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How to Use Outlook & Microsoft Office 365 with a VPN

Office 365 users have noticed problems connecting to Outlook and the Office cloud while their VPNs are active. Our users reported ongoing issues when trying to use their Office apps and OneDrive when connected to a VPN.

This is an ongoing issue with some VPN clients. It’s especially frustrating if, like many people in 2018, you store your personal and professional files in the cloud.

If you are a remote worker, you need to access the cloud to be able to work. Businesses may be especially affected, as they require travel, mobility, and flexibility, and must manage large numbers of files.

In addition, all Office 365 products that use the cloud for storage seem to be vulnerable – including key services like the Outlook mail app.

During our in-house tests, we also had issues connecting to the cloud with some VPNs. There doesn’t seem to be a problem with other cloud services. We reached out to Microsoft support to see if they plan on fixing the issue in the future.

They told us that Microsoft considers the problem to be with the VPN providers and that they cannot guarantee that OneDrive and other Office 365 cloud-based services will work while a VPN is connected.

However, we had no problems connecting to other cloud services with a VPN connected. Nor have we found any significant user reports of similar problems with other cloud services, which suggests the issue is with Microsoft.

Read on to learn how to use a VPN for issue-free access to Office.

How to Use Microsoft OneDrive with a VPN – Quick Guide

Remember that most better VPNs offer money-back guarantees for new users. Many also offer free trials. That means you can test how the Office cloud works with the VPN before you commit to a longer subscription.

    1. Sign up for a VPN with a reputation for allowing easy access to Office Cloud. For this article we will use ExpressVPN as an example. During our in-house tests, we had no problems connecting to Office while the VPN was active.
    2. Sign up for a subscription with a 30-day money back guarantee to try ExpressVPN risk-free.

      Screenshot of ExpressVPN's download webpageDownload the VPN client compatible with your operating system or device

    3. Download the VPN app to your device and launch.
    4. Use the ‘smart location’ button to connect to the fastest server depending on your location

      Screenshot of ExpressVPN's server selectionChoose any server from the list and connect, or use the VPN’s ‘Smart Location’ feature

    5. Launch Office and go to OneDrive.
    6. Browse through your files as normal.

      screenshot of OneDrive Landing PageYou can now use OneDrive with a VPN


Microsoft Office, OneDrive, and other apps don’t seem to work with all VPNs. This is a problem if you want to work securely and remotely.

We suggest the following workarounds:

  1. Use a VPN that has a reputation for connecting to Microsoft 365 cloud services and OneDrive. We recommend ExpressVPN and CyberGhost based on our own tests and user reports.
  2. Try before you buy! One of the best things about the money-back guarantees offered by better VPN providers is that you can try out the product before you commit. Download and launch the VPN you want to sign up for and test that it works with OneDrive and Microsoft Office.
  3. If you are having trouble connecting to the Outlook app – you can always use the in-browser version.

Here at vpnMentor, we are committed to testing, troubleshooting, and reviewing how VPN providers work with products and which are best for particular needs.

If you want to know which VPNs offer free trials, read more about it here.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Now

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The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

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About the Author

Kristina is an experienced tech writer and researcher with a keen interest in cybersecurity for businesses and the general public.

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