How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (2023)

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How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (1)

Simon Migliano

Simon Migliano is a world-renowned VPN expert. He has tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has been featured in the BBC, The New York Times and more.

  1. guides
  2. How to use port forwarding with Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access provides a port forwarding feature for all users, but is limited to a randomly assigned port number per connection. In this guide, we explain exactly how to use PIA's port forwarding feature and what to do if it doesn't work.

How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (3)

Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the few VPN services that allows port forwarding on its network of servers.

This function allows you toroute incoming traffic through a specific port on your VPN server, bypassing the NAT firewall and improving performance for bandwidth intensive activities including gaming, torrenting and other P2P file sharing.

Unlike many VPNs, PIA offers aVPN port forwarding functionto all your users. However, the feature is limited toa randomly assigned port number per connection, which changes every time you connect.

This means that you cannot manually choose a port number, and you cannot configure multiple port forwarding simultaneously.

In this guide, we'll explain exactlyhow to configure port forwarding with PIAywhat to do if it doesn't work🇧🇷 We'll look at PIA's port forwarding capabilities and suggest some alternative VPNs that take different approaches to port forwarding.

EXPERT TIP:PIA's port forwarding feature, fast P2P speeds and zero log privacy policy make itbest vpn for torrentingaccessible. For just $2.03 a month, you can useprivate internet accessto bypass your NAT firewall with unique dynamic port forwarding, and it will even automatically select the port for you.

Does PIA support port forwarding?

Private Internet Access is one of the few VPN services thatinclude a port forwarding feature on all devices🇧🇷 Port forwarding is allowed on almost all of its 17,087 servers (excluding US servers), all secured with AES-256 encryption.

You can enable this feature and find the correct port number directly in the PIA app settings menu.

However, this feature is not without restrictions. For security reasons,PIA only allows one open port per server🇧🇷 To help maintain your anonymity, the port number is randomly selected and changes each time you connect to the service.

(Video) What is Port Forwarding in a VPN 🔥 The Beginner's Guide

This meansunable to manually select a port number to forward🇧🇷 However, if you want to forward torrents, PIA still includes everything you need.

How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (4)

PIA port forwarding can be configured with one click in the app's settings menu.

PIA also offers aport forwarding script set🇧🇷 For the tech savvy, they can be used to help automate your connection and port forwarding setup.

However, these scripts are not very accessible for those who are not experienced in coding and there are no tutorials available either. For this reason, this option is not particularly useful for most PIA users.

Which PIA servers support port forwarding?

Most PIA servers support forwarding. However, there is one big exception:none of their 20 US server locations allow port forwarding.

Servers that do not allow port forwarding are marked with a crossed back arrow and are also grayed out in the server selection menu when port forwarding is enabled.

How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (5)

PIA servers that do not allow port forwarding are grayed out.

Users in the United States can still use PIA's port forwarding feature, but only when connected to countries that allow port forwarding (for example, Canada or Mexico).

Here is a list of PIA server locations that support port forwarding:

  • Australia
  • Israel
  • Brazil
  • Italy
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Chile
  • Mexico
  • Porcelain
  • New Zealand
  • France
  • South Africa
  • Germany
  • spain
  • Greece
  • Sweden
  • Hong Kong
  • Leaves
  • India
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom

How to use port forwarding with Private Internet Access

Configuring port forwarding with PIA is very simple, it can even beactivated or deactivated with a button🇧🇷 The process is also the same for most devices and operating systems.

The following instructions will work with Windows, Android, iOS and MacOS devices.

Here's a video showing how to set up port forwarding with PIA:

How to forward ports with Private Internet Access.

Here's how to set up port forwarding with PIA:

  1. subscribe toprivate internet accessand download the VPN client.
  2. Open the PIA client on your device.
  3. Go to Settings > Network and enable "Require port forwarding".
    How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (6)
  4. From the server menu, select a server that supports port forwarding and connect to it. Servers that do not allow port forwarding are marked with a crossed back arrow.
  5. Write down the open port number - it will be displayed in the VPN client under the VPN IP.
    How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (7)
  6. Use this port number to configure the application you want to forward, such as your torrent client.

Is PIA port forwarding not working? Here is how to fix

Port forwarding can be intimidating and complicated. PIA's interface is easy to use, but things can still go wrong.

If port forwarding fails with PIA, try these general solutions first:

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  1. Connect to a different server location.
  2. Make sure you copied the correct port number from the PIA client.
  3. Change the connection type to generate a new port number.
  4. Make sure your computer's antivirus or firewall is not interfering with PIA.
  5. Reset your computer's TAP adapters (navigate to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network Connections).
  6. Please visit PIA's 24/7 live chat support for additional guidance.

Here are some common issues with PIA port forwarding and how to fix them:

"PIA port forwarding is not available in this region"

Port forwarding is not possible on PIA's US servers. If you want to forward from the US, you'll need to connect to a country outside the US near your physical location, most likely Canada or Mexico.

“The front door is closed. Check your firewall settings."

When port forwarding is enabled, PIA opens a randomly assigned port. This port will be shown in the VPN client when connecting to a server.

You needuse this port number in the application you are forwarding🇧🇷 If you use any other port number you will see this error message.

Firewall blocks connection

Firewall programs can cause conflicts with VPN connections. If you have this problem, you shouldcreate an exemption rule for PIA application in your firewall🇧🇷 However, this only applies to your computer's firewall, as your VPN will bypass your router's firewall.

Unable to connect to VPN server

If you are unable to connect to the VPN server, port forwarding is unlikely to be the problem. Try connecting to a different PIA server first, and if that doesn't work, reinstall the PIA client and try again.

Script issues or port forwarding API not working

If you are using the PIA scripts for port forwarding, it is important to upgrade tolatest version of these scripts🇧🇷 Older versions of scripts are not compatible with current generation PIA servers.

Is PIA a good VPN for port forwarding?

PIA isideal for port forwardingabout OpenVPN or WireGuardVPN protocols, but it comes with some limitations. More importantly, it only allows one random open port per connection.

You also cannot manually select or maintain a specific port number in the service, which can cause some compatibility issues.

Very easy to set upOnly one open port available per connection
Secure port forwarding settingsRandomly assigned port number
not individually identifiablePort number varies between connections
Excellent registration policy and reliable serviceNo US server enabled for port forwarding

Simple and intuitive setup

OurPIA reviewI found it easy to use overall, and it'sremarkably simpleto configure port forwarding in PIA as well. Once enabled in the settings menu, port forwarding will automatically be enabled whenever you connect to a supported server.

It's also easy to use once turned on. You just need to copy the port number for the app you want to forward.

How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (8)

The PIA menu shows the VPN IP address and port number you are connected to.

the servers areport forwarding enabled by default🇧🇷 The few that are not supported (mostly in the US) are clearly marked and grayed out when you ask for port forwarding.

Registration, anonymity and security policy

PIA allows port forwarding in its two available protocols,OpenVPNywire guard🇧🇷 These are industry-standard protocols with the highest levels of security, functionality, and reliability available. Its applications are alsoopen codeso anyone can inspect the source code for vulnerabilities.

He also keeps ano records policy, which ensures that neither your activity nor information such as IP addresses and connection timestamps will be stored on PIA's servers. Security is especially important when doing port forwarding.

PIA comes with aoff button, and we haven't seen any IP or DNS information leak either. These factors combine to makePIA an excellent option to download torrentsgenerally.

random port numbers

By randomizing port numbers, PIA helpsreducethe security and anonymity risks associated with port forwarding. This makes it significantly more difficult for bad actors to identify you or take advantage of the hole that port forwarding creates in your VPN firewall.

The downside to this approach is that it means the port forwarding settings on your device can break when you go offline. Each time you connect to the VPN you are given a different port number, which may not be the same as the last time you connected.

If your port number has changed, you will need to find the new PIA client number and enter it into the software you want to forward.

Is port forwarding secure in PIA?

EXPERT TIP:If you are not using the PIA port forwarding feature, you should disable it in your VPN client settings to avoid potential security risks.

Port forwarding can affect your ability tosafe torrent🇧🇷 A risk associated with the feature may be loss of anonymity.

If you have the same port location every time you connect to the VPN it becomesindividually identifiable🇧🇷 PIA overcomes this problem by allowing you to access onlya random door, whatit changes every time you connect.

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This has some drawbacks: you can't manually choose a port number or have more than one port forward active at a time. However, it helps to prevent your assigned port from being individually identifiable.

Of course, port forwarding always comes withsome security risks🇧🇷 By doing port forwarding with PIA (and any VPN) you are bypassing your VPN provider's firewall. This means that any active port forwarding exposes your computer to general Internet security risks. The risk is small but very real.

If a bad guy discovers your server's IP and opens the port, he can use it totake control of your computerosteal important personal datasuch as bank details. Therefore, it is very important that you never publish your port forwarding information and only use it with trusted applications.

EXPERT TIP:For port forwarding torrents, theThe safest torrent client is qBittorrent, which also comes with advanced port forwarding configuration options. We recommend only using apps you trust when forwarding ports.

Alternative VPNs for port forwarding

There are some good VPNs that offer port forwarding on their services. Here they arethree alternativesfor PIAs that offer good port forwarding features:

1. AirVPN

AirVPN offers thethe wider reachof port forwarding and customization options for any VPN we reviewed. Compared with PIAnot very easy to use or configure, although.

How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (9)

AirVPN port forwarding settings menu.

The VPN allows up to10 simultaneous port forwards, which can be configured on any of your servers. AirVPN also allows users to set up adynamic port forwardingthrough your service.

Unlike PIA, AirVPN also allows users toselect which portwant to open (any port above 2048).

There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. If you don't change your port regularly, you could undermine your anonymity or, even worse, expose yourself to security threats. AirVPN leaves that in your hands.

In general, AirVPN offers amore flexible port forwarding function than PIA, but also asks for more. Theirharder to useand comes withmore risks, especially if you are new to port forwarding.

To visitAirVPNor read ourComplete AirVPN Review.

2. Topo

Like PIA, Mullvad's port forwarding configuration isdirect and intuitive🇧🇷 In fact, it offersMore options🇧🇷 without sacrificing ease of use. According to our tests,Mullvad is also a good VPN for torrentinggenerally.

How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (10)

Mullvad port forwarding menu.

vpn dealsfive doors aheadon WireGuard and OpenVPN connections, either for IPv4 or IPv6. That's four more than Private Internet Access offers.

Port forwarding is only available for accounts that make one-time payments, not subscriptions. This is a measure that helps to avoid security problems when using the service, but it is also an inconvenience.

Mullvad's port forwarding offering is better than PIA's, but it lags behind in other areas.Mullvad is not recommended for Netflix streamingor other streaming services, and there is no Smart DNS service either.

To visitLunaror read ourMullvad VPN Full Review.

3. Windscribe VPN

Besides PIA, Windscribe is the highest rated VPN that also allows port forwarding. However, to make use of it, users will have topay an additional cost for a static IP address.

How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (11)

Windscribe port forwarding menu.

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Windscribe only offers port forwarding on static IP addresses. This means that free users and even most paid subscribers cannot access it. Users who pay more for onestatic VPN IP addressaccessiblea harbor ahead, and they can only use it on their static connection.

Since Windscribe's port forwarding settings can only be used on a static IP, it is alsoless secure than other VPNs that offer port forwarding🇧🇷 The combination of a fixed IP address and a fixed open port means that you can be individually identified when using the service.

On the other hand, Windscribe's static configuration isless likely to breakwhen disconnecting or reconnecting. If you change your open port number regularly, Windscribe can be a good choice for port forwarding.

To visitwind scribeor read ourFull Windscribe VPN Review.

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Related Tabs

  1. Is it safe to use Private Internet Access (PIA) to download torrents?

    How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (12)

  2. How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (13)

  3. What is VPN port forwarding?

    How to forward ports with PIA VPN (and fix it if it doesn't work) (14)

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What do you do when port forwarding doesn't work? ›

Why port forwarding feature is not working on my Wi-Fi router or...
  1. Step 1: Make sure the server is accessible from the internal network. ...
  2. Step 2: Check the port forwarding settings in the router.
  3. Step 3: Check the firewall setting. ...
  4. Step 4: Pay attention to the WAN IP address in the status page.
Oct 20, 2022

Can a VPN bypass port forwarding? ›

A VPN, meanwhile, is designed to safeguard your device from online threats. VPN works by encrypting device transmission and tunnels the data packet through secure servers. By default, connecting to a VPN will disable port forwarding. All opened ports will be automatically closed by the VPN.

Why isn t my PIA VPN working? ›

If you are unable to connect to PIA on Android, your problem could be caused by one of the following: Battery/storage saving app interfering with PIA connection. App cache issues that need clearing. Buggy app.

How do I force forward a port? ›

Set Up Port Forwarding
  1. Log in to the router as admin. ...
  2. Locate the port forwarding options. ...
  3. Type the port number or port range that you want to forward. ...
  4. Choose a protocol, either TCP or UDP ports. ...
  5. Type the static IP address you chose. ...
  6. Enable the port forwarding rule with an Enable or On option.
May 3, 2022

How do I check if port forwarding is working? ›

After you have successfully forwarded your ports, you will want to check to see if they are forwarded correctly. You can use this tool to see if your ports are open correctly: This tool will check for open ports and see if there are any services responding on that port.

Does Pia support port forwarding? ›

Unlike many VPNs, PIA offers a VPN port forwarding feature to all of its users. However, the feature is limited to one randomly-assigned port number per connection, which changes each time you connect. This means you can't manually choose a port number, and you can't set up multiple port forwards simultaneously.

Is there an alternative to port forwarding? ›

There are eight alternatives to Simple Port Forwarding for Windows, Linux and Mac. The best alternative is UPnP Wizard, which is free. Other great apps like Simple Port Forwarding are Multi Port Forwarder, AUTAPF, PFConfig and Port Map. Simple Port Forwarding works with WebPages and not directly with your router.

What VPN is better than PIA? ›

SUMMARY: NordVPN is by far the better VPN for streaming. It has faster international speeds, and unblocks 11 Netflix libraries, whereas PIA only works with 2. NordVPN also works with more content platforms, it has a better Firestick app and, unlike PIA, includes a functional Smart DNS services for other devices.

Is PIA still the best VPN? ›

We highly recommend them." ”PIA is a trustworthy VPN that offers good security and a court-proven no-logs policy. It comes with an ad blocker, anonymous torrenting, and the largest server fleet on the planet. One would be hard-pressed to find a more reliable VPN option for such a small price.”

Is PIA still a good VPN? ›

The Private Internet Access VPN is near the top of our rating, offering a full-featured VPN at a competitive price. It includes access to a global network with good speed, privacy and security features most users want like a kill switch and DNS leak protection, and a malware-blocking add-on.

What blocks port forwarding? ›

Your router can have a firewall that is blocking ports from coming into your network. You could have a personal firewall installed on your computer. You need to allow those ports through that firewall. The ports you have forwarded need to be allowed through every personal firewall you have on your computer.

What IP address do I need for port forwarding? ›

Forward a Port to the Computer

Most routers come with 192.168. 1.1 as their default address. If you have not used this interface earlier, enter the default username and password supplied by the router manufacturer to log on to the router.

What is source IP for port forwarding? ›

Source IP—The source IP address for traffic from which traffic is forwarded (Any, Single Address or Address Range). Destination IP—The IP address of the server to which traffic is forwarded. Internal Port—To which port traffic will be forwarded.

How do I test port connectivity? ›

  1. Open a command prompt.
  2. Type in "telnet <IP ADDRESS OF SERVER PC> <PORT>" and press enter.
  3. For example, you would type “telnet 123.45. ...
  4. If a blank screen appears then the port is open, and the test is successful.
  5. If you receive a connecting... message or an error message then something is blocking that port.
Jul 8, 2020

Do I need a static IP for port forwarding? ›

In order for port forwarding to work, you'll need to set a static internal IP address (ipv4) for your device. By default, your ipv4 address is probably dynamic, which means it's always changing, so the port forwarding won't be able to pin down your device on your home network.

How do I enable port forwarding with VPN? ›

Enable port forwarding in the VPN app or VPN account dashboard. Specify which ports you want to open on the VPN. On the program that's using port forwarding, such as a torrent client, change the listening port to the same number as in the previous step. Disable UPnP and NAT-PMP in the program settings.

Does port forwarding work while using a VPN? ›

Port forwarding orders your router to allow specific data to bypass some of the control systems. It allows external services to access your devices easily. However, it is not very safe, and many VPNs don't support port forwarding.

What port does PIA VPN use? ›

If you can connect over any of those, you should be able to use at least one of our connection methods. In addition, the PIA application pings our gateways over port 8888. This is used to connect you to the server with the lowest latency when you use the auto connect feature.

Can police still track VPN? ›

Police can't track live, encrypted VPN traffic, but if they have a court order, they can go to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and request connection or usage logs. Since your ISP knows you're using a VPN, they can direct the police to them.

Is blocking VPNs illegal? ›

And even though there are some major websites such as Netflix or Hulu that try to block a VPN connection it is still completely okay to use it. Yet, keep in mind that you might get punished for interfering with other people's welfare by using a VPN.

Can you bypass IP ban with VPN? ›

One of the most logical things to do when the IP address that you are operating with has been banned is to opt for a VPN. Bright VPN, is one of the best free premium VPNs currently available on the market. VPNs are useful in that they change your IP address so that your activity is not restricted.

Is port forwarding the same as UPnP? ›

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is a network protocol that allows compliant devices to automatically set port forwarding rules for themselves. These devices can be personal computers, printers, security cameras, game consoles or mobile devices that communicate with each other and share data over your network.

What is the easiest port to hack? ›

Vulnerable Ports to Look Out For
  1. FTP (20, 21) FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. ...
  2. SSH (22) SSH stands for Secure Shell. ...
  3. SMB (139, 137, 445) SMB stands for Server Message Block. ...
  4. DNS (53) DNS stands for Domain Name System. ...
  5. HTTP / HTTPS (443, 80, 8080, 8443) ...
  6. Telnet (23) ...
  7. SMTP (25) ...
  8. TFTP (69)
Mar 29, 2022

Is VPN better than port forwarding? ›

To be clear, under certain limited circumstances and for certain specific use cases, port forwarding has its place and can work well. However, a VPN will be the better option in most cases.

Why is my port forwarding closed? ›

Many reasons can cause this including improper router settings, improper configuration of the camera or the ISP blocking the port forwarding. Solutions: Step 1: Double check that the port forward settings on the router are correct.

Can Internet providers block port forwarding? ›

Yes, your ISP can block port forwarding on your modem from their side. Let me explain how an ISP blocks a specific port. It can be done in two different ways. If ISP supplies you the modem, they can disable ports on it using the modem firewall.

Which port is best for port forwarding? ›

Here are a few common ports assigned by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority standards organization:
  • 20 = File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
  • 21 = File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
  • 22 = Secure Shell (SSH)
  • 25 = Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
  • 53 = Domain Name System (DNS)
  • 80 = Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
May 27, 2020

How can I tell if port forwarding is blocked? ›

The open port checker is a tool you can use to check your external IP address and detect open ports on your connection. This tool is useful for finding out if your port forwarding is setup correctly or if your server applications are being blocked by a firewall.

How do I stop my firewall from blocking a port? ›

How to disable firewall on specific port?
  1. From the control panel choose Windows Firewall.
  2. Then go to advance setting from the menu on the left choose inbound rule.
  3. Select “New Rule” -> Port -> make sure that TCP is selected.
  4. Choose Specific local ports and fill the specific port that you want to allow.


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