What we like: Even though PIA is among the cheapest services around, they are one of the top players in the market. Very fast servers, every important encryption protocol supported so that almost any device available is compatible from computer to iPad, and an absolute no-logging policy making it virtually impossible for them to leak your identity to any third-party are among the top features.
Their software is a bit simplistic but really easy to use and gets the job done, with automation and “set it, and forget it” and all. Particularly interesting is the Internet Kill Switch, completely blocking access to the Internet in case the connection breaks off during use, which is extremely handy if you like to download torrents or similar. This eliminates the rare possibility of your identity getting exposed, and although it works a bit more crudely than the corresponding feature in the HideMyAss software, once again, it gets the job done just fine.
About support: E-mail and forums are available in case you have any problems, as well as a very comprehensive FAQ, tutorial and troubleshooting page. We had a little problem caused by the Internet Kill Switch and within a few hours we received an answer with a detailed and easy-to-follow guide on how to fix everything. They definitely really know what they’re doing over there!
What we don’t like: As said above the software, although capable of everything needed for a great experience and fast setup, is more simplistic than the HideMyAss client, so in case you fancy having all kinds of cool features (that no one really ever uses, but still… cool!) you might want to look elsewhere. Their Internet Kill Switch is a bit buggy and caused a very annoying problem once, breaking our Internet connection even after closing and reinstalling the software, but support helped us out of this mess pretty quickly.
If you like downloading from file hosters, you might in rare cases have the problem of another user trying to download with the same IP as you. As always, shared IPs (several users being connected through the same IP at the same time) gives you strong security but might have slight disadvantages… we never experienced any problems though.
Pricing: $3.33 per month for the yearly plan. Really, can’t beat that, it’s less than what you spend on fast food in a week.
Summary: Dirt cheap, great service, and it is absolutely possible to automate everything if you like a total hands-off approach. Read below for our guide on how to perfectly setup the whole thing, and you might have found the near-perfect solution for you. Awesome for anyone on a tight budget. If you want simplicity, great quality and one of the strongest anonymity and privacy policies around, PIA is the natural choice.
If you want to use PIA for secure file sharing, we compiled a guide on how to do this: