PIA VPN or Private Internet Access-Virtual Private Network is one of the oldest and most trusted names in the VPN industry. PIA VPN is owned by London Trust Media based in Los Angeles, California (USA). The company’s goal is to bring back the internet to the user allowing them browse the web as they wish without restrictions, without getting tracked and having their privacy breached.
Private Internet Access VPN’s motive is to:
“Bring the internet back to its original state. Ensuring you are in your own private world, where you can explore, learn and create. Using advances in technology, including but not limited to those in privacy, security, cryptography and peer to peer, PIA aims to change things back. No more big data.”
Private Internet Access, the VPN service with thousands of satisfied clients globally .They use the simplest method: offer a great service for a great price. Private Internet Access has grown tremendously in a time of just two years; they are constantly increasing their presence in different countries, they are adding servers at multiple location, they are adding active IP to cater more and more subscriber and the result is obvious; number of subscribers are adding up at a marvelous rate.
Private Internet Access VPN as a brand consider two features:
- Their highly competitive pricing.
- The “ABSOLUTLY NO LOGS” policy.
Although these would sound like simple features, when comparing with the competition PIA VPN manages to maintain decent prices and their absolutely zero logs policy.
Some more outstanding features are as follow.
DNS Leak Protection:
This feature removes the default DNS servers of user allowing them to use only the DNS servers assigned by VPN provider. PIA uses its own private DNS servers to resolve user’s DNS queries, enabling greater level of privacy by ensuring all DNS requests are routed only via VPN. PIA DNS leak protection feature also ensures that user’s anonymity remains unharmed even if user manually change his DNS servers.
Internet Kill Switch:
It will delete internet gateway assigned by user’s ISP when the VPN disconnects to avoid leakage of IP address. In case the user is disconnected from VPN, the internet kill switch will automatically halt user’s internet connectivity to ensure their original IP or location won’t exposed.
Private Internet Access provides Socks5 Proxy facility with all of its accounts. This protocol is offered for older devices which are not compatible with Private Internet Access app or Open VPN protocol. It ensures identity protection and accessibility to geo-restricted content.
IPv6 Leak Protection:
This feature provider IPv6 leakage by automatically disabling user’s IPv6 network address. This option will not block IPv6 on Windows XP operating system if you have manually enabled it. For Mac and Linux OS is it enabled by default.
Port forwarding feature is used to redirect a request from one port number and address to another while the packets travels across firewall or router. Only a handful of VPN providers offer this facility, PIA is one of them. Although, it is not recommended as it reduces privacy.
P2P and VoIP Support:
All subscriptions come with P2P support and facilitate VoIP. Valuable features that will continue to contribute in the popularity of PIA. A number of major VPN service providers can take lessons from PIA on simplifying processes and services for customer convenience.
The fact that PIA does not levy any extra charges for across-the-board P2P and VoIP support is a plus-point that works in favor of this VPN service provider. Some VPN providers either charge extra for P2P and VoIP support or choose to limit the availability of these features to specific subscription plans.
Reliable Wi-Fi Protection:
On December 18, 2013, CBS News recommended PIA as a VPN to use if internet usage involves connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi connections.
PIA is a strong advocate of privacy protection and provides Wi-Fi protection with consistency. To facilitate Wi-Fi protection, PIA offers functionality on both iOS & Android platforms.
This makes it easy to access the internet under the protection coverage of PIA VPN – regardless of the device and platform in use. To make the task simpler, PIA provides detailed setup tutorials on the website.
Operating System and Device Compatibility
PIA offers dedicated clients software for Windows and Mac (OSX) for installation on desktop and laptop machines. For handheld devices it provides dedicated apps only for Android and iOS to setup VPN services on tablets & smart phones. However, tutorials and guides are available on providers’ website to manually setup PIA VPN on OSX, Windows, Ubuntu (Linux), DD-WRT Router, Tomato Router, Boxee Box and others.
Private Internet Access Plans and Pricing
Three basic package plans are offered by PIA VPN service: monthly package plan, 6 month package plan and yearly package plan. All the features are equally available in each of them.
PIA with its no log policy represents feature-rich package plans offering unlimited bandwidth, multiple gateways, Wi-Fi encryption and P2P along with VoIP support.
Server Count and Spread
PIA has added abundance of new servers in the past year to serve customers; more than 3337+ servers are currently active in 20+ different countries. However, focus seems to be directed completely towards increasing the number of servers instead of entering new countries. Server dispersion has remained limited to 10 countries for the last few months. Hong Kong, Israel and Australia were the ones added lately on the country list PIA.
Even though the increasing barrage of overwhelmingly positive customer reviews for PIA indicates that the company is hard at work to ensure quality service.
PIA is clearly following a Netflix type approach in which no country is entered unless service superiority can be guaranteed. With such a dense server spread, we wouldn’t be surprised if half of the servers on the PIA server list go off-line as part of collateral damage.
PrivateInternetAccess Protocols and Encryption
Offering a variety of tunneling protocols PIA VPN ensure users can primarily secure their IP addresses and online privacy. Available tunneling protocols include PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec offering a great mix of security and speed.
Private Internet Access VPN offer the following encryption strengths to ensure you can secure yourself online while you enjoy an array of services like video, music, gaming, P2P & Torrent file sharing, browsing etc. Here is a list of encryption standards followed:
- Default Recommended Protection — AES-128 / SHA1 / RSA-2048
- All Speed No Safety — None / None / ECC-256k1
- Maximum Protection — AES-256 / SHA256 / RSA-4096
- Risky Business — AES-128 / None / RSA-2048
The list mentioned above establishes your preferred protection level, deployed encryption standard and certificate authentication standard. For instance, if you desire the default protection your data will be encrypted using 128bit encryption keys over SHA1 algorithms, while your passwords and usernames will be encryption and authenticated using RSA-2048bit keys.
The Absolute Zero Activity Logs policy not only a USP but the most consistent privacy feature from PIA VPN. Although the statement stands true for the Private Internet Access VPN, they do log in your personal information like email and payment data.
One of the aspects of PIA VPN that was new is the inclusion of Google tracking cookies on the provider’s website. It not only tracks your original location but also delivers ads based on your browsing preferences.
PIA VPN also complies with the DMCA, so ensure nothing illegal is ever hosted or viewed using the service since the authorities will come looking for offenders. PIA VPN management will in this case submit all available data to the relevant authorities who come with a warrant.
The top banner has basic informational links, contact info, and subscription pathways.
Meanwhile, the bottom portion of the page after a few scrolls shows more in-depth links and legal information.
Free Trial and Payment Methods:
There is no free trial associated with Private Internet Access VPN you do however get a 7 Day Money Back Guarantee in case the service doesn’t inspire you.
Private Internet Access VPN ensures everyone and anyone from around the world can easily sign up to their services. While some are plain ordinary payment mediums, other anonymous methods are also available to signup privately with PIA VPN.
PIA VPN Available Payment Methods:
- Credit Cards
- Google Wallet
Unfortunately, PIA does not offer any free demos so you will have to make do with the seven (7) days refund policy if they fail to cater your needs with their service & performance. But make sure you look up customer support before you give up on the service. PIA offers 24/7 Live Chat on the website as well as a Support Center led by a comprehensive knowledge base team. For users who still remain unsatisfied, the website allows users to open Support Tickets.
PIA offers feature-rich package plans at affordable price. Not only this, PIA has wide range of servers allowing the users to break through divergent geo-restrictions. DNS Leak Protection in addition is a feature that link up with more value to the package plans.
PIA VPN doesn’t recount much effect on either Internet speed or ping; hence, it can be considered as a viable alternative. Nonetheless, PIA doesn’t offer a FREE trial which will probably be a loophole impeding purchase decision of many.