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Private Internet Access review

This VPN has strong security and many device connections, without the steep price tag: our Private Internet Access review

Private Internet Access review
(Image: © Private Internet Access)

Our Verdict

Private Internet Access delivers the strength of security you want, without the steep price tag, and it does so across ten devices at once. That's a compelling offering.

For

  • Great value
  • Customizable apps
  • Lots of device support

Against

  • Windows client has some issues
  • No free trial

Private Internet Access is affordable, for what you get. We're not saying it's the cheapest, nor are we claiming it's the fastest or most secure VPN. But it does manage to straddle the line between all those traits in a way that really makes this worth the price.

For a start this is a virtual private network that's backed by a hefty 3,300 servers - putting it up against the premium end of the VPN offerings out there. These are spread across 49 different locations worldwide meaning it's a great option for traveling as well as accessing international content. 

There are a good selection of clients that should keep everyone happy and you can expect a host of helpful features including browser extensions and kill switches to make this really useful. It's one of our best VPN services in 2020, although not at the top of the guide.

Private Internet Access review: Privacy

Private Internet Access is tight when it comes to security thanks to a super secure OpenVPN protocol. You can also, rather uniquely, set the encryption type yourself with options including AES-128 or 256, CBC or GBM - you can even turn encryption off entirely if you want pure speed.

There's a handy MACE feature which gives you more of a calm browsing experience as it can block ads, trackers and malware. Within the Chrome browser extension you also have options like block location access, third-party cookies and website referrals, to name just a few.

As the company's name suggests you get a private DNS, reducing the chance of leaks drastically. But, once again, there is customization as you can pick which is the best DNS for you. Expect P2P support for torrenting and Netflix unblocking although, at the time of testing, there were issues with unblocking BBC iPlayer. 

Logging is private with the company saying it keeps "no traffic or request logs". It goes on to say that the company "absolutely does not keep any logs, of any kind, period." Reassuring stuff.

Private Internet Access review: Features and apps

The Private Internet Access clients are plentiful with options for Windows, Mac, Linux as well as Android and iOS apps. There are also browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. Standard. Windows includes 32-bit and 64-bit options. For all clients you have the option to download the APK file and install manually that way. 

You don't have to use the default OpenVPN settings thanks to separate downloads for different encryption settings, to switch to TCP connections and more. There's also an OpenVPN Configuration Generator on the website where you can build different setups for individual groups of servers, potentially saving you a lot of hassle.

Not as feature-packed as some, like CyberGhost or NordVPN, but there's enough here for the basics.

(Image credit: Private Internet Access)

Private Internet Access review: Speed

Private Internet Access is particularly rapid thanks to the ability to shut off encryption. But should you want that on, you can still enjoy great speeds thanks to the SOCKS5 proxy.

In our testing we found that US servers were pushing speeds of up to 66Mbps on a 75Mbps line. On average the speeds were at 314Mbps with a top of 452Mbps. When you put that in context that the average for VPNs is 150-200Mbps, this is a really great performing VPN service, almost as good as Hotspot Shield and IPVanish

Private Internet Access: Pricing

The Private Internet Access one month plan costs a pretty standard $9.95 per month. Although there are often deals that put this down to $6.95 per month. 

Jump up to a 12 month commitment and that drops to an impressively affordable $3.33 per month. Want something between the two? Go for six months and you'll be paying $5.99 per month. 

Unfortunately there is no free trial and the money-back guarantee is a miserly seven days. However, unlike the competition, Private Internet Access will allow you to get more than one refund, if you open a new account three months after your first trial. 

Should I buy Private Internet Access?

If you want superb customization across clients and expect to get great speeds with worldwide server coverage then Private Internet Access could be the VPN for you. It does all that without a steep price too. Should you want a longer money back guarantee, or even more layers of security, then you may want to try something else like the higher priced ExpressVPN.