Private Internet Access VPN

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Any trace of this is removed when you exit the InBrowser. PIA was among the most economical, plenty of simultaneous connections and more than enough servers and services. While VPN services will spin servers up and down to meet demand, a large number of servers is a sign of the service's robustness. Private Internet Access unblocks content for our users and allows them to encrypt their network traffic, change their IP address, and connect anonymously to blocked websites and apps. Far above average number of available servers.

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Hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic to connect to blocked apps and websites with our unlimited bandwidth VPN. Private Internet Access unblocks content for our users and allows them to encrypt their network traffic, change their IP address, and connect anonymously to blocked websites and apps. Hide your IP address to stop data trackers, snoopers, and hackers from tracking your browsing and search activity. When you change your IP address, you can be more anonymous and blend in with the crowd.

If you use WiFi hotspots without encryption, your data can be seen, blocked, throttled, censored, or otherwise changed. Encrypt your internet traffic with our VPN proxy. Our trusted online privacy service creates several security layers which keep you anonymous and prevent access to your data. Access blocked apps or connect to censored websites. Unlock and unblock your favorite websites from anywhere. Have an app that you want to let bypass the private VPN tunnel?

Choose which apps to exclude from the VPN. Ensure your internet always uses our VPN connection with our internet killswitch. Proven no log policy. I know I was confused the first time I used the service.

Experienced security wonks, however, may appreciate having a VPN that stays out of the way and doesn't waste resources on fancy graphics. This is probably Private Internet Access' most divisive aspect. Thankfully, Private Internet Access also offers hour live chat support in case you're confused. I always try to watch Netflix with a VPN as part of my testing. Many streaming services—be they music or movies—block VPNs, because they have geographically limited licenses for streaming content.

The show Star Trek: I test with Netflix because of its enormous popularity and because it is particularly aggressive at blocking VPN users. Unfortunately, I received an error warning from Netflix saying I would have to shut down my proxy before I could continue. All of these services did work with Netflix as of writing. Keep in mind, however, that using a VPN to circumvent a service's restrictions may violate terms of service you've agreed to. Many VPN companies include additional privacy and security features in order to entice consumers.

When engaged, this tool specifically blocks pesky advertisements plastered across web pages and trackers that allow companies to track your movements across the Internet. Of course, some might balk at the idea of blocking ads, since doing so makes it harder for those in the media, from solo webcomic artists to decades-old technology review websites, to earn a living. It's worth noting that few of the VPNs I have reviewed offer ad blocking: It's important to remember that blocking ads isn't just about saving yourself from annoyance or the ever-encroaching presence of late-stage capitalism.

Savvy attackers will sometimes purchase ads from legitimate advertising networks and use them to launch "malvertising" attacks.

In a blog post, Private Internet Access explained that its product blocks ads and trackers by running DNS requests through a black list. According to the company, "PIA doesn't do anything besides block domains associated with advertisements, trackers, and malware at the DNS level. Using a VPN will protect your privacy, within certain limitations. Advertisers can identify you in a number of other ways, such as browser "fingerprinting," which identifies your specific software and hardware configurations.

The Tor service is far better at providing real anonymity than a VPN. Regardless of the VPN you use, it will affect your web browsing speeds.

To gauge the level of that impact, I measure latency, download speeds, and upload speeds using the Ookla speed test app. Here's how I test VPN speeds: I take five measurements with and without the VPN active on a nearby server, drop the highest and lowest results, average the remaining three, and then find a percent change.

This is second round is a stress test of the service, while testing on domestic servers is more reflective of how average people more typically use VPN services. For the latency tests, I found that Private Internet Access increased latency by TunnelBear had the smallest impact on latency in the international tests, increasing latency by Latency in particular can be of great concern to gamers. Fortunately, there are a handful of VPNs for gaming. You can also opt for a VPN that lets you select which apps send their data through the VPN's encrypted tunnel and which don't.

That way, you can secure the most important information without restricting your game's connection. Private Internet Access fared better in the all-important download speed test, in which it reduced speeds by only 5.

It also had a strong international test score, reducing download speeds by only TorGuard VPN has the best speed score domestically, slowing download speeds by only 3. AnchorFree Hotspot Shield Elite took that honor in the international download speed test, dropping download speeds by In the domestic upload test, Private Internet Access brought speeds down by 5. IPVanish took the victory here, reducing speeds by only 2.

In the international test, Private Internet Access slowed upload speeds by Speed alone isn't the best metric for choosing a VPN. For one thing, speeds vary depending on a number of factors. For another, the real value of a VPN is in the privacy and security it offers. If you're primarily concerned about speed, however, Private Internet Access is unlikely to have a major impact.

The service's protection, of course, comes at the price of a subscription. Like the iPhone version of the app, it looks and, in fact, is very spare. The Android app does include a wider set of features than the iPhone app.

Most important is the ability to designate which apps should use a VPN connection and which can use a regular data connection. This is called Split Tunneling and it's very handy, particularly for games and video streaming apps, which need to be whitelisted in order to function properly. The Android app also offers a Smart Packets option, which shrinks the size of data packets sent by the phone. In the latency test, it had the worst results by far. In the all-important download test, however, Private Internet Access redeemed itself by getting the best results by a wide margin.

Upload test results were still strong, if less superlative, as the app earned the third-best score. Simply clicking and dragging the new app into the Applications folder is the norm for VPNs.

Private Internet Access' installer gets you up and running in no time. When I last reviewed the macOS app, it was clear that Private Internet Access was not going to blend in with your other apps. It is thoroughly un-Apple in its design, with its spartan grey window imported directly from the Windows version. If you'd rather not look at it too much and I wouldn't blame you , you can select a server from the menu bar.

However, the resulting pull-down shows every single location, making it just as ugly, but harder to use, than the core client. Private Internet Access performed remarkably well in my Mac speed tests. When connected to a local VPN server, it had the best upload and latency scores I've yet recorded, and the second-best download speed score.

When connected to an international server, it was the complete opposite. Here it had the worst latency score of any VPN service I've tested for Mac , and the second-worst scores for upload and download speeds. You'll need a subscription to use the app, of course. Like the Windows client, the iPhone app is a stripped-down affair. It's little more than a page on which you can toggle the VPN connection on and off, with hidden settings to change VPN server location. One nice but simple flourish is that the app clearly shows your actual and apparent IP address.

When I tested the app, I noted that, unfortunately, the iPhone app doesn't offer all the features of its Android cousin. You cannot, for example, designate specific apps that must use a VPN connection.

But the app does include the MACE ad and malware blocker, which uses blacklists to block ads and potentially dangerous websites at the DNS level. I believe this is the most important test of the bunch, so that's great.

Unfortunately, it only managed so-so results in the latency test, and returned the worst upload score yet recorded in my upload tests. Private Internet Access is easy to recommend, but only with an asterisk. Yes, it's incredibly robust with powerful tools and an extensive network of VPN servers across the world.

It also has a strong privacy stance when it comes to protecting customer information. And it's incredibly simple, but and this is the asterisk it's also stripped to the bone in terms of interface.

Private Internet Access is an Editors' Choice winner for all it has to offer and its very low price , but I'd love to see it reinvent itself with a user interface that is more approachable, and not simply, well, simple. But if you're looking for an affordable, powerful option, and can stomach some ugliness, Private Internet Access is an excellent choice. Max Eddy is a Software Analyst, taking a critical eye to Android apps and security services. He's also PCMag's foremost authority on weather stations and digital scrapbooking software.

When not polishing his tinfoil hat or plumbing the depths of the Dark Web, he can be found working to discern the Best Android Apps. Prior to PCMag, Max wrote This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links.

Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time. PCMag reviews products independently , but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page. Cons Spartan interface may confuse new users. Bottom Line Private Internet Access offers a robust, full-featured service, at an unbeatable price.

Max Eddy Software Analyst. Get Our Best Stories! Fastest Mobile Networks How to Clone a Hard Drive.

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