Private Internet Access for torrenting in 2023

Mikaela Bray
Mikaela Bray | Contributing Writer
Last updated: January 23, 2023
Private Internet Access for torrenting
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Private Internet Access (better known as PIA) is one of the oldest and most popular Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers around. With its huge portfolio of servers across the world, reliable customer support, and general ease of use, PIA scores highly in most areas. But how does the Private Internet Access torrenting performance compares to its rivals in 2023?


Torrenting with a US-based VPN is not safe

While torrenting is legal in most countries, downloading copyrighted content is not. Don’t get caught doing it – use a reliable VPN that’s based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction!

Torrenting is an area where VPNs can often slip behind. Sometimes they decide to block P2P downloading for legal reasons. Sometimes they prefer to divert torrenters to a few servers to maintain high speeds for everyone else. And even superfast, reliable VPNs can fail the torrenting test. Let’s see how PIA does.

Is Private Internet Access torrent-friendly?

On the PIA front page, the company focuses on its privacy protection, ability to beat censorship and filters, and ease of configuration. But torrenting is nowhere to be seen. That’s not uncommon even with the top torrenting VPNs, which often allow P2P but don’t make it a major selling point.

But if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will see “P2P support” under the VPN’s list of features, and that’s an excellent sign. However, when you search the PIA “Knowledge Base,” there’s very little information about their policy on torrenting or about how to set it up for use with popular torrent clients properly (see below for our quick guides about Private Internet Access qBittorrent and uTorrent setups).

Nevertheless, it’s clear that PIA torrenting is a possibility, so you don’t need to worry.

What features make PIA torrenting a good idea?

features, Private Internet Access

There are also a number of features, which make Private Internet Access torrent-friendly:

  • Strong protocols. PIA supports industry-leading protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2.
  • Excellent encryption. PIA offers a choice between 128 and 256-bit AES encryption, both of which experts consider to be very secure. You can also choose 128-Bit AES without data authentication to boost speeds or go for the “all speed no safety” option, which does away with encryption altogether.
  • Plenty of servers. Private Internet Access offers more than 29300 servers, so finding a fast connection shouldn’t be too hard. These are located in 84 countries, which means you won’t struggle trying to find an option nearby.
  • Zero logging. According to the privacy policy, PIA keeps zero logs, which will reassure torrenters.
  • Try before you buy. Thanks to the PIA 30-day money-back guarantee, you can test it out, getting a feel for the VPN’s torrenting speeds before making a final decision.
  • Unlimited bandwidth. All paid packages have unrestricted download quotas, so you won’t suddenly run into throttling in the middle of a download.
  • A wide range of platforms. The PIA client is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS, while there are also browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

All of these features can boost torrenting performance or make using the PIA client more convenient.

Are there any drawbacks to consider before downloading the Private Internet Access client? Probably.

One important fact about PIA torrenting is that the VPN is based in the United States, which has a very hostile approach toward copyright violations. The PIA privacy policy states that the company will “comply with all valid subpoena requests,” but they also assure users that they will challenge any invalid requests. Users will be glad to hear that PIA’s no-logging policy has been tested in court and held up admirably.

In any case, users may want to be better safe than sorry and choose our #1 P2P option in NordVPN. Based in a privacy-friendly Panama, this independently audited service guarantees privacy while torrenting.

Have there been any customer complaints about Private Internet Access torrenting?

If Private Internet Access torrent speeds aren’t up to par, there’s no point sticking around. You may as well move to a VPN that prioritizes P2P downloads. The picture, in this case, can be seen as mixed.

Some users have reported regular disconnections and possible DNS leaks when torrenting with PIA, although others have responded that disconnects are very rare when routing connections via the PIA’s SOCKS5 proxy. So that could be a good idea for torrenters. And the Kill Switch function also provides a safeguard against leaks, so it’s not a fatal flaw.

Discussions on Reddit have featured supporters and critics of PIA. Some users have complained about “extremely slow” speeds, while others have pointed to simple technical fixes to resolve similar issues. The overall picture seems to be that PIA can work well as a torrenting VPN but that you need to get P2P client setups right. So let’s run through some ideas about creating fast, reliable Private Internet Access uTorrent and qBittorrent configurations.

How to set up the SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting with major P2P clients

private internet access torrenting

While there are many different torrenting clients around, qBittorrent and uTorrent are the two that have attracted the most attention among PIA users. It’s worth dealing with them separately to give you some pointers, as both require a little tinkering before the VPN works perfectly.

For starters, you’ll need to generate separate login and password credentials for your SOCKS5 proxy. You can do that by visiting the Client Control Panel on the PIA website, going to the Downloads menu, and scrolling to the bottom.

Furthermore, we want to note that it is unnecessary to set up SOCKS5 on your torrent client for protection – simply being connected to a VPN server is enough for most.

Configuring a Private Internet Access qBittorrent SOCKS5 setup

Setting up a Private Interest Access qBittorrent SOCKS5 configuration is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Load up the qBittorrent client.
  2. Head to the Tools menu, then choose “Options” and “Connection.”
  3. Under the “Type” field, write Socks5.
  4. Under the “Host” type:
  5. Specify the Port as 1080.
  6. Enter your generated SOCKS proxy username and password.
  7. Before pressing “Apply,” make sure that the “Disable connections not supported by proxies” and “Use proxy for peer-to-peer connections” options are selected.

Configuring a Private Internet Access uTorrent SOCKS5 setup

To get the best out of uTorrent with PIA, you’ll need to set up the VPN’s SOCKS5 proxy on the torrent client. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Open your uTorrent client.
  2. Head to the Settings menu, then choose “Preferences” and “Connection.”
  3. In the “Type” field, enter the following: Socks5.
  4. Now, in the “Proxy” field, enter
  5. Set the “Port” as 1080.
  6. Before you leave this menu, remember to tick the following boxes: “Authentication,” “Use proxy for hostname lookups,” “Use proxy for peer-to-peer connections,” “Disable all local DNS lookups,” “Disable features that leak identifying information,” and “Disable connections unsupported by the proxy.”
  7. You’ll also need to enter your generated SOCKS proxy username and password. Then you’re good to go.

How to optimize PIA for torrenting in 2023?

If you follow our Private Internet Access qBittorrent and uTorrent guides above, you should be extra safe. However, if performance is slow when you start downloading files, there may be some options to consider.

Firstly, think about contacting PIA’s customer service. P2P downloads are clearly listed on their website as a key feature of the software, so they are committed to helping you achieve the best possible speeds.

Alternatively, you could try enabling port forwarding to see if that resolves the problem. To do so, follow these simple steps:

  1. Make sure that you have disconnected from the Private Internet Access servers.
  2. Choose the “Settings” menu in the VPN client, then select “Advanced.”
  3. On the right-hand side, there should be an option marked “Port Forwarding.” Choose “Enable,” then save your settings.
  4. When you reconnect to the VPN, you’ll be assigned a specific port. To find the number, hover your mouse cursor above the VPN’s system tray icon until a 5-digit code appears. Note it down or commit it to memory.
  5. Open your torrent client and head to the settings menu. Find the connection settings and enter the port number in the appropriate field.

Disclaimer: we can’t advise this course of action because it makes you less secure – your torrent traffic becomes easier to trace back to you.

If you still encounter poor speeds, try disabling the uTP protocol in your P2P client, reduce the number of “global connections” (if available), or ditch PIA and try another VPN provider. It may be that you are too far away from a good server to make the prospect of Private Internet Access torrenting viable.

Conclusion: Is PIA torrenting a good idea?

Private Internet Access is a good option for P2P downloaders.

It’s fast, easy to use, and has strong security features. And you can easily configure the right Private Internet Access uTorrent or qBittorrent SOCKS5 setup as well. So what’s not to like?

As we’ve seen, the experience of Private Internet Access torrent users has varied. Some people give up on PIA after months of slow torrent speeds, even after trying the solutions offered by their support team. But many find it absolutely fine.

Then there’s the American location. Although there’s no doubt that PIA torrenting works well in most cases, many torrenters will prefer to avoid a US-based VPN for security reasons. That’s why we recommend using NordVPN, the best VPN for torrenting, instead.

Top VPN for Torrenting
9.7 / 10
Optimized for Torrenting
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Surfshark VPN
9.5 / 10
Good torrenting speeds
Unlimited connections
Great price at $1.99/month

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  1. BR Neal

    Mikaela, very good article. I have been using PIA for about 10 years now. One correction is your setup for the SOCKS5 option. Your PIA username and password will NOT work here. You must go the the Client Control Panel, then Downloads and scroll to the bottom. There will be the section to generate a specific SOCKS5 username and password. Thanks.

    1. avatar
      Mikaela Bray Author

      Hi, BR Neal. Thank you for pointing that out! I’ve updated the article!

  2. Belk

    I don’t know if this is peculiar to me but it slows down my internet trying to connect to US regions, how do I add other regions?
    Also, Chrome crashes sometimes when changing PIA settings in the top right. What should I do to stop this?

  3. Lisa

    I think it’s harder and harder to find a really good VPN nowadays. And I do mean really good, without any security issues, no 5, 9, etc eyes and so on. Good for torrenting, Netflix, Kodi, and so on and so forth. If PIA is among the best then that just proves my point. Not saying PIA is bad but I’m pretty sure it’s not among the best either. Right now, from what I can tell, there are about 5-6 VPNs that I trust: ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Astrill VPN, TorGuard, Ivacy, CyberGhost.

  4. BigGuyJ

    I’m quit hesitant about this VPN, on one hand I’m hearing that it’s a real bad VPN and the other I’m hearing that it’s not that bad and it’s worth trying. I’m not sure I’ll try it as I’ve heard some VPNs are better. Thanks for the review though.

  5. MarcLy

    Is PIA a paid VPN or is it free? I couldn’t find the cost mentioned anywhere in the article.

    1. avatar
      Mikaela Bray Author

      Hi MarcLy,

      It’s a paid service, you can find the pricing on the PIA website or our PIA review.

  6. Joanneflagg

    These are some pretty awesome features listed above, offered by PIA. The usual day to day user is usually concerned about these features. I’ll give the Free version a try and see how things work out.

    1. avatar
      Mikaela Bray Author

      Yup, you definitely should see how it works for you and your needs!

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