How to use PIA SOCKS5 proxy: Is it effective?

Vlad Constantinescu
by Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
Vlad might have a degree in Animal Husbandry and Livestock Management, but he's currently rocking anything software related, ranging from testing programs to writing in-depth reviews about them. He spent 3-4 years as a... Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Private Internet Access, or simply PIA, also offers SOCKS5 proxy support in addition to its traditional VPN features.
  • However, configuring and enabling SOCKS5 in PIA might not be exactly intuitive. We're going to show you exactly how to do it.
  • Check out our VPN Troubleshooting section to discover more easy-to-follow guides.
  • Find out more about Proxy servers to use them correctly
PIA SOCKS5 proxy

Besides its popular VPN service, Private Internet Access (PIA) also offers SOCKS5 proxy to its more tech-savvy customers who are inclined towards increased security/privacy.

However, configuring and using SOCKS5 with PIA might not be immediately obvious.

For that reason, we decided to create this short step-by-step guide that will guide you through the process.

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Does PIA use SOCKS5 proxy automatically?

First and foremost, you’ll have to understand that the SOCKS5 proxy option isn’t enabled by default.

Instead, you’ll have to look around for it, configure it, and enable it manually.

We get it, you’d much likely prefer the elbow-grease-free version, but there’s nothing we can do about it, so buckle up.

How to enable PIA SOCKS5

  1. Head to PIA’s website
  2. Log into your account
  3. Access the Client Control Panel
  4. Go to the Downloads category
  5. Scroll down to the VPN Settings section
  6. Click the Re-generate buttonPIA website VPN Settings
  7. Copy the username and password

Note that your default username and password combination won’t work with SOCKS5, so you’ll have to use the method above to ‘enable’ it.

Once you’ve jotted down the username and password, we can move on to the next step.

How to use PIA SOCKS5

  1. Download PIA on your PC (buy here)
  2. Install the VPN client
  3. Launch PIA
  4. Log into your account
  5. Click the options button
  6. Select Settings from the menuPIA Settings
  7. Go to the Proxy category
  8. Click the SOCKS5 radio buttonPIA Settings Proxy
  9. Launch CMD on your Windows PC
  10. Type ping proxy-nl.privateinternetaccess.com
  11. Jot down the IP address of the proxy serverPing PIA proxy server
  12. Go back to your PIA proxy configuration screen
  13. Paste/type the proxy IP address in the appropriate field
  14. Type 1080 in the Port field
  15. Input the proxy username and password generated on the PIA website
  16. Click OK

That’s all. In addition to PIA’s default VPN servers, using the SOCKS5 proxy will bounce your connection through an additional connection.

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As a result, you’ll benefit from increased privacy and a more secure connection.

PIA SOCKS5 Proxy not working?

A while ago, PIA posted a message letting its customers know that it identified an issue with the SOCKS5 proxy that could negatively impact connectivity.

If you notice that PIA has limited or no connectivity, try disabling the proxy and check again.

  1. Launch the PIA VPN client
  2. Open the Settings window
  3. Head to the Proxy category
  4. Click None

Is PIA SOCKS5 slow?

As we’ve explained before, using a VPN could slow down your Internet connection. That happens for a lot of factors, including but not limited to distance between you and the servers and encryption.

Naturally, bouncing your connection once more through yet another location (i.e. the SOCKS5 proxy) will further add to that distance and slow down your connection even more.

The bottom line is that a bit of slowdown is natural in this case. If you’re nearing the point where the VPN becomes unusable, try disabling the proxy or choose another server.

Final thoughts on PIA SOCKS5 proxy

All in all, if you want to boost your privacy/security, PIA’s optional SOCKS5 proxy has got you covered.

Although setting it up is not exactly intuitive, following the steps in our guide should let you enable and start using PIA’s SOCKS5 in no time.

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