Saturday, November 14, 2020

PIA did it again - Oddball problems with VPN


As of Nov 14, it appears PIA has stopped working again:

  • Play Store not working (on some devices, OK on others)
  • YouTube not working (on some devices, OK on others)
  • Can't connect to,, but can connect to most other sites fine
  • Smart home devices offline (ecobee, Honeywell, etc) 
  • Honeywell Home: Endless loading

Of course, nothing changed on my end, and everything works just fine outside of PIA.  Mobiles also work outside of router-based PIA with the PIA app.

See here for the original saga.  Seems they can't keep their network stable for more than 3 months at a time now.  Awesome stuff, those Next-Gen servers - a real improvement!

Strangely, the new problems are not as widespread or consistent as before.  One device has no YouTube, but others do.  One device can't access CNN or BBC, but others do.  A third device has no Play Store, but others do.

One constant is the smart home devices.  As before, they are connected, but cannot reach their home servers.  The ecobee is the most obvious example, as it can even ping but cannot connect.

Changing from AES-256-CBC to AES-128-CBC helped some devices with some problems, but other problems persist.  They're extremely annoying at best and extremely frustrating at worst.

PIA did try and claim blacklisting, but the affected devices work fine on the PIA app.  It's only router-based setup that has issues.

[Edit]:  OK, to be fair, I am using an ancient version of DD-WRT.  My router is business-critical so I don't screw with it.  Possibly I can pick up an open-box special and try flashing the latest, and/or switch to pfsense once my new box arrives.

[Update]:  I tried ExpressVPN, and it worked fine.  I had some issues and didn't stick with them, but there were no problems with connectivity per se

[Update]:  I was able to get a second router and re-flash it to the latest DD-WRT.  After this, PIA appears to be functional again, but I have not had time to test it on all devices.  So far, one Windows PC and my ecobee thermostat are happy on the VPN; the rest have yet to be tested.

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