Here’s what to do when your VPN stops working

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • If your VPN stops working, you should go through the normal troubleshooting procedure, flush your DNS or reinstall the client.
  • We recommend using a well-known subscription VPN provider like PIA as opposed to free, and sometimes unsafe, VPN solutions. 
  • Being able to diagnose and fix your Windows PC can save you time and money. Get started by reading our guides on the Troubleshooting Page.
  • To learn how a VPN can protect your data and how to correctly set one up, check out our comprehensive VPN Guides Section.
VPN stops working

When your VPN stops working, it could be due to several reasons, including internet connectivity, incorrect login details, unpaid subscriptions, or technical reasons such as server issues, among others.

A VPN restores privacy to your internet experience, so if it stops working, this privacy is no longer assured. However, you’ll have to check on things like the ports being used, your network, and much more before you pinpoint on the main problem causing it not to work.

Before contacting your VPN provider, check out some of the common issues and their potential fixes listed below.

What can I do when VPN stopped working?

  1. Change your VPN
  2. Preliminary fixes
  3. Flush the DNS
  4. Reinstall your VPN

1. Change your VPN Provider

Private Internet Access

If your VPN keeps cutting off or stops working altogether, then it might be because of system incompatibility. One sure-fire way to fix this issue is to switch to a tested VPN provider that has a long-standing record of creating stable software. We recommend Private Internet Access.

PIA caters to everyone’s needs, having covered all the major platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, Linux and macOS, as well as browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Additionally, you benefit from a 30-day money-back guarantee as well as excellent customer support to help you diagnose and fix any issues you might encounter. PIA has servers all over the world, which allows you to bypass geo-restrictions and keep your data safe at the same time.

If your current VPN solution has stopped working, then we recommend you check out Private Internet Access as a robust replacement.

Here are some of the features you can enjoy when you start using PIA:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Protection for up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • SOCKS5 proxy support
  • Multiple VPN gateways
  • More than 3300 servers in over 45 countries
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • WireGuard, PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec protocols
Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

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2. Preliminary fixes

If your VPN stops working, try the following general troubleshooting fixes before trying the next solutions:

  1. Check if there’s a device that is causing the problem, by rebooting all affected devices such as your computer, hubs, your router, and/or modem, whether your connection is working okay without connecting your VPN
  2. Connect your VPN on another device within the same network and see if it helps. If it does, then the issue is probably with the device you’ve been using
  3. Connect your computer directly to your modem – bypass your router – if this helps, then your router is causing issues with your VPN account as sometimes router settings can affect your VPN
  4. Check your firewall software and test if it’s conflicting with your VPN. Disable and try connecting again. If it works, then you need to set up an exception to use your VPN while your firewall is running, or, set an exception for all traffic to the VPN’s server address
  5. Delete the first VPN connection you created and see if the second one will work
  6. Check your country or ISP as they may block VPN connections. You can confirm with friends in the same area or contact your ISP directly
  7. Ensure you entered the correct passwords (without spaces) and username
  8. Check date and time settings on your computer to ensure they’re correct
  9. If your VPN doesn’t support multi-device use on a single account, then check if you’re sharing with another device and use just one
  10. Change your time zone
  11. Clear your browser cache as the old information you used before is still there.
  12. Ensure you’re running the latest version of your VPN
  13. Ensure the server you’re connecting to is online and available
  14. Try another internet connection
  15. Try changing the connection to another port/protocol and find one that works for you.

VPN got blocked by Windows firewall? Here’s how to fix it

3. Flush the DNS

Doing this lets your computer access your VPN’s DNS automatically for the proper/correct entries. To do this:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Select All Apps.
  3. Click Accessories.
  4. Right-click Start and select Command Prompt (Admin).
    Surface Pro won't connect to WiFi Windows 10
  5. Type ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter. A confirmation that says: Windows IP Configuration Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache will be displayed.

4. Reinstall your VPN

  1. Right-click Start and select Run

  2. Type regedit and press Enter
  3. You will now see the User Account Control dialog box.
  4. Click Yes
  5. In the Registry Editor, under Computer, double-click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
    Important updates are pending
  6. Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, double-click on SOFTWARE and then [your]VPN.
  7. If you cannot find [your]VPN directly beneath SOFTWARE, go to SOFTWARE Classes[your]VPN.
  8. Right-click on [your]VPN and then click Delete. After deletion, you should no longer see your VPNunder Wow6432Node

Depending on which particular issue you have with your VPN stopping, the solutions above should allow you to fix it. Keep in mind that some services like Netflix have been known to stop working when a VPN was activated. If this is the case for you, then try connecting to a different server.

Services like Netflix block thousands of IP addresses constantly, and VPN providers are always countering this by opening new servers and changing the IP addresses of their customers. One possible workaround for this is to purchase a dedicated IP address from your VPN provider which only you will use.

One other thing you might want to do is to turn off temporarily the ad-block feature that is included in the VPN client.

Let us know in the comments section if any of these solutions helped.

Wi-Fi is getting disconnected when a VPN connection is made? There’s a simple fix

FAQ: Issues with VPN stopping

  • Why VPN stops working asks for a password?

Check that your account is still active by going to your VPN provider’s website and logging in. If that is not the cause, then completely close the VPN or reboot your system and then try again. If the problem is not resolved, reinstall the VPN client. Lastly, if you are using a subscription VPN like PIA, then contact the customer support team for further guidance.

  • How come when I turn on a VPN my WiFi stops working?

Make sure you are using the default gateway on a remote network. Additionally, you can uninstall the VPN adapter and re-install it. To find out how to do this, check out our complete guide.

  • Why does my internet stop working when I connect to VPN?

If you’re encountering this problem, the first thing to do is to select a different server, if that doesn’t work, then restart your VPN client, reboot your PC or re-install your VPN client. We’ve created a complete guide on how to fix this issue.

  • Does a VPN stop YouTube PiP from working?

No, YouTube PiP will work with a VPN, assuming you are connected to a server in a country where this feature is available. Additionally, keep in mind that you will need a YouTube Premium account to gain access to PiP.

  • Will a VPN stop Grim Dawn over LAN from working?

Technically, no. Even whilst connected to VPN, other computers on your network will still be able to see your game. 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

  • Good to know what to do when the vpn stops working, but the last offer to change your vpn provider was the best! Some time ago I was using free vpn and that was a huge mistake, it didn’t secure my dns leaks. Sad, but I saw the list in pcmag where CG is just in the sixth place. At this moment I try to decide which one of vpn providers are better to stream Netflix and stay safe from hackers, do you have any suggestions? What about nordvpn and astrill? Heard they worked with Netflix, do they work?