Protect Online Privacy By Using Private Internet Access VPN : A Brief Review

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can enhance privacy and also help in improving anonymity. With everything being online, it is a good idea to browse the Internet anonymously.

A VPN does this by making an encrypted tunnel due to which traffic can’t be snooped upon.

A paid VPN service is better than free one because there are a lot more choices of locations available to connect from, hide your IP address, the speeds are fast, the transfers are unmetered and there is professional support available if needed.

Private Internet Access (PIA) is an old and popular VPN service which has all of the above and it doesn’t even keep any traffic logs for scrutiny.

Note : As a subscriber to PIA VPN and having been using it across different PCs and Android devices, I would recommend it for privacy and ease of use. Hence the affiliate links.

How to buy PIA subscription:

The payment can be made even by Bitcoins or through major brand gift cards. The monthly plans is reasonable but yearly and 2-yearly options work out to be a lot cheaper.

PIA VPN pricing plans

There is also a 7 day money back guarantee.

Some features of PIA :

  • Instant activation
  • Over 3000 servers in 28 countries
  • Professional support
  • No traffic logs
  • Premium servers for always fast speeds for all the supported locations
  • Supports OpenVPN, PPTP & IPSEC/L2TP

The other advantage is that PIA supports upto 5 devices simultaneously. That means it can be used on a PC, a phone, a tablet and more all at the same time thereby improving anonymity everywhere.

How to use it : Once a subscription is purchased, an email with the account details will be generated.

PIA VPN account login details after purchase

Now, download the PIA installer depending on the type of platform from here.

On Windows:

Downloading and installing it on Windows is simple. Just run and install the setup, then launch the program.

PIA VPN Windows program

Enter the credentials that were provided in the email.  Once logged in, right clicking on the PIA icon will bring up a list of various locations which can be used to connect from. There are more than 3000 servers in 28 different countries so many choices are available.

list of different locations for VPN servers

If there is no preference, simply choose Auto. These location specific options come in handy when trying to test websites or to check for any local information.

PIA settings can be accessed from Settings tab.

accessing PIA VPN settings

It is a good idea to enable DNS leak protection feature (which basically means switching your DNS server to that of the VPN provider to avoid leaking ISP’s DNS details). Other options include using a VPN kill switch which will automatically disable Internet connection if the connection is lost. This is useful in preventing your original IP from being exposed should the connection drop.

changing different settings in PIA VPN

 PIA MACE is for blocking pesky ad trackers as well as other intrusive scripts. If for any reason, websites open a lot slower after connecting, a complaint too can be logged.

All of these settings can only be changed when the VPN isn’t connected.

Also, if there is a connectivity problem after the connection is closed, exit the PIA VPN program from system tray completely. This is applicable for both Windows and Linux.

On Linux:

Download and run the installer from here. Extract it and run the installation script.

extract PIA VPN installer in Linux

Let the installation complete.

 

Once installed, launch PIA VPN and enter the credentials.

using PIA VPN in Linux

It will be a similar interface as that in Windows. Also, to check directly if the public IP address is now changed after connecting, use this simple shell script to display it.

On Android:

Download  and install the Android PIA VPN app and open it.

PIA VPN Android app

The interface is simple, choose the location if needed and connect.

connecting to PIA VPN Android app

There will be a key icon visible at top of screen when the connection is active.

PIA VPN Android app connection active

To end the VPN connection, tap Disconnect. (If kill switch is enabled even after disconnecting, turn it off to again browse normally).

Other stuff to note :

After the VPN connection is active, it can be a good idea to test if the connection is truly anonymized.

Go to ipleak.net and run the tests. Should everything be ok, all the details including IP address, location and DNS server details would be those of PIA VPN and not of the original ISP.

Try again after turning off VPN and compare the results with before.

Overall, this is a reliable and easy to use VPN service which offers a lot of choices for improving privacy.

Do try it out.

  1. juli says:

    PIA servers in the west coast of USA generally suffer from not only inconsistent but dismal speeds. In the PIA forums, people are complaining.if they don”t get their post removed. Generally speaking, “out of the box performance is pitiful with PIA if you are located in the west coast of the USA and are trying to connect to any server. PIA runs many promotions and has a very loyal-fan base due to it”s low cost. The typical PIA user is not too concerned about speed or they use other apps or protocols not available in the native PIA client. Their users often download or upload P2P before they go to bed at night. Usually by morning, the download is completed. Their clientele is mainly focus is not receiving an ISP Copyright infringement letter. And for the time being, PIA is not compromising the identity of their users. Given this latest log issue, it”ll be interesting to see what happens and if they too will be implicated like PureVPN which it too has a heavy fan-base.

  2. ludo king says:

    Thanks for sharing the informative information through the article. and all the details are awesome and good in this post.

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