Private Internet Access UK (PIA) Review 2020
As one of the biggest and oldest VPN services, Private Internet Access UK has a long history of championing users’ rights to digital privacy. It’s been known to focus on security but has since upped the ante by including features like unblocking geo-restricted content with PIA. In this review, This review provides an honest, comprehensive guide to PIA. Here, I assess its reliability and trustworthiness as a key tool of the contemporary privacy-conscious user.
Private Internet Access UK – the basics
PIA is hailed as one of the most efficient VPNs in the market today. This service is based in the US, which may earn it a demerit for privacy hounds. You see, countries like the US who form part of the Five Eyes Alliance have no qualms collecting information and surveilling their citizens.
Also, PIA has announced that it plans to sell out to Kape Technologies, a company with a history of malware. That ought to concern anyone. However, PIA servers have been tried and proven to be extremely reliable when it comes to data and privacy protection.
Private Internet Access UK: Plans and Prices
The PIA price point is known for being economically friendly. There are three price packages available for different subscription lengths: monthly, yearly, and 2 years. The longer subscriptions offer discounts.
No free PIA VPN trial is available. Hence, I recommend starting out with the monthly plan, inclusive of the 30-day money-back guarantee, to test whether or not PIA suits you.
Various payment options are available, including credit cards, common online payment platforms, and various cryptocurrencies.
The Summary Sheet
|Netflix||PIA Netflix works for UK, US library; also unblocks Hulu and Disney+|
|Multi-login||10 simultaneous log in|
|Covered countries||29 countries|
|Supported OS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days|
|Protocols||OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and SOCKS5 Proxy|
|Traffic data||Unlimited, encrypted|
|Encryption||AES 128-bit default setting|
PIA Netflix and torrenting: Using the VPN
Is PIA Netflix-unblocking feature good?
Despite official denials of its support for geo-restricted content, you can use PIA Netflix to access the streaming service’s UK and US libraries. Outside of those two jurisdictions, however – it’s a no go.
Unfortunately, PIA servers do not guarantee the most consistent speeds when streaming, so you might encounter various obstacles and pauses. PIA Netflix is possible, but perhaps not the best you can get. PIA Netflix probably is not a tool for media streaming lovers but it can guarantee the other capability which satisfies that your privacy will be protected.
Is PIA torrenting allowed?
Being able to binge on your favourite series with PIA Netflix is a huge plus, but what about torrenting?
PIA is a secure VPN option for torrenting. The VPN is not shy in announcing on their official website that they grant full P2P capability. Therefore, all PIA servers support P2P file sharing. However, because it’s a US-based VPN, strict copyright violation laws may apply. But PIA servers can ensure anonymous torrenting through its kill switch and port forwarding features, which will be discussed later.
Private Internet Access UK: VPN Features
PIA’s primary features are oriented towards providing you with top-notch security. Therefore, even without manually customising the VPN’s advanced features, you can surf and stream with confidence.
Moreover, the VPN’s default settings offer AES-128 bit encryption, which can be customised to 256-AES, encryptions’ gold standard. Protocols utilised by the VPN include OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and SOCKS5 PIA Proxy.
PIA tops speed tests for local connections without fail. In several VPN reviews, PIA gets ahead of the best in the business, averaging a measly speed loss of 7%. Undeniably, PIA’s speeds for local connections are reliable and amazingly consistent.
For international connections, however, PIA’s performance is another story. Its speeds, while decent, are not as exemplary as other famed VPNs.
If suddenly connection drops, the VPN’s ability to hide your address can fail. Private Internet Access UK has an automatic kill switch which prevents the accidental reveal of your public IP address. As a result, it instantly terminates your connection in the event you get disconnected from the Internet.
The VPN has a port forwarding feature responsible for redirecting all your incoming connections to overcome whatever NAT firewall it encounters. With this feature, you’re provided with a greater number of P2P peers to interact with while improving your download speeds considerably.
IP/DNS leak protection
If you want to be absolutely sure about your online safety, a built-in IP and DNS leak protection is indispensable. DNS leaks compromise your digital privacy since your connection information are stored and resolved via a DNS request that is not encrypted. PIA servers prevent IPv4 and IPv6 leakage or DNS leaks from happening.
PIA apps and their intuitive interfaces are one of the best features of this VPN. Using the PIA app for the very first time is not nerve-wracking; it’s actually straightforward. Say you want to use PIA Netflix, simply enter login credentials you received from when you subscribed to the service. Finally, to connect to any server location, a single click on the enormous power button is all it takes.
PIA app settings are accessible in a user-friendly way. When using PIA, you only need to click three dots located in the app’s upper right corner with the tab “Settings.” You can configure servers and options there.
The same security features and other conveniences are available on other applications and servers. Port forwarding is one of the features available across PIA apps on Windows, Mac OS, and Android clients. However, some features are currently unavailable for iOS.
PIA also provides highly secure browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. The PIA app is available in 19 languages. Its visual settings for lighting can be adjusted to your preferences.
You can also install a VPN on your home or office network using a PIA VPN router, which can ensure security and protection to any device connected.
One of PIA’s biggest pitfalls is that it has been almost universally panned for customer service. Customer service has been criticized for being unresponsive or even unhelpful. However, it has recently come to offer a 24/7 live chat support, perhaps to address this issue.
PIA remains a viable VPN candidate for privacy protection. Sure, it has some weak links such as inconsistent speeds and sub-par PIA Netflix streaming capability. However, the additional layers of protection it provides offsets such limitations. In summary, its track record cements PIA’s place as a strong contender in the market and a VPN worthy of your support.
- Proven and verified zero logs policy
- Strong encryption
- Kill switch and port forwarding
- Torrenting allowed
- Affordable pricing
- Lackluster customer service
- Inconsistent speeds
- Netflix streaming is hit and miss