Does VPN Affect Email? What to Do if SMTP Is Blocked by VPN

Using VPN tools with latest encryption stops email spams and errors

by Ivan Jenic
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Ivan Jenic
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Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and... read more
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  • VPNs have a habit of blocking SMTP as a security measure.
  • You cannot send emails when connected to a virtual server without changing a few settings first.
  • See below how to tweak your settings in order to send emails while being connected to a VPN.
  • We gathered several options and also included top-level suggestions for alternative VPNs and email clients.

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Is SMTP blocked by VPN on your Windows PC? Are you having issues sending or receiving emails in your custom webmail while on VPN?

Even though it might seem like a complicated problem, there are a few methods that are worth trying, as some users have confirmed them.

SMTP (Send Mail Transfer Protocol) is the protocol used for outgoing mail from a PC. This protocol is generally used during Mail exchange.

SMTP is provided by the ISP and has a particular address through which these mail exchanges are sent. such as TCP 25 used by many older email client programs.

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How does a VPN affect email?

SMTP can be blocked for different reasons apart from your VPN. This particular problem can especially be felt when you travel outside your ISP coverage area.

You may have difficulties sending emails from email clients such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and other email clients.

This is usually caused due to differences between the information your ISP has, and your device.

For instance, some hotels have checks that search if your ISP is from that region; however, if it’s not, your SMTP may be blocked.

Another reason why SMTP is blocked while you are on VPN is because of spam. Many reputable VPN providers do not keep logs which means they must also block spam messages. One way they reduce spam messages is by blocking SMTP traffic.

Most VPNs block outgoing SMTP on port 25 (because this port is unsecured). However, MS Outlook and several email client programs use this port as the major port for SMTP mails.

That said, you should be aware of the most frequent scenarios that imply this email issue. These are the following:

  • Cannot send email when connected to VPN
  • NordVPN email not working – NordVPN blocking email
  • Yahoo not working with VPN
  • Outlook not working on VPN – Outlook not receiving emails on VPN
  • Apple mail not working with VPN
  • Gmail VPN problem

Meanwhile, the WindowsReport team has come up with applicable solutions that can help you work around the VPN SMTP blocked problem.

What can I do if SMTP is blocked by my VPN service?

1. Use a webmail provider

gmail-search windows 11 outlook crashing

Most of the complaints about VPN SMTP blocked issues emanated from custom webmail users. An example of a custom webmail is [email protected].

However, using standard webmail is an excellent solution since most webmail provides an SMTP server on an SSL port TCP 465. Moreover, many VPNs do not block this port because it is secure.

This is because these webmail providers are not blocked by several VPN service providers. They also have a huge user base and provide excellent anti-spamming and security features for users.

Also, they are free to use and easy to access, unlike email clients.

In addition, many webmail providers provide anti-spamming features for users which reduces the number of spam messages entering your inbox. You can pick from many available webmail clients online.

However, we recommend the use of Gmail, or Yahoo Mail, as these have become some of the most well-rounded and known email providers.

2. Change your VPN

Even though are plenty of very capable options on the market when it comes to VPN software, some of them stand out from the crowd, especially when dealing with SMTP issues.

One such VPN software that will never stop you from accessing your email due to SMTP issues is the well-rounded and easy-to-use ExpressVPN

This VPN app not only ensures a smooth browsing experience no matter what tasks you’re focusing on online but also allows you to efficiently transform your IP to almost any country by using a wide number of servers located across the globe.

The easy-to-use interface ensures that you won’t waste any time configuring the VPN, and you can also access geo-restricted content from across the world, while also keeping your IP protected from any third parties that are collecting online data.

As mentioned before, there are many other viable VPN apps to choose from, even though we highly recommend this one.

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3. Contact your VPN provider and add the email server to the whitelist

Even though you might have another VPN service installed, you can always try contacting them and ask about adding the email server you’re using to the whitelist.

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This is a standard procedure used for the security and privacy of their subscribers and it is merely another sign that the service is very secure.

Just like many other VPN providers that have no-log policies, ExpressVPN must block outgoing SMTP traffic due to the spam associated with the use of VPN services, but they are extremely responsive when it comes to specific requests.

Fortunately enough, they can be contacted so that your specific email server can be whitelisted.

All you need to do is submit screenshots showing all of the following settings that you currently have entered to use in your email program:

  • The email addresses being blocked
  • The SMTP/outgoing email server name for the above address
    • For example smtp.mail.com, mail.example.net, etc.
  • The Port number used to connect to the mail server
  • Your SSL setting
    • Whether it is enabled or disabled
    • It may appear as TLS or SSL

Alternatively, you can also bypass these blocks by simply changing the SMTP server settings on your email client to the TCP port.

4. Switch to a newer email client

Many new email clients do not use TCP port 25 for their SMTP services. If your VPN still blocks your SMTP, you would have to upgrade to a newer version.

Alternatively, you can replace your email client with the latest email clients that use much more secure TCP ports.

This is a great tool that has a free version and includes multiple email accounts. It also allows you to classify and organize your emails thus making your email work easier.

Meanwhile, some VPN providers don’t block SMTP mails on TCP 25. If you use your email client regularly, it may be beneficial for you to switch your VPN service to SMTP-friendly VPN. We’ll list these VPN services below.

5. Temporarily disable VPN

A quick fix method that bypassed the SMTP blocked on VPN issue is to temporarily disable your VPN, send the email to your email client, and then enable your VPN afterward.

This would effectively work; however, there are many dangers involved, as you could be exposed to hacks and attacks from trackers.

Also, if you’re sending a sensitive email it can be intercepted by your ISP or government agency.

The validity of this method comes down to your specific circumstances, so use it at your own risk.

If you decide to disable your VPN for the time being, you can follow these steps:

Note icon
NOTE
The exact process to disable your VPN service will vary depending on the application you’re using for this task. We will be covering the exact steps to disable the ExpressVPN software.
  1. Open ExpressVPN software.
  2. Click the big power button to turn off the VPN.
  3. Now the interface should look like this.
  4. Close the VPN interface by pressing the X button.

To continue protecting your online identity and to be capable of accessing geo-restricted content online, make sure to start the VPN service again after sending/receiving the emails you need to.

As you can see, there are a few options that you can try to avoid encountering the same issue with your email client while using VPN.

One of the most useful methods is to try a VPN that offers great protection while also not intervening too much in your email-sending process, or contact the developers of the specific software and ask for a whitelist process to be effectuated.

Will a VPN stop spam emails?

Yes, a VPN is a perfect tool for stopping cyber threats like spam emails or even phishing attacks that may reach your email inbox.

Using VPN protection can shield your email data with encryption operations and mask your traffic to hide your location or sensitive information on email.

That being said, which of these methods worked for you? Feel free to share your thoughts and experience with us by using the comment section found below this guide.

If you want to learn more about email issues and implement cool tips and tricks for more efficient emailing, you have our dedicated Email Hub.

If you are interested in other similar tutorial guides, check out our VPN troubleshooting page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my VPN block SMTP? VPN service providers may block SMTP as a security measure, to protect you against data leaks and avoid spam messaging. The issue should be easy to overcome if you whitelist your email or change VPN settings.

 How do I enable SMTP with VPN? Simply contact your VPN provider’s technical support and ask them to whitelist your particular SMTP. Additionally, you could also try using a different email client.

Who provides you with an SMTP? Your SMTP is generally provided by your ISP. It is the default email server that enables you to send and receive emails in real-time.

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