How to fix unable to connect issues on Windows?

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


Usually, this particular problem can be resolved in a few easy steps. However, since all of our home, work, or even school networks are very different from each other, some of them may have specific restrictions that may block the VPN connection.


We will go through these solutions:


Restore the application


  1. Locate the Surfshark installation folder. The default location is C:\Program Files (x86)\Surfshark.

  2. Run the SurfsharkDiagnostics program.

  3. Click on the Restore original settings option.

  4. When the Surfshark app pops up, log in.


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 other servers as well.

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 being said, you might have a specific port blocked on your home, work, or any other network. Make sure to test all of 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. Scroll down and select Advanced.

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


Various connection protocols can give you specific errors that 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.


Don't know how to take a screenshot? Check out this article.


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 this article to set custom DNS on your 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 always recommend disabling it for all of our customers to improve the overall connectivity experience. Check out this article to learn how to disable IPv6 on a Windows 7 device, and this article to learn how to disable IPv6 on Windows 8 or higher.


Update or reinstall the application


You may have an outdated Surfshark application, which could make it harder to connect. As various network restrictions are always created, our team is bypassing them in every single update. If the application is indeed the newest released version - try fully reinstalling the Surfshark application.


Disable potentially interfering applications


Your antivirus program or a different VPN application is another thing that can interfere with the VPN connection and typically refuses to let it through. Make sure that your antivirus is disabled and that any other VPN application that you have installed is removed. 

Since our application modifies your connection settings by a tiny bit, it can be considered a threat to your device by most antivirus software, therefore blocking the attempt to connect to the VPN server. Various VPN applications also use different connection configurations, fighting with each other and canceling out the connection.


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