INTERESTED in purchasing a new VPN subscription but don’t know where to start?
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a more affordable option at a bargain price.
- Private Internet Access VPN, from £1.67 per month – buy here
There are several reasons to use PIA, but if we had to choose one, it would be the customization options related to network settings.
That being said, you should be able to use Private Internet Access even if you are not a technical user.
In fact, PIA is one of the few VPN services that offers clients for less commonly used operating systems (OSs), including Linux – all of which are very easy to use and intuitive.
We tested Private Internet Access on Windows 11, but the VPN service is available on most desktop and mobile operating systems, including Android, macOS, and iOS.
Before we dive into the features and pricing details of PIA, here’s an evergreen article covering the basics. What is a VPN?.
Private Internet VPN review: at a glance
Private Internet Access offers a solid VPN service with the same intuitive interface across different platforms.
It also comes with some advanced network settings, as well as features not usually offered by VPN providers (more on this later).
PIA’s NextGen VPN network’ has locations in 84 countries around the world – this is slightly above average – and connections are consistently fast across the board.
Regarding privacy, Private Internet Access has publicly available no-logs policy.
However, the company has not undergone a third-party inspection, unlike NordVPN for example.
Finally, PIA VPN is officially the cheapest network we’ve tested.
Tested: February 2022, Windows 11
- Minimalist app
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Wide server network
- Advanced security settings
- No Logging Policy
- Customer support could be better
- No third-party security audits
- Owned by a corporation
What is a Private Internet Access VPN?
Private Internet Access was founded in 2010 by Korean-American businessman Andrew Lee, who allegedly wanted to anonymize users’ IP addresses on IRC (Internet Relay Chat.)
For context, it’s important to mention here that before changing its name to Kape, the company operated under the name Crossrider and was accused of adware tactics.
However, at the time of writing, the infrastructure of Private Internet Access VPN is still believed to be separate from Kape.
However, it is still cheaper than most of its competitors while still offering a very competitive range of features, especially in the area of cybersecurity.
Private Internet Access is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chromebook computers, as well as Android and iOS mobile devices, and some routers.
How much does it cost to use a private Internet access VPN?
- Private Internet Access VPN, £8.09 per month – buy here
- Private Internet Access VPN, £32.49 per year (save £64.59) – buy here
- Private Internet Access VPN, £65 every three years + three months (save £250.51) – buy here
Private Internet VPN is one of the cheapest we’ve tested.
Of course, as with most VPN services, the longer the subscription, the cheaper the price overall.
PIA’s ‘3 years + 3 months’ plan will cost you £1.67 per month, you will have to pay a one-time fee of £65.
This agreement is very similar to CyberghostPlan’s, cost £68.25 for the same contract term.
But while Cyberghost offers seven simultaneous connections, Private Internet Access allows ten, making it the best option in terms of absolute value.
Surfshark need a specific mention in this section. While the VPN is a bit more expensive than the PIA (around £1.84 for a one-year plan), it offers an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, making it a valid competitor.
Private Internet Access VPN: server and server locations
PIA’s NextGen VPN Network’ has server locations in 84 countries around the world.
This is a solid number, allowing Private Internet Access customers to use VPN connections from more countries than NordVPN or Surfshark, for example.
On the other hand, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN now have more servers in more countries than PIA, 88 and 94 respectively.
A quick note here: the company does not publicly disclose the exact number of servers. And while server concentration isn’t necessarily indicative of faster connection speeds, it can be a factor in how well a VPN performs.
All PIA servers come with unlimited bandwidth, which is a nice touch, especially when downloading large amounts of data.
VPN Private Internet Access: Security and Privacy
When it comes to security, a Private Internet Access VPN is a solid choice, with plenty of customizable settings.
These include variable encryption levels, multi-stepping and de-tuning features, and an efficient kill switch.
Subscribing to PIA also gives you access to various data authentication and handshake methods as well as OpenVPN and WireGuard technologies for faster downloads.
In addition, the software includes some network-specific security features, such as allowing you to set up specific rules for individual networks.
Privacy is solid too, with a clean no-logs policy and specialized features like a built-in resolver designed to get users’ DNS requests mixed up with those of other PIA users. for maximum anonymity.
At the time of writing, there are no reports of leaks of personal data of PIA users.
Private Internet Access VPN: speed and performance
Using PIA, you can download torrents from any server (as opposed to many VPN providers that offer dedicated servers for torrenting) and watch Netflix from different locations without lag.
But how is the application from a user interface perspective? The PIA client is very intuitive and has a consistent design across devices.
However, it’s not exactly as light as a feather, taking up almost 200MB of RAM’s power. It’s still an insignificant amount, considering the average computing power of today’s PCs, but it’s heavier ExpressVPNfor example, takes up only 75MB of RAM.
Before we dive into the pace of PIA, it’s important to mention here the company’s customer support, and how it’s still impacted.
We’ve tried contacting them a few times, and chat response times aren’t as fast as most VPN providers. In fact, once, we waited over twenty minutes before receiving a response.
That being said, when it comes to speed, the PIA is pretty fast, although we’ve had mixed results.
Below is a speed breakdown using different server options.
All servers in PIA have a latency indicator, expressed in milliseconds. The servers we tested experienced increasingly high latency, which affects not only download and upload speeds, but also ping speeds.
That being said, using PIA’s Smart Location server the results were almost completely consistent, with network speed and ping being affected only minimally.
That changed dramatically when we tried to connect to the higher latency servers, but even when our connection speed halved, we were still able to watch Netflix Japan for example. Version without any problems.
Just make sure your internet connection has a download speed of at least 10MB if you plan to use PIA’s higher latency servers for streaming, as less than 5MB may result in some lag. .
How many devices can be supported on a Private Internet Access VPN?
Subscribing to PIA VPN gives you access to ten simultaneous connections.
These include desktop and mobile devices, as well as supported browsers and game consoles.
Except SurfsharkOffering an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, PIA is the VPN provider that allows access to the highest number of simultaneously connected devices.
The only one who comes close is CyberGhost VPNoffer seven.
Private Internet Access VPN: is it any good?
Private Internet Access is a legit VPN service with plenty of security features and a clear no-logs policy (though it would be nice to get third-party security tested in the future).
It also works well with torrents and streaming sites, and its apps are minimalistic and easy to use.
Support response time is the only real weakness of this great VPN, it also offers ten simultaneous connections for a very affordable price (if you opt for the long-term plan).
Overall, we believe Private Internet Access is a well-rounded VPN service with some cool extras and is therefore a valid option to consider.
- Private Internet Access VPN, from £1.67 per month – buy here
How We Test VPN Services
Our experts at The Sun use Ookla to test the speed of the VPN services we review. We are based in London and are currently testing speeds over Wi-Fi. All tests are performed using the same machine and at the same distance from the router.
We test and review each VPN using the same processes and evaluate them by the same criteria each time.
These criteria are price, server quality and location, security and privacy, speed and performance, and number/type of supported devices.
All of our reviews are editorially independent and unbiased.
Make sure you know your country’s laws and regulations if you’re not sure how you’re using the VPN service.
Liked our PIA review? Then why not check out our roundup of the best VPNs for Netflix in 2022.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8444205/pia-private-internet-access-vpn-review/ High value and many features