Well as of the beginning of November 2020, there’s a good chance that your VPN has stopped working with ITV. Just to recap this is using a standard VPN to hide your IP address and so bypass the country restrictions on the ITV Hub/Player web site. Literally thousands of us have been doing this for years, if you’re outside the UK just use the VPN to make it look like you are! The ITV Hub site has 7 live channels which stream all day and also a huge archive of TV shows, documentaries and dramas which you can enjoy anytime. Some of it’s most famous shows are dramas like Downton Abbey, Coronation Street and Sherlock Holmes. Although there are lots of other type of programmes including lots of news, documentaries, comedies and films too.
Anyway using a VPN has been pretty straight forward for accessing ITV Hub from abroad for the last few years. They have previously made a huge effort to try and block connections made from VPNs and proxies but not for a little while. However the last few days something has changed and many people have found they’re getting error messages when trying to stream live or through the archive.
Here’s a screenshot of the typical problem users are getting when trying to access ITV from abroad using a VPN currently –
It doesn’t mention anything about proxies and VPNs, or similar error messages but it’s directly related to their use. I’ve tested a range of VPNs which normally are very reliable with accessing ITV Hub from abroad and they’re all having this issue. It seems that ITV are running some sort of purge on viewers from abroad. I’m not sure why? It could be political or economic and possibly related to the expansion of their new commercial collaboration with the BBC – Britbox.
The block doesn’t seem anything to do with your computer, or it’s regional settings as I’ve tested this. It does appear to be directly related to the Virtual Private Network or more specifically the I address that it’s using. This is the common method for media sites to block access to remote users. It’s almost impossible to detect the VPN directly, as long as it’s set up correctly however they can use the IP address itself.
Why Your VPN May Have Stopped Working with ITV Hub Abroad
The usual methods are either to check for too many concurrent connections or the classification of the IP addresses itself.
Detecting Concurrent Connections from your VPN
Mostly we expect to see only one or two connections from each individual IP address. An IP address is unique on the internet, so you’d think it would be one user per each address. In practice this doesn’t happen, mainly because many people connect through coffee shops, shared WiFi, central routers in apartment blocks and so on. All these situations would make multiple users share the same unique IP address.
However it’s often a matter of scale, although a few users could share an IP address it wouldn’t be an enormous number. Potentially thousands of users could be sharing the same IP address of a popular VPN service particularly if they’re using one to access a specific site like the BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub.
Most of the larger VPNs with lots of servers tend to try and monitor this and rotate the IP addresses as much as possible. I’m hoping this is the current issue as my favorite NordVPN should be able to solve this quite easily as they have the largest infrastructure of any VPN provider.
IP Address Classification
This is the other option as to why your VPN may not be working currently with ITV Hub/Player at the moment. This is actually much harder to solve and I’m hoping that it’s not the case in this situation!
Basically any IP address as well as a location is also classified by type. You have addresses registered for a variety of uses such commercial, educational, residential and even military. It’s possible to look up these classifications and even block them automatically. Virtually all VPN services have commercial IP addresses registered to their servers.
A few years ago Netflix blocked access to all ‘commercially registered’ IP address and many e-commerce and media sites do the same. This means that your connection is essentially flagged as you connect if you’re using a VPN address. They can’t see who you are or where you’re really located – but they can block your IP address automatically.
It’s too early to say which of these anti-VPN measures are being taken. It may of course be something completely different too. ITV have in the past put some quite stringent measures including checking your computer localisation settings. It doesn’t seem to be anything computer related this time though.
Our favorite (and best value) VPN service – NordVPN is still working with all the other UK TV channels online but not alas with ITV Hub currently. We’re optimistic this will change very soon as their IT experts are working on it at the moment. Until then enjoy all the other UK channels that are still fine, I can recommend Ray Mear’s wonderful – How the West was Won on BBC iPlayer at the moment