Is PIA VPN Worth Using? Is That Really Safe to Use? Detailed Review- Private Internet Access

private internet access

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Private Internet Access or the PIA VPN is serving as a longstanding VPN in the industry. However, it is getting surrounded by speculations and concerns since it’s with Kape Technologies. Many users wonder if it is the right time to jump to other service providers for the sake of their online privacy. Many users on different forums also complain that PIA is not an ideal choice for streaming. 

This gives rise to many burning questions that users keep on asking. Like is PIA safe to use? Or does it work with Netflix? 

This prompted my curiosity, and I subscribed to PIA VPN and tested it out. Read this PIA VPN review and get to know more about it. 

Who Owns PIA VPN?

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a private VPN service provider. Former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles in 2018 became the chief technology officer of PIA’s parent company, London Trust Media. In November 2019, the UK-registered company Kape Technologies announced the acquisition of the PIA. The company also owns two other service providers, i.e., CyberGhost and Berlin-based VPN Zenmate. 

Kape Technologies was called Crossrider until 2018; it decided to change its name because of its bad reputation of creating adware and malware products. Crossrider hides malware in software bundlers that can cause harm to users’ devices. 

The PIA VPN’s merger with Kape technologies leaves VPN users uneasy as they doubt its credibility in providing maximum online protection. 

Another drawback of PIA VPN is its jurisdiction. PIA’s headquarters is in the United States, the member country of the five eyes, nine eyes, and 14 eyes alliance. The country stores and shares users’ data with the intelligence agencies of other countries. But, they have published a transparency report, which shows they were asked but they never disclosed.  

Moreover, in the US the mandatory data retention laws and other internet laws are applicable. The government can ask the VPN company to log users’ data and hand it over to them, thus violating users’ privacy. 

Quick Overview

PIA VPN ensures that you can find the necessary and additional features you need to boost your privacy in its Settings Tab. The VPN offers a wide range of privacy and security features that are of great advantage to users of all levels. Before getting into much detail, let’s briefly overview what features PIA offers.

FeaturesExplanation 
Encryption Uses AES-128 bit encryption (standard)
VPN protocolOpenVPN, IPSec, and WireGuard
Servers More than 29,000 servers in 78 countries 
P2P support Dedicated servers with no bandwidth limit. 
Device support Up to ten simultaneous connections on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux.
Browser ExtensionsChrome, Firefox, and Opera
Kill Switch It has an active working kill switch protection 
Jurisdiction United States
Log policy Do not keep logs
Log audit Have a log audit report

PIA VPN does offer some good privacy and security features that ensure top-level online protection. To check if PIA VPN is proving their words, now let’s review each feature in detail. 

Security Features

People prefer to use a VPN that is safe to use and is free from VPN leaks. Various VPN leaks are common in free VPNs, but sometimes a premium service provider promising utmost security is also involved in data leaks. Thus, it was necessary to test every VPN for VPN leaks. 

IP Leak Test

PIA VPN, when tested for IP leak test, found no leaks. It means that the VPN is protecting the actual IP address and is accurate with its claims. 

private internet access IP leak Results
PIA VPN IP Leak Test

IPv6 Leak Test

A VPN should also protect against IPv6 protection because then it can result in exposing your true identity. PIA VPN, when tested, found no IPv6 leaks, which assure that it provides maximum online protection.

DNS Leak Test

A DNS leak test was also conducted, and PIA passed it with flying colors. The test results found that PIA does not leak users’ DNS requests and encrypts them via a private tunnel, and also protects the IP address from getting exposed. 

DNS Leak No Found- PIA VPN
DNS Leak No Found- PIA VPN

WebRTC Leak Test

Many VPNs tend to neglect this browser vulnerability, and as a result, they experience IP leaks and other privacy leaks. Hence, it is essential to choose a VPN that protects against WebRTC leaks. PIA VPN is one service provider that prevents WebRTC leaks and makes you remain anonymous while browsing the web.

WebRTC Leak PIA VPN
WebRTC Leak Test PIAVPN

Encryption

A VPN safeguards the data from all snooping eyes through encryption. Thus, the level of encryption a VPN uses ensures its security level. PIA VPN claims to provide solid and customizable encryption algorithms and protocols. To test their claims, I analyzed the encryption level using Wireshark software.

Private Internet Access - Encryption Standards
Private Internet Access – Encryption Standards

By default, the VPN uses AES-128 bit encryption. It is a secure algorithm but not as fast or upgraded as the secure 256-bit AES encryption. But, the VPN also offers other encryption algorithms like AES-128 GCM, AES-256 CBC, and AES-256 GCM. 

PIA allows the users to manually select the encryption algorithm and the handshake encryption from the setting interface option. Although all the encryption standards are considered secure, it is still recommended to use GCM over CBC to enjoy faster speed and better security. 

Private Internet Access - Select Encryption
Private Internet Access – Select Encryption

Furthermore, the VPN also uses a variety of encryption protocols. By default, the PIA VPN app uses OpenVPN protocol to select either UDP or TCP ports, while the iOS app uses IPSec.

Also, PIA offers the latest WireGuard protocol on all devices that gives much-improved performance than OpenVPN. 

With an advanced security and encryption level, PIA provides a top-notch level of security to the users and is safe to use. 

– Servers Speed Test

ServersFindingsStatus
US New York City5 times testing found only a 12% slower connection which is because of encryption. so that’s okayGood
US Atlanta5-time testing was found 10% slower.Good
Ca Montrealthe same process was found 20% slower.slower
UK Londononly 15% slower connection.Good
Private Internet Access Review

Privacy Features 

The PIA VPN comes with a range of privacy features designed to enhance your browsing experience. Here’s what PIA VPN offers to the users.

Logging Policy

 Despite belonging to a 14 eye jurisdiction, VPN claims to exhibit a no-log policy. According to their website policy: 

logging policy PIA VPN Explained
logging policy PIA VPN Explained

However, the VPN does collect your email address and payment details when you sign up for their service. But it hasn’t any link with your activity or connection logs. 

Log Audit 

PIA VPN, to prove their stance on no-log policy, verified their log policy. The company has established its integrity and user privacy commitment twice in court. 

In 2016, the FBI subpoenaed PIA, but despite receiving the official requests to hand over user data, PIA had no information to provide. In the same year, the Russian government also seized the PIA servers but was unsuccessful in finding any connection or user activity log. 

Moreover, the company issues regular transparency reports providing detailed insight into the number of data requests they receive from government agencies. Although it is a good stance, a third-party log audit report has more value.

– Kill Switch

 Any premium service provider needs to have a kill switch, and thankfullyPIA VPN has one. It prevents your IP address from leaking when the VPN connection malfunctions or gets interrupted. To restore the connection, you need to turn on your Wi-Fi or reconnect to the VPN. In this way, the PIA VPN protects your IP address from getting leaked. The VPN kill switch worked perfectly fine when tested on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows apps. 

Split Tunneling 

PIA’s split tunneling feature lets you decide which apps will access the internet via the main internet connection and pass via the VPN tunnel. You can not just enjoy fast torrent downloading speed, but it also ensures safety while performing other browsing activities.

 To activate this feature, head over the Network tab > click on App Extensions > Add the apps you want to protect via split tunneling. Unfortunately, if you are an iOS user, your app won’t have this feature.

– Port Forwarding 

The Private Internet Access VPN also comes up with an impressive port forwarding feature. It routes the incoming connections to circumvent the NAT firewall and results in a faster connection. It is a handy feature for torrenting. 

You can increase the number of peers while torrenting with whom you can communicate, and it will ultimately improve your P2P downloads. 

SOCKS5 Proxy 

Another impressive feature offered by PIA VPN is SOCKS5. It adds an extra layer of protection by redirecting the VPN connection via an additional location during torrenting so users can enjoy more anonymity over the web. This feature also saves bandwidth. 

You need a different username and password to use this feature, and you can quickly get it from the Client Control Panel.

– PIA MACE 

To ensure a safe and ad-free browsing experience, PIA VPN also offers a built-in ad-blocker known as PIA Mace. It is available on all PIA-supported devices except for iOS. 

You can find this feature in the Privacy section of the app settings. It blocks access to domains that host adware, malware, and trackers, thus ensuring more excellent online protection. 

Dedicated IP Address

 PIA VPN is among the few service providers that offer users a dedicated IP address for an extra $5 per month. It is a unique IP address that makes you more anonymous and especially advantageous to business enterprises. 

Tor Over VPN 

If you are a Tor user but worry about your online security, then PIA VPN has a solution. The service provider supports Tor over VPN across all its servers and assures that you access the .onion sites with more protection. 

Using Tor with PIA VPN not only boosts your security but also helps to overcome slow speed issues. When tested, the Tor browser gives off a fairly significant increase in speed, and the protection level also seems to be great with the UDP port. All you need to do is connect to any PIA server and begin using the Tor browser to use this feature. 

In-browser

 To add more protection and value, PIA offers an innovative inbrowser feature for Android or iOS apps. With this feature, you can enjoy a private browsing experience as it deletes all the cookies, session data, and history every time you exit from the app.

Here’s more information you need to know about the PIA VPN: – 

Does PIA VPN Support Torrenting?

 PIA VPN supports torrenting across all servers. You can connect to any server location and start downloading torrents. Its unlimited bandwidth, port forwarding, and split tunneling feature increases the number of torrenting peers and makes your P2P experience worth amazing. 

Moreover, it is compatible with all popular torrent clients, including uTorrent, BitTorrent, Deluge, and more. Also, when tested so, it wasn’t leaking the torrent IP address, thus making it a good option to consider for torrenting

Does PIA VPN Unblocks Netflix? 

Since Netflix has started taking action against VPN IP addresses, people have begun using VPNs that help bypass the filters for unrestricted streaming. PIA VPN does unblock Netflix, but it isn’t very reliable. PIA has just updated two US servers, while the best VPN for Netflix keeps on adding the servers to their list. Thus, you should use some other alternatives like NordVPN or ExpressVPN

Netflix test- Private internet access
Netflix test- Private internet access

How Many Servers Does PIA VPN Have?

PIA VPN has the largest server network than other VPNs. It consists of more than 29,000 servers in 78 countries. 

How Many Users Can Use PIA VPN At a Time? 

PIA VPN allows up to ten simultaneous connections on Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux. 

Does PIA VPN Offer a Free Trial?

No, PIA VPN doesn’t offer any free trial but comes with a 30-days risk-free money-back guarantee. 

PIA Vs. NordVPN Vs. ExpressVPN

PIA VPN offers compelling privacy and security features, but there are other better options when it comes to streaming.

FeaturesPIA VPNNordVPNExpressVPN
Encryption TypeAES-256 bitAES-256 bitAES-256 bit
Protection Against VPN Leaks
Kill Switch
No-Log Policy
Recommended for Netflix
Torrenting
Ad-Blocker
Split Tunneling
Tor Over VPN
Dedicated IP Address
SOCKS5 Proxy
Double VPN
Money-Back Guarantee

Final Verdict 

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. 

PIA VPN’s only concern is its parent company and its inability to be the best streaming VPN. However, by updating its US servers, the VPN can surely overcome this issue.

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Private Internet Access Review
Average rating:  
 4 reviews
 by James

PIA has proven itself to be trustworthy with its zero-logs policy. This makes me their loyal and continuing subscriber

 by Oliver Brown

I have recently started using VPNs. My friend recommended me PIA VPN, and I'm thankful to her. It is the perfect choice! The speeds are high, robust encryption, and keeps no-log. I will rate it 4/5 only because Netflix isn't supported.

 by Mark

using it from the last 3 years, especially with downloading, works great.

 by James mike
sounds great

since when PIA working with Netflix? hahaha 😀 those guys never update their servers for it. Otherwise with my experience with PIA is great.