Private Internet Access Review

Verdict

Private Internet Access is still among our favourite VPN providers. Although it's not one for video streaming, it's fast, cheap and secure. Alongside ExpressVPN and Perfect Privacy, it's also one of the few services whose no-logging policy has been scrutinised as a result of legal action.

Pros

  • Extremely fast transfer speeds
  • Wide range of privacy and security features
  • Clear no-logging policy, demonstrated in court
  • Very cheap

Cons

  • Detected by most streaming services

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £32.99
  • UK pricing: £5.74 per month, £29.69 per 6 months, £32.99 per year
  • US pricing: $6.95 per month, $35.95 per 6 months, $39.95 per year
  • Connect up to 10 devices
  • Supports OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec
  • Clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
  • Clear information on connecting other devices without dedicated clients

What is Private Internet Access?

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a US-based virtual private network provider with a particularly strong track record on privacy and security. It supports up to 10 simultaneous connections from a wide variety of devices and operating systems, and a good range of international endpoints.

PIA is also heavily competing on price at the moment, which makes it one of the most competitive VPN providers around.

Private Internet Access - Best deals

Private Internet Access

Equipped with a VPN kill switch and IPv6 leak protection are two of many reasons PIA is rated as our top VPN for security. Get yourself a year subscription and save 67%.

Related: Best VPN

Private Internet Access – Features and usability

PIA has a clear and explicit no-logging policy, and the USA doesn’t currently have any mandatory data retention laws in place. When served with an FBI warrant to hand over VPN logs, PIA really didn’t have anything to give investigators, making it one of the few VPN providers whose no-logging claim is known to have been tested.

There are graphical clients for Windows, Linux and macOS, and detailed instructions are provided for setting up connections on other operating systems and devices.

PIA’s Windows desktop app has received a bit of polish lately. Its black-and-green status display pops up from its notification area shortcut and automatically minimises itself if you interact with another window.

A single button allows you to connect to the last VPN server you used, displayed below, with an arrow that takes you to a full, searchable list of endpoint locations. This displays their current latency and allows you to add favourites.

A settings window lets you configure the client’s behaviour – such as launching on system startup and connecting automatically. You can even switch between the client’s default dark theme and lighter colour palette.

There’s a VPN Killswitch that can be set to automatically cut off all internet traffic if the VPN is disconnected, the PIA MACE tool that blocks ad trackers, custom DNS, port forwarding on endpoints that support it, an option to block LAN traffic and an extremely flexible range of customisable settings for your VPN connection, including your preferred encryption settings.

A screenshot of the Private Internet Access client running on Windows 10.

Private Internet Access – Performance

Endpoints/VPN UK Netherlands United States
Private Internet Access HTTP 162.88Mbps 170.16Mbps 105.04Mbps
Private Internet Access FTP 181.69Mbps 177.43Mbps 85.40Mbps

PIA has a good range of 33 endpoint countries and over 3,000 servers and its performance in our HTTP and FTP speed tests has historically been well above average. This trend broadly continued in our latest test over a high-speed connection.

We got HTTP speeds of 20.36MB/s (162.88Mbit/s) and FTP speeds of 22.7MB/s from UK endpoints, both of which were among the fastest in this month’s test. Connections via PIA’s Netherlands endpoint were also well above average at around 21.27MB/s for HTTP and 22.18MB/s via FTP. US speeds more than doubled last month’s with HTTP download speeds of 13.13MB/s and FTP speeds of 10.67MB/s.

Streaming has never been PIA’s strong suit, and this month’s performance tests were a wash. Only Shudder and YouTube allowed us to watch geo-shifted content. Crunchyroll, Netflix US, All 4 and iPlayer consistently detected that we were using a VPN.

Related: What is a VPN?

Should I buy Private Internet Access?

PIA’s proven track record on privacy is perhaps the most compelling reason to use the service. While it’s not alone in having had its no-logging policy brought up as a result of legal action, PIA is currently perhaps the cheapest privacy-focussed consumer VPN provider thanks to an ongoing price cut.

Currently, subscriptions will cost you £5.74 per month, £29.69 per 6 months, and £32.99 per year, which works out at £2.75 a month. If you don’t want your name associated with your subscription, you can pay using bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Zcash and some gift cards.

It provides plenty of security and advanced settings, support for less common operating systems like Linux, and guidance on using the service with your router and other network appliances.

Verdict

Private Internet Access is among our favourite VPN providers. Although it’s not one for video streaming, it’s fast, cheap and secure. Alongside ExpressVPN and Perfect Privacy, it’s also one of the few services whose no-logging policy has been scrutinised as a result of legal action.

Todays Best VPN Deals

ExpressVPN

No.1 trusted VPN on the market, with unrestricted access to Netflix, HBO and iPlayer. Get 49% off on their one year subscription and receive a further three months completely free.

NordVPN

NordVPN is one of the fastest and most secure VPN services with unlimited and private P2P. Pay for a 3 year subscription and save 75%.

ProtonVPN

Proton VPN is one of the newer VPNs on the market. It has a strong focus on privacy and has a verified no logging claim. Sign up for as little as $4 a month and save up to $72 on your yearly bill.

Trusted Score


Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.