Troubleshooting VPN Problems
This page lists many common problems you might experience with your VPN, and steps you can take to troubleshoot and resolve your issue. This list is non-exhaustive, but we hope to cover the VPN problems and errors users experience most often, and the best way to fix them.
VPN can't connect to the Internet
- Try restarting your VPN — sometimes, a quick and simple restart can often resolve connectivity issues.
- Your firewall may be blocking the VPN — check that your VPN software is whitelisted in your firewall. Software such as Windows Firewall often blocks VPN apps and programs, leaving them unable to access the Internet.
- Your ISP or government may be blocking your connection — if this is the case, you might benefit from switching VPN providers, especially if you find yourself in a country with a repressive government, such as China or Iran, who go to great lengths to block VPNs. Some VPNs are able to obscure their traffic, making it appear to be regular Web traffic, bypassing tough government blocks. See here for PrivateInternetAccess' information regarding their VPN's connectivity from within China. Sometimes, connecting using the L2TP protocol can bypass government blocks, too.
- You may need to update your VPN software — have you checked your VPN software is up to date? Major updates can occasionally render previous versions of software unable to access VPN providers' servers, which interrupts connectivity.
- Anti-virus software could be interfering with your VPN — AV software such as McAffee has been known to interfere with certain VPN software. As long as you are using a reputable VPN provider, it should be safe to whitelist it in your AV software's settings. Otherwise, consider switching your anti-virus software; in 2018, little more than Windows Defender is necessary to be fully protected, as long as you exercise caution when browsing the Internet and do not open suspicious files or email attachments.
I can't log into my email/bank/etc. account
- Don't connect to sensitive, personal accounts with your VPN — it is NEVER recommended to log in to your personal online banking account with VPN software active. At best, your bank may flag your account as suspicious and request proof of your identity, such as via an email or text message. At worst, your bank will detect your account is connected via a different, unusual IP address, and your account may be suspended pending review. Banks are very weary of VPNs, because hackers and malicious actors exploit VPN anonymity in order to commit financial fraud, steal accounts, and transfer money illegally.
- The website may block VPN IPs — certain websites, such as Outlook and Gmail, block known VPN IP address ranges to prevent malicious activity, due to the fact VPNs are often exploited by criminals. There is no real way around this, but you can try switching servers, countries, or IP addresses, if your VPN software allows for this.
Some images won't load
- The VPN might be being blocked — if images fail to load only on one specific website, it could mean the website, or the website's CDN are blocking your VPN's IP address. Try connecting via a different server, country or location.
- The VPN server may be faulty — the server you are connected to might be experiencing issues; try connecting to a different server.
- You may have a browser addon or extension blocking images — try using a different browser and see if the issue is resolved, or try disabling ad-blocking software like uBlock Origin, AdBlock Plus, or AdBlock. Sometimes the issue isn't related to the VPN at all!