Private Internet Access Review 2015

Summary
  • 8/10
    Features - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Speed & Reliability - 9/10
  • 6/10
    Security & Privacy - 6/10
  • 8/10
    Usability & Compatibility - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Support & Documentation - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Value for Money - 8/10
8.0/10

Summary

Private Internet Access is definitely in the top major players in the VPN market. They offer a fully-featured sturdy VPN service. The only complaint we have is that they are based in the US, but some sources mentioned a shift overseas as being planned in the future so we are looking forward to that.

Update: for the latest review, made in May 2020, visit PIA Review 2020

Here is our review of Private Internet Access (or PIA), a major VPN Provider in the industry, operated by London Trust Media, Inc. 

Review update: June 2015

Our first Private Internet Access Review was posted in April 2013. Throughout the last two years, PIA has grown tremendously, becoming one of the most well-known services in the VPN industry. The reason for their growth is simple: combine a great service with a great price, add last year’s Snowden revelation on mass-surveillance determining a huge interest in online privacy, and you have the perfect ingredients.

Speaking of growth, over the last 24 months (since when we completed our first PIA review), they added hundreds of new VPN servers, having over 3400 currently, from 260 in April, 2013. They also added  new VPN locations:
– Hong Kong in the first half of 2014, to provide better speed for users in Asia, especially China where people use VPNs to bypass Internet censorship.
– Israel, in the 2nd half of the year, a good VPN location for users in middle-east.
– Australia, in November 2014.
– Russia, Brasil, Turkey and Mexico in 2015.

Snowden revelations suggested that the NSA and other governmental agencies have capabilities to crack encryption that was widely considered secure. Many VPN providers have increased their encryption strength in the past months, and Private Internet Access is one of them.

Their encryption options provide the following:

Data Encryption Ciphers:
AES 128-bit, AES 256-bit, BF 128-bit

Handshake Encryption:
RSA-2048, RSA-3072, RSA-4096 and Elliptic Curves, the later not being common with
other VPN providers.
Elliptic Curves used: ECC-256k1, ECC-256r1 and ECC-521

Data authentication:
SHA1 (160-bit) and SHA256 (256-bit).

The new encryption methods have been added in the VPN software and the user can combine them in various scenarios. In our latest tests, we used combos of AES-128 or AES-256 ciphers with RSA-4096 or ECC handshake, always with SHA256 HMAC.

A sample using their new encryption handshake:

pia-encryption

Other notable features that they added since a year ago consist of accepting hundreds of gift cards as alternative payment methods, allowing customers to pay anonymously.

Features

Private Internet Access provides over 1800 VPN servers in 11 countries: US, UK, Canada, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Romania, Israel and Australia. All their servers feature Gigabit connections. Not only that the servers list is huge, but the hosting companies providing those servers are some of the best in the industry. We can only imagine that the monthly billing statement for those servers is well over $70k – $100k, taking into account large discounts for having several servers from same providers.

They allow 5 simultaneous connections with the same VPN account, in case you want to share it with your family or friends. A proxy service is also included in their subscription.

We signed up for PIA’s VPN service using PayPal, and we were pleased that the signup process took only 20 seconds, and we weren’t asked for any personal details. The VPN login details were sent to the email used with PayPal. The VPN account was activated instantly after the payment confirmation.

VPN Software

PIA provides their own OpenVPN client, which comes preconfigured with your username/password in the VPN activation email. 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. 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 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.

Other useful features of their VPN software: 

  • VPN Kill Switch deletes your ISP Internet gateway if the VPN disconnects to avoid IP leakage.
  • DNS Leak Protection removes your default DNS servers so you can use only the DNS servers assigned by the VPN.
  • IPv6 Leak Protection disables your IPv6 network address to protect against leakage via IPv6.

pia_vpn1

Pricing

Their monthly plan is $6.95, while the yearly plan is $39.95 (or $3.33 / month). That’s a really good price to pay for VPN access to over 900 premium gateways in 10 locations. They accept PayPal, Google Wallet, Amazon Payments, Liberty Reserve, CashU, OKPay, BitCoin  and hundreds of gift cards – if you want to purchase the service anonymously. Their refund policy covers a 7-day money back guarantee.

pia-pricing

Speed

We ran several speed tests, in different days, at different times, using all protocols (PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN). Here’s the conclusion of our speed tests:

PPTP speed was quite bad, averaging between 100KB/sec and 400KB/sec regardless of server location.

OpenVPN speed was very good. We got between 2 and 10MB/sec depending on distance to VPN server. The fastest ones were obviously those closer to our location.

Speedtest samples:

pia-speedtest1

Multi-threaded download test on Linux:

pia_speed1

Torrent speed sample:

pia-torrent-speed

L2TP and OpenVPN on UDP provided the best speed in our testing, and we maxed out our connection of 100Mbit/sec in most tests. It’s certainly nice to see VPN throughput of 10 MB/sec. Speed was constant during some large file downloads, not only peaks.

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 howtos 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.

Logging policy and privacy

According to their Privacy Policy, they gather customers email addresses, required in the payment process. No other information are required and that’s what we noticed during the sign-up process. They also gather website statistics, some of them being collected by Google Analytics. PIA clearly state that they do not collect traffic data of customers. However, they may release customer data to comply with legal obligations (under subpoena) – but that’s what any VPN business would do. PIA was also featured on TorrentFreak’s article: “Which VPN Service Providers Really Take Anonymity Seriously?”. Here’s their response to questions regarding VPN logging:

“We absolutely do not maintain any VPN logs of any kind. We utilize shared IP addresses rather than dynamic or static IPs, so it is not possible to match a user to an external IP. These are some of the many solutions we have implemented to enable the strongest levels of anonymity amongst VPN services. Further, we would like to encourage our users to use an anonymous e-mail and pay with Bitcoins to ensure even higher levels of anonymity should it be required. Our core verticals are privacy, quality of service, and prompt customer support.”

“Our company currently operates out of the United States with gigabit gateways in the US, Canada, UK, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. We chose the US, since it is one of the only countries without a mandatory data retention law. We will not share any information with third parties without a valid court order. With that said, it is impossible to match a user to any activity on our system since we utilize shared IPs and maintain absolutely no logs.”

Conclusions

Good:

  • Excellent speed and reliability.
  • Hundreds of VPN gateways in many locations.
  • Privacy-focused provider, allowing anonymous payment methods like BitCoin and gift cards.
  • Multiple, strong encryption methods to choose from.
  • Torrent allowed on all VPN gateways.
  • No logs.

Bad:

  • They are incorporated in USA, and have grown so big that we fear they may become a target for NSA and US agencies. We stumbled upon some articles in which they claim that they would move their business overseas in the event of becoming a target.

We’ve been positively impressed with PIA’s VPN service. Pricing is very good and beats many of their competitors. Their infrastructure is very big and all servers are hosted with some of the best hosting companies in the world. PPTP speeds could have been better, though, but it’s ok. It compensates with great pricing, servers stability and OpenVPN/L2TP speeds. If you want to get the best speed of out PIA, use L2TP/IPSec VPN instead of PPTP on devices that do not support OpenVPN. We also liked the fact that they really seem to care about users privacy and do not ask for your personal data when you signup.

We give Private Internet Access a rating of 8/10 in the paid VPN category and highly recommend it.

55 thoughts on “Private Internet Access Review 2015”

  1. I paid for a 12 month subscription with PIA and have never been able to download the software from any of the links I’ve been given. I’m so disappointed that I spent my money on it and cannot use the service and I haven’t got my money back. I expect this comment along with all the other negative comments posted will be promptly deleted.

    Reply
    • We don’t delete comments unless they are obviously fake. Yet what you say, not being able to download the software, doesn’t make sense. Did you try getting in touch with them? I guess they can just send you the software by email or alternative methods if you aren’t able to download it.

      Reply
    • That sounds totally bogus to me. I don’t even subscribe to PIA and I was able to download the software no problem. In fact, I wanted to evaluate software from a number of VPN providers and accidentally downloaded it twice.

      Reply
    • I’m very happy with this software. I have not had any issues with installation, or with the functionality of it. I’m not sure if it makes a difference, but I am running the software on a Macbook Pro 10.9.4. Thanks

      Reply
    • Privateinternetaccess.com is not very good at all – they claim you can port forward this and that but in the end you’re simply left with speeds that are a 3rd of what you’d have without it. Conclusion – they suck – stay away. Total waste of money.

      Reply
    • While I suppose it could technically be true that you personally were unable to download their software for some reason, I am having difficulty seeing how that would be possible. Their client has been publicly available directly from their website for their entire history, and they have dozens of set-up guides for using other clients (anything using OpenVPN, L2TP, or PPTP) to connect to their service, so even if you were somehow prevented from downloading their client, there are other ways to connect to the service.

      In short, windmills do not work that way.

      Reply
  2. I’ve never heard of shared IP. Is this a valid protocol or just fluff talk. I read that you can always nail down an ip if u want to find it.

    Reply
    • A shared IP is not a protocol but just an IP address that is used by more users at the same time. More using the same IP address makes it harder for someone to track down one of the users.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your post and response. I guess this implies you feel this method is legit when it comes to providing anonymity.

        Reply
        • It’s also inconvenient to use a shared IP in some cases. For example, if you plan to use a website that only allows 1 account/household, you might run into problems when using a shared IP.

          Reply
          • That’s probably very rare. Limiting sessions to one IP is a practice long gone; all decent websites rely on cookies to use unique sessions, regardless of how many users come from the same IP. The shortage of IPv4 addresses is another reason why such practice it’s bad, as many ISPs are already doing carrier grade NAT.

            Reply
          • If that were true it would break NAT, which the internet basically relies on to function now that we’ve grown larger than the ipv4 address space.

            Reply
  3. I purchased the Private Internet serviced on 03/26/2014. I have been working on computers for 40 years and this seemed like a good idea. I spent 5-6 hours trying to get it installed, and was unable to do so. On 03/27/2014 less than 24 hours later, I cancelled the service (got email when it is charged, and email when it was cancelled). The company processed the charge, but did not credit it back after the cancellation. When I contacted them yesterday, they said I did not “request” a credit within 7 days, so the charge WOULD NOT be credited back. Luckily my credit card company does not agree with them.

    Reply
    • You been working on computers for “40 years” and “after” 5 hrs you were unable to install PIA?
      jeeeezzzzz your business must really suck eh.

      Reply
    • I Installed on Linux – W8 – W7 – XP64 and XP32 and installation took less than 2 minutes on each of them

      In “40 years of working with computers” you do not seem to have learnt very much

      (try switching the computer on)

      Reply
  4. It was a huge pain for me to upgrade my account from 1 month plan to 12 month plan – I had to cancel my account, ask for a refund, open a new account – the new account then was cancelled with no explanation. Customer service was als very unhelpful. On the technical side they seem good but their CS is poor.

    Reply
    • i agree after the change over i could not load web sites and after four days of emails (29) tech support could not help fixed my problem by reading forums

      Reply
  5. I’ve been using vpn4all for the past year. Decided to try PIA. Installed it on 5/14/14. Used a gift card, so the initial part was a breeze. Next came the software install. Again, that went without a hitch. Done in about 5 minutes.
    My favorite features are the Kill Switch and DNS Leak features. I checked the boxes for both. I love that my network will be disabled if I lose my VPN connection. With vpn4all, I have to constantly look at the tray icon, as the vpn connection does drop unexpectedly at times and I don’t notice it. Although I’ve only had PIA for 4 days and used several different locations, the connection has been solid. I’m blown away by the high internet speeds, as well. I actually got 29Mbps from France on a Sunday night, connecting from the USA. Have gotten upwards of 50Mbps from USA server locations. I pay for 30Mbps from isp, so that’s a pleasant surprise. This one’s a keeper if it’s still performing this well in 100 days.

    Reply
  6. I’ve been a PIA customer for over a year and I never had any problems. Speed is very good, almost maxing-out my line. The software is very easy to use on my Windows and Android.

    Reply
  7. I just got PIA yesterday. The download and install was no prob, save a small issue with understanding the difference between login info for the client and the proxy connection – if used. Other than that I’m happy with it so far. I’m in Canada. One thing with VPN’s that use shared IP’s is that you still can’t access Hulu even if you use a US connection, perhaps other sites?, as Hulu started blocking ip’s from VPN’s with shared ips – so of course this is not limited to PIA. That said, I’ve never tried Hulu, just thought it’s be cool to check it out. You can access Netflix however.

    For speeds, speedtests show a drop in speeds for me with PIA connected (about 25% avge tested on various of their servers), as opposed to without PIA connected, but in reality there is no noticeable difference for me, as I rarely got the max speed my ISP provides anyway – I’m on high speed lite, so it was never screaming fast, just fast enough for what I do. This includes p2p. I’ve only been uysing PIA two days now, but like I say, no real noticeable difference so far. Others on the PIA forum who have used it awhile say they absolutely notice speed drops. So time will tell …

    For me, the price was right – best bang for buck on the yearly plan – and I prefer the shared ip connection. I also like that they log no info, and you have servers in various countries to choose from. I’ve tested for various info leaks on different sites and so far it seems pretty tight. Nice bonus to have the Kill Switch also, although I haven’t tested it yet, and wonder how often you might get service drops.

    So far pleased with it. It adds piece of mind to all I do on the net

    Reply
  8. PIA looks and, apparently, works good. Most reviews rank it high but…
    If the “much regreted” ex-employee of privateinternetaccess.com – alexb , is known as a past or present “Apple tester” then … PIA is compromised in regards with privacy of it’s users.

    Reply
  9. Just paid for 1 year subscription, Software does not work full stop, when green light is on i checked my ip address and my real ip was exposed, i have reported this to the company and was answered promptly with a response and a list of instructions which i have followed, still no joy, i have had other vpn services and did not have any problem with them at all as far as connecting and concealing my ip address.
    I would suggest that anyone considering this service stay away from it as..it does not work full stop.
    I will have to go back to Hotspot shield, do not want to , but at least it works.
    Sonny

    Reply
    • it sounds like a common problem with openvpn, usually fixable by reinstalling the software and the TUN drivers. Personally had the same issue a couple of times and was related to having several VPN services installed on the same PC.

      Reply
    • I got the same problem last week: the green light is on, but my IP is exposed. It happened as a consequence of an update of Malwarebytes. I have included all folders and files of PIA as exceptions in Malwarebytes, but the problem persists. PIA says that MB needs to fix it. Suggestions?

      Reply
  10. Been a PIA customer for many months and it is important to share with you, reading this review, the gotcha’s because they won’t give your money back. REALLY wish I saw these reviews before signing up. Many of the reviews below are accurate. Utterly poor poor service.

    Good:

    Best signup process ever. Fastest, clean and secure. Couldn’t believe how smooth it was to become a customer and was actually excited for a bit thinking PIA would be great. The fun stops there.

    Cons:

    OpenVPN on iOS:

    OpenVPN options are not supported for iOS Devices. They’ll cut/paste links where if you want to spend hours configuring you might get something working..sort-of… and when things aren’t working, you get the ‘sorry, we do not support that method.’

    iOS options are really poor. In addition to lack of OpenVPN support, they only offer PPTP and L2TP….rather weak poor options. Some might say it is better than nothing, however there is no certificate to actually keep them on so you have to manually turn these guys on every few minutes, making this completely unusable and unacceptable.

    Configuration:

    Prepare to spend hours in online tutorials, help links, experimenting. I’m not a novice, but not an expert and found the PIA service truly a PIA. Things still aren’t working right. Really poor job of building tools that average users can manage. Expect most of the positive professional reviews were written by people w/a lot of domain networking knowledge, or the reviewers were paid by PIA ’cause otherwise they’d trash the service for its ease of use.

    Nothing works out of the box. The Mac desktop client still requires configuration…so be prepared to spend hours in configuration land.

    Website Problems:

    Hulu – yep… forget about it. BBC? PIA will say this is Hulu’s policy…keep pointing fingers. Hulu has ALWAYS blocked IPs… and is a VPN provider’s job to manage. Craig’s List, other web sites – you might have problems. You’ll find yourself spending 5 minutes just finding a gateway so you can access some sites. Sometimes you will notice that even though your desktop client shows you are connected, you are not connected.

    Support:

    Support can be fine for really easy stuff. BUT, if you are having issues that fall outside the usual suspects, expect support to more-or-less provide you instructions and say ‘good luck with that’. Support responses are only handled via chat and email. Chat is only the most basic and most times they will say create a ticket. Create a ticket and support can take a long time. In addition, your ticket is handed by whoever gets the ticket, so no ownership to see the job through to resolution. If you have a more complex situation, the next person never takes the time to read the notes and you just keep getting repeat cut/paste instructions so the ticket can be quickly closed. Few of the reps carry a serious attitude and you’ll get stonewalled no matter how nice.

    Speed:

    You’ll notice slowdown. Switch to another gateway, gets faster for a little bit… then slow. Streaming you’ll need to sit and let the buffer really build. Sometimes the speed slows down to a crawl and sometimes everything just plain stops (until you disconnect from PIA)

    Other;

    Email – for ‘security’ reasons you will have email problems and will need to have your servers whitelisted.

    Small item, but worth mentioning. If you want to easily switch gateways (via Mac desktop client) you need to either a) completely disconnect…wait…select a new gateway..wait…wait…) or b) open up the entire preference panel switch…manually close. Forgot about keyboard shortcuts too…. lot more tlc needed for the mac desktop client.

    Summary:

    Wish I knew a lot of this before becoming a paid customer. Ripped off and bamboozled. It is pretty hard being a customer and the PIA acronym is truly deserved. I’ve been patient, spent countless hours articulating the problems. Took about 2 months to get services somewhat connected. Several months in, and still having problems. Really regret the purchase.

    Requested refund, since services are not as advertised… no response.
    7 day refund doesn’t matter ’cause it will take you 30-60 days to get through all the configuration.

    Reply
    • It seems you are in the minority my friend. I use their service and have consistent 10Mbps download speed even during peak hours. You do realize you can change servers and turn off the auto connect feature? You do also realize they tell you up front there are no refunds and that they offer monthly plans you can use to try it out without paying a full year up front? As far as Hulu, some service restrict connections from shared IP’s or proxies to prevent anonymous connections, that’s the service provider’s choice not your VPN services. Why don’t you stop whining about the features of setting up Mac IOS and just set up your router to use VPN so all of your devices are protected?

      Reply
  11. WATCH OUT for this Company..

    It is a cluster..Support is horrible… and DONT by any means use a credit card..

    I enter my information to purchase service… After clicking ok. I got an error message.

    A problem has occurred processing your credit card.. please re-enter your information or try another credit card or form of payment..

    I try another

    A problem has occurred processing your credit card.. please re-enter your information or try another credit card or form of payment..

    I try on last card

    A problem has occurred processing your credit card.. please re-enter your information or try another credit card or form of payment..

    I think the heck with it..

    I check the next day and I have a charge for each attempt by

    PRIVATEINTERNETACCGRANDVILLE MI CARD: 2323295

    I ask support what is going on..

    Their answer.. Take it up with your bank

    They are STEALING MONEY it is a CON stay away

    Reply
    • Thank you for the heads-up James. I experienced the same thing as you.

      Yesterday I tried to sign up for PIA using Mastercard. A pop-up on their site said “There was a problem with your card. Try again”. Their online chat “help” told me to keep trying. No luck.

      Today I tried to sign up with PIA using my wife’s Visa card. Same result. “There was a problem with your card. Try again”. Both cards are good and used ever day.

      Due to your post here, I am about to call both credit card companies and make sure there are no charges from (P)ain (I)n the (A)pplebottom.

      Thank you for warning me. We user must help protect each other from unscrupulous companies with large advertising budgets. Thank you.

      Reply
      • Not sure if you are aware that they do not process your payment. it is a 3rd party payment processor doing that and refusing your payment. So why would you blame them instead of the payment processor? You can also issue a chargeback with any credit card company or bank if you’re getting charged.

        Credit card payments are still like they were in the early 2000s. You won’t have such issues with Bitcoin payments.

        Reply
  12. Rip off Company. I recommend you stay away.

    Tried the money back trial recommended by their support team and discovered within 24 hours that speed was far too slow due to my location. After contacting support and getting useless and irrelevant copy & paste replies, I requested my refund, 3 times now and no response or refund.

    After a month of requesting my refund, I have given up and decided to warn others.

    Verdict: Completely useless support, and thieves.

    Reply
  13. Been using PIA for just over 1 year. recently renewed for another year.

    Personally I can’t fault it, running on Windows only, needed to right click run as admin to install was only issue.

    Use for getting around stupid UK “censorship”. Speed slower but that’s to be expected as you are double hoping around the internet.

    Hides real traffic from ISP so I no longer get bandwidth “warning” letters from ISP.

    Reply
  14. Frustration: i am at the point where i am about to accept COO Daniel Kim’s March 26th offer to refund my US $40 signup fee which i paid mid-November 2013.

    my main reason for signing up with London Trust Media’s privateinternetaccess dot com was to have different ip addresses for testing my own websites because i’ve written my own analytics.

    the bonus is to be able to use ip addresses that would allow me to access U.S. websites that are restricted from Canada, websites like Comedy Network that has (had?) shows not available in Canada.

    i signed up 2013 in mid-November and have had barely any use since that time; it’s already late October 2014.

    MORE INFORMATION
    =================
    London Trust Media’s software was upgraded.

    The developers can not be bothered to code sign their executable even though we are talking about security software. For a large company like London Trust Media, code signing software is not expensive (kSoftware.net, my certificate provider charges me a mere US$95 for a one year Comodo code signing certificate).

    London Trust Media can not even be bothered to provide the minimum of the MD5/SHA-1 values for the windows installer executable?

    Code signing and/or MD5/SHA-1 make it very difficult for anyone to tamper with the executables.

    April 22nd, 2014, Daniel Kim wrote “Your emails have been forwarded to the dev team and upon follow up, your inquiry is on the table and in their queue.”

    RISK ASSESSMENT
    ================
    i’m unsure how large London Trust Media’s VPN market share happens to be.

    with any VPN software, it’s fair to worry that the software may be compromised.

    London Trust Media’s developer team appears to be somewhat like mavericks in that COO Daniel Kim is unable to get them to respond even with something as easily achievable as MD5/SHA-1 values.

    March 28th Daniel Kim wrote “I spoke with the dev team and they stated that since our installers are not available through any mirrors, and the only official source for downloading our installer is through our website, there is no reason to have a SHA-1/MD5 checksum. The fact that our website is protected through https, including our installer, assures that none of our client’s downloads can be tampered with.”

    i replied, in part:
    —————-
    FWIW, they should read this: https://www.grc.com/fingerprints.htm
    “Secure browser connections can be intercepted and decrypted
    by authorities who spoof the authentic site’s certificate. But
    the authentic site’s fingerprint CANNOT be duplicated!”
    and:
    “The presence of the unbroken key or the lock icon on the web browser
    once meant that the connection between the user and the remote web
    server was authenticated, secured, encrypted . . . and not susceptible
    to any form of eavesdropping by any third party.

    Unfortunately, that is no longer always true.”

    and: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/03/packet-forensics/
    “Law Enforcement Appliance Subverts SSL”

    and: http://www.zdnet.com/how-the-nsa-and-your-boss-can-intercept-and-break-ssl-7000016573/
    —————-

    in addition to e-mails back and forth, i’ve also had telephone conversations with COO Daniel Kim.

    Reply
  15. I was quite happy with PIA for about 18 months but the speed over the past few weeks has been getting slower and slower. Switching servers may help for a few minutes but then that server slows down or stops entirely and I try another and another. Very often I have to switch it off altogether.

    I gave up on contacting support and I will just let my PIA renewal lapse if they don’t get their act together..

    Reply
  16. Daily told “pw incorrect” even though not changed by my, and no “pw changed” emails sent out

    Shared IP = big disadvantage for sites like mediafire, uploaded.to…. “download limit reached” always

    At least HOURLY disconnects, sometimes visible, sometimes not indicated by client

    Always-online chat support is a good thing – but all their timeconsuming instructions radically differ from another except none fix the problem

    Eeeextremely slow uploads (0.1) but then i am in Africa 😉

    Reply
  17. Had this service for about a month now, installed on a router runnng DD-WRT firmware, and generally quite happy. Slight drop in speed for downloads but no issues streaming from Netflix or YouTube.

    Reply
  18. Ive used privateinternetaccess several times over the last few years and hands down they are the best VPN ive ever used. Always got awesome speeds even with torrents. But that is exactly the only thing i would use it for torrents and other legal things like regular browsing and to protect passwords and data when shopping online.

    I would never use PIA to break the law if your involved in serious illegal activities online that would cause law enforcement to look for you dont even think about using PIA. Thats most likely the reason why they haven’t had to release logs and data on customers because anyone doing anything serious enough to cause law enforcement to look for them no doubt wouldn’t be stupid enough to use PIA.

    Lets put it this way do you really think they would be prepared to go to prison to protect a $12 a month customer? if its you or them i really doubt they would choose you – Just ask yourself that question when your deciding if you trust PIA to not log. In order to comply with there terms and conditions they would have to log.

    But yeah if your just downloading some torrents or want to be extra private its sure a great option for a VPN just not suitable for everyone’s needs.

    Reply
  19. I love it when stuff “just works.”

    After a horrible signup experience with TorGuard (wish I would’ve read the reviews first), I gave PIA a try. Paid with Bitcoins and was up and running in minutes on an iMac running Yosemite.

    PIA didn’t ask for any personal information at signup aside from my email address. I provided an anonymous email address @gmx.com. Make sure you use a valid (but anonymous) email address so you’ll receive your username and password.

    The VPN client has a feature called “VPN Killswitch” which cuts off Internet access in the even you get disconnected from the VPN. This is a great feature, but be careful with it unless you really know what you’re doing. Under certain circumstances, it can corrupt your routing table.

    Speedtest.net shows the VPN completely saturating the bandwidth of my cable modem. Speed is excellent.

    All in all, highly recommended.

    Reply
  20. I was having a good experience with PIA since May, but began having problems in the last couple months as their gateways are on an increasing number of blacklists due to the huge spammer activity they’re supporting.

    While network performance is very good, I also can’t even use Google search anymore since it’s constantly prompting me with a google captcha-equivalent every time I try to search for anything. I also can’t use it while I’m emailing for work any more, since all the gateways are blacklisted for spam and DDOE attacks.

    I have work to do. So I’m off to VPNMe, or anyone else who doesn’t support the spammers. I don’t have time to screw around with this.

    Reply
    • We don’t think it’s in their intention to support spammers or abusers of any kind, but their reputation of no-logging, anonymous friendly VPN is a double-edged sword, attracting both good and bad guys.

      Reply
  21. I was having a good experience with PIA since May, but began having problems in the last couple months as their gateways are on an increasing number of blacklists due to the huge spammer activity they’re supporting.

    While network performance is very good, I also can’t even use Google search anymore since it’s constantly prompting me with a google captcha-equivalent every time I try to search for anything. I also can’t use it while I’m emailing for work any more, since all the gateways are blacklisted for spam and DDOE attacks.

    I have work to do, I don’t have time to screw around with this sh*t. So I’m off to VPNMe, or anyone else who’s serious about not allowing their gateways to be used for illegal activities.

    Reply
  22. I had same issue of logging in providing credit card details and no initiation email received. reclogged on to customer chat line and waited and waited and waited. Eventually someone came on claimed he resent the initiation email again and nothing happened. I did check my junk folder. Re-logged on for the third time to log a ticket still nothing and that was five days ago. I have now blocked PIA drawing from my credit card.

    Reply
  23. Really no idea why some people are complaining about speed with PIA. It’s been working great for me and I’m a long term customer. Maybe you guys should check with your ISP. I am getting a constant speed of 60-70 Mb/s on Verizon using their Canada and Netherlands gateways.

    Reply
  24. My experience has not been good. I am using Windows 8.1 64-bit, and it looks like all of PIA’s documentation ended with Windows 7. Very little help for Windows 8 – so I’ve been trying to figure out this stuff for two weeks, and I seem to be getting further away from a solution. I had a good tunnel for about a month – and then one day, for no apparent reason, it just stopped working. Around that same time, I read an article on DNS leaks, and then I ran a DNS leak test. Out of ten route hops total that did a DNS lookup, NINE of them showed Comcast, and only one referred back to a PIA DNS server. (For those unfamiliar, any DNS lookup through a VPN should be through the DNS server of the VPN, otherwise you could be tracked). I think it was like that the entire time I have been with PIA – so I don’t think I was EVER anonymous on the internet, although PIA really did lead me to believe I was. The software now tells me that I have both ambiguous routes to the DNS servers (PIA’s DNS servers and a configuration they set up in their software) and that there is NO route to any PIA server. Although the VPN icon shows that I am connected and all is good, I have no internet connection. The PIA forums aren’t well-populated, so they are of little help. PIA’s main attempt to help their customers is through online chat, and while they are polite enough, the only advice and help I’ve ever gotten was just cuts and pastes of stuff straight from their rather disjointed website. I can read and I had already tried everything they suggested. I have been disappointed with their service – even if I could get it going again, which is looking less and less likely, I don’t trust it now. Look at the comments here – half the people seem to be very satisfied, but the other half definitely are NOT satisfied, and feel they have wasted their money and their time. I have spent many hours trying to get this to work. The danger here is that a customer who is not technically proficient will have a false sense of security when there are almost certainly periods where they are exposed fully.

    Reply
  25. Decent VPN service but wasn’t what I wanted so I submitted a refund within the 7-day policy. Talked to a representative via live chat and they told me to submit a ticket. Did that and waited for a response. They emailed me asking for more information. I sent them the required information and waited a couple more days. Waited more days and nothing goes by. I go to the website and talk to a line rep. He tells me theres nothing he could do and to wait for a response from the ticket.

    Buncha bull he was the same exact person who sent me the ticket response in the first place. Garbage refund policy and garbage vpn. Would not try again. Now I’m essentially stuck with a year subscription for a VPN program that doesn’t suit my needs.

    Reply
  26. If you can’t get PIA installed and working then you need to stop using a computer because its way over your head, maybe go back to using calculators and writing BOOBS in numbers.

    This is the ONLY! vpn you want, the rest pail in terms of privacy and ease of installation. For the moron that says he can’t download the file from the website, well I just can’t believe the stupidity of some people.
    I have it running on my router so any device that connects through my connection is protected, I can run it on any machine via the application itself. The only problem I have is that it won’t run on Windows Phones with Win10 on them.
    Other than that when my yearly subscription runs out, I’ll be buying the 2 year option.

    P.S. You must install openvpn on your machine before you can use the TAP drivers.

    Reply
  27. I like PIA, but Windows users need to be careful because, as mentioned above. Their software might be saying that you are protected and the symbol is green, but that is not a guarantee your real IP is hidden. While a re-install might fix the problem, it is only a temporary fix. When I was a Windows user, I used different tools to check if my real IP was hidden or not, before doing anything else, since their software can not be trusted.
    Been a PIA user for more than a year and renewed the subscription despite this flaw, which seems to be only affecting Windows7 /10. I dropped Windows completely and switched to Kali and Linux Mint and the VPN is now stable and it does not disconnect all the time, in fact it has not dropped connection once. So I do recommend PIA, but with Linux.

    Reply
  28. If you want to use PIA to get an IP address that is recognized as a Hong Kong IP address, then please do not sign up with PIA. When you try to connect to Hong Kong through PIA, it will connect and if you point you mouse pointer to the green PIA icon at the task bar, you will get a message bubble that will tell you ” Connected – Hong Kong *** “. The *** will be the actual IP address. But if you do an ip reverse check or check with What Is My IP Address the result will be an IP address that is recognized as another country but not Hong Kong.

    I signed up with PIA in order to get an IP address to view programs provided by the Hong Kong TVB station which geoblock and only allows Hong Kong and Macau IP addresses to be connected. I reported opened a ticket with PIA technical support and it’s technical support said that I will be able to connect with an IP address that is recognized as an Hong Kong IP address. But now it is about already one month passed and yet I am unable to obtain an IP address that is recognized as a Hong Kong IP address. I signed up on 4th October 2015 and I am writing this post on 1st of November 2015.

    I was ripped off by PIA.

    Reply
  29. Used this company for a while now, up until 2 weeks ago speed wasn`t a issue, then a i received a email stating that there was a issue with the current client which needed a download, downloaded and installed, now my speed is so slow, i have just cancelled.

    Looking for alternatives.

    Reply
  30. I had a charge on my cc for this company today when I got my statement. I had never heard of the company and certainly did not sign up for services. I tried calling the number next to the charge on my statement, a recording sent me to a website. I watched the intro determined I have absolutely no use for this and proceeded to chat for a reversal of the unauthorized charge. Lola quickly informed me I would have to email customer service and there was absolutely no phone support in this company. I emailed customer service and immediately filed a dispute with my credit card issuer. IMO not a reputable company.

    Reply
    • not sure if you do realize that the company has nothing to do with your credit card being charged as you described, but your credit card being stolen and used by someone else to pay for their service and maybe other stuff online. You should cancel the credit card and get a new one ASAP.

      Reply

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