Installing Private Internet Access is extremely easy and quick. When using the software for the first time, users will be prompted to login with their credentials. If they don’t have an account yet, then they will be asked to choose between one of the three paid subscriptions available. All three of these subscriptions allow users to protect up to ten devices simultaneously, though the various features available naturally change depending on the package chosen.
Video: How Private Internet Access Keeps You Safe Online
Private Internet Access clearly aims to be a complete security solution while still targeting new VPN users. The software manages to achieve that goal since connecting to a server couldn’t be easier. A clean and user-friendly interface has been created to enable users to effortlessly recognize and connect to a VPN across all operating systems where the application can be used, the most notable being Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux.
Easy to Use
Using Private Internet Access couldn’t be easier. Users simply need to select the location that they want to connect to and tap the “power” button on the main dashboard. Handily, the software lets clients choose between an optimal location or one of the 52 available. On top of that, it also gives information about the predicted latency on each location. Private Internet Access distinguishes itself from other competitors by providing an extended panel of settings where users can optimize the network according to their preference. The program uses a diverse range of protocols such as OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, and IPSec to provide quality encrypted Wi-Fi. By having this varied number of protocols the VPN service is able to block ads, trackers, and malware, but there’s also further protection for customers in the form of a kill switch function.
Multiple VPN gateways and unlimited bandwidth make it possible for customers to enjoy browsing anonymously. The application comes with P2P support but unfortunately there are no specific servers for this. In this aspect, the software could be improved by adding new servers specifically optimized for P2P and streaming. And while streaming isn’t mentioned on any part of the product description, when tested on content restricted to the U.S. only, the connection was good enough not only to bypass the geographic restriction but also to play the video with acceptable quality.
Private Internet Access stands out when it comes to the number of servers available. From common countries like the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan to less familiar locations such as Israel, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates, the service provides a huge number of options from across its 3,307 servers covering 32 countries. Users should be thrilled with these numbers as they usually achieve positive connection speeds, too.
The software also provides a predicted latency for each connection on its location list. We tested these indicators using three different locations: Switzerland, Japan, and South Africa. Surprisingly, the actual latency results were better than those estimated by the software, even if they were respectively higher the farther the location was. The connection speeds were good as well. As the tests were done in Europe, Switzerland naturally presented the best results, showing only a 31% drop in speed compared to our physical location. South Africa and Japan also displayed respectable speed quality, showing speed drops of 41% and 48% respectively, despite how far away they are.
Since VPN services usually show extremely variable connection speeds in different locations, Private Internet Access’s results are a breath of fresh air in an otherwise frustrating market.
Private Internet Access takes their customer’s privacy very seriously. The company assures that it keeps no traffic logs when users are connected to the VPN. In fact, it uses encryption protocols like AES-128 (GCM/CBC) and AES-256 (GCM/CBC). The software provides a kill switch feature for preventing leaks by blocking traffic outside the VPN, and a “MACE” feature as well. This MACE tool supposedly returns the IP addresses of unwanted domain names as an address that isn’t routable on the public internet: in short, it blocks domains used for ad s, trackers, and malware.
OS, Device Support
Like most VPN services, Private Internet Access is available for several operating systems. It can be used on Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Linux. For Windows operating systems, users will need to have Windows 7 or later installed, while macOS users will need at least macOS 10, and lastly Linux users need Ubuntu 16.04+ or newer. Devices running Android and iOS are able to access the application as well so long as they have at least Android 4.1 or iOS 9, respectively. The company also provides browser extensions for Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
Altogether, users can use up to ten devices simultaneously. However, the company clarifies that while the application can be installed on more devices, only ten will be able to connect at the same time. Nevertheless, the website includes an explanation on how to configurate a router so that every device connecting to the same router will appear under a single connection. This is especially beneficial since users have unlimited bandwidth available to them, regardless of the device they’re using.
The design of the interface is similar across platforms, as are the features provided. In this way, users will have no trouble using the application whether on computer, smartphone, or tablet. Some options may differ between computer platforms and the smartphone or tablet apps. For example, when using the smartphone application, users will have the “Connect” button and “Current region”, whereas on the desktop version it is designated as “VPN server”. Besides that, there are no significant differences between the various versions available.
No trial or free version is available with Private Internet Access. Instead, customers can test the software risk-free through the company’s seven-day money-back guarantee. However, this refund is only available for new accounts, so those that are renewing or upgrading cannot claim this money back. For those who want to try the software, Private Internet Access can be purchased from as low as $3.49 per month.
There’s no difference in regards to the VPN features available in each of the different plans available. Users can either decide to buy a monthly subscription, a one-year subscription, or a two-year subscription. The monthly subscription costs $9.99, while the others cost $71.88 and $83.87 per month respectively. Customers save more when buying the longest subscription, since this is the equivalent of only $3.49 per month, a 65% discount compared to the monthly subscription.
The company makes it easy for clients to pay for their accounts by providing a long list of payment methods: PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Amazon payments, Bitcoin, Google Play, and iOS in-app purchase. The prices for the software are, on the whole, low when compared to the market average and for the features it provides.
Every company knows that part of a great product or service is great customer support. However, when it comes to customer care, Private Internet Access disappoints. While queries are answered pretty fast, the company lacks diversity when it comes to channels. Should customers have any doubts, they can use the FAQs provided on the site or, if they do not see their questions answered there, they can contact the support team via email or get feedback through the community forums. But actually, the FAQs available on the website are disorganized and hard to find. For all the positives of the software, it would be fair to expect the customer service would match its quality.
Using Private Internet Access is a very positive experience. It aims to be used by both advanced users and beginners and does so by combining an intuitive and easy-to-use VPN software with an extensive set of settings. It’s a shame that no trial or free version is available, but users can still try the software for seven days via a risk-free, money-back guarantee.
The service guarantees full privacy and anonymity when browsing by making use of complex data encryption tools. However, it disappoints when it comes to customer support, having few communication channels available and a badly organized FAQ section. With that said, these little flaws can be overlooked, making Private Internet Access one of the top-name VPN services for new and advanced users alike.
- Diverse range of servers
- Complete panel of settings
- Great number of supported devices
- Fair price
- Lack of customer support channels
- No trial/free version