After purchasing a premium VPN, you might struggle with problems that you did not expect before taking out your credit card and entering your banking info to secure your browsing with a paid virtual private network service.
But we are here to assure you there are solutions for most common VPN problems you are facing. Besides, in the worst case scenario, you can get your money back and look for an alternative VPN service that works perfectly.
In this article, we are going over the 11 most common VPN problems and solutions. However, keep in mind that we are not reviewing VPN error codes (we have another article about that).
Check out the list of topics below to see what we are talking about (click to jump).
- 1. Your IP address and true location are not hidden
- 2. Connection speeds might sometimes be disappointing
- 3. Netflix is not working
- 4. Failure to download or upload torrents
- 5. Cannot access pages because of too many requests
- 6. Impossible to visit a certain website
- 7. Connection limit reached
- 8. Cannot connect to certain websites because they refuse VPNs
- 9. You are living or traveling to a country that bans VPNs
- 10. Customer support is not working
- 11. Problems with the money-back guarantee
Your IP address and true location are not hidden
Without using a VPN, visit IP Leak to find out what is your true IP address and location. You should take note of both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses (if IPv6 is available), the WebRTC detection test, as well as the DNS addresses.
Take note of this information and then launch your VPN native client to connect to a VPN server. Wait a few seconds until the VPN connection establishes successfully, then revisit IP Leak.
If the IP address and location of all fields are different than before, it means that your VPN is working perfectly. Otherwise, your information is somehow leaked and there might be a problem with your VPN.
Fix IP leaks
To fix IPv6 leaks, go back to your VPN client, open its options, and look for a setting related to IPv6 leak protection. Activate it if it was not already switched on. For instance, ExpressVPN, Ivacy, PrivateVPN, IPVanish and PureVPN have an IPv6 leak protection module.
Otherwise, you should find out if it is possible to use the OpenVPN configuration mode of your VPN service. If so, you can install a third-party tool that supports OpenVPN and features IPv6 leak protection.
However, if your VPN is leaking your IPv4 address, then there is something seriously wrong or the service is not working properly. You must get in touch with customer support to find out the root of this VPN problem.
Repair DNS leaks
To repair DNS leaks, return to your VPN native client and explore its settings panel for a DNS leak protection option. Make sure it is active.
If such an option does not exist, find out if you can use your VPN service in OpenVPN manual configuration mode. This way, you can edit OpenVPN’s config file and add a new line called block-outside-dns.
But if that is also not an option, you can install a third-party free application called DNSCrypt, in order to protect your network from DNS spoofing. For more solutions to resolve DNS leaks, check out our article.
Resolve WebRTC leaks
Your VPN service is not in charge of any WebRTC leaks. Therefore, if you have this problem, you should know that it is your web browser’s fault. But you can immediately resolve this issue.
Depending on which web browser you are using, it is possible to manually disable WebRTC by tinkering with the browser’s settings. The operation is pretty straightforward and requires no expertise in the matter.
Alternatively, you can install browser extensions that automatically deactivate WebRTC to prevent leaks To find out the exact steps to help you fix WebRTC leaks, check out our article.
Connection speeds might sometimes be disappointing
Technically speaking, a VPN service slows down your Internet service because it needs more processing power than normal to encrypt your data before sending it to a remote server as well as to decrypt the responses you get.
However, a trustworthy VPN application is designed in such a way that it minimizes damages as far as connection slowdowns are concerned. As a result, you should not even notice a decrease in Internet speed because it must be imperceptible.
If you encounter persistent VPN problems, there are several things you can try before contacting customer service to ask for help.
Connect to VPN server recommended by the service
All top-notch virtual private network services recommend that you connect to a specific server. It is not a fixed server for all customers. Instead, it depends on where you are located. Usually, the recommended server is nearest to your location.
If this does not fix your VPN problem, then you can try connecting to another server from the same country as you. ExpressVPN has a Speed Test tool that gives you the possibility to evaluate the speed of all supported VPN servers so that you can find the fastest ones.
Use a VPN server that is not crowded
Other customers such as yourself might be connecting to the same VPN server you are trying to use. In turn, this leads to a general slowdown for all of you. So, the problem is that there are too many clients connected to the same server.
In this case, we recommend connecting to different VPN servers until you find one that delivers great speed. If you are using a free VPN tool with a limited number of VPN servers, then you must drop it in favor for a premium solution.
Switch to a faster VPN protocol
Depending on which VPN service you are using, the application might be set to use the strongest VPN protocol by default, like SSTP.
Although it is an excellent choice to maximize your security across the web, you should also know that it negatively affects your connection speed: the stronger the protocol, the slower the Internet.
Look under the hood of your VPN and switch to a weaker protocol to increase your VPN connection speed. But you should not overdo it either. A VPN must ensure your online privacy and security, after all.
For example, if you are using OpenVPN, then select UDP instead of TCP. If OpenVPN is still not delivering the speed you are looking for, then you can try L2TP or PPTP. However, we do not recommend either L2TP or PPTP because they have weak security and many VPN providers have dropped their support because of this.
Turn off obfuscation mode
Obfuscation mode is a cloaking mechanism that hides the fact that you are connected to a VPN. It is a mandatory tool for users who are living or traveling to countries whose governments impose strict Internet censorship rules.
Some of these countries ban the use of VPN or allow only VPNs approved by the state. If your VPN service supports obfuscation mode and if you do not require it to protect your online identity from oppressive governments, then make sure to turn it off. For instance, NordVPN supports obfuscated servers.
Obfuscation requires more power than a normal VPN connection because it applies stronger encryption. And this takes a toll on your network speed while you stay connected to the VPN.
Enable split tunneling mode
When it comes to ExpressVPN, you can configure split tunneling by application in whitelist or blacklist mode. For instance, you can configure your web browser to use VPN so that you can watch Netflix.
However, all other Internet-enabled tools will remain connected to the public Internet so that you can keep accessing the resources of your office’s closed intranet.
This way, you can allocate network resources more intelligently, minimize waste, and encrypt data packets only for the programs that use VPN.
For more information about how you can counteract VPN connection slowdowns, such as clearing your DNS cache, adding firewall exceptions and upgrading your router, check out our article about how a VPN affects your Internet speed.
Netflix is not working
If you have purchased a VPN service to unlock exclusive Netflix libraries that are not available to your region, you might encounter problems with your VPN. The most common issue is the Netflix proxy error.
However, not all VPN servers are compatible with Netflix. As such, you should take a look at the feature presentation of your VPN client to see if it works with Netflix and which specific servers are compliant.
Pick another VPN server
You can also try switching to different VPN servers in case Netflix has managed to detect and block your server in the meantime. If the issue persists, there is no way to avoid getting in touch with customer support to ask for their help.
If you are looking for alternate solutions for watching Netflix, we recommend you to check out a Smart DNS tool instead of a VPN service. It is specially designed to unlock various media streaming services without encrypting your data traffic. Therefore, it provides better speed than a VPN.
Failure to download or upload torrents
A lot of users turn to VPN services to protect their online identity and download torrents anonymously. But the BitTorrent client might just not work, which is a serious VPN problem for many people.
Firstly, you should know that not all VPN services work with torrenting. In fact, many providers discourage this. You can run a quick Google search or contact customer support to see if your VPN supports torrents.
Secondly, make sure you are connecting to a VPN server that supports peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic, including torrenting. Regular VPN servers do not work for this.
Configure port forwarding mode
Thirdly, the NAT firewall of your VPN might be interfering with your torrent seeding, thus blocking your uploading. But you can get past this issue by setting up port forwarding (port mapping) mode to reroute incoming connections.
Few VPN services support port forwarding, such as Mullvad VPN, Private Internet Access, and Ivacy. Another solution is to configure port mapping at the router level. Check out our article on VPN port forwarding to learn more about this feature.
Cannot access pages because of too many requests
When you are trying to access certain pages on the Internet, your browser might return an error. If it says something related to too many requests originating from your IP address, then it is time to switch VPN servers.
It means that too many users are using the same VPN server as you. And all of them are attempting to access the same page you are. The answer to this VPN problem is quite straightforward: change your IP address by connecting to a different VPN server.
This kind of error message typically occurs to people who are using free VPN or free proxy servers. As you can imagine, many other people will use the same IP address as you just because it is free. As such, the server becomes overpopulated.
Impossible to visit a certain website
If you fail in your attempt to connect to a particular website after connecting to the VPN, you can try connecting to a different VPN server, preferably one from another country. In fact, it is a good idea to explore many VPN servers from different locations.
However, if the problem persists, then it might not be your VPN’s fault. The issue could be local. Take a look at the built-in settings of your web browser and clear its data.
Make sure to delete cookies and other site data, together with cached images and files. Afterward, restart the browser and try again. You can also flush your DNS using the ipconfig /flushdns command.
Connection limit reached
If you see an error saying something like “connection limit reached” or “maximum number of devices reached” when you are trying to connect to a VPN server, it means that too many devices are currently connected to the same user account.
In some cases, you might be able to log out of all other devices by clicking a button (like the case of CyberGhost VPN). But that is not always possible.
Therefore, if you loaned the account details of your premium subscription to your family members or friends, you must get in touch with them and ask them to log out of their devices (especially if they are not currently using them but just forgot about the VPN).
Install the VPN service on your router
To surpass the maximum supported number of simultaneous device connections, find out if your VPN works with routers. Any VPN service that supports OpenVPN works with routers, so it can be used to put together a VPN router.
It counts as only one VPN connection and you will be able to share the VPN with all devices in your household via Wi-Fi (but you will all share the bandwidth and connection speed).
Cannot connect to certain websites because they refuse VPNs
Unfortunately, some websites refuse VPN connections due to many reasons. For example, Netflix and other streaming services try to prevent unauthorized users from accessing media content that is not available in their countries.
Some offices block VPNs to prevent employees from accessing any sites unrelated to work, such as Facebook, Instagram or other social media services.
Entire governments block VPN connections to stop citizens from visiting political or religious sites unapproved by the state.
Turn on obfuscation mode
When this happens, you must conceal the fact that you are using VPN by turning on obfuscation mode in your VPN service. Firstly, you must find out if your VPN possesses such a feature.
Then, you can connect to an obfuscated server. Your connections should now be unblocked because it looks like you are using regular HTTPS connections instead of VPN.
You are living or traveling to a country that bans VPNs
As we discussed earlier, some countries simply ban the use of VPNs or VPNs that have not been state-approved. The goal is to isolate citizens from the rest of the world by creating an environment controlled by the government.
Trying to get past this ban could get you into serious trouble, including paying huge fines or maybe even going to prison. As such, we strongly advise you to refrain from using VPNs if it means breaking the law, especially while traveling to countries whose laws you do not know.
Use obfuscated servers or join Tor
Another solution is to join the Tor network and use bridges to get online since a bridge acts like a censorship circumvention tool. You can use either a VPN service or Tor, or you can use them together.
To fully enhance your security, you can connect to a VPN server before joining Tor. For example, NordVPN has a special feature called Onion Over Tor, which brings you all Tor benefits combined with the security of a VPN tunnel.
Customer support is not working
The last logical solution to dealing with a VPN problem is to contact customer support and request assistance. Some services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN feature 24/7 live chat support so that you can swiftly engage in conversation with a specialist at any time of the day.
However, if the 24/7 live chat support does not appear on your page, you should try disabling your ad-blocker because that is typically the reason why it does not work.
Alternatively, you can start an incognito/private browsing session because it will not load any browser extensions, including your ad-blocker.
Problems with the money-back guarantee
If you have reached this phase, we can only assume that you were completely dissatisfied with your VPN service and tried to get your money back but something did not work.
Firstly, you must understand that not all virtual private network products come with a money-back guarantee, so you should double-check if your VPN has this policy. If the terms of service somehow changed since you made your purchase, it would be a serious issue that must be immediately taken with the VPN provider.
Secondly, all VPN money-back guarantees have a time limit. Sometimes it is 15 days, sometimes it is 1 month, depending on the terms and conditions of each VPN provider. Thus, make sure you did not try to apply for a refund when it was already too late.
In some cases, like NordVPN, you should log into your online account and cancel automatic payments for subscription renewal before contacting customer support and requesting a refund. There might be specific steps involved, depending on your VPN service.
Double-check the refund policy
In the case of ExpressVPN, if an in-app purchase was made through the App Store on iTunes, you should not refer to ExpressVPN for refunds but to Apple Support instead. That means that it depends on Apple’s refund policy.
It typically takes a few days until you get your money back, so you should be patient. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to take screenshots and keep a copy of emails or live chats – anything that can be used as evidence to support your claim. This evidence can be later used to show the company that you did file for a refund but the operation was not completed.
If you are a long-term VPN user, chances are that you encountered various problems when trying to connect to a server, access a site, download a torrent, watch Netflix, or anything else.
Nobody likes having to deal with such issues, but the important thing is that they can be resolved with a bit of time and patience.
What about you? What type of VPN problems have you stumbled upon? And how did you resolve them? We would love to hear your opinion, so do not hesitate to drop us a line in the comment section below.