- Having no Internet access to establish a VPN connection simply means that you cannot use it.
- Correct that right away by making sure you stay away from free/cracked VPNs and using Command Prompt as Administrator.
- Take a closer look at VPN Errors & Solutions for more quick fixes as the ones detailed below.
- Don’t decline our invitation to bookmark the VPN Guides Hub for extra tips at any hour.
Is your VPN connected but not working? VPN issues usually fall into different categories, either the connection attempt is rejected when it should be accepted or accepted when it should be rejected.
There are also times when you cannot reach locations beyond the server or even establish a tunnel.
One of the most common reasons why the VPN is connected but not working is a DNS configuration issue.
It may also occur if you configure the VPN connection to use the default gateway on the remote network.
This setting overrides the default gateway settings that you specify in your TCP/IP settings. Check out our solutions on how to resolve the issue.
How can I fix VPN connected but not working?
- Change your VPN
- Use Command Prompt as Administrator
- Check if the issue is DNS related
- Check the Ethernet adapter option settings
- Flush the DNS cache
- Check your underlying connection
- Connect to a different server location
- Change your VPN protocol
- Change your DNS server configuration
- Adjust your proxy settings
1. Change your VPN
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2. Use Command Prompt as Administrator
- Click Start and type CMD.
- Right-click Command Prompt from the results and select Run as Administrator.
- In the black screen, type these two commands: ipconfig /release and then ipconfig /renew then press enter after each.
Check if the connection starts working again.
3. Check if the issue is DNS related
- Ping an external IP address like 22.214.171.124 to confirm your internet connection is working. You can check whether you can reach the server you’re going to connect to by pinging it using the next steps.
- Click Start and type CMD in the search bar.
- Click Command Prompt.
- Type ping 8.8.8 (you can replace it with the address you wish to ping) and press Enter.
If you get replies from the ping, it indicates your connection is working and the issue is likely with the DNS, so you need to resolve DNS issues.
If you don’t get a reply, for example a Request Timeout message, it shows something is blocking the VPN connection.
Reset DNS settings
- Right-click Start, then select Network Connections.
- Right-click on the network connection you’re using.
- Click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP v4)and then on the Properties.
- Ensure you have Obtain IP Address automatically and Obtain DNS Server Automatically This configures your device to acquire the settings directly from your modem/router.
- Click OK and exit.
This is necessary if your VPN client, or a DNS leak protection script crashes and left an unusable DNS configuration.
Do this if your Internet connection is present but you cannot browse any sites as your DNS is most likely not working.
If this doesn’t resolve the issue, then configure OpenDNS to resolve your DNS. By configuring OpenDNS servers, your DNS requests will be directed to OpenDNS.
The aim of this process is to direct DNS traffic from your network to the OpenDNS global network by accessing network settings, turning off Automatic DNS configured by your ISP, and configuring OpenDNS IPv4 addresses.
4. Check the Ethernet adapter option settings
- Right-click the Start menu and select Network Connections.
- On the left-hand side click Ethernet.
- Click Change adapter options.
- Right-click the network connection you’re using and select Properties.
- Highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.
- Select Use the following DNS server addresses and type OpenDNS addresses (126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52) in the Preferred DNS server and Alternate DNS server fields.
- Click OK, then Close, then Close Finally, close the Network Connections window.
- Flush your DNS. At this point, we recommend that you flush both your DNS resolver cache and your web browser’s cache. This ensures that your new DNS configuration settings take effect immediately.
5. Flush the DNS cache
- Click Start.
- Select All Apps.
- Click Accessories.
- Click Start and type CMD, then right-click Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator.
- Type ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter. You should get a confirmation that says: Windows IP Configuration Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache.
In some countries, DNS entries saved from your ISP on your computer may be intentionally wrong, as an additional method of blocking sites.
In this case, flush your DNS cache so your computer can automatically access your VPN’s DNS for the proper/correct entries.
Other solutions to try:
- If you have configured a proxy in the past please ensure that it is disabled. This usually needs to be done via your browser settings.
- If you have another browser installed, use it and see if you have the same issue. You should also attempt to start your browser in ‘safe mode’ with all add-ons/plugins disabled. In Chrome open an ‘incognito’ window. If any of these methods allow you to browse the Internet then the issue lies with your Internet browser configuration.
6. Check your underlying connection
Disconnect from your VPN connection, and try to access the Internet. If you can access the Internet, connect to your VPN, and move to the next step of this guide.
If you cannot access the Internet, the problem has to do with your Internet connection. You may need to reboot your device and check your network settings to fix this.
7. Connect to a different server location
Select a different VPN server location and connect to it. If you can access the internet when connected to a different server location, there may be a temporary issue with the server location you originally selected.
8. Change your VPN protocol
VPN protocols are the methods by which your device connects to a VPN server. If your VPN uses the UDP protocol by default, this may be blocked in some countries.
For optimal performance, choose the protocols below in the following order:
- OpenVPN TCP
Open your VPN’s options or settings and select the Protocol from the list.
Note: PPTP offers only minimal security so only use it when absolutely necessary.
9. Change your DNS server configuration
Open Network Connections settings
- Right-click Start and select Run.
- Type ncpa.cpl and click OK.
- In the Network connections window, find your usual connection, either LAN or Wireless network connection.
- Right-click the connection and select Properties.
Set the DNS server addresses
- Double click Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) or just Internet Protocol.
- Select Use the following DNS server addresses.
- Type these Google DNS server addresses: Preferred DNS server 184.108.40.206 and Alternate DNS server 220.127.116.11
- If Google DNS is blocked, try the following: Neustar DNS Advantage (18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124) enter and press OK; Level3 DNS (126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52) enter and press OK. Once you’re done, set your VPN’s DNS settings, and flush old DNS entries as described in the next solution.
Manually configuring your Windows computer with other DNS server addresses can help you access blocked sites and enjoy faster speeds.
To configure your Windows computer, please follow the instructions above.
10. Adjust your proxy settings
- From the Tools or gear menu.
- Select Internet options.
- In the Connections tab, click LAN settings.
- Uncheck all of the displayed options except automatically detect settings.
- Click OK, and OK.
- Close your browser and then open it again.
A proxy server is an intermediary between your computer and the Internet, often used to hide your real location and allow you to access websites that would otherwise be blocked.
If you’re having trouble connecting to the Internet, it’s possible that it has been set to use a proxy server.
Make sure that your browser is set to an auto-detect proxy or to no proxy. Here’s how to disable proxy server in Internet Explorer:
Note: The steps above will not help you access online streaming services. If you’re unable to access a service because a VPN or proxy is detected, please contact your VPN’s support team for immediate assistance.
Did any of these solutions help? Let us know in the comments section below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in May 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this case, the issue may be DNS related or caused by the Ethernet adapter option settings. Other potential culprits include the underlying connection and proxy settings.
When bothered by this problem, consider that the VPN protocol has an impact over Internet access. Use these confirmed fixes in case of using PIA.
As tempting as it may sound, you cannot enjoy the benefits of a VPN connection without using the Internet.