If you’ve ever had issues with your VPN disconnecting frequently, don’t worry – you’re not the only one. In fact, everyone who’s ever used a VPN will tell you that they’ve had this happen to them at least once or twice.
This is precisely why we’ve decided to dedicate this article to VPN disconnects. In it, we will elaborate on the following 3 main points:
- Common disconnect issues and fixes
- What a VPN Kill Switch is and why you need it
- Other frequent VPN issues and fixes
Let’s start with…
Common reasons and common fixes for disconnects
Reason #1 The server you’re connected to is too far away.
The way that VPNs work already slows down the connection speed a bit, but adding the extra pressure of your data travelling across the globe and passing through several networks can be fatal to your Internet’s performance. This could easily lead to your VPN simply disconnecting.
Fix #1 Select a Different Server Location
Simply select a different server location from your VPN client. Try to stick to a server in your area, unless you absolutely need the VPN for services like BBC iPlayer or Netflix.
Reason #2 Your VPN protocol is not suitable
VPN protocols, just like network protocols, are sets of rules for formatting and processing data. Protocols exist as a kind of a translator and intermediary between computers. So, if you don’t have the right VPN protocol, that would make your connection quite hard to maintain.
Fix #2 Simply change the protocol
For most people, the OpenVPN protocol works quite well, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test out other protocols supported by your VPN provider. We’ve read stories of people getting a more stable connection with the IKEv2 protocol, which provides an almost equal level of security.
Other protocols, such as PPTP and WireGuard, are also worth the try. Just make sure that they are supported by your VPN provider beforehand.
Reason #3 Data-heavy programs running in the background
Sometimes a program may be getting an update, and sometimes Windows can be causing this issue. There could be software that constantly tries to connect to the Internet, and this may be a problem for your VPN.
Fix #3 Check Task Manager and Settings
Check your Task Manager and your VPN app settings for any unnecessary apps running in the background. If you find any, simply disable them.
Extra fix: Simply restart everything. You know how your Internet is slow sometimes, and when you simply restart the router, it becomes faster? It’s the same principle, and sometimes all you need is a quick restart of your system.
Although not technically a solution to the problem with disconnecting VPNs, we think it is also important to talk about …
VPN Kill Switches
If the network connection drops, your computer’s IP address is no longer masked and goes back to its original form. This makes your activity easy to track, and what’s worse – this can happen without you even noticing.
In order to protect your identity even in the case of a disconnect, several VPN providers offer the “kill switch” feature. A kill switch is basically a mechanism that cuts your connection to the internet automatically in case of a VPN disconnect.
Keep in mind that even if a given VPN service comes with a kill switch, this does not make it automatically active. To activate many VPN kill switches, you need to go into the VPN app settings and activate the feature.
Other frequent issues and fixes
The issues we mentioned above are the most basic, most common ones that can happen to any user, at any time. Below you will find an additional issue that is limited to Disney Plus/BBC iPlayer/Netflix users.
VPN not working with Disney Plus/BBC iPlayer
The root cause of this issue does not lie in the VPN provider itself – it lies in the way these streaming services work. A common feature that Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer and Netflix share is “geo-blocking”, meaning that these services offer you specific shows based on your location. If, say, a specific show is available only in the UK, you would not be able to access it through the German version of the same service.
Typically, you can easily bypass this feature by using a VPN, BUT certain sites recognize when you’re using a VPN, and unfortunately, these streaming services are among them. The way they typically recognize a VPN is by checking in a specific database whether or not your IP address belongs to a VPN service or not. Since smaller, cheaper VPN providers have more limited resources, only the biggest VPNs can afford to constantly change their IP addresses in order to bypass the harsh restrictions of these streaming services.
So, if you’re having this precise issue, the best thing you could do is to opt for a high-quality paid VPN.