I have trouble connecting or the connection drops frequently: changing ports

(Note: these instructional videos are experimental. And will be replaced in the future. Please disregard the below average production quality and speaker accent.)

Introduction

If you experience issues connecting or staying connected to all of our serveurs, you might want to try using a different port to connect to or a different protocol altogether. There are multiple reasons why this can be happening:

  • You are using UDP (default) behind one or multiple NAT routers that doesn't support hole punching;
  • You are connecting from a public network (such as a school, library, mall, coffee shop, hotel, etc) or a corporate network that filters or restrict Internet usage (typically to prevent abuse and piracy);
  • Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) filters some traffic for filtering, quality of service or restrictive measures;
  • Your ISP is actively blocking or trying to restrict usage of VPN services due to national bans;
  • A firewall device on your network is blocking the connection;
  • You are using a mobile network with frequently changing IP addresses or service restrictions;
  • Your connection is not reliable enough to maintain the connection active for extended periods of time (such as unstable/crowded WiFi access).

In these situations, using a different port or protocol to masquerade as another kind of application typically resolve the issue. Follow the instructions below:

Changing ports using the desktop application

If you are using the Windows, Mac or Linux application, you can easily change ports using the following instructions:

  1. Disconnect from the VPN
    1. Locate the PIA application icon in the tray area:
      • Windows: the icon is located in the bottom right corner of the screen. You may need to click on a upwards arrow to access it if you have multiple icons.
      • Mac OS X/macOS: the icon will be located in the top bar on the right.
      • Linux: depending on your desktop environment, it will be in a location similar to either the Windows or Mac version. On Gnome, it may also be in a tray in the bottom left corner.
    2. Click on the icon to open the menu
    3. Select Disconnect.
  2. Open the advanced settings window
    1. Click on the tray icon
    2. Select Settings. The PIA application window will open
    3. Click on the Advanced button.
  3. Change the Connection typeRemote port and Local port settings as needed (see the table below)
  4. Click on the Save button
  5. Connect again to the VPN
    1. Click on the tray icon
    2. Select Connect auto, or a server of your choice.

Try the following combinations of protocols and ports using the above steps until you find one that provides you with satisfactory connectivity:

Connection type Remote port Local port Explanation
udp 1194, 1197, 1198 (empty) This is the default ports used by OpenVPN 
udp 8080 (empty) Uses the often open port 8080 (http alternate) using UDP
udp 9201 (empty) (no particular signification)
udp 53 (empty) Mimics traffic to DNS servers
udp 53 53 Mimics traffic to DNS servers coming back
tcp 80 (empty) Mimics traffic to standard, unencrypted web (http) servers 
tcp 110 (empty) Mimics traffic to E-Mail servers (pop3). 
tcp 443 (empty) Mimics traffic to secure web servers (https). Typically the most compatible option due to the technical challenge involved into filtering this port without causing every website to display an error. 

Related solutions:

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