20 Tips for Troubleshooting (& Fixing) Your VPN Connection

Last Updated by Mackenzie Pringle on March 09, 2019

These days, VPNs have become a necessary online tool. They enable us to keep data safe and secure and give us the freedom to view any content. However, finding an effective VPN can be difficult and sometimes you’re stuck with a problematic service.
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Connection errors are the most common issue with VPNs and can occur for many reasons. Other common problems include crashes, slow download speeds, and random disconnects.

But fear not; there are useful tips that can help you to resolve VPN hiccups.

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1 How to Fix a VPN That Slows Internet Speed

These pointers pertain to the improvement of a faulty VPN connection that is considerably slowing your download speeds.

1 Download A Premium VPN

The best way to prevent unwanted errors is to install a proven, reliable VPN. Premium VPNs are always the best choice as they are dependable, have sophisticated systems, and give you access to dedicated customer service teams.

Generally, quality VPNs like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and SurfShark VPN are investments. Each of these services has top of the line features and an excellent reputation.

By choosing one, you’ll be reducing the chances of your provider crashing or causing issues.

2 Change Servers

Changing your server is one of the easiest fixes for a slow or unreliable VPN connection. Some servers are faster than others, and this can be down to many reasons.

Usually, servers at a physically closer location can have a significant effect on connection speeds. Specific servers can also become overcrowded with users, which impedes performance.

Thankfully, most VPN services make it very easy to switch servers with extensive networks. Some even have a feature for automatic connection to the best available server.

3 Change Ports

A networking port can play a significant role in your connection speeds. If you’re experiencing some difficulty, we recommend that you try switching ports.

Changing ports can improve your connection as sometimes ISPs can throttle specific numbers. Occasionally, poor connections can be due to some ports just being faster than others.

4 Change Your IP Protocols

There are two IP protocols used by VPNs to connect online; Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP). Each protocol has its advantages, and by switching between the two, there’s a chance of improving your connection.

TCP is more common as it tends to include error corrections. The transmission is successful even with corrupted data or problems, as devices will resend anything that didn’t arrive correctly.

However, UDP is markedly faster than TCP but much less common. UDP doesn’t provide error corrections, which results in higher speeds, but a less reliable connection.

Switching between the two protocols can help improve your connection.

5 Change Your VPN Protocols

Much like changing your IP protocols, changing your VPN protocols can strengthen your connection. The most frequently used protocol is OpenVPN; a dependable open-source service that is compatible with a lot of providers.

L2TP, IPSec, and SSTP are some of the other reliable VPN protocols you can use to boost connection. Although these protocols don’t necessarily have the same level of security or features as OpenVPN, they can sneak past some filters that target the more common standard.

You can easily switch over to a different VPN protocol, but it’s important to note that L2TP/IPSec isn’t as secure. If you’re using a VPN for privacy, these aren’t suitable for you.

6 Disable Local Security Systems

We would only disable local security systems as a last resort as it does leave you and your data vulnerable. It’s possible for an anti-virus to slow down connection speeds as it scans packages.

For testing, temporarily turn off the software to see if your connection improves, but we recommend avoiding this if possible.

2 Fixing a VPN That Doesn’t Connect

Occasionally, you may run into an issue when trying to sign in or connect to your VPN service. The suggestions below should help if you ever find yourself encountering this particular issue.

7 Ensure You’re Online

If your struggling to connect to your VPN servers, check that your internet connection itself is running smoothly. Test this by switching off your VPN browsing without it.

If the problem lies with your internet connection, you can try restarting your Wi-Fi router. If it’s still not working, the issue may be with your ISP.

Additionally, there’s the possibility the server you’re using is undergoing maintenance which can sometimes be confirmed online. Most services will notify users of servers that may be temporarily inaccessible.

8 Check That Your Username And Password Are Correct

Often, system issues are caused by users mistakenly entering their credentials incorrectly. First, try retyping your username and password, and if that doesn’t remedy the situation, try resetting your password.

For advice on creating effective passwords, managing them securely, and other safeguarding techniques, there are detailed guides on prevention and retention on Wizcase.

9 Connect To A Different Wi-Fi Network

Sometimes the cause of the connection error has nothing to do with the VPN. Check if your network connection is the source of your issue by connecting to a nearby public Wi-Fi hotspot.

Then, if your VPN connects without any problems, you’ll know your home network causes the error and not your VPN service.

3 Fixing A VPN That Keeps Disconnecting

Solutions for when your VPN frustratingly keeps disconnecting from its servers and dropping its connection for no apparent reason.

10 Disable Your Firewall (Temporarily)

Firewalls are essential for online security, and disabling them is not something you should take lightly or often do. However, occasionally they can be the cause of VPN connection problems. Firewalls tend to slow down your connection speeds, and if they get too slow, your VPN will automatically disconnect.

By disabling firewalls, you stop them from scanning your traffic and potentially impeding the transmission. However, turning firewalls off is a risk, and isn’t recommended as a long term solution.

11 Connect To A Nearby Server

By connecting to a server nearby, you’ll be strengthening the connection of your VPN, preventing any irritating disconnects.

Distance can impact the strength and quality of any signal, and this is never more apparently than when using a VPN to connect to servers in different countries. If you’re using a VPN to geo-spoof but keep disconnecting, try using the closest possible server.

If you’re using a VPN for security, connect to the server located most locally to you, and try different ones. Occasionally, issues are related to a particular server, so there’s a chance of connecting to a more reliable one.

12 Connect Via Ethernet

When using a Wi-Fi connection, there’s a chance that the router signal is interrupted. Connecting with an ethernet cable instead of remotely with Wi-Fi will provide a clear and direct signal to devices.

Generally, signal disruptions occur due to obstacles and frequency interference from other wireless devices. Try relocating your router, or using a different channel for your Wi-Fi.

13 Use A Different DNS Server

Changing the DNS server can make a significant improvement to your VPN connection. Most VPNs create private DNS servers because it allows them to add extra privacy and security to their service. However, it can affect the link.

Check how to change the DNS server with your VPN provider as each one is different. It’s important to know that switching to a different DNS server can lead to a higher rate of leaks occurring.

4 Fixing VPN Software Crashes

A VPN is like any software and can sometimes crash. If you’re continually having to put up with your VPN crashing you can follow the advice below to address it.

14 Update Your VPN To The Latest Version

Like any system, VPNs release software updates to correct errors and bugs. Make sure client apps are up to date with the most recent version to ensure you aren’t facing old issues.

Ideally, allowing automatic updates will save time and effort. If this isn’t possible with your VPN then ensure you’re regularly checking for new updates.

15 Close Other Apps

If you have lots of tabs and applications running, it can easily overload your system and cause your VPN to crash. Make sure that you always close any unused tabs and apps.

Crashes due to too many open applications can be a significant problem for older computers and operating systems.

16 Restart Your Device

The simplest trick in every handbook still works, so try turning your device off and back on again. You’ll be surprised how often this resolves problems.

17 Reinstall VPN Client

Reinstalling your VPN client might be the only way to resolve some issues. By uninstalling the current version of your VPN and downloading a new one, any corrupt files will be replaced.

5 If All Else Fails

If you’ve tried all possible solutions to fix your connection errors and haven’t found a solution.

18 Use the VPN’s Help Function

Most VPN services will have customer support via email or live chat. Many of them run 24/7, so you can get in touch any of the time of day, wherever you are. The customer assistants are knowledgeable and will either be able to answer your queries or find the information for you.

19 Try the OpenVPN Client

OpenVPN is compatible with almost any platform so no matter if you’re using Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, a browser, or a router, this open-source VPN has you covered. It also works seamlessly with most premium VPN services, so it’s definitely worth giving a shot.

20 Make Sure Your VPN is Compatible with the Site or Service

If you’re unable to access a particular site or service using your VPN, it might be worth checking if the two are compatible. While a lot of VPNs are great for bypassing firewalls on geo-blocked or restricted websites, others aren’t.

For example, many VPNs can’t keep up with the complex and ever-evolving blocks put in place by Netflix. Only premium VPN providers have the resources to outwit such robust systems. There are plenty of reviews on Wizcase that will let you know which services can bypass the trickiest internet restrictions.

6 Conclusion

VPN services aren’t perfect, and like any software, they experience some problems now and then. If you can figure out what the issue is, you’ll be able to reference the above advice to resolve any connection trouble in the future.

Mackenzie Pringle
Mackenzie is a web security expert with a passion for cybersecurity. She travels the world in search of experience, inspiration, and more information on the topics she loves.