Private Internet Access

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Private Internet Access is a subscription-based VPN service.

Manual

Installation

Download OpenVPN configurations from PIA. Unzip the file and move all files to /etc/openvpn/client. Ensure the files have root as the owner.

Tip: To be able to use OpenVPN#systemd service configuration (e.g systemctl start openvpn-client@<config>), rename the all the files and replace .opvn extension with .conf and replace spaces in configuration file names with underscores.
Note:
  • Disable ipv6 since it is not supported by PIA.[1]
  • Ensure you are using PIA's DNS servers, listed on their website.

Usage

See OpenVPN#Starting OpenVPN.

Tip: To automatically login, append the name of the file containing your username and password immediately after auth-user-pass in the configuration file(s). See this option in openvpn(8)for more information.

To test to see if you have successfully connected to the VPN, see this article.

Automatic

Official installation script

Private Internet Access has an installation script that sets up NetworkManager for use with the VPN. Download the script here and then run to set up.

Official Linux client

Private Internet Access has now an official client for Linux with support for Arch. Download the client from this page, unzip the file (e.g. pia-v81-installer-linux.tar.gz) and run the installation script (.e.g. # ./pia-v81-installer-linux.sh).

Packages

  • openvpn-pia — The package automates the method listed in the #Manual section, including renaming the configuartion files to be used with OpenVPN#systemd service configuration, as well as setting up the OpenVPN parameter auth-user-pass with a file for automatic login. Upon installation read /usr/share/doc/openvpn-pia/README for setup.
https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/ || openvpn-piaAUR[broken link: package not found]
https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/ || pia-nmAUR[broken link: package not found]
https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/ || private-internet-access-vpnAUR

Tips and tricks

Internet "kill switch"

The following iptables rules only allow network traffic through the tun interface, with the exception that traffic is allowed to PIA's DNS servers and to port 1197, which is used in establishing the VPN connection:

/etc/iptables/iptables.rules
:INPUT DROP [0:0]
:FORWARD DROP [0:0]
:OUTPUT DROP [0:10]
-A INPUT -m conntrack --ctstate RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -i tun+ -j ACCEPT
-A OUTPUT -o lo -j ACCEPT
-A OUTPUT -d 209.222.18.222/32 -j ACCEPT
-A OUTPUT -d 209.222.18.218/32 -j ACCEPT
-A OUTPUT -p udp -m udp --dport 1197 -j ACCEPT
-A OUTPUT -o tun+ -j ACCEPT
-A OUTPUT -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-net-unreachable
COMMIT

This ensures that if you are disconnected from the VPN unknowingly, no network traffic is allowed in or out.

If you wish to additionally access devices on your LAN, you will need to explicitly allow them. For example, to allow access to devices on 192.0.0.0/24, add the following two rules (before any REJECT rule):

-A INPUT -s 192.168.0.0/24 -j ACCEPT
-A OUTPUT -d 192.168.0.0/24 -j ACCEPT

Additionally, the above rules block the ICMP protocol, which is probably not desired. See this thread for potential pitfalls of using these iptables rules as well as more details.

Setting PIA DNS

If you find that Network Manager is controlling your host's DNS settings, and therefore your host cannot resolve any address, you will have to manually set the DNS server and attributes. You should note a symbolic link when running the following command

ls -l /etc/resolv.conf

Remove the symbolic link with rm /etc/resolv.conf Then create a new /etc/resolv.conf and add the following

/etc/resolv.conf 
nameserver 209.222.18.222
nameserver 209.222.18.218

Finally make the file immutable so no other application can modify it

chattr +i /etc/resolv.conf

Troubleshooting

I can't connect to OpenVPN using PIA manager, or OpenVPN doesn't work

PIA manager still uses OpenVPN under the hood, so even if you don't directly use one of the OpenVPN methods, you still need it. Firstly, check that it's installed. If you used one of the installation scripts, this should be done for you.

If you're getting errors like #<Errno::ECONNREFUSED: Connection refused - connect(2) for "127.0.0.1" port 31749>, that probably means TAP/TUN is not currently running. Either your kernel does not have it, in which case install a kernel which does (or compile a fresh one), or it isn't currently running, in which case it needs to be started:

# modprobe tun