PIA VPN Review

Deyan Georgiev
Written by
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Jan 03, 2024

Deyan Georgiev
Website Manager | Joined October 2021 | LinkedIn
Deyan Georgiev

Deyan is an avid enthusiast and self-proclaimed fan of the Windows operating system. His passion for... | See full bio

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Private Internet Access (PIA) is already one of the most popular VPN services on the market. In our detailed PIA VPN review, we’ll show you its main features, pros, cons, pricing, and much more!

Company location


Number of servers


Zero-log policy



WireGuard, L2TP/IPSec

Stealth VPN


Double VPN








Customer support



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PIA VPN logo

MINIMUM PRICE: $2.08/month

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Best for: Security and torrenting

Strengths Exceptional torrenting capabilities
Strengths Unlimited simultaneous connections
Strengths Double VPN feature
Strengths No Logs policy
Strengths User-friendly interface
Weaknesses No obfuscated servers
Weaknesses Inconsistent speed
Weaknesses No free trial

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are becoming increasingly popular due to growing awareness about internet privacy and data protection, the arrival of new streaming platforms, and restrictions on P2P sharing.

PIA is an open-source virtual private network service that has gained a consistently following since its release in 2010. Compatible with all popular operating systems, PIA comes with many features behind a simple interface for a secure internet connection and malware protection.

PIA is a favorite for torrenting, speed, and streaming, so our Private Internet Access VPN review examines how well it performs on these fronts.

PIA VPN Features

When choosing a VPN, the best offer the most convenient technology at competitive prices. Below are the most notable security features of PIA.

Unlimited Connections

PIA protects an unlimited amount of devices at the same time. Only one subscription is enough to cover all your in-home connections, perfect for the entire family, a group home, a business, or an office.

VPN Kill Switch and Advanced Kill Switch

The Kill Switch shields your device by shutting down all open apps and other activities when the server connection unexpectedly drops. Your IP address is still hidden and protected. 

PIA offers two kinds, the regular VPN Kill Switch and the Advanced Kill Switch. They have similar functions, but the advanced one can block any traffic from going outside, even if the VPN is offline.

Unlike other VPNs, PIA’s kill switch is available on iOS and Android, not just desktops and laptops.

Split Tunneling

This feature lets you choose which apps or device traffic to channel through the VPN while the rest are herded through a separate tunnel on the open network. 

This keeps you from filling your bandwidth. It also gives you more control over which data you can encrypt through a VPN and which remains on the regular network.

PIA also has the opposite feature, Inverse Split Tunneling. This lets you select which apps and URLs will get routed through your VPN, much like how a firewall works.

Lastly, the VPN allows simultaneous usage of local and foreign internet services. You can even access LAN devices while still being connected to the VPN.

Ad-Blocker or MACE

Many VPNs block ads, trackers, and malware, but PIA has MACE. It’s faster and more memory-efficient. It doesn’t require a browser extension or configuration. And it reduces dreaded battery drains on mobile phones. MACE is also available on all operating systems except iOS.


PIA VPN Advanced Features

A VPN boosts your security and ensures privacy better than just going into Incognito Mode. But the highlights of a good VPN are its advanced features as they set them apart from cheap ones online. Here are PIA’s best features:

Double VPN

The Double VPN, or Multi-Hop, does what the name suggests. It allows you to hop on two VPN servers at the same time. This doubles the encryption, reinforcing your security. It also better masks your traffic, putting more layers on your location and further fortifying your privacy.

This feature is excellent for securing public wifi and accessing content with heavy online censorship and surveillance.


Reliable VPNs push high security and speed into the same protocol. PIA is built with WireGuard. It’s designed to go fast so that you won’t compromise on speed. 

However, remember that this protocol can only do so much. If the internet speed on your provider’s end is typically slow, WireGuard can’t magically boost it.

The open-source VPN protocol also strengthens connection security and stability. PIA has an RSA certificate-protected RESTful API, adding a layer of privacy to your connection.

Port Forwarding

Port Forwarding gives external devices access to your device on a secure private network. This is most useful for torrenting or P2P sharing, but it also offers plenty of benefits in gaming, remote desktop software, and accessing camera footage.

Given the risks inherent in opening ports for external access, many VPNs don’t allow port forwarding, but PIA allows it for all non-US servers.

PIA VPN Servers and Locations

PIA has 35,000 next-gen servers in 120 locations across 84 countries, with 50 locations in the US. While scaling up, PIA also improved the hardware across its network of servers to enhance security and performance.


Users typically experience decreased speeds when using a VPN because, unlike an open internet connection, it has to encrypt data and route it through distant servers. 

However, since PIA offers 35,000 servers, the download speeds for this VPN are better than some of its alternatives. Overcrowding one server is highly unlikely. 

The Ookla Speedtest looked at PIA VPN’s speed performance. It measured the sample servers' download and upload speeds. Each server got tested twice to see if they yielded close results. 

The open internet’s download speed is 18.04 Mbps, and the upload speed is 0.60 Mbps.

Here are the results of the test:

VPN speeds heavily rely on your location. For instance, most countries in Asia have speeds below 60 Mbps. Even with WireGuard, PIA is at the industry average. The general speeds are relatively fast but could be faster, too. 

However, these results aren’t even close to the top-performing VPN services in the market. PIA needs to update its infrastructure to catch up. 

There’s also a slight inconsistency in the first and second tests. In Test 2, the average download speed decreased by 25.88%, and the average upload speed slumped by 7.39%. This inconsistency may frustrate users.

PIA VPN Privacy and Jurisdiction

In 2022, Forbes reported that 25 million VPN user records were leaked and sold on the dark web.

PIA counters this and circumvents the US’ disclosure-related laws by not recording sensitive user data.

Its strict No-Logs Policy emphasizes that browsing history, IP address, VPN session timestamps, bandwidth consumption, DNS queries, and connection logs are never recorded, logged, or stored.

In 2022, PIA subjected its 100% transparency credo to an independent audit by Deloitte Audit Romania. The examining body confirmed PIA's zero-traffic logs policy after checking the VPN server network and management systems. They declared that the company truly aligns with its internal privacy policies.

The FBI also corroborated PIA’s policy when the company couldn’t provide stored data after they subpoenaed it in 2016 and 2018.

PIA VPN Security and Protocols

VPN Protocols are different ways in which data are transmitted over the network. The right protocols determine the level of data protection a VPN offers. PIA protocols are designed to ensure performance while keeping your connection secure.

PIA uses OpenVPN as the default protocol, now available on all devices. It’s highly configurable and is excellent at bypassing firewalls. You can pair the OpenVPN protocol with a TCP or UDP connection. TCP is slightly slower than UDP, but it boasts higher stability. Both connections have high-security rates. 

The VPN also allows users to choose between the default AES 128-bit encryption or the more secure 256-bit AES encryption. If you’re unsure about your choice of encryption, PIA offers the best device protection setting at the PIA support portal

PIA Desktop and mobile apps are also open-source. Anyone can review the source code to check if the VPN fulfills its security-related promises.

PIA VPN IP and DNS Leak Tests

Effective VPN services should never have DNS or IP leaks to prevent cyber-attackers from accessing your location, ISP, browsing behavior, and other sensitive data.

Using an Extended Test from DNSLeakTest.com, PIA was set to the New York City, USA server.

The VPN showed no signs of IP and DNS leaks. The test detected only one IP address: the VPN IP set in New York City. So rest assured that PIA keeps your real IP address and location under tight security.

PIA VPN and Streaming Services

Streaming content only available in certain countries is one of the most popular uses for VPNs.

PIA and Netlifx are compatible with multiple servers, allowing access to local content unavailable on a regular connection. 

It has also optimized streaming servers in the US, Italy, Sweden, the UK, Denmark, Finland, Australia, and Japan. You can watch from other well-known platforms like Hulu, Crunchyroll, Eurosport, HBO Max, Disney+, Hotstar, CBC, RaiPlay, Canal+, YouTube TV, ITV, and DRTV. 

However, many of these services only work when viewed through web browsers rather than their respective apps. You can’t stream Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer through PIA.  Additionally, these services may also vary per country.

How Good Is PIA VPN for Torrenting?

PIA works well with uTorrent and other BitTorrent clients. But what sets it apart is its torrent-supporting Peer-to-Peer (P2P) features, making it the best VPN service for torrenting. 

Here are what PIA’s VPN features can do:

  • Port Forwarding increases your download speed. Although not necessary for torrenting, this feature allows BitTorrent to communicate with more nodes to increase peer sharing. It boosts the data transfer speed and quickens downloads.
  • Both Kill Switches hide you while you download. Unforeseen network interruptions can’t expose you because of the kill switches. So you can leave your computer torrenting for hours.
  • You have free access to a SOCKS5 proxy. Your subscription includes access to PIA’s Netherlands-based SOCKS5 protocol, famous for offering faster downloads and promoting additional anonymity online.
  • The No-Logs Policy protects your torrenting history. For complete privacy, PIA doesn’t keep records of what you search for and what you download.

Remember that some servers are faster than others. Several PIA servers have significantly lower speeds than the rest when tested. As torrents don’t rely on internet speed alone, this may not negatively impact your torrenting experience. However, it’s worth checking different servers to find the fastest one.

Can PIA VPN Bypass Geoblocks?

Content providers like Netflix and BBC iPlayer restrict their services to specific geographical restrictions. This is due to their limited broadcast rights and governments limiting their citizens’ access online, like in China, Russia, and Iran. 

Not all VPNs have the ability to bypass geographical blocks. However, since June 2020, PIA has made strides in rolling out servers in regions where VPNs are prohibited.

But even though users can connect to these servers from outside, the performance isn’t seamless. Some users even complained that it’s too difficult to use. For instance, when accessing PIA in China, users reported that the service required too much technical expertise to bypass the country’s geo-block.

VPN services in countries with restrictive internet laws need obfuscated servers to mask VPN activity. Unfortunately, PIA doesn’t use obfuscated servers– a significant drawback that puts it below Nord VPN, Express VPN, and other top services.

Ease of Use

PIA’s minimalistic interface is intuitive and user-friendly. Selecting a server location, accessing the settings, and customizing other features are easy. The list of available servers shows the latency, allowing you to pick the best one for your area.

Moving across platforms is also simple and convenient because the VPN’s extension for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox has a nearly identical design to the Android and iOS apps.

Customer Support

Strong customer support is essential as VPN performance varies strongly on the customer’s IPS, location, and activities.

PIA customer support is fantastic. They offer a 24/7 live chat service. Chatting several times in one day receives a prompt response. The tech aide in charge was also helpful. They suggested additional resources to help with the issues raised.

As for email help, PIA responds within minutes after submitting a ticket through their website, allowing asynchronous communication. 

Lastly, their support portal provides other handy resources. There are easy-to-navigate guides, a searchable knowledge base on various PIA-related topics, FAQs, and a community with solved queries and other discussions.

Private Internet Access Price

PIA doesn’t offer a free trial. However, Private Internet Access pricing is quite attractive, especially when looking at long-term subscriptions:

  • Monthly - $11.95/month
  • Yearly - $3.33/month
  • Three years +3 month - $2.03/month 

PIA offers a 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee.

PIA VPN Review - Verdict 

Private Internet Access VPN provides high-end security and a smooth torrenting experience. 

Features like the No-Logs Policy, two kill switches, MACE, split tunneling, and double VPN works together to form a cohesive system that protects your data, blocks potential cyber-attacks, and maintains your privacy. These features, paired with port forwarding and the SOCKS5 proxy, allow users to download torrents quickly and securely. 

The only downsides to the VPN are its inconsistent speeds and the lack of obfuscated servers to boost geoblocking capabilities. However, it makes up for it by offering unlimited device connections, a user-friendly interface, efficient customer support, and attractive pricing.

Overall, PIA VPN is a quality mid-range VPN service that offers more conveniences than costs.


How secure is PIA VPN?

PIA VPN is very secure. Even its default settings ensure your connection’s safety through features like IP masking, DNS leak and IPv6 leak protection, data encryption, and a firewall.

How fast is PIA VPN?

Our tests show speed loss using PIA VPN to be better than the industry median but worse than the top competitors. The speed also wasn’t consistent.

Does PIA VPN work with Netflix?

Yes, PIA VPN works with Netflix. It has dedicated support for Netflix US, UK, Italy, Japan, and Germany. Our tests also confirmed the accessibility of local content for several other locations.

How much does PIA VPN cost?

PIA VPN has three subscription plans: the monthly subscription costs $11.95/month. The annual subscription costs $39.95 or $3.33/month. The three-yearly subscription costs $79 or $2.03/month.

How many devices can I use PIA VPN on?

PIA VPN simultaneously protects unlimited devices and allows unlimited bandwidth, perfect for connecting businesses, companies, and families.

Who owns PIA VPN?

PIA VPN is owned by UK-based Kape Technologies. The parent company also owns the VPN services CyberGhost and ZenMate.

Is NordVPN better than PIA?

The Private Internet Access vs. NordVPN comparison tilts in the latter’s favor. Even though NordVPN is slightly more expensive than PIA, it scores higher on security features, streaming support, and handling geo-restrictions. NordVPN is based in Panama, meaning it doesn’t have to comply with US laws. 

Our PIA VPN review shows that PIA is a better option for torrenting because NordVPN permits P2P connections on only some of its servers, while PIA allows it on all servers.


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Deyan Georgiev

Deyan is an avid enthusiast and self-proclaimed fan of the Windows operating system. His passion for discovering new functionalities and hidden gems within Windows drives his insatiable curiosity and fuels his desire to share his findings with others. As an avid writer, Deyan frequently shares his expertise through articles that provide tips and tricks to optimize the Windows experience.

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