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VPN Keeps Disconnecting? Here’s the Solution (100% Works)

Kate Hawkins
Last Updated by Kate Hawkins on September 23, 2022

I’ve had occasional problems with my VPN connection and while it’s usually an easy fix, VPNs aren’t good at telling you why connection issues are happening. Random disconnections are incredibly frustrating, especially when you can’t work out the cause.

To help you solve the most common issues, I’ve created an easy troubleshooting guide for patchy VPN connections. While these fixes only take a couple of minutes, it’s also a good idea to use a quality VPN to reduce and even eliminate connection errors.

ExpressVPN is the #1 VPN for reliable and smooth connections with its best-in-class global infrastructure. It’s even backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can buy with confidence. When I tested the refund policy to ensure it works, my refund was quickly approved over 24/7 live chat and the money returned to my account in only 5 days.

Get a reliable connection with ExpressVPN

Quick Guide: Common VPN Connection Issues (and How to Fix Them)

Get a reliable connection with ExpressVPN

How to Fix a VPN With Slow Speeds

1. Get a Fast VPN

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: Low
Time: Less than 5 minutes

A VPN always slightly slows down your internet speed. Not only does it take time to encrypt your traffic, but it also takes time for your internet traffic to travel from your device to the VPN’s server and back. However, premium VPNs are designed to reduce speed loss so you barely notice any slowdown.

A premium service like ExpressVPN has a high-speed global server network, guaranteed data security, and fast speeds. I ran tests by connecting to servers in the US, UK, France, Germany, India, and Japan. Each time, I connected to a server within seconds. Unlike other poorer quality VPNs (and even free VPNs), I never had any server connection issues with ExpressVPN.

2. Connect to a Different Server

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: Low
Time: Under 1 minute

To get the best possible speeds, always connect to a server close to your physical location. As your internet traffic has to travel to the VPN’s remote server, you may experience delays if the server is located far away. However, the fastest VPNs have been especially configured to reduce speed drops so you can stream, torrent, and perform other data-intensive activities without noticeable slowdown.

3. Use an Ethernet Cable

Works with: Desktop devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: None
Time: Under 1 minute

You can try this option if you normally connect to the internet over your WiFi network. When you use an ethernet cable, it creates a direct line between your device and your router. This improves internet speeds as you won’t have to deal with potentially unstable WiFi connections.

4. Check Your Internet Speed

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: None
Time: Less than 1 minute

You can use a free online speed test, like Speedtest by Ookla. If your internet speed is much slower than you expect, I recommend resetting your router. If this doesn’t fix the issue, you should contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to check if there’s a problem with your internet.

5. Experiment With Packet Sizes/MTU Settings

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: None
Time: Within 5 minutes

A packet is a unit of data routed between your device and the destination server. In your case, that’s the VPN server. The MTU is the Maximum Transmission Unit, or the size of the largest packet that can be sent in a single layer transaction. Ideally, the MTU should be large enough to send packets of data efficiently without causing any network delays.

A larger MTU provides a smoother connection as it sends bigger data packets and requires less processing for a big amount of data. However, a large MTU can cause congestion if your network is slow — a large packet occupies the connection for a longer time and causes delays to other data packets.

Some VPNs allow you to customize the MTU of your connection. By adjusting the size of the MTU to be smaller, you can reduce the delay by sending smaller packets of data more frequently. For instance, CyberGhost lets you change the MTU from its default setting to “Auto” or “Small”. This can improve overall VPN performance and provide a smoother connection.

Screenshot of CyberGhost's Windows app with MTU size in Settings highlighted.
Reducing CyberGhost’s MTU size can help create a smooth VPN connection

Get a reliable connection with CyberGhost

How to Troubleshoot a VPN That Won’t Connect

1. Confirm Your VPN Login Details

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: Low
Time: 1 minute

Sometimes the easiest solution is the simplest — you might’ve accidentally mistyped your username or password. If you’re certain your details are correct, I suggest resetting your password and attempting to connect again to see if that works.

You can avoid these accidental mistypes by choosing a VPN with a password manager. For instance, CyberGhost has an optional password manager feature (PassCamp) that protects your passwords and makes it easy to keep track of your online accounts.

2. Temporarily Disable Your Firewall

Works with: Desktop devices
Difficulty: Moderate
Risk: Moderate (if you leave your firewall disabled)
Time: 5 minutes or less

Firewalls can be overzealous when it comes to allowing VPN access to the internet. You can try temporarily disabling it to see if that fixes the issue. If disabling your firewall allows your VPN to connect, you should manually add your VPN to your firewall’s safe app list (you should have this open in your firewall settings).

3. Pause Your Antivirus

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: Moderate (if you leave your antivirus paused too long)
Time: 2 minutes

Your VPN won’t always work seamlessly with other software, and antivirus software is often a culprit when a VPN can’t connect. Similar to firewalls, your antivirus may be particularly stringent and blocking your VPN as a potential security risk.

Pause your antivirus and see if your VPN works — if so, you need to add your VPN to your antiviruses’ safe list. Remember to unpause your antivirus afterwards so you’re protected from cyberthreats.

4. Update Network Drivers Manually

Works with: Desktop devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: Low
Time: 3 minutes

On occasion, your VPN’s TAP adapter has issues that prevent it from creating a stable server connection. The TAP adapter is a specific network driver that allows the VPN to connect to its servers. If it’s not working properly or needs updating, it can interfere with your VPN connection. Here’s how you can update your TAP driver:

  1. Open your Device Manager. Find this by using the search bar on your desktop device.
  2. Open the network adapters menu. You’ll find a list of drivers, including your VPN’s TAP adapter.
  3. Right click on your VPN’s TAP adapter and choose “Update driver.” The driver will automatically update and you can try connecting your VPN to a server.

5. Contact Customer Support

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: None
Time: 5 minutes

Premium VPNs have 24/7 customer support to help you fix any issues that arise. More often than not, connection troubles aren’t your fault and the experts are on-hand to help. I’ve previously contacted customer support for an issue to be told the VPN was already aware and fixing the problem.

Get a reliable connection with ExpressVPN

How to Stop a VPN From Disconnecting Frequently

1. Change DNS Servers

Works with: Desktop devices
Difficulty: Advanced
Risk: Moderate
Time: 5 minutes or more

A DNS server translates IP addresses to domain names (like WizCase.com) to connect you to your desired online destination. Premium VPNs usually operate a private DNS server network for additional security — but some VPNs let you personally configure your own DNS servers. For example, Private Internet Access has DNS customization options in the app.

Screenshot of PIA's Windows app with Network Preference menu open and DNS server options highlighted.
You can customize DNS settings in the PIA app

Unfortunately, it can cause configuration issues when you manually set up your own DNS servers. Using custom DNS settings can increase the risk of DNS data leaks, so I suggest only changing your DNS settings if you have some knowledge of how it works.

2. Connect on a Different Network

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: Low
Time: Under 5 minutes

More often than not, issues with your VPN are down to your internet connection. Take your smartphone or laptop to a friend’s house or connect to public WiFi and try your VPN there.

You can also test your standard internet speeds without the VPN to see if it’s performing at the expected level. If you find that your connection is dropping or unstable, you know it’s your internet and not the VPN. In this case, you may need to look into contacting or even changing your ISP.

3. Change VPN Protocols

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: Low
Time: 1 minute or less

A VPN protocol is a set of instructions that determines how data will travel from your device to the VPN server. Protocols can be designed for security, speed, or a combination of both. Most VPNs have an “Automatic” or default option, but I recommend OpenVPN or WireGuard. Other protocols include IKEv2 (best for mobile devices) and L2TP/IPSec (lower security).

ExpressVPN makes it especially easy to change protocols – and it offers multiple protocols (found in the protocols tab), including its own proprietary Lightway protocol for the best speeds and stability.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN's Windows app with its list of protocols highlighted.
Choose from multiple ExpressVPN protocols, including Lightway, OpenVPN, and IKEv2

4. Switch IP Protocols

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: Low
Time: 1 minute or less

IP protocols are sets of rules that route and address packets of data so that they can arrive at the intended destination. Typically, VPNs operate using 1 of 2 IP protocols: UDP (User Datagram Protocol) or TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). UDP is much faster, cutting down the time it takes for your data to reach its destination. TCP is much more stable and secure, but slower.

All you have to do is open the “Protocol” tab and select a different option. Your VPN will usually decide which IP protocol is better depending on your internet connection. However, if your VPN is frequently disconnecting, I suggest manually choosing the TCP protocol. This will create a more stable connection that results in fewer disconnections.

You’ll usually find TCP as a part of the OpenVPN protocol — you’ll find the option in your VPN’s protocol menu. Some VPNs have more than one TCP option. For example, ExpressVPN has a TCP connection for its proprietary Lightway protocol as well as OpenVPN.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN's
Both of ExpressVPN’s TCP protocols will help stabilize your connection

5. Change Ports

Works with: Desktop devices
Difficulty: Advanced
Risk: Moderate
Time: 5 minutes or more

A port is a start and end point for network connections and communication. Your VPN only uses 1 port at any given time to connect to a server.

These ports can sometimes become overloaded, which results in disconnections and poor speed. To combat this, you can manually change the port your VPN uses and route the connection through a different port. However, only attempt this if you know what you’re doing — especially if your VPN isn’t set up through a custom app but directly through your computer software. Changing a port could mean altering registry files, which is inherently risky. If you’re not totally sure, I suggest you contact your VPN’s customer support and ask for advice.

Some VPNs do make it easy to change ports. PIA allows you to change ports directly in the app, and has simple guides available on its website for you to follow, so you can change ports without exposing your device to online risks.

Screenshot of PIA Windows app showing Connection preferences and highlighting port customization options.
You can easily change ports with PIA’s customization options

Get a reliable connection with PIA

How to Fix VPN Software Crashes

1. Check Your VPN Software Version

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: Low
Time: 1 minute or less

Your VPN client should prompt you to upgrade to the latest version. However, if you’ve clicked “Ask Me Again Later” and then forgotten, you could find that the latest upgrade contains the fixes to your connection issues.

It’s essential to ensure your VPN client is up-to-date as this gives you the best chance of avoiding crashes or connection problems. It also keeps your software running at the highest security level, as updates can include patches for potential vulnerabilities.

2. Reinstall the VPN Client

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: Low
Time: Within 5 minutes

Errors can sometimes occur during installation and affect your VPN’s ability to operate. When this happens, completely uninstall the VPN software and reinstall it directly from the VPN’s official website.

A reliable service like ExpressVPN has regular software updates to ensure smooth operation. Plus the installer is quick and easy to use — it took me less than 5 minutes to download and install ExpressVPN from the website and it was ready to connect straight away.

3. Reset the VPN Settings

Works with: Desktop devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: Low
Time: Under 1 minute

This is an easy process and it’s made even easier when a top-tier service like CyberGhost has a “Reset to default” button that instantly takes the VPN back to factory settings.

Screenshot of CyberGhost's Windows app with its
Easily revert all customizations back to default with one click in CyberGhost’s general settings

If your VPN doesn’t have a button, you can follow these easy steps to reset settings back to default:

  1. Change your VPN protocol to OpenVPN. This could be listed as OpenVPN, OpenVPN UDP, or OpenVPN TCP — any of these options are suitable.
  2. Turn off advanced features like a kill switch, custom DNS settings, and split tunneling.
  3. Try connecting to a VPN server. If it works, be sure to reactivate features like the kill switch and leak protection to keep your data secure. If you find that reactivating these features causes your VPN to disconnect, contact customer support.

4. Remove Old VPN Software

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: None
Time: 3 minutes or less

If you’ve tested a few different VPNs, you could still have other VPN software still on your device. Multiple VPN clients can cause issues when you want to connect, especially if some are configured to auto-connect if you change networks or when your device boots up. This could completely stop your chosen VPN from connecting as the conflicting VPNs won’t allow more than 1 encrypted connection.

To fix this issue, simple remove any old VPN software from your device. Make sure you go through the uninstallation process (and not just delete the files).

5. Restart or Change Device

Works with: Desktop and mobile devices
Difficulty: Easy
Risk: None
Time: 5 minutes or more

When in doubt, always make sure you try the easiest fix of all: turn your device off and on again. It might be overheating or has too many processes running at once.

You should also make sure that your VPN actually works with your device. If you need a new VPN, ExpressVPN has dedicated apps for all popular devices and operating systems, and its easy-to-use installer takes less than 5 minutes to download and set up the service. You can even set it up on game consoles and smart TVs.

Get a reliable connection with ExpressVPN

The Best VPNs for Smooth Connections in 2022 — Full Analysis

1. ExpressVPN — #1 for Reliable and Fast VPN Connections

Key Features:

  • Fast global network of 3000+ servers in 94+ countries
  • Military-grade encryption, kill switch, and leak protection secure your data
  • Allows 5 simultaneous device connections
  • Customer support available 24/7 via live chat and email
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for fast and reliable connections. Its high-speed infrastructure has more than 3000 servers in 94+ countries. This makes it ideal for browsing, streaming, torrenting, and online gaming.

I tested ExpressVPN’s servers in multiple countries and my speeds were consistently fast. On average, my speeds slowed down by only 18% even when connected to servers on the opposite side of the world — a virtually unnoticeable drop in speed.

All servers are optimized for P2P file-sharing so if you enjoy torrenting, you won’t have to spend time finding the right server. I downloaded a 40GB file in just over an hour and the connection was steady throughout. I also found I could play high-intensity games online without experiencing any lag.

My team and I even found ExpressVPN’s servers could access Netflix US, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, Sling TV, YouTube TV and other location-restricted streaming platforms.

ExpressVPN’s servers were ideal for fast streaming in UltraHD quality

ExpressVPN supports a wide range of platforms with native apps, making it easy to customize and configure the VPN settings. I was equally impressed with the 24/7 live chat and email service — all responses were speedy and fully answered my queries.

You can try ExpressVPN completely risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, you can get a full refund easily — I tested the process myself and was surprised by how simple it was. I just contacted the 24/7 live chat and the representative arranged my refund without asking me to reconsider or troubleshoot. Best of all, I had my money back in just 5 business days.

ExpressVPN works on: Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, Linux, PlayStation, Xbox, smart TVs, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire TV, routers, and more.

Get a reliable connection with ExpressVPN

2. CyberGhost — Optimized Servers for Smooth VPN Connections

Key Features:

  • Over 8200 servers in 91+ countries for global network connections
  • AES-256-bit encryption, leak protection, and kill switch for security
  • Protects up to 7 devices at the same time
  • 24/7 live chat and email support
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

CyberGhost has a range of dedicated servers specifically configured for smooth connections to different sites and services. These servers are tested regularly to ensure high performance, as well as compatibility with popular streaming and torrenting clients.

During tests, the dedicated servers unblocked Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and even niche platforms like Yle. There was minimal buffering and no lag during the entire stream.

CyberGhost’s optimized servers made streaming on Disney+ easy

On average, my speed slowed down by 39%. While this seems like a big drop, I didn’t notice a difference to my connection — I could torrent, play games, and browse the internet without interruption. However, if your base speeds are slower (my regular speed is around 115Mbps) you may notice a more significant impact. I also suggest connecting to a local server near you as distant servers caused a noticeable difference in speed. It took longer to load browser pages and playing online games was almost impossible.

CyberGhost’s VPN apps are easy to navigate on all platforms, although its optimized servers aren’t available on mobile apps. There’s also a 24/7 customer support team on standby to help with any problems.

You can try CyberGhost risk-free with its 45-day money-back guarantee. This is the longest money-back guarantee out of any premium VPN on the market — most are only 30 days long.

CyberGhost works on: Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, Linux, PlayStation, Xbox, smart TVs, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire TV, routers, and more.

Get a reliable connection with CyberGhost

3. Private Internet Access — Huge VPN Server Network Provides Plenty of Connection Locations

Key Features:

  • 35000+ servers in 84+ countries
  • Military-grade encryption and high-level security features protect your data
  • Connect 10 devices at once
  • 24/7 technical support on live chat and email
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Private Internet Access (PIA) has an enormous server network of over 35000 servers in 84+ countries — the biggest I’ve seen from any premium VPN service. This means the network has enough bandwidth to easily connect every user. It only took me a couple of seconds to connect to global servers, even when choosing locations over 15,000km away.

PIA’s reliable connections provide quality streaming on multiple services

However, I did experience slowdown over long-distance connections. My speeds dropped by around 70% for the furthest connections, resulting in some lag and buffering when streaming or loading websites. I recommend connecting to local servers and using the WireGuard protocol (a lightweight protocol designed for speed and security) for fast and steady connections.

The VPN apps are easy to navigate with many customizable settings. I was surprised to find that you can even reinstall network adapters and uninstall the software all directly inside the PIA app, which is very convenient if you ever need to troubleshoot connection issues.

You can try Private Internet Access risk-free as it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. I tested the refund policy to make sure it works — and I had my money back in less than a week.

PIA works on: Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, Linux, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire TV, routers, and more.

Get a reliable connection with Private Internet Access

4. IPVanish — Highly Customizable VPN Connections for Stability and Speed

Key Features:

  • 2000+ servers in 75+ countries
  • Military-grade encryption, kill switch, and leak protection for data security
  • Supports unlimited device connections simultaneously
  • 24/7 customer service centre
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

IPVanish is ideal if you’re an advanced VPN user and you want to customize the server connections. The app interface displays your server location, your new IP address, the amount of time you’ve been connected, your download and upload speeds, the total data sent and received, and your current protocol.

In tests, I easily established server connections around the world with IPVanish. I could manually select the fastest server by filtering the countries, ping, and user loads. There are several protocols to choose from (with OpenVPN being the most secure and stable). I could even set up the free SOCKS5 proxy for faster speeds.

You can try IPVanish with its 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s risk-free to test out the VPN before locking into a subscription.

IPVanish works on: Windows, Android, mac, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, routers, and more.

Get a reliable connection with IPVanish

FAQs: Common VPN Connection Problems

How do I stop my VPN disconnecting and reconnecting?

It depends on why your VPN isn’t connecting but I’ve created a list of common VPN connection errors (and quick fixes). For example, if you’re trying to connect to a VPN in a country with strict internet firewalls (like China), it could be the VPN itself that doesn’t work. Another potential scenario is if you’ve got an antivirus running at the same time — it could be blocking flagging your VPN as dangerous and blocking the connection.

How do I get my VPN to work with streaming services?

The most important thing is to check whether your VPN actually works with streaming platforms — only a few VPNs can unblock streaming services. Alternatively, you can contact your VPN’s customer support team and ask for a list of the latest working servers.

Why isn’t my free VPN connecting?

Free is always tempting and there are some good free VPNs available — but most of these “freemium” services are extremely limited to tempt you to upgrade. You’ll only have server connections in a handful of locations and data caps preventing you from streaming, browsing, and torrenting as much as you want.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of shady VPNs that will secretly log your private data and sell it to third parties. Worse still, some free services have been known to contain malware intended to steal your data, putting you at risk of identity theft.

What can I do to fix a VPN that won’t connect?

There could be an issue with either your network or with the VPN software itself. Don’t worry though — I’ve compiled a list of easy fixes for any VPN connection issue.

More often than not, the reason your VPN won’t connect is due to your network. First, test your internet connection to make sure it can support the VPN connection. If you find you can connect on an alternative device or network, you know the issue isn’t with your VPN service.

If you find your VPN still won’t connect after testing your network, you can try reinstalling your VPN software. Just like turning it off and on again, a fresh installation can fix any software issues and allow the VPN to connect smoothly. It’s always a good idea to make sure your VPN software is up-to-date as it may have been issued a new patch that fixes known connection problems.

How can I fix a VPN with slow connections?

Any VPN will inevitably slow down your device’s internet speeds, but it shouldn’t be such a drastic slowdown that it’s noticeable. Luckily, there are multiple fixes you can do to speed up your VPN’s connection. The easiest way to get faster speeds is to switch to a server near your physical location and change to a faster VPN protocol (like WireGuard or OpenVPN).

Why does my VPN keep disconnecting?

There are many factors that can contribute to your VPN’s connection issues. Below are the most common reasons:

  • Your internet connection isn’t stable enough to maintain the VPN connection.
  • The VPN server is currently down for maintenance.
  • Your VPN software isn’t the latest version.
  • The internet is too slow for a reliable connection.
  • Your VPN is being blocked by your firewall or antivirus.
  • There’s a conflict between your VPN and other software preventing connection.

Ideally, you want to make sure that you’re using a reliable VPN to have the best chance of a smooth connection. I found ExpressVPN provides consistent and dependable connections for its servers, even over long distances. Its reliable high-speed infrastructure is supported by robust security so you get smooth connections and guaranteed data protection.

Get a reliable connection with ExpressVPN

Fix Your VPN Connection Quickly and Easily

It might seem daunting but more often than not, fixing your VPN is a simple procedure that just requires a little patience. The solutions above are all easy enough for beginner users to try and will remedy most VPN issues. However, if your VPN keeps having problems and you don’t want to spend time searching for solutions, it’s worth investing in a premium VPN with fast and steady connections.

ExpressVPN is by far the best VPN I’ve tested — I’ve used it for years and I’ve always connected to a fast server within seconds. Although it’s slightly pricier than other VPNs on the market, the quality makes it great value for money. You can even try ExpressVPN risk-free as you’re protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee. I tested the refund policy myself to make sure it works (and I got a full refund within a week!).

Summary — Best VPNs for Reliable Connections in 2022

Top Choice
$6.67 / month Save 49%
CyberGhost VPN
$2.19 / month Save 83%
Private Internet Access
$2.19 / month Save 82%
IPVanish VPN
$2.50 / month Save 77%
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