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VPNs are becoming increasingly useful in personal networking, both for acessing academic resources from home and private use. In this article we offer some troubleshooting steps if you find you're having an issue, and details on how to contact us if you require further assistance.

Recently there has been a steep rise in VPN companies advertising their products, most commonly by sponsoring Youtube creators' videos. This has unfortunately led to a large amount of misinformation regarding the protection VPNs can provide. We would highly recommend watching the below video by the Youtuber Tom Scott before downloading or buying a VPN service.

Troubleshooting steps

First, you should make sure the VPN is correctly configured for your device. This can vary depending on the VPN you're using, but you can generally find details on how to set the connection up on the provider's site, as well as instructions for different operating systems.

Please note, due to the way our network manages users and traffic, VPNs that use the older PPTP protocol are more likely to run into trouble.

Sometimes your device's firewalls may be blocking the VPN from establishing an outside connection. Try temporarily disabling them and retesting the connection.

  • For Windows:

    Press and hold the Windows key (Windows or Windows) and press the letter "R" > In the box, type "Control Panel" and press Enter > In this new window, click System and Security > Click Windows Firewall > On the left, click Turn Windows Firewall on or off.

    You may find a message telling you that these settings are being controlled by a vendor application. This means your Anti-virus includes its own Firewall, and you will need to turn it off through the software's settings.

  • For Apple Mac:

    Click on the Apple icon > Select System Preferences > Select Security and Privacy > Select the Firewall tab at the top > Click Turn Off Firewall.

If disabling the firewalls does help, please remember to re-enable them before you use any other public network.

Contact the ServiceDesk

If the issue persists, we would be happy to try and assist you with getting online via your VPN. You can either call us on 0333 123 0115, or alternatively you can send us some information, and we’ll contact you.

Please note that if we believe the VPN is causing an issue with your connection, we will only be able to ask you to disable it. We are also unable to help you set up the VPN.

We'll need to know the name of the VPN you're using, as well as the configuration details:

For Windows:

  1. Press and hold the Windows key (Windows or Windows) and press the letter "R" > In the box, type "ncpa.cpl" and press Enter > In this new window, right click the VPN connection and select Properties
  2. Please take a screenshot of each tab on this page.

For Apple Mac:

Find the configuration information for the VPN. Depending on your setup, this might be under System PreferencesProfiles > Select the VPN in question > Screenshot the information here.

If you don't have this option, go to System PreferencesNetwork > Select the VPN on the left, then click Advanced on the right > Screenshot each tab in this window. 

Next, consider the following questions:

  • Has the VPN connection ever worked?
  • If so, when did this problem start?
  • Does the VPN client work outside of our network i.e. other public networks?
  • Do you get any error messages?

Please send these screenshots as attachments, along with the answers to the above questions in an email to us, and we will endeavour to get in touch as soon as we can. Alternatively, you can contact us using the form below, and send the attachments when prompted later on. You must include either your Username or Account ID in the email.

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