, it is often useful to change your location (geolocation). For example, to gain access to games that are geo-blocked.
Block ads, spies and malicious websites
Private Internet Access has a unique MACE system that was developed personally by this company to help protect the privacy of its users. This system works better than AdBlock, Ghostery uBlock and so on.. This function must be enabled in the application settings. I’ve tried it and it works really well. It blocks ads efficiently and quickly, but It does not block ads on YouTube, for example. You can count on it to block traditional annoying ad formats, spyware and malware.
Privacy and identity protection
A VPN can hide your IP address, so that when you connect to the VPN, you become anonymous to internet services. You must be careful not to log in to the service with your own user details, as the service will then recognise you. But that’s obvious to everyone. When you use Private Internet Access, your real location and IP address will be hidden and the communication between you and the Internet is encrypted. Suddenly you can browse the internet more freely than ever before.
Servers in 84 countries
Private Internet Access reportedly has just over 35,000 servers in 84 countries. A strict no-logging policy (not storing data about you) is guaranteed everywhere. A higher number of servers should guarantee faster connection speeds from anywhere in the world. The only thing I don’t like about this VPN is the inability to choose which server you connect to. You can only select the state you want to connect to, but the menu is already missing some specific locations in that state. I guess Private Internet Access controls the server load in each location, so it connects you to where the load is lower and you are guaranteed a faster connection speed.
Open-source is open code that anyone can look into. Why should we as users care? Because Private Internet Access is a VPN with open-source applications. In fact, the company wants to show its 100% transparency, so it makes the source code of its apps available for everyone to see. This allows the community around the service to analyse the source code to see if the service can deliver on its promises of privacy, security and so on. Well, that actually increases its credibility.
10 devices simultaneously
Private Internet Access can be used on 10 devices simultaneously. This VPN has apps for just about every operating system and for a range of devices, includingiOS, Android, Windows, Linux, and macOS. You can connect from everywhere. Because up to 10 devices can log in at the same time, your whole family can use the VPN for one payment.
Private Internet Access has all the extra features to protect users, such as a kill switch that immediately disconnects you from the Internet in the event of a VPN failure, dedicated IP (for an additional fee), advanced split tunneling, protection when connecting to public WiFi, IP hiding, WireGuard® protocol, and support for L2TP and PPTP, which some VPNs don’t support due to obsolescence.
Price of VPN Private Internet Access
PIA is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market, but it does have one small catch. It is cheapest if you pay for 3 years in advance. If you order a 3-year VPN, you’ll get almost 50% off the price of a 1-year order. This is nothing new, and most competing VPNs have chosen this payment model.
The difference in the tariffs is therefore only in their length of validity. There are currently three options to choose from – pay for one month, pay for one year and pay for 3 years. The shorter the period, the more expensive the VPN will be.
Once again, I must stress the number of devices that can connect to the VPN at once. PIA will allow you 10 devices. When compared to others here, Private Internet Access is among the few VPNs that allow you to connect so many devices. I have to give a definite thumbs up here.
Finally, I must not forget the 30 day money back guarantee. This makes it convenient to test your Private Internet Access VPN in the long term. If you are not satisfied, you will get your money back.
Private Internet Access app
I’ve already written about apps here in the review, but I’m dedicating this section to it because it’s important. Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS are such a base where you can expect to have this VPN app. However, Private Internet Access can also be installed as a plugin for Chrome, Firefox and Opera.
You can use PIA on routers, smart TVs like Apple TV, Roku TV, and you can even secure your game console. In short, this VPN can be used almost anywhere. As a regular user, you will not encounter any limits.
Pros and cons
|+ Possibility to connect unlimited number of devices at the same time
|- Inability to choose a server (state only)
|+ Great safety
|- Dedicated IP for an extra fee
|+ Fast VPN
|+ Servers in 84 countries
|+ WireGuard Protocol
|+ Easy to use applications
Evaluation and conclusion
Private Internet Access is a VPN that does not have any major drawback. While there is a huge push on the VPN website to highlight data security and not storing it, the company doesn’t talk about any third-party security audits. On the other hand, PIA is a so-called OpenVPN, so their source code can be inspected and audited by anyone. The company boasts of 100% transparency and if they were unable to deliver on their promises, they probably wouldn’t make their codes publicly available.
PIA has a high number of servers, so it’s a VPN with a good infrastructure. I’m sorry that I can’t choose a specific connection location (city) in a given country. CyberGhost VPN, for example, does this and gives you a choice of multiple cities in a given location. This is something that the average user probably won’t use, so if you don’t need it, you won’t find any restrictions in Private Internet Access VPN.
The ability to connect 10 devices at the same time is a great offer that you can use either with your family or with colleagues at work. If you split the cost of a VPN between the devices, you’ll end up with a ridiculous amount of money for a VPN. This makes PIA one of the cheapest VPNs on the market.
Why use this service? Definitely because of the advanced data encryption, simple application, large number of servers and fast connection. To be honest, I choose a VPN based on the application. I want it to have advanced setup options but be simple to use. This is what Private Internet Access does and why I like it.
Come and read our regularly updated comparison of the best VPN.