Why can’t I browse the Internet when I have Hotspot Shield VPN connected?

 If your VPN is connected but you cannot browse the internet (i.e. you can’t browse any website, including sites that you usually have access to when Hotspot Shield VPN is not connected), follow the steps below:

Step 1: Browse the internet with VPN off

  1. Make sure Hotspot Shield VPN is off
  2. Open your desired web browser and try browsing the Internet

If you can’t browse the internet even when the VPN is off, restart your computer. When your computer reboots, check that your internet is connected and try browsing again. If that doesn’t work, you may need to check your network settings or contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Need help? Submit a request.

Step 2: Connect to a different VPN server

  1. Turn Hotspot Shield VPN on
  2. Go to “Server location:” on the left-hand side of the app and select a different U.S. city or country 

Ensure that the VPN is connected to the new server location and try browsing the internet. 

If the new server location works and you’re able to browse the internet, try the original server location once more. If you’re still having problems with this location, submit a request by filling out this form. Describe the issue in as much detail as you can and include your IP address. We’ll get back to you soon. 

Step 3: Check whether DNS is working by pinging Google

Now let’s test your network while Hotspot Shield is running. Follow the steps below to ping Google:

  1. Make sure Hotspot Shield VPN is on
  2. Press “Windows_Icon.png+ R” on your keyboard
  3. Type “cmd” in the text area
  4. Click “OK”


In the command window type: “ping www.google.com” and press “Enter.”


Under the ping statistics, if “Packets: Sent = X, Received = X” reflects the same number, your network is working correctly. If the number between “Packets: Sent” and “Received” is different, then the issue is likely DNS-related. Restart your browser and try the ping command again. Take a screenshot of this screen and include it when you submit a request if you’re still having problems.

Step 4: Reboot your computer

If you get the following message: “ping: cannot resolve www.google.com: Unknown host” after the ping command has run, the issue is DNS related. Try rebooting your computer and then run the ping command again to see if the problem has been resolved.

Step 5: Run the Network troubleshooter

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type Network troubleshooter, and then select Identify and repair network problems from the list of results.
  2. Follow the steps in the troubleshooter and see if that fixes the problem.

Step 6: Make sure that the TAP-Windows driver is installed. If it’s not, reinstall Hotspot Shield.

  1.  Click “Start,” and then click “Control Panel”
  2.  Under “Programs,” click “Uninstall a program”
  3.  Find if TAP-Windows is installed. If it’s not — follow the next steps, if yes — please proceed to item number 2 (make sure that TAP-Windows is installed if yes — delete and install TAP-Windows driver)




4) Open Device Manager (by pressing the Windows key + X hotkey and select Device Manager) that there are no TAP-Windows driver


5) Uninstall Hotspot Shield (Select Hotspot Shield in Control Panel. Click Uninstall or Uninstall/Change at the top of the program list.)

6) Restart Windows

7) Install Hotspot Shield

Step 7: Make sure that TAP-Windows is installed if yes - delete and install TAP-Windows driver

1) If restarting the adapter doesn’t do the trick, try reinstalling the TAP-Windows driver instead. To do that, first open Device Manager to uninstall the adapter by pressing the Windows key + X hotkey.

2) Select Device Manager to open the window in the shot directly below.


3) Double-click Network adapters to expand the network adapters list.

4) Right-click TAP-Windows Adapter and select Uninstall device.


5) Now open this https://build.openvpn.net/downloads/releases/ in your browser.

6) Scroll to the bottom of that page and select the latest TAP to download.

7) Right-click the TAP-Windows exe and select Run as administrator.

8) Restart Windows after installing the driver.

Step 8: Reset Winsock

1) Resetting corrupted TCP/IP Winsock settings might also fix OpenVPN error messages. To do that, enter ‘Command Prompt’ in Cortana’s search box.

2) Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator to open it.

3) Then input ‘netsh int IP reset logfile.txt’ in the Prompt, and press the Enter key.


4) Enter netsh winsock reset catalog, and press the Return button.  

5) Restart your desktop or laptop.

Step 9: Reset the TCP/IP stack using Command Prompt

WiFi adapter sees the available network, however, it will not accept TCP/IP address. Attempting to reset Winsock and IP stack may resolve the problem.

1) In the search box on the taskbar, type Command prompt, press and hold (or right-click) Command prompt, and then select Run as administrator > Yes.

2) At the command prompt, run the following commands in the listed order, and then check to see if that fixes your connection problem:

  • Type netsh winsock reset and press Enter.
  • Type netsh int ip reset and press Enter.
  • Type ipconfig /release and press Enter.
  • Type ipconfig /renew and press Enter.
  • Type ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter.

Step 10: Reset network adapters on Windows 10

1) Open Settings.

2) Click on Network & Internet.

3) Click on Status.

4) Click on Network reset.


5) Click the Reset now button.


6) Click Yes to confirm and restart your computer.

Keep in mind that after your computer restarts, any network adapter will be reinstalled, and settings will reset to their default configurations. This means that if you're connecting to a Wi-Fi network, you'll need to re-enter the password to connect, and you may need to reconfigure other networking software as well.

Step 11: Restart your modem and wireless router

1) Unplug the power cable for the router from the power source.

2) Unplug the power cable for the modem from the power source.

3) Some modems have a backup battery. So if you unplug the modem and lights stay on, remove the battery from the modem.

4) Wait at least 30 seconds or so.

5) If you had to remove the battery from the modem, put it back in.

6) Plug the modem back into the power source. The lights on the modem will blink. Wait for them to stop blinking.

7) Plug your router back into the power source.

8) Wait a few minutes for the modem and router to fully power on. You can usually tell when they’re ready by looking at the status lights on the two devices.

9) On your PC, try to connect again.

Still experiencing an issue?

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