World Tech

Can’t connect to VPN on public WiFi? Here’s how to fix it

Vlad ConstantinescuVPN expert and privacy advocate

  • Using a VPN to protect your privacy and secure your connection is a good idea.
  • However, if you are using a public WiFi network, you may not be able to connect to a VPN.
  • Although unknown, VPN blocking can cause many problems on some networks.
  • We show you how to fix this situation in our complete guide below.

Using a VPN to protect your privacy and secure your connection is great, but what if you can’t connect to a VPN on a public WLAN?

The public wireless network is without a doubt one of the most dangerous places to hide without protection.

For example, did you know that with public Wi-Fi, your traffic can be easily monitored and you can become the target of man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks? Well, it happens a lot more often than we’d like.

A VPN may not seem uncommon. But because it can encrypt and redirect traffic, using such a service on a public network can save you a lot of headaches.

But what happens if it doesn’t work? Let’s find out together.

Is public WiFi safe?

Perhaps the most common problem with public WiFi is closely related to security. To be fair, public wifi is the ideal terrain for potential attackers, as the idea of free internet is attractive to many users.

In general, unsecured WiFi networks are easy prey for a variety of attackers. The lack of protection of these networks can have serious consequences. For example:

  • Your credit card data can be stolen
  • Passwords and account names can be spied on.
  • Your traffic can be easily regulated
  • With any luck, attackers can remotely access your device and its contents.
  • Calls can be intercepted

The list is long. Without a VPN, you’re like a duck on the prowl of public WiFi networks.

Does a VPN protect you on public WiFi networks?

A reliable VPN service can significantly increase your protection on public WiFi networks. Not only do they completely encrypt your data so it can’t be read and is useless to attackers, but they also redirect traffic.

This means that you cannot be the target of MITM attacks from someone on the same network as you. No one, not even ISPs, hackers or the owner of the network, sees all the information you send over the public WiFi network.

It can be said that using a VPN can and will protect you on public Wi-Fi networks.

What if you cannot connect to a VPN on a public WiFi network?

1. Using a trusted VPN

  1. Buy a premium VPN subscription (we recommend Private Internet Access).
  2. Download and install PIA on your device.
  3. Start the VPN Client and log into your account.
  4. Select the server of your choice and connect.
  5. Connect to the public WiFi of your choice
  6. Please accept the terms and conditions of the public WiFi (if available).

Note that sometimes there are websites on public WiFi networks that you must open in your browser and accept certain conditions before you can connect. They’re called prisoner portals.

Private Internet access

Looking for a VPN to secure public WiFi networks? PIA may be exactly what you need.

You can easily bypass them, but sometimes they don’t work with a VPN. The reasons vary from blacklisting ports to throttling UDP traffic (to disrupt certain protocols).

Make sure your device (phone, laptop) is not configured to automatically connect to public WiFi networks.

2. Select another protocol

As mentioned earlier, some administrators of public WiFi networks may prevent the use of VPNs. One way to do this is to restrict connection types such as UDP.

If this is the case, simply open the VPN settings, select a different protocol, re-establish the VPN connection and try to access the public WiFi network again.

Better yet, connect to a VPN server via a data plan (LTE) before connecting to a public WiFi network.

3. Try another connection

Another effective way to detect and block VPN traffic is to create a blacklist of ports. One of the most popular VPN ports is 443. So if you have problems using this port on your VPN client, just change it.

Many VPN providers let you choose from different ports to use with your connection. Make sure you check the configuration section of your VPN client before giving up.

4. Using a VPN with encryption

If you still can’t connect to a VPN on a public WLAN, try a VPN with blackout features.

They can also be called obfuscated servers, stealth mode, or even chameleon protocol, depending on the VPN you use.

See our list of VPN services with blackout features:

But yes, they all do the same thing, for the most part. You can use these features to connect to different services with VPN detection capabilities, just as if you were using your normal unsecured protection.

These services mask VPN traffic as normal traffic, making it difficult to detect and block.

Final considerations for connecting to a VPN over public WiFi

In short, a VPN on the public WLAN is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, given the number of cyberthreats (and cybercriminals) freely circulating on the Internet.

However, some networks may block your attempts to use a VPN while connected to them. If this happens, don’t worry and keep it in the back of your mind:

  • Never disable VPNs on public WiFi networks.
  • Check that the port and/or protocol switch works
  • Choose a VPN with blackout features if possible.
  • Use your plan when you see that nothing is working (trust us, it’s better in the long run).

There is a reason why these networks restrict the use of VPNs. Unless you want your personal data to fall into the wrong hands, we strongly recommend avoiding public WiFi, where the use of a VPN is strictly regulated.

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frequently asked questions

Can public WiFi block a VPN?

Yes, it’s quite possible. Maybe the DNA. I was in a hotel where the DNS servers were blocking my VPN providers. … It is very difficult and expensive to prevent someone who knows what they are doing from using a VPN.

How do you use a VPN with public WiFi?

blog ‘ vpn privacy ‘ vpn…

Cannot connect to a VPN via WiFi?

Try a different server and see if that solves the problem. Restart the VPN software or browser plugin. If changing the VPN server does not work, restart the VPN software or browser plug-in. Do not simply disconnect from the VPN server; exit and restart the program.

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