RTE Player not working with VPN 1

It can be frustrating when RTE Player suddenly stops working with your VPN. This could happen due to multiple reasons. Maybe RTE Player is getting conflicting location information from some old cookies, or, worst-case scenario: the streaming platform has successfully identified and blocked the IP address that your VPN has provided you.

Whatever the issue may be, this article will go through each issue and how to fix them so that RTE Player starts working with a VPN.

Note from the author: “I moved to New Zealand (my wife is a Kiwi) in 2017. Since then, I’ve been using VPNs pretty much every day to get my fix of content from back home.

I pay for both ExpressVPN and NordVPN and share my VPN logins with friends and family. I rate both of these VPNs very highly (I’ve tried them all). If you have any questions, reach out via the Comments section below or get in touch via the links in my author bio.”

To get RTE Player to start working with a VPN again, follow these steps in order. However, I recommend you read through the rest of the article to understand why the streaming platform stopped working in the first place.

How to fix RTE Player not working with VPN

Total Time: 5 minutes

  1. Delete Cookies

    Delete Cookies

    Cookies are small pieces of information that are stored on your device that act as shortcuts for websites and browsers to load pages faster. They’re harmless, but if you’re using a VPN to watch RTE Player, some of your cookies might be causing conflicts when trying to stream Irish TV.

    Deleting your cookies is easy, and it removes this plausible scenario for RTE Player not working with your VPN.

    To do this, you have to dig into your Browser’s settings. On Mac and Safari, it’s easy – just click File > Clear History. Likewise on Chrome, just click the Hamburger Menu > Settings > Type “Cookies” in the search box.

  2. Connect to a different server in Ireland

    Connect to a different VPN server in Ireland

    The next easy thing you should try is connecting to a different server in Ireland. This should be as simple as typing Ireland into your VPN and selecting another available server.

    Note that some VPNs only give you the option of clicking on a single option for Ireland – in this scenario, just click on the Ireland server again (wholly connected), and it should change the server for you. Keep an eye on the server number (at the top) to make sure you’re on a new server.

    If you’re really struggling here, I suggest going to your VPN’s website and selecting the Live Chat option. Ask them specifically for an “Ireland server number that works with RTE Player”. If your VPN isn’t blocked by RTE Player, they should be able to fix the problem in minutes.

  3. Change VPN Protocols

    Change VPN Protocols

    Changing VPN protocols can help unblock streaming services because different protocols have varied detectability, performance levels, and traffic routing methods. Some protocols are less likely to be detected by streaming services, offer faster connections suitable for streaming, or use different data routes that bypass restrictions. This variability in detection, speed, and routing makes certain protocols more effective at evading blocks set by streaming services.

  4. Set your device’s Time and Date to match Ireland’s

    Set your device's Time and Date to match Ireland's

    On some devices, your automatic Date and Time settings might be the issue. Go into your device’s settings and manually select Ireland, Dublin as your Date and Time.

  5. Upgrade your VPN

    Upgrade your VPN

    If the four steps above don’t work, you’ve run out of immediate options. It means RTE Player has blacklisted/blocked your VPN’s current range of Irish IP Addresses.

    You have two options. You can either wait/hope your VPN provider recycles its range of IP addresses quickly, though from my experience this can take months to actually happen. Or you can upgrade your VPN – I recommend NordVPN ($3.19/month).

    Note: Broadcasters, like RTE, are able to detect servers that belong to VPNs when too many connections (and accounts) connect via the same IP address. The best VPNs avoid this trap by regularly updating their servers and limiting the number of users they distribute to each IP address.

  6. Watch RTE Player with a VPN again!

    Watch RTE Player with a VPN again

    If you’ve got a good VPN, you should be able to watch RTE Player all-year round.

Why does RTE Player block VPNs?

RTE Player is an Irish streaming platform that is only available to customers in Ireland. Simply put, it only has rights to broadcast its content in Ireland.

You can still watch shows on RTE Player’s ‘Home’ tab as these shows have international broadcasting rights. The issue arises when you try to watch the ‘Live’ or ‘Box Set’ tabs. These tabs have content that only has exclusive broadcasting rights to Ireland.

RTE Player will still be subject to copyright claims and licensing issues if a customer outside Ireland accesses their exclusive broadcasting rights content. Be it with a VPN or otherwise.

To prevent these issues, RTE Player tries to prevent VPNs from accessing their services.

How does RTE Player block VPNs?

RTE Player, like many streaming services, employs several strategies to block VPNs:

  1. IP Address Blacklisting: RTE Player may maintain a list of known VPN IP addresses. When a user connects through a VPN, their IP address can be recognized from this list and blocked.
  2. Traffic Pattern Analysis: The service can analyze internet traffic patterns to identify VPN usage. VPNs often have distinctive data flow characteristics, which can be detected by sophisticated monitoring tools.
  3. DNS Leak Detection: If your device uses a DNS server outside of Ireland (where RTE Player is based), despite connecting to an Irish VPN server, this can be a sign of VPN usage. RTE Player might use such DNS inconsistencies to identify and block VPN users.
  4. Port and Protocol Monitoring: Some VPN protocols use specific ports and communication patterns. By monitoring for these, RTE Player could identify and block VPN traffic.
  5. WebRTC Leak Testing: WebRTC leaks can reveal your actual IP address even when using a VPN. If RTE Player checks for such leaks, it could block users whose real IP addresses are exposed.
  6. Region-Specific Content Licensing Agreements: RTE Player must comply with content licensing agreements which often restrict viewership to specific regions (like Ireland). To enforce these agreements, they actively work to identify and block VPNs.

Each of these methods contributes to RTE Player’s ability to detect and block VPNs, ensuring that their content is only accessible from within the permitted geographic regions.

Do VPNs still work with RTE Player?

VPNs that work with RTE Player are the ones that have the means to get around RTE Player’s blocking techniques.

VPNs with limited servers in Ireland and just a handful of IP addresses are at a disadvantage because eventually, all the available IP addresses will be identified and blocked by RTE Player. This is probably what happened to your VPN.

You can wait for your VPN to release fresh IP addresses which are yet to be identified by RTE Player but, the fact that you’re running into this issue means it doesn’t have the means to get around RTE Player’s blocks. The new IP addresses will inevitably get blocked too.

As mentioned earlier, high-end streaming VPNs like NordVPN ($3.19/month) and ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) have a reliable way to circumvent this problem due to the availability of multiple Irish servers and a large number of undetected IP addresses.

Using a reliable VPN will ensure that you can watch your favourite content on RTE Player from anywhere in the world.

Best VPNs to watch RTE Player

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 review

Streaming: NordVPN is highly effective for bypassing geo-restrictions on streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. 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.

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 review

Streaming: ExpressVPN excels in unblocking geo-restricted content and works seamlessly with streaming services, even in countries where VPNs are banned. It consistently performed well in tests with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO Max.

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.

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.

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3. 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 review

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 unblock major streaming services, but it may encounter buffering issues during peak streaming periods.

Servers: PureVPN offers a wide range of servers around the world. Although specific numbers are not provided, PureVPN’s server offerings are robust, allowing users to access various international content.

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.

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4. 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
Private Internet Access review

Streaming: Private Internet Access works well with streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max, 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.

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.

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5. 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 review

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.

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.

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.

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6. CyberGhost

Affordable and secure VPN with extensive server coverage

  • Features NoSpy servers, a Killswitch, and split tunnelling
  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Over 9,000 servers in 91 countries
  • Independent audit confirms no-logs policy
  • 7-device coverage
  • Not optimal for streaming due to speed issues
  • Majority of servers are virtual
  • Lacks a proprietary protocol
CyberGhost review

Streaming: CyberGhost allows access to popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. However, users may face slow speeds, leading to buffering and resolution issues, which can be a significant downside for streaming.

Servers: CyberGhost boasts over 9,000 servers in 91 countries, offering a robust server network. However, it’s notable that 54% of these servers are virtual, a factor that can affect performance and reliability.

Privacy: CyberGhost has a no-logs policy that has been independently audited by Deloitte, ensuring user privacy and security. This audit confirms that CyberGhost does not keep records of users’ online activities while using the VPN.

Price: CyberGhost offers three payment options: a 1-month subscription at $12.99/month, a 6-month subscription at $6.99/month, and a 2-year subscription at $2.19/month, which includes an extra two months for free.

Speeds: Speed tests conducted in New Zealand showed significant drops in both download and upload speeds across various servers when using CyberGhost, indicating a performance issue in terms of speed.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)930516
CyberGhost US server192.292.63
CyberGhost UK server139.191.90
CyberGhost Vietnam server232.244.32

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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Ivacy VPN

A straightforward and affordable VPN, ideal for beginners

  • Great price
  • $1/month 5-year deal
  • Subscription includes password manager
  • Streaming service specific IP addresses
  • Secure VPN service
  • Slower speeds
  • No 3rd Party audits
  • Low number of country server locations
  • Not many addons
Ivacy VPN review

Streaming: Ivacy VPN offers reliable access to major streaming services like US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and MAX. However, it’s slower than competitors such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN, which might be a drawback for users seeking the fastest streaming experience.

Servers: Ivacy has a global network of 6,500 servers, but it only covers 62 countries. This is below the average of 73 countries for top VPNs. Additionally, it wasn’t very open about the distribution between its physical and virtual servers.

Privacy: Ivacy maintains a strict no-logs policy, ensuring that your online activities are not recorded or monitored. However, unlike ExpressVPN, Ivacy’s audits are not readily available to the public, making it less transparent in comparison.

Price: Ivacy has three payment options: a 1-month plan costing $9.95/month, a 12-month plan at $3.99/month, and a 5-year plan at $1.00/month. It accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, Coingate, BitPay, and various other payment systems.

Speeds: Ivacy’s speed performance showed a noticeable reduction in download and upload speeds when connected to its servers. From the tests, there was a significant speed drop when using Ivacy’s virtual server for India, impacting streaming and web browsing.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)939.78519.86
Ivacy US server445.205.65
Ivacy UK server693.293.53

Read our full Ivacy VPN review.

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Is watching RTE Player with a VPN legal?

Yes, watching RTE Player with a VPN is perfectly legal, so long as you’re in a country where VPNs are legal. If you’re in China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, North Korea, Iraq, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Eritrea, Seychelles, Suriname, Namibia, Slovenia, Nicaragua or Tajikistan, VPNs are heavily restricted or in some cases outright banned and we do not advise using a VPN to watch RTE Player in these locations.

Fortunately, if you aren’t in one of these countries then using RTE Player with a VPN is legal. If we look at the streaming services’ terms of use, we can see that there aren’t any restrictions on using a VPN with RTE Player.

The only entry we can see is “Please note that the use of VPN or any software that intercepts or blocks network traffic may restrict your ability to watch content.”

What this means is using a VPN to watch RTE Player is perfectly legal; however, the streaming service may try and block VPNs from accessing the platform.

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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