Private Internet Access (PIA) Review: A Treat for Techies, a Scourge for Suveillers

As history has shown us many times throughout the years, sometimes the best way to avoid danger, evade tyranny and reach freedom is a tunnel. In the digital age, this axiom is no less true, but its execution looks much different: all over the world, people are protecting their data and exercising their right to privacy by tunneling their internet connections with VPNs.

Today, there are more VPN companies than you can shake a stick at, but one of the most well-known is Private Internet Access, or PIA for short. With a legacy spanning nearly a decade and a claim to the title of “Most Trusted VPN,” it sports some impressive sales points, for sure – but do its performance, security and service justify its popularity?

Our PIA review will reveal the answer to this question, provide in-depth examinations of PIA’s features and spell out its policies in plain English. Let’s get started – we’ve got a lot of ground to cover!

About PIA

PIA was founded in 2010 by privacy enthusiast Andrew Lee, whose experience with preventing IP address exposure on IRC inspired him to start the company. Lee currently serves as Executive Chairman of PIA; Ted Kim serves as CEO.

Lee and Kim also run PIA’s parent company, London Trust Media, which is based out of Denver, Colorado, USA. London Trust Media owns several other tech companies, including IRC.com, freenode and Linux Journal.

PIA Usability

Website

PIA takes an interesting approach to its web content that we haven’t seen with other VPN providers, emphasizing the larger issue of internet security rather than the company itself.

There isn’t a lot of information on PIA’s features, which are listed rather generically and without elaboration (“Encrypted WiFi,” “Secure VPN Account”) on both the homepage and the How It Works page. Most PIA-specific content is located in the knowledge base, where it’s presented in FAQ format; there are plenty of articles here, but for the most part they’re intended to provide troubleshooting assistance rather than feature overviews.

The knowledge base also hosts some content that may be of interest to non-customers as well, including a multi-part series on best security practices that covers everything from encryption to passwords to security testing. PIA’s general-audience articles, which can be found in the footer, serve as good primers for topics like IoT security, hacking tools such as Firesheep and security vulnerabilities like KRACK.

Supported Devices

PIA offers apps for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Linux, as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. Legacy versions of the desktop apps dating back to February 2018 are available in case you experience issues after updating the app or your OS – a thoughtful touch that will be appreciated by advanced users.

The Linux app is a pleasant surprise; rather than only providing new terminal commands, it sports the same GUI and features as the other desktop apps. It runs on Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Arch and Debian, making it one of the most cross-compatible Linux VPN apps we’ve seen.

Manual configuration guides are provided for Windows Phone, Chromebooks, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Boxee Box and routers running DD-WRT, LEDE, Merlin, AsusWRT, Tomato, pfSense or LibreCMC. If you’re technically-inclined and want to configure PIA on another device, you can download the required OpenVPN configuration files in ZIP format from the “Download” page.

Apps

PIA’s apps provide a highly customizable VPN experience without sacrificing accessibility.

When you open the desktop app, you’ll see a large power button that, when pressed, connects you to the nearest server; underneath the button, you’ll find both your original and VPN IP addresses. If you wish, you can add your choice of widgets to this screen: a quick connect panel with an assortment of nearby countries to choose from, a server panel that states your current server and displays it on a little map, a quick settings panel with shortcuts for the most-used settings and a performance panel with a live traffic graph.

Servers are selected from a list, where they’re labeled not just with country names but with city names and ping times as well. You can use the search box to find a specific server without scrolling or add your most-used servers to your Favorites list for easy access.

Settings are plentiful – in addition to using the typical kill switch and auto-start toggles, you can customize your DNS, choose your own ports, opt to use smaller packets for greater reliability and enable PIA’s MACE domain blocker. But by far the most unique feature here is the ability to fine-tune your security settings by creating your own combination of encryption, authentication and handshake methods (see the “Security” section later in the review for more on this).

PIA’s mobile apps are surprisingly similar to the desktop apps in both appearance and functionality. A few key differences are present, though: MACE is absent from the Android app due to Google’s developer restrictions, the iOS app doesn’t allow you to use smaller packets or enable automatic startup and neither app allows you to create a Favorites list.

Otherwise, all settings are present in all apps, including the kill switch (often left out of Android VPN apps) and the ability to use custom ports, encryption methods and DNS.

Not only are PIA’s apps some of the most full-featured we’ve seen, they’re also some of the most consistent, allowing you to get the same VPN experience on all of your devices. Additionally, the desktop apps are open source, which means that the wider programming community is able to find and fix bugs, create new features and vet the integrity of the code; this increases transparency and trustworthiness, especially given that so few VPN providers open-source their apps.

Usability Score: 9/10

We feel pretty confident in saying that PIA’s apps rank among the best in the VPN industry in just about every regard – design, customization, functionality, compatibility and accessibility.

Several unique features stand out: the full-fledged Linux app, the open-source codebase, the customizable interface, the pick-your-own encryption options and the cross-platform consistency. Average users will have no trouble getting connected, while advanced users will enjoy tinkering with the settings and examining the source code.

However, we’d like to see more detailed feature information on the website – articles about the kill switch, MACE and other VPN features would be helpful for newbies and potential customers. With that said, we appreciate PIA’s articles about the various security vulnerabilities and hacking tools that threaten internet users, as this type of information is usually distilled down to a vague sentence or two by other providers.

PIA Performance

Servers and Locations

At the time of writing, PIA offers over 3,300 servers in 32 countries. All of these servers are physical, rather than virtual – that is, they’re located where they claim to be and each one uses its own hardware rather than partitions of a different server.

Over 1,500 of PIA’s servers are located in the USA, where they’re divided between 14 locations across the country. Other countries with plentiful servers include the Netherlands (548 servers), Canada (216 servers), Australia (195 servers), the UK (188 servers), Switzerland (84 servers), Germany (79 servers), France (48 servers) and Sweden (47 servers).

Outside of North America and Europe, coverage is fairly sparse. The Middle East is home to 18 servers split between Israel and the UAE, while Asia’s 67 servers are divided between Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and India; Brazil is home to all 20 of South America’s servers, while Africa’s 10 servers are all in South Africa.

Overall, distribution is pretty typical for a VPN – heavily biased towards Europe and North America, followed by Oceania and Asia, with Africa and South America rounding out the bottom end. Less typical, however, is PIA’s Network page, which provides detailed country-by-country breakdowns of server types and locations, with the option to run a speed test on any server – in an industry full of locked-down server stats and unspecified locations, this is a much-needed breath of fresh air.

Speeds

We always caution against relying too much on others’ speed tests when choosing a VPN; there are simply too many factors involved for any one speed test to be taken as gospel. On your end, your base connection speed, computer hardware and encryption settings all impact your VPN speed, while things like infrastructure, distance, server hardware and bandwidth load can affect your speeds from afar.

Generally, though, we recommend choosing a VPN that delivers speeds within 80% of your base speed when using a nearby server, while Europe-North America connections should clock in within 50% of your base speed. We give distant and less-developed countries more leeway, but speeds should still be within 90% of your base speed, ideally 10Mbps or higher as that’s sufficient for web browsing and light streaming.

PIA’s speeds, by these metrics, are excellent: nearby servers in Europe and North America have no trouble reaching 90% of base speed, while even distant ones in these regions rarely drop below 60%. If your base connection speed is 75Mbps, you’re unlikely to clock in at less than 50Mbps when using these PIA servers – still fast enough for just about every common internet task, including torrenting and streaming HD video.

Other regions don’t always reach those kinds of speeds, but for the most part they’re still perfectly usable. The Indian server reduces speeds by no more than 80%, while the Hong Kong server reduces speeds by just 40% – you probably won’t see speeds lower than 20Mbps or so, which is impressive considering the long distances your data travels through the VPN tunnel.

Streaming

Unlike some of its competitors, who plaster their websites with streaming site logos and promises to unblock content from all over the world, PIA barely mentions streaming at all. It’s not listed as one of the reasons to use a VPN, and the only instance of the word “streaming” we could find on the entire PIA website was this support base article which states that PIA doesn’t offer any support regarding streaming.

The war between VPNs and streaming sites has been heating up recently, with many VPNs struggling to get around the thorough scans and blocks conducted by Netflix, Hulu and other sites. It’s understandable, though unfortunate, that PIA has forfeited the battle; however, that doesn’t mean all is lost.

It’ll take some trial and error, success isn’t guaranteed and results will vary from day to day, but PIA users do report gaining sporadic access to US, UK and Canadian Netflix. BBC iPlayer, on the other hand, is rarely (if ever) accessible via PIA’s UK servers, so if British telly is your cup of tea, you’ll probably want to choose a different VPN.

Performance Score: 8/10

PIA’s servers have a pretty average distribution, but it’s the way the company presents them that wins us over. We appreciate the transparency regarding the non-usage of virtual servers, and we love the fact that you can perform speed tests on any server directly from the website – it’s a great way to test your latency and see what to expect from your VPN connection.

Speaking of speeds, they’re consistently good; though they lack the insane highs of some of PIA’s competitors, they also lack the unusable lows. In our book, a VPN that delivers reliable speeds of 50-80% of your base connection across the world is an excellent choice, and PIA does just that.

Streaming performance, on the other hand, is a bit of a roller coaster ride: whether or not Netflix will load on any given day is anyone’s guess, and you’re completely on your own when it comes to finding a server that works. We don’t fault PIA for this too much – after all, it doesn’t claim to work with Netflix or any other streaming site – but it definitely gives the provider less of an edge over its competition and essentially rules it out for binge-watchers.

PIA Security

VPN Protocols

Think of your VPN protocol as the type of tunnel your connection travels through: some are close to the surface and quick to get into but poorly dug and barely reinforced; others are fortified with stone and steel but so deep and hidden that they slow your journey down a bit. PIA offers four protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPsec and PPTP; plus a SOCKS5 proxy.

OpenVPN

OpenVPN is our favorite protocol – it’s open-source, highly secure and optimized for minimal speed reduction on modern devices. It’s the only protocol option in every PIA app except the iOS app, which offers multiple choices including OpenVPN – surprising, since Apple doesn’t typically allow VPN apps to use OpenVPN.

By default, OpenVPN uses UDP as this allows for greater speeds, but you’re able to switch it to TCP instead. Doing so may slow down your connection a bit but will ensure greater data integrity and minimize your chances of getting caught behind a UDP-blocking firewall.

IKEv2/IPsec

If you’re using the iOS app and, for whatever reason, don’t want to use OpenVPN, you can select IKEv2/IPsec as your protocol. It produces similar speeds to OpenVPN and has the added benefit of maintaining a connection when switching from WiFi to mobile data or vice versa; however, it may be blocked on some networks as it uses UDP port 500, which is commonly blacklisted by network administrators.

L2TP/IPsec

L2TP/IPsec is an older protocol that’s still in use mainly for compatibility purposes; just about every device from the past 20 years supports it. It’s not as fast or secure as modern protocols, and some leaked NSA documents suggest that intelligence agencies have managed to crack it, so it should only be used when necessary.

L2TP/IPsec can be manually configured on most devices if you wish, but you won’t get any of the benefits of the PIA app by doing so. If you’re using a Windows Phone or an older Chromebook, it’s your best protocol option.

PPTP

The oldest VPN protocol, PPTP is also the least secure – it’s been broken numerous times and should not be used if any amount of security is required. However, its minimal security means that it’s extremely fast, especially on modern hardware, so some users still value it for location-changing purposes while streaming.

PPTP isn’t an option in any of PIA’s apps, but it can be manually configured on most devices. PIA provides you with a separate username and password for use with PPTP so your real credentials aren’t put at risk by the low security of the protocol.

SOCKS5 Proxy

Though not a VPN protocol in the strictest sense, PIA’s SOCKS5 proxy serves a similar purpose: masking your IP address. Though it doesn’t encrypt your traffic, it doesn’t slow it down either, making it a popular choice for torrenters and others who simply need to conceal their identities without locking down their data.

Due to the lack of security inherent to the SOCKS5 proxy, PIA limits its usage to some of its Netherlands servers. As with PPTP, you’ll also need to use a separate username and password to protect your real ones.

Custom Encryption

The PIA apps allow you to customize your encryption, data authentication and handshake (identity verification) methods independent of your protocol. These are explained in more detail on PIA’s VPN Encryption page, which outlines the pros and cons of each option and offers configuration suggestions for various purposes.

By default, PIA uses AES-128 encryption, SHA1 authentication and an RSA-2048 handshake. These settings can be adjusted up to a maximum of AES-256 encryption, SHA256 authentication and an RSA-4096 handshake.

Alternatively, encryption and authentication can be turned off entirely, with the handshake reduced to ECC-256k1 or ECC-256r1. These handshakes are still secure (ECC-256k1 is used by Bitcoin) but some experts believe that they contain backdoors which would allow parties like the NSA to crack them; PIA includes these options as they’re faster than the RSA handshake algorithms but warns you of these potential vulnerabilities when you select them.

MACE

While you should always have standalone malware, tracker and ad blockers running whenever you’re connected to the internet, PIA offers a second line of defense against these nuisances and threats: MACE. It’s an all-in-one blocker that protects you from viruses, phishing, invasive trackers and annoying ads; unlike other blockers, it runs at the DNS level, which reduces strain on your computer’s resources and often speeds up loading times.

MACE is available in the desktop apps and a Safari-based variant is available in the iOS app. Unfortunately, Google bans ad blockers on the Play Store so it’s not an option in the Android app.

Kill Switch

PIA’s kill switch prevents you from inadvertently transmitting data over your unsecured base connection in the event of a VPN disconnection or other network change. Without it, your real IP address could be temporarily exposed and your web traffic could be compromised if your VPN connection terminates unexpectedly.

The kill switch has three modes: Off, Auto and Always. Off deactivates the kill switch, Auto blocks any outside traffic and Always blocks all traffic.

All of PIA’s apps offer the kill switch, including the Android app. This is an uncommon but much-appreciated inclusion, as many Android VPN apps omit the kill switch in favor of the system-wide kill switch available on Android 8 and up; however, the majority of Android users use lower versions of the OS and thus rely on in-app kill switches to stay secure.

Security Score: 8.5/10

PIA’s approach to security is simultaneously more and less restrictive than that of its competitors.

On one hand, it’s very rare to see a provider offer its users such fine control over encryption and authentication settings. While a few let you adjust your encryption strength, they don’t typically do the same for authentication and handshake strengths like PIA does.

On the other hand, all apps except the one for iOS don’t allow you to change your VPN protocol, something that the vast majority of VPNs do permit. In a way, the lack of choice here is better – there’s very little reason to use anything other than OpenVPN these days, especially since the speed benefits of other protocols can be obtained through PIA’s custom encryption settings if desired.

We like the idea of a lightweight DNS-based malware and tracker blocker, but some of PIA’s language suggests that MACE is a replacement for standalone ad blockers and antivirus programs. It’s not a good idea to rely on it solely, as its blacklist is updated much less frequently than those used by programs like Malwarebytes and browser extensions like uBlock Origin; it’s better to think of MACE as a supplement rather than an all-powerful blocker.

Given PIA’s other advanced features, the lack of an obfuscation option is a little surprising – many other VPNs offer users the ability to scramble their metadata and disguise their VPN traffic as HTTPS traffic in order to evade VPN detection and blocking. It’s not a necessity for most users, but it’s a highly important feature for users in countries with VPN bans as well as those with restrictive ISPs or workplaces.

Aside from that, though, PIA’s security suite feels both complete and unique. Its simplicity should suit new and casual users just fine while its advanced features are sure to delight power users and tech enthusiasts.

PIA Privacy and Policies

Jurisdiction

PIA is based in the USA, which isn’t our top pick for a VPN jurisdiction. The NSA PRISM data harvesting scandal is still fresh in our minds, and the privacy-invading tactics and technologies used by the American government are perhaps the most advanced – and expansive – in the world.

What’s more, the USA is arguably the most senior member of Five Eyes, the international surveillance alliance that also counts the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as members. These five countries spy on each other’s citizens and freely share all the data they collect, which includes everything from names and addresses to browsing activity, behavior patterns, personality traits and personal beliefs.

But PIA is very well-insulated against any government demands for customer data as well as covert surveillance. Since all traffic is encrypted, it’s impossible for anyone (even the NSA) to decipher its contents, and since the USA has no mandatory data retention laws, PIA isn’t required to (and doesn’t) keep session logs of any kind.

While PIA does have to comply with any lawful requests for user data, that doesn’t mean much if there isn’t any useful data to begin with. As we’ll see in the next section, PIA’s practices render America’s laws moot.

Logging Policy

PIA’s logging policy is succinct and superb: the only personal information that’s ever collected is your email address and minimal payment data (required by payment processors). At no point does PIA collect or store IP addresses, connection data, browsing histories, timestamps, computer or browser information, bandwidth usage or any other type of data.

You’re free to use an anonymous email address when registering, and anonymous payment methods are available (see the “Pricing and Payment” section for more). By taking advantage of these two options, you can completely disassociate your real identity from your PIA account; there will be no link to you whatsoever.

Other VPNs claim to be “no-logs” because they don’t log session data (such as visited websites, IP addresses and timestamps), but they do log certain types of information, including connection dates and bandwidth usage, for troubleshooting purposes. PIA does not do this; while the company admits that this makes tech support more difficult, it considers user privacy more important than anything else.

In the past, PIA has received numerous demands from both domestic and international law enforcement for user data. While the company’s legal team deemed the demands lawful and complied to the best of its ability, this didn’t amount to anything: in all cases, no data was produced because none was stored.

PIA maintains a transparency report that tallies up the data requests it has received as well as the outcomes of the requests. While details can’t be revealed due to gag orders and other laws, the report functions as a testament to the fact that even under immense legal pressure from one of the world’s most powerful governments, PIA won’t – and can’t – sell out its users.

Some court cases involving PIA have been publicized, revealing more information about how the company handles legal requests. A subpoena regarding a bomb threat case revealed that PIA had nothing to provide other than the fact that the IP addresses in question were used by its east coast servers; in a hacking case, PIA’s legal counsel testified under oath that the company had no logs of the alleged hacker’s – or anyone else’s – data.

Torrent Policy

PIA’s website barely mentions torrenting or P2P filesharing of any kind. “P2P Support” is included in the homepage’s list of VPN features, but there’s no further elaboration and there are no torrent-related articles in the support base.

However, there also aren’t any server or bandwidth restrictions for torrenting, as we’ve seen with many VPNs that place much more emphasis on torrenting in their promotional copy than PIA does. Additionally, PIA offers several features that are must-haves for serious torrenters.

The SOCKS5 proxy allows you to hide your identity from copyright enforcers without sacrificing speeds, and the port forwarding option in the apps allows you to give your torrent client access to its own port for increased connectivity and higher speeds. As detailed in this support base article, the “Use Small Packets” option in the apps can counteract the data compression performed by many torrent clients, reducing packet loss and file corruption.

Overall, the impression PIA gives off is one of cautious indifference towards torrenting: it’s allowed and unrestricted, but not overtly encouraged, likely due to the fact that the company is based in the USA, where copyright and digital piracy laws are particularly harsh. Though PIA doesn’t heartily endorse torrenting like other VPNs, its lack of restrictions and advanced features make it an excellent choice for anyone who torrents.

Social Responsibility

PIA donates to a number of charities and other organizations that share its goal of providing the world with an open internet that’s free from censorship and surveillance. These include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, the Free Software Foundation, Open Rights Group, the Internet Society and the Online News Association.

Additionally, PIA sponsors several open-source software projects and services, including Blender (3D modeling software), Krita (painting software), Inkscape (vector software), Arch Linux and Linux Mint (Linux distributions), Modaco (tech forum), Kiwi IRC (web chat) and SeaMonkey (internet suite including browser, email, HTML editor and other tools).

PIA is a member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations that develops policies and standards for communication and information technologies.

Privacy and Policies Score: 9/10

You’d be forgiven for ruling PIA out based on its jurisdiction: the USA isn’t exactly a leader in digital privacy rights. But it turns out that without logs, a VPN in America is no different than one in privacy-friendly Switzerland or Panama; law enforcement agencies can try all they want, but they simply can’t get any user data out of PIA because there isn’t any.

While PIA hasn’t undergone an independent audit to verify its no-logs policy (a step towards transparency that more and more VPN providers are taking), its publicly-available court records serve as proof in and of themselves. Few companies have such indisputable proof of their lack of logs; if you’re concerned with your VPN’s trustworthiness, PIA should be at the top of your list.

Other VPNs may be more vocal about their torrenting capabilities, but sometimes silence is golden. In PIA’s case, the lack of torrenting guides and support base articles doesn’t detract from the fact that between the advanced settings and the unrestricted servers, speeds and bandwidth, PIA is one of the best VPNs for casual and serious torrenters alike.

The icing on the cake is PIA’s support of organizations like the EFF, which demonstrates the company’s commitment to internet freedom. We also like that PIA sponsors various free and open-source software projects; these unpaid labors of love go a long way towards providing technology to all but their development is often hindered by lack of funds.

PIA Service and Value

Customer Support

PIA offers customer support via a support ticket form on its website. The form allows you to attach files if needed and requests information such as your OS and connection type (other VPNs log this information automatically but PIA doesn’t; thus you need to input it manually when contacting customer support).

Alternatively, you can send PIA a secure, encrypted support request via email using the company’s PGP key, which it provides on its support ticket page.

You’ll receive a response to your query via email. Response times range from several minutes to around 12 hours depending on the complexity of your issue and the backlog of support tickets, fairly typical for VPN email support.

Pricing and Payment

One service tier is available through PIA: unlimited bandwidth, uncapped speeds and 10 simultaneous connections. You’re not able to purchase additional connections, nor are you able to purchase extra features like a dedicated IP address.

Prices are slightly below average, with one month of service costing $9.95; if you pay $71.88 for a year of service in advance, the monthly price drops to $5.99. If you’re the type who likes to plan ahead, you can get two years of service for $83.87, reducing the monthly price to just $3.11 per month.

PIA runs various discounts and promotions throughout the year that provide additional savings – at the time of writing, it offered three months of free service with the two-year plan.

There isn’t a free trial option, but all plans come with a seven-day money-back guarantee.

Payment can be made through Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, JCB, PayPal, Amazon Pay or Mint. Several anonymous payment methods are offered as well: Zcash, Bitpay, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and gift cards from over 75 retailers including Starbucks, Newegg, Walmart, Target and Best Buy.

Service and Value Score: 8/10

PIA’s customer support is responsive and helpful, and we appreciate being given the support line’s PGP key for secure communication. While a live chat option would be nice for simple issues like account settings and basic troubleshooting, the lack of one means that PIA’s support reps are able to devote more attention and care to the support tickets – a trade-off, sure, but a fair one.

Though we do wish there was a free trial available, PIA’s pricing is reasonable and no-nonsense; where other providers cover their checkout page in special offers and extra add-ons, there’s no confusion about what you get with PIA. Service is cheaper than the equivalent plans from many other top VPNs, and we really like the 10 simultaneous connections limit (five is the norm for providers of PIA’s caliber).

Anonymous payment options are essential for a VPN – after all, if you’re looking for more privacy online, why would you want to hand over your name, credit card number and billing address? Cryptocurrencies are great, but they can be difficult to obtain for those who aren’t technologically-inclined, so we’re happy to see that PIA accepts gift cards as well; they can be purchased from virtually any store with cash and then used to pay PIA completely anonymously.

Final Score: 8.5/10

PIA proves that the best kind of VPN is a well-balanced one. It looks good, it runs well and it protects you from everything from hackers to trackers to the FBI – all the basic things anyone would want from a VPN.

But PIA goes beyond the basic in many aspects: its litany of configuration options, its support of privacy-oriented nonprofits, its open-source codebase and its commitment to protecting its users. The latter in particular is impressive, as the company has demonstrated that not only does it not store any user data, it’s willing to go to court over it; very few providers can claim to have done the same.

With VPNs, as with art and design, it’s the little things that make something special, and that’s certainly true of PIA. Whether it’s OpenVPN on iOS, an in-app kill switch on Android, a full-featured Linux app, an allotment of 10 simultaneous connections or a series of articles about staying secure online, PIA is full of small surprises that don’t look like much individually but add up to an exceptional VPN experience.

However, nobody’s perfect, and that includes PIA.

Streaming is a weak point that’s likely to turn away many users who want to access Netflix and other streaming sites with any regularity. It doesn’t appear that PIA has plans to expand its streaming capabilities in the near future, but if it did, we can’t think of anyone for whom PIA wouldn’t be suitable.

Affordable, intuitive, innovative and dependable, PIA has earned its reputation as one of the best VPN providers. We recommend it to VPN newbies and veterans alike, with a particular emphasis on tinkerers, torrenters and those who want a VPN that can prove its trustworthiness.

Related Questions

There’s Private Internet Access, and then there’s internet privacy. We’ve said our piece about the former, but if you want to learn more about the latter, check out these starting points!

What Are the Best VPNs for Torrenting?

A VPN is an essential part of a torrenter’s toolbox, but some providers approve of P2P filesharing more than others. Thankfully, there are many pro-torrenting VPNs to choose from, including NordVPN, Private Internet Access and Surfshark.

What Are the Different Types of Encryption and Authentication?

Locking down your digital data involves many steps, each with its own selection of algorithms (which, in turn, have their own pros and cons). Between the various bitsizes of AES encryption, the lesser-known variants of SHA authentication and the identity-affirming RSA handshakes, the combinations are endless, and each has unique implications for your online security.

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