Private Internet Access VPN is an American-based VPN provider. They offer a robust VPN service with a decent range of servers and a good set of features. Their VPN package is aimed at the home user and allows for up to 10 devices to be simultaneously connected. This is great if you have a household with multiple electronic devices. In this Private Internet Access VPN review, we compare its pricing, features, utility, and performance, to see if it is a worthy contender.
In this review…
- Private Internet Access VPN Overview
- Key Features
- Pros and Cons
- Features and Usability
- Review Conclusion
Private Internet Access VPN Overview
Private Internet Access VPN is a service aimed at home users. It has competitive pricing that is up there with the cheapest VPN providers. However, this price requires a commitment to the company – you get the cheapest price for a three-year subscription.
For this excellent price, you get a versatile VPN service. For basic VPN utility, Private Internet Access VPN uses the WireGuard protocol and also offers 256-bit AES encryption for all your data. The basic package also includes unlimited bandwidth usage, and you can connect up to 10 devices at once. This means that a small family could easily connect a computer, smart TV, several smartphones and tablets, and still have space for more devices!
Private Internet Access VPN also has a good spread of global servers in 78 countries. They use a mix of physical and virtual servers, and also cover areas like South America and Africa. On the downside, their content unblocking may not be perfect, and they do lack some advanced VPN features. However, for basic home users, this is a great VPN provider.
- Open source technology for full transparency.
- A kill switch to automatically block internet connection.
- PIA MACE ad blocker to protect from malware.
- Split tunnelling is available for multiple software and apps.
- Optional dedicated static IP address.
Pros and Cons
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Private Internet Access VPN Review: Features and Usability
There are many important factors to consider when purchasing a VPN. This includes the price, its features, content unblocking, security, and more. We look at these factors below so you can gain a full impression of what Private Internet Access VPN has to offer:
Private Internet Access VPN has an incredibly simple price plan. It only has one package available, and this is split into three tiers, depending on the length of the subscription. The current prices are listed below:
- Private Internet Access VPN (1 Month): £8.09 per month.
- Private Internet Access VPN (1 Year): £2.71 per month.
- Private Internet Access VPN (3 Year): £1.81 per month.
The monthly price is OK and on par with other monthly providers. However, Private Internet Access offers an amazing discount if you purchase a three-year plan. The price reduction here is fantastic and it works out at £65.00 for three years or £21.65 per year. This makes it one of the most affordable VPN providers available.
Even the one-year discount is still decent and works out at £65.00 total or £32.50 per year. The only issue here is that we appreciate that not everyone is comfortable subscribing to a VPN service for three years – it is a large commitment. However, if you just want a cheap VPN for security, the three-year package is certainly great value for money.
You can also purchase a dedicated static IP address for £4.00 per month. This may seem like a lot, but it is good value for a dedicated IP address. For most home users, a dedicated IP address is most likely unimportant so we would advise sticking with the standard VPN service.
When creating this Private Internet Access VPN, we looked at its basic features. One of the main things people require today is content unblocking. Overall, PIC VPN has excellent content unblocking capabilities and should allow you to access Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime.
For basic VPN security and protection, PIC VPN also uses excellent encryption and VPN protocols. It’s basic VPN service uses the WireGuard protocol which is considered the improved successor to OpenVPN. Also, it offers 128-bit AES encryption as standard, but you can easily change this to the more advanced and secure 256-bit AES encryption.
There is also a handy kill switch that you can use to immediately block internet traffic if the VPN fails. Lastly, we also like that PIC VPN offers a range of browser privacy features such as pop-up blocking, and cookie blocking.
Private Internet Access VPN has clients for a range of devices and operating systems including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. In recent years, the apps have received a major upgrade which was needed – until then, the dashboard and apps were not a strong point of this VPN provider.
The Windows dashboard looks modern and is stylish. It is also easy to use and great for those who have minimal experience with using a VPN. You can quickly turn on the VPN and easily choose a suitable server location. If you find a server you like using, you can also add the location to your favourites for repeat use.
The apps have a similar design and are also easy to use. They have typical design features that you would expect from a mobile VPN – lots of space, a minimalistic design, and a huge on/off switch for the VPN connection. If you do want to play with other settings, this utility is available, although some of the tools are not incredibly useful.
There are two factors to consider when using a VPN – the internet speed, and the device performance. The best-case scenario is that a VPN offers fast internet speeds, with minimal impact on your device performance.
Private Internet Access VPN performs OK in these categories. For internet connection, PIC VPN is on par with most other providers such as ExpressVPN. There certainly isn’t a noticeable drop when connected to the VPN, but they don’t offer amazing speeds either. Essentially, if you connect to a semi-local geographical server, you should get acceptable internet speeds.
For app performance, the Private Internet Access VPN dashboard has minimal effect on your system resources. It happily runs in the background and you should not notice any decline in performance.
Server location and availability is important for VPN connectivity. Ideally, you want a wide range of global servers to provide the best connection possible. Also, more servers mean that you can potentially access location-restricted content.
Private Internet Access VPN has servers in 78 countries. While there are VPN providers who offer more than this, it is one of the better offerings available. The servers are spread globally but they do have a larger offering of servers available in their home country of the USA. They also offer servers in Africa and South America which are two continents that are typically not represented by VPN providers.
In terms of server capabilities, there is no bandwidth limitation on your VPN usage – this is a great feature. Also, it appears that Private Internet Access VPN utilizes a mix of virtual and physical servers. The mix is approximately 50/50. Physical servers generally offer better performance than virtual servers and they do show which servers are virtual when you use the PIC VPN dashboard.
To provide excellent service, a VPN should have decent customer support. Private Internet Access VPN has OK customer support, but certainly not the best. They only have three available options – a live chat, email support, and a knowledge base. There is no customer support telephone line.
The live chat uses actual customer service reps and AI bots. Initially, you can ask the AI bot questions while you wait for a service rep to connect. On average, the waiting times were minimal, and we found the live chat to be effective.
If you prefer to find answers, you can use a large knowledge base. This knowledge base is well-equipped and has a host of different sections where you can find answers. It also has a search feature so you can quickly find resolutions to your issues.
Private Internet Access Review Conclusion
So what can we conclude from this Private Internet Access review? This is certainly a great contender and one of the better VPN services available. Although it may lack some advanced VPN features like multiple-VPN connections, it offers a well-rounded service that would be great for home use.
The dashboard and apps are easy to use, and they have great server coverage in all major locations. We also like that you can connect up to 10 devices at once. However, for households with multiple children, this may be limiting. Regardless, Private Internet Access VPN is highly affordable for those who are willing to commit to a three-year plan, and it also offers great cyber security.
If this Private Internet Access review helped you please recommend DigitalSupermarket.