ESPN+ not working with VPN

ESPN+ has started blocking VPNs. If you’re seeing the error “this content cannot be accessed outside of the US” your VPN no longer is beating ESPN’s VPN-blocking techniques.

The good news is there’s a few things you can do to start watch ESPN+ via a VPN again.

This article will explain how you can fix ESPN+ not working with VPN so you can get back to watching your favourite content again.

ESPN+ not working with VPN: Guide

Total Time: 5 minutes

  1. Check if your VPN works on another device

    ESPN+ not working with VPN

    This is the easiest thing you can do to figure out what you need to do next. If you VPN works with ESPN+ on your smartphone, but not your computer, then you know your VPN isn’t the problem. If your VPN does work on one device, jump to Step 3 below.

  2. Contact your VPNs live chat service

    ESPN+ not working with VPN

    This is another easy one. Cycle through your VPN’s available servers. If you only have a few options available to you, go to your VPN’s website and find the Live Chat feature (if they have one) and ask for a specific server number that works with ESPN+.

    This is the single most effective way to diagnose if your VPN is the problem or not. If they can’t point you towards a server that works with ESPN+ then you know, without doubt, that the VPN is the problem.

  3. Delete your cookies

    ESPN+ not working with VPN

    Deleting your cookies can potentially fix VPN issues. Accumulated or corrupted cookies in a browser might interfere with the way websites and online services function, especially when using a VPN. Clearing these cookies removes any old or problematic data, thereby ensuring a cleaner slate for your VPN connection to operate. This can help in establishing a more stable connection and resolving conflicts between the VPN and certain web services like ESPN+.

  4. Connect to a different US server

    ESPN+ not working with VPN

    If your VPN has suddenly stopped working with ESPN+, it might be because the IP address your VPN has given you has been identified and blocked by the streaming service.

    Changing to a different US server will give you a different US IP address, and if that one hasn’t been blocked, your VPN will work with ESPN+ again.

  5. Reinstall or update your VPN

    ESPN+ not working with VPN

    Think of this as the classic “turn it on and off again” tactic. Removing your VPN, and its settings, from your device and starting again is a good way to get the most up-to-date settings configured on your devices without much effort. If you don’t want to reinstall the software, you can always check to see if there’s an update available to download any fixes your service may have introduced.

  6. Switch VPN protocols

    ESPN+ not working with VPN

    VPN protocols are the beating heart of a VPN. They determine how the VPN works. When you use a VPN the protocol is responsible for hiding your data and rerouting it via VPN servers.

    If ESPN+ isn’t working with your VPN, it might be because the protocol you’re using is no longer working with the service.

    If your VPN allows it, try changing to a different protocol to see if that fixes the issue. Take a look at our VPN protocols article to discover more about which technology might be best for you.

  7. Upgrade your VPN

    ESPN+ not working with VPN

    If all of the above fails, you should consider upgrading to a high-end VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) or NordVPN ($3.79/month) for ESPN+.

    For more information, check out our VPN list below to see which VPN suits your needs and budget.

How does ESPN+ block my VPN?

ESPN isn’t unique in blocking VPNs. Nor is the methodology it uses to detect a VPN.

Whenever you connect to the internet, you use an IP address. These IP addresses are similar to landline phone numbers; they contain information detailing where you are connecting to the internet and send this information to the website/app you are connecting to, in this case, ESPN+.

ESPN+ can scan these IP addresses and figure out where you are connecting from. This isn’t usually a problem when using a VPN as they can provide you with access to US IP with relative ease. The problem is low-end VPNs often have more customers than they do servers (IPs). This creates a situation where multiple users are all connecting to ESPN+ via the same IP addres (internet connection).

When ESPN+ notices hundreds or even thousands of connections coming from the same IP address, it knows it is a VPN – as a regular IP usually represents a household or office where you have only a handful of people using the internet – and it blacklists the offending IP address. 

This is probably the reason why you can no longer stream ESPN+ with your VPN.

Why does ESPN+ block VPNs?

ESPN blocks all of its customers, including paying ESPN subscribers, from using VPNs for broadcasting rights reasons. 

Let’s use the NFL as an example. The NFL is sold to TV broadcasters all around the world. In the UK, the TV network Sky owns the rights to the NFL. 

Broadcasters such as ESPN and Sky, pay massive amounts for these broadcast rights and therefore, have to protect their borders to prevent viewers from watching the NFL outside of their broadcasting zones.

This can be pretty frustrating if you’re paying for ESPN+ and you want to watch it when you’re on holiday. However, there is a simple fix to this problem which you can view at the bottom of this article.

Does ESPN+ still work with a VPN?

Yes, it does. I consistently watch ESPN+ weekly from my home in New Zealand.

It’s essential to use a VPN that still works with ESPN+ Below you can see which VPNs currently work with ESPN+. These VPN providers can stay one step ahead of ESPN+’s checks by playing a game of cat and mouse with the streaming service

Whenever ESPN+ detects and blacklists an IP address, the best VPNs will close that IP address and open a new one that ESPN+ hasn’t blocked.

This means that there is always a working IP address for you to use when trying to stream ESPN+ outside of the US, and it allows you to watch its content wherever you are in the world reliably.

ExpressVPNNordVPNSurfsharkPureVPNPIA
ESPN+
Download Speed79 Mbps71 Mbps27 Mbps31 Mbps41 Mbps
Throttling79%71%27%31%41%
Stream quality⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Price per month$6.66$3.79$2.49$1.28$2.03

How to fix ESPN+ not working with your VPN.

The fix is pretty easy. You need to get a VPN that hasn’t been blacklisted by ESPN+.

This will get you initial access to ESPN+, but to consistently and reliably stream ESPN+ outside of the US, you need a VPN that plays cat and mouse with the streaming service. This will ensure that you don’t run into the “this content cannot be accessed outside of the US,” error again.

Below is a list of the best VPNs to stream ESPN+ outside of the US. All of these VPN providers work with ESPN+, and they all play that vital game of cat and mouse that is important for reliably streaming ESPN+ outside of the states.

The best VPNs for ESPN+

1. NordVPN 🥇

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

  • Affordable pricing
  • Effective streaming access
  • Diverse server types
  • Solid speeds
  • Useful add-ons
  • Strong security
  • Limited server locations
  • No virtual servers
NordVPN

Streaming: NordVPN is highly effective at getting around the VPN blocks imposed by ESPN+. Additionally, it has shown consistent success in connecting to various streaming services without noticeable issues.

Servers: NordVPN’s server network spans 60 countries. While this is below the average of 71 countries for the top 20 VPNs, its commitment to physical servers ensures faster and more reliable connections. It also boasts just under 2,000 servers based in the US alone, so there will always be one for you to connect to when trying to watch ESPN+.

Privacy: NordVPN’s secure connection and no-logs policy have been verified via three independent audits, including one by Deloitte. The audits have confirmed NordVPN’s adherence to its no-logs policy, ensuring user privacy.

Price: NordVPN offers three pricing plans: Complete, Plus, and Standard. The 2-year plan for the Standard package is priced at $3.19/month, the 1-year plan at $4.99/month, and the monthly plan at $12.99/month. It accepts major credit cards and various payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table showing the speeds tested for NordVPN. From our tests in New Zealand, NordVPN displayed very good speeds, although slightly behind ExpressVPN, but significantly faster than many other VPNs on the market.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73

Read our full NordVPN review.

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2. ExpressVPN 🥈

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • Physical servers in 104 countries
  • Brilliant for unblocking streaming services
  • Very high-speed Lightway protocol
  • Available on almost any device
  • Very secure
  • Pricey
  • Only 8 simultaneous devices
  • No addons
ExpressVPN

Streaming: ExpressVPN excels in unblocking geo-restricted content and works seamlessly with streaming services, even in countries where VPNs are banned. Throughout our tests, it consistently performed well with ESPN+.

Servers: ExpressVPN has a robust network with servers in 104 countries, significantly above the 71-country average. Less than 3% of these servers are virtual, ensuring a reliable and fast physical network. IT also has servers in over 24 locations in the US, so you won’t have any problems finding a US IP address when trying to watch ESPN+.

Privacy: ExpressVPN’s privacy measures include passing independent audits by cybersecurity firms like Cure53 and F-Secure, ensuring a strong level of security and no significant weaknesses in its macOS, Linux, and Windows apps. More details can be found in the audit reports available online.

Price: ExpressVPN offers three payment plans: a 1-month option at $12.95/month, a 6-month option at $9.99/month, and a 12-month option at $6.67/month. Payment methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other systems, accommodating a wide range of users.

Speeds: ExpressVPN maintains high download speeds with minimal drop-off, ensuring efficient performance. Tests showed a slight decrease in upload speeds, but download speeds remained fast across various server locations, including the US, UK, and Vietnam.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

3. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Robust security and privacy
  • 24/7 responsive chat support
  • Extensive server network in 100 countries
  • Has trouble with services like Hulu
  • Lacks a unique proprietary protocol
  • App can be overwhelming
  • Not the fastest among competitors
Surfshark

Streaming: Surfshark performs well with most streaming services but faces challenges with some, like Hulu. This could be a drawback for users who heavily rely on VPNs for streaming content from various regions. But most of the time, it works well with ESPN+.

Servers: Surfshark boasts a server network in 100 countries, which is well above the average and includes both physical and virtual servers, providing extensive geographic coverage. It has 3,200 servers in the US alone.

Privacy: Surfshark emphasizes its commitment to privacy with successful DNS leak tests and independent security audits by Cure53, ensuring robust online security and privacy. You can find more about their security audits here.

Price: Surfshark offers a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 12-month option at $3.99/month, and a 24-month option at $2.49/month. It accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance when using Surfshark. From our tests, we observed decent speeds, suitable for general use, but not the fastest compared to some rivals.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)940.55520.24
Surfshark US server775.96.15
Surfshark UK server587.793.79

Read our full Surfshark review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

4. PureVPN 🥉

A mid-range VPN that balances performance and price

  • Affordable
  • Unblocks major streaming services
  • Use on up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Streamlined user interface
  • No log audit verified by KPMG
  • Several free add-ons
  • Buffering on BBC iPlayer at peak times
  • Past concerns with “no log” policy
PureVPN

Streaming: PureVPN has shown improvement in its ability to unblock streaming services. While it initially struggled with BBC iPlayer, its performance improved during less busy times. PureVPN can get around ESPN+’s VPN blocks, but it may encounter buffering issues during peak streaming periods.

Servers: PureVPN offers a wide range of servers around the world. It has 1,880 servers based in the US, ideal for watching ESPN+ and a total of 6,500 servers worldwide.

Privacy: PureVPN has faced criticism in the past for its privacy policies. However, it has recently undergone a no-log audit verified by KPMG in the past 12 months, aiming to reassure users about its commitment to privacy.

Price: PureVPN offers three payment options: a 1-month plan at $10.95/month, a 1-year plan at $3.74/month, and a 2-year plan at $1.96/month. PureVPN accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and a variety of other digital payment options.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance you can expect when using PureVPN. The VPN has shown variable download speeds across different streaming servers, with some experiencing significant drop-offs during peak times.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN189.44139.82
PureVPN UK Server24.3198.99
PureVPN US Server49.83106.52

Read our full PureVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

5. Private Internet Access

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • Extra features like ad blocker and email protection
  • Verified no-log policy
  • Compatible with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu
  • High use of virtual servers
  • Not as fast as top-tier VPNs
  • Lacks proprietary protocol options
PIA

Streaming: Private Internet Access works well with streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and ESPN+, although it initially faced some difficulties with BBC iPlayer, which were resolved after some fixes.

Servers: PIA has over 35,000 servers in 84 countries, which is above the average of 71 countries. However, 50% of these servers are virtual, impacting reliability compared to VPNs with more physical servers. With that said it has servers in over 50 locations in the US, so there will always be an IP address for you when trying to watch ESPN+.

Privacy: PIA’s app is open-source, inviting third-party scrutiny and verification. It has also passed an independent no-log policy audit conducted by Deloitte, affirming its commitment to privacy.

Price: PIA offers three subscription options: 1-month at $11.95/month, 1-year at $3.33/month (upfront cost $39.95), and 3-year at $2.03/month (upfront fee $79). Payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and Amazon payments.

Speeds: Speed tests for PIA showed significant drops in download speeds across various servers. While using WireGuard protocol, speeds were faster than OpenVPN but still slower compared to top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN.

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off (New Zealand)930516
PIA US server238.527.17300.658.65
PIA UK server2453.77315.787.23
PIA Vietnam server4456.554898.24

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

ESPN+ not working with VPN: FAQs

Q: Why isn’t ESPN+ working when I use a VPN?

Answer: ESPN+ may not work with a VPN due to its geo-blocking technology, which detects and blocks VPN servers. When a VPN server’s IP address is identified as originating outside of the permitted viewing area, ESPN+ restricts access. To resolve this, try switching to a different VPN server that might not be on ESPN+’s block list.

Q: Can I bypass ESPN+ geo-restrictions using any VPN?

Answer: Not all VPNs can bypass the geo-restrictions of ESPN+. High-quality VPNs with advanced obfuscation methods are more likely to succeed. These VPNs constantly update their server IPs to avoid detection, enhancing your chances of accessing ESPN+ from a restricted region.

Q: What should I do if my VPN is suddenly blocked by ESPN+?

Answer: If ESPN+ blocks your VPN, first try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies, as these can store location information. If this doesn’t work, switch to another server on your VPN, preferably one in a different location. Contacting your VPN’s customer support can also provide server recommendations.

Q: How does ESPN+ detect and block VPN usage?

Answer: ESPN+ uses sophisticated technology to detect abnormal traffic patterns and known VPN IP addresses. It particularly looks for multiple connections from the same IP address, which is a common indicator of VPN use. Once it identifies these IPs, it adds them to a block list, preventing access to its content.

Q: Are there specific types of VPNs that work better with ESPN+?

Answer: VPNs with a large number of servers and those offering dedicated or residential IP addresses tend to work better with ESPN+. These VPNs make it more challenging for ESPN+ to detect and block them due to their ability to mimic a regular internet connection and frequently change server IPs.

Is watching ESPN+ with a VPN legal?

Yes, watching ESPN+ with a VPN is legal so long as you aren’t in a country where VPN’s are prohibited. These are China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, North Korea, Iraq, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Eritrea, Seychelles, Suriname, Namibia, Slovenia, Nicaragua and Tajikistan.

With that said, it’s important to know that using a VPN to stream ESPN+ outside the US, goes against the streaming services’ terms of use.

This means ESPN+ has the right to block or ban your account if you use a VPN to access its content.

However, given the wide-spread use of VPNs, plus the many legitimate and legal use cases for VPNs, it’s fair to suggest that banning customers for using a VPN would be an extremely costly policy for ESPN+ to enforce.

In theory, if you’re trying to watch ESPN+ in a region where it does not traditionally operate, you risk having your account banned. However, as the best VPNs for ESPN+ use military-grade encryption, it’s impossible for streaming services like ESPN+ to trace where you’re physically accessing its content from.

There’s one final thing to note on the subject: ESPN+ has never banned anyone for using a VPN to access its service.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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