Fix connection errors in Power BI with 6 easy solutions

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
Download PDF
Affiliate Disclosure

  • If you have the Failed to save modifications to the server error, remove the report and publish it again. After that, you can schedule a refresh without any issue.
  • For The service is unavailable error, you should keep everything on the same server if you want to avoid this problem.
  • If you're interested in PowerBI, visit our PowerBi Tutorials and Guides Hub. You will find lots of useful information there.
  • For news and support, head over to our PowerBI section.
power bi connection errors

A crucial part of Power BI is an internet connection. This way, you can share data and communicate with others about the project. However, Power BI has many connection issues.

In this article, we will describe them and we will show you how to fix the connection errors in Power BI.

Many people can’t save modifications on the server and they’re getting an error message. One user reported the following on the official forum:

I had no problem loading the entities, or creating the conections. The report seems to be fully functional as well, but when trying to refresh from Power BI Desktop, the following error message pops up.

power bi cannot save to server

So, the problem appeared when the user tried to refresh from Power BI Desktop because there’s not enough memory to complete the operation.

Another issue refers to a firewall error, as one user reported on the forum:

when I try to refresh it I get the following error: Formula.Firewall: Query Est Review Effort (step Merged Queries1) references other queries or steps, so it may not directly access a data source. Please rebuild this data combination.

So, the problems are with the data combination selected, and with accessing a data source.

Quite a few users encountered an issue in Power BI Report. Simply put, the service is not available, as one user reported on the official forum:

When I run either report I see Service Unavailable. HTTP Error 503. The service is unavailable. with the loading data image.

power bi service unavailable

Also, the restart didn’t fix the error.

The invalid connection credentials is another severe issue of Power BI, as one user said on the forum:

The following occurs when I referesh the data: Something went wrong Invalid connection credentials. Please try again later or contact support.

So, the problem appears when the user refreshed the data.

Sometimes, errors can be unexpected. A user described the following issue:

Trying to save a Power BI file and getting Unexpected Network Error. Have tried doing a save as and that has failed as well. Tried to local drive as well as to the network. I can save/export to Power BI template, but that is not much use.

Therefore, trying to save a Power BI file was unsuccessful because of an unexpected network error.

Probably the most severe issue is that the program was unable to start, as a user described:

I downloaded PBI on 24th June 2018. I am unable to start the application. My system information is following listed. OS – Windows 7 Ultimate (64 Bit). RAM – 8 GB

power bi unable to start

So, the Power BI Desktop won’t start, because the program wasn’t able to connect to the model. Today we will show you how to fix these connection problems in Power BI.

How can I fix network issues in Power BI?

1. Failed to save modifications to the server error

For this, there is a very simple solution. Remove the report and publish it again. After that, you can schedule a refresh without any issue.

2. Firewall error

You can solve the problem with a few changes in Power BI.

  1. Click on File, select Options and Settings, then click on Options.power bi options
  2. Go to Global, then Privacy, and then check Always Ignore Privacy Level Settings.power bi global privacy

Alternatively, you can solve the error by following the steps below.

Open the Options menu like in the solution above.

  1. Go to Current File and select Privacy.
  2. Check Ignore the Privacy levels and potentially improve performance.power bi current file

3. The service is unavailable

This issue appears when Power BI Desktop is on one computer and the client connects to Power BI Report on another server. You should keep everything on the same server if you want to avoid this problem.

4. Invalid connection credentials

You can test the network connectivity with this PowerShell script: Test-NetConnection -ComputerName -Port 9350

5. Unexpected network error occurred

This problem appeared to an older version of Power BI. Remember to update your program to avoid errors such as this.

Your Power BI is outdated? Install the latest version from here!

6. We weren’t able to connect to the model error

To solve the issue, try the 32-bit version of Power BI Desktop, as the 64-bit version can cause problems for some users.


As you can see, the problems are not as severe as they seem. Connection errors are usually caused by some faulty option or an outdated program. Set your Power BI properly and keep the program updated for maximum performance.

Did our solutions work for you? Let us know in the comments section below!

FAQ: Read more about PowerBI

  • Is power bi free?

Power BI Desktop is free to a single user, Power BI Pro costs $9.99/user/month but you can try it for 60 days as a free trial before purchasing the subscription. Power BI Premium starts at $4,995 a month per dedicated cloud compute and storage resource.

  • Why is power bi used?
Power BI can help create charts or graphs, connect data sets from different sources, transform and clean the data into a model, and more.
  • Is Power BI better than Excel?
Power BI is a more powerful and complex tool in comparison to Microsoft Excel. However, they are pretty different. Power BI is used more for sharing data visualizations and dashboards to a large number of users. 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in May 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.