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The problem is whenever Nord VPN is connected through its native app on my home server, I cannot connect to the server via RDP. I get errors, both from my phone (while connected only to cellular network) and from my work computer. When VPN is disconnected, I can RDP just fine.

I have a home network laid out as follows:

  • Home server
    • RDP assigned to port 40100 (changed from 3389)
    • Firewall opened for that port and RDP in general
    • Nord VPN software installed
    • Static IP 192.168.1.101
  • Asus N66U router

    • Stock firmware
    • Connected to internet and my primary home server
    • Port range forwarding set up to forward all requests to <public_ip>:40100 to 192.168.1.101
  • Linksys E3000

    • Flashed with DD-WRT v24 firmware
    • Acting as wireless access point for Asus router for my 1st floor
    • Connected via powerline ethernet to Asus router
       
  • Notes:

    • Both routers ere configured to connect directly to VPN at router level, usually turned off. The Asus was set up to use Nord's DNS servers, but problem still exists with them removed.
    • Everything works normally when VPN is disconnected.

 

I used to have it set up with the Linksys as my primary router, and I could connect regardless of whether VPN was connected-- I had no issues at all then.

What changed since I switched to the other router? Both were set up with port forwarding. I feel like I'm missing something dumb.

Thanks.

EDIT: Crude diagram of my network (need someone with rep to embed this image):

enter image description here

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  • Go to canyouseeme.org and check to see if your ports are open to the internet. Can you make a diagram of how your network is physically connected at this point? It definitely sounds like a configuration issue. Jan 22 '18 at 22:29
  • Sure, added diagram to my post. I can't use canyouseeme with VPN connected, because it of course masks my true public IP. With VPN off, my RDP port is indeed open. My router's public IP should not change when I connect my desktop to VPN, so I should still be able to connect to it when it's on. I was able to RDP with VPN connected before I switched routers. Nothing else changed. Jan 23 '18 at 2:45
  • Update: I ran CanYouSeeMe from my phone (no VPN) while my desktop was connected to the VPN. I checked my desktop's RDP port, since my router should still forward it to my desktop. It confirmed it was open. Jan 23 '18 at 4:24
  • Also worth noting that I don't get the usual errors from RDP clients when the connections fail. I get a non-descript "An internal error has occurred." Jan 23 '18 at 4:33
  • From Event Viewer: "RDP ClientActiveX has been disconnected (Reason = 4)" Jan 23 '18 at 4:42

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