© 2024 CoolTechZone - Latest tech news,
product reviews, and analyses.

We may earn affiliate commissions for the recommended products. Learn more.

PRIVATE INTERNET ACCESS REVIEW - What did the change of owner affect?


Private Internet Access (PIA) is a large multiplatform paid service that offers a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with expanded encryption settings.

  • What does PIA look like in 2024?
  • Why was it sold to the owner of CyberGhost VPN?
  • Why is it still considered one of the fastest and safest providers?

In this review, I will tell you about the most interesting recent events that have happened to Private Internet Access recently. I’ll also test its features and characteristics, describe its price fluctuations, and give some helpful advice on its use.

This Private Internet Access review, I think, is the most ambiguous one published on CoolTechZone.com. Today, the provider has both undeniable pros and unpleasant cons that were not present until recently.

Read on to learn about the details of the sale of this VPN service to the international company Kape Technologies and important information on its advantages and disadvantages.

I’d like to emphasize that this is not a paid article and I am not reimbursed for it by Private Internet Access or any other VPN services. I used a regular paid subscription to conduct my tests

Features and opportunities

The list of the strongest and weakest suits of the provider:

  • 256-bit encryption available and allows changing parameters
  • The speed is high
  • Kill Switch o every OS but iOS
  • OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), IPsec, L2TP and PPTP tunneling protocols
  • Allows P2P/torrenting
  • Split Tunneling
  • Port forwarding
  • DHCP
  • Arguably the finest settings of a VPN connection
  • Extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
  • Unlimited devices simultaneously

But at the same time:

  • Connection issues in some locations
  • No streaming support
  • Few countries available
  • The iOS version is unavailable in some regions
  • No ability to choose a specific server within a location
  • No obfuscation (needed to work in China and in other cases of VPN blocks); no ability to connect through Shadowsocks in Hong Kong
  • Inadequate performance of the Proxy Shadowsocks function

Four important considerations should be emphasized:

1. Port forwarding. It is believed that this function can help increase the torrenting speed thanks to the appearance of there being more seeders and peers. Port forwarding is also indispensable in gaming quite often.3. Weak Netflix support, no support of Hulu and other streaming services.
2. Ability to fine-tune the VPN connection. Several unique settings that are available together only in Private Internet Access allow tuning or turning off encryption, DHCP, data authentication, handshake (including for the DNS), and many other parameters.4. Unstable speeds. During my tests, certain locations would ‘’freeze’’ for several minutes multiple times. Moreover, reconnection occurred frequently.

As I said, PIA has both unique advantages and significant drawbacks. I’ll tell you about every nuance of PIA’s performance on different platforms as well as about the service’s performance in general.

You can also choose a different VPN service that doesn’t have most of the drawbacks of Private Internet Access.

The late 2019 sale of the service

Before I go into the provider’s pros and cons, I’d like to tell you about the details of the deal that took place last November. This event has not only been discussed at length by VPN users but also has affected Kape Technologies, the company that bought PIA.

The first thing I’d like to note is the stir that this event caused. Redditors are upset by Private Internet Access now being managed by Kape. They reckon that it is a serious blow on their privacy and defiantly cancel their subscriptions.

Let’s find out what’s behind it.

Several years ago, back in 2016, it came to the light that an Israeli company Crossrider (which is what Kape Technologies used to be called) spread “malicious” adware. There was a big scandal that led to the company changing its name and a myth arising online about Kape playing dirty.But is it really true?

What is adware? It is a type of software that shows ads on users’ computers in some way. Of course, it is bad. However, it was almost considered the norm very recently. At least, it’s still easy to infect one’s PC with such software by misclicking on popular file shares.

Nevertheless, Kape isn’t involved in these activities anymore and actively develops the business of providing VPN services. Today, it is impossible to run a business the old way. So, the company’s activity doesn’t differ in any way from how other VPNs that haven’t been caught doing any shady business do things.

Another group of users states that privacy policies of the VPN services that belong to Kape imply giving customers’ data away if they commit a crime. They cite the company’s privacy policy to support their claims.

But this is fact rigging. The thing is, those quotes refer not to the user activity on VPN servers but to the data collected when you visit the website of the company and sign up (this data, by the way, is stored by every single VPN). Besides, the crimes mentioned are much more serious than torrenting.

Now I will show you the data about the stock value of Kape Technologies:

Stock value of Kape Technologies

We can remember the past however much we want but the present tells us that the company is moving in the right direction. The investment interest in it has significantly risen since the acquisition of PIA as well as the almost simultaneous doubling of CyberGhost VPN’s infrastructure. Today, it doesn’t care about spreading adware or selling user logs.

So why was PIA sold?

We can only guess. I observe a very sharp increase in competition in the VPN market. More powerful services appear. Take a look at the popularity dynamics of NordVPN according to Google Trends (the red line).

PIA and NordVPN comparison graph

At the same time, we see that the interest in PIA falls despite virtual private networks being in the spotlight in general nowadays. I think that the future of the service without any structural changes was shrouded in mist. We can gather more info about the provider’s difficulties from the fact that it hasn’t started to support the cutting edge WireGuard protocol despite being one of its developers.

Kape pumped almost $50 million into the acquisition of PIA but doesn’t provide any in-depth information about the service’s future. The only thing we know is that its office in the United States will be reorganized. No plans of merging its infrastructure with those of CyberGhost VPN and ZenMate have been voiced yet.

To put it short, I don’t see any reason to cancel one’s PIA subscription. However, we don’t know what the service will look like tomorrow.

Private Internet Access cons

Let’s look into the cons of PIA that I’ve found during the testing. Some of them only appear on a certain platform – so pay attention to when they occur.

1. A kill switch failure on Android

In the last chapter, I mentioned that some PIA users made an emotionally charged decision to unsubscribe from Private Internet Access since it was not a “perfect” VPN anymore.

Now I’m going to bust the myth about PIA being perfect.

At the bare minimum, it has issues on Android and not on an old but on the current version of the OS.

I discovered it by conducting a “real conditions” test with VPN Review Realtime IP Logger. You can see in the picture above the list of IP addresses that are observed when using the PIA app. The Reconnect lines between them signify the moments of changing the access point or switching from Wi-Fi to cellular internet. These are completely real-life conditions that almost any mobile device user can find themselves in.

After the very first reconnect, my real IP address was seen despite the kill switch being on and supposedly protecting my connection in such cases.

Even ExpressVPN which used to have a similar issue has eliminated this vulnerability. At the same time, Private Internet Access, despite being regarded as perfect by its fans, has had this problem since the time it belonged to London Trust Media Inc.

2. Connection stability issues

Sometimes, the Internet connection failed in the Windows app. It only restored itself on its own in 3 to 5 minutes. To make the process faster, I had to turn the VPN off, restart the Wi-Fi connection, and only then turn the VPN on again.

This method also worked when I encountered another problem present on Windows 10: a sudden drop in the internet speed to 1-2 Mbps:

PIA speed drop

It’s possible that it is just a quirk of my system but I’ve never had this issue with other VPN services.

3. No streaming support

I can’t say that it is absolutely 100% impossible to unblock geo-restricted Netflix content for other regions but when I tested it, no server in the United States or Canada managed to do it. Also, using a UK-based IP address, I couldn’t even open the list of movies on Netflix.com.

The only location that worked and allowed me to watch Netflix was AustraliaHowever, PIA cannot be considered one of the best VPN services for Netflix now.

As for the Hulu support, Private Internet Access coped with this task as recently as last autumn.Though CoolTechZone doesn’t test the support of every single streaming service, I checked Reddit posts on this topic. Most reviews were negative. They concerned Netflix and Hulu which I have tested as well as other popular services: Disney Plus and Amazon Prime.

4. Offers locations in only 84 countries; has left India

I was flabbergasted to learn that this really average in terms of the number of supported countries VPN had become one of the best.

Moreover, after its acquisition by Kape Technologies, it left India for reasons unspecified and still doesn’t support that country. Because of government pressure, PIA also left Russia.Now its number of countries is 84. It’s 3 times lower than that of CyberGhost VPN and half as many as the #1 VPN NordVPN has.It’s also not very apparent where all the 30000+ servers of the provider are located because the apps don’t allow you to access each of them individually. You can only choose a country and a location (data center) within it.84 countries are the number expected of an average VPN service. However, PIA hasn’t reached its competitor’s figures on this parameter. It seems like its development agenda is aimed at quality rather than quantity.

5. Doesn’t work in China

Private Internet Access doesn’t support VPN protocols that help bypass the Great Firewall of China. It also doesn’t have the obfuscation feature to mask the use of the well-known OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols.

The only possible way to access the banned websites from China is the use of the Shadowsocks proxy supported by PIA. Theoretically, you can connect to a server in Hong Kong with it and go from it to any other one through a VPN channel. However, at the moment of testing, the Shadowsocks connection (under the Proxy tab) to Hong Kong didn’t work.

Therefore, PIA isn’t one of the best VPNs that work in China.

Private Internet Access pros

You could form an opinion that Private Internet Access is a VPN riddled with issues and suffering from the unlucky period of the ownership change. But it’s not entirely true. Along with the cons I’ve enumerated, it also has some sizable benefits. Using PIA in most cases is a very effective solution for privacy and security with great internet speeds.

I liked that Private Internet Access has a high level of security and privacy with the default settings. Using the Wireshark traffic interceptor, I analyzed packets going from the tested computer into the network and got a very good result.

All the traffic was sent to the VPN channel (shown in blue) and there were no packets going outside of the VPN. There are also no unencrypted website addresses in the traffic.I got the same exact results on Mac as well.

All of this and the fact that Private Internet Access’s DNS servers are combined with its VPN ones tell that the provider is 100% safe.

2. High speeds

Yes, it is its high speeds that spring to mind at once when I’m asked about Private Internet Access. I put this parameter second because the convenience of using VPN technology is largely dependent on it.

A perceptive reader will surely notice that I have listed connection failures and huge speed drops as the provider’s cons.

How do connection failures coexist with the great speed?

First of all, those issues did not occur very frequently during my tests and when they did, they only affected some locations.

Second of all, such failure isn’t hard to eliminate (generally, all it takes is to reconnect to the internet, wait for the auto-connection, or choose a different location) and to continue browsing without noticing the burden encryption and location protection put on speed.

Third of all, these problems are only present on Windows.Thus, there is no discrepancy in the provider’s good speed and the presence of the aforementioned failures.

What is the speed of Private Internet Access?

I took several samples of speed in several countries at different hours. The results are in the table:PIA speed test results

CountryDownload speed, MbpsUpload speed, Mbps

3. Confirmed no-logs policy

The privacy policy of Private Internet Access states:The data controller does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network ("VPN") or Proxy."But everybody claims that!" you may say and you’ll be correct.How can we determine if a provider actually keeps no logs?

  1. Hack a server and take a look. We'll refrain from doing that.
  2. Look for news articles about investigations of the criminal activity conducted with the help of this service.

There aren’t too many VPNs that boast their no-logs policy having been confirmed in a high-profile case but Private Internet Access is one of those that do!

Here are the proofs:

What can I add? This provider doesn’t keep logs and it is a proven fact. Its change of owner is a different matter but too little time has passed since then to arrive at any conclusion. PIA promises to continue to serve the interests of its customers.

4. A lot of useful settings

As a technical expert, I like that PIA allows setting the VPN connection right from the app as no other VPN does.What purpose do VPN settings serve?

  1. There are many cases when the protected connection either doesn’t start at all or starts at the expense of the internet connection failing. Changing the VPN provider doesn’t help. From my experience, I know that this problem is solved by choosing the correct connection parameters, UDP or TCP, changing the DNS, or changing the port.
  2. People often require not to use a VPN for selected apps.
  3. Changing the encryption level and authentication type significantly affects the VPN speed. It can be useful if your internet is slow.

Why are PIA’s settings better than other providers’?Private Internet Access not only allows changing all the mentioned options but also provides expanded settings for advanced users:

  • DHCP
  • Port forwarding (a highly-demanded but rarely implemented function)
  • Handshake in the DNS settings
  • PIA MACE (anti-malicious websites and malware protection)
  • Convenient extra Shadowsocks proxy or classical SOCKS5

I additionally tested the performance of the Shadowsocks proxy because the provider claims that it allows connecting to the proxy first and then to the VPN server. This function does work but I have two remarks to make:

  1. The IP address the device connects to doesn’t always match the displayed country.
  2. could not connect to a proxy in Hong Kong.

Some of Private Internet Access’s options are set by default to emphasize security and privacy. For example, the kill switch, one of the most important features of a modern VPN, is in automatic mode which is the optimal one.Unfortunately, many of these options are only available on Windows. I’ll tell you more about the differences between the PIA version for various platforms in the next section.

5. Supports all the platforms

Private Internet Access offers ready-made software for all the popular platforms and allows setting up any device with VPN support manually.Let’s get a rundown on the peculiarities and differences of all the main OSs and several other platforms.

PIA for Windows

The version for Windows is the fullest one as all the provider’s features and options are present in it. I will use it as a benchmark when judging apps for the other OSs.What characteristics and settings does Private Internet Access have on Windows?

My general impressions of using PIA on Windows are positive. The app affects the internet speed in such a minimal way that its work is barely noticeable. I liked how the choice of locations is realized. Despite there being no interactive world map, it is super easy to select a country from the list. The only thing that caused me a little distress was connectivity issues in some locations.

PIA for Android

Private Internet Access for Android isn’t the best protection tool if you are always on the move. Apart from that, it is a modern and extremely functional VPN app with useful VPN connection settings.Unfortunately, the complicated real-life conditions security test of PIA’s Android app showed that an IP address leak is possible even on the more recent versions of the OS. I have written about it in detail in the Cons of Private Internet Access section of this review.

The Android app has the following advantages and aspects that differentiate it from the version for desktops:

Generally, Private Internet Access for Android is a worthwhile VPN app that allows going beyond simply hiding one’s IP address. However, you have to be cautious while using it if you move from one access point to another or if the connection is unstable.

PIA for Mac

Private Internet Access for Mac has almost the same functionality and benefits as the PC version which is the fullest one. It is also as secure as possible and hides the real IP effectively.

What peculiarities does Private Internet Access have on Mac?

The app for macOS doesn’t have other differences.Since it has a lot of options, greats speeds (up to 150 Mbps), and a high security level, we made PIA the #4 on our best VPN services for Mac list.

PIA for iOS

Private Internet Access for iOS isn’t available in every region. You need to check if it is in yours in the Apple App Store from your iPhone or iPad.The app for this platform supports the IKEv2 protocol. It increases the period the device can work with the VPN on. Its functionality is mediocre but it’s enough to solve most tasks.

What peculiarities does Private Internet Access have on iOS?

Personally, I was satisfied with the number of options for the all-round use on my iPhone. I simply connected to the VPN and did not turn it off until my tests were done. All the functions worked just as they do without the VPN during that time. Messengers, social network apps, and web browsers worked well on every tested location.If you need a VPN primarily for iOS and want an ability to control the device to the fullest extent, use double VPN, watch Netflix, and perform other tasks, my recommendation to you is Surfshark.

PIA for Linux

Incredible but true: PIA for Linux isn’t a command-line app or manual settings (like Linux apps of most VPN services are) but a full-fledged software that has almost no differences from the fullest Windows version.You don’t need to enter any console commands to control it. Using Private Internet Access on Ubuntu Linux doesn’t cause any difficulties or inconveniences. The UI has the same design and layout as the other desktop versions.

What peculiarities does Private Internet Access have on Linux?

The Linux software has passed my security tests (which I conducted by intercepting the traffic):

PIA on Linux

In the screenshot, all the important test results that confirm the security of this app are marked in green. It is the OpenVPN UDP protocol, encrypted traffic, and the match between the IP address shown in the app window and the IP address of the VPN channel.

I enjoyed using PIA on Ubuntu and now, I think, it’s my favorite VPN for this system.

PIA for Chrome

Private Internet Access for Chrome is one of the most functional and efficient extensions that allow accessing websites privately. PIA offers the same software for Firefox and Opera, too.It’s hard to find a proxy extension with a bigger functionality:

PIA Chrome settings

What peculiarities does Private Internet Access for Chrome have?

  • Camera and mic access control
  • Credit card and address autofill block
  • Flash and other vulnerable components block
  • Protection from malicious websites (PIA MACE) and much more

I’d also like to mention the ability to add URLs that should be used without hiding the IP address, which is a unique feature:

PIA bypass rules

The only drawback PIA for web browsers has is that it only hides their traffic. To protect the system functions and other apps, you have to install a full-fledged VPN app for the OS you use.

PIA for TV platforms and other devices

Private Internet Access also supports any platform that allows manually setting a VPN up:

  • Gaming consoles
  • Routers
  • Other devices with VPN support

The only exceptions are Android TV and Kodi based on that platform. Those apps can be used with the Android software.There are detailed manuals on how to set routers, Firestick, and other devices up on the PIA website.

6. Effective torrenting protection. Port forwarding

Private Internet Access allows torrenting. Besides, it has the rare Port forwarding function that allows you to connect to more seeds thanks to bypassing the NAT.

You don’t need port forwarding in most cases. However, if your network is configured in a way that you don’t see seeds and peers when you launch your torrent client, a regular VPN won’t help you. PIA allows you to activate this feature and informs you about what port you should enter in the torrent client.

For example, qBittorrent and uTorrent have the field you can enter the port into in their settings:

PIA port forwarding

Apart from that, Private Internet Access assures safe torrenting thanks to its always-on by default kill switch on every platform but Android.


PIA for Android has issues with the kill switch. It makes torrenting while moving between different access points or if the connection is poor unsafe.

Plans and pricing

Private Internet Access is a cheap VPN service when you buy it for 1 month. The 1-year subscription has an average price.This provider has a refund within 30 days (like other VPNs’ 30 to 45 days). What is really convenient, however, is the selection of payment methods:

PIA payment methods

Many providers accept cryptocurrencies nowadays but very few of them support anonymous ones. Private Internet Access accepts Zcash, the technology of which allows the payer to be 100% anonymous.What peculiarities do the tariffs have?

  • 30-day refund is guaranteed
  • No extra service require a surcharge
  • Credit cards, PayPal, 6 cryptocurrencies, BEAM, Amazon Pay, and Mint are accepted
  • Buying through this link lowers the price by 15%
  • There are 3 subscription terms with different prices (the discount included):
    • $11.95 for 1 month
    • $3.33 per month with the 1-year subscription
    • $2.03 per month with the 2-years subscription
  • The prices are listed in US dollars and don't change if you pay from euro region or other areas

Is there a possibility to save money by using a coupon?

No, PIA doesn’t offer coupons for extra discounts or sales. Any coupon you may find on the Internet is just a marketing ploy by a website owner. The same prices mentioned above are offered as coupons.

Information about the company owner

I have told you all the details of the service’s acquisition by the international company Kape Technologies in November 2019.

What does this company do?

The activities of Kape Technologies are based on the idea of creating a global structure that would ensure security and privacy on the Internet.

As of this day, the company owns three VPN services:

It has offices in 8 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom (the head office), and Israel where the company had been founded.

Company address:

37-41 Mortimer Street
Swan court
London, England W1T 3JH, GB

Website: kape.com

Website of PIA: https://privateinternetaccess.com


So, for which purposes should you use Private Internet Access and for which you shouldn’t?

My personal opinion based on many tests of Private Internet Access:

This provider offers high-quality services. Its speed is higher than average but I don’t use it as my primary VPN because it doesn’t have servers in some large countries. Besides, it doesn’t allow me to spend my free time with it because it can’t access popular entertainment content blocked in my region.

Leave your comments and ask your question about Private Internet Access below. My colleagues and I will be happy to answer!


Searching 4 new one
prefix 3 years ago
I have been with PIA at least for the last 7 years. Time to move on. I didn't know the Company was bought out by Kape a malware marketing company. Around Oct. 12th I was getting more Security Alert Messages from Google which was nothing new to me using a VPN Ignored them. However, I started getting browser pop-ups asking me if I was a member of the EAU. It happened 3 times each time I said no. Then suddenly my web pages showed up from Yahoo security email notice Czech Republic Signed into Ebay Same thing most all the items don't ship to Czech. I ran a full virus scan nothing was found. However after that I was getting notices in Google device security said United Kingdom. Google news was showing Wales & UK. I never changed any vpn setting other than what was the closest to me. After doing so searches I found the article on Redit about how shady Kape was. I tried everything to clean up what it was. The only thing was PIA. My question is why would they do it without notifying me. I did a defender scan & that seemed to fix it. I had to change many account passwords. No I no longer trust PIA & that makes me sad.

PIA was apparenty 32 mil in debt & sold out to Kape. Kape was formerly named Crossrider and has a history or producing malware and adware. PIA, Kape, and Crossrider.
prefix 4 years ago
I started using PIA VPN several years ago. Since that time I have never changed the provider. I remember when I

well. Besides, you can use the VPN for 5 devices. Your family members will be protected as visited their official website for the first time the picture of the family seemed too weird to me. However, because of a lot of positive PIA reviews on various websites, especially Reddit, I decided to subscribe and try it.

Now it works wonderfully! PIA speed is perfect and allows me to use the VPN for downloading torrent files, watching streaming services, and even playing video games.

Both apps for Android and PC runs well. I definitely recommend this VPN for all netizens who care about hiding their IP addresses.
prefix 4 years ago
Dean, I like reading your articles. Thanks for this one.
Laura M.
prefix 4 years ago
Awesome review, man! I like the way you work: first try the app firsthand, many tests and only after it you bring the material to the table. And also I see that this review (unlike many I’ve read on other sites) is honest. These days, there are very few sites that write true reviews because positive reviews help services to sell their goods. So thanks a lot for your work!

And here’s what made me think this review s honest. I’ve tried PIA myself. And I cannot argue with any point you say. Its user-friendly interface made me fall in love with this app immediately. Besides, the price for anonymity is rather moderate. But what I like most of all is Private Internet Access speeds. Whatever PIA server I use, the speed is fast enough to stream, download or chat through video conference. I don’t deny the fact that the speed drops (by about 30-50%), but some VPNs have even worse results. So I’m satisfied with Private Internet Access, its speed, servers and app in general.
Cousin Nick
prefix 4 years ago
So I’ve been looking for a vpn to switch from the one I used (too expensive) and read a few PIA reviews and it seemed like a good enough choice. But now I hear it was acquired by/merged with Cyberghost? I’m a bit confused. What does it mean for both vpns? Is it a bad sign and should I wait for more reviews or is it safe to get Private internet access now?

Dean Chester
prefix 4 years ago
Nick, I also follow the events and am going to update the review once any changes in how PIA operates emerge. All we know right now is that Kape is going to rename itself to Private Internet Access.

prefix 4 years ago
Hi there) Good job you are doing with all those VPN reviews. Thank you for that. I would like to make a point about PIA. I’ve been using the client for more than 1 year… I realize that there are lots of other VPNs with better speed and a wider range of locations, there are a lot of private internet access complains on Reddit, as well but… at this price, it is a gift. Yes, it is nothing impressive – just a mediocre cheap VPN, at least you did not feel like you were cheated as the price is beyond reasonable. I have never had a problem with pia from the very beginning but my friend who paid for the subscription to test the service did not claim his money back as no response from their support for 14 days. The “7-day money-back guarantee” period had expired by this time. I personally have never addressed the support team but this case occurred with a friend of mine and actually this disappointed me a lot because it was me who advised him the provider.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked