Private Internet Access VPN Review- Is it Really Private?

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Kenneth G Aranda

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15min read

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PIA VPN is among the popular VPN providers that people have praised. It offers robust security that includes VPN leak protection and highly customizable encryption. The various privacy features also ensure greater online safety.



Encryption Type

Third-Party Audit

Log Policy


Smart DNS



Dedicated IP


Double VPN

Ad blocker

Malware Blocker

Password Manager


Gaming Support

Torrent Support

Streaming Supports



Free Version


AES 256



15 million.

84 countries.




30-day money-back guarantee



Secure up to 10 devices



Private Internet access is a user-friendly VPN service owned by Kape Technologies. The VPN offers the cheapest subscription plans with unique security features. While most VPNs only claim to offer high security, PIA is working on fulfilling its promise. 

It provides advanced encryption and fast protocols like other premium VPN services. However, not all VPNs are created the same; while some services fulfill their promise, others don’t. While exploring PIA VPN, we found some downsides to it. 

PIA VPN tends to lag, and the infamous records of Kape Technologies raise doubts about security. Therefore, I have decided to dig deep into its policies and features. I looked into its no-log policy, history, features functionality, etc. This review will discuss whether PIA VPN delivers what it claims!

Who owns PIA VPN?

PIA was founded in 2010 under the parent company London Trust Media. Andrew Lee started the company with the aim of preventing IP loss through Internet Relay Chat. Later, in 2019, Ted Kim, the CEO of the PIA, announced the VPN was merging with Kape Technologies. 

Kape Technology acquired PIA VPN for $95.5 million; and also owns other VPN services like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Zenmate. However, the past of Kape Technologies is quite alarming, but we focus on the present, and as for that, there is nothing to worry about. The company’s main focus is cybersecurity; other top-rated VPN services are working under it. 

PIA VPN key features.  

The VPN offers many security features, and to highlight those features, we have compiled them. Here is a table of all the key security features of Private Internet Access. 

Encryption.AES 128 and 256 bits
Protocols.OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), IKEv2, and WireGuard.
Log policy.Audited No logs.
Jurisdiction.Colorado, US 
Cost.$3.33/m- year
Servers.84 countries
Support type.Email and live chat.
Smart DNS.Yes. 
Speed.61.67  Mbps
Streaming. Youtube, Netflix, and Hulu. 
Downloading. Torrenting, P2P.
Work in China.Yes. 

From high encryption to fast protocols, PIA VPN offers its users excellent features. If you want to know more about PIA, keep reading. 

Is PIA VPN worth it?

VPNs are privacy tools, and with the increasing need for privacy, more people opt for them. However, it can be a task to find the right VPN. Searching for a reliable VPN, one of the pop-ups is PIA VPN. The VPN is a feature-packed service with high encryption and security features. 

However, its parent company is famous for being involved in adware development previously, and the constant lagging concerns users. Moreover, the VPN cannot unblock major streaming sites. Clearly, there is more to learn about PIA VPN. This review will look into every aspect of the VPN, from security to streaming.  

  • Online privacy: PIA VPN uses AES 128 and 256 bits encryption ciphers for maximum security. 
  • Jurisdiction: it is based in Colorado, US. The US is not the safest jurisdiction and is a member of five-eye Intelligence. 
  • No-log policy: the VPN follows a no-log policy, which is also independently audited by Deloitte. 
  • Streaming: it can unblock Netflix and Youtube. However, sometimes the VPN is unable to unblock any site. 
  • Torrenting and P2P: it supports P2P sharing and torrenting. 
  • Gaming: the speeds are average and not the best for gaming. 
  • Tor Browser: the security features like split tunneling Kill Switch help securely access Tor Browser. 

The above information was all verified by our experts through in-depth research. To amplify the authenticity of our information, we used the VPN for months; it was done to find out the truth about its logging policy and security features. Furthermore, we performed various tests to provide a complete and accurate review of PIA VPN. Continue reading to learn more. 

Privacy and Security- Does PIA VPN offer complete security?

The main purpose of a VPN is to provide security. It encrypts data and hides users’ online activity promising complete anonymity. Private Internet Access is a privacy focus VPN service that provides numerous security features. 

Main privacy and security feature.
Kill Switch.It works by hiding your IP to prevent Ip leaks. 
Ad blocker. It blocks ads, malware, and tracker on websites that can damage users’ devices.
Dedicated IP. Dedicated IPs increase security by decreasing the risk of getting blocked or tracked by websites. 
Multi-Hop. It helps users hop from one server to another to ensure maximum anonymity. 

The list of security features is not as vast as other services, but with PIA’s prices, they are still a treat. Let’s dive deep into the working of these features and other privacy policies. 

PIA VPN Jurisdiction- is it privacy-friendly?

While selecting a VPN, it is necessary to determine if the service is located in a secure jurisdiction. The company has to follow the laws of the regions where it is located. So if the VPN is based in a country with data retention laws, the government can ask the service to share users’ data anytime. 

Unfortunately, PIA is based in the USA. There is nothing wrong with the USA, but the one thing that troubles us is the US is a member of an international surveillance alliance called the Five Eyes. The alliance has made a pact for the security of the nations that the companies in these states should share their customer data when required. And when a VPN promises security, this type of information creates clouds of disbelief among customers. 

Although PIA VPN follows a strict no-log policy, and when there is nothing stored on their servers, there is nothing to share with the government. However, this piece of information is not enough for customers to completely trust the service. 

Log policy- Does PIA VPN log data?

One thing that PIA VPN is known for is its no-log policy. The VPN keeps no log of users’ activity, such as the sites they visit or what they are watching. Moreover, the policy was also audited by Deloitte in 2020. The necessary information that PIA VPN stores are;

  • Email address. 
  • Payment information.
  • Users’ zip codes. 
  • Cookie identifiers. 

There is no need to stress the above information being stored; this is only to maintain a secure network. Your IP address and history are still hidden, and no one can access them. 

Past Records of PIA VPN 

PIA VPN is owned by Kape Technologies, the company previously involved in developing adware software. However, now the company has stopped the adware business and become affiliated with many VPN services, including ExppressVPN. Moreover, Kape Technologies has built trust with its customers by providing advanced security. 

What encryption does it use? 

Encrypting your data is a primary task of a VPN, and it is essential to know what encryption type a VPN uses. The more advanced the encryption, the better the security. PIA VPN gives customers a choice to select the encryption of their choice. Otherwise, the standard encryption you get with PIA VPN is AES-128 (CBC). It offers the following encryption types;

  • AES-128 (CBC)
  • AES-128 (GCM)
  • AES-256 (CBC)
  • AES-256 (GCM).

The most secure out of these encryptions is the AES-256 (GCM). The government and military use it for robust security. The main difference between CBC and GCM is speed. The GCM is more secure and offers better speed. It is up to you what encryption you choose, depending on your needs. 

VPN protocols.

Tunneling protocols are mandatory as they decide how your data will travel. There are several types of protocols, all used for different purposes. PIA offers these protocols;

  • OpenVPN (TCP/UDP): an open-source protocol that offers high speed and security. UDP is much faster than TCP. However, the latter one is more secure.
  • IKEv2: it is only available for th iOS app and is suitable for mobile use. 
  • WireGuard: a new addition that offers faster speed and robust security.

We recommend the WireGuard protocol as it is best for overall usage. However, OpenVPN is also a good choice and can be good for streaming and torrenting. 

PIA VPN for streaming

As much as streaming is enjoyed, many issues come with it. ISP throttling, bandwidth limitations, geo-blocks, etc., A VPN can resolve these issues with ease. PIA VPN offers various streaming features and can easily bypass geo-blocks. Here is what the VPN offers.

Streaming features.
It Prevents ISP throttling. With advanced encryption, PIA VPN prevents ISP throttling and offers a smooth streaming experience. 
Smart DNShelps bypass geo-blocks and unblock streaming sites. 
Many servers.Servers play an important role in bypassing geo-blocks. 
Netflix.US, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan.
Hulu.Houston, Las Vegas, New York, and Seattle. 
Youtube.All servers work. 

PIA VPN has no streaming-optimized servers nor advertises streaming on its page. We still tried to access some major streaming sites with the VPN, and here are the results. 

Can PIA VPN unblock Netflix? 

Netflix is a popular streaming site, but not everyone can access it due to geo-restrictions. The site offers various regional libraries, all with different streaming content. However, we tried using PIA VPN to unblock Netflix US, and the VPN did not disappoint.

First, we enabled the Kill Switch from the settings, but the Switch did slow the internet speed. Then we connected to a US-based server with WireGuard protocol, and within a few tries, we got connected to Houston. The speed was average, not the fastest, but the VPN did unblock the streaming site for all that matters. Coming to the picture quality, it was good, but no 4K. Moreover, the UK servers did not work with Netflix. 

How to set up PIA VPN for Netflix;

  • Install and launch the PIA VPN app.
  • Register yourself and create an account. 
  • Enable the Kill Switch from the settings. 
  • Choose a server of the region you want to access Netflix from. 
  • Open the Netflix app or open the site on your browser. 
  • Start streaming!

Users must have a Netflix subscription to unblock the site. 

Is PIA VPN compatible with Hulu?

PIA is not the best for unblocking Hulu. The VPN does not offer streaming-optimized servers or obfuscation tools. The US servers did work with them but not all the time. We could unblock the site on our first try, but the servers didn’t work afterward. We suggest using other streaming-optimized VPNs for unblocking Hulu. 

How to set up PIA VPN for Hulu;

  • Install and launch the PIA VPN app.
  • Register yourself and create an account. 
  • Enable the Kill Switch from the settings. 
  • Choose a US-based server. 
  • Open the Hulu app or open the site on your browser. 
  • Start streaming!

Now you can stream all your favorite shows with ease. 

Can I unblock Youtube with PIA VPN?

Youtube also has geo-blocked videos; some videos are not available in every region due to copyright issues. To access these videos, you need a VPN. We used PIA VPN to bypass geo-blocks, and the VPN surprisingly worked.

PIA VPN unblocks youtube geo-blocked content with ease. Connect to any of the nearby servers, and you can bypass the geo-blocks. We used the US servers, which all easily unblocked Youtube videos. 

How to set up PIA VPN for HBO max;

  • Install and launch the PIA VPN app.
  • Register yourself and create an account. 
  • Connect to the WireGuard protocol. 
  • Choose a US-based server from the list. 
  • Open Youtube. 
  • Start streaming!

Now you can stream all your favorite videos with ease. 

Torrenting with PIA VPN

PIA VPN is a good option for streaming. Unlike streaming, the servers support torrenting and P2P sharing. Moreover, the VPN also has the following features that help in torrenting. 

Torrenting feature.
Split tunneling.Users can select which data gets encrypted and which travels on open networks.
SOCKS5 proxy.It helps in safe torrenting and supports bittorrent clients. 
Shadowsocks.It helps in torrenting regions with internet censorship. 

PIA worked well with torrenting. The VPN offered fast speed, and all servers worked with torrenting. P2P sharing was fats, and downloading a file took only 3 minutes. Overall, PIA VPN is a good choice for torrenting. 

Here is how to set up PIA VPN for torrenting.

  • Launch the PIA VPN app and log in. 
  • Select a server from a nearby country. 
  • Enable Port Forwarding (optional.)
  • Turn on the Split Tunneling feature from the setting. 
  • Download a torrent client and start downloading. 

Is PIA VPN a good choice for gamers?

PIA VPN is not the best choice for gaming. The speeds are average, and they cannot prevent DDOS attacks. We tried laying CSGO with the VPN, and it kept lagging. Moreover, enabling the Kill Switch further decreased the speed. Overall, PIA is not preferable for gaming. 

Gaming features.
VPN protocols.Fast protocols ensure fast gaming speeds. 
Split tunneling. Users can select which data gets encrypted and which travels on open networks. This helps in maintaining speed and security. 

Here is how to set up PIA VPN for gaming.

  • Install the PIA VPN app and select your subscription plan. 
  • Select a nearby server.
  • Enable Split tunneling feature. 
  • Open the game you want to play. 
  • start gaming. 

PIA VPN support with Tor.

Accessing Tor without a secure VPN is very dangerous. There are many open threats on the internet. For instance, you can install malware on your device without knowing. Thus, using a  VPN is necessary. Another test we put PIA VPN through was whether it could provide a secure connection while using Tor 

Browser. Here are the features that helped us through. 

TOR-specific features.
Kill switch. It prevents IP leaks during unwanted connection drops. 
MultiHop+.It helps users hop from one server to another to ensure maximum anonymity. 

PIA is not the absolute best for Tor Browser, but it is not the worst either. We used the Kill Switch to prevent IP leaks, and the Multihop+ helped ensure security. However, the speed was not very high, and there were a few lags. In short, it is a reliable option to use with Tor. 

Pricing and Money back guarantee. 

The VPN offers three subscription plans along with a 30-day money-back guarantee. There is no free trial, but the prices are already very low compared to other VPN services. 

1-month plan$11.95/mo.
1-year plan.$3.33/mo.
3-year plan$2.03/mo.

The VPN accepts these payment methods;

  • Credit cards.
  • PayPal.
  • Amazon Pay.
  • Cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin, Ethereum, BitPay, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash).

It also accepts Third-party gift cards (Starbucks, Walmart, Best Buy, and many more).

Customer support – Is PIA VPN user-friendly?

PIA VPN offers different types of customer support, including live chat, support tickets, and a help center. The help center includes these guidelines;

  • Setup guides.
  • A knowledge base.
  • A community forum.

The live chat is not very effective; the agents are not good at solving queries, and compared to other VPN services, PIA VPN is definitely not the best. 

Pros and cons of PIA VPN

We have compiled a list of all the pros and cons of PIA VPN. Here is what the VPN is about. 

Fast protocols help in high speed and maintain security. It is based in the US, which is a five-eye country. 
Advanced encryption offers robust security. Servers are lesser in number. 
No-log policy assures privacy and prevents data leaks. It does not unblock major streaming sites other than Netflix. 
Dedicated IP helps in secure browsing. The speed is slower than most VPNs. 
Multihop+ is good for maintaining online anonymity. It Lacks major features like obfuscation tools, optimized servers, etc. 
Users get a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support. The customer support is not very effective. 
It is cheaper than most VPNs. 
It works well with torrenting, and all servers support P2P downloading. 
Users can pay via cryptocurrency. 

Final Words 

PIA VPN is a good option for beginners. The VPN works great with torrenting and offers excellent security. However, during streaming and gaming, the performance is not the best. But we loved the robust encryption and fast protocols. Moreover, the VPN is also audited and offers good security features, including a Kill Switch. 

It is based in the US, which is disturbing as the US is a member of the five-eyes intelligence. Overall, PIA VPN is a great choice for beginners and everyday use, but if you want a streaming or gaming VPN, PIA is not for you. 


PIA VPN is a good choice; it offers AES-256-GCM encryption, WireGuard protocols, and a no-log policy. The VPN is light on the pocket and has a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Yes, the VPN offers robust security and has an audited no-log policy. It is a safe option and a trustworthy company. 

PIA VPN is a good choice for torrenting. It has SOCKS5 and Shadowsock proxy that helps in fast torrenting. Besides, all servers support P2P sharing and fast downloading. 

It works in China but not every time. The Shadowsocks proxy helps bypass censorship, but it does not always work. 

PIA VPN unblocks Hulu with US-based servers. However, the servers are not very reliable. There can be times when none of the servers will work.