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Error connecting through VPN to Arcgis License Server


Trying to install ArcGIS and ArcInfo on an off-campus computer. Installed the VPN, connected, and then opened the desktop administrator to set the server, but received the following error:

the computer you chose is not a valid license server" or "Licensing Error -15".

Question was sent to the GIShelp::esrihelp queue and answered by Lisa Sweeney of GIS Services; later updated by Alex Prengel.


If you are off the MIT campus, you must be running the MIT VPN in order to access the license server.

Run a ping command against from a Command Prompt window. Output should look like the following:


Pinging \[\] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=253
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=253
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=253
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=253

Ping statistics for
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 1ms, Maximum = 1ms, Average = 1ms


Note: you may get times that are significantly longer than the times above and you may get more than 0% loss, but if all packets are lost (100% loss) you are not connecting to the license server because something is blocking your connection. If you are running a virus scanner, firewall or anti-malware application, try turning these off to see if it makes a difference. If it doesn't, the problem is most likely due to something on the network beyond our (or your) control and unfortunately there isn't anything we can do about it.

Presuming you get a ping response, try the following:

If the error message is "the computer you chose is not a valid license server":

Double check that you have the correct license server name. Also check that there isn't a space stored at the end of the name or anything.

Another option is to try a registry edit. Here are the instructions.

  1. Start > run > type in regedit
  3. Click on SOFTWARE
  4. Click on ESRI
  5. Click on License (this may include a version, like License10.0 or License10.1)
  6. On the right you see a file called LICENSE_SERVER. double click on it
    and manually enter the IP address of the server ( or There is an "@" symbol there. Make sure you keep that there
  7. Hit OK and you should be done

If the error message is "Licensing Error -15":

Your network connection may be too slow for the application to connect properly to the license server. To work around this:

  1. Right-click My Computer and click Properties
  2. Click the Advanced tab in the System Properties dialog box
  3. On the Advanced tab, select Environment Variables
  4. In the Environment Variables dialog box, under System Variables, click New
  5. In the New System Variable dialog box, enter FLEXLM_TIMEOUT for the name and 2000000 (two million) for the value
  6. Click OK to close each dialog box

Launch the application. If the problem persists, repeat steps 1-6, increasing the FLEXLM_TIMEOUT value by 1000000 (one million) and try again; repeat this until you're able to obtain a license.

See Also


Documentation and information provided by the MIT Community

Last Modified:

November 15, 2021

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