It’s not unusual for your VPN to experience problems every once in a while. This can happen for any number of reasons, but many problems you can fix by yourself. You just need to know a few tips.
Like any other software, your Virtual Private Network can also experience sluggish speeds, dropped connections, and some more serious problems. Troubleshooting is something that you need to learn to protect yourself from stressing out when a problem arises.
Sometimes, depending on the VPN service provider, you won’t be able to reach tech support and you will have to deal with the problem yourself. Luckily for you, some problems that your software might be experiencing are quite easy to resolve with a bit of troubleshooting. Others, of course, are not.
Let’s see what your best options are for those simpler problems.
One of the most common problems that a VPN user might experience is slow speeds. Slow speeds can happen for many reasons and it’s probably the most annoying thing, especially if you are trying to stream something, or you are downloading content from the internet.
Another problem is the inability to unblock websites. For example, many customers regularly complain that they cannot connect to Netflix even though they are using a VPN service provider that promised they could.
Moreover, one of the more serious problems when it comes to VPN troubleshooting is your connection dropping all the time, or not being able to connect to a server at all.
As a VPN is a complex software that keeps changing and upgrading, you have to be prepared to deal with these situations.
Here is what you can do.
VPN Troubleshooting Tips
Check Your Network
Yes, sometimes the problem is much easier than you think. Your VPN might be experiencing problems because your network is down. We tend to forget the most obvious things sometimes, and this is why checking your network is the first tip on the list.
Try to connect to the internet without turning on your VPN. Then try again with the VPN. This will show you whether the problem is your network or the VPN connection.
Keep Everything Updated
Your software needs to be updated regularly. This isn’t only the case with your VPN, but every other security software you have installed on your computer, such as antiviruses and anti-malware software.
Never ignore update notifications, they can seriously improve the quality of your VPN. It’s the only way to actually stay protected.
To be certain that everything is up to date check which version you are using and compare it to the latest one the provider is offering. Usually, you just have to open the Settings, My Account or About menu t find your version number.
When it comes to VPN speed problems, it’s recommended to change the server you are using. Servers can get overcrowded and that could be causing your speed reduction and buffering. Find a server, if possible, that does not have many people using it.
Something else that happens every now and then is a blacklisted server. That means the website you are trying to reach through your VPN blocks access for that precise server. Just switch on another server and try again.
Another case which might cause you problems is if the server is down. It’s not uncommon for a server connection to be lost. If this is giving you a headache, check the official website of your VPN provider. Normally, they have a server list showing the active and inactive servers. Check for a maintenance notice as well.
Switch VPN Protocol Or Port Number
If your VPN remains slow or has an unstable connection, it’s time for the demanding troubleshooting. You'll have to try changing the VPN protocol, or port number.
A VPN protocol is crucial when you want to establish a VPN connection. The route your network and keep it encrypted. But sometimes this might be the root cause of your speed problem. OpenVPN protocol is currently the most used and trusted, but it’s also considerably slower than some of the others. If you prefer speed over protection, you can consider switching to a faster one, the L2TP/IPsec VPN protocol. It won’t slow you down as much, but it’s definitely not your safest option.
While on the topic of protocols, you can also choose between two IP protocols – UDP and TCP. The first one is much faster, but TCP is the one that is far more reliable.
Moreover, have you checked your port numbers?
Different ports are for different type of internet traffic, and your VPN is using one too. Just as servers, these ports can get crowded and the solution here is to change the port. It could also be your Internet Service Provider throttling the connection on a popular port.
To take these might require previous knowledge or good research, but some service providers offer configuration options in their VPN clients which makes the process much easier.
Check Your Firewall
Sometimes VPNs don’t work well with other security software and are detected as a threat rather than an additional layer of security. In this case, your firewall could be blocking your VPN connection because it keeps seeing it as a threat.
Open the firewall settings on your computer and turn it off. Now, try and connect your VPN and see if it will work this time.
If it does, then you’ve found yourself the cause of the problem. Your firewall is not passing through the connection. After you’ve established this, turn your firewall back on. It’s very dangerous to deactivate the main protection on your device and keep it that way. If the problem continues while your firewall is on, it’s time to contact your firewall's support.
Reinstall The VPN Client
Some VPNs are very easy to manage and set up, while others are definitely demanding. If you just recently purchased a VPN and this is the first time you are using it, then it might be there's something wrong with how you installed the software on your device.
Delete your VPN software completely, erasing any trace from it on your computer and start all over. This time, search for instructions on your provider’s website follow them carefully.
If you did a manual set up, this, of course, is not an option. Instead, make sure that every detail you have entered is correct.
If all else fails, and you are not getting a proper response from the support, it’s time to move on. Try and get your money back and invest it in a better one. Make sure you do proper research to avoid getting another VPN that won’t work for you. Avoid free VPNs, and make sure that you get one that has 24-hour knowledgeable and helpful support.
For more information, feel free to ask a question in the thread below!