Private Internet Access review 2024

Private Internet Access review 2024
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Private Internet Access (PIA) is an excellent choice for those who want an affordable VPN service that comes with advanced security features. With prices starting from $2.03 per month, it offers one of the cheapest monthly plans in the VPN industry.

It’s quite a powerful VPN tool for security and encryption of your online data. You get access to features like a kill switch, an ad and tracker blocker, split tunneling, and a large server network. It doesn’t come without its flaws, though, as you’ll soon learn.

Since it has apps for almost every platform, you can use it on whatever device you have and it comes with 10 simultaneous connections, allowing you to share your account with other friends, coworkers, and family.

In our Private Internet Access review, you’ll learn about its features in detail and by the time you’re done reading, you’ll know whether you should use it or not.

To save you some time, we’ve added a table below that lists some of the most important features of Private Internet Access.

PIA VPN specifications

Number of servers

10,000+ in 84 countries


Denver, USA (Five Eyes member)


Military-grade 256-bit AES

VPN protocols

WireGuard and OpenVPN



Streaming capabilities

Unblocks most platforms including Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Hulu


No-log policy

Lowest price

Starting from $2.03 per month

Money-back guarantee

30 days


Private Internet Access short overview

To make it easier for you, we’ve summarized our review of Private Internet Access. Here are some of our key findings:


  • Highly affordable – Finding a VPN that’s good and affordable isn’t particularly hard, but Private Internet Access is perhaps the most budget-friendly VPN when compared with other top services. You can get it for as little as $2.03 per month.
  • Wide server network – For many people, the huge server network will be enough to convince them to get Private Internet Access. With over 10,000 servers in 84 countries, finding ones that work for sites you want to unblock will never be challenging.
  • WireGuard tunneling protocol – Along with other protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2, Private Internet Access also has WireGuard, currently considered the fastest and most secure VPN protocol.
  • P2P-optimized servers – Torrenting on Private Internet Access is a breeze as all of its servers are P2P-optimized and support uploading and downloading of large P2P files.
  • Strict no-log policy – Private Internet Access is one of the few VPN companies that’s had its no-log policy audited by the Big Four firm Deloitte. What this means is that we know for certain that it doesn’t retain any user data.
  • Advanced security features – Private Internet Access has many features that you can use to enhance your online privacy and security. There are tons of ways to customize the settings, so it’s also great for intermediate VPN users.
  • 30-day money back guarantee – While there’s no trial version for desktop, you do get a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with the VPN, you can ask for a refund.


  • Located in the USA – USA is a member of the Five Eyes alliance which makes it one of the worst places for VPN companies as they’re obligated to share data with the government when asked.
  • No trial version for desktop – Having a 30-day money-back guarantee is great, but having a free trial version that doesn’t require your credit card details is even better. Unfortunately, Private Internet Access doesn’t have one for its desktop apps.

PIA how does it compare to other VPNs

Below, we’ve added a table that compares Private Internet Access to the top VPNs like NordVPN and ExpressVPN. As you can see, it stacks up quite well against the other two VPNs and the only downside is that it’s based in a 5 Eyes country.


Private Internet Access



Number of servers

10,000+ in 84 countries

5000+ in 59 countries

3000+ in 94 countries


Denver, USA


British Virgin Islands


256-bit AES encryption

256-bit AES encryption

256-bit AES encryption

Ad and tracker blocker

Yes (MACE)

Yes (Threat Protection)

Only blocks trackers

No-logs policy

Independently audited

Independently audited

Independently audited

Number of simultaneous connections

10 devices

6 devices

5 devices

VPN protocols

WireGuard and OpenVPN

NordLynx (WireGuard) and OpenVPN

Lightway and OpenVPN

RAM-only servers




Streaming platforms

HBO Max, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more

Disney+, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more

Amazon Prime, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and more

Smart DNS




Money-back guarantee

30 days

30 days

30 days

Free trial

Android and iOS

Only Android

Android and iOS


Starting from $2.03 per month

Starting from $3.69 per month

Starting from $6.69 per month

You also can find more information how these vpns are compared on reddit on our best VPNs by Reddit article.

Speed – is Private Internet Access fast?

Any VPN that uses WireGuard is bound to provide fast speeds and Private Internet Access is no exception. We ran some tests over the span of a few days to see how it performs, and needless to say, it was almost just as fast as NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

Unlike other popular VPNs that also use other protocols like IKEv2 and L2TP, Private Internet Access only uses WireGuard and OpenVPN on the desktop apps.

We tested several servers from the US, the UK, and Germany on our 50 Mbps connection and found Private Internet Access to be almost just as fast as other top VPNs. Check out our review of ExpressVPN to see how it performed on a 100 Mbps connection.

When connected to servers in the US (nearest to our location), we got around 48 Mbps. Servers in the UK and Germany had similar speeds, around 46 Mbps. We were easily able to stream Netflix in HD and play games without experiencing any lag on all three server locations.

Keep in mind that the speed you get depends on many different factors so you may get different results.

PIA download speed in US

PIA’s download speed in the USA.

Here’s a table that shows the exact speeds we got with Private Internet Access:

US download speed

48.23 Mbps

UK download speed

46.2 Mbps

Germany download speed

46.04 Mbps

VPN protocol


What apps does PIA work with?

Private Internet Access has a native app for desktop, smartphones, streaming devices, and routers. It’s one of the few VPNs that has an app with a graphical user interface (GUI) on Linux. Here’s a list of all the platforms it’s compatible with:

  • Desktop – Windows, macOS, and Linux
  • Smartphones – Android and iOS
  • Streaming devices – Fire TV Stick and Android TV
  • Routers – ASUSWRT, MERLIN, FlashRouters, and more

There are a few minor differences between the apps, but all of them come with a kill switch and military-grade encryption. Let’s take a look at them in detail:

PIA for desktop

Private Internet Access has one of the most minimalistic and user-friendliest desktop apps we’ve seen. When you launch the app, the first thing that grabs your attention is the large power button at the top, clicking on which quickly connects you to the nearest server.

On macOS, you can access the PIA app through the menu bar by clicking on its icon. A small window pops up and you can connect to the VPN by clicking on the power button. You can see the server location you’re connected to and also your VPN IP address. Clicking on the arrow at the bottom will expand the window and show you what protocol you’re using.

PIA on MacOS

Private Internet Access on macOS.

The desktop app includes features such as split tunneling, a kill switch, PIA MACE (malware, ad, and tracker blocker), and even Multi-Hop routing. You can also get a dedicated IP address by paying an additional fee.

The kill switch disconnects your entire device from the Internet when your VPN connection goes down and during our tests, it worked just as PIA describes it. Split tunneling allows you to exclude specific apps and websites from being routed through the VPN server.

PIA for smartphones

In terms of UI and design, there’s not a big difference between the smartphone and desktop apps. You can quickly connect to a server by tapping the power button in the center. Below the button, you can see your VPN IP address, the server you’re connected to, and several different server locations you can quickly connect to.

PIA Android app

PIA on Android.

You can connect to a dedicated IP address on the smartphone apps as well, and other features like PIA MACE and kill switch are also present. The only feature that’s missing is split tunneling on the iOS app due to restrictions by Apple. On Android, split tunneling is called “Per App Settings.”

Both the Android and iOS apps have WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. The apps aren’t cluttered with different menus, and you can easily access most of the settings on the main screen. The apps also offer some degree of customization of the settings panel on the main screen so you can change the look and usability according to your needs.

PIA for streaming devices

If you have an Android Smart TV or a Fire TV Stick, then you can download Private Internet Access directly onto your streaming device through the app store. The app looks similar to its desktop and smartphone counterparts.

The consistency in the design and UI will make it easy for you to use the apps when you switch from one platform to another. You can use PIA MACE on streaming devices to block ads and trackers while watching your favorite movies.

In case you have an incompatible streaming device such as Apple TV, you can use PIA’s Smart DNS feature to connect to a VPN server by configuring your device’s DNS settings. Smart DNS will only allow you to stream geo-restricted content and won’t encrypt any of your data. As a result, you’ll get faster speeds.

You can learn how to use Smart DNS by clicking here.

PIA for routers

PIA supports 10 simultaneous connections, but if that’s not enough for you, you can install the VPN on your router and connect as many devices as you want. Unlike ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access doesn’t have a dedicated client for routers, so you’ll have to configure it yourself.

Installing PIA on your router means you’ll always be connected to a VPN server and your online traffic will never be compromised. It’ll also allow you to connect incompatible streaming devices to the VPN without configuring their DNS settings. PIA on routers has a network-wide kill switch.

Configuring a VPN on a router is a tricky process and it depends on what model you have. If you find it too daunting, we recommend buying a FlashRouter that comes pre-installed with Private Internet Access.

Is Private Internet Access good for streaming?

Private Internet Access boasts a huge server network with over 10,000 servers in 84 countries, so it’s one of the best VPNs for streaming. As with all VPN services, it may take some time to find the right server, especially with popular streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime because these sites regularly block VPN servers.

Since it has so many servers, you’ll never have trouble finding one that works for a streaming platform on which you want to watch.

Another reason why Private Internet Access is good for streaming is because it has dedicated IP addresses. You can get one for as little as $2.50 per month.

Your dedicated IP address will only be used by you, which will make it difficult for streaming sites to block your VPN from accessing their content.

With PIA, you’ll be able to unblock most major streaming platforms including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu.

PIA for torrenting

All of PIA’s servers are optimized for torrenting. There are no speed or data limitations, and they’re designed to handle the downloading and uploading of large files.

You can use port forwarding to get even better speeds, but we don’t recommend it because it opens up your device to data breaches. Use WireGuard to get maximum protection.

PIA’s MACE works well with torrenting as it protects your device from ads, trackers, and malware, all three of which are common problems when downloading P2P files. It also prevents DNS leaks and its RAM-only servers will never retain your data, so you can rest assured you won’t run into any problems when downloading torrents.

Is Private Internet Access safe?

Private Internet Access is committed to protecting its users’ data and the advanced security features it comes with give you a multitude of options to keep your data safe. Some of its main features include a kill switch, split tunneling, PIA MACE, RAM-only servers, dedicated IP address, and Multi-Hop routing.

The only thing that deters us from calling it the safest VPN is the fact that it’s based in the USA. But other than that, it’s a solid VPN that’s excellent at enhancing your online security.

Kill switch

A kill switch is a security feature that automatically disconnects your device from the Internet if there’s any disruption in your VPN connection.

Unlike ExpressVPN and NordVPN, PIA doesn’t give you the option to choose specific apps from going offline when your VPN connection drops. Instead, your entire device is cut off from the Internet. This ensures that your online data remains secure in case your VPN stops working for some reason.

The kill switch is enabled by default when you download PIA. There’s another feature called “Advanced Kill Switch,” which protects your device from data leaks by always keeping the kill switch on even when you’re not using PIA.

PIAs kill switch function

PIA’s Kill Switch and Advanced Kill Switch.

All PIA apps are equipped with a kill switch. PIA-enabled routers have it enabled by default, so if your VPN connection timeouts, all the devices connected to your router will be disconnected from the Internet.

Split tunneling

Split tunneling is another useful security feature that separates your VPN connection from your regular connection by allowing you to select which apps are routed through the VPN server. This gives you more security and speed as your VPN is only being used for specific apps and sites instead of your entire device.

Split tunneling is only available on the desktop apps. It doesn’t work on iOS because Apple has restrictions against it.

Split tunneling is especially useful in large companies where employers route all apps and sites that contain confidential information through a VPN server and the rest of the traffic through the company’s regular connection.

When you enable split tunneling on macOS Monterey, you get a warning telling you that you might face connection issues, though it worked fine for us. To enable it, simply check the “Split Tunnel” box and then add apps you want to have routed through or excluded from the VPN server.

PIA VPN split tunneling

Split tunneling on Private Internet Access.


PIA MACE is the VPN service’s ad, tracker, and malware blocker tool. It’s included in the subscription and you don’t have to pay an extra fee for it. Currently, it’s available on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. On Android, it only works if you download the VPN as an .apk file and not directly from the Google Play Store.


PIA MACE is the VPN’s malware, ad, and tracker blocker.

We tested the feature on a handful of sites that usually have tens of ads on them, and PIA MACE removed all of them. It also prevents sites from tracking your online behavior and blocks unencrypted web pages that have malicious content (HTTP sites, for example) on them.

PIA MACE is a bit similar to ExpressVPN’s Threat Manager, but the latter doesn’t block ads. Note that it may not always work with Facebook and in-app ads.

RAM-only servers

Most VPNs use disk-based servers, which means they’re stored on a hard drive and remain on there even after a VPN session is over. RAM-only servers are different.

Any data that’s stored on RAM is wiped if you disconnect from the VPN server or shut down your device. RAM-only servers are much safer than disk-based ones because they don’t retain any user data. Some other VPNs that use them are NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN.

PIA is located in a 5 Eyes country, but because it has RAM-only servers that immediately erase any data the VPN stores, it’ll never have any information to share with government authorities. PIA calls these servers “Next Generation VPN servers.

Deloitte, one of the Big Four consulting firms, audited Private Internet Access in 2024 and found that the VPN company doesn’t retain any information at all.

Dedicated IP address

A regular IP address on any VPN is used by multiple users, which is why VPN servers get blocked from streaming sites so quickly. When a site can’t decide where the IP address is coming from, it determines that it’s being used by a VPN. This is where a dedicated IP address comes in.

PIA dedicated IP address

Using a dedicated IP address is one of the best ways to unblock geo-restricted streaming sites.

An IP address that’s used exclusively by you is safer because it easily passes off as a regular IP and isn’t flagged as a VPN user as easily. This means you can enjoy geo-restricted content without constantly having to switch VPN servers. It’ll also remove CAPTCHAs from sites, which tend to appear frequently when you use a VPN.

PIA lets you get a dedicated IP address for an additional fee with your purchase of the VPN.

We recommend getting one if you plan to use the VPN for streaming geo-restricted content, banking, and online gambling.

Multi-Hop routing

Multi-Hop routing or Double VPN is an advanced security feature that routes your online traffic through two VPN servers. NordVPN is another popular VPN that uses Multi-Hop routing to provide extra security to its users. It adds an additional layer of encryption and security to your online data.

PIA VPN multi-hop routing

Use PIA’s Multi-Hop routing to get extra protection.

There is one drawback to using Multi-Hop routing. Since your online traffic is being covered in multiple layers of encryption, your Internet speed will slow down a little. In most cases, though, you won’t even notice the difference.

Multi-Hop routing is an essential feature if you regularly deal with sensitive information or frequent the dark web. If you only want to unblock region-blocked streaming content, then it’s unlikely you’ll need the feature.

PIA pricing

For all the features that Private Internet Access offers, it’s surprisingly cheap. For just $2.03 per month, you get the same features that you get with VPNs like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, which cost a lot more.

PIA pricing and plans

Private Internet Access’s pricing structure.

To give you an idea of how budget friendly PIA is, we’ve added a table below that compares its pricing structure with that of NordVPN and ExpressVPN:


Private Internet Access




$11.95 per month

$11.99 per month

$12.95 per month


$3.33 per month

$4.49 per month

$6.67 per month



$3.69 per month


3 years

$2.03 per month



When compared with NordVPN and ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access is significantly cheaper. Its 3-year package costs less than ExpressVPN’s yearly package and is the best deal out of all the packages it offers.

Private Internet Access has a 30-day money-back guarantee and a trial version for Android and iOS. In case you don’t want to give your credit card information, you can pay with cryptocurrency.

Does Private Internet Access work in China?

Most VPNs are unreliable in China because of the country’s tough regulatory stance on online freedom, which is why most VPNs don’t work there. Fortunately, Private Internet Access is one of the few services that works in the country. All you have to do is select WireGuard as the protocol.

We reached out to their customer support team to see what they have to say on the matter. The agent we talked to acknowledged that PIA may not always work in China.

PIA usability in China

PIA may not always work in China.

In case WireGuard and OpenVPN both fail to connect, we recommend manually configuring your connection using the OpenVPN Connect app. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it on Android.

If you’re in China and want reliability, we recommend using ExpressVPN.

PIA servers locations

PIA has over 10,000 servers in 84 countries. Many of its servers are virtual and all of them are P2P-optimized. The majority of them are based in Europe and the USA.

All of PIA’s servers are RAM-based and run on WireGuard tunneling protocol. There’s no speed or data limit and you can get extra protection by using Multi-Hop routing to connect to two servers, covering your data in multiple layers of encryption.

PIA protocols

WireGuard will always give you the highest protection and speeds.

Europe has the highest number of servers. There are almost 50 server locations in the region, with most of them being based in the UK, Spain, and Germany.

In North America, PIA has over 33 server locations. It covers all 50 US states. A small portion of the servers is also located in Canada and Mexico, but a large part of the network is based in the USA.

Asia has over 20 server locations. All the locations except Japan, Israel, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates have virtual servers.

In Oceania, there are about 5 server locations. One of those server locations is based in New Zealand and the remaining four in Australia.

South America and Central America have 5 and 2 server locations, respectively. Africa has about 5 server locations.

As you can tell, PIA has servers in just about every corner of the world so bypassing geo-restrictions will never be a problem.

How to install Private Internet Access?

Downloading and installing any VPN on desktop, smartphones, and streaming devices is as simple as pressing a few buttons. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Download Private Internet Access from its official site. If you’re on Android, iOS, or a streaming device, you can download it from the app store.
  2. Install the VPN on your device and log in with your credentials.
    PIA login screen
  3. Press the power button to quickly connect to the fastest server near you.
  4. Start enjoying the web anonymously!

There’s no way to install Private Internet Access on an incompatible streaming device and you’ll have to use Smart DNS to configure its DNS settings.

On a router, the process depends on what model you have. Click here to learn how to install PIA on your router. It’s a complicated process so we recommend buying a router that comes pre-installed with PIA instead.

Reliability and support

Thanks to PIA’s stringent privacy policy and robust security features, it’s one of the most reliable VPNs in the industry. It’s based in the USA, but it uses RAM-based servers and has many other security measures in place to make sure no data is leaked or retained. Its no-log policy has been audited by Deloitte.

PIA has detailed guides on its official website and every guide has an FAQ section at the end for those who don’t want to read all of it. You can get in touch with PIA’s team via email and 24/7 live chat. Unfortunately, there’s no way to contact them by phone.

We find PIA’s guides to be helpful, but many of them are littered with CTA buttons that tell you to subscribe to the service, which may be a bit frustrating for some people.

Sending them an email is the best way to get in touch with them as they usually reply within 24 hours. Live chat can be a bit slow sometimes and it’s nowhere near as good as ExpressVPN’s, but it’s useful in situations when you want to ask basic questions about the VPN service.

PIA live chat support

PIA’s 24/7 live chat replies within a couple of seconds.

One thing we noticed was that no matter how many times we use the live chat feature, we’re always connected to an agent named “John.” Either they have multiple people with the name John under their employment, or they just never change the name when you ask to be transferred to an agent.

Bottom line

In conclusion, Private Internet Access is one of the best VPNs in the market. It provides the same level of security that you get with NordVPN and ExpressVPN, but at a reduced cost, which is an important factor for many people.

The VPN service has over 10,000 servers in 84 countries, allowing you to stream geo-restricted content from various regions all around the world.

It mainly uses two protocols, namely WireGuard and OpenVPN. The former is the best protocol in terms of speed and security, and because of it, PIA’s speed comes out to be almost the same as NordVPN and ExpressVPN’s.

You can use PIA on desktop, smartphones, streaming devices, and even routers. The design of the apps is consistent across all platforms and they all have essential security features you need to protect your online traffic.

Despite being based in the USA, Private Internet Access does a very good job of keeping your data safe and secure. It has RAM-based servers and its no-log policy has been audited by Deloitte, one of the Big Four firms.

If you’re not willing to spend money on it, we recommend trying the trial version on Android or iOS. You get a 30-day money-back guarantee with your purchase so you can always get refunded if you don’t benefit from the VPN. There’s still room for improvement, but even in its current state, PIA is a great VPN service that’s fully committed to protecting its users’ data.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, Private Internet Access is safe to use because it has over 10,000 RAM-based servers and its no-log policy has been externally audited in the past. It doesn’t log any information and any data that’s stored is automatically erased after you disconnect from the VPN. It offers plenty of advanced security features to make sure your data always remains safe.