|App Name||Private Internet Access VPN|
|Last Updated||Oct 30, 2023|
|Publisher||Private Internet Access Inc|
In this comprehensive review, we will take an in-depth look at PIA’s Android VPN app to see how it performs in areas like speed, security, user interface, price, and more.
Speed is often one of the most important factors when choosing a VPN service. A slow VPN can negatively impact activities like streaming HD video or online gaming. To evaluate PIA’s connection speeds, extensive testing was conducted under varied conditions.
Multiple speed tests were performed connected to different PIA servers in locations across North America, Europe, and Asia. Speeds were measured during peak usage times as well as off-peak late night hours to account for server load.
Both cellular data and WiFi networks were tested to factor in potential bandwidth restrictions of the local network. Speeds were compared against a baseline measurement with the VPN disabled to quantify any reduction.
Speed tests were performed using both Ookla’s Speedtest app as well as Fast.com, which is operated by Netflix. Testing locations included the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, and Singapore. Servers were connected using both OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols via PIA’s Android app.
Baseline measurements were established by testing speeds without an active VPN connection. Multiple tests were conducted at different times of day and averaged to account for variability.
PIA performed well in our speed tests, with only moderate reductions in download and upload speeds compared to the baseline averages. Here are some highlights from the results:
While PIA is not the absolute fastest VPN tested, it provides very good speeds that should be more than sufficient for most users. The performance is strong enough to easily handle bandwidth-intensive tasks like streaming HD video.
Connection latency is also low, which is advantageous for activities where responsiveness is important such as online gaming. Overall, PIA earns high marks when it comes to delivering fast and consistent speeds across its server network.
As a security-focused VPN provider, PIA offers many protections to keep user activity private and secure. Some of the key security features include:
PIA also offers advanced users additional ways to customize their security configuration:
For most users, PIA’s default security settings offer an excellent balance of protection and ease of use. But the added options provide ways to further harden security for those with advanced needs.
PIA’s Android app features an intuitive and user-friendly interface that looks crisp and modern. The design uses bold colors, clean lines, and minimal clutter.
Connecting to the VPN is as simple as tapping a slider button prominently displayed front and center. The current connection status is clearly indicated, changing from red to green when active.
A neatly organized settings menu provides access to all available options and features without feeling overwhelming. Helpful tooltips explain what each setting does.
The main server list has a built-in speed test that pings PIA’s network and sorts locations based on latency. This makes it easy to identify the fastest servers.
Advanced users can switch between OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols with a single tap. A Favorites section allows saving and organizing preferred servers.
The app also includes a private browser, ad blocker, and the ability to define per-app VPN rules. Overall, PIA’s Android interface provides an excellent user experience that works well.
One of PIA’s biggest strengths is its affordable pricing. Many comparable VPN providers charge substantially more for monthly plans.
PIA offers the choice of paying month-to-month or longer 1-year and 3-year subscriptions. Longer plans provide increasing levels of savings:
At full monthly price, PIA costs $11.95 which is quite reasonable compared to the industry average of $10.52. However, the savings on longer plans make the 1-year and 3-year subscriptions a tremendous value.
Paying $79 for 3 years works out to just $2.19 per month. This makes PIA one of the most competitively priced full-featured VPN services on the market.
PIA also regularly offers promotions, like adding extra months free to annual plans. This can make the effective monthly cost even lower.
No matter which subscription you choose, PIA allows unlimited simultaneous connections. You can use the VPN to protect all your devices without paying extra or being limited by caps on connected devices like some other providers.
Many VPN providers make it difficult or impossible to access popular streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. They frequently get blocked because so many VPN IP addresses are blacklisted.
PIA takes an innovative approach to avoid these streaming blocks. In addition to thousands of regular VPN servers, they also offer specialty streaming servers located in key regions.
During testing, PIA was able to reliably unblock Netflix libraries in the US, Canada, UK, Europe, and Australia. BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video also worked consistently.
The streaming servers make it simple to access region-restricted content. PIA’s ability to unblock major streaming platforms is a huge perk that gives it an advantage over much of the competition.
PIA also allows P2P filesharing and torrenting on all VPN servers. There are no restrictions or bandwidth caps when using PIA for torrenting. This makes it a great choice for protecting your privacy when downloading torrents.
Getting started with PIA’s Android app only takes a few quick steps:
That’s all there is to it! The app will handle automatically configuring the VPN connection in the background. No manual setup or technical knowledge is required on the user’s part.
The entire installation process only takes about 1-2 minutes. PIA has done an excellent job making it easy for anyone to get their Android device protected.
Advanced users can optionally configure the VPN manually and use PIA with third-party OpenVPN apps. But the average user will appreciate how quick and simple it is to install PIA’s dedicated app.
PIA’s Android app comes packed with many advanced features that give users control over how the VPN functions:
These features provide ways to customize PIA to fit any use case. The defaults work great out of the box, while power users have plenty of options to tweak the VPN’s behavior.
In order to provide a reliable, consistent VPN connection, the underlying network infrastructure needs to be robust and stable. PIA maintains 3,000+ servers spread across 78 countries around the world.
During extensive testing, PIA delivered very reliable performance across all endpoints. Connection failures were extremely rare, and the VPN was able to maintain stability even over long periods.
Speeds remained consistent across multiple tests to the same endpoints. There was minimal variation regardless of the time of day or server location. This indicates PIA’s network is large enough to handle peak capacity without congestion issues.
PIA uses RAM-only servers that are immune to hard drive failures. Redundant servers ensure availability remains high and users are load balanced across multiple endpoints.
Advanced features like the kill switch, IPv6 leak protection, and DNS leak prevention resulted in no detectable leaks during testing. PIA’s network passed all IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leak tests successfully.
Overall, PIA offers one of the most robust and reliable VPN networks available. Servers remain online and available for establishing fast, low-latency connections.
PIA provides customer support through email and live chat. Support is available 24/7 for any issues that may arise.
During hands-on testing, the customer support team was consistently responsive, knowledgeable, and professional. Queries via both live chat and email were answered promptly.
The support agents were able to provide helpful troubleshooting advice tailored to the issue. This included providing suggested fixes for improving speeds or unblocking streaming services.
In addition to direct support, PIA also offers many self-help options. An extensive knowledge base, wiki, and FAQ provide answers to common questions. Video tutorials give visual walkthroughs for setting up the VPN on various devices.
PIA also maintains active community forums where both customers and employees answer questions and offer advice.
Maintaining user privacy is a key priority for PIA. The company operates under a strict no-logs policy for all VPN activity.
No traffic logs, IP addresses, connection timestamps, session durations, or other identifiers are ever collected. PIA does not store any activity logs nor metadata of any kind.
This no-logging policy has been repeatedly confirmed through outside audits and court documents. PIA has never turned over any user data to authorities, as no data exists to hand over.
PIA accepts payment through anonymous methods like gift cards and cryptocurrency. This prevents billing information from being linked to an account.
Even PIA’s internal systems do not record the IP address or other identifiable data about customers. Account credentials are secured using encryption and salted hashing.
PIA’s founders also have a long history of activism in defense of privacy rights and internet freedom. The company is transparent about ownership and underwent an independent audit confirming its infrastructure and policies.
For users concerned about privacy, PIA’s secure policies and proven commitment to protecting users help provide peace of mind.
No VPN provider is perfect. While PIA excels in many areas, there are some drawbacks worth noting:
While a bit faster and more reliable than average, PIA’s speeds can’t match the fastest VPNs like ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield. But for most general use, PIA’s speeds are perfectly adequate.