Private Internet Access Review and Black Friday Deals
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Private Internet Access Exam Rating
Private Internet Access has been around for years and is the most well-known brand in the VPN industry. So it’s no surprise that my experience with the service was flawless.
In the world of VPNs, Private Internet Access is one of the biggest names in the game. With Black Friday upon us, it’s a great time to sign up for services like this.
This year, Private Internet Access has an 82% off the regular price as a special offer for Black Friday.
I checked the service for the last two weeks to see how good it is and if I think the deal is worth it.
Black Friday deals – 82% off £43.94 / £1.69/mo for 2yrs + 4mths
The Black Friday special will be $2.03 per month for the 2-year plan with 4 months free (82% off).
The signup page lists the price at £1.69/month or £43.94 for 28 months in total.
Private Internet Access Features
- Servers in 84 countries, including 50 servers in 50 US states
- 10 Gbps network
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Multi-hop capabilities
- Strict no-logging policy
- Several ways to connect:
- Windows/Mac/Linux/Chromebook Apps
- Browser extensions including Chrome, Firefox and Opera
- Televisions – FireTV, Apple TV, Roku and more
- Consoles – Smart DNS Options
- Open source software
- 24/7 live support
- Advanced Split Tunnel
- Configure custom rules for individual apps or websites to automatically use or bypass the VPN tunnel.
- Ad blocking
- PIA’s “MACE” is a DNS-based ad blocker that helps protect you from online ads, trackers, and malware.
- If your VPN connection drops unexpectedly, our firewall-based kill switch feature ensures your data won’t leak.
- Ad and malware blocking
- WireGuard protocol
- Dedicated IP
- Advanced encryption settings
- Anonymous payments
Why use a VPN and my goals
This review opportunity came at a good time for me. I had to fly to the United States for two weeks for some press trips.
By using a VPN, I was able to:
- Improved security when using hotel WiFi networks, as all my data is encrypted.
- Access UK servers allowing me to bypass various regional restrictions including streaming content and other UK specific services.
- Have a UK IP address to avoid website and search engine regionalization while I continue to work overseas.
One of the cool features of PIA is that they have special servers dedicated to streaming. Many general servers are compatible with Netflix, but you can select those optimized servers for the best overall experience.
Saving user data
A VPN is supposed to be private, the name suggests, but there is always some concern about your VPN’s privacy.
Some people suggest that you should only use a VPN based in a country outside of the 5-eyes/14-eyes agreement. Personally, I think you must be doing something nefarious enough to be concerned about this.
Anyway, Private Internet Access says it’s not a problem for them. They say:
At PIA, we have designed our operations to prevent this from happening in the first place. There are no newspapers. No identifying information can be collected, regardless of the force applied. There are several companies that claim not to log in, but still do at the end of the day. On the other hand, we have public court records to prove that we do not record anything, available for everyone to read (pages 11-12).
They keep highlighting
The question remains what to do if PIA is coerced into something – or rather, if the authorities try to coerce PIA into something, as was the case with Yahoo recently, when the NSA forced it to spy on its own users. .
There is a precedent for this, and that is sink choosing to close its operations instead of selling its users (specifically, selling Edward Snowden). It’s also exactly what Private Internet Access once did, when Russia demanded that we start recording our users’ identities, after seizing PIA servers.
Our response was immediately stop operations in Russia
PIA has also been independently audited by Deloitte to verify the no-logs policy.
I don’t imagine the government will be interested in anything I do online, but I’m sure PIA won’t divulge any of my information.
Windows (or macOS) will be the best way to use the VPN for most people on a computer.
With this, you have the most control over how the VPN works. The number of parameters is considerable.
Wireguard versus OpenVPN
Wireguard is a new protocol that is significantly more efficient than the more common OpenVPN. Using this protocol should improve speeds and reduce
Split tunneling and automation
This is a handy feature if you want to be selective with what connects to the VPN. An obvious choice would be any clients you use to download content. You can configure the VPN so that only your torrent client goes through the VPN while all your internet activity remains normal.
Traditionally with a VPN, I just install the Windows app and leave it at that. With competing services, I sometimes find that logging in and out of the Windows application can break my network connection.
Recently, I discovered that I wanted to be more selective about what I wanted to use the VPN for. So there’s no need to bother switching my entire connection to the VPN and using a browser extension instead.
I’ve used the built-in Opera VPN for this before, but more often than not it’s extremely slow.
Private Internet Access browser extensions are excellent. You have the choice between Chrome, Firefox and Opera.
Once installed, all you have to do is log in and select the options you want.
You have two security options, 7 privacy options and 6 tracking options.
I often use a VPN to temporarily get rid of tracking while I test how websites work or search results. Therefore, all tracking options are perfect for me.
Signing in through Chrome seems to be instantaneous and performance is excellent. With the automatic UK server, I achieved a speed of 551/35 Mbps for uploading and downloading. This matches the speed my Virgin Media connection can provide.
Switching to a US server, I still achieved high speeds with 511/36Mbps, and the ping went up to 91ms
As you’d expect, PIA has an Android and iOS app. I find these tend to be useful when you also want to block the ads and tracking that plague websites on mobile.
I’ve also used the Android app with Android TV on the Nvidia Shield, which allows me to bypass regional restrictions and also access streaming apps that aren’t available in the UK.
Throughput / Speeds / Streaming
A good VPN needs fast servers. I have a 500mbps Virgin connection at home and I won’t use a VPN if I see a big drop in speeds. Speeds obviously vary by country, and the further the server is from your location, the worse the performance.
However, the performance of Private Internet Access has been excellent. I’m based in the North of the UK and the speeds I’ve achieved with the Windows app are:
- Manchester server: 519 / 35 Mbps and ping 23 ms
- Amsterdam server: 445 / 35 Mbps and ping 26 ms
- Liechtenstein: 523 / 35 Mbps & ping 36 ms
- United States Washington: 482/34 Mbps and 94 ms ping
- Optimized streaming on the US East Coast: 472/34 Mbps and 118 pings
- Hong Kong: 307 / 16 Mbps & 302 ping
- Australia Sydney: 213 / 12 Mbps & 352 ping
I tested several of the options optimized for streaming, and all worked perfectly. For streaming, I mainly want US servers because there are only US streaming services that I use occasionally, like HBO Max. Then when I was in the US I used the UK servers to access the BBC.
Private Internet Access has been around for years and is the most well-known brand in the VPN industry.
So it’s no surprise that my experience with the service was flawless.
Although I don’t use VPNs much, they can be incredibly useful, and I think £44 for 28 months is a bargain