It’s an issue by no means limited to NordVPN: just about every online service is bound to have connection issues at some point or another.
Here’s how to fix the problem.
Your Subscription Expired
Let’s start with the most basic and obvious reason NordVPN might not be connecting: your subscription expired.
Obviously, if you recently paid for a 1-year, 2-year, or 3-year plan, this isn’t likely to be the problem. But, especially if you’re on the 1-month plan, it’s always worth logging into your NordVPN account to make sure your subscription isn’t expired.
If you find your subscription is indeed expired, then it’s a simple matter of renewing it to regain your connectivity.
Your NordVPN App is Outdated
It goes without saying that updates can be annoying. Sometimes, we all fall into the trap of hitting “not now” when prompted to confirm a pending update.
But it could be the cause of your connectivity woes. You should keep your NordVPN app updated not only to help avoid these issues, but also to ensure any bugs and potential exploits are properly patched.
While a little more time consuming, you could also try uninstalling and re-installing your NordVPN app. This could solve the issue of a fully updated app still not being able to connect.
You Reached the Maximum Simultaneous Connections Limit
NordVPN allows for a generous 6 simultaneous connections limit. But if your household has a lot of connected devices, there’s a chance you’re unable to connect to a NordVPN server because you reached that limit.
Check the other devices connected to your NordVPN account. Disconnecting one of them might solve the issue.
Also, remember if you install NordVPN on your router, you can use it as one connection. All the devices connected to your router won’t be counted toward the maximum limit.
Try a Different Server
Your next step is trying to establish whether the issue lies with the NordVPN server you’re trying to connect to.
Not many people appreciate just how much server load can affect their connection. If too many users are connecting to the same VPN server and it’s operating close to (or even at) its maximum capacity, your connection quality will go downhill faster than the resultant internet speed.
If you’re unable to connect to NordVPN, then there’s a chance the server is congested to the point where it can no longer accept new users. Alternatively, it might simply be temporarily down for maintenance!
Try connecting to a different server in a similar location first. If that still doesn’t work, try a completely different location – like switching from West USA to East USA or even a different country, for example.
Change Your NordVPN DNS Configuration (Windows)
If switching servers helped you establish a connection to NordVPN, but you’re still unable to access the internet, then try manually adjusting your DNS settings.
For Windows users:
- Open your PC’s Network and Sharing Center
- Click “Change adaptor settings” (left side of your screen)
- Right-click “TAP-NordVPN Windows adapter V9” and select “Properties”
- Click “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and then “Properties”
- Set the DNS address to “126.96.36.199” or “188.8.131.52”
- Click “OK”
Try reconnecting and refreshing your browser.
If you’re still unable to access the internet, repeat the above steps, but run through the other network types (for example “WiFi” or “Ethernet” instead of “TAP-NordVPN Windows adapter V9”.
Enable NordVPN’s Obfuscated Servers Feature
Another option to try is enabling NordVPN’s Obfuscated Servers feature. This will be especially helpful if you find you’re able to access some websites, but not others (which you usually can open).
Simply launch your NordVPN app, open the Setting tab, and click “Obfuscated Servers.” This will help you better identify and connect to these specialized servers.
Change VPN Protocols
Strange as it might seem, regaining your connection could be as simple as switching to a different VPN protocol.
This is because some protocols might cause unexpected issues with your internet connectivity. We always recommend using OpenVPN as your protocol, so first try switching from TCP to UDP (or vice-versa).
Temporarily Disable Your Antivirus and Firewall
Your antivirus and/or firewall might be causing the connection problem, mistaking NordVPN for an issue. Some are known to actively limit your internet connection (making it drastically slower) or even your computer if they detect you’re using a VPN.
To make sure this isn’t happening, disable your antivirus program and firewall. If this solves the issue, make an exception in the firewall/anti-virus settings for NordVPN.
Connection Issues Due to Government Censorship
If you’re living in (or traveling through) a country putting restrictions on what its citizens can access on the internet, this could also be the cause of your connectivity issues – especially if you already went through the above steps.
NordVPN recognizes this is a particularly common problem for users in China. While they continue to work on a better solution, they recommend trying to connect manually.
For Windows users:
- Download the latest stable OpenVPN GUI app and install it on your device
- Download the NordVPN configuration files – (1) AU 496 (2) AU 497 (3) AU 498 (4) AU 499
- Open the .ovpn configuration file using your text editor and manually add “block-outside-dns” (minus the quotation marks) between the code lines that read “comp-lzo no” and “remote-cert-tls server” to better prevent DNS leaks, then save and close
- Copy the configuration files
- Extract the configuration files to your computer’s directory C:/Program Files/OpenVPN/config/ and then open that folder to paste the copied configuration files there
- Click “Continue” to complete the file extractions
- Open the OpenVPN GUI app from the desktop shortcut
- Click “Yes”
- Right-click on the OpenVPN GUI icon in your system tray (near your clock), hover over one of the 4 servers listed there, and click “Connect”
- Enter your NordVPN account login details, click “OK,” and wait a few seconds to be connected
You can find similar instructions for other devices by following this link.
There you have it! One of the above solutions is very likely to help you resolve the “NordVPN not connecting” issue.