A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a crucial tool for maintaining privacy and security while browsing the internet. Many users rely on VPNs to mask their IP addresses, securely access public Wi-Fi, and bypass geo-restrictions. However, nothing is more frustrating than when a VPN connection keeps disconnecting, interrupting online activities and raising concerns about online security.
- Network issues, maximum device limits, and improper settings are common causes of VPN disconnections
- VPN protocols, ISP restrictions, and security software can also influence connectivity
- Troubleshooting tips and choosing a quality VPN service can help maintain a stable connection
Common Causes of VPN Disconnection
Issues with Internet Connection
A confident, knowledgeable, neutral, and clear reason why your VPN keeps disconnecting could be your internet connection. Network congestion, unstable Wi-Fi, or a weak ISP signal can lead to frequent VPN disconnects. To resolve this issue, try switching between Wi-Fi and a wired connection or consider upgrading your internet plan.
Firewalls are designed to protect your device from potentially harmful traffic. However, sometimes they may consider VPN traffic malicious and block it, causing VPN disconnects. To fix this issue, create an exception in your firewall settings for the VPN client.
Another common issue that leads to VPN disconnection is router problems. Some routers have built-in security features that may not be compatible with your VPN or may need a firmware update. If you suspect a router issue, consider updating the firmware or investing in a VPN-compatible router.
Battery Savings Mode and Sleep Mode
Adopting battery-saving and sleep modes, while useful for prolonging your device’s battery life, can lead to an unstable connection. These modes often restrict background data usage, causing VPN disconnects. To fix this, ensure your VPN is exempt from battery-saving and sleep mode settings.
Exceeded Device Limit
Many VPNs have a maximum number of devices allowed per account. If you’ve exceeded the device limit, you may experience frequent disconnections. To resolve this, either remove unused devices from your subscription or consider switching to a VPN with an unlimited simultaneous connection allowance.
VPN Server Issues
VPNs rely on a network of servers to provide a secure and reliable connection. Overloaded or poorly maintained servers can cause VPN disconnects frequently. To address this, try switching to a different server or reach out to your VPN’s customer support for further help.
Breaking Down VPN Protocols
When discussing VPN disconnections, it’s essential to understand the different VPN protocols and how they can impact your connection stability. In this section, we will explore the various VPN protocols and compare TCP vs. UDP while highlighting the effect of VPN protocol on connection stability.
TCP vs UDP
VPN protocols can use either TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) or UDP (User Datagram Protocol) as their underlying transport mechanism.
- TCP is a connection-oriented protocol that ensures data is correctly sent and received, making it more reliable but slower than UDP. It takes necessary steps to ensure the data arrives as intended, even if it means retransmitting the packets.
- UDP, on the other hand, is a connectionless protocol that doesn’t guarantee data delivery, making it faster but less reliable than TCP. It sends data without waiting for acknowledgment, which can result in lost or out-of-order packets.
When choosing a VPN protocol, it’s essential to consider the trade-off between speed (UDP) and reliability (TCP).
Effect of VPN Protocol on Connection Stability
Different VPN protocols can affect the connection stability in various ways. Here is an overview of some widely used protocols:
- WireGuard: A modern VPN protocol that aims to be fast, secure, and lightweight. It is designed for better performance and improved connection stability compared to older protocols.
- OpenVPN: A widely used and versatile VPN protocol, supporting both TCP and UDP. It offers a good balance of speed, security, and stability but may be susceptible to connection drops in networks with unstable connections.
- IKEv2/IPSec: A secure and relatively fast VPN protocol that is primarily designed for mobile devices. It can quickly re-establish a connection after a drop, making it suitable for networks with unstable connections.
- L2TP/IPSec: A combination of Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), providing a secure and reliable connection. However, it may not be the fastest option available.
- SSTP: A Windows-only VPN protocol that offers good security and stability, but may struggle with connection drops in unstable environments.
- Lightway Protocol: Developed by ExpressVPN, Lightway is a new VPN protocol designed for fast speed, security, and reliability. It claims to offer improved connection stability compared to traditional VPN protocols.
Role of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Ports
When using a VPN, your internet connection relies on both your ISP and the ports that are used to establish the connection. In this section, we will explore how ISPs and ports may contribute to VPN disconnections and discuss potential solutions.
Throttling by ISP
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may sometimes engage in throttling, which is the intentional slowing down of internet speeds for specific services, including VPNs. This can lead to unexpected disconnections and slow connections. Although ISPs may have legitimate reasons for throttling, such as managing network congestion, it can still impact your VPN experience.
To determine if your ISP is throttling your VPN connection, you can try connecting to different servers or using a different VPN service. If the problem persists, it’s more likely that your ISP is throttling your connection. To resolve this issue, you may consider switching to a different ISP that doesn’t throttle VPNs or try changing the VPN protocol you’re using.
Required Ports for VPNs
VPNs rely on specific ports to establish and maintain connections. Different VPN protocols require different ports, and sometimes these ports may be blocked by your ISP, router, or firewall. Blocked ports can result in VPN disconnections and hinder performance. Examples of ports used by common VPN protocols are:
- OpenVPN: UDP 1194, TCP 443
- IPSec (IKEv2 or L2TP): UDP 500, UDP 4500, ESP (IP protocol 50)
- WireGuard: UDP 51820
To improve the reliability of your VPN connection, you can try changing ports used by your VPN. Many VPN clients allow you to change the ports in their settings. For example, if your VPN uses OpenVPN, you can switch from UDP 1194 to TCP 443, which is less likely to be blocked since it’s the same port used by HTTPS traffic.
Influence of Antivirus and Firewall Software
Potential Conflicts with VPNs
Antivirus software and firewalls play an essential role in securing your devices and networks. However, these security measures can sometimes interfere with your VPN connection. For example, they might mistakenly identify your VPN traffic as malicious and block it, causing disconnections.
In some cases, antivirus or firewall settings may be configured to block certain ports or IP ranges used by your VPN, leading to an unstable connection with regular disruption. To prevent this, it may be necessary to add your VPN to the whitelist or create specific rules in your antivirus or firewall software that allow VPN traffic.
Need for Well-Configured Firewalls
Firewalls, when well-configured, can work harmoniously with VPNs to provide robust security for your devices and networks. Proper configuration helps ensure that your VPN maintains a stable connection without constant disconnects. To achieve this, one must adjust the firewall settings to explicitly allow the necessary ports, protocols, and IP ranges required for the VPN to function correctly.
For instance, your firewall should permit the use of common VPN protocols such as OpenVPN and IPsec, as blocking these can result in unstable connections and frequent disconnections. Additionally, it is crucial to keep your firewall and VPN software up to date, as outdated versions might have compatibility issues that can cause disconnects.
Understanding Network Settings
Keeping a stable VPN connection depends on various factors, including your network settings. To comprehend why your VPN might be disconnecting frequently, it’s essential to understand these settings and their possible impact.
Rules for Private or Public Networks
Your network can be categorized either as a private or public network. Private networks are usually home or office connections, where your device is part of a secure local area network (LAN). On the other hand, public networks are open-access connections, such as those found at coffee shops, airports, or libraries.
Private networks are generally more stable and secure, as they have stricter rules for allowing data transmissions. These rules act as network firewalls, allowing only approved devices and connections to access the network. If your VPN keeps disconnecting on a private network, it’s vital to check network rules and ensure that your VPN is permitted through the firewall.
Public networks, due to their open access, might suffer from higher latency and instability, leading to frequent VPN disconnects. In these cases, opting for a server with lower latency and trying different protocols could help prevent disconnections.
Effect of Network Type on VPN
Different network types, such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and mobile data, offer varying levels of connection stability. Each type can present distinct challenges when using a VPN.
- Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi connections can be susceptible to signal interference, resulting in unstable connections and affecting your VPN performance. To minimize interference, ensure you are within an optimal range from the Wi-Fi router and consider changing the Wi-Fi channel, which could lead to a more stable connection.
- Ethernet: Ethernet connections via a cable offer a more reliable network experience. If your VPN is disconnecting frequently while using an Ethernet cable, ensure that the cable is functioning correctly. You can test this by connecting another device to the same cable, or trying a different cable altogether.
- Mobile Data: Your VPN performance while using mobile data can be affected by network congestion, download/upload speeds, and data limits imposed by your carrier. These factors might cause your VPN to disconnect frequently, and opting for a server closer to your location could help mitigate the issue.
Ensuring Security and Privacy
VPNs are designed to provide security and privacy, but sometimes they can experience issues, such as disconnections, that could compromise these benefits. This section will discuss how to ensure your VPN remains secure and private by checking for DNS leaks and using a VPN kill switch.
How to Check for DNS Leaks
DNS leaks are a security risk that can occur when your device uses insecure DNS servers instead of the secure ones provided by your VPN. This could inadvertently expose your browsing activities to unwanted third parties. To check for DNS leaks, follow these steps:
- Connect to your VPN.
- Visit a reputable online DNS leak test tool, such as ipleak.net.
- Run the test and check the results. If the displayed IP addresses or DNS servers match those of your VPN provider, it means there are no leaks. If they match your ISP’s information instead, it indicates a leak.
To fix DNS leaks, you may consider manually configuring your device to use secure DNS servers or contacting your VPN provider for assistance.
Benefits of A VPN Kill Switch
A VPN kill switch is a feature that automatically disconnects your device from the internet if your VPN connection is lost. This helps prevent your IP address and online activities from being exposed during unexpected disconnections. Some of the benefits include:
- Enhanced privacy: By cutting off your internet connection when the VPN connection drops, a kill switch prevents your sensitive data and online activities from being leaked to unwanted parties.
- Reduced security risk: If your VPN disconnects while accessing a public Wi-Fi network, a kill switch helps protect your device against potential cyber threats by stopping the traffic until the VPN connection is reestablished.
- Automatic protection: Kill switches are designed to work seamlessly in the background, providing you peace of mind knowing that your privacy and security are protected even during unreliable VPN connections.
To make the most out of your VPN service, look for providers that offer a built-in kill switch feature and ensure it’s enabled on all your devices. This, combined with regular DNS leak checks, will help maintain security and privacy while using a VPN
When your VPN keeps disconnecting, it can be frustrating and could lead to potential security risks. In this section, we will provide some troubleshooting tips to help you address VPN connection issues and improve your VPN experience.
How to Improve Connection Speed
- Change VPN servers: Sometimes, the VPN server you’re connected to may be congested or unreliable. Switching to another server can help improve your connection speed. Most VPN providers offer multiple server locations, so try a few different options to find the best one for you.
- Check your internet connection: Make sure that your internet connection is stable and has decent speeds. If you’re having general connectivity issues, upgrading your internet plan or improving your Wi-Fi signal may help.
- Disable other network-consuming applications: Close any apps or services that are consuming significant bandwidth. This can free up resources and potentially improve your VPN connection speed.
- Choose a VPN with lower latency: Latency is the time it takes for data to travel between your device and the VPN server. Higher latency can cause slower connection speeds. Look for a VPN with lower latency to help improve your connection speed.
Steps to Prevent Frequent Disconnection
- Review VPN settings: Check your VPN settings and make any necessary adjustments. For example, consider changing the VPN protocol to one that is more reliable or better suited for your needs.
- Update VPN software: Keep your VPN software up-to-date. Most providers regularly release updates to improve performance, security, and reliability.
- Check for simultaneous device connections: Are you reaching the simultaneous device limit allowed by your VPN provider? If so, consider disconnecting less important devices or upgrading your subscription to accommodate more connections.
- Disable power-saving mode: Your device’s power settings could be disrupting the VPN connection. Make sure that power-saving mode or other system features that manage network connections are disabled or adjusted accordingly.
- Monitor for software conflicts: Some programs or security services may interfere with your VPN connection. Temporary disable or uninstall any conflicting applications to see if it resolves the disconnection issue.
- Consult a troubleshooting guide: If none of the steps outlined above resolve your VPN connection issues, refer to a troubleshooting guide or contact your VPN provider’s support team for further assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes VPN disconnection every few minutes?
VPN disconnections every few minutes can be caused by unstable network connections, incorrect VPN settings, reaching the device limit for your VPN subscription, or problems with your router or DNS servers. To fix this, you may need to change your VPN settings or contact your VPN provider for assistance.
How to solve Express VPN disconnection issues?
To solve Express VPN disconnection issues, try these steps:
- Ensure you have a stable internet connection.
- Update your Express VPN client to the latest version.
- Change your VPN server location.
- Check your device limit and disconnect any unnecessary devices.
- If issues persist, contact Express VPN customer support.
How to fix VPN disconnection on Windows 10?
To fix VPN disconnection on Windows 10:
- Check your internet connection to ensure it’s stable.
- Update your VPN client to the latest version.
- Change your VPN server location.
- Adjust your VPN settings, such as disabling the kill switch or selecting a different protocol.
- Restart your computer and router.
- If needed, consult your VPN provider’s support resources.
Why does VPN disconnect my internet?
Your VPN might disconnect your internet if it detects connection issues or network instability. Additionally, your VPN’s kill switch might be activated, which automatically cuts off your internet access if the VPN connection is lost. To resolve this, check your VPN settings or contact your VPN provider for assistance.