Home Software & Accessories How to Use Private Internet Access 2021
How to Use Private Internet Access

How to Use Private Internet Access 2021

by Daniel Moore

Private Internet Access or PIA is a high value VPN service that comes loaded with interesting features. It is currently owned by Private Internet, the same company that runs CyberGhost and ZenMate.

As compared with other VPN services, PIA lets you connect up to 10 devices simultaneously and is equipped with additional features such as built-in ad blockers, malicious site blockers and even provides you with the ability to select your preferred encryption, authentication and handshake methods.

Recommended Read: How to Set up a VPN on Mac

If you’re planning to purchase Private Internet Access for your personal use, you will need to know exactly how PIA works and what can be done with the software. 

This guide will help you understand how to use Private Internet Access on your Mac or PC and how it can help you remain anonymous on the internet.

How to Use Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access is available across all platforms, this makes it easy to use because the process to set up and use the app will remain the same with only minor changes due to the difference in operating systems.

Today, we’re going to cover how to install and use Private Internet Access on your Windows PC, Mac and Mobile device.

How to Use Private Internet Access on Windows PC

This section is for Windows 10 users who want to use PIA on their system. Follow these steps to have the app downloaded, installed and configured on your computer.

Download and Install the App

How to Use Private Internet Access

Make sure you download the right version of the app depending on whether your PC has a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system.

  • Once you have downloaded the right installer, proceed to run the installer by double clicking on the .exe file.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • You will receive a security confirmation on the screen asking for permission so the installer can make changes to your s system. Tap on Yes to start the installation process.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Once the installer has been granted permission the app will copy the necessary files onto your computer and the app will get installed in the background.

Login to the App

After the app has been installed successfully, double click on the icon to open the Login window that doubles up as a Quick Tour of the application.

  • Start by entering the login credentials that were provided to you via email when you signed up for the software.
How to Use Private Internet Access

Those who have installed the software using the customized installer sent to you post signing up will have their login credentials pre-filled on the Login page of PIA.

  • Once you have logged into your account, the credentials you entered will be saved and the default Home screen of the application will be set as your default display.

Connecting the PIA VPN

Now that everything has been done, it’s time to connect your VPN to the internet. 

  • On the Home screen, click on the Yellow Power button. This will establish a connection to one of the many VPN servers available.
  • The power button will change to green when it has successfully connected to the network.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • You can make changes to the connected VPN network by tapping on the VPN Server option and clicking on the server you want to connect to.
  • Also, when the application has successfully connected to the VPN network, your current and new IP address will be mentioned just below the Server list

Now that your PIA software has been installed and configured, you can run a leak test to confirm that your system is secured. Here are three leak tests you can try.

Troubleshooting PIA for Windows

For Windows users, if you’re facing an issue with the connectivity then you can either change the DNS server or change the Ports. Here’s how you can get these done.

Change DNS Server in Private Internet Access

  • Disconnect from the VPN and then tap on the three vertical dots in the upper right hand corner of the app to open All Settings.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Now tap on the three horizontal dots to open the Settings window.
  • Tap on Network Connection from the list of options and begin to change your Network Preferences.
How to Use Private Internet Access

Please be Advised: Using custom DNS  settings might expose your DNS traffic to third-party apps that are running on PIA. 

Change Ports in Private Internet Access

  • Start by locating the app icon. Click on the System Tray in the bottom right corner of the screen and then click on the app icon.
  • Now, disconnect PIA by tapping on the power button.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Open advanced settings by clicking on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the software
  • In the left panel, locate Connection and click on it.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • By default, the app is connected to UDP. Change your remote port here and try once again.
  • If you’re still facing issues with your connection, try changing the connection type from UDP to TCP.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Change the remote ports for TCP by clicking on the drop-down arrow.

Finally head back to the Main Menu and reconnect the VPN. If you’re still facing issues, try toggling between connection types and remote ports till you find one that’s best suited for your needs.

How to Use Private Internet Access on a Mac

For those using a Mac at home, here’s how you can install and use Private Internet Access or PIA.

Download and Install the App

  • Start by downloading the PIA installer from the official site’s download page.
  • Once the file has been downloaded, click on the .zip file to extract the installer onto your Mac.
  • Now, go to your Downloads folder and open the file by double clicking on it.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • The macOS will prompt you with a security confirmation  that allows the installer to make changes to your system. Click on Open.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • You will now be asked to confirm Admin privileges, enter your Apple Admin Username and password and then click on OK.

Login to the App

After installing the application, you will need to login using our credentials provided when you signed up for the service.

  • Enter the Username and Password into the applications home screen and click on Log In.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • The default screen will be the Home screen that consists of the power button, a list of VPN servers and your IP address listed.

Connecting the PIA VPN

  • Click on the power button to enable the VPN. The color of the power button will change from yellow to green once you have connected to the default network.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • When the application has successfully connected to the VPN network, your current and new IP address will be mentioned just below the Server list. 
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • You can even change the default VPN server to one of your choice.

Troubleshooting PIA for Mac

Considering that the security system on a Mac is better than Windows, there are chances you might actually face issues right from the start.

Repairing Disk Permissions

The first problem you may encounter is when you receive a timeout Error-1712. This means that the macOS Disk Permissions within your macOS Disk Utility has been rejected and you will need to repair this error manually.

  • Start by opening the Utilities folder by opening Finder and then tapping on Applications.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • In the Utilities folder, you will find an icon labeled Disk Utility. Tap on it to open the function.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Now on the left panel, click on Macintosh HD and in the toolbar tap on Verify Disk Permissions

If you’re running macOS 10.11, instead of Verify Disk Permissions, click on First Aid.

  • You will be presented with a popup that asks you if you’d like to repair disk permissions, tap on Run.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Once the repair has been completed, switch off your Mac and wait for around a minute before turning it back on.
  • Delete the installer you downloaded earlier and re-download the file onto your Mac. The app will open and you can complete the installation process.

Change DNS Server in Private Internet Access

  • Disconnect from the VPN and then tap on the three vertical dots in the upper right hand corner of the app to open All Settings.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Now tap on the three horizontal dots to open the Settings window.
  • Tap on Network Connection from the list of options and begin to change your Network Preferences.
How to Use Private Internet Access

When you begin, you will have a notice appear on the screen warning you about what can happen if you use non-PIA DNS servers. Either acknowledge the warning or cancel the warning and go back.

Change Ports in Private Internet Access

  • Start by locating and opening the PIA application. It should be found in the taskbar at the top of the screen. 
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Open the app and click on the power button to disconnect the VPN.
  • Tap on the three vertical dots to open the Advanced Settings page and then select Connection from the toolbar at the top of the Settings page.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Proceed to change your connection settings by choosing a new connection type and remote port.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Save the settings and head back to the Home screen of the app.
  • Finally tap on the power button to reconnect the VPN.

If you still face issues with the connection, repeat these steps a few times until you get one that’s stable.

How to Use Private Internet Access on a Mobile Device

Private Internet Access can even be installed on Android and iOS smartphones and can be used while browsing or streaming content online. Let me break this down for you based on the type of device you have.

Using Private Internet Access on an Android device

To use PIA on an Android smartphone, 

How to Use Private Internet Access
  • You will be asked to grant access to a couple of services of the device such as camera, Wi-Fi, location and Purchases. Click on Accept to begin the installation.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Once the application has been downloaded and installed, open the app by clicking on the app icon in the Home Screen.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Click on Login and enter the credentials that were sent to your email account when you purchased a subscription to the service.

If you have not done so already, click on Subscribe Now and pick a plan you’d like to work with.

  • Now that you’re logged in, the app will ask you for access to your VPN configurations, click on OK to continue.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Accept the connection request and finally tap on the big power button to connect and enable the VPN.
How to Use Private Internet Access

You can change the VPN server by tapping on the location and picking another server from the list.

Using Private Internet Access on an iOS device

The installation and configuration process is slightly different on an iPhone. 

  • Start by locating and downloading the app from your App Store.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Once the app has been installed, click on Open to launch the app on your iPhone.
  • Now, either login to the registered account or proceed to buy a new subscription.
How to Use Private Internet Access

Each new subscription comes with a 7-day free trial which can be cancelled within 7 days.

  • Proceed to login using your new credentials. The notification now will ask you to grant access to VPN configurations, tap on OK.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Add VPN configurations by clicking on Allow and then enter your iPhone passcode to add VPN configurations.
  • The app will prompt you with a notice asking if it’s okay that PIA VPN sends you notifications, click on Allow or Don’t Allow depending on your preferences.
How to Use Private Internet Access
  • Finally, tap on the big power button to connect with a registered VPN server on your iPhone.
How to Use Private Internet Access

You can change the VPN server by tapping on the location and picking another server from the list.

Takeaway

PIA is one of the best personal VPN services available, it’s recommended for those who are on a budget and want access to a large number of VPN servers around the world. It’s also one of the few VPN services that are available to use across a range of devices.

It’s been known to be configurable and comes equipped with a Kill switch, DNS leak protection, Split tunneling and a Dedicated/Static IP.

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