Private Internet Access Review 2023

  • 9/10
    Features - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Speed & Reliability - 9/10
  • 7/10
    Security & Privacy - 7/10
  • 9/10
    Usability & Compatibility - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Support & Documentation - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Value for Money - 9/10


Private Internet Access remains one of the best VPNs out there, in this overly-competitive industry.

Originally published: May, 2020.
Updated: December, 2022.

Our previous review of Private Internet Access VPN is 4 years old, so an update has been long due. Here it is!

Is Private Internet Access a good VPN to use in 2022? PIA has gone through a lot of changes in the past few years, and I will cover most of them in this review.

PIA Features

Quick intro

In case you aren’t familiar with Private Internet Access, here’s some of the key aspects you need to know about this VPN service.

  • Private Internet Access is a VPN service incorporated in the USA, which was acquired recently by Kape Technologies, an Israeli technology company.
  • They’ve been into the commercial VPN business for 10 years now and has quickly grown to become one of de-facto solutions for individuals looking to protect their online privacy, especially post Snowden revelations which have caused a boom in VPN usage.
  • PIA has a proven no-log policy.
  • Sponsors of several causes and organizations, such as EFF, FFTF, Let’s Encrypt, Freenode, WireGuard to name just a few.
  • The VPN and proxy technologies they support can be used on most devices.

Most important changes and upgrades since our last PIA review

  • Huge addition of servers (20000 vs. 3000), covering a lot more locations (76 vs. 25 physical locations previously)
  • Redesigned VPN apps: less buggy, greatly improved usability. They also open-sourced the apps
  • 10 simultaneous connections on a single account vs. 5 in the past
  • Support for OpenVPN over ShadowSocks (obfuscation against ISP blocking)
  • WireGuard VPN support, recently integrated into their apps
  • iOS app supporting OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols in addition to IKEv2
  • 30 days refund policy vs. 7 days in the past
  • Better speed and stability, mostly because of WireGuard integration and server upgrades
  • Recently acquired by a technology company with a shady background
  • Better unblocking of streaming services such as Netflix

Trust and transparency

When using a VPN, the user transfers its trust on how his online activity is handled from one entity to another, specifically from his ISP to a commercial VPN service. So here comes the question: do you trust a VPN company more than your ISP?
The answer is a bit complicated, as it varies on many factors, depending on each one’s use-case scenario.

Strictly speaking whether one can trust Private Internet Access or any VPN service for that matter, I’d say it is always good to be precautious about what the VPN provider claims regarding logging policies. Yet, unlike some other VPN services which have been caught giving out info about their users, PIA has a clean record as no users info has been given out.

Another key aspect regarding the trust in PIA is their recent acquire by Kape Technologies, an Israeli based technology firm as a result of its parent company, LTMI Holdings agreeing to a merger. Kape Technologies has also acquired ZenMate VPN and CyberGhost in the past.
Many users have expressed their disappointment as Kape Technologies has a shady background, hence their doubt on PIA’s incentive to protect their privacy.

Kape Technologies was originally founded in 2011 under the name Crossrider, activating into the advertising industry. Their bad reputation comes from creating adware and malware products.

Can PIA still be trusted after this controversial merger acquisition? We wish we could have a clear answer to that, but it isn’t just black and white.

Apps, protocols, compatibility

As one would expect from a solid VPN service, PIA has support for all major platforms and devices.

Their VPN client app is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS. Since our previous PIA review made 4 years ago, their apps have gone through a re-design and are looking much better now, focusing on simplicity without sacrificing functionality.

PIA’s VPN apps feature the same design across all platforms. It’s likely a matter of taste, but personally I like the mobile more than their desktop one, even though the design is the same. What I don’t really like about it its window size. On mobiles it fits just fine the whole display as one would expect, but on a high-resolution desktop/laptop display it is too small.

A proxy browser addon is available for Chrome, Firefox and Opera, but works fine with other browsers derived from Chrome or Firefox, Brave browser being one of them. The browser addon isn’t technically a VPN, but an HTTP proxy over TLS.

The VPN connections can also be set without using their apps, either using OpenVPN by importing the configuration files.

It is also worth noting that their apps’ code is open-source and can be found on their GitHub repository.

Apps notable features:

  • Protocol, port, encryption strength selection for OpenVPN
  • Kill switch
  • Latency tests
  • Trusted Wi-Fi for mobile devices (automatically connects to other Wi-Fi networks except those whitelisted)
  • Port forwarding (useful for torrent seeding, home Plex server hosting and more)

WireGuard VPN protocol is supported starting this year and that is nice, since WireGuard can be faster and less resource-hungry than OpenVPN. If you don’t know about WireGuard yet, check our comparison article OpenVPN vs. WireGuard to find out which one is best for your.

WireGuard connectivity works using their VPN apps and it is enabled on all their server locations. It’s important to be aware that, as mentioned, WireGuard can’t be used with PIA other than with their app, at least not yet, and this is bad news for those looking to set WireGuard connections on routers.

SOCKS5 proxy support is available, useful for torrenting so that only the torrent client hides mask your real IP address from trackers and other peers, including copyright trolls.

ShadowSocks is available with their VPN apps and it acts as a proxy for OpenVPN, adding an obfuscation layer. This option might help in countries like China, UAE and others where the ISPs are detecting normal VPN connections and block them.

PIA MACE is DNS blocking feature that gets rid of unwanted ads, tracking and malware domains. It is quite similar to well-known DNS blockers like AdGuard, NextDNS and it does a fairly good job. It is useful on mobile devices stopping in-app annoying ads, but on desktops/laptops there are better alternatives like uBlock Origin.

PIA iOS app supports 3 connection types: IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN and WireGuard. IKEv2/IPsec isn’t available with their other apps.

PIA MACE isn’t available as system-wide blocker on iOS, being replaced with a Safari plug-in. But here is what you can do to have system-wide blocking of ads, trackers and malware domains on iOS: you can set a blocking DNS service like AdGuard, NextDNS or similar in the PIA app’s Settings.


The encryption ciphers used by OpenVPN can be selected in the apps settings, and they include the following:

  • Ciphers: AES-128-CBC, AES-256-CBC, AES-128-GCM, AES-256-GCM and None (no encryption)
  • Handshake: RSA-2048, RSA-3072, RSA-4096, ECC-256k1, ECC-256r1 and ECC521

The AEAD ciphers (AES-128-GCM and AES-256-GCM) should be the options of choice, but in case you want to use the CBC ones for any reason, you can also set the data authentication to SHA1, SHA256 or None.

A few years ago there were only the AES-CBC ciphers available, so the addition of AEAD ciphers is a good upgrade in terms of security.

For WireGuard, these are the encryption parameters:

  • ChaCha20 for symmetric encryption, Poly1305 for authentication
  • Curve25519 for ECDH
  • BLAKE2s for hashing and keyed hashing

These are the standards settings of WireGuard, you can read more about on the official WireGuard site.

What protocol to use with PIA?

In terms of security, both OpenVPN (with the ciphers listed above except for ‘None’, obviously) and WireGuard are very good and have their own advantages. OpenVPN is resource intensive and it really shines when it runs on hardware with CPUs that have AES-NI acceleration, which isn’t the case on mobile device.

Overall, I’d say that WireGuard should give better results in terms of speed and reliability than OpenVPN, especially on mobile devices.

Servers and infrastructure

As of today, PIA has over  20,000 VPN servers in 76 Countries and a total of 97 locations. The number of locations is larger than actual number of servers as they also include virtual locations. Over half of their servers are located in the USA, Canada and UK.

All continents are covered with servers physically located in the following countries: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Iceland, Albania, Sweden, Ukraine, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Turkey, UAE, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Israel, Mexico, Argentina, India, Nigeria and South Africa.

In the summer of 2020, they announced the so called “Next Generation” or “Gen4” network, consisting of a major infrastructure hardware meant to improve network performance and security. This Next Generation upgrade brings new VPN locations along with a major upgrade in some of the existing locations by increasing the number of existing servers from 3500 to over 20000.

It is worth noting that the new Next Generation servers feature 10 Gbit servers connectivity, and with this upgrade they have introduced support for “Geo-located” virtual locations. What is a “geo-located” virtual location? it is a server physically hosted in one country having its IP information tied to other country. This “trick” allows to have a virtual presence in some exotic locations while the servers are actually located elsewhere, thus allowing to cover more countries. This isn’t new, as the practice has been common in the VPN industry, though what is different with PIA is that they label these locations as “geo-located” to make it clear what they are about, while some other services are silent about the virtual IP locations.

Their virtual locations include: Venezuela, Qatar, China, Monaco, Morocco, Algeria, Sri-Lanka, Georgia, Bahamas, Armenia, Malta, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Greenland, Isle of Man, Viet Nam, Turkey, Egypt, UAE, Brazil, Taiwan, Hong Kong.

All the servers are torrent friendly, meaning that P2P traffic isn’t blocked.

VPN speed

Speed with Private Internet Access has almost always been very good in our tests throughout the years and the recent test results are even better. While OpenVPN speeds are ranging from decent to very good, given the fresh WireGuard implementation we’ve decided to focus a bit more on the WireGuard results. And it’s been a very pleasant surprise.

WireGuard speed test results

US WireGuard servers, connecting from Chicago on a 1 Gbit connection:

Canada WireGuard servers, connecting from the same Chicago location on 1 Gbit connection:

WireGuard speed test results with some European locations, tested from Chicago:

OpenVPN US speed test results:

Looking at the speed test results, it is a an obvious conclusion that WireGuard is much faster than OpenVPN. But then again, results may vary. It depends on many factors and different users may get different results.

Some more speed test results, by connecting from other locations than US, will be added in a few days.

Price and payments

Service price starts at $9.95/mo. and discounts are available for longer-term subscriptions. For instance, the 1 year subscription cost is $39.95, currently coming with 2 months free service extension as a bonus.

PIA pricing

Payment methods include PayPal, Credit Cards, Gift Cards and crypto currencies.

Longer term subscriptions like 2 or 3 years are not available, which is a shame, as the 2 years used to be available some while ago.

Their mobile apps support in-app purchases.


A library consisting of help articles and guides is available on their site and they cover most info one would look for.

A News & Updates section covers recent issues, such as downtimes, server removals, system maintenance, software update announcements and more.

Assistance is also provided via ticketing and a live chat. Note that the live chat isn’t available around the clock.

Other ways to reach for support is via their forum or on where you can receive help either from their employees or other PIA users.


Private Internet Access remains one of the best VPN services out there, in this overly-competitive industry. They continued to innovate, expand and respond to users’ demand in all these years and I feel that they’re doing so at a faster pace recently than some years ago.


  • very solid infrastructure, many locations to choose from
  • Privacy focused VPN with an excellent track record (speaking of PIA, not Kape Technologies)
  • New apps design improves usability and it looks good. Also, the code is open-source
  • WireGuard support, giving a speed boost compared to OpenVPN
  • Very good price for what you get
  • Prompt support and a large collection of guides on their site
  • Streaming sites like Netflix are working
  • Torrenting allowed on all their servers


  • Several of their location use the same ASN, making it very easy for sites to block a vast majority of their servers
  • The VPN apps are mostly ok, but I find their desktop client a bit under-sized on a high-res display
  • It’s great that WireGuard is available, too bad it can’t be used yet on routers since it works with their client apps only
  • The Kape Technologies acquisition has disappointed many of their users, time will tell if anything would change for the good or bad
  • Deceiving “You are not protected” notice on their website’s header

22 thoughts on “Private Internet Access Review 2023”

  1. wireguard is simply awesome and I’m glad PIA finally implemented it. I’m getting much better speed and lower battery use than openvpn on iOS. Not as good as yours yet my connection isn’t that fast without VPN in the first place.
    How does wireguard compare to openvpn in regard to no logging policy? some VPN services using wireguard claim that it is different because wireguard by design isn’t really meant to be used by no-log VPNs.

    • indeed, it has some issues by design and we are planning to cover those in an article, comparing it to OpenVPN. Though the design problems involving privacy issues are fixed by VPN services supporting it through workarounds, so it’s advised to check how the one(s) you’re using are dealing with that.

  2. New PIA user here, been with them for 2 months. I’m using it mostly for torrenting and it is really fast. Either with VPN or SOCKS proxy alone I’m getting around 190 on 200 Mbps line. So far it’s been very good and I would recommend PIA to others. Customer care is really friendly and responsive.

  3. is PIA VPN compatible and easy to setup on Asus N66U router? I’m interested in having all devices connected to the VPN including my Samsung smart TV which doesn’t support VPN.

    • yes, PIA works fine on Asus routers like yours. You can set a VPN connection easily using OpenVPN by importing their server profile(s), then just add the VPN user and pass.
      But the speed won’t be too good if you’re on a high speed line. OpenVPN on routers like that one of yours is quite slow, hitting a bottle neck around 10-15 Mbps.
      WireGuard would be much faster if you flash the router with a supported firmware like OpenWRT, but PIA doesn’t support WireGuard with routers yet… it works with their apps only.

  4. Just a quick update. Last week I upgraded my broadband connection to 500 Mbs and the speed I’m getting with PIA (wireguard connection) comes very close to the ISP advertised speed. During peak hours it seems to get some congestions but it is still very good, over 400 Mb/s.

  5. very solid service. I rarely experienced any network speed drop in several years since I am a customer of PIA. Netflix works nicely, too.

  6. I’ve been using PIA for several years and have absolutely no complaints. It has been very reliable the entire time, with excellent speeds on my Android phone and Asus router. Recent addition of virtual locations is nice, it gets the job done with some streaming services.

  7. I am considering to subscribe again to PIA to benefit from current Black Friday sale. Is their Firefox VPN addon fixed? last time I checked it’s been broken for quite some time.

  8. I subscribed to PIA this week taking advantage of their Black Friday deal. It works really well and it is blazing fast on all my devices (1 router, 2 mobiles, 2 PCs). There are many negative reviews out there especially in Gooogle Play but man those people are either shills paid by competition or they just have no idea how to use a VPN.

  9. Their IPs are indeed a problem because of mass abuse (I guess?) but recently they introduced the option to rent a dedicated IP for $5/month. Quick costly if you ask me… do you know if the dedicated IPs are from the same blacklisted network ranges?

  10. I’ve used PIA in the past. While the service was okay, I was never able to unblock Amazon Prime, netflix, Disney or any of the other online streaming services. Quite often I was met with a 5004 error when surfing, meaning the site I was trying to visit was blocking the VPN. Also, if you are using Wireguard, you are being logged. Wireguard cannot function without logging and anyone telling you different is just plain lying to you. Do your homework and you will find that what I say is true. I’ve used PIA with OpenVPN UDP and it has worked well. I’ll take the small speed hit in exchange for better security.

  11. Good review. I’ve been with PIA for 4 years and have just renewed my subscription. It is way better than other services which I feel that they’re investing a lot more on promoting/marketing than actual service quality and upgrades.

  12. it is a good service with many updates and improvements, even though the business (Kape) is shady. I am using PIA since 2014 and I rarely had a problem with it.


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