Private Internet Access VPN is a core area of network security, which is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and many people are ready to go the extra mile for a better sense of security.
However, a lot of them view the whole matter as a luxury they cannot afford, and at the same time knowing your precious data can be located on the World Wide Web, doesn’t really inspire reassurance.
Luckily there is an ideal answer for this issue, a way to freely browse the web without concerns about data theft, and it’s a solution that won’t desolate your wallet. This is why we really recommend private internet access VPN.
Private Internet Access VPN is quite affordable and one of the safest ways to browse the web, making a top security tool in your arsenal. It’s a solution that falls short in the user-friendly interface department, so you might need some time to get used to it, or find someone to show you the ropes, but if security is your top priority, you can’t go wrong with Private Internet Access VPN.
How does private Internet Access VPN work?
Let’s kick things off by looking at how VPN can help you, and exploring some basic principles behind it. When you have a regular internet connection, your IP address is assigned by your Internet provider. So, you are connected to the server of your internet provider, which has a close proximity to your geographical location.
In other words, when someone has your IP address he can use it to find out your geographical location by tracking it back to the server. With a virtual private network however, you can override this IP address that was given to you by your internet provider, and use one of the many other servers from the VPN. In addition to security, this has even more practical uses.
For example if you are in a foreign country like China, where you can’t use Facebook or if you are in Germany where a lot of YouTube videos are blocked, then this IP override will come in handy. Since these features are banned only on local servers, and you use a different one, from your private VPN pool, this type of content will be automatically available to you.
As far as security goes, your private internet access VPN encrypts all online traffic, thus making sure no third party can neither observe what you are browsing nor track down your location, when using an open wireless network. So, when you are accessing Wi-Fi in a restaurant or a coffee shop, you can switch to your private internet access VPN and stay hidden. It’s worth mentioning that data is protected in transit only, so if a particular website you are visiting is not using HTTPS, the connection won’t be encrypted and someone can intercept and locate the point of data using sophisticated timing algorithms.
So, private internet access VPN servers can successfully prevent any average hacker from attacking your data while using open Wi-Fi source, but if someone launches an advanced algorithm, you might need some firewalls in addition to Private Internet Access VPN protection.
You might think these sound like concerns of a paranoid person or someone who is obsessed with conspiracy theories. But you’d be surprised just how easily your Facebook, Twitter, or any other account can be stolen. There is a tool called FaceNiff and a person does not even need to be a hacker in order to use it.
FaceNiff only needs a phone and someone to turn the app on in a place with public Wi-Fi. All of the Twitter and Facebook accounts that are using the same public Wifi network as FaceNiff, are delivered to the user in a matter of minutes. So, if you want to avoid some prankster writing all kinds of embarrassing status posts on your wall, you should use VPN and become untraceable.
Tor vs. Proxy vs. VPN
These are just some terms that are commonly mixed up, so let’s take a little time to explain what is what.
It stands for “The Onion Router” and it is a decentralized system that allows the user to achieve an online connection through the various relays, instead of going for a direct connection.
This means that your IP address bounces from one random server to another, making it impossible to track down.
However, covering your tracks causes your browsing speed to drop, also if the requested site does not use secure sockets layer (SSL) the last relay in the chain can be exposed.
Virtual Private Network is a safe way to establish an internet connection, since you are connected through a different server. Your computer makes an encrypted virtual tunnel that connects you to the server, so that all of your browsing appears to go through that particular server, regardless of your location. It’s an untraceable way of browsing that bypasses geo-blocking.
It’s important to choose VPN provider that won’t keep track of your logs, so that even the provider doesn’t know which sites you visit (internet providers can always know this and they’ll have access to your browsing history, if you are not using a VPN).
Moreover, it’s essential for VPN services to have adequate load balancing, as well as server randomization – this way you will always be connected to a different VPN server.
Similar to VPN, it directs your traffic via different computer, so that the data on your HD or SSD is protected. There are public and there are private proxy servers; however, private servers are usually more reliable, which is why you have to pay for their services.
The level of security provided by proxy is the same as an SSL website, but proxy is not designed to provide security for all your internet traffic – it is mostly limited to your internet browser. Also you must configure proxy for each tool or application separately, and some apps may even fail to support proxies.
Private Internet Access VPN Features and Expenses
Let’s talk about packages and prices that Private Internet Access VPN has to offer. There are three billing options:
- Monthly package that costs $6.95 and you get services for a whole month
- 6 month package that costs $35.9, which means that one month costs you $5.99.
- Yearly package that costs $39.95 and gives you the best monthly price of only $3.33
Basically, if you only want to try out the services, you can go with a monthly package, and if you want the best value for your cash then the annual package is a way to go. All of the packages provide users with identical options, so there are no restrictions for lower-paying customers.
Once you get your private internet access VPN you will be entitled to five licenses that you can use on Windows, OS X, iOS, Linux and Android devices.
Moreover, you can get a router with pre-installed Private Internet Access VPN software, meaning that you can use one license to protect every device you use for internet access in your home.
The people at PIA have provided video tutorials on how to install their VPN on these operating systems and how to reset the password. They have also provided users with written guides that they can download, should they have any concerns. If by any chance you are still unable to setup the system, worry not – they have available customer support that will help you out.
When it comes to private internet access VPN router options, they have some of the best in stock, like Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router (R8000) and Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1900 (WRT1900AC).
By purchasing a subscription to this VPN, you’ll get access to 3,339 different private internet access servers that are spread over 25 countries. So, as far as geographical diversity goes, private internet access VPN is unrivaled in this department. It doesn’t offer any servers in Africa though (almost no VPN provider does), but you’ll have access to servers in Europe Asia, India Russia, Central America, South America, the U.K as well as U.S.
As far as, other VPN providers are concerned most of them only offer handful of available servers in other countries, which is why VPN PIA really comes off as champion in this department. Furthermore, there is no reason to be concerned about private internet access speed, since the VPN operates with unlimited bandwidth.
In protocol department Private Internet Access supports the following: PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec, plus users will have access to a private DNS server. The private DNS server is yet another feature that boosts protection levels, because hackers can normally view your web traffic by using DNS requests. You also have private internet access proxy feature called SOCKS5, which means there is no log of your movements, making you incredibly hard to track.
VPN PIA also made sure there are no loose ends, and that you are protected on all fronts, by introducing the Kill Switch feature. Kill Switch immediately shuts down any application if, by any chance, the VPN is suddenly disconnected. Since all of the connections are instantly cut off, your information cannot be transmitted.
Other providers have this feature as well, but they require you to select an application that will add it. In short, this is a failsafe mechanism for those who need a high level of security.
PIA accepts various payment methods, and they are also very versatile in this department. They accept payments via Bitcoin, CashU, Amazon, Google Wallet, PayPal, OK Pay, as well as Ripple accounts. It also goes without saying that you can pay for these services using a credit card.
In case you want to cover your purchase tracks, so that no one will know that you are using these services, they accept gift cards from over 90 retailers like Bloomingdales and Starbucks.
Of course, just in case you are dissatisfied with the services you are provided, you can always cancel them – there is a large “Cancel” button that’s basically impossible to miss. If you cancel during the first week you get your money back.
The only downside to the whole arrangement is that Private Internet Access does not offer any free trial periods, but perhaps the option will become available in future.
Much like other providers PIA implements OpenVPN SSL technology in order to form its encrypted tunnels. You can install this VPN instantly by downloading a manual on how to setup a PPTP connection. You can also use instructions for downloading OpenVPN configuration. All things considered, it’s not something difficult to navigate and you can easily find your way around this issue.
How to use Private Internet Access VPN Service?
Once you install PIA, you’ll receive login credentials inside the purchases confirmation mail. It may seem confusing, but it is done this way for the extra layer of anonymity and security. In the event that you want an even more secure transaction, you should use a disposable email to receive your login credentials.
When you open up the interface, you’ll see that the information provided there is extremely scarce, and almost non-existent. The login window also acts as a settings page, due to the encryption type, and you use it to connect to a private internet access proxy. The moment you connect to a private internet access server the systray icon will glow green, and when you are disconnected it will switch to red. The icon will have a gray color as long as the software is trying to establish a connection with the server.
Since the icon is the only indicator of connection status, there is no error message, or any other form of feedback that clearly points out the problem. In other words, you need to monitor the icon to check your status. Additionally, you do not have an information about the IP address you are assigned to, which is a good additional layer of security.
If you are novice user, this absence of details and oversimplified interface may seem frustrating. As far as experienced users are concerned, a VPN that doesn’t stand in the way and waste resources on continuous fancy graphic feedback is an amazing selling point. It’ all depends on what kind of user you are – if you are after a VPN with a traditional interface and do not need such a high level of security then you are not the type of consumer Private Internet Access is after, but most people prefer to be as secure as possible.
Private Internet Access VPN Speed Test
Even though PIA offers unlimited bandwidth, any VPN you use will hinder web browsing speed, you’ll just have to make peace with that fact. All you can do is go for a provider that has this hindrance reduced to a minimum. PIA speed was tested using spreedof.com and speedtest.net in order to ascertain the level of hindrance that web browsing is strained with. The difference between the two is that Speedtest.net allows you to select a server’s location and Speedof.me does not.
Speedtest.net revealed that Private Internet Access latency is increased by 290 percent. Private Internet Access download speed was also reduced by 23.6 percent and its upload speed was cut down by as much as 50.9 percent.
Speedof.me showed that Private Internet Access had increased latency by 1.023 percent, however this is not uncommon for this type of test. Speedof.me also showed far less reduction in Private Internet Access download and upload speed, only 7.2 percent for download and 4.7 percent for upload.
Even though these results seem a bit shocking, it’s important to know that parameters like latency are measured in milliseconds. In other words these results are not set in stone, and they can be a far cry from accurate, what’s more important is your personal user experience. User impressions were quite positive, in fact, YouTube videos with 720p were loaded without any halt, and VPN connection successfully loaded 4K videos, although 4K video playback wasn’t as fluent as expected. However, only a few other VPN providers managed to outperform PIA in this area, so it can’t be said it performed below average in this department.
It’s also worth mentioning that you can’t watch Netflix shows and videos via this or any other VPN as well. Netflix requires you to shut down proxy in order to gain access, because it wants to prevent users from overstepping the regional limitation of usage. Since you can use different IPs to go above the set limit, most online streaming services ban VPN in order to adhere to the law.
Who should use VPN?
It’s common for people to think of security as anti-virus programs, because viruses, ransomware and Trojans are treats we most commonly face. Nowadays however, network attacks are on a constant rise, and there are hackers who just can’t wait to get a hold of your private information. So, it’s quite obvious that VPNs in general are going to become more essential tools.
PIA offers budget-friendly packages and security that is on an admirable level, so it’s a VPN that definitely meets everyone’s demands. Of course, if you haven’t used VPN so far, it may be a good idea to opt for a provider that has a bit more of user-friendly interface, but if you have delicate data on your device, then PIA is a must.
People who participate in collaborative work online should be the primary users of VPN services. Even if the project is only in its initial phase it’s important to keep your ideas safe. Even doing research online can be an indicator of what you are up to, so by using VPN you become untraceable and your data mining process will remain hidden. An important thing to mention is that you should read your VPN provider’s policy, and make sure that it is explicitly stated that the VPN provider won’t keep track of your log. Private Internet Access is a safe option because they definitely keep your log clean.
People who want to maintain their reputation, or who are minor celebrities should also switch to this method of browsing. Hackers who trace them usually want to find something embarrassing or simply to wait to see which websites they visit. Therefore, in order to avoid negative rumors and gossip you should connect to the internet using a VPN service.
Moreover, people who travel a lot and need to stay in touch and participate in collaborative work, can also benefit greatly from VPN. As mentioned, geo blocking can present an issue from time to time, so with Private Internet Access you can bypass this obstacle.
With the arrival of the internet many positive things become possible. People could connect more easily, knowledge could be shared and it ushered us into the age of information. Unfortunately when you pray for the rain you have to deal with the mud as well. In our attempt to make sharing more convenient we became vulnerable and a whole new set of entry points came to existence, so our private information is exposed. Now this private data can be accessed by a simple click of a button, and even our internet providers can see what we are doing any time they want.
In order to boost security, people equipped their PCs with more firewalls than the devil’s bedroom which only slowed them down. Now there is a more sophisticated and safe way to browse the web, without fear of attackers and data theft. By using private internet access VPN services you can be almost impossible to track, and you’ll be able to access any website and any content regardless of your location. Finally, you can browse the internet and enjoy all the perks without worrying about cyber attacks, as it was originally intended.