One of my favorite features of Private Internet Access is the fact that they include unlimited SOCKS Proxy service with every PIA subscription. Every VPN plan includes free access to this Netherlands-based proxy server, which can be used for all sorts of fun stuff, like:
- Add a layer of anonymity to your torrent downloads
- Hide your IP when using web scraping software
- Anonymize any software that accepts SOCKS5 proxy w/ authentication
Most PIA subscribers don’t even realize that their subscription includes SOCKS proxy access (or they aren’t sure what to do with it). Getting access to the proxy server also requires an extra step (it uses a different username/password combo than the VPN does).
We’ll show you exactly how to generate your proxy login details, and which settings you need to know to get set up.
Also check out this guide: How to use Private Internet Access for torrents (3 methods)
How to get your PIA SOCKS proxy Username/Password
PIA’s proxy server doesn’t use the same login/password as your normal VPN account. They do this to protect your account security (because the proxy isn’t encrypted and could protentially transmit the login details in plaintext). You can easily create new proxy login credentials any time you want. PIA has instructions on how to do this, or just follow the steps below.
Here’s how to get your login details:
Step #1 – You need a Private Internet Access Subscription
I know this sounds obvious, but many people don’t realize that PIA is a paid service. If you don’t have an account already, you can get one for as low as $3.33/month.
Step #2 – Login to your account control panel
Go to Privateinternetaccess.com and log into your account panel using your VPN username/password.
Step #3 – Generate new proxy credentials
Scroll down toward the bottom of your account panel until you see the section titled:
‘PPTP/L2TP/SOCKS Username and Password’
Simply click the ‘Regenerate Username and Password’ button to create a unique username/password combo to access the proxy server. Make sure to leave this window open or copy the credentials to notepad so we can easily copy and paste them in a future step when we actually set up the proxy connection.
SOCKS Proxy Settings
No matter what type of software you choose to anonymize with the proxy, the basic settings will be the same. Here are the settings you need to know:
Host/Hostname/Proxy Address – proxy-nl.privateinternetaccess.com
Port # – 1080Proxy Type – SOCKS5 (or SOCKS v5/version 5)
Authentication – YES
Username – Your username from step #1
Password – Your password from step #1
That’s it! You should be able to use this proxy with any software that allows authentication with SOCKS v5 proxies.
The most common use for PIA’s proxy service is for bittorrent downloads. All major torrent clients accept SOCKS proxies, including:
- tTorrent (android)
- Flud (android)
9 thoughts on “How to use PIA’s SOCKS Proxy”
Thanks for the great article! The current Android version of flud also has a checkbox called “Also use for peer connections.” I’m assuming it should be checked, because it seems to defeat the purpose if not. Maybe update the article?
Exactly. You definitely want to check that box, otherwise the proxy would only be used for tracker connections. Thanks for pointing that out!
I can’t figure out how to use PIA’s proxy with the Tails operating system. At the beginning menu when it offers you the option to place a SOCKS5 address, do you just put the proxy-nl.privateinternetaccess.com address? Because when I do it gives me the following error: “Unacceptable option value: Socks5Proxy failed to parse or resolve. Please fix.” I have the correct port (1080). It does not even ask me for a log in. I have also tried setting it up in the Tor Browser but can’t figure it out. Literally have spent about 8 hours trying to figure this out. Sick of it.
Tails uses Tor as the proxy. So there is no need or reason to use PIA. Using a VPN would ironically probably make you less anonymous in this case.
I don’t think that’s the case: “Researchers in France were able to de-anonymize over 10,000 bittorrent users attempting to hide their torrents via TOR. They were surprised at how easy it was, and in over 2/3 of the cases, they didn’t actually have to do anything to trace a torrent users’ real IP address. The reason? Tor was only being used to connect to the tracker. Peer connections were routed outside Tor. To be clear, this isn’t Tor’s fault. It means the user either had an improperly configured torrent client (not setup to proxy peer connections). Alternatively, these peers could have been using a torrent client that doesn’t actual support the proxying of peer connections (examples include: Transmission, Tixati).” source: https://www.best-bittorrent-vpn.com/tor-for-torrents.html
I have PIA and QBittorent and I have not had luck getting the checkip to work. It says updating and then it says “not working”..I am using the proxy and torrents do download but for some reason it won’t work in either utorrent or QBittorent. Any suggestions appreciated
Sometimes the tracking torrent doesn’t report back to the website (possibly because of a setting in your torrent client). But you can usually still see the reported IP address by going to the status tab of the tracking torrent.
I have PIA software downloaded on my computer and Every time I try to connect to socks5 proxy it says it cannot connect to proxy. Help?
You have to generate a proxy-specific password in your PIA account as described in this guide.