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Private Internet Access VPN
Especially not this version of the internet that we live in. Simply clicking and dragging the new app into the Applications folder is the norm for VPNs. Given the checkered past of the US Intelligence apparatus, that might seem like a hard sell. Bottom Line Private Internet Access offers a robust, full-featured service, at an unbeatable price. Here it had the worst latency score of any VPN service I've tested for Mac , and the second-worst scores for upload and download speeds.

Why should I use PIA?


Free is OK but very limited whereas paid have unlimited bandwidth with usually five devices to connect, Private Internet Access won me over based on its locations for VPN's, price, and performance-- at least for this first year. Lots of servers 2. Had problems installing and running software, was told there was no phone support and sent an unhelpful youtube tutorial link.

Tech support via e-mail only, response time OK but wanted immediate help. Any program can come with a technical glitch or two, and this one probably runs fine once the glitches are ironed out, but if I can't get a human being on the phone it's a non-starter.

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Pros Low cost by the year. Cons None so far after almost a week of use on two laptops. Summary I studied and compared five paid and three free VPN's. Pros Received refund immediately Cons Had problems installing and running software, was told there was no phone support and sent an unhelpful youtube tutorial link. You are logged in as. Please submit your review for Private Internet Access. Thank You for Submitting Your Review,! Note that your submission may not appear immediately on our site.

Since you've already submitted a review for this product, this submission will be added as an update to your original review. From there, it heads out to the world wide internet. Nothing can penetrate a VPN's encrypted tunnel, so no one snooping on your local network be it at home or at the office can see what you're up to. It also prevents your ISP from monitoring your activities, which is especially good since Congress gave ISPs the green light to collect and sell anonymized user data.

Because your data is emanating from the VPN server, and not your home router, your IP address—and therefore your geographic location—is hidden. In short, you need a VPN because the internet has not been built with privacy or security in mind. Especially not this version of the internet that we live in.

VPNs have been used by journalists and political activists operating in countries with repressive regimes for years. That's because the VPN allows them to tunnel past censorship and access the internet freely by connecting to a foreign VPN server. You may wish to use a VPN to spoof your location, too, as it's an effective tool for streaming region-locked content. Streaming platforms like Netflix have started to block VPNs , however. There's a good chance that you may have never laid hands on a VPN before.

If that's the case, don't worry! We've got a whole feature on how to set up and use a VPN. I like that all the tiers provide the exact same features, and don't reserve advanced tools for the higher-paying customers. Both are much more limited at their entry-level price points than Private Internet Access, however.

Private Internet Access offers excellent value, but there are also many worthy free VPN services to choose from. Private Internet Access does not offer a free version of its service to try, however. AnchorFree Hotspot Shield offers an ad-supported, limited free version.

Purchasing a subscription to Private Internet Access can be done in several ways. The company accepts Amazon payments, Bitcoin, and PayPal, as well as credit cards. Private Internet Access also accepts gift cards from 90 different retailers, including Starbucks and Bloomingdales.

Buy one of these cards with cash, and your payment becomes reasonably anonymous. Should you ever tire of Private Internet Access, your account page has a large Cancel button, which is handy.

Your Private Internet Access subscription lets you use up to five devices with the service, which is average for the industry.

If that's not enough devices, you can opt to purchase a router with Private Internet Access software preinstalled, or install it yourself. Doing so lets you protect every device on your network without exceeding at the cost of just the one license for the router. If you're keen on installing a VPN on devices besides smartphones and computers, some services go even further. Private Internet Access doesn't offer much in the way of add-ons.

A company representative did, however, tell me that it uses multiple gigabit links in order to provide 4 Gigabits per server. I'm happy to see more VPN services offering these features. Notably, Private Internet Access does not require that you limit your torrenting to specific servers. There's also a Kill Switch included in Private Internet Access, which shuts down internet-connected applications should the VPN be suddenly disconnected.

Other VPNs that include this feature require you to select the applications to shut down, but Private Internet Access goes the extra mile of simply cutting off all internet communications.

That way, none of your information is accidentally transmitted in the clear. VPN technology comes in a handful of flavors, with a few different protocols used to create the encrypted tunnel. My preferred one is OpenVPN, which is open-source and therefore examined by volunteers for potential vulnerabilities.

It also has a strong reputation for speed and reliability. I don't recommend using these other two, but it's good to have options. With a subscription to Private Internet Access, you get access to the company's 3, servers spread out over 44 locations in 28 countries. While VPN services will spin servers up and down to meet demand, a large number of servers is a sign of the service's robustness. It also means you're less likely to have to share data with a lot of other users accessing the same VPN server.

For many years, Private Internet Access had the most servers of any service I had tested. NordVPN now takes that honor with 3, servers. The number of server locations is also important. Numerous server locations also mean you have more choices to spoof your location. Although it's a good mix, it could use improvement.

It also has only two options in all of Central and South America. Note that while Private Internet Access used to support servers in Russia, it no longer does. This change was in response to new VPN laws in Russia that Private Internet Access felt would have prevented it from adequately protecting user privacy.

Other VPN services have weighed in on the issue, but Private Internet Access is among the very few to cease Russian operations entirely. Some VPN services make use of virtual servers, which mimic a server in a given country but may actually be located somewhere else. While the practical upshot is the same—your traffic appears to be coming from the country you select—consumers may have legal concerns about where their data is actually going.

Not every country has agreeable data and privacy protection laws, after all. That's not an issue with Private Internet Access. A company representative told me that while it does use virtual servers in its overall operations, it does not use virtual servers for forwarding user traffic. Each location you select is exactly where it says it is. VPN companies advertise their privacy and security bona fides , but they also come with risks.

When you route your traffic through a VPN, the company could have enormous insight into what you do online—the kind of insight your ISP has and that you're probably using a VPN to prevent.

A company representative explained that Private Internet Access does not insert advertising into your web traffic and does not profit from user data. While the technology that a VPN company offers is important, its physical location and the legal jurisdiction the company operates under also makes a difference. Given the checkered past of the US Intelligence apparatus, that might seem like a hard sell. It's important to note, however, that the US does not have any legal requirements for mandatory data gathering and retention.

I am neither a network engineer with access to each and every one of the company's servers, nor am I legal expert. I have, however, asked the company direct questions and been satisfied by the answers I received. Still, I encourage everyone to read a VPN company's privacy policy for themselves. If you feel uncomfortable, look elsewhere. Trust, after all, is paramount when it comes to security companies. I received new login credentials in the purchase confirmation email, a practice that gives you extra anonymity but may be confusing for novices.

It's minimal to the point of being nearly nonexistent. There is a login window, which also acts as a settings page for things such as the encryption type, the servers to connect to, and proxy information. Everything else is buried in the system tray icon's right-click menu. When you're connected to a Private Internet Access server, the icon glows green.

If you're disconnected, it's red. If the software is in the process of trying to establish a connection, the icon is gray. The service plays well with Windows 10 notifications, which makes it easier to tell what's happening with your connection. Because the interface is so minimal, it's impossible to find information like the load any given server is experiencing.

NordVPN does a great job of conveying critical information like this. Not having an app to poke around with might throw off some new users. I know I was confused the first time I used the service. Experienced security wonks, however, may appreciate having a VPN that stays out of the way and doesn't waste resources on fancy graphics.

This is probably Private Internet Access' most divisive aspect. Thankfully, Private Internet Access also offers hour live chat support in case you're confused. I always try to watch Netflix with a VPN as part of my testing. Many streaming services—be they music or movies—block VPNs, because they have geographically limited licenses for streaming content. The show Star Trek: I test with Netflix because of its enormous popularity and because it is particularly aggressive at blocking VPN users.

Unfortunately, I received an error warning from Netflix saying I would have to shut down my proxy before I could continue. All of these services did work with Netflix as of writing. Keep in mind, however, that using a VPN to circumvent a service's restrictions may violate terms of service you've agreed to. Many VPN companies include additional privacy and security features in order to entice consumers. When engaged, this tool specifically blocks pesky advertisements plastered across web pages and trackers that allow companies to track your movements across the Internet.

Of course, some might balk at the idea of blocking ads, since doing so makes it harder for those in the media, from solo webcomic artists to decades-old technology review websites, to earn a living.

Features and Pricing

High-speed anonymous VPN Service from Private Internet Access. Protect yourself with our secure VPN tunnel. Packages starting at $/mo. Register today. Private Internet Access provides state of the art, multi-layered security with advanced privacy protection using VPN tunneling. See below for more information/5(6). Apr 30,  · Private Internet Access offers a robust, full-featured service, at an unbeatable price. Its tremendous value offsets its rudimentary UI, making it an Editors' Choice for VPNs.