VPN not connecting: 8 possible reasons and fixes
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) can be a valuable tool for secure Internet browsing and accessing restricted content. However, there are various reasons why a VPN may fail to connect, such as connection or server errors. This article will explore some of the common causes of VPN connection problems and offer potential solutions to fix them.
Whether it's an issue with your device, network connection, or a VPN service provider, we'll provide practical tips to help troubleshoot and resolve the problem. Keep on reading to learn how to fix VPN not connecting below.
How to fix a VPN not working in 5 steps
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fix a VPN not working in five steps:
- Check your Internet connection.
- Check your VPN settings.
- Try a different server location.
- Restart your device.
- Upgrade your VPN provider. We recommend NordVPN.
VPN is not connecting: common issues and fixes
There can be several reasons why a VPN may fail to connect, including:
- Internet connectivity issues. Poor internet connectivity or intermittent network connection can prevent the VPN from connecting.
- Firewall or antivirus software. A firewall or antivirus software on the device or network can block VPN traffic and prevent the connection.
- VPN server issues. The VPN server might be down for maintenance or experiencing technical issues, preventing a connection.
- Incorrect login credentials. Entering incorrect login credentials or expired passwords can prevent the VPN from connecting.
- Outdated VPN client software. Outdated or incompatible VPN client software may cause connection issues.
- Location-based restrictions. In some countries (such as North Korea), VPNs are illegal. Otherwise, networks might restrict VPN usage, preventing a connection.
This list is not exhaustive, and there could be other reasons why a VPN may not connect.
If your VPN seems not to be working as it should, there are plenty of fixes you can try out. Before contacting or changing your VPN service provider, pin down a possible issue and follow the fixes we provided below.
VPN not connecting on wifi
There can be multiple reasons why you can’t connect to a VPN while using a wifi connection: network restrictions (some wifi networks, especially public ones, can have restrictions that prevent VPN usage), firewall settings (if the wifi network has a firewall enabled, it can be blocking a VPN), and more.
Here are the possible fixes when your VPN is not connecting on wifi:
- Check your Internet connection. Make sure your wifi is connected and working properly. Try resetting your wifi router.
- Check your VPN settings. Make sure you have the VPN set up correctly: correct server address, username, and password for your VPN.
- Check your firewall settings. Your firewall may be blocking the VPN connection. Try disabling your firewall temporarily and see if the VPN connects.
- Change VPN protocols. Try changing the VPN protocol you are using, such as from WireGuard to OpenVPN, IKEv2, or L2TP.
- Restart your device. Try restarting your device and then attempting to connect to the VPN again. Contact your ISP if you need support to help restore your connectivity.
VPN not connecting on mobile data
VPN on mobile data works in the same way as it does on wifi, as it’s just a different way of delivering data. So, naturally, the hitches can be similar – network restrictions, limited data, outdated software, and more.
Try these fixing methods when you’re having issues with a VPN connecting while using mobile data:
- Check if your mobile data connection is stable. Your mobile data should be strong enough to connect to the VPN. Poor mobile data signal can cause VPN connection issues.
- Check if the VPN app is updated to the latest version. If it is not, updating the app may solve the issue.
- Try disabling battery saving mode. Battery optimization may prevent the VPN app from running in the background, which can cause connection issues.
- Reset your device's network settings. This can often solve connectivity issues with VPNs.
- Try connecting to a different VPN server. The server you’re trying to connect to may be experiencing issues, and switching to a different server could solve the problem.
If none of these solutions work, contact your VPN provider's customer support for further assistance.
VPN not connecting to server
Have you ever been denied while connecting to a certain VPN server? A VPN not connecting to a server can be a frustrating issue to deal with. There can be several common causes, such as an overloaded server, wrong VPN protocol, a blocked port, and beyond.
Luckily, there are workarounds to try out:
- Ensure your VPN software is up to date and that the server you are trying to connect to is operational. If you are using a public wifi network, check that it has no restrictions on VPN usage.
- Select another server. Some sever locations might be more popular than others – therefore – overcrowded. Always opt for a VPN provider with a vast server fleet and try switching them if one doesn’t work.
- Ensure your firewall doesn’t block VPN connections. In this case, try disabling any such software or adjusting the settings to allow VPN traffic.
- Choose another VPN protocol. Sometimes, a particular server or protocol may be experiencing technical issues or may be blocked by your ISP.
There is a chance that your app's preferred server is currently unavailable because VPNs often have thousands of servers. Even though the server is up and functioning, additional connections may not be allowed if it’s already overloaded with other users. Go through your VPN's list of locations and try connecting to a different area.
VPN protocol connection error
VPN protocols establish VPN tunnels to safely exchange data. As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of protocols, therefore – different technicalities and issues. If your VPN protocol doesn’t work, try the following fixes:
- Ensure correct protocol configuration. Incorrect protocol configuration can cause connection errors. Ensure that you have selected the correct VPN protocol for your device and configure it correctly in the VPN settings.
- Update the VPN client. VPN clients can cause connection errors. Update or reinstall the VPN client to resolve the issue.
- Check your firewall or antivirus software settings. Firewalls or antivirus software can block VPN protocols. Disable them or whitelist the VPN application to resolve the issue. Alternatively, check out the best antivirus software with VPN included to avoid any clashes.
- Reach out to your provider. A VPN server outage can cause a connection error. Contact your VPN provider for support, or try connecting to a different server.
VPN connection is denied
The list of reasons why your VPN could be denied is pretty long. Your connection can be rejected because of the firewall that’s interfering with your connection, you’ve run out of data, or your connection is unstable. If you’ve tried all the steps in our short guide, try this:
- Ensure your credentials are correct. If you’re facing denied access, it can be that your username/password is incorrect on the domain. You can double-check this in your VPN settings panel.
- Choose a VPN provider with unlimited data. All premium VPN providers will give you unlimited data. Therefore, you can rest assured the VPN won’t disconnect because of your data running out when you torrent or stream.
- Make sure that only one VPN client is running on your computer. If you have more than one installed, other clients could interfere and lead to a hiccup. Restart the computer after disabling all open connections. Your PC should now be reachable by your VPN client.
VPN doesn't work with Netflix or other streaming services
It’s not a secret that VPNs are commonly used not only to hide your IP address but also to access geo-restricted content. Unfortunately, streaming services such as Netflix actively block VPNs to prevent users from bypassing geographical restrictions in order to comply with the service’s terms. There are several reasons why VPN doesn't work with Netflix or other streaming services:
- Streaming services may use advanced tech, such as geolocation detection, to identify and ban VPN connections.
- Streaming services constantly update their detection methods to block VPN connections, making it difficult for VPN providers to keep up.
The best way to access Netflix libraries and stream from other popular streaming services is to choose a reliable VPN service provider that can bypass the notorious geo-blocks. Otherwise, always make sure you use a streaming-dedicated server, an incognito mode, and are regularly clearing your cache and cookies.
For more information, check out our review of the best VPNs for streaming.
VPN keeps disconnecting
Most common reasons why your VPN keeps disconnecting:
- VPN app is outdated
- Unreliable VPN provider
- Reached VPN supported device limit
- ISP is blocking VPN traffic
- Overcrowded servers
- Battery optimization settings disrupting the VPN
- Incorrect login details
- Firewalls blocking VPN
- Location-based restrictions
- Poor Internet connection
Slow VPN connection
Have you ever noticed your websites taking way longer to load or shows lag while streaming while using a VPN? There’s a myriad of reasons for that:
- Distant servers. The distance between the user's device and the VPN server can affect the connection speed. The further the distance, the higher the latency, resulting in slower connection speeds. Choose the one that’s closer to you.
- Overcrowded servers. Many users connected to the same server simultaneously can slow down your connection and decrease download or upload speeds. Opt for another server or a VPN provider with a vast server selection.
- Encryption and decryption processes. The encryption used by the VPN service can also slow down the connection speed, especially if the encryption is high.
- Torrenting. If you’re performing bandwidth-heavy activities, such as torrenting, speeds can decrease significantly. Choose torrenting-focused VPNs to solve this.
Overall, to ensure a fast VPN connection, it's important to choose VPNs with high-speeds, versatile servers located near the user's location, a reliable and fast internet connection, and a strong encryption protocol that balances security and speed.
Simply put, there are various common issues that can cause a VPN to fail to connect, but most can be resolved by troubleshooting steps such as verifying login credentials, resetting network settings, and updating software.
However, to avoid these issues altogether and ensure a seamless VPN experience, it’s recommended to opt for a premium and reliable VPN provider, such as NordVPN. These providers offer better security, faster speeds, and reliable connections, all of which are essential for an optimal VPN experience. It's always best to do your research and choose the best VPN provider to avoid any potential connection problems down the line.
Why is the VPN not connecting?
There could be various reasons why a VPN is not connecting, such as network connectivity issues, firewall or antivirus blocking the VPN connection, outdated VPN software, or server issues at the VPN provider's end. Troubleshooting the specific issue can help resolve the problem. Check out the issues and fixes we listed above.
How do I fix VPN connection problems?
To fix VPN connection problems, you can try restarting your VPN client, resetting your network settings, changing the VPN server location, checking for updates, and contacting your VPN provider's support team for assistance. If the issue persists, you may need to troubleshoot your network configuration or hardware.
Can a wifi network block VPN?
Yes, a wifi network can block VPN connections. This can happen by blocking VPN protocols or using deep packet inspection to detect and block VPN traffic. However, there are ways to bypass these blocks, such as using obfuscated servers or using a VPN that offers stealth mode, such as NordVPN.
How do I reset my VPN on my iPhone?
To reset your VPN on an iPhone, go to Settings > General > VPN, and toggle the switch next to your VPN to turn it off. Wait a few seconds, and then toggle the switch back on to turn your VPN back on. Alternatively, you can delete your VPN configuration and reinstall it.