Private Internet Access is a U.S.-based company that offers users instant activation of its Virtual Private Network (VPN) services.
Users can expect major features such as Gigabit speeds for both uploads and downloads, as well as the ability to run 10 separate, yet simultaneous connections to global servers.
In this Private Internet Access review, I’ll cover why this service is considered one of the best VPNs on the market in 2023.
Despite this lion’s share of the market, it may not be the VPN of choice for Netflix-only entertainment users.
|OVERALL RANK:||#10 out of 78 VPNs|
|LOG FILES:||No Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||32 countries, 3341 servers|
|SUPPORT:||Limited “Live Chat”|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||128-bit AES (default), OpenVPN|
|COST:||$3.33/mo and up|
Private Internet Access Pros
1. Strong Customer Support That’s Immediate
Right off the top, PIA has a formidable customer support resource page.
Their section of Knowledge Base articles, troubleshooting FAQ lists, and how-to guides provided me with a depth and breadth of industry support to help tackle a majority of the questions and issues I encountered. Prospective and free users have full access to this section of resources. However, only paying customers receive access to Live Chat functionality from support agents.
Without paying for a subscription, the Live Chat bubble only worked when I opened the site in Incognito Mode, and even then, the system couldn’t connect me to an agent after five minutes of waiting, and instead asked if I wanted to submit a ticket.
PIA’s live chat support could easily be expanded to include prospective clients, as most major eCommerce offer this service for both sides of the sale. How do free VPN users get access to support?
PIA customer support depends on the situation. If you are a client, you can access it with no issues, but if you’re a prospective client, then it’s another story.
2. Speed Remains Strong Behind VPN (Especially in the US)
One of the pillars of a quality VPN service is the speed of Internet connection for both uploads and downloads. PIA definitely delivers on both fronts, having passed multiple speed tests with solid numbers.
Typically, 10 Mbps or higher is a benchmark for excellent upload speeds, and a 100 Mbps download is widely considered a fast Internet speed.
Before I started the speed test, I used my ISP without the VPN as a baseline to test the bandwidth. Here’s that result:
- Speed Test: 194.53 down / 11.94 up
I then tested in the following jurisdictions:
- U.S. Southeast – Atlanta, GA – 124.87 down/ 9.26 up
- U.S. East – New York, NY – 119.04 down / 9.24 up
- U.S. South – Dallas, TX – 108.09 down / 9.24 up
- Canada – Toronto, Canada – 88.8 down / 9.27 up
- UK Southampton – London, UK – 75.3 down / 9.23 up
- Japan – Tsukuba, Japan – 59.55 down / 9.23 up
As seen here, the highest speeds were recorded from the U.S. Upload speeds remained consistent across regions, while download speeds varied quite a bit in areas outside North America, dropping significantly in Japan.
3. Usability: Easy to Find Everything in Clean Interface
The interface throughout the app itself is very easy to download, to follow instructions on each screen during the setup, and to use.
One-click Installation: Simply executing the downloaded file begins the installation of the VPN.
Start Using Right Away: Once installed, the login screen appears automatically. Alternatively, you can take a quick tour of the app before you begin to use it.
Once logged in, the app pops up as a clean, small window with simple instructions to turn on the VPN and to select a server.
Clicking the right arrow next to the current server will show the available server list. Servers are cleanly organized with their corresponding latency shown to the right.
Clicking on the bottom arrow reveals the full interface of the app. This includes features such as Quick Connect by country, the Performance graph and usage details, Quick Settings such as Mace and Port Forwarding, current subscription details, and a VPN Snooze feature.
Snooze temporarily disconnects the VPN and automatically reconnects when the timer elapses after a specified period. This is helpful when you are away from your device for a short time.
Surprisingly enough, clicking on Settings froze the app and forced me to quit. Upon re-opening the app, I was notified that my VPN connection was preserved.
This time, I was able to click Settings, which opened a new window with a multitude of options.
Settings – General
Users can make basic changes to the theme, style, appearance, language, notifications, and whether to command the app to launch and connect upon system startup.
Settings – Account
Here’s where you’re shown account details such as username and subscription details. From this window, you are able to manage your account, switch accounts, or log out.
Settings – Privacy
This is where the Kill Switch button lives, along with the Mace feature, which blocks any domains being used for ads, trackers, and malware.
Settings – Network
From this screen, I can configure DNS, request port forwarding, and allow LAN traffic. In addition, I have the option to use a beta feature labeled “App Exclusions”, which basically whitelists apps that users can manually add to bypass the VPN and connect directly to the Internet.
Settings – Connection
PIA utilizes OpenVPN, an open source industry standard, which provides a number of options for a secure VPN tunnel. PIA provides a few configurations on their site that match the purpose you need for your online activity. These configurations range from Default protection to Maximum protection to All Speed No Safety.
Your Connection Type and Data Encryption can also be configured from this screen.
Settings – Proxy
This includes the Shadowsocks and SOCKS5 Proxy, which is known for TOR and torrenting use.
Settings – Help
The Support Portal link is located here, as well as a few general maintenance features such as reinstalling the network adapter, split tunnel filter, and uninstalling the VPN.
4. Lots of Servers Available in Many Countries Across the World
As of February 2023, PIA boasts over 3,300 proxy and VPN servers in over 50 locations across the globe. Their goals are to keep expanding these numbers, so they’re always growing to provide a better connection for users.
With such robust coverage globally, PIA is able to provide reliable global coverage to over 30 countries. PIA did recently announce that they lost their India server provider in December 2019; however, they are currently searching for a suitable partner to get their India network up and running again.
5. No Logging Policy Ensures Heightened Security Level
A VPN’s logging policy states what types of activities the application will track. A good policy will only track the types of actions that need to be logged in order to trace potential fraud, inappropriate use, etc., but does not track the global, online activity of its users.
PIA recently responded to this question from a user and added it to their FAQs:
They go on to state that, while not tracking things make solving real-time issues more difficult, ensuring privacy for their users is the core of how they provide their service.
If you use PIA, you can be confident knowing that you are free to use the network as you need without fear of being tracked and monitored.
6. Up to 10 Simultaneous Connections Are Allowed
One of the nice-to-have features of PIA is the ability to maintain 10 simultaneous connections on a single subscription at any time. These connections are accessible across a mixture of devices including routers, smartphones, laptops, and more.
This option is especially convenient for families that want shared data protection across multiple devices.
7. The Kill Switch Works Well
From time to time, Internet connections time out, and this timeout period leaves your IP address vulnerable to tracking activities. PIA’s app allows users to set up a fail safe to ensure they remain private and anonymous while online.
I tested this feature by setting the kill switch to “Always”.
Disabling the connection on the VPN triggered the kill switch and shut off my Internet connection. Switching between servers also disabled my connection in the interim.
This easy to find and easy to use kill switch feature provides you with the confidence of knowing the app will automatically keep your connection safe.
8. Leak Tests Are All Solid With…No Leaks
PIA utilizes software that prevents DNS servers from sending any unencrypted queries or requests outside the secure VPN, in order to protect your IPSec (IP security) for all online activity and privacy.
I performed five leak tests and one virus check, with every test showing no leaks or viruses.
IPLeak.net Test – No Leak
Perfect-Privacy.com DNS Leak Test – No Leak
Perfect-Privacy.com IP Leak – No Leak
BrowserLeaks WebRTC Leak Test – No Leak
IPX.ac – No Leak
VirusTotal.com Report: No viruses found.
9. TOR Network and P2P/Torrenting Is Possible, but They Don’t Provide Support to Get You Started
With PIA, users can definitely access the TOR network, although the app prioritizes privacy over speed when using both services together.
While their support can’t offer direct assistance (due to unsupported third-party software and devices), I did find this helpful article on how to access and use the TOR network with their VPN. It’s important to remember to launch the PIA VPN first before running the TOR browser.
Unlike other VPNs, PIA does not offer or provide any user guides or documentation regarding torrenting, which was confirmed by their support team via live chat.
With the default settings turned on for the desktop application, torrenting/P2P works well and can be configured for different torrenting clients that are using their SOCKS5 Proxy, etc. There is just no transparency at this time.
Private Internet Access Cons
1. Netflix Is a Total Lost Cause
Overall, it appears that Netflix will not work on PIA. Of my tests, 0 out of the 9 servers tested worked. PIA’s website states that, due to geo-restrictions on certain creative and entertainment content, they are unable to provide Netflix access to PIA users. No word from the company if they plan to unblock Netflix content any time soon.
This VPN won’t even allow access to the Netflix site to test streaming on some servers.
- US East – No: Secure Connection Failed/Site Can’t Be Reached
- US New York City – No: Secure Connection Failed/Site Can’t Be Reached
- US Atlanta – No: Secure Connection Failed/Site Can’t Be Reached
- US Texas – No: Secure Connection Failed/Site Can’t Be Reached
- US Silicon Valley – No: Secure Connection Failed/Site Can’t Be Reached
- CA Toronto – No: Secure Connection Failed/Site Can’t Be Reached
- UK Southampton – No: Secure Connection Failed/Site Can’t Be Reached
Finally, I was able to access the Netflix site using an EU server. Unfortunately, I could not stream content.
- DE Frankfurt – No: Proxy detected
- Hong Kong – No: Proxy detected
2. The Company Is Located in the USA (but PIA Isn’t Concerned About Its Jurisdiction)
Having headquarters in Denver, Colorado, U.S., is optimal for PIA as a VPN provider, as the U.S. is one of the few countries without a mandatory policy for data retention, unlike the EU.
The U.S. is a 14-Eyes country (one of the original 5 Eyes countries), which enables it to legally share certain data and intelligence with other countries, but not to track, collect, and share data about its own citizens. This feature could compromise the anonymity of Private Internet Access VPN users, as online activities and information could be at the mercy of being tracked by other countries aside from your own.
PIA assures users, however, that it’s not concerned about this fact, however. They state that they don’t keep logs or identifying information about their users that could be collected. They even offer court case documentation to prove their operations do not allow for 14-Eyes countries to access PIA users’ data.
3. Only OpenVPN Protocol Is Supported
Looking into the protocols used for the desktop application I’m using (which is Windows 10), I decided to test the customer support to receive an answer. The desktop application only uses the OpenVPN protocol. Other full VPN protocols are not yet supported for the desktop application.
Pricing and Payment Methods
Private Internet Access accepts payments via PayPal, Bitcoin, Pay Garden, Amazon payments, and all major credit cards. They also accept many major brand gift cards to redeem for anonymous payments, as well as their own PIA gift card.
Prices start as low as $3.33 USD per month with an annual subscription, for a total of $39.95 per year (normally $119.40 before the discount). If you choose to go month-to-month, services will run you a reasonable $9.95 per month.
First-time buyers can also take advantage of their risk-free, 7-day, money-back guarantee policy.
If you’re unhappy with the service, you’ll have to submit a support ticket to request a refund. In addition, PIA only offers a refund within the first 7 days from the last payment made. After that, users are not eligible for a refund (full details can be found in their Terms of Service).
Private Internet Access offers users a great tool for online privacy for a great price. Major selling features include having up to 10 devices simultaneously connected to the VPN, a strict no-logging policy to protect online privacy, clean and simply usability throughout the interface, high upload and download speeds, a functional kill switch, and a high volume of global servers in over 30 countries.
The interoperability with TOR networks is also a nice-to-have feature.
While PIA claims to have 24/7/365 customer support, their live chat feature still needs some work to be able to access the support you need. For non-users as of now, there is no live customer support available.
The two major drawbacks are the lack of Netflix connectivity, which may leave some users frustrated for entertainment access if they only subscribe to Netflix’s streaming services, and the fact that while the company is based in the U.S., there may be concerns about just how much users’ information is truly private, when considered in relation to the 14-Eyes countries.
If you’re seeking a solid VPN service, PIA is a great app that offers high speed and privacy at a fantastic price point.
Add your own Private Internet Access Review:
83 user reviews for Private Internet Access
Refund difficult to get
I have asked for a refund. But I keep getting an automated email asking me to explain why I want a refund.
So far, I have not received anything excepts another request to explain my demand.
Used for 8 years
I've used PIA for years and it has been great. Sadly, I can't get any servers to work with streaming services and would love if they cut that out of their marketing. I've never had connection problems and I connect at my full 100mb speed. The support is horrible and not helpful but since everything seems to run smooth you'll be unlikely to need them. I purchased a dedicated IP to try and get a good IP with no streaming banned and all 3 have been bad.
Private Internet Access VPN
Used to be easy, simple and reliable. I used them for years but couldn't even get their most recent app to work on my current PC. The software seems untested and badly written! Even their online help couldn't get it to work. We just gave up in the end.
No problems Here
After reading the reviews folk should realize when doing speed tests it matters muchly what server your connected to during the tests, on Okla you can choose an alternate server - Always use Ethernet do do a speed test of any kind or you are testing your wireless connection too - In my opinion PIA is pretty good, after trying just about all VPNs IA has for me the best GUI by a fair margin.
PIA were good before now they suck
Most IPs / VPN's of theirs in many countries are now flagged as Suspected Network Sharing Device or Confirmed Network Sharing Device.
I have no problems with PIA VPN.
I use PIA VPN on my iPhone. Have done so for about 8 years. Either I am very lucky or the majority of people who have commented that PIA is not worth their time are morons. The only problem that I had was that the PIA VPN company thought that they could raise their prices. I paid through Apple pay or earlier iTunes. Complaining to Apple shut down their price increase. I pay $3.99/ month on a one month at a time basis. The GRANDFATHERED price. But, that was back when Apple cared about its customers. I still have no problems with PIA. I just had to take the time to learn how to use the VPN.
Used PIA for years. Just noticed PIA app permissions on the firestick asked for “take photos and video” permission when updating. I can’t imagine a reasonable scenario where this is needed.
And, Roger Ver has been on the company roster for some years.
PIA SERVERS NOT LOCATED WHERE THE APP SAYS THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE.......
Running the Jondonym Anonymity test this evening shows PIA servers are now not located where they say they are. Melbourne ends up in Tuggerah NSW and any number of overseas servers are coming up as located in Bergen USA. Austria ends up in Prague. Manchester is in London. There seems to be something decidedly odd about this. I've used this service for years and it's the first time my occasional Jondonym anonymity checks have shown this discrepancy.
Started Out Fine, Now Terrible
I just switched VPN providers after having PIA for ~6 years. It started off great, now it suffers from speeds so slow it's practically unusable. (YMMV, but in my experience, I'm sick of dealing with it and am finished with them.) My usual 50mbps DL speed would sometimes plummet to under 1 mbps! I tried to ignore it for awhile but just cannot anymore. PIA just sucks.
Terrible product and support
I tested PIA and it worked well at first. I then decided to buy a 2-year subscription. At 1st the speeds were okay and I was satisfied however after about 4-5 months I noticed that the latency's kept getting worse and worse. It got so bad that PIA was practically unusable. I contacted support via their chat option on three occasions. each occasion they disconnected and I was left starting completely over. They had me change every setting possible and nothing changed. I was left with a product that doesn't work as advertised and of course I already paid for 2 years.Do not BUY! I believe they restrict your speeds once you have already purchased. STAY AWAY!
With PIA 5 yrs - only problems the last 2 yrs
The first couple of PIA years were ok - minor issues here and there. The last 2 yrs my connection began dropping randomly and/or slowed right down. I was told to try all the ports under UDP and TCP until I found a port that didn't drop out, same to find a port with some speed. Then I got a copyright letter from my isp 1.5 yrs ago which prompted me to engage the Kill Switch full time + Mace. Didn't help because I got another copyright from my isp a week ago - although my personal ip address is not showing, my service provider info was exposed somehow. I tested my system with PIA running - kept saying NO Leaks. I beg to differ!
Good enough and cheap enough.
I've been using them for years now, and when they originally had their windows client for connecting, it was... not the greatest. Plus the other issue of occasionally forgetting to connect to the VPN - which was not good. Anyhoo, a few years ago I switched to a homebrew PFSense router which routes ALL my home network traffic through it, and it's been very solid.
Disappointed in Albuquerque
Wasted My Money
After installing PIA App on my Chromebook, I found that I couldn't get any web sites to work for a while. I looked up online how I needed to change some settings in order for it to work correctly. So the question - why isn't there a Chromebook specific version to download with the right settings? Seemed to work all right on my Moto X4 Android Pie phone - at least for a while. Then I was sent a PDF file in an email, and it wouldn't open - until I disconnected from PIA. Also tried to download a book from my local library using the Hoopla App. Wouldn't work - until I disconnected from PIA. Contacted Tech Support several times (you can't live chat or call). Always took 2 days to get a response, and then it amounted to telling me to try things I had already tried, and by someone who is not a native English speaker. Final straw was trying to enter an online contest. Everything worked fine up until I hit the "submit" button. Then nothing - until I disconnected from PIA. If one has to constanly disconnect from the service in order to make use of the internet, what goood is the VPN?
Does the job well, but apparently not as secure as it appears to be
First of all, I never experienced most of the issues I've read my fellow PIA users come across, it always went smoothly and I was able to use my VPN on all my usual connections. Some routers were blocking PIA due to the packet size, but there is on the official user interface an option to reduce it, so no issue on this part. However, it seems that PIA suffers from some weird implementation choices, as seen in this post for example: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/forum/discussion/23838/warning-pia-data-centers-odd-ip-changes
This is rather alarming, and certainly I will switch to another VPN provider when my current subscription will end, but I have to admit: compared to the concurrence, PIA stays a good bang-for-the-buck, considering the price of a 1-year subscription.
Hope this comment will be useful to you guys.
A bunch of you must be computer illiterate
I have been using PIA for many years and have had very few problems. I have used support a few times and always received a reply quickly. 100Mbps fiber and have not tested lower than 85Mbps with the highest encryption. It may be a windows problem, it seems Windows does not work well with many software packages. Try linux if you’re bright enough.
Cut off support
After using them for about 22 months, they suddenly cut off support for my old computer which I cannot upgrade the OS. Mildly understandable that they would make the change, but no warning whatsoever was given and they will not refund me for the 2 months I am now unable to use. Shady business practices? Or just supremely bad lack of communication? Might be a little bit of both.
PIA Sucked (In My Experience)
If you are shopping for a VPN I am here to tell you NOT to buy a product called PIA (Private Internet Access).
The reasons are short and sweet:
(1) it will degrade your internet speed just about to uselessness (mine went from 150 Mbps to ~30 Mbps) and
(2) if you try to cancel they will not refund your subscription fee. After 4-5 attempts to resolve the speed issue they gave up. I found another product that does not have that drawback (however, it is important to note that any strong VPN will reduce your download speed somewhat).
I requested a refund of my subscription and they refused.]
Sure wish I'd found this site before using PIA!
PIA versus ExpressVPN
My 1st VPN was PIA, I had used them for several years. Recently my auto renewal was approaching and I decided to learn more about VPN's and look into other top rated ones. I never realized there could be such huge differences in speed using paid VPN's. I decided to go with Expressvpn. I did a speed test still connected through PIA. A speedtest with no VPN and a speedtest connected through ExpressVPN. With PIA my download speed was 49 with ExpressVPN my download speed was 111 and with no VPN connected it was 171. I was quite shocked that there could be such a huge difference. I have seen a huge difference in performance with streaming. I can now stream all 1080 large GB sources without any buffering, I can fast forward or rewind and it does not stutter or freeze at all. While using PIA I had to use 720 low MB links and still had buffering. I'm sorry that I stuck with PIA on auto renewal for years instead of doing the research. Switching has made my limited TV viewing time a lot less frustrating.
Echo some of the other reviewers. 7 day trial for full refund. After that, it yours for the duration of whatever time you signed on for. If you're like me, I used the service for 3 weeks on a 2 year subscription and I'm stuck. Don't like it, but it is what it is!!!! For novices like me, recommend a 30 day trial and get your bugs worked out before you sign up for the cheaper subscriptions. Sorry PIA --- Your refund/return policy stinks!!
Excellent Performance for Current Version. Excellent Email Support.
I have used PIA with my Macs since 2014. PIA has always performed well for me, but during the first two years the settings were a bit fiddly and, looking back at my email records, I had problems with dropped connections and blocking some web sites with Safari. I note every one of my email questions were answered promptly and problems were solved with adjustments to my settings.
Since 2016 I have had zero problems! The newer versions seem to be bullet proof for me, so it appears they have refined their software and/or their default settings. Now I have no problems and I never have to change my settings from their defaults. In 2017 I signed up for their two year payment plan and I fully intend to renew later this year.
Similar experience to others
Overview, it has been reliable, they have improved their VPN client 10x folder for updating/look/feel. Downside, I've called them out on this several times to support, they claim they are not throttling, that is an obvious lie. Having multiple Gig fiber internet connections, it still won't give you but 60-80Mbps through-out. Disconnect the client, and my throughput will go 10x faster. They claim it is my provider...I don't pay $2K/mo for multiple, load balancing failover fiber providers through our business with SLAs to go that slow. PIA is descent, but who knows what kind of data leak there is, and the performance just isn't there. My Sub has been canceled after nearly 4 years with them and will stop working in weeks. So, moving on to another VPN company.
Please do not get this VPN
I bought this VPN, expecting that I would receive good speeds and good customer service. I was unable to get anywhere near the download speeds my 100mbps fiber line is capable of, when connected to this VPN, despite trying multiple servers. The customer support was horrible, and they refused to provide me a refund. Please try a better VPN and take your money elsewhere.
Customer Support is Clueless
These guys are horrible! I’ve spent more than a day just trying to cancel my service and they claim that they can’t help me until I prove to them that I’m the person that paid for the original subscription! I’m not even going to get into the quality of the product. I’ve had trouble with it since I first tried it but couldn’t get rid of it!
Don’t waste your time or money!
AVOID THIS VPN
VPN service did not function as advertised. Sneaky auto-renew without advance warning. Unethical, unhelpful, inhuman customer service. Difficult auto-password system makes it difficult to access their system.
VPN service stopped working four months ago. I was no longer able to use their service. After a dozen attempts, I assume that my membership had expired.
Four months later, they charged my credit card without advance notification for another year. They did this without advance warning. I immediately contacted them. The worst customer service I have ever come across.
Their business practices are highly exploitative of the fact that very few people will actually track their membership and since they give no advance warning, they make all their money by sneaking in charges without you noticing.
What makes this more difficult is that their password login is an auto-generated random code. You can't setup your own code. So getting into their web control panel can be annoying.
I cant believe that a company that is based on internet security is essentially robbing people.
VPN customer service not great
I had not used my VPN service 6 months into my annual subscription. Immediately after they auto renewed my subscription (I had not realized I was on auto renewal) I asked for cancellation and a refund, but they simply refused. In this day and age, I have not heard of a company charge for services not being used and not ready to cancel and refund an annual subscription a day after renewal.
Not worth it. All of their IP's tend to be banned. Terrible refund policies as noted by others.
I quit using them about a year ago, primarily because I increasingly couldn't access a good number of sites, due to bans on their ips. Switching servers didn't help. For sites that didn't outright block the IP, I would get bogged down in captchas, making even rudimentary browsing pointless.
Insult to injury, I get a recurring bill out of nowhere which I responded to within minutes of getting it, asking to cancel and get a refund. They politely told me to go suck it. This is after years of using their service.
No longer of any use when streaming Prime
Really wanted a VPN work around for view over the top streaming programs like Netflix etc. Early reviews said it accomplished this, effectively. Not any more. And when you're locked into a two year plan they don't really seem to care.
First VPN and been with them for years
They were my first paid VPN and at 37 a year at the time you couldn’t beat it. Worked flawlessly. Saw above that the yearly rate is 60 dollars and panicked cause I just auto renewed. Went and checked the charge and it says 39.95. Not sure if I was grandfathered in but I'm happy. The most I do is download the random game when I'm too broke to afford it at the moment, and of course, vpn/incognito my fapping behaviors. Speeds have occasionally been crap but I just connect to a different server and it has always fixed it, seeing low to mid 300s out of a possible 400 Mbps. Have never had an issue of receiving notices from my ISP with them. They may not have higher encryption but it seems to suffice for my needs, and, um, err.. urges.
NordVPN does seems great but the fact I see them advertised all over MSNBC and other major news channels made me nervous to use them. And since I just auto renewed I'll try to remember next year. But in an age where any company can get infiltrated by big brother, I feel they are as safe as anyone, and their service has always been affordable and reliable. I've read many bad reviews of them but I have had nothing but a majority of good experiences, combined with the fact 1 account is allowed 5 simultaneous connections so I can use on multiple devices or let a friend on, I highly recommend PIA(knock on wood).
Worst customer support and service ever
I'd give them a zero if I could. I have been billed for service but consistently given invalid passwords to log in. and each time i've had to wait over a week for the password reset, only to have the password be expired by the time I hear back from them again so I could set up service. I've switched to NordVPN and am much happier with their service.
Many IP's Blocked causing failed page loads and missed eMails
PIA was perfectly suitable for the first two years that I used it in the US and Australia. Over the past nine months or so, it has become increasingly problematic. There seems to be limited to no connectivity to most servers when I've tried using it in Australia. In America, many of the server IP's are blocked--not just by streaming servers like Netflix, but also by a large number of websites and by gMail. The result is that I often don't receive eMails until I disconnect the VPN, and website images are broken or pages are unreachable while using the VPN. These problems occur on multiple devices, on 100MBPS Fiber and 4G cellular, as well as a university connection.
What once was the best VPN deal has become so problematic I'm having to buy another subscription, in spite of having 5 months left that I've paid for.
Delighted with my Devices
Perfect for my Windows 10 laptop, MacBook, iPad, Linux Mint desktop and a laptop, Android phones, and Android tablet. Been using PIA on those devices for four years and am completely satisfied. Wish there was a version for Windows 10 in S Mode so I could use it on my newest laptop though.
Their billing for updating your subscription is BAD!
Stay away from this product until they fix the problem of updating your subscription. I spent $99 and have email receipts and bank statements yet they still show my account closed. There contact capabilities do not work! Stay away.
They Seem to Have Disappeared
I have been using Private Internet Access for over a year. The first year everything was OK, I was happy with their service and their response.
And all of a sudden, about two weeks ago, they stopped answering the messages (I sent them about 3 or 4 messages because I could not access the VPN). Still, after all the messages, no response and I still cannot use their VPN program.
Not sure what happened, it looks like they went out of business (and I had a 3-year plan, so I probably lost the money).
Just be careful before subscribing to their service.
I gave them a 40 out of 100 because, while it worked, I was happy with their service.
Avoid at all cost. Support may as well not exist
As far as I'm concerned, any product that I pay a monthly or yearly fee for better have, at the least 24/7 chat or live support. This back and forth via email that takes days if not weeks to resolve does not work for me when it comes on a product I use regularly and depend on.
Another auto-renew with no warning
Service wasn't terrible, but fair share of glitches, and with few servers (or few selectable), lots of streaming services had their servers blocked, so switched to NordVPN. And then it auto-renewed with no advanced warning, and no refund available.
Used them for years now without issue
've used PIA for many years now (I'm in the UK on Virgin) and never had an issue at all. My speeds are always decent and I get virtually no difference with it on (with PIA I get 30 Mbps download and 6ish upload with a ping around 27 - by means of comparison without it my downloads and upload speeds are the same, maybe .1 difference, with a ping of 15 ). All the other I've tried got nowhere near the performance of PIA. This is based on the Windows client - I do use the Android client too but have never looked into speeds - however it's certainly no issue as streaming is fine for me.
I've never had any issues with support or payment (my only support query was solved quickly), so no grumbles there either. I'll carry on using them unless something dramatic was to happen as I'm perfectly happy with the service.
Brought Internet speeds to a halt. Stopped using it. Year later they automatically reactivate and take $40 out of my account. No warning. Their refund policy specifically states no refunds on reactivation. They robbed me.
Useless Private Internet Access
-Internet access on my phone works only when PIA is connected. The problem is that it constantly disconnects from servers like there is an invisible Auto-Disconnect selection. Automatic region selection doesn’t work most of the time.
-Contacted their support about setup info, their response time is longer than a few business days.
-I keep PIA off most of the time so I can use phone internet browser.
-- I wish I got a yearly subscription with another VPN service
PIA does NOT support IPTV and will not issue a refund if you upgrade to IPTV.
I purchased a one year subscription to PIA on 4 Jan 2019, on 24 Jan, I replaced my cable with an IPTV service. I was unable to connect to the internet and contacted PIA support, and was informed that IPTV wasn't supported, so I applied for a refund (after 20 days of use), to which I got the following response.
"Thank you for contacting us here at PIA Customer Support and I am sorry that we do not support IPTV at this time As per the PIA Refund Policy, we only offer full refunds requested within seven days of the initial payment. Pro-rated refunds are not available. As your last payment is outside of that seven-day refund window, it is not eligible for a refund. We do apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause."
NOWHERE ON THEIR WEBSITE DO THEY INDICATE THAT IPTV IS NOT SUPPORTED. BEWARE: If you purchase their service and decide to upgrade from cable to IPTV after your 7 day trial period expires (Particularly if purchasing a 1,2 or 3 yr contract)....They won't provide support and will not extend a refund
Generally good VPN with two serious flaws, one in Windows, one in iOS
I used PIA for several years under Windows, until they changed it so that you must be logged in as a member of the Admins group. If you believe that it is a good security practice to mostly logon as a Standard User, you are SOL with PIA. Ironically, a PIA document on good security practices advises using Standard User logons where possible. Obviously the writer didn't know this would cause PIA to fail.
When PIA made the change to require the admin logon (not just installing with admin rights) a few years ago, the program behaved very erratically. It seemed to be working but it wasn't. Customer support gave me conflicting explanations. It took five people and my own testing to figure out the problem.
I always had problems with PIA suddenly not working with iOS. I switched to Encrypt.me (then Cload) for iOS. Now I use Encrypt.me for both. I can't say if today PIA is still as unreliable with iOS as it used to be.
Good VPN provider with very limited support
I am a long time customer of Private Internet Access. When PIA works, I usually have no real problems. The issue is with support. I recently renewed and found that my password no longer works. Neither does the password reset function on the PIA website. In the past I have been able to contact PIA by phone or chat, but these options disappeared. Thus -- for a simple password reset, I must submit an e-mail and wait -- 20 hours so far. Unless things improve, I will soon be looking for a new VPN provider.
Auto renewal refunds for VPN's
Would just like to share an experience I have had with private internet access. I think as part of a review its good to mention customer support issues or bad business practices. As such I recently had an auto renewal for a full year go through from Private internet access. When I contacted them informing them I no longer use the service, asking for a refund they stated they do not offer refunds on auto renewals. I think its important to include things like this in reviews. Its incredibly frustrating as a customer to suddenly be out $40 because I forgot to cancel an auto renewal, and most legitimate companies would have no problem with something like this.
Horrible Customer service
This company will not reimburse automatic payments past 7 days. When I contacted support about this, said there was no way they would refund me, even though I could not access my account to stop my payment plan prior to being billed again. I do not recommend this company. I also can not get it to work with Netflix or in many internet restricted countries.
PIA Appalling Customer service
Had paid for 1 yr sub. On return from holiday found email terminating service due to non-payment. Checked personally with Banks - no returns or refused payments. After threatened disconnection within days could not contact them even via their e- form and acknowledgement of receipt got no response and wondered about fraud.
Although was generally happy with product NOT happy at all with company terminating service on spurious payment grounds, then in next email had the cheek to try marketing spiel to come back to PIA at a discount. They had previously also sent a mail saying I had requested cancellation. (NOT TRUE). Now need to find original details of order to check with banks not being fiddled. Their Live chat or assistance page is joke asking for feedback on my support (which I have never had -ever!!!
Now looking for alternative - what a shame! Their billing and marketing depts need some serious training in how to deal with customers, including giving correct clear information if there is a problem;instead they just lost a customer who will now tell anyone to walk past them.
Unsatisfied and looking for a different company
PIA is horrible
Speed is 1kb or no internet at all. With "service" turned off I get 100Mbps. Support is basically nonexistent. They don't care to keep customers. Worthless service if you get no connection.
Iffy at Best
- I love the fact that they're the cheapest VPN out there and their speeds are great! Even though the reason why they're one of the fastest is because the default profile uses a weaker security than competitions default settings.
- On my mobile device (iPhone X), I use a third party app to use PIA's profile (see cons) and it stays connected regardless.
- No DNS leaks. I've tried several times in one day and no leaks have been found.
- The default on iOS sucks. It just won't stay connected. And if it is connected, there would be no internet connection at all. Which is why I use OpenVPN Connect.
- No IKEv2, which was a deal breaker for me, but the price brought me back on board.
Other thoughts: I really like this VPN, would I recommend this to my friends? Definitely not. I only use this because of the price point of the service. I don't really do anything online that require a stronger and more stable connection. I only use this when I plan to use Kodi. If they can fix the issue on their app and add IKEv2 protocol? This service would be perfect for me.
Live Chat - Yes they do have live chat now.
Been a PIA customer for 4 years. I recently renewed my subscription but didn't like that it Auto Renewed it. I prefer to be notified then let me decide to renew or not. PIA had a Chat popup window to Chat Now. I chatted with the with the rep, they said the only option is the Cancel my PIA subscription after I renew it. My subscription will continue until it expires in 12 months. I will get an email letting me know it's about to expire. Problem is, once I renew, it goes back to Auto Renew so I have to cancel it again. Silly game you have to play if you don't want it to Auto Renew. Other than that, I like PIA.
It Seemed To Work OK. Then It Didn't. Then Poor Customer Service
Two weeks ago things changed (with PIA). I discovered that my ip was continually indicating New York. Each search with or without PIA required that I log in, to PIA. When PIA indicated that I was connected to Seattle, Las Vegas, US West... I was still showing the ip for New York. After 4 attempts in 4 days, I finally got an answer by email. The email seemed to be from somebody who didn't use the English language very well. No help there. It's been more than a week and I cannot get the NY proxy to go away. I don't trust PIA to do what they advertise, I have to check them each time. wish PIA could be of some substantive help.
Good customer service
I switched from Express VPN as I was having issues with them. PIA made me nervous since there are many reviews relaying bad experiences. I needed help with getting it to work with my older Android phone. I emailed support any they have me detailed info that was helpful. I followed up with more questions. My experience was that they are very knowledgeable and polite. Maybe not super fast, but within a day, I was good to go.
I've used PIA for a year now. I have no reason to switch currently. I really am pleased with my experience overall. The actual connection is great. No problems there.
RICHARD K PRICE
I'm so far past six strikes comcast just leaves me alone.
P.I.A drops the signal for no apparent reason. I must frequently reinstall it. Every time I leave it on while popcorn time 'or other streaming sites active, it drops to red turning itself off. My sixth strike was for a set of Motown hits. There were fifty-three copyright infringements on just that one set. Comcast temporarily stopped my internet access. after repeated infringements. I am also constantly forced to use the picture puzzle to access other sites because of over-use by the servers, Several times there were so many repeats for the bridge and car puzzles that I could not go to the site. After five tries I gave up. One strike was because I left P.I.A. off so I could go to Craigslist. The others were because P.I.S. failed. After the sixth strike, Comcast just leaves me alone now. It works fine when it is working but that is becoming less frequent,
Took my money no service
2 problems that PIA created. I have communicated with their customer support 16 times but they don't resolve the problems.
1- when you sign up and give them payment they automatically renew your subscription the following year. No email notification telling you that they charged your billing source plus the payment goes to an unrecognizable name. EG...
PIA ( private internet access) paid to London Trust Media inc.
So I reported an unauthorized charge to my PayPal which caused a bigger problem.
2- I have informed them that payment was sent to them with bank and PayPal proof they continue to insist that never received my payment. Now they tell me I need to pay again. The money is nowhere to be found and it's charged against my credit card.
I just filed a dispute with PayPal.
I like it but...
I'm often throttled down to 300kb/s for no explained reason, switching servers does not change the speed any. Turning it off and using the internet normally I get full speed. Other than that they're usually great and I usually notice no issues.
Long time Customer
PIA Private Internet Access
They work fine until there is a problem. Poor customer response. At renewal, they expect the customer to click on a link and update any bank card that might have expired. They expect someone to enter a credit card number off of a link from a email. What?!?!?!? PIA expects to have the privilege to take your money without asking each year. Arrogance is not pretty. They threaten to cancel unless you do it THEIR WAY. What about what the customer is going through? I guess success can become a liability for some of us when we think we can take liberties with peoples' private paying information. Why do they want to alienate their customers with this slippery performance
Have used PIA for 3 years now and have never had any problems... I have used the speed checker and have been getting the same speed when PIA was either on or off. Net flix streaming doesn,t like PIA but I just switch it off when streaming although miss the American progs.. I used to find Gumtree here in the uk stalled at times with PIA but seems to work ok now..
I am very happy and will renew this year .. Thanks
Reliable and Secure
My friends, I have been a satisfied PIA customer for many years. The (very) few service calls I felt I needed to make to PIA over the years were always resolved promptly and courteously. I have used PIA without problems both in and outside the country. At least from my perspective, they have delivered and keep on delivering. Highly recommended. Regardless whatever VPN you are using, please make sure to check your connection often: ipleak [dot] net
Best budget vpn hands-down
PIA was my first paid-vpn about 5 years ago and have been very satisfied with it. Very reliable (keeps a connection for months at a time on linux with openvpn client) and maxes out at 80MBPS. Very consistent performance since I first subscribed, I am completely satisfied. Surprised at all the problems other reviewers have had, I guess it just depends on your location I have had no problems even on the go at relatives and hotels.
overall very good; works with all of my devices even linux PC with easy and painless install speed is decent any VPN with blazing fast speed you need to be skeptical if you really are behind it. Also- like the chrome add-in plugin option for those who want an alternative to traditional install. Lastly they accept gift cards providing additional level of anonymity.
PIA cannot be trusted
PIA is one of the worst VPNs I’ve ever used, and in a dozen years I’ve used quite a few. Terrible if not non-existent customer service, buggy software, massive doses of marketing hype, frequent lying, and many broken promises. On top of everything else they hired Mark Karpeles as their CTO, the same Mark Karpeles of Mt. Gox fame who presided over the biggest Bitcoin fraud in history. PIA is NOT a company that anyone should trust.
Not worth your money
My experience has been horrible with Private Internet Access. Frequent disconnects and I’m talking about it happening sometimes immediate. I struggled through trying to get help from their tech support without any success. Finally, I tried a free one called Psiphon, and it has far exceeded my expectations. I would never consider using Private Internet Access. It was a horrible experience and a complete waste of money.
Please, notice that PIA uses unique tracking codes in links within emails sent to their own customers. That suggests that after all, they act no differently to serious privacy offenders regardless of what they claim.
Renewed for two years
Frequent travel between US and northern Europe. I don’t even bother with a laptop any longer, and use only Android devices. PIA auto-connects on log in and has worked as advertised. No complaints!
Great VPN for a great price.
I have looked over VPNs day and night for years. I’m no expert but I am consistently reading up on the current best and worst and will try new ones from time to time. PIA is constantly proving to be my favorite.
While they are in the 5 eyes, they have proven in court time and again that they really don’t keep logs. They could be a bit faster, and could work for Netflix, but overall it’s a great one. I have used the app on Windows, Android, and iOS. I haven’t used it on Ubuntu for lack of need so far but it would probably work just fine with the track record so far.
The negative reviews probably are very fair. But I’d say that the bad reviews are more likely to be written than good ones, and the fact that there are fans like me show that generally they are great. Though I’ve never had any customer service issues, so going that rabbit hole may be a difficult road. Hopefully I won’t need that, haven’t yet in two years thankfully.
PIA last program to load in Windows 10
PIA always (for many months) is the last to load.
So I automatically connect to the Web and I have Firefox open in 15 tabs or so, all connected to the Web, but VPN takes minutes to load, so all web sites have my real IP address.
What’s the point of having a VPN then? I searched PIA forums and tried all kinds of fixes, nothing worked, so it’s time to move on, I’m planning on NordVPN or another …
PIA - Caveat Emptor
I bought and have been using a 2 year PIA plan based on the reviews here and other websites. So far so good.
I think this website should also write an article not only about VPN’s Zero Log Policies but how the VPN’s go about notifying their customers when they make changes. Changes to Policies and Zero Log Privacy Policies go hand in hand.
It may be time to look elsewhere for another VPN.
Very unhappy with PIA. Their service stopped working for me (I’m in the UAE) partway through my prepaid year of service, and their customer service basically said “Sorry, we can’t help.” I asked for a partial refund for the remaining balance of the year I prepaid for, and they refused. Unhappy with both their product and their customer service.
Meh, You get what you pay for
I used them for 2 years in a row. They were fast enough when I first joined, but over time, they just felt increasingly crowded, if their client app’s server utilization figures were to be believed. They have a lot of servers and they are all crowded was my experience.
They seemed short on IP’s too, in that I’d get “your IP address has had enough of you” errors when I clearly had yet to partake in that site’s offerings. More crowding.
Their client was smooth running, but with updates came problems. Problems I’ve never had with other VPNs like Nord or Express.
I left for good when they auto-renewed my membership when the option to auto-renew was definitely toggled to “off.” They refunded my money, but it took my time and effort to get it undone and that’s just lame…
Currently using PIA
I’m not huge into using too many VPN’s, but I’ve also tried Cyberghost and Hotspot Shield. They are a little slower than PIA and Zenmate from what I’ve noticed and they don’t have the features that PIA does but if you use Zenmate for a while, they give you free premium. I used them for about 3-4 months and eventually, they gave me 6 months premium, so they’re also a great alternative to PIA that I would definitely recommend.
Good service, all in all.
PIA has worked pretty well for me all in all. Which is good because their customer service is a joke. I had some issues early on and only email was available to have my issue remedied and it took them a few days to get back to me and then when I instantly responded, a few more days to get back to me again.
It is ridiculous that there isn’t a phone number or internet way to talk one on one in real time to your customers. I am not sure if it is still that way but when I signed up, that was how they handled things.
Difficulties in the UK
I’ve been using PIA for about 18 months now, and enjoyed it without any noticeable reduction in Mb/sec up until my move from the USA to the UK 6 months ago. Since then, in order to get around the “child block” on my Virgin Media broadband host, I’ve had to enable stricter settings in PIA that make my wireless card unuseable after turning the VPN off. The issue is fixed by running a troubleshoot on my wireless drivers, but is still a major inconvenience.
Furthermore, PIA does not work for Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, which was the main reason I purchased. Overall, recommend if you live in the US and care about your privacy, not so much for overcoming internal media regulations.
PIA makes me happy
The PIA client works fine for me on Windows and Android. There is a nice selection of locations to choose from and the interface is easy. My native bandwidth is a few hundred meg on FTTH, and I don’t notice much of a drop when running the VPN.
On the downside, the client does sometimes disconnect, and it would be nice to just be able to tick an auto-reconnect option instead of manually having to. Also, their support can be a bit hit and miss, but when it’s a “hit”, they will do anything for you.
Initial impression - not worth it
I just installed PIA and my download speed has gone from 70+ Mbps to 27-29 Mbps. Maybe I configured something wrong but I don’t see anything to configure.
Unless I find something, I have to say that this product is not worth it. Good price, but who wants to lose that much speed?
PIA isn't so great with TOR.
One of the primary differences of VPN access through TOR or TOR Access through VPN would require in the latter case to allow & enable one to be able to pay easily through Crypto. However, this does not seem to be the case with PIA.
One of the fundamental uses of this becomes apparent when internet controls have slowly started become evident in the Middle & Far East and therefore easy ways to access the world wide web would be crucial to take things forward given the complete freedom that is being offered in the US – not monetarily but in terms of ALL-ACCESS (net neutrality debates notwithstanding.)
I guess PIA can address the “Access” aspects in a much better fashion than it is doing now and go a long way to address how neutral it is to the “net neutrality biases” which all seem to discuss the “how much access will I get for the money I pay?” The access is there, however it is the quality of access (speed) etc. which is the truly underlying issue.
I think PIA needs to address that particular aspect of giving “Easy Full” access for the money we pay better. “All Access is anyways in the nature of the VPN”.
Cheap and works great on desktop, loses points on mobile.
I’ve never had a problem with Private Internet Access, and they’re one of the cheapest providers around. Long list of locations you can route through, and the speed difference when on or off is negligible. Then again I do have ADSL2+ which means I couldn’t say for sure what the speed effect is as that’s pretty awful already.
Lost points for the mobile app which doesn’t seem to work as well and often will make the phone appear offline if the connection isn’t made straight away. If I needed it for mobile I’d use a different service, but the desktop version is my primary use and I’m happy with it.
genuine company that cares
I tried out PIA to bypass the restrictions of torrenting that were put in place by my country rather than for privacy. Admittedly, I only used it for around a week or two, as I realised that I hardly ever torrent content anymore.
It worked well enough – no speed issues, cross-platform compatibility, and had a ton of server locations to choose from, several even in remote areas. I found the price to be the most affordable among many others – with a wide range of payment methods, even gift cards.
PIA is definitely good value for money – it’s what you expect for the price you pay, nothing more nothing less, but above all the customer service is amazing. I requested a cancel and refund after a week (as allowed on their website) and they got back to me within less than a day. The process was straightforward and not once did I feel as if I was being pressured to continue with the service, which is what companies usually do – I was accommodated well to my needs.
I have a lot of respect for PIA after this and so this review is quite biased, but they seem like a genuine company that cares for its users, something that I value highly given the precarious nature of public VPNs.
Questionable logging policy
While PIA has been and is an exceptional VPN, they have recently started advocating popular political agendas.
If you’ve ever lived in an area that’s Gone from peace to war in a matter of hours, then you understand that security and privacy company advocating political viewpoints is neither private nor secure. I need to be sure my privacy is protected no matter which way the political wind blows.
PIA - The easiest VPN client to use
I love using PIA. This is actually my second year of using it and I’ve had no issues at all. I also love the fact that I can add multiple devices. That was a must with me since I use a cellphone, a laptop, and a desktop. I love how easy it is to use on my macbook especially since it runs nicely in the background. This has a really easy to use interface that makes it perfect for me.
The drop down menu on my Macbook’s toolbar allows me to toggle the location of the VPN and also whether or not I want to enable it at all. It has no gimmicks involved and is just a clean cut VPN provider that delivers.
I have used this server for years from the UK. They have fantastically fast servers which goes well with my ISP Virgin 220 Mbps down / 12 Mbps up. I have only had to contact their support dept once in many years and they were extremely knowledgeable.
They keep NO LOGS whatsoever, and there are many anonymous ways to pay if you want e.g.. Starbucks voucher.
Highly recommending this VPN provider.
Doesn't work anymore
Recently I noticed a big slow down on bandwidth while connected to this VPN, and did some investigating. What I discovered was PIA was connecting me to an Arizona server, while it said it was connected to the Toronto server in Canada. Also my ip was on full display for all to see. I created a ticket and it’s been more than a week and ZERO support! I immediately change vpn providers! Was with PIA for many years, but no more! PIA just doesn’t work as a VPN anymore, so I’ll avoid it like the plague.
ZERO CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Reported this to PayPal and many other entities. PIA needs to fold up and disappear! You won’t ever get another penny of my money for your garbage service!
PIA has virtually no customer service
In 2015 I had PIA for a year and it was pretty good. They used to have chat support that was helpful. They no longer have chat support or even a customer service phone number. I signed up after not having a VPN for a year and cancelled for a refund a few hours after ordering. PIA no longer met my needs.
Their customer support article reads that you can cancel within the first 7 days and a refund will take 3-7 days. It has now been 10 days and no refund or response other than generic auto response emails that state they are too busy to process my request and will get to it when they can. I would have recommended them in 2015, but definitely not in 2017.
A complete lack of customer support gets two thumbs down! Phone support would definitely help.
Have used PIA for three years, along with others, which never measured up. PIA has consistent connections (I have been dropped twice, and use VPN whenever connected), and a real kill connection that works. The fast speeds have kept me as a long-time user. Don’t be lulled by the “no logs” hype. No logs refers to the initial connection IP record.
All servers keep logs (IMO).
PIA is the fastest VPN that I've used.
I’ve been using PIA for a month now. Before that, I’ve tried a big variety of services (including free ones like Betternet).
None of them have such an easy UI as PIA. PIA stays minimized on your taskbar and you can just right click and connect to a server from there.
They have tons of servers, which are really quick, and if I say really, I mean a lot.
+1 from here
PIA is by far the best
Based on my knowledge, nothing can beat PIA. It’s easy and simple to use, connects within seconds and is very reliable software.
I especially like that you can keep it minimzed on your taskbar and quickly change server locations.
Furthermore, PIA connects to a server pretty much instantly while many other VPN providers can take 5-10 seconds.
PIA is a great tool – no doubts about that.