How to connect a VPN with ZoneAlarm Firewall [Quick Guide]

Vlad Constantinescu
by Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • You may already know that, but ZoneAlarm Security is a bundle of advanced PC protection tools. Unfortunately, it doesn't include a VPN.
  • Fortunately, ZoneAlarm supports and can work with third-party VPNs, but sometimes it may be difficult to configure.
  • Check out our best VPNs that work with ZoneAlarm.
  • Visit the How-To Hub to learn more about troubleshooting various VPN issues.

You may already know that, but ZoneAlarm Firewall is an advanced PC protection solution. It’s basically a firewall, but one that lets you perform in-depth configuration of its rules and permissions.

ZoneAlarm Firewall is comparable to Windows’ built-in firewall, but the former has more features than the latter. As a result, it draws the attention of many users who are seeking more elbow room in regards to configuration.

However, the fact that it offers a more extensive set of configurable rules also means it’s more complicated to operate. This goes especially for using several security tools along with ZoneAlarm Firewall, such as an antivirus or a VPN.

Doez ZoneAlarm have a VPN?

ZoneAlarm isn’t just a firewall, although this is the utility they’re probably best known for. ZoneAlarm has several security programs fit for almost every need on its belt, but unfortunately, a VPN isn’t one of them.

Currently, the only programs you can benefit from in the security bundle are the firewall, an anti-ransomware utility, and an antivirus.

It’s worth mentioning that each of them works great, and they work even better when you team them up.

Will a VPN work with ZoneAlarm?

Essentially and ideally, no firewall, including ZoneAlarm, should block VPN traffic. However, in reality, things are quite different. By default, ZoneAlarm offers you the possibility to configure VPNs automatically.

If you’ve generated a set of advanced firewall rules (even by accident) that block VPN protocols, ZoneAlarm won’t be able to detect your VPN automatically every time you try to establish a connection.ZoneAlarm main window

As a result, you’ll need to undo the settings and make sure every VPN-related component is outside the blacklist and can access the Internet without restrictions.

Therefore, to answer the original question: yes, VPNs usually work with ZoneAlarm, if you don’t explicitly block them.

How to configure a VPN with ZoneAlarm

1. Use automatic VPN configuration

As we’ve mentioned above, ZoneAlarm integrates automatic VPN recognition features. As a result, you can install the VPN client on your computer as usual, without giving a thought to the firewall.

The next time you’ll establish a VPN connection, ZoneAlarm might promptly notify you with an alert. However, you must understand that these alerts are usually normal whenever a new connection is detected.

And since connecting to a VPN server is deemed as a new connection, we’ll let you do the math.

2. Perform manual configuration for your VPN

There are a few cases where ZoneAlarm doesn’t detect your VPN connection automatically. Therefore, you’ll need to configure your VPN manually so the firewall won’t block it on the spot.

Don’t worry, though, ZoneAlarm has a habit of letting you know whenever manual assistance is required. Usually, manual configuration only requires 4 steps:

  • Adding VPN resources such as the gateway, DNS servers, and local subnets to the Trusted Zone
  • Removing VPN gateways from blocked subnets or ranges
  • Modify ZoneAlarm settings to allow VPN protocols
  • Allow VPN software to run on your computer (under ZoneAlarm firewall)

3. Make sure your VPN protocols are supported

In ZoneAlarm, navigate to the Advanced Firewall section. Click the Settings button, then select Advanced Settings.

Once you’re here, check the Allow VPN protocols box to make ZoneAlarm accept common VPN protocols. Currently, ZoneAlarm only provides support for a few protocols. Namely:

  • AH
  • ESP
  • GRE
  • IKE
  • IPsec
  • L2TP
  • LDAP
  • PPTP
  • SKIP

If your VPN runs on a protocol other than the ones we’ve listed above, you will need to perform additional configuration.

Head back to the same menu as above, and make sure the Allow uncommon protocols at high security box is checked.

4. How to allow VPN software in ZoneAlarm

  1. Click the Application Control buttonApplication control in ZoneAlarm
  2. Select View programsView Programs in ZoneAlarm
  3. Choose your VPN client in the programs section
  4. Click the ? icons in the Inbound and Outbound sections
  5. Select Allow from the menuZoneAlarm allow VPN

Make sure your programs is on the list, in the first place, otherwise you won’t be able to modify any inbound and outbound traffic settings. If your VPN isn’t on the list, you can use the Add button to insert it manually.

5. Grant permission to VPN components

  1. Click Application Control
  2. Select View Components
  3. Choose the VPN components you want to allow from the column
  4. Click the ? icons in the Outbound and Inbound columns
  5. Select Allow in the context menu

Note that VPN-related settings might not be available in the free version of the firewall.

ZoneAlarm free version works just fine

If you’re using the free version of ZoneAlarm Security, you’ll have absolutely no issue using a VPN on your computer. The free version has no VPN configuration options, but it still prompts you with some notifications.

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We’ve used Private Internet Access during our tests, and we encountered absolutely zero issues while using it with the free version of ZoneAlarm Security.

You’ll notice that ZoneAlarm will ask you a bunch of times if you want to allow or block the VPN client, service, and daemon. If you use the notifications to allow your VPN client, everything should be a-ok.

Yes, VPN can work with ZoneAlarm

All things considered, if you’re worried about compatibility issues between your VPN service and ZoneAlarm, you can rest assured.

ZoneAlarm Security has several VPN configuration options, and most of them are set to run automatically.

Even if you’ve tampered with the firewall‘s settings, creating rules to allow VPN traffic and whitelisting the VPN software on your computer couldn’t be easier.

Furthermore, ZoneAlarm supports numerous common VPN protocols such as PPTP, IPsec, L2TP, and OpenVPN, but also provides support for less-common ones.

FAQ: Learn more about connecting a VPN with ZoneAlarm

  • Does ZoneAlarm have a VPN?

No, unfortunately, ZoneAlarm integrates no VPN within its security bundle. However, you can easily use any third-party VPN in conjunction with ZoneAlarm. Check out our best VPN recommendations.

  • How do I set up a VPN server?

It’s easy to set up a VPN at home on your Windows 10 PC. If you don’t know where to start, check out our comprehensive guide for a step-by-step tutorial.

  • How to unblock VPN on Windows 10?

If your VPN has been blocked on Windows 10, there’s no need to panic. Take a look at our detailed guide to learn how you can fix it in just a few easy steps.