How to fix unable to connect issues on Windows

In this tutorial, you will learn how to resolve connection issues on your Windows device.

We will go through the following solutions:

  1. Update or reinstall the application
  2. Change the server
  3. Change the connection protocol
  4. Set custom DNS
  5. Disable IPv6
  6. Disable potentially interfering applications

NOTE: Although connection problems can usually be fixed with a few simple steps, different networks may have specific restrictions that could prevent the VPN connection. This means that the exact steps to resolve the issue may vary depending on the network you are trying to connect to.

Update or reinstall the application

You may have an outdated Surfshark application, which could make it harder to connect. Our team constantly bypasses various network restrictions with each release, so be sure to update your app.
If the application is indeed the newest released version, try to fully reinstall the Surfshark application.


Change the server

If restoring the application did not help, double-check to see if you cannot connect to various locations. For example, if you tried connecting to our United States — Detroit server, try our Germany — Berlin server and others.

You might be unable to connect to one particular server as it could be experiencing some issues. If so, please let our Customer Success team know about the location you are struggling to connect to, and our team will take immediate action.


Change the connection protocol

Different VPN protocols use different network ports to connect. That said, you might have a specific port blocked on your home, work, or any other network. Make sure to test all the available protocols in the Surfshark application, as this has a high chance of resolving the issue.

  1. Open the Surfshark application and go to the Settings tab.

  2. Open the VPN Settings tab.

  3. Click on Protocol, and try connecting with all available protocols.


Various connection protocols can give you specific errors. The errors tell our support a lot about the potential issue, so make sure to take a screenshot of it for later if you encounter one. If you end up reaching out to our support team, a screenshot of the error will make the troubleshooting process much quicker and easier. See how to take a screenshot on Windows.


Set custom DNS

Setting custom DNS on any device can change the overall connection, increase the speed, resolve unstable connection issues, or help you connect to the VPN. Check out how to set custom DNS on a Windows device.


Disable IPv6

At the moment, Surfshark does not support the IPv6 protocol. Having IPv6 enabled on your network might make it complicated to connect to our servers in some situations. That's why we recommend disabling it for all our customers to improve the overall connectivity experience.

Check out how to disable IPv6 on Windows 7 or how to disable IPv6 on Windows if you have Windows 8 or higher.


Disable potentially interfering applications

It's possible for your VPN connection to be blocked by your antivirus program or another VPN application installed on your device. In order to avoid this, it's important to disable your antivirus and remove any other VPN applications. Restart your device afterward.

Our VPN application makes minor modifications to your connection settings, which may be flagged as a security threat by some antivirus software, resulting in a blocked connection attempt. Additionally, different VPN applications may use conflicting connection configurations, leading to connection cancellation.

You may also be interested in:

Was this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback!