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If I create an encrypted connection to my VPN host (via openVPN) and tunnel all internet traffic through it everything seems to work fine (i.e. Websites think my ip is that of the remote server).

When I disconnect however and try to revisit a webpage I had visited through the VPN I sometimes get an error, such as the following in chrome:

Error 109 (net::ERR_ADDRESS_UNREACHABLE): Unable to reach the server.

I am then unable to access that site (or use that program/service, such as steam) until I disable and re-enable my network adapter.

This also has me wondering about privacy. If I use my browsers incognito mode, and an encrypted connection, I thought the only way someone could know what sites I've visited is by checking the VPN server. Even if I use my VPN with incognito mode though the problem still occurs.

So my question is what causes this problem to happen, and is there a way to prevent it?

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Your VPN probably makes itself your default gateway when it's established and doesn't restore your original default gateway when it's done. But the only way you can actually find out is if you troubleshoot. (What happens if you try to traceroute out when it's not working? Can you ping your default gateway when it's not working? What does your routing table look like when it's not working? You have to troubleshoot.) –  David Schwartz Nov 1 '12 at 17:43
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