VPN Troubleshooting Guide — Common VPN Problems, Solutions & Tips

VPN Troubleshooting

Written by: Per-Erik Eriksson

Whether you are connecting to the internet at home, work, school, or anywhere else, you’ll need to set up a VPN connection to protect your privacy. This article will walk you through the basics of setting up a VPN and provide some troubleshooting advice.

VPN users often face some common issues related to connectivity, functionality, or privacy. The solution to these problems is often simple and straightforward. Troubleshooting VPN connectivity issues is often a case of ensuring you have followed the correct setup procedures and selected the appropriate settings.

In this guide, we will look over some of the most common VPN problems along with straightforward solutions to help you protect your privacy and browse across your borders.

Common VPN Problems & Solutions 

Following are the few common problems that VPN users often face:

Problem: Connection refused

Solution: The most common reason for this error message is that the server is overloaded and you will need to try again at a later time. If you keep receiving this error, please try a different server or contact your VPN provider to see if they have a solution.

Problem: Server address cannot be found

Solution: If you’re unable to find the server address of the VPN provider, make sure you have typed it correctly into your connection settings. Some providers, such as NordVPN and CyberGhost, use a .exe file to open the application and automatically install the necessary configuration files for connecting to their servers. 

If you see a message saying that an installation package could not be found, please run the installer again and ensure all relevant protocols and ports are configured correctly.

Problem: Server has no P2P or newsgroup access

Solution: Certain VPN providers block torrents and other file-sharing services over their servers. If you’re experiencing this problem, please contact the support team of your VPN provider for advice on how to enable such connections via their service.

Problem: Connection drops after several minutes

Solution: If your internet connection keeps disconnecting after a specific time, try checking your device’s default DNS settings. If this option is set to automatic, please ensure that the preferred server addresses are obtained automatically from the VPN provider. 

If you have manually entered these details into your device, then they might be reset when using the service with one of our servers. If you are using OpenVPN, please ensure that ‘–script-security 2’ and ‘up/down’ are selected in the configuration files.

Please note that if your ISP uses IPv6, this protocol might prevent you from connecting to secure servers. If possible, it will be necessary for you to disable IPv6 temporarily or reconfigure your connection settings.

Problem: Connection drops while using P2P

Solution: If you’re experiencing connection issues while using torrents, please check that your VPN provider allows this type of activity on their servers. Some providers will prevent P2P traffic to ensure they can provide fast speeds for all users, so if it is blocked you will need to upgrade to a premium VPN service.

If you’re still experiencing connection issues, please select a different server or contact your VPN provider’s support team for more information on the problem. 

If you are having problems connecting while using a Windows device, please check that OpenVPN is installed correctly and configured correctly. In some cases, you will need to install OpenVPN from scratch using the .exe file provided by your VPN provider.

If you are using the ‘–up’ or ‘–down’ parameters, please ensure that these are set to start up automatically when your device starts. For example, the following text should be included in an OpenVPN .conf file:

up “./vpn-up.sh”

down “./vpn-down.sh”

Problem: Disconnection after a few hours

Solution: The most likely cause of this issue is suggested in the error message itself – if you are experiencing a problem with a VPN service after several hours, please contact the support team for your provider. 

This error tends to occur when the connection has been inactive but is restarted by an application or device that shares its network connection. For example, if you have been using a desktop computer for several hours and then plug in an ethernet cable from this machine to a laptop, you might experience connection issues on the laptop unless you disable IPv6 for this device.

VPN Troubleshooting Tips

VPN troubleshooting can be a daunting task for anyone, but it’s possible to do it seamlessly with the right guidance. Here are some of the most common VPN issues and how they can be solved:

1: Check Connectivity Set Up Option

Check that your VPN is set up as a “Remote Access” connection as opposed to a “Site-to-site” connection. The former will allow you to connect from anywhere, while the latter will only allow for local connections.

2: Verify DNS Settings

If your internet is dropping after a few minutes of use, then there might be a problem with DNS settings. You may need to contact your VPN provider for help with this issue. 

3: Ensure Protocol Support

If you are not seeing the “VPN Connected” status, make sure you are using a protocol supported by your VPN provider. 

4: VPN on Shared Network

If you are using an office or shared network, then it might be that the network administrators have turned off the VPN service. You’ll need to contact them if this is the case, instead of your VPN provider.

5: IP Leak Test

You can check for more specific issues through an IP leak test. This is useful if you’re experiencing connection problems but aren’t able to find the problem yourself.

6: VPN Provider’s Service Record

If none of these steps work, then you may have a problem with your VPN provider. Make sure that they have a good track record before purchasing from them, as there are some providers who just don’t do the job very well!  

VPNs can be complicated to set up and even more difficult to troubleshoot. However, if you follow these simple tips, then you should be able to fix the majority of problems yourself!

Bottom Line

 If you’re experiencing difficulties with your VPN service, then make sure to follow these helpful tips and solutions.  You should be able to fix the majority of problems yourself, but if not it may mean that there’s a problem with the VPN provider, and you should contact the VPN provider before you continue to use their services.

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