Value for Money
Recommended for P2P usage
Summary : A very good P2P and torrent VPN Service.
Private Internet Access™ was created on August 10, 2010 by the same developers who also created Mt. Gox Live and Mt. Gox Mobile of the Bitcoin world. With a true passion for privacy and anonymity, Private Internet Access™ was created to fill the role of a truly anonymous VPN service which did not exist until Private Internet Access™ was launched. The company is headquartered in the U.S. as the U.S. has no mandatory data retention laws, meaning, it is one of the few countries where VPN services based out of the U.S. do not have to log. Privacy is definitely one of the key features that sets Private Internet Access VPN apart from other providers.
Using the service makes it easy to unblock banned websites, safely surf public Wi-Fi connections, and to hide your real IP address and actual location. The company’s stated mission is to “maintain the highest standards of privacy, while simultaneously providing the most solid, top speed VPN network.”
About Virtual Private Networks
If you reading this, you are most likely well aware of what a VPN is. But just to reiterate briefly, a VPN is a Virtual Private Network. VPNs are essentially private networks that can be used to connect to remote servers securely while using a public Wi-Fi connection or some other unsecured network. There are many advantages to using a VPN. For one thing, if you are located in a country other than the United States of England, using a VPN can allow you to access online programming from providers such as the BBC, Netflix and Hulu, by assigning you an American or British IP address.
Using a VPN is also one of the most secure means of connecting to the Internet. While firewalls and anti-virus software can be helpful in terms of security, the encryption provided by a VPN adds an additional layer of security that is very hard to penetrate. This added security can be essential in protecting your online activities from the prying eyes of hackers and identity thieves. In countries like China, where the government monitors the Internet activities of citizens and visitors, using a VPN can ensure your activities go unobserved by the authorities. Obviously, even if you have nothing really to hide, there are advantages to keeping your online activities discrete and anonymous.
Also anyone who has traveled around the world has undoubtedly noticed that the Internet can be slow and reliable in some countries. A good VPN service can enable you to always have access to a fast, reliable and stable Internet connection, wherever you may be. Now that we have briefly reiterated what VPN is, let’s take a good look at the VPN service provided by Private Internet Access.
There are many free VPN services available on the market. However these services tend to be of an inferior nature and are all-too-easily detected and blocked by firewalls and other Internet security apparatus. To really get the most out of using a Virtual Private Network, you need to sign up for a paid service, such as the one that’s available from Private Internet Access.
Private Internet Access provides paid VPN service with 13 servers located in six different countries. The company has multiple servers in the United States. The software is easy to install and may be done so by using OpenVPN GUI. Set up for PPTP is done by using a control panel. The services is compatible with most major operating systems, including Mac and Windows. While the company is owned and operated by the British company, London Media Trust, Inc. many of Private Internet Access’ operations are managed from the United States.
The service makes use of shared IP addresses, rather than dynamic or static IPs. This makes it difficult for any outside party to to match a user to any kind of external IP. Using the service enables one to use two simultaneous connections. If you are using OpenVPN you can multi-hop for the highest possible level of anonymity.
The company respects the privacy of its customers by keeping no traffic or request logs. As the company is operationally based in the United States, it is therefore governed by US laws. The service is affordable and comes with no dowload or speed limits. P2P and torrent downloading is also permitted when using Private Internet Access.
Private Internet Access™ provides access via PPTP, L2TP/IPSec and OpenVPN. It is most recommended to use the OpenVPN protocol, which provides the most optimal connection and is, of course, best in getting around blocks as it provides access via alternate connection methods on top of the pre-existing methods. PPTP and L2TP/IPSec are offered in order to maximize compatibility with devices including iOS, Android and Boxee
The service is compatible with most major operating systems, including Windows 7, Vista, XP, NT/2k, Mac, and Linux. The service is relatively easy to set up and configure with these operating systems. The company’s website also provides many helpful tutorials that walk users through the set up process, in the even that any problems should arise. Browsers supported by the service include Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Opera. The service may also be readily used with mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, iTouch, and Android.
Private Internet Access™ has a state of the art network with over 24,000Mbps of bandwidth available and the ability to expand to a pretty much infinite amount (over 100,000Gbps). Private Internet Access™ uses shared IPs in order to maximize the anonymity and privacy of its users as dynamic/statically issued IPs can actually be used to identify users. Shared IPs on the other hand are not able to be used to identify users.
Private Internet Access™ has servers in US, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland and Romania. The gateways are positioned in important places in order to provide the lowest latency to users. Inside the US, Private Internet Access™ has 6 gateway entry points. These are located in New York City, Arizona, Ohio, and Texas. There are also two servers in Canada, two in the UK, and one each in Switzerland, The Netherlands, and China. One of the things we like about the service was the high number of servers located within the United States. This means it’s generally always possible to connect to the US network and have a US IP address assigned to you.
However, on the down side, we were somewhat disappointed that the company only currently maintains servers in a half a dozen countries, while many other VPN providers have server networks that are spread across dozens of different countries across the globe.
But being a US based company, it makes sense that the service centers there server network in the US. There is perhaps at least the feeling, that being a US-based company, Private Internet Access may be somewhat more reliable than some of the more nebulous VPN services that are headquartered in off-shore locations around the world.
Security is a concern for most users who sign up for a VPN service and Private Internet Access, as their name would imply, offers many good features related to security. These include IP cloaking, encryption, firewalls, identity protection, and uncensored access.
The IP cloaking feature masks your actual IP address by assigning you one of the company’s anonymous IP addresses. This effectively prevents any websites or Internet services from tracking your web browsing habits or any of your other online activities. IP cloaking also enables you to keep your Internet searches discrete and prevents anyone from being able to track down your actual geographic location.
Private Internet Access™ has three (3) packages available, including a $6.95/monthly plan, a $39.95/yearly plan as well as a $35.95/6-monthly plan. These packages simply provide discounts for longer durations. All accounts have unlimited bandwidth, unlimited access and access to every gateway available, all for one low price.
Private Internet Access VPN P2P Torrent Policies
Private Internet Access™ provides a speediest page to help clients find the best gateway to them. You can see their speed tests at : VPN Speed Test
Private Internet Access™ is considered the best-in-class for speeds available.
Private Internet Access™ provides a simple application which allows easy gateway switching, advanced port information, alternate configuration methods as well as auto-start/connect options.
Peer to Peer and Log Policy
Private Internet Access™ does not log any data, traffic, or usage period as it stays true to it’s goal for privacy and anonymity.
Private Internet Access™ provides around the clock support and is considered one of the best-in-class in providing support to its clients. The company maintains highly professional support staff and inquiries we made were handled in a timely and professional manner. They’ve also got a good website with a fairly comprehensive customer support page that may provide answers to many questions of problems users may experience. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the company website, they’ve got a simple form you can fill out in order to have your issue addressed by email. Private Internet Access™ does provide refunds within 7 days of purchase.
Private Internet Access performs regular updates of its service. In March of this year the service swapped their machines out for the newest server-grade CPUs with 16-32GB or RAM. It was during this same update that the service expanded their gateway to include the Netherlands and Canada. The Canadian and Netherlands gateways are notable in that they are both extremely P2P friendly. This makes these gateways ideal for any user who wishes to engage in legal file sharing activities including BitTorrent and other such protocols. The company’s Netherlands, Canada, and Switzerland gateways allow any kind of legal file sharing activity.
These upgrades have helped to dramatically improve the user experience for Private Internet Access VPN. But to the company’s credit, while they continue to make improvements to their service, their prices have remained relatively fixed and at this time, they claim to have no plans to raise their prices.
Affordability is definitely one of the service’s strengths. Plans are available for as low as $3.33 (USD) a month if you opt for the yearly subscription that costs $39.95. At $6.95, monthly service is still more affordable than that of many other VPN providers.
Available Payment Providers
Private Internet Access™ accepts payment from most major platforms, including
Private Internet Access™ was the first VPN to accept Bitcoin payment as an option.
Terms of Service
The VPNReviewer advises against using a VPN to engage in any kind of illegal activities online. Private Internet Access has policies along a similar line. As is clearly stated in the company’s terms, “PrivateInternetAccess.com abides by a ZERO TOLERANCE policy relating to any activity which breaches our terms and conditions. Additionally, PrivateInternetAccess.com will cooperate in full with all government agencies that seek those who have violated any of the above terms and conditions.
It should also be noted that the company’s terms state that they have the prerogative to cap, suspend or terminate the account of users on unmetered plans “who display excess usage.” This sort of verbiage is fairly common with many Internet contracts, so it remains unclear as to just when and if they really would undertake such action. You would likely have to be using an inordinate amount of bandwidth for such a suspension to take place.
We found Private Internet Access to be an enjoyable VPN service to test. The set up process was simple and the pre-configured dialer for PPTP connections made it easy to get going. If you are looking for a good low cost, high quality VPN services that take anonymity and security seriously, Private Internet Access is definitely a worthwhile option. The general consensus is that Private Internet Access™ is “Privacy done right.” For the best in-class speeds and best in-class support, choose Private Internet Access™ as your VPN service provider. The fact that the company is based in the United States and maintains so many different servers there will also undoubtedly appeal to a great many users.
But on the other hand, if you are looking for a VPN service with the broadest possible available gateway, you may find the service to be somewhat limited, when compared to other providers such as Hide My Ass that have more far-reaching and widespread server networks in different countries around the world.