Still the overall best VPN (and inexpensive too!) as revealed by our indepth and updated Private Internet Access Review
In this Private Internet Access review, you’ll see that PIA (as it is known for short) puts user privacy first and has been the industry leader for some time. In addition to being the hands down “go to” torrent VPN these days, it also has a reputation for protecting user privacy and employing some of the best encryption.
PIA also puts its money where its mouth is, financially supporting the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a worthy international non-profit organization fighting for everyone’s technology privacy rights.
Why it’s Important to Use PIA VPN to Hide your IP Address
When online you are being constantly tracked and profiled by your IP address. Let's take torrent file-sharing as an example, but the general principle applies to all of your online activity, from web browsing to streaming.
When you download content via BitTorrent, everyone else downloading the same file can see your IP address. This makes it very easy for snoops to detect, track and even monitor your downloads. This is why using the right VPN service is essential to protect your traffic and hide your true IP address, including to keep your torrenting safe.
In Minutes You Can be Anonymous Online
Signing up for a PIA VPN account is easy enough. Once signed up, you’ll receive your username and password by email.
PIA further demonstrates its commitment to privacy by accepting payment via Bitcoin and anonymously purchased store gift cards. But of course PIA also accepts all popular payment methods including PayPal and credit cards
PIA’s VPN software is available on its website for all major operating systems. Install PIA's VPN software or app on each of the computers and devices you want to protect with the VPN. Download the install file you need, open it and follow the installation wizard's simple steps.
To connect to the VPN, launch the app and enter the username and password you received. It’s that easy! Now your IP address is hidden and your Internet traffic encrypted, protecting you from snoops.
Advanced VPN Features
Private Internet Access’s VPN app for desktop computers is rich in features, but is also easy-to-use and fast connecting.
You simply choose the VPN proxy server location you wish to connect to and off you go. You can even select ‘auto’ and let the app select the fastest location for you (see screenshot).
In the screenshot you may have noticed the Kill Switch and DNS Leak Protection options.
- A kill switch means that your Internet connection is disabled should your connection to the VPN unexpectedly disconnect. This helps ensure that your true IP address is not revealed at any point.
- DNS Leak protection ensures that some special connections your computer and devices make at a very low technical level are also routed through the VPN, further making sure that your true IP address is never compromised or leaked to be monitored.
The default encryption used by PIA (see image at right) to protect your traffic inside a secure data tunnel is strong enough for most users, but for those who require very strong security, there is a wealth of OpenVPN-based options.
Other VPN “protocols” are supported such as PPTP and L2TP/IPsec, but only the most advanced users will ever need to worry about changing these settings.
Best Android VPN App & Good iOS VPN App
PIA also has very capable apps for Android and iOS. As a pleasant surprise, the Android app has almost all the advanced features of the desktop client (DNS leak protection is not explicitly featured, but we detected no DNS leaks).
The iOS app is not as rich in features, but is easy to use, connects quickly and offers all of the protection Private Internet Access is famous for.
All versions of the app have a small footprint and display a system icon when the VPN is connected so you know when it’s activated and protecting your connection. Deactivating the VPN in each of the apps is as easy as selecting ‘disconnect’.
PIA VPN Keeps no Logs and is Fast
Private Internet Access keeps no logs at all (not even metadata logs) and allows you to connect a very generous 5 devices at the same time (plenty for your desktop, laptop, phone, tablet, and partner’s computer)!
As PIA caters to the torrent file-sharing community, it is happy for customers to torrent using its services and PIA's downloading speeds are as you’d expect: very fast indeed!
Did We Mention that PIA VPN is Inexpensive?
Perhaps best of all (especially given how full of bells-and whistles the service is), all this privacy and security is ridiculously good value for money, coming in at a measly $3.08 per month for a year’s subscription using the discounted PIA links throughout our website. Plus don’t forget it has a 7-day money back guarantee. Bargain!
Private Internet Access Review: The Cons
In general, our Private Internet Access review reveals an excellent VPN provider, but nothing in life is ever perfect.
- The fact that PIA is based in the United States means that you should assume it may have been compromised in some way by the NSA (here’s PIA’s side of the story).
- As with most VPN providers, PIA sends you your login details via plain text email. Therefore, we recommend that you change your default password through PIA’s web-based panel at the first opportunity.
- PIA offers the largest proxy server network (3,200+ servers!) and highest number of anonymous IP addresses in the VPN industry, but not the most countries. PIA has servers in a respectable 25 countries, and although these include most popular VPN server locations including those for safe torrenting, this number is low compared to the number of exit point locations offered by some of its VPN rivals. This is not an issue for anonymous torrent file-sharing, but can be a factor if you want to stream online content (such as TV and live sporting events) from many different locations.
PIA VPN at a Glance
|Platforms:||Windows, Android, Mac OSX, iOS, Linux|
|Security:||Up to OpenVPN with AES-256 encryption, RSA-4096 handshake and SHA-256 data authentication. Also features kill switch and DNS leak protection.|
|Privacy:||No logs at all (including metadata logs), period.|
|Torrents:||P2P torrent file-sharing & downloading permitted.|
|Price:||Special reader offer of $3.08/month ($36.95 annually) or $5.95 month-to-month (versus normal price of $39.95 annually or $6.95 per month). Read more about the PIA deal our readers can score.|
|Payment methods:||PayPal, VISA, Mastercard, AMEX, Discover, Google Checkout, Amazon Payment, Bitcoin, Liberty Reserve, OK Pay, CashU. PIA also accepts anonymous payments using 100+ major brand gift cards, such as Starbucks, Walmart, BestBuy, etc.|
Private Internet Access Review Wrap-up
As this Private Internet Access review has shown, PIA is a respected name in privacy and security circles thanks to its policy of keeping no logs at all, its use of strong encryption, and its hassle-free software across all operating systems which you can use on up to 5 devices at the same time.
PIA’s combination of features, low price and genuine focus on user privacy makes it perfect for torrent downloaders and online privacy nuts alike.
We give Private Internet Access a well-earned stamp of approval!