Using a VPN has a lot of great uses besides improving your privacy and securing your connection. You can use it to circumvent geoblocking, reduce packet loss, and even improve your in-game ping.
But the way a VPN works is still a mystery to many. For a VPN to work, it needs to make some serious changes to your default connection so that it can add those extra layers of security.
Although a VPN is generally used to unblock restricted content, there are some cases when the opposite applies.
For instance, if your VPN lacks certain features (such as split tunneling), you won’t be able to access resources on your local network. In a similar way, you should be aware that VPNs also affect your NAT. But let’s start with the beginning.
What is NAT and its types?
NAT, which is short for Network Address Translation, is a method of mapping several local private addresses to a public one. Imagine there are multiple PCs in your home, and you want them to share the same IP address.
If your router is NAT-enabled, it can handle that without breaking a sweat. Given that not too long ago IPv4 addresses started running scarce, it’s a great way of conserving IPs by making multiple machines share each one of them.
Currently, there are three types of NAT:
- A Type | Type 1 | Open NAT – the most non-restrictive type that allows every incoming request from the Internet (it’s basically no NAT)
- B Type | Type 2 | Moderate NAT – most incoming requests from the Internet are not allowed but can be changed with UPnP or port forwarding
- C | Type 3 | Strict NAT – doesn’t allow any incoming requests to pass
Now, if your device is connected straight to the Internet, you’ll have a Type A NAT. That’s not exactly ideal since it’s the least secure version that lets all incoming requests pass.
However, Type A NAT is great for gaming, for instance. If you have to host a server, your friends will have no trouble connecting to it without additional assistance on your side such as forwarding ports or messing with your router.
Type B is the most common NAT version. It can usually be noticed if your device is connected to the Internet through a router or modem.
Type C is the most secure, but also the least convenient if you’re an online gaming enthusiast.
How can I easily fix a strict NAT type?
Use a reliable VPN
- Download Private Internet Access.
- Install it on your computer.
- Launch it.
- Log into your PIA account.
- Connect to a server (location not important).
- Enjoy less restrictive NAT on your device.
Private Internet Access is an excellent choice for a VPN. It’s brought to you by Kape Technologies and has 24/7 customer support.
PIA can help you change your NAT type to moderate (Type B | 2) without additional steps. You just select the server you want to connect to and let it do all the work for you.
Can VPN change NAT type?
Yes, using a VPN will bypass NAT, so it will most likely change your default NAT type. If you already have a Type B NAT, using a VPN won’t change a thing, as it will still be a moderate NAT after you establish a secure connection.
However, it can make a huge difference if your NAT type is strict and need a bit more freedom. Many games don’t work well with Type C NAT, so you’ll probably notice the improvement right away.
On the downside, if your device is connected to the Internet directly, using a VPN will apply some restrictions on your Open NAT type. What a VPN does is basically add a router of sorts between you and the Internet.
Therefore, you should find out what NAT type you have and decide what type you need before using a VPN.
Note that there’s no way to switch to Open NAT type through your VPN. The only way you can do that is by switching your VPN off (if you have Open NAT, to begin with).
It’s also worth mentioning that if your ISP restricts VPN traffic, using a VPN to change NAT type won’t work.
Using a VPN can help bypass strict NAT
All things considered, if your strict NAT gets in your way to having fun, a VPN can certainly help. VPNs such as PIA bypass NAT, so you’ll enjoy a bit more freedom behind a moderate/Type B NAT instead.
However, note that using a VPN will almost always switch to Type B NAT, regardless of your default type.
So, if you’re not comfortable switching from Open to Moderate, a VPN might not exactly be what you’re looking for.