VPN Not Working On Windows? 11 Ways To Fix It

Whether you want to protect your online privacy or access restricted content, VPN is the ideal choice. However, it’s frustrating when you can’t set it up properly, or the connection can’t be established leading to different error messages.

While incorrect credentials are a common cause, the VPN may also not work due to server or internet-related problems. Additionally, IPv6 incompatibility, failing Remote services or network protocols, corrupted WAN Miniport drivers, and blocked ports can also cause this issue.

Before moving on with the hard fixes, let’s start with basic troubleshooting.

General Troubleshooting Tips

  • Sometimes, an internet problem could be the reason. First, disconnect the VPN to check if the regular connection is working fine or switch to another VPN server.
  • Ensure you’re using the correct login credentials. Also, confirm that your VPN provider hasn’t changed the password.
  • Ensure your computer’s date and time are accurate.
  • Ensure your Windows is updated to the latest version.
  • In case you’re using a third-party VPN application, try updating/reinstalling it.
  • If you’re getting an error message, check out these guides that should help you out:
  • If you’re using a premium VPN service, it’s best to contact the provider to know what might have gone wrong. But if you’re using a free VPN and none of the listed solutions worked out, one of the methods from below should fix it.

Try Disabling IPv6

Whether you’re unable to connect to the VPN at all or can’t use the internet while being able to establish the connection, simply disabling IPv6 can sometimes do this trick.

Some VPN servers only utilize IPv4 addresses and headers and might not be compatible with IPv6.

  1. Open Run and execute the following command to launch the Network Connections window:
    ncpa cpl
  2. Right-click on the connected network adapter (Ethernet or Wi-Fi).
    ethernet propertiesethernet properties
  3. From the list of items, find and deselect Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6).
    deselect ipv6deselect ipv6
  4. Press Ok to save the changes and reboot your computer.
  5. Finally, reconnect to your VPN and it should start working.

Adjust MTU Size

If your VPN server supports IPv6, but you’re using large data payloads (watching live streams/broadcasts, transferring/downloading large files, etc.), this might add more space to the IPv6 header. This might be the reason your VPN keeps disconnecting. 

A simple workaround to this problem is to lower the Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) size. This way, the header space is well-managed, and there will be less packet loss and potentially no packet fragmentation. So, you can make the VPN start working without disabling the IPv6 address.

  1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    run cmd as adminrun cmd as admin
  2. First, run the following command to list the IPv6 subinterfaces and check the MTU sizes:
    netsh interface ipv6 show subinterface
  3. Now, execute the following command to lower the MTU size than the present value:
    netsh interface ipv6 set subinterface <your network as listed under Interface> mtu=<value> store=persistent
    adjust mtu sizeadjust mtu size
  4. Reboot your PC and reconnect to the VPN to see if this helps.
  5. If it doesn’t, lower the value again and recheck until the VPN works. 

Note: Since the recommended lowest MTU size for IPv6 is 1280, I won’t advise you to adjust yours to less than that. If your VPN is still not working, reset the MTU size and know that IPv6 is probably not causing the problem.

Check for Network Adapter Issues

WAN Miniport device drivers provide alternative connection methods, including the VPN. If outdated or corrupted, your VPN might stop working or throw different errors.

To solve this, you can either update (if possible) or simply reinstall them following the below instructions:

  1. In the Run dialogue box, execute the below command to open Device Manager:
    devmgmt msc in rundevmgmt msc in run
  2. Expand Network Adapters.
  3. If you have set the VPN type to Automatic, right-click on each of the WAN Miniport adapters in succession and pick Update driver.
    In case you’ve chosen a dedicated protocol, you may only update the specific adapter.
    update wan miniportupdate wan miniport
  4. Select Search automatically for drivers.
    search automatically for wan miniport driversearch automatically for wan miniport driver
  5. If the best drivers are installed, return to the Device Manager utility. This time, uninstall all or the required WAN Miniport adapters.
    uninstall wan miniport driveruninstall wan miniport driver
  6. Restart your device to reinstall those drivers and try connecting to the VPN to see if this has resolved your problem.
  7. Along with the WAN Miniport adapters, I also suggest updating/reinstalling your primary network driver. This should fix any network connectivity issues which could in turn be affecting the VPN. 
    update network adapterupdate network adapter

Open Blocked Ports

Based on the tunneling protocol used for establishing a VPN connection, it’s essential that the necessary ports remain open.

Here’s a chart that should help you out on which TCP/UDP ports your firewall shouldn’t block:

Tunneling ProtocolPortSecurity
OpenVPNUDP 1194 and TCP 443Fast speed with excellent encryption
IKEv2UDP 500 and UDP 4500Fast speed with good encryption
SSTPTCP 443Medium speed with good encryption
L2TP/IPSecUDP 1701Medium speed with medium encryption
PPTPTCP 1723Fast speed with poor encryption
Ports used by different tunneling protocols along with their Speed and Encryption
  1. In the Run dialogue box, type wf.msc and hit Enter. This should launch the Windows Defender Firewall with the Advanced Security program.
    wf msc in runwf msc in run
  2. From the left pane, choose Inbound Rules.
  3. Move to the right pane and click on New Rule.
    inbound rules new ruleinbound rules new rule
  4. Once the New Inbound Rule Wizard pops up, set the rule type to Port and hit Next.
    set rule type to portset rule type to port
  5. In the next screen, pick TCP or UDP (based on the tunneling protocol you’re using). 
  6. Also, in the Specific local ports field, enter the port number and press Next.
    protocol and portsprotocol and ports
  7. Leave the Action to Allow the Connection and hit Next.
    allow the connectionallow the connection
  8. Based on your choice, you can apply the rule for Domain, Private, or Public. Then, click Next.
    profile in new inbound rule wizardprofile in new inbound rule wizard
  9. Provide the name and description for the inbound rule. Once done, hit Finish.
    set name and descriptionset name and description
  10. Finally, in the center pane, make sure there’s a green tick or the Enabled column says ‘Yes’ to the rule you just created.
    check green tick or enabled columncheck green tick or enabled column

Setup Exception for UDP

If your VPN software utilizes User Datagram Protocol (UDP) instead of TCP, know that this is used for establishing low-latency and loss-tolerating connections. In case there are security problems, your VPN might stop working. If that’s the case, you can set up a UDP exception by introducing the AssumeUDPEncapsulationContextOnSendRule DWORD in Windows Registry Editor.

Caution: Incorrect changes in the Windows registry can cause serious issues and you might even have to reinstall the operating system. To be on the safe side, I suggest keeping a backup so you can restore it if anything goes wrong. 

  1. Use the regedit command in Run to open Registry Editor.
    regedit in runregedit in run
  2. Hit Yes to provide elevated privilege.
    yes to open registry editoryes to open registry editor
  3. In the address field, paste the below path and hit Enter:
    policyagent in registry editorpolicyagent in registry editor
  4. Move to the right section and right-click anywhere on the blank space.
  5. Choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
    new dword valuenew dword value
  6. Name the created DWORD AssumeUDPEncapsulationContextOnSendRule.
  7. Double-click on it and set the value to 2. Don’t forget to press Ok to save the changes.
    set dword value to 2set dword value to 2
  8. Now, reboot your device and check if the VPN problem is now solved.

Check Issues with the Remote Services

Remote Access Connection Manager (RDCMan) is a Windows service responsible for VPN connections from your computer to the Internet or other remote networks. If the service is not running or having issues, you might encounter VPN connection troubles. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Open Run and use the services.msc command to launch the Services utility.
    services msc in runservices msc in run
  2. Look for Remote Access Connection Manager and make sure it’s running. If not, right-click and select Start.
    start remote access connection managerstart remote access connection manager
  3. In case the Windows service is already running, right-click on it and pick Refresh.
    refresh remote access connection managerrefresh remote access connection manager
  4. If that didn’t help, navigate back and this time, select Restart.
    restart remote access connection managerrestart remote access connection manager
  5. Even if restarting the service didn’t work out for you, double-click on it to launch Properties.
  6. Now, switch to the Dependencies tab and identify the services that it depends on. As you can see below, these services include Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol Service, Telephony, Remote Procedure Call (RPC), DCOM Server Proces Launcher, and RPC Endpoint Mapper.
    remote access connection manager dependenciesremote access connection manager dependencies
  7. Navigate back to the Services application and restart all of these services.

Try Flushing the DNS Cache

If none of the aforementioned steps worked out, there could be certain faults with the DNS Resolver Cache that could be responsible. Certainly, it’s a good idea to add new DNS entries by clearing the old ones. This way, your computer can send new DNS queries to the VPN server, possibly fixing the problem:

  1. From the Start Menu, open Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Now, start executing each of the commands mentioned below:
    ipconfig /flushdns
    ipconfig /release
    ipconfig /renew
    ipconfig commands to release renew and flush dnsipconfig commands to release renew and flush dns
  3. Reconnect to the VPN and check if it’s working again.
  4. If the problem persists, run the following command to reinstall the TCP/IP stack:
    netsh int ip reset
    netsh int ip resetnetsh int ip reset
  5. Finally, reboot your PC and reestablish the VPN connection.

Disable Proxy Server

Generally, proxy servers are not needed for VPN connections. I do not think you have set it up yourself. But if you have unknowingly configured this, it’s better to disable it. Since most Windows users have fixed the problem this way, it’s worth a try:

  1. Press Windows and I keys together to launch Settings.
    windows i to open windows settingswindows i to open windows settings
  2. Go to Network & Internet > VPN.
    vpn in network and internetvpn in network and internet
  3. Select your VPN and click on Advanced Options.
    advanced options in vpnadvanced options in vpn
  4. Next, hit the Edit button next to the Proxy settings for this VPN connection field.
    vpn proxy settings edit buttonvpn proxy settings edit button
  5. Once the Proxy Settings window pops up, ensure that it is set to None.
    proxy settings noneproxy settings none
  6. Then, press the Apply button.
  7. If the VPN is still not working, get to the Network & Internet section again.
  8. This time, pick the Proxy option.
    proxy in network and internetproxy in network and internet
  9. Now, make sure both the automatic and manual proxy setups are turned off.
    turned off automatic and manual proxyturned off automatic and manual proxy

Allow Your VPN App to Pass Through the Firewall

As mentioned earlier, it’s better to adopt the Windows in-built VPN rather than relying on third-party applications. But if you have decided to stick with it, I suggest you check whether the Windows Defender Firewall (or a third-party firewall) is blocking the VPN connectivity.

If that’s the case, you need to allow the application to pass through the firewall, and here’s how:

  1. Open Windows Defender Firewall from the Start Menu, as shown below.
    open windows defender firewall from start menuopen windows defender firewall from start menu
  2. From the left pane, click on Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall.
    allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewallallow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall
  3. Press the Change Settings button to provide elevated privilege.
    change settings in allowed appschange settings in allowed apps
  4. Now, find your VPN application from the list and check both the Private and Public options.
    private and public checkedprivate and public checked
  5. Press Ok and check if this has solved your VPN connection problem. 

Perform System Restore

If you have made any vital system changes intentionally or unintentionally, this might be another reason for your VPN to not work. Some users have complained about facing a similar issue after a recent Windows update. Whatever the case, you can try performing a system restore to see if this solves your problem:

  1. Launch Run and execute the sysdm.cpl command to open the System Properties dialogue box.
    sysdm cplsysdm cpl
  2. Get to the System Protection tab and click on the System Restore button.
    system protection system restoresystem protection system restore
  3. Now, press Next.
    system restore first screen nextsystem restore first screen next
  4. Check the Date and Type field and select the appropriate restoration point. You should have at least one Automatic Restore Point like the one shown below. Select the option and press Next.
    automatic restore pointautomatic restore point
  5. Click on Finish and wait for your computer to restart.
    finish system restorefinish system restore
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the system restoration.
  7. Once you’ve reverted to the older Windows version, reconnect to your VPN and confirm if the issue was caused by a recent update/change.

If your VPN is still not working after trying out all the steps I’ve mentioned, do not hesitate to post your exact problem in the comment section below.

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