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ESPN+ not working with a VPN? 12 ways to fix it


ESPN+ is one of the biggest streaming platforms for live sports events. Although it offers access to thousands of events, it’s not available outside the US. Unsurprisingly, travelers and internet users outside the US often turn to VPNs to stream ESPN+, hoping they will unlock any geo-restrictions and help access the platform. However, many run into the problem of ESPN+ not working with a VPN.

First and foremost, note that not all VPNs work with ESPN+. For example, free VPNs are highly unlikely to unlock access to the platform because they do not have servers capable of obfuscating the fact you are using a VPN at all. This is important because ESPN+ is known to employ anti-VPN measures, which, of course, are no match for a handful of premium VPNs that can help bypass ESPN+ restrictions.

Here are the most popular VPNs that work with ESPN+ and a few that don’t.

VPNs that unblock ESPN+VPNs that don’t unblock ESPN+
NordVPN❌ Mullvad VPN
Surfshark❌ TunnelBear
Norton Secure VPN❌ Private Internet Access

Ultimately, you can stream ESPN+ from anywhere without restrictions with the help of a top-tier VPN that will have no trouble bypassing geo-blocks. We’ve tested 42 providers to find the best VPNs for ESPN+, and we’ve concluded that NordVPN is by far the most consistent at unblocking different streaming platforms, including ESPN+, without lag or buffering.

If ESPN+ is not working with a VPN we’ve recommended, check out 12 common reasons why that might be the case.

Why ESPN+ might not work with a VPN

While streaming ESPN+ through a VPN, you may hit roadblocks for several reasons. Primarily, it might be a case of choosing the wrong VPN. Not all VPNs possess the capability to bypass ESPN+ advanced geo-blocking technologies. Moreover, ESPN+ actively identifies and blocks VPNs, constantly updating its detection mechanisms. Consequently, a VPN that worked flawlessly yesterday might fail today.

Another factor is the VPN's server location. If the server is in a region where ESPN+ isn't available, it won't grant access. Also, the quality of the VPN's servers plays a crucial role. Overloaded or slow servers lead to buffering or connectivity issues, impacting your streaming experience.

Lastly, your device's settings or network issues might also contribute to the problem. Ensuring your VPN and ESPN+ apps are updated, and checking your internet connection can sometimes resolve these issues. Understanding these factors helps in troubleshooting and enjoying uninterrupted ESPN+ streaming.

Best VPNs that still work with ESPN+ in 2024

In 2024, not all VPNs are up to the task, but some still stand out for ESPN+ streaming. The following top VPNs consistently bypass ESPN restrictions with their robust networks, ensuring a smooth and accessible sports streaming experience.

12 fixes for ESPN+ not working with a VPN

The solution to your ESPN+ block might be simpler than you think. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of fixes based on Cybernews experts’ recommendations to help you stream ESPN+ with a VPN.

1. Update your VPN

Ensure your VPN is up-to-date. Developers frequently release updates to fix glitches and improve compatibility with streaming services like ESPN+​​.

2. Switch VPN servers

If you're encountering issues, try connecting to a different server. ESPN+ may have blacklisted certain IP addresses, so switching servers can provide you with a fresh IP that isn’t blocked. Besides, it’s possible that the current server is overcrowded or under maintenance, so changing the server location might just solve the issue.

NordVPN US servers choice

3. Contact VPN support

Reach out to your VPN’s support team. They can offer tailored advice, suggest optimal servers, or inform you of any ongoing technical issues​​.

4. Reset your VPN app and the streaming device

Sometimes, a simple reset can do wonders. Restart your device, and then open your VPN again. If this doesn't work, consider reinstalling your VPN​​.

5. Check internet connection

Sometimes, the problem might arise from issues with the internet connection. Disconnect and reconnect to your Wi-Fi network. If issues persist, restart your router.

6. Enable kill switch and DNS leak protection

Use tools like ipleak.net to check for any leaks that could reveal your real location. Make sure your VPN's security features, like a kill switch and DNS leak protection, are active to prevent data leaks and ensure a stable connection​​.

NordVPN kill switch feature on Windows

7. Flush DNS cache

A cluttered DNS cache can disrupt VPN connections. It stores recently accessed domain names and IP address mappings to speed up web browsing.

  1. For Windows, open Command Prompt as an administrator, type ipconfig/flushdns, and press Enter Flushing DNS via Command Prompt
  2. For macOS, open Terminal, type in sudo dscacheutil -flushcache; sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder​​, and press Enter (you might need to enter your password)

8. Clear browser cookies and cache

Cookies can reveal your true location. If you're using a web browser to access ESPN+, clearing your browser's cache and cookies can help solve the issue.

  • For Chrome, go to Settings > Privacy and security > Clear browsing data Clear browsing data
  • For Safari, navigate to Settings > Privacy > Manage Website Data​​​​

9. Check for ESPN+ app updates

Make sure you're using the latest version of the ESPN+ app. Sometimes, app updates can resolve compatibility issues.

10. Switch VPN protocols

Try switching between different VPN protocols within your VPN client. Some protocols might work better with ESPN+.

NordVPN tunneling protocols selection

11. Check firewall and antivirus settings

Your antivirus or firewall might be blocking VPN traffic. Temporarily disable your antivirus software and firewall and check if ESPN+ starts to work with a VPN. In the antivirus settings, you can add your VPN app to the “Allow list” for it to not be blocked again.

12. Upgrade to a reliable VPN

If all else fails, consider switching to a premium streaming VPN service known for its ESPN+ streaming capabilities. Our top-choice VPNs – NordVPN, Surfshark, and Norton Secure VPN – come with vast server fleets.

In fact, NordVPN and Surfshark both offer specialized servers for streaming to ensure smooth, buffer-free streams. They also employ advanced tunneling protocols (NordLynx and WireGuard) to guarantee fast speeds that further enhance your experience. Moreover, you get to enjoy obfuscation to ensure your VPN usage is concealed.

Try a VPN that works with ESPN+
Access thousands of exclusive live events on ESPN+ from anywhere with NordVPN. Use 1970+ NordVPN servers in the US to stream ESPN+ while traveling or to bypass blackouts across different states.
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How ESPN+ detects VPN usage

ESPN+ employs advanced methods to detect and block VPN usage. One key strategy is the analysis of IP addresses. VPNs assign shared IP addresses to multiple users, which can be a red flag for streaming services. When ESPN+ notices multiple connections from the same IP address, especially from regions where it's not available, it becomes suspicious of VPN use.

Another technique involves checking for DNS and IP leaks. These leaks can inadvertently expose your real location, signaling to ESPN+ that you’re using a VPN. ESPN+ also monitors for discrepancies between your IP location and your device's GPS data, another telltale sign of VPN use.

In addition, ESPN+ updates its VPN detection algorithms regularly, making it increasingly challenging for outdated or less sophisticated VPNs to bypass its geo-restrictions. This continual evolution in detection technology is why choosing a high-quality VPN is crucial for uninterrupted streaming.

Key considerations for an ESPN+ VPN

In the realm of VPN usage for ESPN+ streaming, several critical considerations stand out:

  • Speed and reliability. For live HD streaming, the speed of the VPN is paramount. A fast VPN ensures smooth and uninterrupted streaming of sports events without buffering​​.
  • Compatibility with ESPN+ and similar services. The VPN must work effectively with ESPN, ESPN+, and other similar streaming services. This compatibility is crucial to bypass geo-restrictions and enjoy a seamless viewing experience​​.
  • Security tools. The VPN should employ robust security measures to protect your online activity. This aspect is essential to ensure privacy and prevent any potential leaks that might reveal your true location​​.
  • Device support. Good VPNs offer apps for both mobile and desktop systems, providing flexibility in accessing ESPN+ across various devices​​.
  • Server availability. Having a wide range of US servers is important. This variety allows users to switch servers if one is not working or if it's blacklisted by ESPN+​​.
  • Avoiding free VPNs. Free VPNs often lack the necessary speed for streaming and may not effectively overcome geographical restrictions. Additionally, they can pose risks like malware, tracking cookies, and data mining. Premium VPNs are generally more reliable and secure​​.
  • Simple steps for VPN use. To watch ESPN+ with a VPN, one needs to sign up for a quality VPN, install its app, select a US server (avoiding ESPN blackout regions for specific teams), connect, and then start streaming ESPN+​​.

These considerations highlight the importance of selecting a high-quality, reliable VPN, such as NordVPN, for an optimal ESPN+ streaming experience.

Final thoughts

While VPN-related challenges with ESPN+ can be frustrating, they are often solvable with the right approach. The best way to fix these issues is by selecting a high-quality VPN, like NordVPN, that is fast, reliable, and specifically compatible with ESPN+ and similar services.

Remember to regularly update your VPN, clear cache and cookies, and try different servers if problems arise. Opting for a premium VPN over a free one can significantly enhance your streaming experience, ensuring both security and uninterrupted access to your favorite sports content on ESPN+.

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