TL;DR: It's not good.
Fed up with PIA, I decided to try another VPN. I thought it might be easiest.
I wanted Hotspot Shield, but the fact that they log personally identifiable information, don't support pfsense and have no live support were deal-breakers. I wanted it set up immediately.
I decided to bite the bullet and go with ExpressVPN.
More expensive, but most said they were next fastest, they had 24/7 support and supported DD-WRT (for now) and pfsense (for future).
I ponied up and got a login. I had to run their app momentarily to find the fastest server, then I set it all up.
Any it worked! All my smart devices reconnected, all my strange connectivity issues went away.
However, I couldn't find the nameservers for secure DNS protection. I asked their chat, and they didn't know what I meant.
Turns out, ExpressVPN doesn't support this. They do allow manual configuration (on DD-WRT or whatever), but they don't provide IP addresses for their secure nameservers.
They asked me if I wanted to use the app instead, I said no. (Because I'm not setting up the app on every device owned by my kids, wife, etc., that's why.)
Reflashing the router is also an option. No thanks.
We mucked about for a while. They really didn't know what to do.
After some messing around, their suggestion was to set my router DNS to use 0.0.0.0 for all the DNS servers.
This appeared to work, and I had connectivity - but left my router admin panel unavailable! I couldn't see, change, or access anything, which was extremely frustrating. Almost everything broke, and I couldn't fix it, and it was BAD.
I still don't know why, and never will. But fifteen tense minutes, one hard reset, and a (painless) restore later, it was fixed.
Fortunately, I had a recent router backup, so I was able to restore the router settings. But I was extremely unhappy for those 15 minutes, and it was almost sheer luck that I had a recent router backup to use.
Now, DNS leaks alone were not necessarily enough to make me quit ExpressVPN after only an hour. And ExpressVPN did fix all of the connectivity problems I was having with PIA.
- Torrents were 25% slower than PIA. Definitely not a boost. This was the opposite of what I expected.
- Not understanding or supporting DD-WRT?
- Not even knowing what pfsense was?
- And borking my router?
- Incomplete / inadequate support for DD-WRT / pfsense
- Seemingly slow torrent speeds (for me)
- Not-so-knowledgeable tech support that (somehow) managed to bork my router
- High cost
Maybe if I get brave enough (and time enough) I'll try out NordVPN. Faster downloads are a perk I'm willing to give up at this point.