Offering an app for Android and iOS at a reasonable price and with wonderful protection for public WiFi networks, Private Internet Access brings a comprehensive VPN service that is focused on user security through a variety of options and features. The plans and pricing range offered are more than respectable in comparison to those of similar services.
Beating the prices of many other providers, one-month subscription is just under seven dollars. However, when subscribing for a year, the monthly costs drop below four dollars a month. With multiple payment options including PayPal, BitCoin, and Google Wallet, they back their service up with a 7-day money back guarantee for new customers.
Features and privacy
Users are allowed up to 5 connections simultaneously from any device combination. Private Internet Access is a US-based service subsidiary to London Trust Media Inc. Servers are being offered in over 20 locations in 18 countries, totaling in over 2000 servers. File sharing and torrents are permitted on all servers.
Ranging in protocols and strengths of encryption, Private Internet Access users utilize the service best with access to OpenVPN, PPTP, and IPSec/L2PT for their VPN. OpenVPN offers AES-256 for data stream encrypting, SHA256 for data authentication, and RSA-4096 for handshaking. Because of their strong moral values of giving a freedom of choice to their users, there are several levels of encryption and types to choose from, as well as a dedicated website to aid users and inform them of the right choices to make. With their policy of keeping no user logs at all, they are able to mitigate the fact of being located in the US.
Offering a live chat service located on the website, their technical support is easily accessed after registering with your name and e-mail that keeps an active ETA counter on display that keeps you informed of your wait time while customer service is delivered. The agents themselves are very knowledgeable and experienced, so the help they offer is useful and effective for many, if not all technical problems one could experience.
With easy-to-follow setups, over 100 articles on relevant subjects, and the ability to submit tickets that have estimated answers supplied as you wait for support, there is a number of non-standard VPN configurations along with DD-WRT and Tomato router information. You are able to upload query supporting files to help speed the support process. The support team itself was as open and quick as other providers.
Mobile platforms and performance
As stated previously, there is an Android app available that provides a native OpenVPN capable app, utilizing OpenSSL to help ensure one of the most impressively secure options on this platform. Offering a “killswitch” and other options that specify the level and type of encryption used, you are also able to start on boot, to connect automatically that can be combined with the “killswitch,” and the option of a TCP connection instead of UDP. This is a solution for complete protection of frequent Wi-Fi hotspot users to maintain security and privacy without someone compromising their identity before the VPN server can be reached.
Like with the Android app, Windows users are also offered the “killswitch” option, as well as DNS leak protection and TCP connections for the users who frequently use hotspots. There is an appreciated simplicity for Windows start-ups and logins rather than a common practice of hiding it away in an options tab that can be clustered and hard to navigate. The options themselves are comprehensive and easy to access and use.
Configurations and settings being easy enough to follow and customize, the operation of the VPN is achieved with the same ease of access as the options. An icon appears on your system tray that can be right-clicked to connect to your previously selected server or another server of your choice, as well as to the settings window, or exiting completely.
Having expectations set to a high bar by clients, the speed tests for Private Internet Access proved to be satisfying. With tests achieving up to and around 64 Mbps speed, connecting to the nearest US server was fairly quick, with a capacity of 38.6 Mbps resulting in speeds of about 60% respectively. While connecting to the US servers were slightly lower compared to non-VPN results, they were still very decent in our view.
Making use of their own DNS servers, Private Internet Access showed a sturdy check on IP and DNS with built-in leak protection doing an admirable job to prevent the spilling and under-guarded requests of the used ISP. Other platforms are accessible with this service: iOS and Mac OS X. Using different setup guides for these through using a PIA service, it still offers the same OpenVPN service protocols for similar if not advanced security.
While the website seemed to be a bit cluttered and lacked visual appeal, it was very useful and easily navigated. The service itself offered lightning-fast speeds and connections that were ranging higher than other services of similar kind, especially for Android. Other services are available through Private Internet Access, such as a SOCKS5 proxy for all accounts. Their decent pricing, ease of use, and platform range make it a pleasing service to acquire, given that you can overlook the lack of style and eye candy.