In this troubleshooting section, we’ll explain how to fix the most common issues with Norton VPN before digging into more specific issues by device. If your version of Norton isn’t working and you’re not sure why, we recommend starting here.
1. Check Your Internet Connection
You can’t get any VPN working until you have a working internet connection. If Norton VPN connects but suddenly stops working, it could be because your internet connection is weak or unreliable.
To check this, open a new browser tab and visit a web page to see if it loads.
If your internet connection is not working:
- Turn off your router, wait a few minutes, and then turn it on again.
- Try an alternative connection to your router (e.g. use a cable instead of WiFi).
- Check your ISP’s status using another device that can still connect.
2. Connect to a Different Norton VPN Server
If you’re having connection issues, there might be a problem with the particular server you’re connected to.
If you can’t access Netflix with your VPN, for example, it might be because your server has been identified and blocked by Netflix. Alternatively, there could be a fault on the VPN server.
It’s easy to try connecting to a server in a different country. In fact, that’s what Norton recommends you do if you see the error message “VPN is currently unable to connect. Error Id: 13801”.
During our tests, Norton Secure VPN showed us a 13801 error, which means there’s been a connection error.
Unfortunately, Norton VPN does not offer city-level servers in singular regions, which means it’s difficult to connect to a different VPN server in the same country.
However, if you disconnect and reconnect, you are likely to be connected to a different server. This is the best way to connect to a different server without changing the region.
There are two ways to connect to a different Norton VPN server in the same country:
- Turn off the VPN and turn it back on again. Note that this will leave your connection unprotected while the VPN is off. To do this in Norton 360, open the app, choose My Norton, and toggle the button beside ‘Secure VPN’. In the standalone app, use the slider at the bottom to turn the VPN on and off.
- Connect to a server in a different region, then reconnect to the region you want. To do this in Norton 360, open the menu beside ‘Secure VPN’ and click ‘Choose Region’. In the standalone app, click the ‘Virtual Location’ tab to choose a new location.
3. Restart Norton Secure VPN
Restarting Norton VPN may help to resolve any temporary problems with the application.
To restart the standalone Norton Secure VPN app on a desktop computer:
- Click the user icon in the top right.
- Select Sign out.
- Click the Settings icon in the top right.
- Select Quit Norton Secure VPN.
- Restart your device.
- Open Norton Secure VPN and sign in again.
Mobile devices and the Norton 360 app don’t have an option to quit the VPN (although you can turn it off). The easiest way to restart the software is to restart your computer or turn your mobile device off and on again.
4. Check Your Firewall Settings
If you see the following error message, it means that something is blocking your internet connection:
“Error: (9012, 809) “An error is preventing the VPN from connecting. Reference error ID 809”
Norton Secure VPN uses UDP ports 500 and 4500, so you’ll need to make sure that your firewall is allowing it to access them.
There’s a good chance you’re running Norton’s own firewall as part of the Norton 360 suite. If so, follow these steps to configure your firewall:
- In ‘My Norton’, click the ‘Open’ button beside ‘Device Security’.
- In the main Norton window, click ‘Settings’.
- Click ‘Firewall’.
- In the General Settings, click ‘Configure’ beside ‘Network Trust’.
- Beside Norton Secure VPN, choose ‘Full Trust’ and click ‘Apply’.
The firewall settings in Norton 360 Security Suite.
If you’re using a different type of firewall, we’ve listed some more configuration tips for Windows firewalls later on in this guide.
5. Disable or Remove Conflicting Applications
Norton Secure VPN can conflict with other VPN apps, in particular Cisco AnyConnect, which is a type of remote access VPN that supports remote working.
It’s unlikely you’ll want to remove similar software if you need it for remote working. In this case, try simply turning off these other applications to avoid conflicts when using Norton VPN for your personal activities.
It’s also a good idea to remove any VPN apps you don’t need. If you’ve tried a few before settling on Norton VPN, there might be conflicting software still running.
6. Check Norton’s Status
Online services have outages from time to time, so it’s worth checking whether the problem is related to Norton and its network.
Unfortunately, Norton doesn’t publish the status of its VPN service. However, you can see whether there are issues with other Norton services on Norton’s status page, which may indicate any wider problems.
If some Norton services are experiencing problems or are down, it’s possible that Norton Secure VPN will also be affected. Give the service time to recover before taking more drastic steps.
7. Check If the VPN Starts Automatically
Both versions of Norton VPN include an option to enable the VPN automatically on startup. If Norton VPN isn’t starting automatically and you expect it to, check the VPN’s settings.
In Norton 360, go to ‘My Norton’ and click ‘Settings’ in the menu beside ‘Secure VPN’. Ensure that Auto-Connect is turned on, so your VPN starts when your computer restarts or wakes up from its sleep mode.
The Auto-Connect setting will start your VPN when you turn your device on.
If the VPN is starting automatically and you’d prefer it not to, simply turn off this setting in the same menu.
The Auto-Protect setting will also turn the VPN on when you’re connected to an insecure network.
8. Upgrade Your VPN
If you can’t get Norton VPN to work, consider upgrading to a better VPN. Norton VPN is cheap, but its features are weak and it’s not good enough for popular activities such as streaming, torrenting, and evading censorship.
If you like the Norton VPN because it came bundled with your security software, Windscribe Free is the best alternative free option.
Most free VPNs are untrustworthy, but Windscribe has a safe minimal logging policy and robust encryption. It unblocks 32 Netflix libraries, works in China, and allows torrenting on most servers. There is also a paid version you can upgrade to, which will remove the 10GB per month data limit.
For the most reliable long-term VPN, we recommend subscribing to ExpressVPN. It’s a little more expensive than most services, but our review of ExpressVPN found it to be the best VPN on the market right now.
It has fast speeds worldwide and unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. It allows unrestricted torrenting across 3,000 servers in 94 countries, and the MediaStreamer Smart DNS feature means it can even help you stream US Netflix on games consoles where VPN software cannot be installed.