Well as of the beginning of 2021, 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. Some of the most popular like ExpressVPN are just not working well with ITV Hub at the moment,
Although for a short period it even seemed like even Nord VPN had stopped working with ITV Hub thankfully that’s not the case now. If you use the servers optimized for the BBC then you should be fine as they rotate the IP addresses regularly and ensure they’re not blocked. Any of the following should work fine – UK# 1840-1847, 1850-1863, 1865, 1869, 1873, 1875-1878, 1880-1881, 1900-1901, 1903-1904, 1911, 1913, 1917, 1919-1920. Stay away from the ‘autoconnect’ feature though, as these servers are the least likely to work with the BBC and ITV Hub and is why people have trouble using NordVPN for ITV.
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.
Read on for more details but if you’re getting fed up with ExpressVPN or any of the others not working with ITV for solutions that still work.
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 it’s a little intermittent 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
Update March 2021 – Although NordVPN seems to be working fine now – I’ve been testing a new solution called IPBurger solution and have several accounts. It initially worked wonderfully and indeed still does with ITV and all the other UK TV channels. However a couple of the IP addresses I’ve got with this solution have had issues with BBC iPlayer. What seems to happen is that they are assigned from an IP range already blocked from the BBC’s latest clampdown on VPNs. I’m not sure how long the block lasts but you should be aware of this. None of the other UK TV channels including ITV are affected, and you may be lucky and get an address that doesn’t have a problem with the BBC.