Support Center / Troubleshooting / Troubleshooting VPN connection issues on Windows

Troubleshooting VPN connection issues on Windows

If you cannot connect to our VPN servers using our Windows app, you will see this troubleshooting message. 

The Windows troubleshooting message

As this message suggests, there are a number of possible reasons for the problem.

Your connection is blocked by your ISP or government

If you live in a restrictive country then your connection may be blocked by your government. To bypass this, you can try:

  • Using our alternative routing feature. This routes connections through third-party networks that may not be blocked.
  • Changing VPN protocol. Using OpenVPN or WireGuard in TCP mode can be an effective way to bypass censorship, although it will not defeat advanced deep packet inspection (DPI) techniques. Stealth protocol can defeat even some DPI techniques.

    Smart protocol will automatically cycle through all available VPN protocols (OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, WireGuard® UDP, WireGuard TCP, and Stealth in Windows) to try to establish a connection.
Change VPN protocol in Windows

There is a problem with your WiFi connection

Try getting closer to your router. If that fails, try resetting your router (turn it off, wait at least 10 seconds, then turn it on again). Restarting your PC can also fix many connection problems. 

There is a problem with your internet service provider (ISP)

This may be due to maintenance being performed in your area, poor reception (if using a  mobile connection), a technical problem, or a problem with your account. You can identify if the problem lies with your ISP by connecting over a different network (for example, using your phone as a mobile hotspot rather than WiFi).

If the issue lies with your ISP then you can wait to see if it resolves itself (maintenance is completed, the technical issue is fixed, etc.) or you can contact your ISP. 

Your antivirus software is interfering with the VPN connection

Antivirus software may incorrectly interpret the connection to our VPN server as suspicious. Temporarily disable or remove your virus software to help identify the problem. 

If the connection works when your antivirus software is removed or disabled, try adjusting its settings or adding an exclusion for the Proton VPN app.

A proxy or firewall is interfering with the VPN connection

System-wide proxy settings can be disabled in Windows by going to StartSettingsNetwork & InternetProxyManual proxy setupUse a proxy and toggling the switch Off (Windows 10), or clicking Edit and toggling the Use a proxy switch Off (Windows 11).

Disable proxy connections in Windows

Note that many offices, schools, and similar, require the use of a proxy to access local network resources. If this is an issue, contact your network administrator. 

Proxies are sometimes configured inside your browser. Chrome-based browsers (including Edge Chromium and Brave) always use the Windows system settings (see above), but in Firefox, go to SettingsNetwork SettingsSettingsConfigure Proxy Access to the Internet and ensure either No proxy or Use system proxy settings (if no proxy is configured in the system settings – see above) is selected. 

Disable proxy connections in Firefox

Either Proton itself or the Proton VPN server you are trying to connect to is down

This may be due to routine server maintenance or a technical fault. You can check the status of Proton here, and the status of our server network here. If it’s an issue with an individual server, just connect to a server that is operational. 

If none of the above solutions work, please contact our support team for further assistance. 

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