Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the more popular Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers out there for good reason. With 3,394 + servers in 32 different countries, it is also one of the largest and most trusted services.
How do I know that PIA is trusted and will not give users’ data logs to authorities? Because they have been tested in real-world court cases in 2016 and 2018. Although the court ordered them to submit users’ data and logs, PIA simply answered that they can’t do that because they don’t keep any traffic logs of their users.
Keep in mind that I DO NOT condone any illegal activities done through a VPN service. However, a VPN can be used for totally legal and legit purposes such as from journalists, companies that want to transfer data securely, lawyers for transferring sensitive clients’ files etc. Therefore it’s important to know which VPN services actually provide real privacy.
In addition to a trusted and strong-privacy service, PIA also offers multi-layered security by supporting all of the modern encryption and security algorithms available.
By operating at the TCP/IP layer of the OSI Model, the VPN ensures that all traffic from your applications will be routed through the encrypted tunnel from your device towards the VPN server you are connected to.
PIA For Torrenting. Is it Good and Safe?
The quick answer is YES, Private Internet Access (PIA) supports Torrenting and is one of the best services for Torrenting purposes. Some quick reasons include:
- No logs policy (this has been verified in actual court cases as I explained above).
- Pretty good speeds as measured by several online testing websites.
- Allows Port Forwarding feature to optimize torrent performance.
PIA allows you to torrent files without any sort of bandwidth restrictions or limits. The VPN service supports P2P sharing from any location and they do not place any restrictions on your Internet activities. One of the things that PIA has going for it is its promise of not logging its users and its Bitcoin support allowing users to pay anonymously.
Another feature I like about PIA and Torrenting is the following: If you are connected to a VPN server in a country/region that prohibits torrent clients, then PIA automatically re-routes your torrent traffic to a “torrent-friendly” server in their network (in another country) so you will be completely protected.
Using PIA with uTorrent Client (Configuration etc)
PIA is capable to work fine with the popular uTorrent client and also with many other clients as well.
SOCKS Proxy Configuration
To configure PIA for uTorrent client using a SOCKS proxy, the steps are as following:
Right click on the PIA Icon (taskbar of your computer), select settings, enter your Username/Password, Click on “Advanced Settings” and then Enable the “VPN Kill Switch”. Click Save.
Start PIA VPN Connection and connect to a server.
Login to the PIA website, go to “My Account”, scroll down to “PPTP/L2TP/SOCKS Username and Password” and click “Generate Username and Password”. This will be the Username/Password to use inside the uTorrent client.
Start uTorrent client and head over to Options > Preferences > Connection. Once there, you will want to enter the required information including your PIA generated username/password (the one created in Step 3 above) as shown below:
(Username) Your PIA SOCKS generated user name.
(Password) Your PIA SOCKS generated password.
(Checkmark) click to enable all checkmarks below that for maximum privacy
While inside uTorrent in Options>Preferences:
Click on “Bandwidth” and uncheck “Apply rate limit to uTP connections”.
Click on “BitTorrent” and uncheck “Enable bandwidth management [uTP]”, set the drop-down menu to “Forced” under “Protocol Encryption”.
Click OK Button and you are done.
Note that the above configuration uses Socks5 proxy which does not encrypt the traffic but its much faster.
Full VPN Connection Configuration for Torrenting
If you want to have full encryption of torrent traffic (but slower speeds) then you must do the following:
- Download and install the Desktop PIA software (for Windows, MAC etc).
- Start the VPN desktop application and login to the service.
- Connect to a VPN server (recommended Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada).
- Enable “VPN Kill Switch” inside Advanced Settings in PIA.
- Start the uTorrent client and you are good to go (no changes needed in uTorrent).
Other Tips for Using the VPN for Torrent Traffic
Although you can use any server, we suggest to connect to a server in a country that allows torrenting including but not limited to the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Some Socks Proxy servers to use include the following:
To protect yourself while torrenting, you should look to enable PIA’s built-in “kill-switch” which will shut off your connection to the Internet to prevent DNS and IP leaks.
You want to ‘checkmark’ everything within the connection settings minus “Enable UPnP Port Mapping” for maximum protection. This will help to keep your connection safe and it can help you avoid having your IP or DNS leak during your torrenting sessions.
Is Torrenting Legal?
Torrenting itself is Legal. A lot of people get it confused because they think of torrenting and downloading copyrighted content as two concepts going hand-on-hand.
As long as you are sharing and downloading content that is not protected by copyright, you are free to download the files legally. Thus, it will vary on a case by case basis depending on what you are torrenting.
I’m totally against downloading any copyrighted material with the P2P Torrent protocol. The configuration instructions and information I offer here are purely for educational and information purposes only.
What Security Features Does PIA Offer That Makes It A Good Service?
1. Block Unwanted Connections.
When you install and use PIA, you gain access to an integrated advanced firewall and filtering capabilities included with the Netfilter Project.
Thus, you will be able to have potentially harmful connections blocked from anything that connects to the Internet using PIA whether on your computer, phone, or tablet.
This essentially helps to ensure that all of the connections that you establish are connections that you have agreed to. Which means you will be ‘locking’ the doors to your network from potential intruders.
2. Strong Encryption.
When choosing a VPN provider or when deciding whether or not to invest in a VPN service, you want to factor in the encryption provided.
With PIA, you are able to get high-grade encryption with maximum data encryption of AES-256 and data authentication of SHA256. This means that you will be able to keep all of the data transmitted through the servers as safe as possible.
Your data is encrypted with a secret key that is shared between your computer and the server which is changed using maximum handshake encryption of RSA-4096.
What I like about the encryption protocols supported is that they are easily configurable inside the VPN application. Just slide a button left or right and you can increase or decrease the encryption level if you want to balance between speed and safety.
3. Block Ads, Trackers, and Malware.
Along with the ability to re-route your traffic encrypted through servers, you will be able to block ads, trackers, and malware while using PIA. The good thing about this is the fact that you can use it no matter what browser you are using along with setting it up on your mobile device.
4. Up to Ten (10) Concurrent Devices.
Unlike some of the other VPN’s on the market, you are not limited to a few devices with your subscription. Instead, you are able to use up to 10 devices simultaneously. This makes it a viable option to protect each and every one of the devices throughout your home.
5. Ease Of Use.
PIA offers desktop software, support for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and even browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Therefore, you will have an easy time setting the VPN up and using it no matter what your use-case is.
6. Unblock Websites.
It also offers the ability to unblock and unrestrict access to different services that you might be paying for or even bypass censorships by your ISP which will allow you to access a ‘free’ Internet.
There is a reason PIA continues to be rated as one of the best VPN providers on the marketplace. Not only do they offer plenty of servers to choose from, but they withhold their promise of no logging and the service itself offers plenty of features which make it a value-packed VPN service.