Is your VPN not working? Problems with VPN apps can quite alarming because without a VPN, you remain at risk of getting your privacy exposed on the web.
The good thing is, many of the common VPN issues are simple enough that you can resolve these yourself.
If you have already tried these tips and still your VPN won’t connect, you can look into an alternative having strong customer support, which is capable of resolving pretty much every issue technical issue on an urgent basis.
Here’s a list of some VPNs with top-rated customer support:
Common VPN Troubleshooting and Their Fixes
Here’s a list of common technical issues that are at the root of the problem when your VPN won’t connect:
1. Checking subscription validity
One of the simplest yet fairly common reason why you can’t connect to VPN is a failed subscription attempt. If you’ve set your account to auto-renewal, it’s possible that the attempt failed and you didn’t realize it.
To make sure your subscription and account are still active, you should log into the user panel on your VPN provider’s official website and see if your account status is still active.
If not, then you should contact customer support or make the payment for a new subscription if you’ve actually failed to do so.
2. Make sure you’re connected to the internet
Before you start cursing after finding your VPN not working, make sure if you’re actually able to use the web without a VPN connected. It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many people get ready to ditch a VPN service only to find out later that they weren’t even connected to the internet!
So, make sure that your internet is working fine when your VPN connection is inactive. If you’re normally able to surf the web without any problems, then the issue is most definitely with the VPN. Otherwise, you just need to give your ISP a call and get the internet fixed. That will probably be enough to allow you to use a VPN and find it working perfectly fine.
3. Switching servers
Specific servers in a VPN’s network can go offline without any prior notice. The good thing is that all the leading providers in the industry offer multiple servers within the same or nearby locations. So, if your VPN doesn’t work, you should always try out multiple server locations. This often all that is needed to fix the problem.
PureVPN stands out in this regard, as it has a network of servers encompassing 140+ countries with a total 2,000+ servers. As such, you can always easily find a replacement server if any one of these is down in PureVPN’s network.
So, if your preferred location is down for some reason, you can use the nearest server until the other one comes back online.
4. Changing protocols
Some networks may block certain VPN protocols and lead to connection problems. Most VPN providers have offer multiple protocols which commonly include OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP.
If your provider offers both UDP and TCP OpenVPN protocols, the first change you should try is to switch to one or the other of these protocols. In some regions, especially the Middle East, UDP traffic is blocked, so your VPN won’t connect if it uses UDP protocol.
On the other hand, some ISPs may block TCP traffic. Therefore, experimenting with different protocols can often fix connectivity problems if certain protocols are actually being blocked by ISPs.
However, keep in mind that L2TP and PPTP are not no longer recommended protocols in this day and age and are considered outdated due to inherent security vulnerabilities. So, you should only use these if absolutely necessary.
If you’re still troubled with your VPN not working, move on to the other tips mentioned below.
5. Firewall/security software conflicts
Security software like firewalls and antimalware programs can either outright block your VPN connection or slow it down. Many instances of VPN not connecting are of this kind.
To resolve these VPN issues, you should add your VPN app in the list of exceptions in your firewall/anti-malware. This will force the security software to ignore your VPN connection while it continues to protect you from malware.
6. Updating the VPN app
It’s important to keep all apps updated. Many users who have come to me asking why VPN is not working are simply guilty of using outdated apps. It’s doubly important to update your VPNs because they contain bug fixes as well as security improvements. What’s the point of a VPN that is itself vulnerable to security exploits?
But other than that, an outdated VPN app tends to exhibit buggy behavior such as frequent disconnections and poor connectivity in general. If you’re running an older version of your VPN app and experiencing issues, updating the app should definitely be the first thing to do.
7. Exceeding the multi-login limit
Many VPN providers allow multi-login functionality whereby you can connect to multiple devices simultaneously using the same VPN account. But there is generally an upper-limit to how many devices you can connect.
If you exceed the limit, you naturally won’t be able to login to the VPN on another device until you sign out of the VPN from other devices.
So make sure you don’t share your VPN subscription with more friends than the upper-limit allows!
The only notable exception to this rule is Surfshark, which can support an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, so you can never exceed the limit.
VPN Not Working with Netflix
Netflix blocks IP addresses of many popular VPN services which causes an annoying error that will deny you access to your favorite shows.
So what do you do if you find VPN not connecting to Netflix?
The first thing to note is that not all VPNs are effective for gaining access to Netflix. In fact, Netflix has one of the most powerful anti-VPN filters in place and VPN providers have to work extremely hard to keep up pace with it.
Surfshark is one of the best VPNs for Netflix, but there are other options as well. You should also remember that for each VPN that is compatible with Netflix, there are certain servers that work best for streaming on Netflix. To find out these servers, the customer support of a given provider can help you the best.
Popular VPN Providers with Common Problems
It’s a bit ironic that users encounter problems more frequently with popular VPN apps. This isn’t that surprising though because these apps are used by a greater number of users, leading more users to discover problems and errors with these.
Here are some VPN providers and their most common problems:
IPVanish is a widely popular VPN service that may occasionally give you some problems. The most common problem that people often encounter with this VPN is frequent disconnections.
The solution? Simply update your IPVanish app. This problem is usually the result of using an app version beyond its expiry date. So, if you’re being disconnected too frequently, update your IPVanish app ASAP and the problem should be resolved.
If the problem still persists, check out this IPVanish not connecting guide for more helpful tips.
Private Internet Access (PIA in short) is another popular US-based VPN. Some users have reported problems connecting the VPN to their FireStick devices.
This usually happens due to a firmware issue on 2nd generation Firestick devices. To fix it, you will need to your device to Factory Defaults as explained in this PIA VPN not connecting guide.
Avast VPN Issues:
Avast is one of the biggest names in the online security industry. It’s better known for its antivirus software, but now offers a VPN along with its anti-malware as well.
A common problem with Avast VPN is conflicts with other security software. You will need to add all Avast-related services to the list of exceptions if you are using a firewall or other anti-malware along with it.
If that doesn’t solve your problem, see this Avast VPN not working guide for more helpful tips.
NordVPN has its fair share of problems. There are a number of common issues with this app. The first thing you should try is to reset the app.
The steps for resetting the app and other tips for fixing NordVPN behaving badly are explained in more detail in this NordVPN not working guide.
Windscribe is a freemium VPN provider that has a great user interface and works smoothly for the most part. Nonetheless, it does run into some problems.
One of the more common issues with Windscribe is a result of an outdated app. If you are experiencing buggy performance, it might be time to update the app.
If you’re still having issues, see this Windscribe not working article.
According to our detailed Review of ExpressVPN, it is one of the largest VPN providers in the industry and yet even this service isn’t free from bugs and errors.
It is one of the few VPNs that works in China. If you are experiencing troubles getting this VPN to work in the mainland, you can try some of the specialized servers as mentioned in this guide on ExpressVPN not working.
So there you have it: a list of common VPN-related issues and their easy fixes. However, these solutions are written in a general context. If you’re a subscriber of a particular VPN and want to fix issues with it, check out the following guides written specifically when find your particular VPN not working: