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Private Internet Access VPN Review: Why is it so popular?

Private Internet Access VPN has been described as the ‘world’s most transparent provider’. Since its debut in 2010, the brand has wasted no time pulling in tens of millions of users.

This award-winning service offers near-unbeatable coverage, speeds, and reliability, all wrapped up in one low subscription fee.

Widely considered a top-tier provider, Private Internet Access has developed a solid reputation having more years in the business than some other operators combined.

Boasting a highly configurable and dynamic service, this VPN is suitable for everything from streaming the latest shows to simply staying safe online.

Pros & Cons of Private Internet Access


  • Verified and reputable no-logs privacy policy
  • Phenomenal network made up of 64,000 servers spanning 91 countries
  • One of the best value-for-money VPN services online today


  • Headquartered in the United States, a ‘privacy-unfriendly’ nation
  • No free version available, only a 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Can be edged out by competing platforms in some speed tests

Key Private Internet Access VPN features

One of the leading features of Private Internet Access VPN is the diversity of its network.

It has a broad and ambitious server ecosystem that touches every corner of the world. The number of countries in which they have servers is almost unparalleled.

As one of the most robust and resilient providers online today, PIA features cutting-edge security protocols to keep users as safe as possible.

In testing, cybersecurity experts failed to identify any IP or DNS leaks. My own first-hand experiences with the product also profess the inherent safety of the system.

PIA actively supports OpenVPN and WireGuard and employs an AES 128-bit encryption (and AES-256 cypher). As well as this, they have a best-in-class kill switch feature that protects against unexpected disconnects while using the service.

As previously stated, one of the most helpful aspects of Private Internet Access VPN is the level of customisable features available across the platform.

In the application provided to manage your profile and account, several settings can be tweaked to provide the optimum performance according to your needs.

These include the personalisation of encryption levels, connection types, proxy mechanics, packet settings, and more.

Despite the broadness of the server network and the intense level of customisation available, PIA is, above all else, simple and easy to use.

The applications and interfaces are far from complex, and once the VPN is downloaded to a device, making use of it is extremely straightforward.

How many servers does Private Internet Access VPN have?

Private Internet Access is one of the most diverse VPN providers in the world, simply because it offers such a wide server network.

There are 64,271 servers in 91 locations that users can connect to, an ecosystem that covers almost the entire planet.

In terms of coverage by region, Private Internet Access VPN has servers in 43 European countries, 17 in the Americas, 19 in the Asia-Pacific region, and 12 in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.

Some users are disappointed with the brand’s coverage across Africa, but there are still enough servers to get by – and with substantial connectivity and reliability, even longer-distance connections are resilient.

Private Internet Access employs several virtual servers, which can be an issue for some. There is an inherent distrust of these amongst netizens, owing to their higher susceptibility to data breaches.

With that being said, the company is transparent about its use and actively highlights which servers are virtual.

Subscribed customers are given the option to avoid these if they so wish.

How much does Private Internet Access VPN cost?

By comparison to the platform’s immediate competitors, Private Internet Access VPN is not the cheapest – but it’s far from being the most expensive.

It is an affordable service that uses a subscription-based pricing model.

The lowest fee I could access the PIA for was a minor $1.90 a month. This is part of the 3-year plan.

There is no outright free version available.

However, PIA does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee for those who wish to try the service before committing to a longer plan.

Customers can also regularly benefit from coupons and special promos, making it even more affordable for new and existing users.

Privacy & security

Private Internet Access VPN offers a customisable service, as previously highlighted. This is where the provider shines, giving users complete control over their privacy online.

By default, PIA is a significantly secure product, protecting customer data through OpenVPN and AES 128-bit encryption. This is achieved using an RSA-2048 handshake.

There are further options to scale to RSA-4096 and AES-256 for those who want further peace of mind.

If you’re seeking privacy, PIA is the service worth considering – after all, it’s in the name.

Several features are guaranteed to keep users safe online, and their activities hidden. These include ad-blockers, private browser mechanics and a sub-service called PIA MACE.

This blocks certain sites that are known for hosting malware, ads, and activity trackers.

Cybersecurity experts have performed stress tests against Private Internet Access VPN and confirmed that the service’s IPv4, IPv6, and DNS protection is solid. There are no leaks, signifying that internet protocol data is protected while using the product.

Like many others, PIA offers a fantastic kill switch mechanic – one of the best in the business.

If you’re using this VPN to browse the internet and your connection drops, the built-in kill switch will ensure that your data is kept safe.

The only downside to Private Internet Access is that it is headquartered in the United States. The US is a member of The Five Eyes alliance, a network of countries that share intelligence.

What protocols does Private Internet Access VPN use?

Few things are more important than operating protocols when it comes to choosing a provider.

These are the processes and frameworks upon which a VPN transmits your data across a network, carrying your information from place to place.

Fortunately, Private Internet Access makes use of some of the most popular and robust protocols in the business.


This is an industry-standard VPN protocol. With OpenVPN, you can bypass firewalls with ease. End users can rest assured that prying eyes are kept far away from data being transmitted via this open-source protocol.

OpenVPN is also suitable for Windows, Android, and iPhone. However, it cannot be used on macOS devices.


WireGuard, a relatively new protocol, supports high-speed data transmissions across short and long-range networks.

It’s fast becoming a firm favourite of VPN operators the world over, and some of PIA’s top competitors also make use of WireGuard.

This protocol is supported across all devices, including Windows, macOS, iPhone, and Android.


SOCKS5 is a proxy that allows users to ‘spoof’ their IP before accessing a platform or service. This bandwidth-friendly protocol is less secure than others.

However, when it is paired with the top-shelf encryption features offered by Private Internet Access, it becomes a powerhouse of security.

SOCKS5 is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and iPhone.

Logging policy

Private Internet Access VPN undertakes a strict no-logs policy, which means it does not retain or misuse your data in any way.

That includes browsing history, IP information, time stamps, or DNS queries, amongst other things.

It’s an independently verified policy that has been subjected to rigorous auditing to ensure the utmost transparency.

These audits have been carried out by Deloitte. As one of the most notable auditing firms in the world, this is more than enough to verify that PIA functions in accordance with its no-logs policy.

However, there is some data that Private Internet Access does need to collect.

For instance, the provider will require your payment information and contact details when you register for a subscription.

It will also log cookie identifiers, as well as some geographical information. This is more or less stock-standard when it comes to VPN providers.

Furthermore, PIA operates a unique RAM-only network known as NextGen. This undergoes a complete wipe every time the servers are rebooted. Therefore, no data is left lingering to seize control of.

How fast is Private Internet Access VPN?

Private Internet Access typically offers solid speeds at a low cost.

However, some tests have shown decreases in download and upload speeds and increases in latency.

It’s a hugely mixed bag, though. The speed that you’ll get with Private Internet Access depends on where you are located, which server you’re connecting to, which protocol and encryption level you’re using, and what you’re doing with the VPN.

Additionally, it has been noted that speeds are slightly lower when using WireGuard.

In some general tests in North America, users achieved an average download speed of 61.67 Mbps on a Windows PC.

It managed an upload speed of around 39.13 Mbps on the same device and a latency of around 16 ms.

It was noted that Private Internet Access runs fastest on a Windows PC – but it still has plenty of power for macOS, Android and iPhone.

In another test in the United Kingdom, it was noted that maximum download speeds topped out at around 310 Mbps when using OpenVPN.

At all times, PIA was referenced as working satisfactorily across all major streaming services, meaning that it’s fast enough to stream high-quality video.

Is Private Internet Access a good option for gaming?

Private Internet Access is one of the top VPN services for gamers, producing substantial download and upload speeds, moderately low latency, and plenty of encryption features.

Today, there are always safety concerns in the back of our minds when playing games online. Using PIA can help alleviate those worries.

In most places around the world, PIA will provide fast enough speeds and low enough latency to allow you to game uninterrupted and without restrictions.

As highlighted, it features best-in-class encryption and an extremely reliable network. That means that you will be kept safe from DDoS attacks and your data will be hidden from malicious operators, regardless of where, when, and how you’re gaming.

With split-tunnelling, customers can get the most out of their bandwidth, which is another bonus.

PIA works effectively on the following services and platforms:

XboxYesXbox One, Xbox Series X|S
PlayStationYesPlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
NintendoYesNintendo Switch
SteamYesSteam Deck
AmazonYesAmazon Luna
MetaYesMeta Quest

Private Internet Access VPN is available on mobile devices (iPhone and Android) through native applications. It is most commonly used on Windows and macOS devices.

Private Internet Access VPN Customer support

PIA is one of the most highly-rated and popular VPN providers when it comes to customer support and feedback.

The operator achieved a Trustpilot rating of ‘Excellent’ across almost 10,000 reviews. A cursory glance at expert opinions reveals nothing but positive sentiments about PIA’s customer support functions.

There is a 24/7 live chat service that will allow you to speak to a real person if you have any issues.

There is also an FAQ section that answers most questions right off the bat, but if it doesn’t have what you need, the live chat function should resolve your issues.

In some cases, users reported waiting ‘single minutes’ to be connected to an agent, which is lightyears ahead of some of the brand’s competitors.

Final thoughts

Private Internet Access VPN is affordable and reliable, accommodating a wide range of activities, from gaming to streaming videos online.

It’s a diverse and dynamic service that has thousands of servers around the world, and connectivity is responsive with low latency in most places.

Ultimately, PIA has been tried, tested and positively reviewed by thousands of happy customers.

It has second-to-none encryption options and a no-logs policy as standard. With their money-back guarantee, you can try the service without any risks attached.

It has never been easier to stay safe online.

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