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5 common VPN issues and how to fix them

Presented by ExpressVPN

Presented by ExpressVPN

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VPNs, or virtual private networks, are typically set and forget services that don’t require a lot of troubleshooting. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean there aren’t problems with VPNs you might have to address from time to time.

A VPN is still the best privacy protection you can get online. Tap or click here to see why you shouldn’t be in the 85% of people that don’t use a VPN.

Whether you don’t know how to get started or you suddenly can’t access the content you want, several things can go wrong behind the scenes. Fortunately, most of these issues are simple and equally easy to address. Read on for five common VPN issues and their fixes.

1. I don’t know how to set up my VPN

Our sponsor, ExpressVPN, is a super easy service to set up. It only takes a few clicks to get started browsing the web privately. There are a few key things you have to remember when using any VPN, though:

  • Servers: What server you pick will largely be responsible for what speed you get. It’s important to pick servers that aren’t full or nearly full and be sure to keep capacity in mind if you’re using your VPN at normal peak usage hours, like after work or on the weekends.
  • Location: Pick the server closest to your geographical location if you want the fastest connection possible. However, if you’re looking to connect to a server in a specific location, like a major international hub like Tokyo, you may want to pick servers near your desired location instead, like somewhere in the Tokyo metro area.

Just turn it on, select your location and server, and you’re all done! If it seems complicated, something has gone wrong because ExpressVPN is built from the ground up to be intuitive. Tap or click here for our guide to setting up ExpressVPN.

2. My connection is slow

Advertised speeds for VPNs will always be approximations because your actual speed will depend on your device, location and server you’re trying to connect to, along with its current workload. Here’s what you can try if your connection is slow:

  • Select a new server: Generally speaking, servers that are closer to you geographically will be faster, depending on workload. Congestion will always slow a server down.
  • Try another device: Sometimes older devices, especially older Android phones and tablets, have trouble connecting over a VPN. Test your VPN on a different device before you decide your connection is actually the problem.
  • Temporarily disable your firewall or antivirus: Antivirus and firewall software can conflict with VPN software. Try turning it off temporarily to see if your speeds improve.

It’s important to find the fastest VPN you can, which is why Kim recommends ExpressVPN. With ExpressVPN, you get great privacy benefits without sacrificing speed.

3. I can’t stay connected

Connection issues are one of the most common problems with VPNs. Many things can cause these issues, but here are the primary concerns:

  • Conflicting software: Check your firewall and any other services that might conflict with your VPN, like an antivirus. If they’re running, disable them temporarily.
  • Other programs causing problems: Try restarting your computer. Sometimes there can be an issue with a program you have running.
  • Congestion: This can be a problem if lots of people are using a server you’re trying to connect to. It’s easy to end up constantly reconnecting, so consider trying a different server.

It’s essential to ensure you don’t share private, personal information over the internet with your VPN disconnected. Tap or click here to see why if you’re serious about privacy, a VPN is a must.

4. I can’t stream while connected

Many VPNs, especially low-cost or free ones, don’t work well or at all with streaming services. Over the years, streaming services have improved at detecting VPNs and booting out users with them on, and many VPNs don’t have the resources to address this.

If you run into streaming issues, consider the following:

  • Check your VPN service site: See if your VPN actually supports the site you’re trying to stream from. Most VPNs will advertise all the popular streaming sites that work with their service, and if they don’t, other people have likely asked the same question and there might be an answer in a FAQ post.
  • Check your internet connection: Turn off your VPN and try to stream content normally. If you have unusually slow speeds there, too, something is going on with your internet, not your VPN.
  • Try changing servers: If you find yourself having issues streaming while connected to your VPN, changing servers could be your best solution.

You won’t have to worry about streaming service issues with ExpressVPN. It works right out of the box with all your favorite services, like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, YouTube and more!

5. I can’t send emails when I’m using my VPN

Being unable to send emails may sound like a strange issue, but with a VPN, it can be the simple result of a setting change on your internet connection’s backend. Different kinds of connections can correspond to different virtual ports, and sometimes the ports your email account uses can be blocked unintentionally.

Search the problem on your VPN provider’s site. If its service blocks a certain port, it’ll have instructions explaining how to fix the issue. In the case of ExpressVPN, if you ever find yourself unable to receive email, it’s possible your email clients’ TCP port is blocked.

To resolve the issue, you can exclude your email client from connecting to ExpressVPN in just a few clicks. For detailed directions on how to do this, click here.

Try ExpressVPN’s 30-day, money-back guarantee. If you’re not 100% satisfied with ExpressVPN, let them know within 30 days and they’ll refund your payment. It’s that simple. Tap or click here to get 3 extra months free when you sign up for one year at

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