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April 6, 2017

I now use a VPN for all my devices

I now use a VPN for all my devices

All because of this. Earlier I was using the built-in VPN that came with Opera, but since I sometimes use browsers for other things, I wanted a VPN to cover all web browsing activity (and I am a bit leery of free VPNs). So I bit the bullet and got a year of Private Internet Access. So far so good, though I’m noticing some problems…

Windows 10 only:

  • On startup, after Windows fully boots, it takes a REALLY long time for it to load and start. The first 5 times or so I tried to get it running manually (even though it’s supposed to start automatically), it would take a while to connect, then disconnect. And other times, the software/launcher thing just wouldn’t start. I eventually got it running and connected.

Android (not sure about iOS):

  • Pokemon Go does not work with a VPN. :/ Each time I tried to get it running, it would say “Cannot login”, and the retry button would loop back to the “Cannot login” error message. Turning off the VPN lets me in the game. (Ingress, PoGo’s predecessor has no problems with a VPN, but it also runs on older code.)
    • There is a setting in the PIA app where you can exclude certain apps like PoGo from the VPN. I tried it, and it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Not sure if it’s a VPN issue or what.

Windows 10 Mobile:

  • There is no PIA app for W10M, so I had to enter the settings in manually under Settings > Network & Wireless > VPN. One of the biggest problems is that after a few minutes, the VPN disconnects. I found that the VPN can stay connected much longer if I turn off wi-fi (and leave it running on data), and then turn it back on. But it only stays connected for less than 8 hours. It seems to me to be more of a W10M thing than a PIA thing. I don’t think people should have to do these workarounds for something so simple as keeping their VPN connected, so hopefully MS will fix this soon.

iOS only:

  • Just after I put PIA on my iPad Mini, and let it go into sleep mode, I woke it up and saw that the VPN had disconnected. Lolwut. I turned it back on, and haven’t had problems with it disconnecting since.

(FYI, I didn’t link to PIA’s site, since I didn’t want it to seem like I was endorsing them, though you can find them by Googling them. They seem to work the best for me, but might not be the case for everyone else–ex. they don’t have a trial version available, and only a 7 day window where you can get a refund if you don’t like it. So you only have 7 days to decide if it’s what you really want. If you’re looking for a VPN, check out this chart that someone made, with a detailed breakdown of each VPN’s strengths and weaknesses. Also you can check out r/VPNfor more info on VPNs.)