Private Internet Access (PIA) is a personal virtual private network (VPN) service with no logs. It supports multiple VPN technologies such as L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN and WireGuard.
PIA is based in the United States, which is a member of the five eyes surveillance alliance, which is a major drawback since the government can legally force businesses to log customer data and provide this to the authorities.
Private Internet Access Desktop client was built from scratch using C++ and Qt. It's based on a typical split architecture with an unprivileged GUI and a privileged service/daemon component, with the user interface implemented using Qt Quick.
Its source code is freely available here, released under MIT license.
No logs proved in court:
PIA has not undergone any thrid party audits to verify their “no logs” policies, but two court cases proves that they aren't lying about no-logs.
The first court case occurred in 2016 when the FBI demanded logs concerning a PIA user, who had allegedly been making bomb threats.
The second court case occurred in June 2018, when U.S authorities once again demanded data logs for a criminal investigation.
In both cases PIA could not produce any data connecting a specific individual to an IP-address. Although worth noting is that the previous “no logs” court cases happened under previous ownership.
Changes since 2019:
On November 18, 2019, Private Internet Access announced that it would be merged into Kape Technologies, which operates three competing VPN services, Cyberghost, ExpressVPN and Zenmate.
Software installer is no longer a shell-script, but instead a .run-file, which also means you need to be more vigilante, because they are equal to an .exe file for Windows. However, this particular software you can download and install without worrying.
A .run file is an executable file typically used for Linux program installers, that contains program data and instructions for making the installation.
- Nice and easy-to-install and use app for Linux
- Up to 10 devices allowed
- Protocols: OpenVPN UDP/TCP
- Encryption: ( AES-128(GCM) AES-256 (GCM) ) and WireGuard.
- Network: PIA DNS, other options.
- Allow LAN Traffic
- Port forwarding for torrenting.
- Privacy: VPN Kill Switch, Advanced Kill Switch and PIA MACE for blocking ads. trackers and Malware.
- Dedicated IP
- Connect automation
- Split Tunnel
- Multi-Hop obfuscation using Shadowsocks or Socks5 Proxy
- Account information
PIA 24/7 Support via homepage:
- Chat - Works great, but interest in solving the problem at hand varies, by the agent.
- HelpDesk - Usually very informative response, but if it doesn't solve your problem a new ticket needs to be opened.
PIA best Price 12/06/22:
- For one year subscription: 37,2€ "Euro"
- For three years+ 3 months free subscription: 69,81€ "Euro"
First download the latest stable app here.
Latest version: V3.3.1 build 06924 is the latest version.
Since this is a .run-file, there is no need to unpack the file.
Install PIA VPN app in Debian 11 or LMDE5.
chmod +x pia-linux-3.3.1-06924-run
Press Enter and enter your password ( required )
Wait for the installation to complete, then look for the Private Internet Access logo and click it to run the app. You will be met by a popup screen, showing the changelog.
An extra layer of protection - ShadowSocks or Socks5 Proxy:
PIA's app provides Shadowsocks and SOCKS5 as a multi-hop VPN connection.
SOCKS5 proxy does not encrypt traffic - it only masks your IP address.
Also, at the time of writing ( 28/05/22 ) PIA only offer this proxy through the Netherlands server gateway ( IP:184.108.40.206 ) Port: 1080.
It is not recommended to ping proxy-nl.regions.cluster.piaservers.net and then use this IP to connect, as I have seen recommended on some Windows sites, to get around connection problems to the Socks5 proxy !
PIA's app offers an extra feature to obfuscate your VPN connection by enabling proxy options ( Shadowsocks and Sock5 Proxy ) within your PIA application.
This feature allows your connection to get an extra hop before reaching the VPN server ( normal VPN location/country ) you are trying to connect to which in return provides your VPN tunnel another layer of masking.
This feature helps to hide the VPN tunnel.
But, it is important to understand that this still will not technically imply that your VPN will not be visible to the network nor the VPN tunnel itself, as you still need the actual VPN tunnel to establish the secured and masked connection.
Having two proxy connections gives you a higher VPN security as well as masking through the process or proxy before your data reaches the actual VPN server end-point.
Problems connecting to the VPN server using Socks5 proxy?
Then try one of these IP's using the same port:1080
Using the latest app from PIA, I haven' t been able to connect to their Socks5 proxy. It keeps trying to connect in what seems like an endless loop. Disabling the Multihop feature, lets you connect.
Note: I have tested this feature on Linux Mint 20.xx and LMDE5 ( Debian 11 ).
Are you missing the systray icon?:
NOTE: Regarding issues with earlier versions, first problem was the constant disconnections of the VPN, no matter what encryption, UDP/TCP or port, so like many others I removed the app and setup OpenVPN manually with PIA's VPN, downloading their .ovpn files etc: and it worked. Now with this latest version, it just works as it should.
Something that might occur sometimes, no matter which Linux distro you are using is that the "systray icon disappears", to remedy this:
Press Enter, done. It is back again !
Note: If the icon is still gone ! Do it all over again !
You can also try re-setting the desktop, using the CRTL+ALT+ESC.
PIA VPN ( OpenVPN UDP/TCP ) connected, but I can't surf:
I started having problems with the PIA app while still being apparently connected, using OpenVPN. It would work normal for >1min, then I couldn't access any online sites. So I changed ports, encryption protocol, even tested against several different servers, but still the same problem.
So I switched to WireGuard and that worked like a charm, no problems at all, it stays connected and it doesn't suddenly stop working. However WireGuard has some inherent problems, that can undermine a users privacy if not adequately addressed. So would rather prefer continue using OpenVPN.
PIA article here: Understanding the WireGuard Protocol
First check your Antivirus settings and whitelist:
Next shut-down the PIA vpn app and then uninstall it from a terminal window:
Press Enter, done.
Now, this will hopefully solve your problem, but if not.
Type the following commands:
sudo iptables -P INPUT ACCEPT sudo iptables -F INPUT sudo iptables -P OUTPUT ACCEPT sudo iptables -F OUTPUT sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager
Now, this seemed to solve my problem temporarily, but in the end no, only this time I was able to surf for more than 10 minutes, before it stopped working again.
This is an annoying problem and PIA's support don't have a clue, what causes this. They just tell me to re-install the app, which I have done four times now. Anyone else experienced this and has a working solution, please send me a message.
Speedtest of the PIA VPN 2022 using the WireGuard Protocol:
This test was performed using a modem cable Internet connection with a maximum speed of 15MBps.
Best download speed using the PIA VPN app was Ireland at 10.28 Mbit/s, followed by US, then France, Germany and so on.
A list of the worst performing PIA servers per country are listed here:
Tested 10/06/22 and note that Geo-located servers were not tested !
Note: I set a limit of >5Mbit/s for this list.
Download speed: 0.00 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 0.00 Mbit/s
Download speed: 2.49 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 1.18 Mbit/s
Download: 3.90 Mbit/s
Upload: 0.80 Mbit/s
Download speed: 3.46 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 1.09 Mbit/s
Download speed: 2.80 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 0.89 Mbit/s
Download speed: 3.82 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 1.21 Mbit/s
Download speed: 4.98 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 0.88 Mbit/s
Download speed: 2.47 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 1.18 Mbit/s
Download speed: 2.75 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 0.44 Mbit/s
Download speed: 3.07 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 1.22 Mbit/s
Download: 3.75 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 1.03 Mbit/s
Download speed: 2.83 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 0.83 Mbit/s
Download speed: 3.19 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 0.79 Mbit/s
Download speed: 3.60 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 1.24 Mbit/s
Download speed: 4.51 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 1.16 Mbit/s
Download speed: 4.55 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 1.11 Mbit/s
Download speed: 3.66 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 1.17 Mbit/s
Download speed: 2.97 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 1.83 Mbit/s
United Arab Emirates
Download speed: 2.29 Mbit/s
Upload speed: 0.78 Mbit/s