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How to fix NordVPN connection problems
For the most part, you shouldn’t experience any problems using the NordVPN Windows app, or any of the other apps. But if you are having issues connecting to servers it could be a problem with your account, the settings within the app, the actual server in question or something awry with the network settings on your laptop or PC.
Before trying any of the more in-depth fixes, there are some quick ways to discover where the issue lies by a process of elimination.
- Try connecting to a few different servers . If you can’t connect to any, try the NordVPN app on a different device , such as your phone. If the connection works fine on that, the problem is with your first device or computer.
- If you still can’t connect, the issue could be your network or a problem with your NordVPN account.
- Another quick solution if you can’t access another device is to log out of your account (within the app) and then log back in.
- No joy? Uninstall the app , reinstall it and log back in. If even that doesn’t work, temporarily disable and antivirus and / or firewall on your PC or laptop and see if that’s blocking the connection.
- Finally, you can select a different connection method within the app to see if that makes any different. The connection options will vary depending upon the device you’re using, but if you head into Settings and click on ‘Show advanced settings’ you should find the heading ‘Protocol’. Pick a different one to whatever is currently selected and try connecting again.
If none of this works, the follow our advice below in order.
Log into your NordVPN account and make sure that your account status is ‘Active’ and that your last payment was successful.
If you can verify both of those things, it isn’t an account issue. However, if there is a problem here, you can contact customer support and get it resolved. If you need to subscribe again, click here .
Open the Windows app and click on Settings at the top. Scroll down and click on Show advanced settings.
Scroll down again and click on Run Diagnostics Tool. A new window will open in which you should click Reset app.
This will restore all the default settings, and you can try again to connect to one of NordVPN’s servers.
Control Panel Network settings
If that doesn’t work, then try disabling and re-enabling the NordVPN network adapter. Open Control Panel, and that’s the old-style one if you’re running Windows 10.
Go to > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Centre > Change adapter settings.
Here you’ll see a list of all the network adapters, including virtual ones such as the TAP NordVPN Windows Adapter.
Simply right click on it and choose Disable.
After a few seconds you can double-click on the disabled adapter to re-enable it. Now you can try to connect to a server again.
If the ‘turn it off, turn it on again’ trick doesn’t work, then you can run a few commands to reset your Windows network settings.
From the Start menu, find the Run app. In the text box type cmd and press Enter. In Windows 10 you can type cmd in the search box, or PowerShell. Both will have the same effect.
Now type the following commands in turn, pressing Enter after each one. If you’re prompted to restart your computer, just keep entering the commands and restart it after they have all been run.
netsh winsock reset
netsh interface ipv4 reset
netsh interface ipv6 reset
netsh winsock reset catalog
netsh int ipv4 reset reset.log
netsh int ipv6 reset reset.log
Restart your computer and hopefully your connection problems will be a thing of the past. If you’re finding that the connection speed is slow, here’s how to speed up NordVPN.
Author: Jim Martin , Executive Editor
Jim has been testing and reviewing products for over 20 years. His main beats include VPN services and antivirus. He also covers smart home tech, mesh Wi-Fi and electric bikes.
Recent stories by Jim Martin:
- The best Black Friday VPN deals
- Does a VPN make you anonymous?
- The best VPN for Windows 2023
- NordVPN Won't Connect
NordVPN Won’t Connect – How to Fix?
By Justin Oyaro . 27 May 2023
You may experience connectivity issues while using NordVPN. These issues may stem from the VPN app, your system, the network, or other configurations.
This guide will help you solve common and complex problems most users encounter with NordVPN.
- Common NordVPN connectivity issues.
- Platform-specific connectivity issues on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
- No internet when connected to NordVPN.
Pro Tip: If you are having too many issues with NordVPN, you should make the switch to ExpressVPN . ExpressVPN is the #1 rated VPN in 2022.
Use the “In This Guide” section on the right to jump to a fix for the issue you’re experiencing.
I have updated this article with new NordVPN error fixes and solutions. The guide should now (in 2023) contain all of the latest NordVPN errors and troubleshooting tips, especially those related to NordVPN not connecting. Check out the section with the concrete tips and steps by clicking here to go there directly.
Troubleshoot Common NordVPN Connectivity Issues
Check your internet connection.
Ensure you have a working internet connection before connecting to NordVPN . Test your internet connection by opening your favorite websites.
If they are working, you can connect to your VPN. If you have no internet, check whether your other devices can connect to the internet. If not, proceed as follows:
- Restart your router.
- Reconnect to your Wi-Fi network or the Ethernet cable if you are not using Wi-Fi.
- Contact your ISP regarding your internet connectivity.
Check your NordVPN account status and credentials
Verify if you are entering the proper credentials and have an active VPN subscription. You can check your account status on the Nord Account page.
You can also check your credentials on the account dashboard. Note, router VPN credentials are different from the VPN app credentials.
Check out the following fixes if you have an active account and the proper credentials but cannot connect.
Connect to different VPN servers
If a server is congested, it may reject new connections. Reconnecting to a different server may solve the problem. To check for server congestion on the NordVPN app:
- Go to the server countries section.
- Hover your mouse on your preferred country and click on the three dots.
- On the server section, click the drop-down arrow; you will see server congestion in percentages.
NordVPN automatically connects to the fastest server. However, this might not always be the case.
Important: This solution usually solves 90% or more of the known NordVPN connection issues. Sometimes you need to keep trying different servers until you find one that works.
Check if the correct TCP and UDP ports are open
NordVPN opens the 443 TCP and 1194 UDP ports for connectivity. It does this automatically with little intervention. However, some services and your firewall may deny NordVPN access to these ports.
During installation, allow NordVPN to pass through the firewall. You’ll learn more about this under the troubleshooting platform-specific connectivity issues section.
Antivirus suites may block NordVPN connections. These suites may recognize tunneling activities as potential malware services.
Some antivirus suites also have a firewall that might block your VPN connection. Add NordVPN to the exception list to avoid connectivity issues.
VPN software bugs
A bug in the VPN software may cause connectivity issues. Software bugs are hard to resolve as they are hard to detect. You can solve software issues by reinstalling NordVPN, using the most up-to-date version, and updating your system.
You can also try to optimize your system, clearing the cache and deleting temporary files.
Platform-Specific Connectivity Issues
NordVPN connectivity issues on Windows can be due to some problems. Here is a systematic rundown on how to troubleshoot them.
Step 1: Set up the NordVPN app correctly. Adjust connection configurations such as:
- Reconnecting to another server .
- Switching between UDP , TCP , and NordLynx protocols.
Step 2: Reset the NordVPN application using the following method:
- Launch the VPN app and click on Settings .
- Go to Advanced .
- Click Run Diagnostics Tool .
- In the new window that opens, select Reset app .
Step 3: Ensure TAP adapters are functioning correctly. This will solve the ‘TAP driver error’ and the ‘FATAL: Blocking DNS failed’ error. Proceed as follows:
- Uninstall and reinstall the NordVPN TAP drivers:
- Open the Control Panel .
- Under Programs , click Uninstall a Program .
- Find the NordVPN Network Tap and uninstall it.
- Download and install the TAP drivers and try connecting again.
Step 4: Configure the TAP driver as follows if the TAP issue persists:
- Open the Control Panel and click Network and Internet .
- Click on Network and Sharing Center .
- Go to Change Adapter Settings .
- Right-click TAP-NordVPN Windows Adapter and select Properties .
- Go to Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties .
- Click on the Advanced tab, uncheck Automatic , and set Interface metric to 1 .
Step 5: If you still have connectivity issues, configure your firewall , network settings , and even check for System Updates .
- Firewall and antivirus configurations: Add exceptions for NordVPN.exe , nordvpn-service.exe , and openvpn-service.exe . Also, add these exceptions to your antivirus. For advanced firewalls, you can also add inbound and outbound rules for the three programs.
- Select Use the following DNS addresses and add Nord DNS addresses 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 .
- Reset your network stack. You can do this via the NordVPN app or through the command prompt.
- In the new window that opens, select Network Flush .
- Click on the taskbar search box, and type the command prompt. Under the command prompt app, click Run as administrator and confirm.
- Type ipconfig /release and press Enter.
- Type ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter.
- Type ipconfig /renew and press Enter. (wait for a moment)
- Type netsh int ip reset and press Enter.
- Type netsh winsock reset and press Enter.
- Type netsh interface ipv4 reset and press Enter.
- Type netsh interface ipv6 reset and press Enter.
- Type netsh winsock reset catalog and press Enter.
- Type netsh int ipv4 reset reset.log and press Enter.
- Type netsh int ipv6 reset reset.log and press Enter.
- Restart your computer.
- If the issues persist, update your Windows system.
NordVPN connectivity issues on Macs are primarily due to app configurations. Here is how to troubleshoot them:
Step 1: Reset the NordVPN app through the terminal. Proceed as follows:
- Shut down the NordVPN app if it has been running. Right-click NordVPN in the Dock and select Quit .
- To open the Terminal , Press the Command button + space bar and then type ‘terminal’ in the search field. Click on the Terminal app icon that appears.
- In the Terminal, enter these commands: defaults delete com.nordvpn.osx-apple (if you installed Nord from the App Store) defaults delete com.nordvpn.osx (if you installed Nord from the official website)
- Launch the NordVPN app.
Step 2: Change the connection protocol if the connectivity problem persists.
- Select General tab.
- On the VPN Protocol , select either UDP or the TCP protocol.
Check out our best VPN for Mac guide if you would like to find out more about Mac VPNs.
You can solve NordVPN connectivity issues on Linux by updating the system and the app or doing a manual install.
Step 1: Update the NordVPN app through the terminal. Proceed as follows:
- Open the terminal.
- Type the following commands to update the app. These commands will also update apps that have newer versions. sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade
- Open NordVPN after the update.
Step 2: Uninstall the app and resort to a manual connection.
- Use the following command to uninstall NordVPN. You might be required to enter your system password. sudo apt-get – -purge autoremove nordvpn*
Step 3: Use a manual connection through the terminal.
Before switching to a manual connection, first, you need to disable IPv6. This addressing scheme can cause conflicts with the VPN connection. How to disable IPv6 is different on most Linux variants:
On a Red Hat-based system:
- Open a terminal window and change to the root user.
- Enter the following commands: sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6=1 sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6=1 sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.tun0.disable_ipv6=1
- To re-enable IPv6, enter these commands: sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6=0 sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6=0 sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.tun0.disable_ipv6=0 sysctl -p
On Debian based distributions
- Open a terminal window and type this command: sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf
- Add the following at the bottom of the file: net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1 net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6 = 1 net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6 = 1 net.ipv6.conf.tun0.disable_ipv6 = 1
- Save and close the file.
- Reboot the device.
- To re-enable IPv6, remove the above lines from /etc/sysctl.conf and reboot the device.
After disabling IPV6, start the manual connection procedure as follows:
- Open the Terminal and enter the following command to install the OpenVPN client. You might be required to enter your system password. sudo apt-get install openvpn
- Enter the following command to go to the OpenVPN configuration directory; cd /etc/openvpn
- Download the OpenVPN configuration files with the command; sudo wget https://downloads.nordcdn.com/configs/archives/servers/ovpn.zip
- If you encounter ERROR: The certificate of `nordvpn.com’ is not trusted , use the following command to install the ca-certificates package sudo apt-get install ca-certificates Otherwise, go to the next step
- Use the following command to extract the downloaded ovpn.zip sudo unzip ovpn.zip
- Enter the directory containing the server configurations. They will be named either ovpn_udp or ovpn_tcp.
- To access the list of all available NordVPN servers, enter the following; ls -al
- Choose a server to connect to and start OpenVPN with the chosen configuration.
- Enter your NordVPN credentials, and the VPN will establish a connection.
- To disconnect, open Terminal and press Ctrl + C
To troubleshoot NordVPN connectivity issues on Android, proceed as follows:
Step 1: Configure the NordVPN app correctly by:
- Uninstalling and reinstalling the app from Play Store.
- Switching between UDP and TCP protocols.
- Connecting to different servers.
Step 2: Configure Firewall app , antivirus , and your Network settings .
- Firewall: Ensure your firewall app is off when you want to use NordVPN. Firewall apps rely on the same VPN interface as NordVPN in Android. When one application is using this interface, no other application is allowed to use it.
- Antivirus configurations: Add exceptions for the NordVPN app in your antivirus apps. Also, exclude NordVPN from power-saving options, sleeping options, and other optimizers and cleaners. This ensures it runs in the background hence no disconnections.
- Open the device Settings, tap on General management, and select Reset.
- Tap Reset network settings and click on Reset settings.
- You will be required to unlock your phone (if you have a lock)
- Tap Reset settings again to reset all network settings.
- Reconnect to your network and activate your VPN.
- Open the device Settings , tap on Connections and select Wi-Fi .
- Tap on the cog icon next to your current Wi-Fi network and click Advanced .
- Go to IP settings and change to Static .
- In the DNS 1 section, enter the following IP address: 220.127.116.11 , and on DNS 2 section, enter 18.104.22.168 .
- Tap on Save and disconnect and reconnect to the network.
Our VPN for Android guide will help you find a VPN for Android. Check it out.
Use the following steps to troubleshoot NordVPN iOS connectivity issues:
Step 1: Adjust the NordVPN app configurations correctly by:
- Switching between UDP and TCP connection protocols.
- Switching between various servers.
- Uninstall and reinstall the NordVPN app.
Step 2: Configure the NordVPN DNS addresses for Wi-Fi connection:
- Open the Settings app and select Wi-Fi.
- Tap on the “i” icon next to the network you want to change the DNS.
- Scroll down and tap Configure DNS and select Manual ;
- Tap Add Server and add these DNS addresses: 22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199
Step 3: Reset your Wi-Fi network settings and reconnect again if the problem persists:
- Open the Settings app.
- Go to General > Reset and then Reset Network Settings .
Note: This resets all cellular, VPN, APN, and Wi-Fi network settings and passwords you’ve used.
Troubleshoot No Internet Access Once Connected to a VPN Server
If you have a successful connection but no internet, try the following:
- Restart your router and try reconnecting again.
- Switch and test all the available VPN protocols; UDP , TCP , and NordLynx .
- Temporarily disable your security software and try reconnecting.
- Perform a Network flush using the VPN app as illustrated in the Windows fix.
- Enable Custom DNS settings.
- Click on Set DNS server address and enter 188.8.131.52
- Again, click on Set DNS server address and enter 184.108.40.206 on the second field.
- Try reconnecting again.
This guide will help you troubleshoot NordVPN connectivity issues. If you encounter new problems, let us know. We will try our best and find a fix for you.
Overall, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs . It works on various devices such as desktops, iPhones, Android, Apple TV, and Roku. It’s great at unblocking content like Netflix, Hulu, and others. It has obfuscated servers and advanced settings such as a kill switch and split tunneling.
NordVPN is a popular choice for streaming because it has a large network of servers and can unblock many popular streaming services.
If you’re looking for a VPN to use for unblocking Netflix , NordVPN is definitely worth considering.
Check out our guide on the best VPN for watching Netflix to learn more about NordVPN and other top VPNs for streaming.
Tip: You can use a VPN to unblock restricted content such as Roobet and Draftkings. Our Roobet VPN and Draftkings VPN guides will show you how to use a VPN to unblock these services.
- Connect with the author:
May 17, 2023 10:49 pm
I purchased NordVPN during a promotion in November of 2022. Since then the service has continued to degrade to the point I was forced to remove the NordVPN application, in it’s entirety, from all three of my systems to return them to functionality. It failed to provide the advertised service on all 3 of these systems, in one way or another. When I informed the “Support Staff” via multiple emails (there is NO direct support number) of the issues I was having, the response was a repeated, “Please open the NordVPN application, then go to Settings, find the General tab in the menu and open it, then locate the Diagnostics option and click on Run Diagnostics Tool. Next, please select Collect Diagnostics. After the tool finishes, take note of the Ticket ID you get and refer it to us. This tool will gather information from your computer that will allow us to determine what could be causing the issues.” Never mind that had told them I was forced to uninstall the software, they continued to insist that I run requested “diagnostics” by reinstalling the software that caused the systems to malfunction, run the diagnostics, then uninstall NordVPN again in order to return the systems to network functionality, and then send the diagnostics to NordVPN. After already spending over 10 hours of troubleshooting I determined that it was not worth my time or effort to continue the relationship.
Things to watch out with the NordVPN service.
1) They are adamant that after 30 days, they will not refund your purchase. Make SURE you do not make an initial purchase of over 30 days to make sure you can get out of the contract if you run into issues. I unfortunately purchased 2 years of service that is now worthless. I could not check every different web site I could possibly go to and then find out NordVPN was blocking it in order to determine total functionality. But that is what they demand you do in that intial 30 days. Just to document the issues I had: One system could not connect to a wireless network…error “can not connect to this network”…hard to do anything when you can’t even connect to the network; one system would not connect to several financial institutions (Chase being one of them), Google, Google searches, Bing searches, etc; and one system could not connect to Broadway Across America, online games (cause numerous WebGL errors), and again, various financial institutions. 2) They insist that you do the troubleshooting for them. And while this is not unusual in today’s IT support model, it is REALLY hard when they do not have any direct telephone contacts available. Only via email. I attempted to work with their technicians via email, but to no avail. I also worked with website vendors, and all determined that NordVPN was the offending service. But if the information provided by NordVPN doesn’t work, they continue to go back to the “run diagnostics and send us the results”. Bottom line here is that you have to do the work for them and after losing more than 10 hours of my own time, I determined that it is not worth it. 3) IF they are unable to resolve your issue directly, they can respond with “In exceptional and very limited cases, our Services may be unavailable from time to time due to human, digital, mechanical, telecommunication, software, and other failures. We cannot predict or control when such downtime may occur and cannot control the duration of such downtime.” This is the response a Manager from NordVPN sent to me. A really nice disclaimer which basically says if their service is not able to work, it is not their fault and they don’t have to fix it. Your problem.
The best advice I can give anyone considering NordVPN, is Buyer Beware!
April 5, 2023 9:35 am
Horrendous problems with connectivity. I have exchanged over 90 emails with Nord about this issue. They simply issue me with various “fixes” that simply don’t work. Some of these are going to be beyond the “Ordinary” guy who doesn’t posses the skills required to carry the fixes out. Surely, when you buy an item you have every right to expect it to work and if it doesn’t you get a refund or advice that doesn’t require, what to many will be a significant level of computer skills. Nord have repeatedly ignored or refused my request for a refund saying the time period has expired but I have been contacting them for over three months about this issue. In all honesty I simply cannot recommend.
December 3, 2022 2:41 am
When NordVPN is connected (no problem there), Websites will not open at all. I have to disconnect NordVPN and then web pages open fine. I have MacOS Ventura v13.0.1 using Safari and tested on Firefox as well. There are no error messages just blank web pages. Any solutions?
April 8, 2021 1:34 pm
I did all of the instructions under “Linux Fix” — 3 times, very carefully in LinuxMint 20.1. I also did this in Linuxmint 19.3. In both instances I get “Please check your internet connection and try again.” when I issue command “sudo nordvpn login”. When I issue the command “sudo openvpn /etc/openvpn/ovpn_udp/us2957.nordvpn.com.udp.ovpn” it seems to be running, but the whatsmyip site says it hasn’t changed. When I go the the nordvpn site to check my ip, it says “USA”. Some sites are blocked in my location. They remain blocked even when nordvpn is running. They are not blocked when I run tor, of course.
History: NordVPN was working for a while, then it quit–I think after a system software update.
I followed the instrux in “Linux Fix”, and it worked. —until I rebooted the machine. Now all I get is that same error about checking the internet connection.
Also, I did disable ipv6 according to the instructions on the nordvpn site.
How can I fix this?
July 7, 2021 6:10 pm
We have now updated the article with with latest 2021 information. Let me know if you managed to fix it.
December 21, 2021 6:23 pm
Same problem, any luck?
August 31, 2020 3:32 am
can’t connect from Guangdong China, i have tried nordvpn and openvpn
July 7, 2021 6:12 pm
I haven’t used NordVPN myself for a long time now. They now claim to work in China as well – something that was not the case before. I haven’t yet verified if this is actually the case.
August 6, 2020 3:47 pm
NordVPN support could not get my installation to connect on os-x. Bogdan fixed it with the first sentence under mac: user OpenVPN app instead.
March 8, 2020 4:44 am
getting NordVPN quit unexpectedly Exception Type: EXC_BAD_INSTRUCTION (SIGILL) Exception Codes: 0x0000000000000001, 0x0000000000000000 Exception Note: EXC_CORPSE_NOTIFY deleted and reinstalled app but still keep getting this and can’t open NordVPN….this all started after new MAC update to MacOS Catalina 10.15.3
May 22, 2019 12:21 pm
It won’t work on my iOS devices whatever I do, works fine on my windows 10 laptop
July 7, 2021 6:13 pm
Old comment but worth a mention: They have now significantly updated their iOS app.
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Nordvpn hangs, unable to connect here’s how to fix it., why is nordvpn not working.
More people then ever before are taking their online privacy seriously. Governments, also more then ever before, continue to censure the Internet in certain regions. Thankfully, VPNs seem to be the most convenient way to achieve online privacy, ensure access to unfiltered Internet and overcome geo-blocks .
When you connect to a VPN , your online traffic is routed through a VPN tunnel and encrypted. You will experience changes in your Internet speed, and although this is absolutely normal, VPNs such as Nord can oftentimes hang. The client just can’t establish a connection to the server and you are just left in limbo. Below we outlined some steps you can take to fix when NordVPN hangs.
Unable to Connect to NordVPN Servers? Stuck in Limbo?
There are a lot of factors involved in the way VPNs in general operate so it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why NordVPN hangs in your case. If there are many users connected to one server, the connection speed drops. And if the servers are overloaded you can easily catch yourself waiting for minutes on end hoping the client will finally establish a connection.
But that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. The issue could be totally unrelated to the servers and could in fact be a driver issue. In any case, if NordVPN hangs for you, be sure to go over the common troubleshooting steps in the next section.
Having a different issue with NordVPN, here’s another article that may help.
How Do I Fix NordVPN?
- Try connecting to a couple of different servers.
- Log out of your account in the app and log back in.
- Uninstall the app, reboot your device, and install the app again.
- If you’re using a computer, try disabling any antivirus/firewall software.
- Try using a different connection method/protocol for your device.
You can also test if connecting a different device on the same network works. This will help you narrow down if the issue is network or device related. If you’re unable to connect your Android phone, try your PC. In case both are unable to connect, the problem could be with your network. Is your PC able to connect? Then there’s something wrong with NordVPN on your phone.
However, if none of the above suggestions help, maybe it’s time to try a better alternative. A solution that offers speed alongside the usual VPN features, like Speedify.
Speedify Bonding VPN Won’t Leave You Hanging
Speedify is able to deliver security and speed by managing the way your device connects to the Internet. It allows your mobile and desktop devices to use more than one Internet connection at a time . Speedify constantly monitors the quality of your connections. If one connection becomes unreliable, Speedify automatically reroutes your traffic to other available connection(s). On the security side, its core engine is optimized for fast speeds, so while using it you will not get any extra latency.
Don’t take my word for it, you can download and try Speedify for free on all of your devices so give it a shot!
Speedify is the only app that combines your wifi, cellular, wired, and even your friend’s phone signals – into one ultra-fast and super secure link that keeps you all connected for the best possible live streaming, video calling, or just posting to your favorite app..
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VPNoverview.com VPN Info NordVPN Not Working: How to Fix Common Issues
NordVPN Not Working: How to Fix Common Issues
Did you try accessing US Netflix and you couldn’t unblock your favorite show? Maybe you changed your IP to download something, and now you’re struggling with low connection speeds ?
NordVPN not working can be an annoying problem. But luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to get the app working again. Here are some fixes that always work for us:
- Connect to a new VPN server .
- Change NordVPN ‘s default protocol.
- Check your subscription ‘s validity.
- Scan your computer for viruses which could be causing connectivity issues.
- Restart the NordVPN app.
- Restart your PC and router.
- Turn off apps that can interfere with NordVPN.
- Deactivate IPv6 in your network settings.
- Update the NordVPN app , especially if you’re using Linux.
- Allow NordVPN through the Windows Firewall.
- Enable custom DNS settings.
- Restart the TAP adapter on Windows.
- Contact NordVPN support.
- Get another VPN .
We think NordVPN is the best VPN on the market . But if it let you down and you’re looking for an alternative, we can recommend Surfshark . It’s fast, stable, and even cheaper than NordVPN.
If you need more help, the article below has detailed breakdowns on how to perform all of the fixes we mentioned above.
NordVPN is our top virtual private network, and we recommend it with confidence . However, all good tools can malfunction at times. NordVPN is no different, and you can experience connectivity issues , network drops, or the inability to unblock foreign sites while using NordVPN. It’s not a common occurrence, but it can happen.
So what then? If NordVPN is not working, how can you get it functioning again ? We researched all the tricks to get NordVPN up and running after a slump. In our almost 10 years of using NordVPN , we’ve also found a lot of little-known tricks that can help you make NordVPN operative again.
NordVPN Not Working: 14 Quick Fixes
Before you attempt anything on this list, make sure that NordVPN is really the source of your problem . Disconnect the VPN, and see if the problem persists. If the problem goes away, then it could be NordVPN’s fault.
If it didn’t, you might need to look into other network fixes. Connectivity issues can arise from a lot of problems, including infrastructure problems, network outages, ISP throttling, and more.
If you’re trying to stream geo-restricted content on a website like Netflix , but are still getting errors, you may just need to reconnect to NordVPN and open a private or incognito browser window or clear your cache. Sometimes, we’ve found that privacy-friendly browsers like Mozilla Firefox — rather than Google Chrome — solve common streaming problems.
If you ruled all of that out, then let’s get into the best fixes for NordVPN .
1. Change your VPN server
The quickest way to get a VPN working again is to connect to other NordVPN servers . This is because VPN servers can get overcrowded , or their IP address can be tracked by the services you’re trying to access. In NordVPN, you can change your server by pressing the Quick Connect button , or by picking a country from the left side of the screen.
Remember that the further away a server is, the slower your connection will get. If you have a slow base connection , you might experience lag on faraway servers no matter what you do. But this is the first and easiest trick to get NordVPN going again.
2. Change the VPN tunneling protocol
NordVPN uses several protocols for its connections, like OpenVPN and NordLynx. Luckily, you can switch between these protocols from NordVPN’s settings, giving you more freedom over how the app operates. You might want to change protocols when NordVPN’s not working, as it can help your connection quality.
We did this with a Mac as an example, but apps across NordVPN operate similarly. Here’s how to do it:
- Repeat with all protocols until you find one that solves the NordVPN not working problem.
Keep in Mind:
Available protocols differ based on your device.
3. Make sure your account is still active
NordVPN can stop working if your subscription expires . While billing is automatic with NordVPN, you may have canceled your renewal in the past, or the payment method you use may have expired. To check if you have an active subscription, open NordVPN’s settings and click on “ Account .” Here, you can see the expiration date of your subscription .
If you don’t have an active subscription, make sure you renew your plan with NordVPN here.
4. Check your computer for viruses
Connectivity issues might not be your VPN’s fault. In fact, an unusually slow internet connection can be a sign that your computer is infected with malware . If that’s the problem you were dealing with, you should scan your computer for viruses . You can use free antivirus for this if you’re on a budget. But if you want to be safe, we recommend investing in paid antivirus software .
We’ve been testing the best antivirus apps for years, and in our opinion, Norton is the best pick you can make. It has outstanding results in independent antivirus tests , and foolproof security, it’s affordable, and it comes with a lot of extra features like a password manager .
Try it today and see if that’s your issue.
5. Restart NordVPN
You might not think that restarting the NordVPN app will help. But we had a lot of bugs and problems with premium VPNs that we were able to solve by just turning the app off , and then turning it on again . It’s a simple fix, and it can work for a lot of simple problems.
Just make sure that you turn the NordVPN app off completely, not just minimize it in the background . To do that on Windows, you’ll want to turn off its process from the Task Manager and click “ End Task .”
If you’re using a Mac, you’ll want to hover the NordVPN icon in your dock, right-click it, and select “ Quit .”
If you have to, log out of the VPN and log back in with your username and credentials.
6. Restart your devices
A bug or glitch in the NordVPN app can be caused by problems with your computer or router . That’s why restarting your devices can be a good idea if NordVPN is not working, and you can’t solve the problem in any other way. If you have any outstanding OS updates, make sure you install those too . This can help solve any compatibility issues between your operating system and the NordVPN app.
On top of restarting your device, restart your router as well . Most routers have a power button, and you can just press that once to turn it off, and then once again to turn it back on. If you want to find out more about optimizing your router, check out our guide on how to configure your router for maximum security and privacy .
7. Turn off apps that can interfere with NordVPN
NordVPN can have a lot of impact on your network settings, and your computer’s network activity. But it’s not the only app messing with your network options. Antivirus apps, firewalls, and especially other VPNs or proxies can overlap with NordVPN, and interfere with its proper functioning. Since we test a lot of VPNs, we actually experience this a lot.
If NordVPN is not working because of interfering apps, deactivate them temporarily . You’ll want to close any browser windows too, and keep any device activity to a minimum, just in case. After you do this, try NordVPN again, and see if the problem persists.
Make sure to turn your antivirus, firewall, or any similar app back on.
8. Turn off IPv6 in your computer’s network settings
IPv6 is an Internet Protocol (IP) used for the identification and localization of computers over networks . Unfortunately, NordVPN doesn’t use the IPv6 protocol at the moment. Instead, they change your IPv4 address and take some measures to hide your IPv6 information from the sites you visit. This is a common practice among VPNs, but it’s not foolproof. Your IPv6 information may leak, and give your actual location away.
This can make NordVPN unable to unblock streaming sites. To avoid this problem, you can deactivate IPv6 addresses on your device .
Turning off IPv6 on Mac
Here’s how you can do it on a Mac device:
- Click “ OK .” You will be asked to provide your password.
- Try connecting to a NordVPN server again.
Turning of IPv6 on a Windows PC
If you use a Windows PC, you can deactivate IPv6 by following this guide :
- Reconnect to NordVPN and see if the problem is fixed.
9. Update the NordVPN app
NordVPN automatically updates its app on most operating systems , so you probably don’t need to do this. Or certainly don’t ignore those update prompts! But if you’re struggling with NordVPN not working, it can’t hurt to get a fresh install. First, uninstall the NordVPN app. Then, go to NordVPN’s app download page and get the latest installer for your device. Install the app, and see if the NordVPN problem persists.
If you’re on Linux , you’ll need to update the NordVPN app yourself. To do this, simply run these commands:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade sudo apt-get install nordvpn
10. Allow NordVPN through the Windows Defender Firewall
NordVPN service is automatically allowed through the Windows Firewall during installation, so this shouldn’t be an issue. However, older versions of the Windows Defender may interfere with NordVPN’s operation. You may have also installed apps that affect firewall settings , or unknowingly revoked firewall permissions in the past. So here’s how you can allow NordVPN through the Windows Firewall:
- Open the “ Update and Security ” settings menu from the Windows control panel.
- Select “ Change Settings .”
11. Use custom DNS server configuration
The DNS is like the internet’s phone book (or list of contacts in your phone). It keeps track of website IP addresses on DNS servers all over the globe, to make sure we can access sites quickly and without too much lag. NordVPN uses its own DNS to manage queries , which can malfunction at times. A good way to fix connectivity or unblocking issues with NordVPN is to use custom DNS settings .
This is a complicated process, and you can find out more about it in our guide on DNS servers . But if you know your way around network settings, you can change your DNS settings to NordVPN’s recommended ones :
DNS1 : 220.127.116.11 DNS2 : 18.104.22.168
12. Restart the TAP adapter on Windows
The TAP adapter is a crucial component of NordVPN’s operation . If it’s not working properly, this can lead to problems with NordVPN. And while a reinstall should have restarted the TAP adapter as well, you can do it manually by following this guide :
- Right-click the network and select “ Disable .”
- Enable the VPN connection after a few moments.
13. Contact the NordVPN customer support team
If all else fails, NordVPN’s support team can help you get the app working again . We’ve contacted NordVPN’s support team in the past, and every time they were able to solve our problem without too much hassle . For example, we’ve contacted them about NordVPN not connecting with streaming platforms, and they helped us unblock different sites.
Every time we’ve contacted NordVPN we’ve had to first talk to a chatbot . This can get annoying, but if you type “ live agent ” you should be queued to talk with an actual human in no time and get down to your problem and solution.
14. Change your VPN software
NordVPN is our top pick for changing or hiding your IP address . We can’t recommend it enough. But if it keeps failing you, you can look into other premium VPNs.
From our tests, Surfshark is the best alternative to NordVPN . It has similar speed test results, an expansive network, top-tier security features, and it’s cheaper than NordVPN. Not to mention, it has a free trial on some devices, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee .
NordVPN Not Working With Netflix: How to Fix
Netflix is one of the hardest streaming platforms to unblock with VPNs . We’ve had success accessing its libraries with NordVPN, but it can stop working at times. If you can’t access Netflix with NordVPN, here’s what you can do:
- Log into Netflix first, then turn the VPN on . This is the best way to circumvent Netflix geo-restrictions
- Change browsers or open a private window . This makes sure you can’t be identified by your browser fingerprint . Clearing your cookies and cache is another option.
- Change VPN servers . This is another quick and easy way to solve NordVPN connectivity issues.
- Reinstall the Netflix app if you’re not accessing the site from a browser.
- Check that what you’re searching for is available on Netflix. You can use Unogs to see Netflix’s library in different countries.
- Contact NordVPN support . We’ve had success unblocking Netflix in the past with help from NordVPN’s support team.
NordVPN Not Working With Prime
Prime is another popular streaming platform that could be harder to access at times. We’ve always been able to unblock it with NordVPN , but if it’s not working for you, here’s what you can do:
- Switch browsers or use incognito mode or a private browsing window . This can hide your browser data from Prime.
- Log into Prime before connecting to NordVPN . It’s the best strategy to unblock Prime shows and movies from other countries.
- Connect to another NordVPN server . If you had connectivity or unblocking issues on one server, switching it may solve the problem.
- Contact NordVPN’s support team . They were always able to help us get around geo-restrictions.
NordVPN Not Working On FireStick
Fire TV Sticks are great for entertainment, but they can also be harder to use for unblocking different streaming platforms . If NordVPN’s not working on your Fire Stick, here are a few things you can try:
- Create a Fire TV Stick account in your target country. This can help if your location data is stored on your account.
- Connect to a new NordVPN server. Fire TV Stick has apps for all but first-generation devices, so this should be pretty easy.
- Clear your app cache .
- Contact NordVPN’s support team . They should help you solve any outstanding problems.
NordVPN Not Working with Torrents
NordVPN is a fast VPN that allows P2P file sharing . This lets you enjoy fast download speeds while torrenting anonymously. At least most of the time. So what can you do if you experience low torrent download speeds while using NordVPN?
- Change your NordVPN server . Low download speeds can be a result of overcrowded servers.
- Check how many seeders the file you’re downloading has. If the file has little to no seeders, that may be the source of your problem.
- Pause and restart the download. If your client supports it, also enable force start.
- Look for a different tracker that helps you download the same file. if you’re not sure where to find one, check our list of the best torrent sites .
- Contact the NordVPN support team about your torrent downloading problem.
The Best NordVPN Alternatives
We think NordVPN is the best VPN on the market . But if it’s been consistently letting you down, you might want to look for an alternative. Here’s an overview of the three best NordVPN alternatives, and their main features.
Conclusion: NordVPN Not Working and How to Fix it
NordVPN not working can be really annoying. If you’ve been struggling to unblock Netflix with it , or it’s been slowing down your connection , there are a few things you can try. First, connect to a different server . That’s usually the easiest and most effective fix for all premium VPN issues. If that doesn’t work, try resetting your devices , reinstalling the VPN app , changing its protocols , or any other tip from our list.
When all else fails, you should contact NordVPN’s support team and ask them for help . But if you don’t want to bother, you can pick a NordVPN alternative, like Surfshark. It’s fast, reliable, cheaper than NordVPN , and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee .
Find out more in our Surfshark review or go try it risk-free for 30 days.
Want to learn more about how to fix common issues in popular VPN providers? Check out our article below:
- ExpressVPN Not Working? Try These Fixes
Surfshark Not Working: Top Troubleshooting Tips
Cyberghost vpn not working how to fix common issues.
If you’re still not sure how to get NordVPN working again, check the FAQ section below for more information.
NordVPN might not connect for a lot of reasons, like software incompatibility, overlapping settings from other apps, or server issues. Try connecting to a different server, and see if the problem persists. If it does, you can try deactivating all potentially clashing apps, like firewalls and antivirus software.
NordVPN doesn’t automatically connect when you first install it. You need to turn the app on, and connect manually. However, you can enable auto-connect in the NordVPN app, under General settings. For more details on how NordVPN works, read our NordVPN review .
NordVPN might not be working for a variety of reasons. Usually, a server might be down or overcrowded, its IP might have leaked, or there’s some incompatibility between the NordVPN app and other apps on the user’s device.
NordVPN could be blocking your internet connection if there’s some interference with other network settings or apps. Try restarting your computer and see if that fixes it. If it doesn’t, consider reinstalling the NordVPN app, or contacting NordVPN’s support team.
Theodor Porutiu Author
Theodor is a content writer passionate about the newest tech developments and content marketing strategies. He likes privacy-friendly software, SEO tools, and when he’s not writing, he’s trying to convince people they should uninstall TikTok.
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How To Change An IP Address In 2023
Published: Nov 14, 2023, 10:27am
Table of Contents
What is an ip address, how to change your ip address manually, how to change your ip address automatically using a vpn, how to change your ip address automatically using a proxy server, how to change your ip address by resetting your router, reasons to change your ip address, frequently asked questions (faqs).
Internet privacy is more important today than ever before. After all, everything you do online is tracked, including your IP address. Fortunately, you can legally change your IP address and enjoy additional privacy as you use the internet. And you don’t need to be an internet technology (IT) pro or have any prior experience to do so. We’ll walk you through how to change your IP address in four different ways so that you can find the right way for you.
Here are the four ways to change your IP address in 2023:
- Automatically using a VPN.
- Automatically using a proxy server.
- Through your router.
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Before we dive into how to change your IP address, let’s go over what it is. IP address stands for internet protocol address. You can think of it as a unique identifier, similar to your address. Your IP address classifies each device on the internet with a unique ID that other devices can see so they can send and receive data. It also shares your geolocation so the internet understands which geo-content is most relevant to you.
If you have a new IP address you’d like to use, you may change it manually. Not only is this process relatively quick, it can give you more control over your network connections. Just keep in mind that going the manual route usually involves static IP addresses, which are easier to track and hack than other types of IPs. The steps you’ll take to manually change your IP address will depend on your operating system.
- Go to Start, Settings, and Network & Internet.
- Select Properties under your local area connection.
- Click Edit under IP assignment.
- Select Manual, toggle on the IPv4, and type in your new IP address.
- Click Save.
- Select Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
- Select Manage and then click Edit next to IP assignment.
- Select Automatic (DHCP) or Manual under Edit network IP setting.
- Enable IPv4 and type in these three boxes: IP address, Subnet mask and Gateway.
- Go to system preferences.
- Select network connection.
- Configure IPv4.
- Select manually and type in your new IP address.
- Go to settings.
- Select Wi-Fi.
- Select network.
- Select IPv4 address.
- Click Configure IP and type in your new IP address.
- Select connections.
- Choose the settings icon next to your current network.
- Go to IP settings and select Static.
- Type in your new IP address.
A virtual private network (VPN) can allow you to change your IP address automatically. It replaces your IP address with that of a VPN server. Essentially, it makes it look like you’re in the selected server’s location and as a result hides your location.
In addition, it encrypts your connection and strengthens your online security. The main downside of a VPN, however, is that it might slow down your internet connection and won’t stop cookies. When choosing a VPN, opt for a reliable and versatile VPN service. The best VPNs ensure security and reliability, while offering a high server selection and excellent encryption.
- Download and install a quality VPN service.
- Open the application.
- Toggle the switch to On.
For more information, refer to your VPN provider for details on how to change your IP address, as well as insights on where to change your IP address to.
A proxy server is essentially a gateway between you and the internet. It’s a server that separates end users from the websites they visit. It helps hackers from entering a private network and can add an additional layer of security as you browse the internet.
While proxy servers are similar to VPNs, they won’t encrypt your connection. When you connect to one, you’ll receive a fake IP address without the hassle. You can get a proxy server in hardware or software form, usually for a monthly fee.
- Download and install a quality proxy server.
A router allows all your devices to communicate with one another and use the same internet connection at once. If you find that some of your devices aren’t connecting to your router, your router may be sending out the wrong IP address.
The good news is you can reset your router and trick your devices into thinking it’s brand new. This quick, easy strategy will assign your router a new IP address. But it might not work right away and you’ll likely have no internet connection while your router is unplugged.
- Find and jot down your IP address.
- Unplug your router for at least five minutes.
- Plug your router back in and check your IP address again. You should notice a different address once you reconnect.
- Click configure IP and type in your new IP address.
There are a number of benefits you can enjoy if you take the time to change your IP address, including:
Protect Online Privacy
When you change your IP address, you hide your geolocation. Hackers as well as websites that track your web activity won’t be able to tell where you are. Even if you only use the internet from time to time, a new IP address can give you some peace of mind.
Bypass Government Restrictions
Believe it or not, some governments use IP addresses to restrict access to specific websites. If you change your IP address, you can hide from these government sensors and give yourself the freedom to access any website you’d like.
Access Regional Content
If you travel often for work or pleasure, you might find it difficult to access regional content, such as sporting events. You’ll be able to solve this issue with a new IP address. It will give websites the impression that you’re using them from an approved region.
It’s not uncommon for new routers to give devices the wrong IP address. If you reset your router, you can easily solve this issue as well as a few other IT glitches you might face. You’ll find that many IT pros recommend you reset your router and see if that does the trick before they intervene.
If you’re looking for an easy way to protect your online privacy, you may want to change your IP address. Regardless of what type of device or operating system you have, you’re sure to find the process seamless, especially when you follow our step-by-step instructions above. Best of luck!
Canadian specific editing and research conducted by Anna Rey.
What will happen to my internet connection when I change my IP address?
When you change your IP address, any services or programs you’re using, such as file sharing, won’t work. It’s similar to what would happen if you temporarily disconnect your Wi-Fi. Once you actually go through all the steps and successfully change your IP address, you might need to log back in to the services or programs.
What are the different types of IP addresses?
There are several types of IP addresses, and each applies to different situations. These include public IP addresses (points of contact between your networks and the public internet), private IP addresses (assigned to your device via your router), dynamic IP addresses (assigned by a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server and may change) and static IP addresses (don’t change and are commonly used in businesses with servers).
Is it legal to change my IP address?
It is perfectly legal to change your IP address in Canada. In fact, many internet users go through this process to improve their online safety and protect their online privacy. Keep in mind that if you live in or travel to another country, such as China, this process may be illegal so it’s a good idea to do your research or consult an attorney.
Can my ISP change my IP address?
It depends on your ISP but it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you prefer for them to change your IP address, call a customer service representative or use their online chat feature to ask. As long as you can confirm your identity, they may agree to do this for free.
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Anna Baluch is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. She enjoys writing about a variety of health and personal finance topics. When she's away from her laptop, she can be found working out, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her family. Connect to her on LinkedIn.
Hotspot Shield Review 2023
Posted: November 15, 2023 | Last updated: November 15, 2023
VPNs play a crucial role in protecting our privacy. With a simple piece of software, all our browsing traffic is encrypted to prevent anyone from snooping into our online activities. Not even our own internet providers can see what we’re doing.
VPNs also route our traffic through tunneling. Instead of sending data directly to a website, for example, our devices send traffic to a VPN server, which will in turn forward it to the right website. That means even the websites we visit won’t know where we’re browsing from.
That’s how all VPNs work, but when comparing VPNs, performance matters a lot. Some VPNs are faster, more secure, and more stable than others. They are what we seek, which is why we test a lot of VPN options ourselves. And in that quest, we tested Hotspot Shield, which we can confidently say is a solid performer. Is it the right VPN for you though?
You’ll find out in this review. But before that, note that Hotspot Shield offers a free VPN – one of the best free VPNs, actually. If you want to test it out yourself, here’s what you can get from that free version.
Features of ‘Hotspot Shield Free’
About hotspot shield.
Hotspot Shield is a VPN company based out of Redwood City, California. It started in 2008 and at last count, they had over 1,800 servers offering several thousand different IP addresses. Hotspot Shield servers are distributed in over 80 countries in different regions throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Africa.
Those numbers matter because the size of a VPN’s server network affects its performance. Put simply, a VPN with more servers can create more tunnels, so congestion is less likely. As a result, the chances of you getting good speed from Hotspot Shield is high. Not to spoil anything, but Hotspot Shield is one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested.
One slight drawback of Hotspot Shield is its location. We love supporting homegrown companies, but as far as VPNs are concerned, the United States is not the best place to establish a VPN company.
You see, the U.S. is a founding member of the Five Eyes alliance and a part of the bigger Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes alliances of countries. Member countries of these alliances share communication intelligence among themselves. Additionally, a company within the jurisdiction of member countries can be compelled to share customer information; for instance, for the purpose of criminal investigation.
Of course, no company should tolerate criminals, but the Five Eyes alliance puts their citizens and the companies under their jurisdiction at greater risks of government overreach. Fortunately, Hotspot Shield understands that, and as you’ll see below, has a watertight logging policy that prevents it from collecting and subsequently sharing information with anyone outside the company.
Hotspot Shield Features
Moving on with our review, let’s talk about Hotspot Shield’s features. When we test VPNs, there are certain features we look for in relation to how secure VPNs are and how convenient they are to use. Here’s what we found out about Hotspot Shield.
Will Hotspot Shield Log My Data?
Data logging is a major concern when it comes to choosing a VPN. If a VPN logs your IP address , for instance, and the government asks it to provide the IP addresses that accessed a certain server at a certain date and time, they’ll be able to tie your browsing activity back to you.
That’s not good, and is a particular worry for VPN companies in the United States as discussed above. Fortunately, Hotspot Shield has a “no logging” policy just like many other VPNs. The scope of logging policies differ, however, so let’s look at Hotspot Shield’s in particular to get a clearer picture of how much privacy it provides.
There are a couple of important points to consider regarding Hotspot Shield’s data collection practices.
First, Hotspot Shield does record your IP address at the beginning of each session, but it encrypts and deletes it at the end. This information is not linked to your browsing activity, ensuring your privacy. We saw a similar practice from Surfshark, one of our heavy favorites because of its affordable subscriptions and user-friendly apps. You can read our Surfshark review for more information.
Secondly, Hotspot Shield also keeps a record of your bandwidth usage and the servers you’ve accessed, but these data points are collected anonymously. They are not tied to your account and to your real IP address, so even if Hotspot Shield has this information, they don’t know it’s from you.
Would it be fair to label Hotspot Shield untrustworthy because of those data collection practices? Not really. The company is forthcoming about what it collects and how it protects the collected data, and that’s a good sign. However, it might seem that it collects more data than necessary, and if you think that and that it might put your privacy at risk, it would also be perfectly understandable if you choose not to use the service. It’s all about how much data you’re willing to share.
Does Hotspot Shield Have A Kill Switch?
If Hotspot Shield’s data collection practices don’t bother you, let’s move on to the inner workings of the VPN, starting with its features. The first thing you should look for when shopping for a VPN is the kill switch feature. In VPN terms, a kill switch is a built-in mechanism that blocks all traffic. That’s critical, because without it, your device will switch over to an unencrypted network without you knowing, exposing your online activity moving forward.
Fortunately, the kill switch is a common VPN feature . Hotspot Shield has it, and it’s turned on by default. Moreover, all its apps, from the Windows and macOS desktop versions to the mobile app versions, offer a kill switch.
One time, while we were testing Hotspot Shield, our Wi-Fi dropped which resulted in our VPN connection dropping as well. When the Wi-Fi turned back on, Hotspot Shield didn’t reconnect automatically. Instead of letting us browse the internet unprotected, the Hotspot Shield VPN app blocked our internet connection to prevent us from browsing. That’s the kill switch in action right there.
Does Hotspot Shield Offer Split Tunneling?
Split tunneling lets you route some traffic through your ISP and some through the VPN. Think of it as using VPN on some apps on your computer or smartphone, and using the regular internet on others. For instance, you can simultaneously use your VPN to watch Netflix shows abroad and browse local news articles without a VPN.
The free version of Hotspot Shield doesn’t include split tunneling, which is unfortunate because split tunneling could lower your VPN bandwidth usage. When you turn on the free VPN, all your device’s traffic goes through the VPN server, including traffic from bandwidth-heavy apps. For premium accounts, though, split tunneling is available under the name Smart VPN.
How did we use it? We commute to work daily, and so we need local traffic and weather services. We also like to browse the internet while on our commute. On our Androids and iPhones, we set Smart VPN to allow our traffic and weather apps to bypass the VPN, while all other apps continue to get VPN access. That way, we can access local traffic and weather updates (no VPN) and protect our browsing and change our IP address (with VPN) at the same time.
Can I Use Netflix with Hotspot Shield?
Hotspot Shield optimized its premium plans for use with Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, and other streaming platforms as well as torrenting. Premium account users can obtain connection speeds of up to one Gbps (depending on your network’s speed, of course), which is perfect for high-definition streaming.
That is, if you pay for a subscription. Hotspot Shield has a free version that delivers only 500 MB of bandwidth per day. You can watch ads to surpass the limit, but isn’t the point of streaming to be able to watch your favorite shows without ads? Additionally, the free version has limited server access, which means you may not be able to connect to the specific Netflix region you want to access.
Hotspot Shield Encryption
The standard encryption for your data when using Hotspot Shield is 256-bit AES. This encryption method is pretty much unbreakable. They say it would take 14 billion years to decrypt AES-256 with the world’s current supercomputers using brute-force attacks.
Let’s just say your ISP probably won’t find how many gigabytes of Jackie Chan films you’ve been torrenting. Although, let us just remind you that downloading copyrighted content is illegal, even if you’re using a VPN.
Hotspot Shield Protocols
Internet protocols determine how data packets are dispatched across a network. You can think of protocols as the different routes cars can take to get between their origins and their destinations.
You could take a government highway to get to your safe house in the woods, but then security cameras might have recorded you. Or you could take back roads the whole way, but it might take you days. This is the kind of trade-off you often face between security and performance.
Hotspot Shield, however, developed its own VPN protocol that delivers fast speeds and impressive security.
Hotspot Shield bucks the trend of VPNs using popular VPN protocols like SSTP or OpenVPN. Instead, it uses its own proprietary protocol, Hydra.
Hotspot Shield specifically developed Hydra because it found that popular protocols like IPSec and OpenVPN are bound by performance and latency challenges. Hotspot Shield claims that Hydra:
- Has a faster connection to VPN servers
- Uses less bandwidth when transporting data through encrypted tunnels
- Offers connection speeds 2.4 times faster for long-distance connections, compared to OpenVPN
As you will see in our Hotspot Shield speed test results below, there is some truth to these claims. Hydra, and by extension, Hotspot Shield, indeed performed incredibly fast. And when it comes to data security, Hydra did prevent our IP address from leaking out.
But is Hydra better than more widely used, open-source protocols like OpenVPN? We don’t think so. At best, it’s a good alternative that provides about the same speed and security as OpenVPN. However, it’s new and it’s proprietary, so it will take a lot more real-world testing to convince us, but kudos to Hotspot Shield for trying to innovate.
In addition to Hydra, Hotspot Shield offers the WireGuard protocol, which is a lighter and faster alternative to OpenVPN. Users can choose between Hydra and WireGuard, and although both protocols are good, WireGuard is more widely implemented in the VPN industry, so chances are, it will work in more situations.
That said, both protocols are secure, so you can switch back and forth freely depending on what works best for you.
Hotspot Shield Free Version
Whenever you hear the words “free VPN”, a little alarm should go off in your head. VPN companies have to make money somehow, in order to pay for their servers and infrastructure. And the saying “if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product” holds true for most free VPNs . This often means they are giving your data to advertising partners or other third parties; not ideal if you care about privacy.
Free VPNs from reputable companies like Hotspot Shield, however, can prove useful for internet users on a budget. And surprisingly, the free version is quite capable. It no longer has a speed limit, so you can enjoy internet speeds up to 1 Gbps. If your internet is fast, you may even be able to stream or download with Hotspot Shield Basic (free).
That being said, there are a few caveats. For starters, you can only connect one device at a time. The premium version, on the other hand, lets you connect up to 10 devices simultaneously.
You can also access only one virtual server location, so you technically do not have access to Hotspot Shield’s entire network. Specifically, you won’t be able to access servers optimized for streaming and online gaming.
You also have to be wary of the bandwidth limit. Free users can only use 500 MB of data per day, although if you’re on an Android or iOS device, you can watch ads to surpass the limit.
Lastly, the free plan plan doesn’t include these features that are available on any of the paid plans:
- Kill switch
FYI: The 500 MB daily data limit doesn’t carry over to the next day. You get 500 MB per day and that’s it. Watching ads on the Android and iOS apps, however, can give you extra bandwidth.
Still, even with all the limits, Hotspot Shield’s free VPN can provide some level of protection. You’re still connected to a VPN tunnel, which is encrypted, so even if you can access only one location and there’s a bandwidth limit, you can make it work. The free Hotspot Shield VPN is particularly useful for students on a budget.
Testing Hotspot Shield
There’s only one way to find out if Hotspot Shield’s proprietary Hydra results in faster speeds: real-world speed tests of Hotspot Shield Premium. Additionally, we tested whether Hotspot Shield was impervious to DNS and WebRTC leaks.
Like most people, internet speed matters to us. After all, what’s the use of a secure connection if all we can do online is stare at a blank screen while we wait for our favorite shows to buffer?
Keep in mind that there are many factors that your internet speed will depend on when using a VPN – time of day, location, internet service provider, software, hardware, VPN server location, and so on. We tested Hotspot Shield Premium on a Macbook Pro running Mac OS X Catalina and a Lenovo Thinkpad running Windows 10, which we connected to our 70 Mbps internet.
Download Speed Tests
As you can see, Hotspot Shield Premium decreased our download speed by around 30 percent on Mac and 18 percent on Windows. While Hotspot Shield performed slightly better on Windows in this category, we’re impressed with the performance on both systems. The speed loss on Mac and Windows was barely noticeable.
We did another test, this time comparing the speed of VPNs , and Hotspot Shield performed even better in the download speed category. In fact, Hotspot Shield recorded the smallest percentage of download speed loss at just three-percent.
Upload Speed Tests
Next, we tested the difference in upload speeds with and without the Hotspot Shield Premium. In this case, the Windows connection performed a little worse with a decrease of 26 percent compared to only 0.2 percent on Mac.
Ping Speed Tests
Finally, we looked at the ping, or latency, in milliseconds. In this category, Hotspot Shield was quite slow.
We saw a ping increase of 540 percent for Windows and 430 percent for Mac. That’s bad news, especially if you’re playing online games competitively, but not so much if you’re browsing or streaming. Overall, besides ping, these are among the fastest speeds we’ve seen from VPNs.
DNS Leak Test
DNS leak tests are important to make sure your device is sending all DNS traffic through the VPN tunnel. If it’s not, then you have a DNS leak, which means your ISP and, possibly, hackers, can still see your real IP address. This type of leak can also happen if you configured your VPN manually, if an attacker got control of your router, or if you chose to do a manual DNS setup.
We used a DNS leak test tool to see if Hotspot Shield had any DNS leaks. And the result? Well, the IP address that the leak test tool detected was from the Bahamas, and we were nowhere near there when we performed the tests. That means that Hotspot Shield successfully shielded our IP address from DNS leaks.
WebRTC Leak Test
Do you want to use a VPN with Chrome , Firefox , Microsoft Edge, or Opera? Then you need to know about WebRTC leaks.
WebRTC, otherwise known as Web Real-Time Communication, is a collection of standardized technologies that allow web browsers to communicate with each other directly rather than going through intermediate servers. WebRTC allows for faster speeds for video chat, live streaming, and file transfers. Who doesn’t want that?
Well, there are some security issues that arise from the fact that WebRTC needs your public IP address. Let us explain the difference between public and private IP addresses.
Private IP addresses are what local networks use to identify each other. When you connect a laptop to a router, for example, the router assigns a private IP address to it. Now, private IP addresses aren’t unique, thus, are not traceable; two different networks can assign the same private IP address to two different devices.
Public IP addresses, on the other hand, come from your ISP. They’re globally unique and no two devices can share the same public IP address. Public IP addresses allow users to access the internet directly.
Now, when you’re using a VPN, it should hide your public IP address and block leakage such as WebRTC leaks. A simple WebRTC leak test would tell you if there are leaks; if the IP address on the test tool matches your public IP address, then your VPN is not doing its job. Fortunately, when we tested Hotspot Shield, it didn’t reveal our public IP address.
Hotspot Shield Subscription
So now that you know what Hotspot Shield Premium has to offer, the real question is… what’s it gonna cost you?
Hotspot Shield Premium Price Plans
You can connect to Hotspot Shield for free for a maximum of 500 MB of data per day. To learn more about their free subscription, read about Hotspot Shield’s pricing . Get started now .
Hotspot Shield offers three different subscription options: Basic, Premium, and Premium Family. Premium and Premium Family share the same VPN features.
However, Premium only gets you one VPN account which can support up to five devices. Premium Family, on the other hand, gets you five VPN accounts that you can share with family members. Each member gets the same features as Premium: A VPN they can use on five devices. So if we do the math, that’s like having five Premium subscriptions for $19.99 per month, only $7 more expensive than the Premium individual plan. That’s a pretty nice deal, and it’s perfect not only for families, but even a group of friends or roommates.
You can choose to pay for Hotspot Shield every month or every year. Like with most VPN services, the monthly price gets lower as your commitment increases. If for some reason, you don’t like Hotspot Shield Premium, you can get a refund using the company’s 45-day money-back guarantee.
Hotspot Shield has native apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux devices as well as a browser extension for Chrome. On smart TVs, Hotspot Shield is available for Fire TVs and Android TVs. However, for routers, you need to configure Hotspot Shield manually.
Hotspot Shield Customer Support
Hopefully, you won’t need to use Hotspot Shield’s customer support, but just in case, here are the details on how you can troubleshoot problems.
Hotspot Shield has 24/7 support via live chat, but there’s a catch. You can only access the live chat support if you’re a Premium or Premium Family account holder. If you are, then good! All you need to do is sign in with your account on your browser.
If you’re using the free version, however, or if you have questions before buying services from Hotspot Shield, your only options are Hotspot Shield’s email ticket support and knowledge base. Waiting to hear back after submitting a ticket can take days, but fortunately, Hotspot Shield’s knowledge base covers a wide range of topics, so hopefully, you can get your answers from there.
The Hotspot Shield App
The Hotspot Shield App has applications for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. The Android app has a 4.1 rating on the Google Play Store. The iPhone app has a 4.5 rating on the iOS App Store.
These are excellent ratings, which shows that users enjoy using the Hotspot Shield app. Of course, we tested it ourselves on an iPad that we use for browsing and research, and we liked the app’s no-nonsense approach. On the homepage was a single power button that connected us to the nearest server automatically. There were no other buttons and no settings to tinker with when connecting.
Of course, if we wanted to change our locations or use a different server, we could pull up the server list from the bottom of the screen and select which server location we wanted to connect to. The best part is that there were options to connect to servers that Hotspot Shield optimized for gaming and streaming, perfect for when we wanted to catch an episode or two of “The Office” during our breaks.
Hotspot Shield Vs. NordVPN
NordVPN is a leading VPN with a lot of similarities to Hotspot Shield. They both have high numbers of servers, but NordVPN wins with over 5,200 servers compared to Hotspot Shield’s 1,800 servers. NordVPN also beats Hotspot Shield in that NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, a country not subject to international surveillance alliances or data retention laws. Hotspot Shield’s home base is the United States, which is part of the Five Eye international surveillance alliance and has comparatively strict data retention laws.
Neither VPN logs data that could tie your web traffic back to you, but Hotspot Shield Premium does log more information. It logs the duration of your VPN sessions, the bandwidth consumed, and the domains that you accessed (but on an anonymized basis). This is all information that NordVPN says it doesn’t store.
Both have kill switches and split tunneling, which are essential security features. You should be able to stream from Netflix and torrent files with both VPNs. NordVPN gives you the same shared IP address each time (unless you want to pay extra for a dedicated IP address), while Hotspot Shield will give you a dynamic IP address that changes every time you connect. We prefer how Hotspot Shield rotates its IP addresses regularly, as it makes it harder for hackers to track you.
Now that we’ve gone over how NordVPN and Hotspot Shield’s features compare, let’s talk about their performance during tests.
Of the two, Hotspot Shield was the fastest VPN. Hotspot Shield worked significantly faster on Mac and slightly faster on Windows than NordVPN. Neither system had any DNS or WebRTC leaks.
Overall, if speed is your priority, we would recommend Hotspot Shield. But if you value privacy, I would go with NordVPN .
Recap of Hotspot Shield
Overall, we liked Hotspot Shield’s speed and that it has a free option that is only ad-supported on Android. It is fast, it performs smoothly, and it allows us to go on Netflix and torrent movies.
Hotspot Shield might be the VPN for you if you like:
- Netflix access: Hotspot Shield works with Netflix and other video streaming services.
- Speed: Hotspot Shield performed lightning fast on both Mac and Windows computers.
- Highly-rated app: Both Android and iOS users rated the Hotspot Shield app at least four stars.
- Free option: Hotspot Shield offers a free version that is convenient but capped at 500 MB per day and has a two Mbps speed limit.
On the other hand, you might want to avoid Hotspot Shield if you can’t stand:
- Only five simultaneous connections per account: Although you can purchase another subscription or router for more connections.
- Split tunneling: You’ll be able to access public and private servers at the same time.
- Strict data retention laws: The United States is a part of Five Eyes and could request your data from Hotspot Shield.
- Data logging policy: It’s undeniable that Hotspot Shield logs more than it needs to and more than its competitors like ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
- Slow customer support: You can only contact support by submitting a ticket, with no phone or live chat support available.
Downloading the Hotspot Shield app is all it took to encrypt our web traffic in their tunnel. Find out how you can connect .
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