Founded in 2009, Private Internet Access is a well-established and trusted VPN provider known for its in-depth apps and extra functionality. Acquired in 2019 by Kape (also owner of competitors ExpressVPN, CyberGhost and ZenMate), PIA is known for its huge network offering. While it hasn’t disclosed the exact number, it’s certainly at 10,000, if not over the 35,000 mark – more than any other VPN we’ve tested offers.
It has also recently upped its server spread from 83 to 84 countries, and in the grand scheme that’s a good variety of locations to choose from.
Servers and Server Locations
The availability of numerous server locations gives you more choices for spoofing your location and increases the chances of finding a server near wherever you are. Private Internet Access VPN has a good mix of locations, with servers in 84 countries. That’s well above average, coming close to rivaling ExpressVPN’s stellar collection of 94 countries. Especially notable is that Private Internet Access VPN boasts multiple server locations in Africa and South America, two regions frequently ignored by other VPN services.
The company recently announced it now has servers in all 50 US states. That’s handy for locals, who may not want their traffic bounced to the other side of the country simply because they’ve switched on a VPN.
We’ve long maintained that the total number of servers doesn’t tell you much about the overall quality of a VPN service. Companies will only maintain a sensible number of servers to meet its customers’ needs, and will spin new servers up and down as needed. Private Internet Access VPN declined to specify how large its server fleet is, but did confirm to us that it operates over 500 servers. The company did note that it has been upgrading its server fleet to 10Gbps servers.
Streaming — Unblocks 25+ Top Streaming Platforms Including US Netflix and Disney+
Private Internet Access is good at unblocking streaming platforms. I was able to unblock US Netflix and libraries from 16 other countries. HBO Max and ESPN+ were a bit tougher, but I managed to access them with some simple troubleshooting. The only platforms I tested that didn’t work were Sky Go and DAZN. Plus, its fast speeds let me stream in 4K.
I tested 25+ servers and accessed the following platforms:
Speed performance: how fast is PIA?
Right off the bat – Private Internet Access is not the fastest VPN out there. If you want blazing fast speed, this provider might not always fulfill your needs to the max. Despite its high server count, it’s not always able to deliver speeds that are as good as the ones of NordVPN or Surfshark. To get the optimal experience with PIA, you’ll often have to pick the closest server to you. This again is unfortunate if you want to access, for example, streaming libraries from farther countries.
Despite this, the WireGuard protocol (which is regarded as the fastest protocol on the market right now) showed decent performance. The average drop in download speed over the five locations was 56%. WireGuard also retained 54% of the original upload speed on average, which is a little bit more than the download.