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Error: Inactivity timeout (--ping-restart)

To detect whether a VPN connection is still active and connected OpenVPN will send regular "pings" between the server and the client to check that the VPN connection is still active. If no pings are received by the client over a period of time, then it knows that the VPN connection is no longer connected and it should try to reconnect.

A common example setup is to have both the OpenVPN server and client configured to send pings every 10 seconds (the "ping" value), and reconnect if no pings have been received for more than 60 seconds (the "ping-restart" value).

If your VPN connection is dropping out, and the "Inactivity timeout (--ping-restart)" error is listed in the OpenVPN log, it means Viscosity/OpenVPN isn't receiving any pings from the OpenVPN server. This could be caused by any of the following issues:

  • If you receive an Inactivity timeout error before even successfully connecting it means that OpenVPN was unable to connect to the remote VPN server. This could indicate the address or port of the VPN server is incorrect, the server is offline, or a firewall is blocking your connection. You should contact your VPN Provider to ensure the VPN server is online and that your connection details are correct.
  • The ping and ping-restart values on the server or client (or both) are invalid or don't match. For example, if the server only sends a ping every 120 seconds, but the client expects a ping every 60 seconds, the connection will be dropped (even through it is still active and working). You should contact your VPN Provider in this instance to find out the correct ping/ping-restart values to use.
  • The network between your computer and the remote VPN server has dropped out. Viscosity automatically detects network reachability problems on your computer itself, so for an "Inactivity timeout" to occur it means that the network drop out must occur either on the VPN server's end, or somewhere in between (such as a router losing Internet connectivity). The occasional drop out is fairly normal (the Internet is a complex and ever changing network), however if you are seeing them on a regular basis you should check your router/network and get in touch with your VPN Provider.
  • If you receive an Inactivity timeout error shortly are connecting every time, it indicates a configuration problem (usually a route clashing with the route to the remote VPN server) and you should get in touch with your VPN Provider.
  • Some countries that engage in Internet censorship may attempt to disrupt VPN connections. If you are connecting from such a location and are seeing regular drop outs it is recommended you get in touch with your VPN Provider for alternative configuration options (for example often changing the protocol and port used can help avoid a VPN connection being identified as one).
  • The VPN server may be configured to only expect one connection from your account or certificate at a time. If you have more that one device connected at a time it could result once or both connections being unable to pass traffic and receive an Inactivity timeout. You should contact your VPN Provider to check if this is the case.
  • Some stateful firewalls or NAT routers may inadvertently block a connection after a period of time. If your computer has any firewall or Internet security software installed, or you have a firewall activated on your router, try temporarily disabling it and see if the Inactivity timeouts still occur.

The "ping" and "ping-restart" options can be found under the "Options" tab in Viscosity when editing your connection.