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Understanding Advanced Settings on the Desktop PIA Client Part 3 - Knowledgebase / Technical / Application Settings and Features / Application & Features - PIA Support Portal

Understanding Advanced Settings on the Desktop PIA Client Part 3

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The first section of the settings interface is General, which controls the basic functions of the VPN and some graphical settings.  

  • Launch on System Startup: This will ensure that the application is launched upon boot.  

  • Connect on Launch: This will instruct the VPN to attempt to connect to a specified region on connect.  

  • Show Desktop Notifications: This was already explained in the section above.    

  • Language: will specify what language the application interface displays.   

  • Theme: This allows for selection of Dark or Light, demonstrated in the explanation of the Light Theme option above and System (Windows only and automatically sets the theme based on how it is set in Windows).     

  • Tray Icon Style: This allows users to select a particular icon based on needs.  

  • Dashboard Appearance: This allows you to choose how the application displays when the GUI is open. The GUI is attached to the icon when Attached to Tray is enabled. A window will detach the GUI from the tray and allow for a more mobile experience.  



The next section is Connection. This section contains specific settings which can be altered to either troubleshoot a connectivity issue or provide additional support and security.  

  • Protocol: The protocol toggle allows you to choose between the Wireguard and OpenVPN protocols.  

  • Transport: This setting will allow you to specify the use of UDP or TCP. In general, UDP will usually provide the best performance for most users, but TCP may be necessary for certain networks.  

  • Data Encryption: There are four available options, GCM and CBC for both AES-128 and AES-256 encryption. PIA exclusively uses encryption that has not been cracked and is known to be secure. All of these options will provide you security, but the higher levels of encryption will have a greater impact on performance.  

  • Remote Port: This setting allows specification of the specific port to be used in association with the connection type. For security reasons, the PIA VPN service only allows traffic on certain ports. Some users may need to specify a certain port for performance issues related to restrictions on the network they are connecting from.  

  • MTU: This option determines the maximum packet size allowed through the tunnel and offers three settings: Auto, Large Packets, and Small Packets. Auto detects automatically and is best for most connections. Large Packets can be considered the most efficient if the connection is reliable. Small Packets is less efficient but is best for unreliable connections.

  • Data Encryption: Upon changing the Data Encryption setting, the available options within Data Authentication will change. The GCM Data Encryption settings must utilize GCM Data Authentication.  

  • Local Port: By default, the application will randomly select the local port used; the vast majority of users will never need to modify this setting. Advanced users operating with highly restrictive firewalls may utilize this setting to specify a port that will work with their configuration.  

  • Use Small Packets: This setting will cause the connection to modify the MTU setting of the connection, effectively changing the packet size of the traffic occurring over the connection — this can be used to resolve packet loss issues.  

  • Try Alternate Settings: When checked, the application will by default, change the connection type and remote port until a connection is established.  



The next section is Network. The PIA Client will auto-connect you to PIA's DNS Servers it will also allow you to choose to use your device's existing DNS  or to set up a custom DNS server. Also within this section, you will also find another area to toggle the Port Forwarding and Allow LAN Traffic features, also available in the SETTINGS widget.  



The following section is Privacy. This allows access to the VPN Killswitch feature, which will prevent web traffic outside the VPN tunnel. You can also turn MACE on or off, which is a DNS level ad-blocker and can be easily accessed from the SETTINGS widget.  



Dedicated IP 


The Dedicated IP tab is where you will see the Dedicated IP you have purchased either through the client control panel or when you first signed up for the application. For more information regarding Dedicated IPs, please see the article Do you offer dedicated IP addresses? 

Part 4