Private Internet Access: speed
"Private Internet Access has the world's largest network capacity to guarantee the highest speeds and most encryption." A snappy promise. In the practical tests under Windows 10, the speed measurements of the speed test revealed mixed results. With the server in Berlin automatically proposed by Private Internet Access, the data only moved through the line quickly on average. Competitors like NordVPN , CyberGhost VPN or ExpressVPN managed to do thismuch better; significantly better. Measurements with AES-256-GCM encryption instead of AES-128 GCM were also carried out as a test. The better encryption had no significant impact on the speed. It is all the more incomprehensible why Private Internet Access does not opt for the more secure option from the start.
You can connect up to five devices to PIA at the same time through a single account, making it a pretty unbeatable deal if you can split the bill between family members or roommates. This provision is device-independent, and PIA has apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.
The standard connection protocol is OpenVPN, which is probably the only one you need. PPTP, L2TP / IPSec and a SOCKS5 proxy are also available. Bandwidth and usage are unlimited, as is the number of server switches.
The DNS and IPV6 leak protection can be switched on in the settings menu. The former ensures that DNS requests are forwarded via the private DNS servers of the VPN and the PIA. The latter deactivates IPV6 traffic during the VPN and chooses IPV4 if possible. These options offer a higher level of data protection, but can cause some websites to expire and lead to connection problems in certain environments.
A VPN kill switch can be activated that completely stops unencrypted internet traffic if your connection to the VPN server is interrupted. This prevents someone from sniffing until the VPN reconnects.
Does PIA work with Netflix?
VPNs are a popular way to access US Netflix shows and movies, but many VPNs are blocked by Netflix. We were unable to connect to US Netflix with private internet access, which appears to be inferior to the VPN ban. If access to US Netflix is an important factor in choosing a VPN, read our article on this Netflix VPN ban or read our summary of the best VPNs for Netflix.
Structure and surface
PIA setup is a breeze. You only need to activate your account once after signing up. The one-click installer is only 25 MB in size and does not require any configuration by the user. PIA is ready for use after about a minute. It's worth noting that one of our PCs restarted automatically after installation, but that wasn't the case with the second PC.
PIA runs completely via the system storage. There is no dedicated GUI other than optimizing settings, and even that is very minimal in terms of design. The system tray icon is red for off and green for connection . Right-clicking the icon will display the server list, as well as a settings menu button and the option to send a slow speed complaint. The choice of the system tray design makes PIA very unobtrusive, but there is no indication of whether a server has failed or whether it has a high level of traffic.
Enter your user name and password in the settings menu, decide when the app will run, choose encryption and connection protocols and activate / deactivate various functions.
Private Internet Access: Netflix and geoblocking
On the other hand, there are positive things to report from the Netflix front . With Private Internet Access it is easy to access the film and series media library of netflix.com. However, the Windows client does not make it very easy. So there are no specially marked "streaming servers" or the like. Trying out is the order of the day. For example, we had success with the US servers "California" and "Silicon Valley". We also had access to German Netflix via these servers. Playing content from the joyn.de video portal or the Arte media library via German servers was also no problem. Very good. In this regard, however, other camouflage cap experts such as PureVPN or Windscribe performed excellently.
Set up and use private Internet access
The Windows client turned out to be a pleasant surprise: modern user interface, intuitive operation and, on request, versatile configuration options. It serves the needs of beginners and experts alike. It would be perfect if, as mentioned, it would identify Netflix and P2P-capable servers. This is now standard with providers such as ZenMate . Other advantages: The iOS app made a similar impression as the Windows client. And: The connection was established very quickly .
How trustworthy is Private Internet Access?
According to its own statements, private Internet access is the only proven no-log VPN service in the world. And the most anonymous VPN service ever. These are self-confident announcements. And of course nonsense. Finally, there are other good providers like NordVPN , ProtonVPN or VyprVPN . And the service is definitely not unique. But one after the other. First of all to the positive points. On the website it is written in black and white: "No traffic logs or log book queries". That means: no logs or logs that indicate the surfing behavior and the transmitted data of the user. Without a VPN, for example, it is easy for the Internet provider to determine which websites are being visited and which personal data are flowing. Private Internet Access rules that out. The service only stores statistical data such as the e-mail address for registration and the payment data. However, Google Analytics’s Tracker page is floating around. For a VPN provider who values anonymity and data protection, this is actually a no-go.
Private Internet Access is headquartered in the United States, which is a founding member of the Five Eyes Alliance . Not the best location for a VPN provider from a data protection perspective. Because both US and British intelligence agencies could force the release of data.