Whatsapp not working with VPN

WhatsApp is a wildly popular messaging service used all over the world, and many use the app with a VPN to get around region blocks. But what happens when your VPN stops working?

Either the VPN you’re using isn’t compatible with WhatsApp or your chosen VPN isn’t secure enough to get around internet service provider (ISP) blocks you might be coming across.

It can be a pain, especially if you find yourself in countries where WhatsApp is banned like us. However, we have a few ways to fix this issue so you can get back to messaging your family and friends on WhatsApp.

Our guide will help you fix WhatsApp not working with your VPN. Nothing working? The best VPNs for WhatsApp will point you in the right direction.

Which VPNs work with WhatsApp?

ExpressVPNNordVPNPureVPNSurfsharkPIA
WhatsApp
Download Speed79 Mbps71 Mbps31 Mbps27 Mbps41 Mbps
Throttling79%71%31%27%41%
Stream quality⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Price per month$6.66$3.79$3.78$2.49$2.03

WhatsApp not working with VPN: Fixes

Follow the steps below to get WhatsApp working with your VPN again:

Total Time: 5 minutes

  1. Check if your VPN works on another device

    YouTube not working with VPN

    If your VPN works with WhatsApp on your smartphone, but not your computer, then you know your VPN isn’t the problem. If your VPN does work on one device, jump to Step 3 below.

  2. Contact your VPNs live chat service

    YouTube not working with VPN

    Head to your VPN’s website and find the Live Chat feature (if they have one) and ask for a specific server number that works with WhatsApp.

    If they can’t point you towards a server that works with WhatsApp then you know that your VPN is the problem.

  3. Delete your cookies

    YouTube not working with VPN

    Deleting your cookies can potentially fix any VPN issues. Accumulated or corrupted cookies in your browser or device might interfere with the way websites and online services function, especially when using a VPN.

    Clearing these cookies removes any old or problematic data, thereby ensuring a cleaner slate for your VPN connection to operate. This can help in establishing a more stable connection and resolving conflicts between the VPN and certain apps like WhatsApp.

  4. Connect to a different server

    YouTube not working with VPN

    If your VPN has randomly stops working with WhatsApp, the IP address your VPN has given you may have been identified and blocked by the streaming service.

    Changing to a different server will give you a different IP address, and if that one hasn’t been blocked, your VPN will work with WhatsApp again. This doesn’t have to be region specific, unless a country has banned WhatsApp (check out the list below).

  5. Reinstall or update your VPN

    YouTube not working with VPN

    If an update is available, updating your VPN can solve many issues its experiencing, and offer improved tools to get past any blocks.

    Another method is removing your VPN, and its settings, from your device and starting again, as it is a good way to get the most up-to-date settings configured on your devices without much effort.

  6. Update WhatsApp

    How to use WhatsApp in the UAE

    Updating WhatsApp to its latest version is important, as it can fix bug issues and protect against exploits.

    The company itself states: “WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices.”

    If you’re having problems using your VPN with WhatsApp, it might be because the VPN is no longer compatible with the older version of WhatsApp.

  7. Switch VPN protocols

    YouTube not working with VPN

    VPN protocols determine how a VPN works. When you use a VPN, the protocol is responsible for hiding your data and rerouting it via VPN servers.

    If WhatsAp isn’t working with your VPN, it might be because the protocol you’re using is no longer working with the service. If your VPN allows it, try changing to a different protocol to see if that fixes the issue.

  8. Upgrade your VPN

    YouTube not working with VPN

    Tried every step and WhatsApp is still not working? You should consider upgrading to a high-end VPN.

    We recommend ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) or NordVPN ($3.79/month) for WhatsApp. For more information, check out our VPN list below to see which VPN suits your needs and budget.

Countries that ban WhatsApp

Here’s a list of countries imposing partial or full bans on WhatsApp:

  • China: WhatsApp is entirely banned due to the government’s tight control over internet communication and its preference for promoting domestic messaging services.
  • North Korea: Strict government regulations limit access to most social media platforms, including WhatsApp.
  • Iran: WhatsApp has been subjected to temporary bans in the past, likely due to political reasons and the government’s desire to exert control over information flow.
  • Syria: WhatsApp is banned primarily for political reasons, restricting free communication channels.
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE): While not a complete ban, UAE restricts voice and video calls on platforms like WhatsApp, likely to protect the revenue of state-controlled telecom operators.
  • Qatar: Qatar’s biggest ISPs block users who try to access WhatsApp and other messaging apps.

Regulations and bans can change in different countries, so it’s important to keep updated on a region’s latest rules.

Why doesn’t WhatsApp work with a VPN?

While VPNs generally work well with WhatsApp, there can be a few reasons why you might face issues:

  • Government imposed blocks: In countries like China, where WhatsApp is entirely banned, using a VPN might not be enough. The government may actively block all known VPN server IP addresses, making it impossible to access any online service, not just WhatsApp.
  • Free VPNs or unreliable providers: Free VPNs or services with limited server options might not have the capability to bypass restrictions. Upgrading to a premium VPN like ExpressVPN or NordVPN with a wider range of servers and obfuscation techniques can help.
  • WhatsApp detecting VPN usage: WhatsApp, in some instances, might flag connections originating from known VPN IP ranges. This can be done to prevent misuse like automated spamming or bulk messaging.

Does WhatsApp block VPNs?

No, WhatsApp itself doesn’t directly block VPNs. Its primary function is secure messaging, and it generally don’t restrict connections solely based on using a VPN. However, WhatsApp states it isn’t designed to be used with a VPN.

In countries where WhatsApp is banned entirely, like China, even a VPN might not be enough. Governments can actively block known VPN server IPs, hindering access to any online service.

This means that a region’s ISP is blocking your connection rather than WhatsApp, especially if you’re using free or unreliable VPN services that lacks the resources to bypass strong restrictions.

That said, it may also have to do with the VPN you’re using. Even if you’re in a region where WhatsApp isn’t banned, a VPN may not be compatible with the app.

What VPNs work with WhatsApp?

To ensure you can use WhatsApp with a VPN, you need a VPN that can get around ISP blocks.

ExpressVPN and NordVPN have a great track record of getting around ISP-based blocks and work seamlessly with other apps like WhatsApp. Mainly, they’re fast and secure.

With thousands of servers, advanced obfuscation features, and their own protocols (Lightway and Nordlynx, respectively), these services are able to sneak past strict blocks. That’s why we continue to use them.

Also, on the off chance ExpressVPN and NordVPN do have one of their IP addresses blocked, they’ll close that IP address and open a new one to ensure you can consistently use WhatsApp with a VPN.

Best VPNs for WhatsApp

1. ExpressVPN

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • Physical servers in 104 countries
  • Brilliant for unblocking streaming services
  • Very high-speed Lightway protocol
  • Available on almost any device
  • Very secure
  • Pricey
  • Only 8 simultaneous devices
  • No addons
ExpressVPN

Streaming: ExpressVPN excels in unblocking geo-restricted content and works seamlessly with streaming services, even in countries where VPNs are banned. It consistently performed well in tests with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO Max.

Servers: ExpressVPN is highly regarded for its lightning-fast speeds and impressive server coverage, with over 3,000 servers in 104 countries that facilitate reliable and swift access to WhatsApp, even in regions with strict digital censorship.

Privacy: ExpressVPN’s advanced encryption and privacy features ensure that your online presence and activities remain secure and anonymous, making it an excellent choice for those who take their digital privacy seriously while scrolling through their WhatsApp messages.

Price: ExpressVPN offers three payment plans: a 1-month option at $12.95/month, a 6-month option at $9.99/month, and a 12-month option at $6.67/month. Payment methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other systems, accommodating a wide range of users.

Speeds: ExpressVPN maintains high download speeds with minimal drop-off, ensuring efficient performance. Tests showed a slight decrease in upload speeds, but download speeds remained fast across various server locations, including the US, UK, and Vietnam.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

  • Affordable pricing
  • Effective streaming access
  • Diverse server types
  • Solid speeds
  • Useful add-ons
  • Strong security
  • Limited server locations
  • No virtual servers
NordVPN

Streaming: NordVPN is highly effective for bypassing geo-restrictions on streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It has shown consistent success in connecting to various streaming services without noticeable issues.

Servers: NordVPN brings over 6,000 servers spanning 60 countries. While this isn’t as many countries as other VPNs, it’s still more than enough to get around region blocks for WhatsApp. Its commitment to physical servers ensures faster and more reliable connections.

Privacy: NordVPN stands out with its unique Double VPN technology, which routes your connection through two separate VPN servers, doubling the encryption and security of your data. This, along with its Threat Protection feature that blocks ads and malicious websites, makes NordVPN a robust option for WhatsApp users who want extra layers of security without sacrificing performance

Price: NordVPN offers three pricing plans: Complete, Plus, and Standard. The 2-year plan for the Standard package is priced at $3.19/month, the 1-year plan at $4.99/month, and the monthly plan at $12.99/month. It accepts major credit cards and various payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table showing the speeds tested for NordVPN. From our tests in New Zealand, NordVPN displayed very good speeds, although slightly behind ExpressVPN, but significantly faster than many other VPNs on the market.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73

Read our full NordVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

3. Private Internet Access

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • Extra features like ad blocker and email protection
  • Verified no-log policy
  • Compatible with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu
  • High use of virtual servers
  • Not as fast as top-tier VPNs
  • Lacks proprietary protocol options
PIA

Streaming: Private Internet Access works well with streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max, although it initially faced some difficulties with BBC iPlayer, which were resolved after some fixes.

Servers: PIA has over 35,000 servers in 84 countries, which is above the average of 71 countries. That’s more than enough for anyone trying to use WhatsApp. However, 50% of these servers are virtual, impacting reliability compared to VPNs with more physical servers.

Privacy: PIA’s app is open-source, inviting third-party scrutiny and verification. Its easy-to-use interface allows for detailed settings adjustments, and the automatic kill switch ensures your WhatsApp activity is always protected, even if your VPN connection unexpectedly drops.

Price: PIA offers three subscription options: 1-month at $11.95/month, 1-year at $3.33/month (upfront cost $39.95), and 3-year at $2.03/month (upfront fee $79). Payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and Amazon payments.

Speeds: Speed tests for PIA showed significant drops in download speeds across various servers. While using WireGuard protocol, speeds were faster than OpenVPN but still slower compared to top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN.

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off (New Zealand)930516
PIA US server238.527.17300.658.65
PIA UK server2453.77315.787.23
PIA Vietnam server4456.554898.24

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

4. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Robust security and privacy
  • 24/7 responsive chat support
  • Extensive server network in 100 countries
  • Has trouble with services like Hulu
  • Lacks a unique proprietary protocol
  • App can be overwhelming
  • Not the fastest among competitors
Surfshark

Streaming: Surfshark performs well with most streaming services but faces challenges with some, like Hulu. This could be a drawback for users who heavily rely on VPNs for streaming content from various regions.

Servers: Surfshark boasts over 3,300 servers in 100 countries, which is well above the average and includes both physical and virtual servers, providing extensive geographic coverage for anyone using WhatsApp.

Privacy: Surfshark emphasises its commitment to privacy with successful DNS leak tests and independent security audits by Cure53, ensuring robust online security and privacy for WhatsApp. You can find more about their security audits here.

Price: Surfshark offers a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 12-month option at $3.99/month, and a 24-month option at $2.49/month. It accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance when using Surfshark. From our tests, we observed decent speeds, suitable for general use, but not the fastest compared to some rivals.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)940.55520.24
Surfshark US server775.96.15
Surfshark UK server587.793.79

Read our full Surfshark review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

5. PureVPN

A mid-range VPN that balances performance and price

  • Affordable
  • Unblocks major streaming services
  • Use on up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Streamlined user interface
  • No log audit verified by KPMG
  • Several free add-ons
  • Buffering on BBC iPlayer at peak times
  • Past concerns with “no log” policy
PureVPN

Streaming: PureVPN has shown improvement in its ability to unblock streaming services. While it initially struggled with BBC iPlayer, its performance improved during less busy times. PureVPN can unblock major streaming services, but it may encounter buffering issues during peak streaming periods.

Servers: PureVPN offers over 6,000 servers in over 65 countries, making it an ideal, robust network for users trying to get past region blocks for WhatsApp.

Privacy: PureVPN has faced criticism in the past for its privacy policies. However, it has recently undergone a no-log audit verified by KPMG in the past 12 months, aiming to reassure users about its commitment to privacy. If you’re using WhatsApp and privacy is a must, you may want to look elsewhere.

Price: PureVPN offers three payment options: a 1-month plan at $10.95/month, a 1-year plan at $3.74/month, and a 2-year plan at $1.96/month. PureVPN accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and a variety of other digital payment options.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance you can expect when using PureVPN. The VPN has shown variable download speeds across different streaming servers, with some experiencing significant drop-offs during peak times.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN189.44139.82
PureVPN UK Server24.3198.99
PureVPN US Server49.83106.52

Read our full PureVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

WhatsApp not working with VPN: FAQs

Q: Is using a VPN with WhatsApp legal?

Answer: Yes, using WhatsApp is legal, but many countries block the messaging app in order to “maintain” safe information. In reality, it’s likely due to controlling information or to promote other local telecommunication companies.

Q: Can switching servers on my VPN resolve issues with WhatsApp access?

Answer: Yes, changing servers can sometimes help, as different servers may not be blocked or restricted by WhatsApp.

Q: Is it safe to access WhatsApp with a VPN?

Answer: Using a VPN to access WhatsApp is generally safe, as it encrypts your internet connection and can provide anonymity, but ensure the VPN provider is reputable.

Q: How can I tell if my VPN is causing WhatsApp to stop working?

Answer: If WhatsApp works normally when disconnected from the VPN but faces issues while connected, it’s likely that the VPN is the cause.

Q: Are there any VPNs known to work well with WhatsApp?

Answer: Some VPNs are more compatible with WhatsApp due to their ability to bypass geo-restrictions and having a range of servers; researching recent user reviews can identify these VPNs. We recommend ExpresVPN or NordVPN.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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