FIX: Private Internet Access not working

  • Private Internet Access is one of the most popular VPN services in the world. But some users have trouble getting it to work.
  • If PIA isn't working or connecting, it could be due to your Internet connection, computer, or the application itself.
  • Make sure to always keep PIA updated to the latest version. You can change DNS servers and VPN connection preferences easily.
  • Discover more workarounds in our intuitive troubleshooting guide below.

Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the most popular VPNs on the Internet, thanks to fast servers, great security features, support for multiple platforms, and the fact that it’s so easy to use.

However, Private Internet Access is not always working the way it should. Here’s what one Reddit user said:

PIA might be the VPN service with the most active community on its subreddit and official forum. But if you can’t get any answers there, we’re here to help.

Why is my Private Internet Access not working?

If you’re having issues with your Internet connection, it will affect any VPN installed on your computer. For example, if your Wi-Fi is too slow, your VPN service might fail to establish a secure tunnel since encryption uses more Internet bandwidth than normal.

On the other hand, your computer network settings could also be the reason why PIA doesn’t work properly. It means troubleshooting your device and restoring it to factory options.

Thirdly, the default configuration of Private Internet Access might not be ideal for your computer or Internet connection. It means that you should tinker with the app to optimize settings.

1. Update the app to the latest version

It’s essential to keep PIA updates to the newest edition, in order to take advantage of new features, improvements, and bug fixes.

If you installed Private Internet Access a long time ago and haven’t used it since, it could be the reason why it’s not working properly anymore.

The desktop app automatically prompts you for pending updates, so all you have to do it accept them and go through the installation process of the latest PIA version.

On the other hand, we don’t recommend joining the beta development stage. Although it allows you to test cutting-edge technology used by the VPN service provider, it doesn’t guarantee that Private Internet Access works correctly.

A preview of Private Internet Access showing the Beta Updates option in the Help menu

Go to Settings > Help and make sure the Receive Beta Updates option is deselected.

2. Change PIA connection preferences

Private Internet Access has an entire menu dedicated to connection preferences, where you can change the VPN protocol, encryption mode, IP configuration method, and other properties.

Try the following settings one by one and check if PIA works well, instead of changing everything at the same time:

  1. Set OpenVPN to UDPA preview of how Private Internet Access highlights the OpenVPN protocol over UDP
  2. Enable Use Small Packets for OpenVPNA preview of how Private Internet Access highlights the OpenVPN protocol with small packets
  3. Enable Try Alternate SettingsA preview of how Private Internet shows how to use alternate settings for the OpenVPN protocol
  4. Set the Data Encryption mode to AES-128 (CBC)A preview of how Private Internet Access highlights the OpenVPN protocol with AES-128 CBC encryption
  5. Set the Remote Port to 8080. If that doesn’t work either, also try 853, 123, and 53A preview of how Private Internet Access shows how to use the OpenVPN protocol with a remote port
  6. Switch to WireGuardA preview of how Private Internet Access highlights the WireGuard protocol
  7. Enable Use Small Packets for WireGuardA preview of how Private Internet Access shows how to use the WireGuard protocol with small packets

3. Disable any proxy servers

PIA has built-in support for Shadowsocks and SOCKS5 proxy servers. If you accidentally left any of them enabled with incorrect settings, it could be the reason why Private Internet Access is not connecting to the Internet. Here’s how to turn it off:

A preview of how Private Internet Access highlights the Proxy section

  1. Go to settings
  2. Select the Proxy section
  3. Set Proxy to None

4. Set up custom DNS

If you’re trying to unblock a particular website with Private Internet Access but fail, it could be because certain websites block the DNS servers used by popular VPN services.

The solution is to switch to a custom DNS resolver. Here’s how to easily do this in PIA:

  1. Go to settings > NetworkA preview of how Private Internet Access highlights the DNS preferences
  2. Set Name Servers to Set Custom DNS
  3. Set Primary DNS to 8.8.8.8 and Secondary DNS to 8.8.4.4A preview of how Private Internet Access shows Google Public DNS servers
  4. Click Proceed
  5. Reconnect to a VPN server to apply settings

In the example above, we used Google Public DNS because it provides free and secure DNS server addresses designed to speed up your connection.

But you can also try other similar public services like Cloudflare (1.1.1.1 preferred, 1.0.0.1 alternate) or OpenDNS (208.67.222.222 preferred, 208.67.220.220 alternate).

5. Enable port forwarding (for torrenting)

Private Internet Access is one of the few VPN services with native port forwarding mode. If you have trouble getting your torrenting client to work properly with PIA, it’s a good way to enable this feature.

How it woks is that PIA automatically select a port for you when you connect to VPN servers. However, keep in mind that not all VPN servers support port forwarding.

  1. Go to settings > NetworkA preview of how Private Internet Access highlights the Request port forwarding setting
  2. Enable Request port forwarding
  3. Exit settings and connect to a VPN serverA preview of how Private Internet Access is connected to VPN server with port forwarding

Conclusion

To recap, if Private Internet Access is not working on your computer, get started by making sure the app is updated to the latest version.

Furthermore, you can change connection preferences like VPN protocol, encryption mode, and small packets. You should also disable any faulty proxy servers you might have set up in PIA and try switching to custom DNS servers.

And, if you’re interested in getting your torrenting client to work with PIA, make sure to enable the native port forwarding option.

Did these solutions work for you? Let us know in the comment section below.