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Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN Review

PIA VPN is one of the giants of the virtual private network industry. They are one of the most popular options available and are a trusted network for some of the biggest brands and websites in the world, including Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Yahoo, PC World, and even AT&T. But what is it about PIA VPN that makes them so special?

Features & Benefits

At first glance, it almost seems as if PIA VPN offers too many features and that it would be impossible for them to excel with all of them. Long time users and reviewers that have performed tests on their services have determined, however, that everything that say they offer is provided at a top level. There is clearly a reason that these guys are considered to be the top dogs of the industry.

Here is a further look at some of the features and benefits that you will receive with PIA VPN:

Use Multiple Devices Simultaneously

One of the cooler features of PIA VPN is that you can use their services on multiple devices at the same time. While this probably is not a big deal if you are the only one that plans on using your plan, it can be great for a family or group of roommates that want to ensure privacy across multiple devices but not have to worry about purchasing separate plans to do so.

VPN Kill Switch

Another cool feature that PIA VPN offers is their VPN kill switch. This works by actually shutting off your internet connection if your virtual private network becomes disconnected. This can be huge for some users because it gets rid of the possibility that you will ever be connected to the internet without going through a virtual private network to protect your privacy.

Amount of Available Servers

For most virtual private networks, it is absolutely impossible to compete with PIA VPN when it comes to the amount of servers that they have available. With servers in about 25 different locations and over 600 gateways, these guys top the industry when it comes to available servers.

Compatible With Several Different Devices

PIA VPN is compatible with all of the normal devices, including Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android. Unfortunately they do not have any information about Smart TVs or video game consoles at this time. If there is one virtual private network that could make those devices compatible, however, it is PIA VPN.

Different Encryption Levels

While most virtual private networks will have preset encryption levels that cannot be changed, PIA VPN actually allows you to choose the encryption level that best suits your needs. You can choose anything from no encryption, which hides your IP address and offers the fastest speeds, to encryption that provides you with bank level security.

The amount of customizable options that they offer is fairly astonishing, especially when you are talking about a company whose main job is to ensure security and privacy. They even have guides on their website to help you determine the pros and cons of choosing each encryption level.

Security

It is obviously required that any virtual private network that can be recommended to users has heavy security measures in place to ensure the privacy of users. PIA VPN certainly passes the security test as they create several layers of security and privacy for users that access the web through their network. They have multiple gateways throughout the globe and provide VPN tunnel access over 21 countries.

As far as encryption, PIA VPN actually separates themselves from the pack by allowing users to choose what encryption they want to use. While they do have preset encryption levels in place, you have the ability to change those settings depending on what mix of speed and security you are looking for.

Customer Support

The one place that PIA VPN trumps just about any other virtual private network out there is with their customer support. While you could say it is because they have such a large pool of customers, these guys are the only network out there that offers live chat, phone call support, and ticket support. Not only that, but live chat response times average out regularly average out at under a minute and ticket response times average just over 30 minutes.

Another great thing about their customer support is the many articles and guide that they provide to users. They have well over 100 support articles and even have a ‘Questions Before You Buy’ section that can help you make a more educated decision before you go through with choosing PIA VPN.

Basically, PIA VPN provides cloud storage provider like customer service in an industry where support is chronically lacking across many different network providers. This can be especially useful if you are unfamiliar with how virtual private networks work and would like some technical assistance for making a seamless transition to using these services.

Cons

One of the first cons that you will see with PIA VPN when you enter onto their website is that they use somewhat of a sales tactic by making you immediately aware of the fact that you are not currently secure. To be honest though, they’re really just stating facts, so I can’t fault them for this.

To do this, they use your IP address to tell you where you are, what browser and operating system you are using, and even use Google Maps to show where you are. The manipulative aspect of this is that the perception is there that they are trying to basically scare you into buying their services.

Another small disadvantage of PIA VPN is that they are such a large company with so many users that speed can be a problem at times. While this has never been announced as a major problem from users, things like streaming and downloads may have a noticeable speed difference when using their virtual private network.

Pricing

The pricing that PIA VPN offers is fairly straight-forward. They give you the ability to choose between a month-to-month plan that starts at $6.95/month, a half year plan that comes in at $35.95 for 6 months, and an annual plan that will set you back only $39.95/year. Obviously the yearly plan is their best value as you save 50% over what you would pay yearly with a month-to-month subscription.

Overall, this pricing is a great value and is one currently one of the lowest in the industry when it comes to the annual option.

The Final Word

PIA VPN is one of the best respected and trusted virtual private networks in the industry. They have tens of thousands of users that trust their services and even have backing from major brands and companies like AT&T, Yahoo, and Forbes. The fact that their prices are among the lowest that you will find means that they are also one of the better values available.

If you are looking into the possibility of utilizing a virtual private network and have absolutely no prior experience with using one, PIA VPN is definitely one of the better options for getting your feet wet with these privacy based services. They are extremely reliable and their customer support gives them the ability to help users of all different experience levels.

9.7 Total Score
Reliable, Fast, Secure and Affordable.

Use on multiple devices at the same time; secure VPN kill switch guarantees 100% secure connections; servers in 25 locations + 600 over gateways; Use on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Choose from multiple encryption levels.

Features
10
Speed
9
Security
10
Support
10
Value
9.5
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