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Table of Contents
- 1 Intro
- 2 Pricing
- 3 Hot Features
- 4 Number of devices allowed & platform supported
- 5 Customer support
- 6 Server Locations
- 7 Software
- 9 Security
- 10 Speed Test
- 11 Conclusion
London Trust Media Inc. is one of the big players in the VPN service market. Their star product is none other than the Private Internet Access VPN software, which is able to provide very secure access to information in other countries and at the same time protect your own information. London Trust Media Inc. is known for innovation when it comes to online security software.
The Private Internet Access VPN has a total of 3172 servers worldwide and still growing. It covers a total of 28 countries around the globe.
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Every now and then when we pick a VPN service provider, we analyze every feature associated with the service and test its promises via rigid scrutiny measures. We do this to facilitate the purchase decision of new users seeking a VPN. With top of the line features, military grade encryption, secure tunneling, no logging policy, and a global server spread, PIA provides online anonymity and protection against most dangerous cyber threats.
You can even subscribe to the VPN service through anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin. To have a view at PIA’s hot features, I’ve enlisted them below:
DNS Leak Protection
DNS leak protection is another feature that they offer towards their subscribers, which ensures that any DNS request is routed via the VPN. It gives a very high level of security and privacy, though with issues in connectivity when the network configurations are non-standard.
PIA did not leak our DNS server address. It has a checkbox for DNS leak protection right on the client. If you have trouble with DNS leaks, you can try this option, or hard code a DNS server such as Google’s. PIA had no issues with changing the IP address.
PIA uses their own DNS servers and connection for their DNS is automatic when using the Windows, Mac and Android clients, while iOS must be configured manually.
Dedicated DNS servers are a desirable feature as it not only overcomes DNS based blocking of websites as is common in China and some other countries but also provides a safeguard against DNS vulnerabilities that can potentially result in a loss of anonymity for VPN users. PIA claims a zero logging policy so presumably their DNS servers are not logged as well.
VPN Kill Switch
Private Internet Access offers a neat feature of internet kill switch. This is an essential feature for all privacy concerned users. What it does is that it automatically shuts down your internet connection if you disconnect from the VPN. Private Internet Access Kill Switch prevents your IP address from leaking and exposing your true identity.
Your internet connection resumes once your VPN connection is back up and running or if you deactivate this feature. Internet Kill Switch is baked into all the software and apps offered by PIA. In addition, this feature comes with all its pricing plans, which means you don’t have pay anything extra to utilize the VPN Kill Switch.
We found that Private Internet Access Internet Kill Switch feature is a must have for the avid user. It works by activating VPN disconnection protection. This means that when the user disconnects from the VPN, internet access is blocked. Deactivating the kill switch reactivates the normal internet connection.
It is beneficial if you use a VPN for torrenting. PIA Kill Switch will stop your internet from working if your VPN connection drops. This way copyright holder can’t identify your location as your IP address never leaks. Stop streaming services from blacklisting your IP address. Internet kill switch will prevent streaming services such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer from identifying that you use a VPN to access their service and block your IP.
IPV6 Leak Protection
The Private Internet Access IPV6 leak protection prevents all IPV6 traffic when you are connected to the VPN. It safeguards against IPV6 leaks to ensure connection privacy.
This feature of Private Internet Access saves you from being tracked by intruders and hackers as it disables any traffic going through IPv6 while you are connected to the VPN. IPv6 Leak Protection disables your IPv6 network address to protect against leakage via IPv6. This is an excellent security feature.
In the future, you will see sites move toward the IPv6 model. At this point, IPv6 is only used in 11% of all internet traffic. That is a large increase over the last several years.
If you check the IPv6 leak protection box, you will disable IPv6. The reason why this is important is that without the IPv6 leak protection, you leave yourself vulnerable if you connect to one of those servers. Unless when you manually disable IPv6.
In a public wifi hotspot, you can secure your wireless internet connection using their VPN service to create several security layers which will prevent access to your data from those who are locally at the hotspot as well as other criminals scattered across the internet.
This is an end all and absolutely necessary solution to secure public wifi. In technical terms, Private Internet Access deploys state of the art OpenVPN SSL based encryption layers over all the tunneled connections. There will never be an unencrypted moment. Additionally, this website has been encrypted since its inception.
As long as your data connection is encrypted, even if they can access your data at a public wifi hotspot, they will not be able to decipher the data. It will look like cryptographic gibberish.
Stay anonymous and secure on public WiFi. Hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic to connect to blocked apps and websites with their unlimited VPN. Private Internet Access unblocks content for users and allows them to encrypt their network traffic, change their IP address, and connect anonymously to blocked websites and apps.
As the last two synonyms I listed, P2P and file-sharing suggest when you “download” a torrent file – you are really sharing pieces of that file with anyone else also downloading or sharing that file. A potentially nasty side-effect of this is that all these “peers” can see your IP address (and you can see theirs).
It should come as a surprise to nobody, then, that copyright holders routinely monitor P2P downloads of their intellectual property (IP) in order to catch “pirates”. The good news is that if you torrent with a PIA VPN it will protect you from this, as long as the provider permits P2P.
Multiple Protocols (PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec)
Despite of all the value added features and benefits you can enjoy by connecting a VPN, encryption is one of the core ingredients that satisfy the most basic and important needs – privacy and security. A VPN ensures your confidentiality through its diverse tunneling protocols. Furthermore, through its encryption protocols, a VPN encrypts your data which minimizes the possibility of unauthorized access and data abuse.
Their service is fast and provides a high level of security through the 256-bit encryption of their OpenVPN connection. That shows why they are one of the most popular options in the industry.
The company encrypts your connection to ensure that all the information that you send and receive is kept private and anonymous. And that’s not all – you can encrypt your information with up to 256-AES and authenticate it with up to SHA256. You can even handshake it with up to RSA 4096, although this might take a toll on the speed.
We studied the security features of the service for our VPN Private Internet Access review and concluded that the provider offers three tunneling protocols: PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) and OpenVPN. Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is usually preferred by VPN users who want to access geo-restricted content.
In addition, it satisfies the needs associated with anonymity as your real IP is masked the moment you connect a VPN. PPTP has minimal effect on your Internet speed; but, it in return offers shallow security. Those who are concerned about their security prefer L2TP instead.
L2TP is a sophisticated protocol that offers absolute anonymity and competent security. OpenVPN is, on the other hand, is not always a preferable protocol to adopt. All three different protocols liberalize users’ freedom of choice along with diversity.
PIA MACE (Block Ads, Trackers, and Malware)
PIA MACE is a system developed by Private Internet Access to help protect their customer’s privacy and security. PIA MACE returns IP addresses of unwanted domain names as an address that’s not routable on the public internet. It is a new feature that blocks ads, trackers and malware.
Private Internet Access (PIA) has always sought to provide the most privacy-preserving solutions for customers using the PIA desktop client. After all, privacy is their policy. Online advertising is often a free-for-all where the end user loses. That’s why Private Internet Access created a VPN service with ad blocking features to keep users safe on Android, Windows, Mac and Linux.
It is often hard for users to find the right ad blocker that works with their browser and is simple to use. Setting up an ad blocker at the network level requires even more technical expertise. Now customers will be able to use Private Internet Access MAC to block ads, trackers and malware on whatever browser they are using.
Private Internet Access offers users with unlimited bandwidth usage on their VPN service. Bandwidth refers to the data limitations put in place by the VPN on the server. If you do a lot of downloading or streaming, make sure that the VPN you choose offers nothing less than unlimited bandwidth.
With Private Internet Access VPN, you get completely unlimited bandwidth with all of their service plans, regardless of duration. Pick a Pandora station, and never worry about hitting a cap again. They also allow users to reconnect as many times as they want between PIA’s 3253+ servers around the world.
There are no restrictions on how much traffic and go through the VPN tunnel that they set up for you. They do not meter the bandwidth and they don’t use logging. This means that you pretty much have free reign on using the system. This makes it an ideal solution if you plan on streaming content to get around location restrictions.
Private Internet Access provides SOCKS5 proxy access to all users who require this type of feature. SOCKS5 proxy provides additional safeguards to the privacy of BitTorrent users.
The SOCKS5 designation that Private Internet Access uses for their proxy adds authentication, proxies OpenVPN (TCP) connections to an arbitrary IP address, and provides a means for OpenVPN (UDP) packets to be forwarded. Its support for SOCK5 proxy makes it a more flexible service.
No Traffic Logs
Private Internet Access does not keep any records of your online activity whatsoever. The company is located in the US, which is a country that does not implement a data retention policy. Private Internet Access VPN is very adamant about absolutely never keeping logs of their customers’ internet activity, so your connection truly is private and anonymous.
However, they might share your information with the government or another law enforcement agency, if any situation arises. Not a good thing for the users, if you ask me. On the bright side, they claim that they don’t collect any data, so they have nothing to share anyway. The traffic gets lost in the crowd because everyone has the same IP address.
Another aspect of Private Internet Access features that should be highlighted is that in case a server is not working, you will be automatically redirected to another server so you will not experience major delays. You can also switch between servers as you wish.
This feature lets you redirect certain communication requests to a specific gateway. This technique is mainly used by users who want to enhance their gaming experience, but it should be kept in mind that port forwarding reduces privacy so it is recommended to keep it off if you value security.
Private Internet Access lets you connect to your VPN service instantly with its fast one-click installers. Even at the start of opening the application or even the device boots, it automatically connects.
Additionally, you can select the option to start PIA as soon as you log in, and auto connects when you start PIA. Also, keep in mind that you must disconnect from the server that you are currently on before connecting to another location offered by the service.
Another useful thing you can set is Port Forwarding (used by P2P clients or other software that requires direct access to your PC from the Internet). If you are a fan of torrenting activity, Private Internet Access is very p2p friendly, and also provides a port forwarding feature.
Port forwarding is a method used by an application that will re-direct a communication request from one address and port number combination to another while the packets are traversing a network gateway, such as a router or firewall. The goal is to allow members to connect securely to a trusted server that acts as a liaison for the purpose of sending/receiving data to the destination servers. It accomplishes this by using SOCKS.
If you enable the option, a tooltip will show you the forwarded port when you connect. Port Forwarding is available on servers located in Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada and Romania.
Number of devices allowed & platform supported
This VPN can work on five different devices all at the same time. It is compatible with all operating systems like all versions of Windows, all versions of Mac OS X, Linux, all iOs devices, and all Android devices. This VPN is very handy and will not give you any problem when it comes to usage.
The customer support team of PIA is extremely efficient. First of all, they have a 24/7 live chat team that can answer the questions of users. The 24/7 live chat support is very easy to use. You just have to input your name, your e-mail, and your issue. After that, you choose which department you want to address. You may also email the company by going to the “Contact Us” page.
There are many reasons that justify the need of a VPN. A number of servers offered by a VPN service provider serves as the key enforcer while making a purchase decision.
VPN servers along with the geographic location of their presence allow users to access a broad range of geo-restricted content. PIA VPN gives you access to more than 3,253 servers geographically scattered in different regions.
Currently, PIA has its servers located in more than 25 countries: U.S, Canada, U.K, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany, Romania, Isreal, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Hong Kong. When you connect to a particular server, you will be assigned an IP of that respective region. Hence, you can access any geo-restricted content produced for the native eyes only.
The software is easy to use and configure. You can connect to any server of your choice by simply entering Username and Password. You will then be connected with default settings to the server of your choice.
In the VPN software, you can choose the region/country you want to connect the VPN, as well as protocol and ports. They provide both TCP and UDP VPNs, on ports: TCP 80, 110, 443 and UDP 53, 1194, 8080 and 9201. Protocols and ports can be selected from the advanced options.
Since PIA’s connection software provides only OpenVPN support, if you are looking to use L2TP/IPSec, you must use the traditional way of connecting through L2TP.
They provide connection hosts on their website, and it should take only a few moments to setup the L2TP VPN connection. However, the difference between OpenVPN(UDP) and L2TP speeds is small, and we recommend to use OpenVPN because of its higher security.
This is something we witness once in a blue moon. A VPN service provider with a claim like that is definitely worth a shot; however, the only hurdle is the lack of free trial. Nevertheless, there is nothing more luxurious than privacy itself – is it? There might be several VPN service providers out there – offering free trials and cheap price.
Therefore, it can be stated that the discrepancy of not offering a free trial can be muddled through. The VPN service providers that do not offer a free trial often present a money back guarantee with their service. But, a FREE trial is an enforcer like no other; hence, it can be regarded as a loophole of Private Internet Access VPN.
While most Virtual Private Networks will have preset encryption levels that cannot be changed, PIA VPN actually allows you to choose the encryption level that best suits your needs. You can choose anything from no encryption, which hides your IP address and offers the fastest speeds, to encryption that provides you with bank level security.
The amount of customizable options that they offer is fairly astonishing, especially when you are talking about a company whose main job is to ensure security and privacy. They even have guides on their website to help you determine the pros and cons of choosing each encryption level.
It is obviously required that any Virtual Private Network that can be recommended to users has heavy security measures in place to ensure the privacy of users. PIA VPN certainly passes the security test as they create several layers of security and privacy for users that access the web through their network. They have multiple gateways throughout the globe and provide VPN tunnel access over 25 countries.
As far as encryption, PIA VPN actually separates them from the pack by allowing users to choose what encryption they want to use. While they do have preset encryption levels in place, you have the ability to change those settings depending on what mix of speed and security you are looking for.
No matter how much we research about Private Internet Access VPN, we can only hypothesize about its performance. In order to add valid rationale justifying PIA VPN’s performance, we conducted some speed tests to check the reliability of the service in our VPN Private Internet Access review.
For this, we first tested our connection speed and then connected our device to different servers of PIA to compare the results. We are currently using a 130 Mbps connection and the results revealed by speed test are portrayed by the snapshot given below (Ping – 11 ms, Download Speed – 125.16 Mbps, Upload Speed – 22.32 Mbps).
We tested PIA VPN’s Canada server. The ping rose from 11 ms to 19 ms here. Download speed after connecting a VPN was 122.49 Mbps and upload speed was 20.81 Mbps.
After testing PIA VPN’s Canada server, we tested United-States, East in order to authenticate the results at much greater extent. The snapshot given above reveals the results of speed test after connecting to PIA’s United-States, East server.
Ping grows a little bit more and the download speed was affected as well. However, upload speed improved as compared to the results extracted while being connected to a Canada server. PIA performed comparably to other big providers where speed testing was concerned. It didn’t blow away the competition, but it didn’t slow the connection down to below broadband range, either.
We will now connect our device to PIA’s UK server to contrast the results extracted via speed test. After the connection was successfully established with PIA VPN’s UK server, we tested PIA’s effect on ping, download and upload speed.
The results revealed by speed test are portrayed by the snapshot given above. Ping has increased from 11 to 91 ms – which is actually not that bad.
Download speed, however, was affected as it dropped from 125.16 Mbps to 101.53 Mbps. The good news is that upload speed wasn’t deteriorated much (22.32 Mbps – before connecting a VPN, 21.13 Mbps – after connecting a VPN).
Wait! There’s more. We tested PIA’s Netherlands server also and the results were a little bit different than the previous ones.
After testing different servers of PIA, it can be deduced that download speed was slightly affected every time we connected a VPN. However, this is a widely accepted fact that a VPN affects your actual Internet speed. So, an approximate drop of Internet speed by 3-5% should really be a concern here – I guess.
The results derived for VPN Private Internet Access review worth notifying and include download speed, upload speed and ping statistics. PIA VPN’s servers don’t affect the upload speed much which is the good news for all those who love to share. Furthermore, the ping isn’t affected as well which is more than just good news for all gamers seeking a VPN.
This VPN provider is definitely one of the most secure and efficient systems on the internet. With all the features that are available for you, your information can be protected from any hacker or tracker that is lurking on the web.
After thorough analysis and testing of package plans and features representing Private Internet Access VPN, we can conclude that PIA offers feature-rich package plans at an affordable price. Not only this, PIA has a wide range of servers allowing you to break through divergent geo-restrictions. DNS Leak Protection, in addition, is a feature that adjoins more value to the package plans.
PIA VPN doesn’t depict much effect on either Internet speed or ping; hence, it can be considered as a viable alternative. Nonetheless, PIA doesn’t offer a free trial which will probably be a loophole hindering purchase decision of many.
The best part of it all is that you can access information that you can’t usually access without compromising your safety and security. Also, the interface is so simple, which makes the entire system very easy to use even for a beginner. The customer support team is also very good.
If you have any concerns or issues, all you have to do is log on to the live chat. You can talk to the representatives at any time of the day for your concerns. Overall, I would give the VPN provider a 9.8. Check below to see the breakdown of the rating.