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How to Setup Private Internet Access on Routers in 2021
Private Internet Access is one of the biggest brands in the VPN industry. Although the VPN is compatible with a lot of platforms and devices, there is no dedicated app or client for routers. Instead, you will have to configure the VPN manually on your router.
In this article, I’m going to explain how to set up PIA on routers.
If you want to learn about this VPN in greater detail, see this Private Internet Access review.
Setup Instructions for Private Internet Access on Routers
PIA is compatible with a few brands of routers. However, it is most amenable for configuration if you have a DD-WRT interface. In this article, I’ll walk you through the installation steps for DD-WRT, which is the more widely used firmware.
Here’s what you need to do to set up PIA on DD-WRT.
Step 1: Subscribe to PIA.
Step 2: Open your DD-WRT admin interface and navigate to ‘Setup’ > ‘Basic Setup’.
Step 3: Enter PIA DNS servers in the static DNS fields as follows:
- Static DNS 1 = 184.108.40.206
- Static DNS 2 = 220.127.116.11
Step 4: Now move to Network Address Server Settings (DHCP) and ensure the following:
- Use DNSMasq for DHCP = Checked
- Use DNSMasq for DNS = Checked
- DHCP-Authoritative = Checked
Step 5: Save and Apply Settings.
Step 6: Now click on the ‘Setup’ tab and click on ‘IPV6’.
Step 7: Set IPv6 to ‘Disable’, save and apply settings.
Step 8: Move to Services.
Step 9: Remove the DNS Suffix (if any).
Step 10: Under DHCP Server, Set Used Domain to ‘LAN & WLAN’.
Step 11: Under DNSMasq make sure the following are true:
- DNSMasq : Enabled
- Local DNS : Enabled
- No DNS Rebind : Enabled
Step 12: Save and Apply Settings.
Step 13: Move to ‘Service’ > ‘VPN’.
Step 14: Under OpenVPN Client, click Enable on Start OpenVPN Client to see more options.
Step 15: Click ‘Enable’ on Advanced Options and more options will appear.
Step 16: Now enter:
- Server IP/Name = us-west.privateinternetaccess.com [*]
Or if you prefer to use a specific location, You can find the full list of locations here: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/network
- Port = 1198
- Tunnel Device = TUN
- Tunnel Protocol = UDP
- Encryption Cipher = AES-128-CBC
- Hash Algorithm = SHA1
- User Pass Authentication = Enable
- Username, Password = Your PIA username & password
- TLS Cipher = None
- LZO Compression = Yes
- NAT = Enable
Step 17: Type the following information in Additional Config:
- remote-cert-tls server
Step 18: Download this file https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/openvpn/ca.rsa.2048.crt
Step 19: Once downloaded, right-click the ca.rsa.2048 file, then click Open With > Notepad.
Step 20: Select all the contents of the file by pressing ‘Ctrl + A’, then press Ctrl + C.
Step 21: Find the CA Cert field and paste the copied contents of the file by pressing ‘Ctrl’ + ‘V’. Be sure the entire text from “—–BEGIN CERTIFICATE—–“ and “—–END CERTIFICATE—–” is pasted.
Step 22: Save and Apply Settings.
Step 23: To check if the VPN is now active, click on ‘Status’ > ‘OpenVPN’. When connected, you will see the message “Client: CONNECTED SUCCESS”
If you’re experiencing issues with PIA in general, try these troubleshooting tips.
PIA Compatible Routers
Unfortunately, you cannot just make PIA work with every router. Instead, you need routers that let you configure a VPN service.
Following are three different router types that support Private Internet Access.
Flash Routers Combined with New Firmware
The term flashing refers to installing a new firmware in your router. These firmware work as an Operating System within your router and they end up determining its capabilities.
For a router to support VPN such as PIA, it needs firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato.
- DD-WRT is compatible with more routers as compared to Tomato. It lets you adjust the extent of the Wi-Fi signal and prioritize the online traffic.
- Tomato allows you to run two VPN servers simultaneously. It is also more user-friendly and has more bandwidth monitoring options than DD-WRT.
OpenVPN Compatible Routers
Some routers support OpenVPN protocol thus allowing you to use any VPN that operates on the Open Source technology.
Since PIA uses OpenVPN, this device works perfectly as a Private Internet Access router. Moreover, with this router at your disposal, you do not need to flash new firmware.
The process of manually setting up VPNs on routers can be a bit taxing. Luckily, pre-flashed routers exist to save us from the hassle. These routers come with pre-installed VPNs like Private Internet Access.
Although these routers are somewhat expensive, they provide several perks that make them worth it.
Why you Should Install PIA on Router
There are several reasons why configuring your router with PIA is a good idea:
- Constant connectivity: Generally, users have to manually turn on a VPN on their device(s). Installing PIA on your router makes this unnecessary because all your devices will automatically connect to the VPN as soon as you go online. This reduces the probability of accidentally performing sensitive tasks that require high privacy such as torrenting. For more information about PIA’s suitability for torrent activities, see our dedicated guide here.
- One-time installation: Configuring PIA on a router might seem like a daunting task at first, but the good thing is that you’ll only have to go through this pain once. In the long-run, you’ll likely find this much more convenient than installing VPNs on all your regularly used devices and computers separately.
- Unblock service instantly: PIA possesses decent unblocking capability. In fact, it even works with certain regions of Netflix, as shown in this guide. With PIA running on your router, you can simply connect your devices to the internet and commence watching Netflix without having to first turn on the VPN manually.
- Connect VPN with unsupported devices: Finally, many devices do not have native support for VPNs. For these devices, the only way to connect them with a VPN is through a router that is already configured to run on a VPN. In this way, you can configure PIA on Firestick, Roku, and other streaming platforms such as Kodi as well.
With mass surveillance and cybercrimes at their peak, users have no other choice but to encrypt their online activities. The malicious entities on the internet are always upgrading their nefarious designs. Users should follow suit and protect themselves on all devices by learning how to set up Private Internet Access on the router.
For more information, see our detailed Private Internet Access review.