Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are being used more and more among individuals and businesses as a way to improve online security and privacy.

VPNs can help protect your online identity, encrypt your internet traffic, and even bypass geo-restrictions. However, you may have experienced an issue where your VPN does not work with some apps.

This can be annoying, especially if you’re paying for a VPN service and trying to use an app that requires a secure connection. 

In this article, we will explore some of the common reasons why a VPN may not work with certain apps and provide some solutions to help you resolve the issue.

Why Does My VPN Not Work With Some Apps?

VPNs may not work with some apps due to incompatible protocols, app blocking, improper configuration, limited server availability, port blocking, issues with your device’s network settings, antivirus or firewall settings, congestion, a poor VPN connection, outdated software or app limitations. To resolve the issue, you may need to adjust your VPN settings, use a different VPN provider, or contact your VPN provider’s support team for assistance.

There are several banking and payment-type apps, such as the Bank of America’s app, that won’t allow you to use a VPN while using their services.

Bank of America says it blocks VPN connections to limit fraudulent activities. It’s a little counterintuitive, considering a customer would be more secure banking while using a VPN.

Other apps and websites also double-check that the IP address you’re using is from the same area as the GPS location data on your phone. If these two don’t match up, an app may stop you from using their services until you disconnect from the VPN.

Streaming apps like Netflix and Disney+ will geo-lock their content to specific countries or just right out stop you from accessing their services while using a VPN service.

However, depending on the streaming service, the geo-lock may only be determined by the IP addresses associated with that country. Streaming sites that do this, like Netflix, will allow you to use a VPN to access their other libraries of content that are meant for other countries.

To unlock new content on Netflix, all you have to do is use a VPN to set your IP address to a different country and then you’ll have access to that country’s library of content.

By the way, the US and Irish Netflix libraries are among the biggest and often have a different selection of blockbuster movies on each site.

But sites like Disney+ will completely block access if they detect the use of a VPN.

Those are issues you’ll run into time and again while trying to connect to certain apps with a VPN but there are other issues to watch out for too.

Incompatible Protocols

One possible reason why your VPN may not work with some apps is that the app may be using protocols that are not compatible with your VPN.

For example, if your VPN is using the OpenVPN protocol, but the app you’re using only supports the PPTP protocol, you may not be able to establish a connection. 

In this case, you may need to switch to a VPN provider that supports the specific protocol required by the app, or you may need to use a different app that supports the protocol used by your VPN.

An App may Block your Connection 

As mentioned earlier, another possible reason why your VPN may not work with some apps is that the app in question may be detecting and blocking your VPN. This is particularly common for streaming apps and services that are trying to enforce geographic restrictions.

To get around this, you may need to try to spoof your GPS location or use a VPN that offers specialized servers that can bypass these restrictions or try using a different VPN altogether.

Improper Configuration

If your VPN is not properly configured, it may not work with certain apps. For example, some apps may require a specific type of VPN connection or a specific set of settings.

In this case, you may need to adjust your VPN settings or use a VPN that is pre-configured to work with the app.

Limited Server Availability

Your VPN may not have servers in the region where the app you want to use is located. If the app is located in a country or region where your VPN does not have servers, it may not work properly or not allow you to access the app.

In this case, you may need to switch to a VPN provider that has servers in the specific location where the app is located.

Port Blocking

Some networks, such as those operated by governments or corporations, may attempt to block access to VPNs by implementing port blocking. Port blocking involves preventing access to specific network ports that are commonly used by VPN protocols.

A port is a specific number that is used by networking protocols to identify specific types of traffic. VPNs typically use specific ports for their traffic, such as port 1194 for OpenVPN or port 1723 for PPTP. By blocking access to these ports, network administrators can prevent VPN traffic from passing through their networks.

To get around this, try to configure your VPN to use non-standard ports to avoid being detected and blocked by port filtering networks.

Related Article: Can My VPN Be Blocked By My ISP? (What You Need To Know)

Antivirus or Firewall Software

If you have antivirus or firewall software installed on your device, it may be blocking your VPN connection.

This can happen if the software detects the VPN as a security threat or if it’s not properly configured to allow VPN traffic.

In this case, you may need to adjust your antivirus or firewall settings or disable them temporarily to see if the VPN works.

Congestion on the Network

If you’re using a VPN on a network that is experiencing heavy traffic or congestion, it may affect your VPN’s performance and cause it to not work with certain apps. In this case, you may need to switch to a different server or wait until the network congestion clears up.

Outdated or Incompatible Software

If you’re using an outdated version of the app or your device’s operating system, it may not be compatible with your VPN. This can also happen if the app requires a newer version of the operating system or specific hardware that your device doesn’t have. In this case, you may need to update your software or hardware to use the app with your VPN.

Inconsistent VPN Connection

If your VPN connection is unstable or drops frequently, it may not work with some apps that require a consistent and reliable connection. In this case, you may need to troubleshoot your VPN connection to ensure that it’s stable and reliable.

App-Specific limitations

Some apps may have specific limitations or requirements that make them incompatible with certain VPNs.

For example, some apps may only work with specific VPNs that have been approved by the app’s developers or may require a certain level of security that your VPN does not provide.

Deep Packet Inspection

This is a method of blocking that allows apps to inspect the data packets that are being sent and received over the internet. By analyzing the contents of these packets, an app may be able to detect that you are using a VPN and block access to its service.

VPN Detection Tools

Some apps that really don’t want VPN connecting to them may use specialized software to detect if a user is accessing their service via a VPN. These tools may be able to identify the specific VPN provider you are using and block access to their service.

In general, troubleshooting VPN issues can be complex, and it may be necessary to try several different solutions before you find one that works. If you’re having trouble using a specific app with your VPN, it’s a good idea to contact your VPN provider’s support team for assistance, as they may be able to provide you with specific advice on how to get the app working properly with your VPN.