How to Fix VPN Connection Issues When Working From Home
Working from home or any other location that does not have a private internet connection can expose you to the risk of data interception. This is why some work-from-home employees use a VPN connection to protect their company’s data at all times. Remote access VPN is the best solution for this purpose.
However, in some cases, your internet speed may slow down while using a VPN, or the VPN will stop working due to connection issues. When this happens, you would like to fix it right away.
The good news is, you can definitely fix most VPN connection problems on your own. Sometimes, VPN issues may originate from your service provider’s side. To save some time, make sure that a scheduled service interruption did not cause the issue. Try checking your e-mail first for any missed announcements.
If none, read on and try fixing your problems with VPN yourself. You just have to follow a few basic steps that anyone with fundamental computer knowledge can follow.
- Check Your Internet Connection
- Check Your Login Credentials
- Check Your VPN Settings
- Restart the VPN software
- Make sure your software is up to date
- Your Router and Your VPN Should Be Compatible
- Check Your IP Address
- Change the VPN tunneling protocol
- Check your Firewall
- Allow VPN ports, protocols, and passthrough
1. Check Your Internet Connection
The first thing that you should do before performing other fixes is to check your internet connectivity. Your device needs to be connected to a reliable Internet connection for your VPN to run properly. If the network connection between your computer and the VPN server was interrupted, it is either an error on your ISP’s end or your end.
Here are some ways that can help you check your internet connectivity:
- First, make a quick and simple Internet search. If your browser successfully loads the site, then you’re good to go. However, if it displays a message like “Unable to connect to the Internet,” then you’re not connected to the Internet.
- If you’re using a LAN connection, make sure that the ethernet cable is connected properly to your device and the router. Replace the cable if faulty.
- Try removing your current Wi-Fi profile and reconnecting. Make sure you have the right password.
- If none of the above solutions work, call your internet service provider.
2. Check Your Login Credentials
It’s possible that the reason why your VPN is not working is because of outdated login credentials. To change or update your login credentials, you can go to your VPN’s dashboard and access your account settings.
3. Check Your VPN Settings
Make sure that your VPN is configured to the right settings provided by your IT department, such as your Port and DNS settings.
Certain ports are denied access to traffic by some ISPs and networks. If you have the wrong Port, this may be the reason why your VPN is not functioning as intended.
First, you should check your VPN’s documentation for the right port number. Port settings differ depending on the VPN you’re using. If you’re using Nord, then you should be on 443 TCP and 1194 UDP ports to gain access to traffic.
WireGuard uses UDP port 51820, while IKEv2 uses 4500 and 500. Make sure that you’re using your VPN’s designated port by reading provided instructions.
Try changing to a different DNS server address. If you’re experiencing VPN issues working from home, you may be on the wrong DNS address, or your service provider’s DNS server might be unresponsive or dealing with technical difficulties. However, you should know that using custom DNS servers can expose you to leaks.
Change VPN Server locations
If possible, change to a different server. If you are unsure which server to connect to, contact your IT department. Connecting to some locations may prevent you from accessing your company’s network.
4. Restart the VPN software
Try restarting the VPN software. Don’t just close it and leave it running in the background, but terminate the whole process.
If you’re using a VPN plugin on your browser, try clearing your browser’s cache and reopening it. If this doesn’t work, try using a different browser, as your current browser may not be compatible with your VPN plugin. You can also try using another device with a different browser.
5. Make sure your software is up to date
It is important that you keep your VPN software up to date to eliminate bugs and security risks. Regular updates are performed by your service providers to keep your VPN experience delightful. To make updates more manageable, you can go to your VPN software’s settings and turn on automatic updates.
To ensure that the VPN issue is not caused by a browser-related problem, only use browsers recommended by your VPN provider. Also, keep your browser up to date.
6. Your Router and Your VPN Should Be Compatible
There are some routers that are incompatible with certain VPNs. If this is the case, you can buy a new one or combine another router with your current one.
On the other hand, there are also some routers that are VPN-ready but need to undergo a VPN passthrough, which is a feature of some routers that allows you to access a VPN without it being blocked. If you do not know your router’s VPN compatibility, contact your IT department for help or assistance.
7. Check Your IP Address
It is possible that your IP address belongs to the same subnetwork as your company’s, which may be why you’re having problems with your VPN not connecting. This can easily be fixed by simply changing your IP address’s subnetwork.
First, open your router’s settings through your browser. Then, make sure you have the right login credentials and the right IP address. To determine what your IP address is, open your Command Prompt and type IPCONFIG (For Windows). For Mac users, you can find your IP address in your device’s System Preferences under the Network tab.
Once logged in, go to your router’s configuration page and change your IP address, wherein the first 3 blocks are not identical to your company’s subnetwork. For example, if your IP address is 18.104.22.168 and you have the same subnet as your company’s, then change it to 22.214.171.124.
8. Change the VPN tunneling protocol
If none of the solutions above work, try to tunnel your VPN. You go to your VPN or network settings to change your VPN protocol. If you’re using OpenVPN, you can use TCP instead of UDP. Hit the link if you want to learn which VPN protocol is best for your purposes.
9. Check your Firewall
Your firewall may be blocking your VPN from running and causing unwanted VPN errors. It may be because it is recognizing it as a threat or it is seeing incoming traffic as unusual or weird.
To confirm this, you can temporarily turn off your Firewall and see if your connections are fixed. If this is the case, your next step would be to open some outgoing ports.
10. Allow VPN ports, protocols, and passthrough
To enable VPN ports, protocols and passthrough, go to your router’s settings by entering your IP address on your browser. After logging in, locate your router’s firewall and security settings.
Under these tabs, you’ll be able to find VPN port forwarding, protocols, and passthrough options. If you don’t know what your login credentials are to open your router settings, check the back side of your router.
Port forwarding and protocols
Port forwarding will allow traffic to bypass your firewall through network address translation (NAT). On the other hand, port tunneling protocols allow you to repackage the traffic that you’re receiving through encryption in order to hide its content from your firewall, thus allowing it to pass through your network.
In your router’s settings, look for the port forwarding settings and enter the port number and range that you would like to be forwarded. Next, choose between UDP and TCP ports.
Both are compatible with VPNs, although most VPN users find UDP better for its speed and efficiency. Make sure that port forwarding is on or enabled.
While on your router’s settings, go to the Firewall tab and look for the passthrough option. Some routers don’t have this option available, while some have an IPSec or PPTP passthrough option so that the user can have their internet traffic bridged coming from another device.
Enable whichever passthrough option your VPN uses. Again, if you’re unsure about this, you can contact your internet service provider for assistance.
How organizations can improve VPN experience for remote workers
There are a number of things the organization can do to improve the user experience when connecting via a VPN:
Increase network bandwidth
By increasing the available bandwidth between the VPN server and the internet, the overall latency experienced is much less.
Run additional VPN servers
It makes sense that having additional VPN servers increases capacity, but implementing load balancing across the servers will result in a more robust and reliable experience for your employees, where they can be routed to the server that can serve them best at any given time based on load and capacity.
Be proactive with server management
Server maintenance must be an integral part of your organization’s network strategy. All upgrades and patches must be applied timeously to ensure your servers are protected against ever-changing security threats.
Separate traffic flows
Split tunneling allows you to route some data through the VPN while other data is routed through normal public unsecured lines. The benefit of this is a reduction in bandwidth usage and connectivity speed.
Actions that would normally not need to be secured, like simple internet browsing, do not require encryption, whereas confidential business emails and documents will require a secure tunnel.
Change work patterns for remote employees
Another simple way to make a VPN work more efficiently is to change how your employees work. It’s not always necessary to edit a document or view a resource online on the remote server. Rather download the required resource, make the required changes, and then upload it. This uses a lot fewer VPN resources.
Companies can also introduce staggered working hours or shifts to reduce the number of concurrent connections to the VPN, thereby reducing the load and improving the performance.
VPN services are very important in today’s time when digital transformation is at its peak, and the work-from-home setup is becoming the norm. Thus, knowing how to fix a bad VPN connection is a skill that everyone should learn knowing that a VPN app doesn’t work flawlessly all the time.
If the above tips and solutions still can’t fix your VPN, contact your IT department or your service provider for support, or perhaps you should choose the better remote access VPN for business out there.