Server count is one of the first things you will see VPN providers talking about. If it’s not in the header, it is certainly mentioned somewhere on the Home page. While it’s hard to argue with the sheer force of thousands of servers (which make it harder to geo-block services like Netflix or censor content in countries like China), sometimes it’s the quality and actual server location that matters most. That’s why we’re here to give you our insights into the Private Internet Access server list, which will hopefully help you decide if this VPN suits your needs.
What is great about the Private Internet Access servers is that they are all dedicated, meaning they are not shared with any other service. This boosts security and performance. Not many VPN providers make this claim because virtual and cloud-based hosting is cheaper and can easily increase the total number of servers.
How big is the Private Internet Access server list?
The official Private Internet Access (or PIA, in short) server list has 3300+ VPN and proxy servers in 69 locations across 46 countries. This number is one of the highest on the market. Apart from the NordVPN, which has more than 5000, only CyberGhost boasts bigger numbers.
But as we’ve mentioned, plain server numbers do not always tell the whole story. For example, Astrill VPN has only a few hundred servers, but a significant portion of them is in Asia, making it the perfect VPN for this region. Another highly-rated service, Ivacy VPN, also has less than 2000 but manages to stay on “Best of” lists because its servers are spread out over a wider area. PrivateVPN only has 150 servers, but they are in 60 different countries, which is almost two times more than PIA has.
So while the total number of PIA VPN servers is impressive, their location and country count leave one wondering whether the service is good across the whole globe.
The spread of the Private Internet Access server list
Even if you have thousands of servers and hundreds of locations covered, it doesn’t matter if everything is concentrated on one continent, leaving other regions to suffer slower connections. PIA VPN has servers in 46 countries, while most of the top players operate in 60+. This and the lack of a world map on PIA’s website may already give you the idea that the service is not evenly spread.
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of the Private Internet Access server list resides in the Americas and Europe. The percentage itself is more in line with NordVPN than Astrill VPN (which is known for its spread in Asia). In contrast, PIA has only 2% of their servers in Asia. What is more, it doesn’t have the Philippines on their list of countries, which is usually the cheapest place for MMA lovers in Asia to buy the UFC Pay-per-view, for example.
PIA’s presence in the Middle East, Africa, and India region is even worse, only slightly exceeding 1% of the total. Again, this doesn’t necessarily translate into better speeds when using PIA. As a matter of fact, it almost certainly doesn’t.
As for the Pacific and Oceania regions, 4% is a pretty good figure. In total there are 140+ servers, more than in any other place not named North America or Europe.
To conclude, Private Internet Access server list is made to accommodate the needs of the Americas, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The Middle East, Africa, and India are also well-represented compared to competitors. Asia is the one big region that clearly lacks PIA’s attention.
We must also warn that while more than 90% of Private Internet Access VPN’s servers are in Europe and the Americas, South America is heavily under-represented. PIA admits there are only 4 servers in Brazil and Argentina for the whole continent, all crammed in two locations.
Private Internet Access server speed
Having in mind the low number of locations, one should not expect good speeds from PIA outside North America or Europe. Here the speed should be fast enough to not complain about. Otherwise, PIA wouldn’t have become a household name when the talk at the dinner table turns to VPNs. Yet again, a horde of users tends to overcrowd the servers, making them slower than they could and should be.
Our speed tests for the PIA review (302 Mbps baseline download speed) have shown a speed drop-off of around 54% when connected to a PIA server in Europe (approx. 140 Mbps). In the US, the drop-off reached 59%, translating in 125 Mbps. Australia responded with the drop-off of 94%, or 19 Mbps.
So while the total number of servers should be able to provide decent speeds across the globe, its the number of countries and servers that force PIA to shoot itself into its foot.
Private Internet Access servers and streaming
Just like with the above mentioned regular speed tests, PIA is good for streaming if you’re in North America or Europe. In our Netflix test, we were able to unblock the US library. The speeds dropped significantly when we connected to the other side of the world, which means you also won’t always be able to stream HD or UHD content using PIA. The best thing before deciding to buy is checking the speed with Netflix’s own fast.com test. This should give you an idea what you can expect from the Private Internet Access server list.
Read more: Private Internet Access for Kodi
Private Internet Access servers and torrenting
Europeans and North Americans already know that torrenting with PIA is possible. Due to the speed drop, others usually stick with other options, one of which is to use no VPN at all. While we do not recommend torrenting in general, doing it without a VPN is a risk you must think through.
As for keeping yourself safe with PIA when torrenting, their no-logs policy should let you sleep well at night unless you allowed port forwarding and turned off DNS and IPv6 leak protection. While we understand that port forwarding can give you better downloading speeds and enable others to download from you, if you care about your privacy and anonymity, protection from leaks should be turned on at all times.