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kriegalex

[Rant] State of Private Internet Access (PIA) lately

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Posted (edited) · Original PosterOP

Hi everyone,

This is a rant. I'm not happy with PIA anymore. I also cannot advise anyone to go with them at the moment, until they fix the issues. The why is below.

 

The problems have started massively since they started doing a migration to new servers, which now apparently support Wireguard by default. This is the new standard for VPN. In itself, it is a good thing, BUT....

 

First, I have some dockers that can automagically detect the assigned Forwarded Port from PIA and use it. Since they started the migration, my docker was not doing great (let's leave it at that *wink wink*). What was my surprise when I looked at the logs and saw that the X server was not detected anymore as "Port Forward friendly" (but is still listed as such in the doc...). Switched to another one in the list, but then the URL to get the port was down. This URL is official, and mentioned in their doc, so.... It is the one that all scripts for dockers use to retrieve the forwarded port assigned to your VPN session. So for now, the port forward feature can be considered as non existent.

Also, while looking at this doc page, what was my surprise when I learned that this port forwarding option would only, for now, be available in the desktop app with the next gen servers, which is basically breaking compatibility with Linux or dockers.... So even if they fix the previous issue I mentioned, how long until the old gen servers are brought down ? There are threads popping about this in unRaid forums too. I came here because they are a sponsor of the channel.

 

Secondly, and this is way worse. Since the migration, I have frequently had my apps on iPad, on my Pixel and also on the browser extension have trouble to connect. Wireguard is supposedly faster and better, but for now the experience is the opposite. You have to turn it off and on, reboot stuff, instead of it just working. Also, some servers stop working but are still listed, so if you connect to them (for me, the swiss one), then you can't navigate the web.

Today, I launched my browser and my PIA browser extension was stuck in a loop trying to connect, preventing me from browsing the web in the meantime. There is no way to switch the server (if it's broken) or to disconnect. Waited 5 minutes, tried to "on/off" it, restarted the browser, couldn't do anything. Now, I have disabled it altogether and came here to rant about it.

 

I used hide.me previously, I may go back to them. I think the biggest problem with them was the price, the rest was really nice (maybe slightly slower than PIA). This sucks, because with unraid, there are a lot of dockers pre-scripted with PIA in mind for port forwarding, which is really, really, really nice.

 

image.png.8ce2987d1a717b57e9442b1800fa4ff3.png

Edited by kriegalex
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Gaming: Windows 10 - Intel i7 9900K - Asus RTX 2080 Strix OC - GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER - O11 Dynamic

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I live in EU, and have recently had problems connecting to US Hulu and alike. I'm not an advanced user like you, but idk.. Maybe Express VPN is worth their 80€ a year or whatever they're asking. Although that doesn't work with Netflix for me neither. Idk... And I'm not using NordVPN, because they really do not treat their customers like they should - along with that fiasco that they had with user info leakage. 

 

I really thought PIA would be the redemption, it's sad to hear they're making silly mistakes and loosing customers 

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42 minutes ago, kriegalex said:

First, I have some dockers that can automagically detect the assigned Forwarded Port from PIA and use it. Since they started the migration, my docker was not doing great (let's leave it at that *wink wink*). What was my surprise when I looked at the logs and saw that the X server was not detected anymore as "Port Forward friendly" (but is still listed as such in the doc...). Switched to another one in the list, but then the URL to get the port was down. This URL is official, and mentioned in their doc, so.... It is the one that all scripts for dockers use to retrieve the forwarded port assigned to your VPN session. So for now, the port forward feature can be considered as non existent.

I'm also about to abandon PIA for this exact reason. This issue has been occurring for weeks, even with previous-gen that are reportedly still working with the current port forwarding API (Spain, Iran, Italy).

 

There is a user-created script for port forwarding pfSense available at https://github.com/fm407/PIA-NextGen-PortForwarding/blob/master/pia-nextgen-pf.sh, but I'm not going to rewrite this for FreeBSD if it is likely to break. I'm very close to requesting a refund and moving to AirVPN for their permanent port forwarding, even after using PIA for over 3 years.


Make sure to quote me or use @PorkishPig to notify me that you replied!

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 hours ago, PorkishPig said:

I'm very close to requesting a refund and moving to AirVPN for their permanent port forwarding, even after using PIA for over 3 years.

I'm very interested by this thing you mention. I will look into it.

 

If i remember correctly, with hide.me, you had a webpage to request a port forward on a particular server, and then you had to modify your config file slightly to point to this custom config. After that, the port forward was also in a way "permanent". The only reason I switched was the price, it was quite expensive. Also, since most "VPN oriented" dockers on unRAID support PIA by default, it seemed like a good idea. And it has been, until they started this migration. Maybe I will switch one year, asking for a partial refund and enjoy some nice discounts on other services and come back in a year to check the status.


Gaming: Windows 10 - Intel i7 9900K - Asus RTX 2080 Strix OC - GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER - O11 Dynamic

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21 hours ago, Light-Yagami said:

I live in EU, and have recently had problems connecting to US Hulu and alike. I'm not an advanced user like you, but idk.. Maybe Express VPN is worth their 80€ a year or whatever they're asking. Although that doesn't work with Netflix for me neither. Idk... And I'm not using NordVPN, because they really do not treat their customers like they should - along with that fiasco that they had with user info leakage. 

 

I really thought PIA would be the redemption, it's sad to hear they're making silly mistakes and loosing customers 

Hey, don't know if you're mixing something up, feel free to correct me, but as far as I know, Nord never leaked user info. Wasn't it a server breach, that didn't really yield any results for the hackers?

Also, yeah, if you go on PIA's reddit people are freaking out about all kind's of instabilities. I think it all started with them rolling out their next gen servers, maybe things will stabilize, but obviously you want to use the service now and not wait for a month.

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Lets just say I've also had numerous issues in the last month or so with PIA. In my case I already have other VPNs as well as my own "homebrew" VPN so its been irritating but not a huge issue.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 9/21/2020 at 3:31 PM, PorkishPig said:

I'm very close to requesting a refund and moving to AirVPN for their permanent port forwarding, even after using PIA for over 3 years.

They just gave me 3 days of free trial after contacting them. My docker that was not doing so great is now rocking full power (*hum* ...). Thanks to a working VPN with port forward feature ! Also, if you mention you are thinking about switching from PIA, they will give you a 10% code to motivate you. I will certainly switch to AirVPN.

 

The only downside I see from this free trial is the lack of an easy to use Chrome extension. And their desktop app is kinda fishy, compared to PIA...


Gaming: Windows 10 - Intel i7 9900K - Asus RTX 2080 Strix OC - GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER - O11 Dynamic

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Bonus points: some websites protected by Cloudflare were rejecting PIA's IPs as potential bot or something, so "some requests" were not passing through, if done via automated software using a VPN proxy (see privoxy). AirVPN servers seem to be better tolerated. Or it is just a huge coincidence and something changed with Cloudflare protection at the exact same time, but I doubt it.


Gaming: Windows 10 - Intel i7 9900K - Asus RTX 2080 Strix OC - GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER - O11 Dynamic

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