14 votes

Has anyone else noticed an inceased number of sites and apps that won't work over a VPN?

Tags: ask.help, vpns

I feel like every day now I need to temporarily disable Mullvad to log into or even load a website. I remember being able to leave it on and forget about it a few years ago.

12 comments

  1. pallas
    (edited )
    Link
    I use a wireguard tunnel to an own-ASN IP block essentially all the time on all my devices, which is about the least anonymous configuration possible, and Mullvad through this at times. Mullvad...

    I use a wireguard tunnel to an own-ASN IP block essentially all the time on all my devices, which is about the least anonymous configuration possible, and Mullvad through this at times.

    Mullvad does have problems at times, like most semi-anonymous VPNs, but I haven't noticed it being better or worse. On my own IP blocks, I mostly don't have any problems, with some occasional and frustrating exceptions.

    What's particularly frustrating for me, however, is that it does seem like sites are becoming less honest about their handling of IP-based mechanisms, and that the mechanisms in many cases are not direct and acknowledged blocks, but more the frustrating impediments that one sees in China: ever-changing impediments to using the service behind a VPN, taking a number of forms, which may let you use the service at times, but will make the process frustrating and unreliable. The direct clarity of Wikipedia is rare: it has a prominent notice that editing with a semi-anonymous VPN isn't normally allowed, clear contact processes if you think you've been miscategorized, an explanation of their policies and motivations, and a process for asking for permission to edit with a VPN.

    Many sites will simply say that there's been an unknown error, or will have insecure email/SMS 2FA that won't work (eg, they won't actually send the codes). Others will allow logins, but repeatedly have CAPTCHAs, even when they know it's an authorized browser session (eg, Namecheap, which I'm moving my domains away from as a result). Etsy will apparently allow you to log in some number of times, then completely ban your account.

    The worst case, for me, was trying to log in to eBay after some time, on my IPs, not Mullvad. These were clean IPs, so non-anonymous that a whois lookup will link them directly to my name and a valid full address.

    1. The login page would accept my username and password, then send a 2FA code to my email. Entering that code would result in an "unknown error", and ask me to contact support, who I'm sure would insist they had no idea what was happening.
    2. Turning off the tunnel for a moment, the same code would be accepted. I'd then be fine, except...
    3. When logged in, through the tunnel, trying to change any user setting would result in an unknown error.
    4. In all of this, essentially any action while logged in on the tunnel would result in eBay repeatedly resetting the account's password, and emailing me saying that I'd need to change the password because the account had been compromised.
    5. Oddly, installing their app on my phone and logging in there, despite being on the same IPs and having all location permissions blocked, both works and stopped all of the above from happening on my browser.
    14 votes
  2. [3]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Nope... but that could also be because I pay for two dedicated IP addresses (UK + US) on my VPN (TorGuard). And those don't tend to get blacklisted, even on streaming sites known to routinely...

    Nope... but that could also be because I pay for two dedicated IP addresses (UK + US) on my VPN (TorGuard). And those don't tend to get blacklisted, even on streaming sites known to routinely block VPNs, since they're basically indistinguishable from normal home IPs... unlike most other VPNs which use shared IPs that are easier for sites/services to detect and then block.

    p.s. I also don't get issues with recurring CAPTCHAs and Cloudflare DDOS protection triggering on sites anymore either, unlike when I used my previous VPNs that had shared IPs.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      meff
      Link Parent
      How does this work? Does TorGuard have an allocation of generally residential IP blocks or are they just careful about keeping their IP reputation clean?

      How does this work? Does TorGuard have an allocation of generally residential IP blocks or are they just careful about keeping their IP reputation clean?

      1 vote
  3. [3]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    Also using Mullvad and yeah, a few websites I use frequently have, over the past few months, started blocking the IP addresses related to the service's WireGuard servers. The most annoying one for...

    Also using Mullvad and yeah, a few websites I use frequently have, over the past few months, started blocking the IP addresses related to the service's WireGuard servers.

    The most annoying one for me is HEB, where I typically order groceries from every week.

    Thankfully, Mullvad has a Firefox extension that allows you to use their proxy service in addition to the regular VPN. HEB blocks the VPN IP addresses, but not all the proxy addresses, so now I place curbside pickup orders at an HEB in Texas from a computer in Vienna 🤷

    Honestly though, unless you are using your VPN for less-than-legal things or specifically need a commercial offering, it might just be better to run a personal VPN using a VPS, if you're comfortable setting up that sort of thing. (Plus, something like Algo can make the process a lot easier)

    Running a personal VPN with a dedicated IP address has been, in my experience, the best way to avoid IP blocking (which is utterly dumb and pointless but whatever) and CAPTCHA hell (which is equally utterly dumb and pointless but again, whatever)

    4 votes
    1. Weldawadyathink
      Link Parent
      If anyone in this thread is going to go for the vps route, check out oracle cloud. They have an extensive always free tier that should be more than enough for a vpn. You can have 2 arm servers and...

      If anyone in this thread is going to go for the vps route, check out oracle cloud. They have an extensive always free tier that should be more than enough for a vpn. You can have 2 arm servers and 1 amd x86 server, each with a dedicated ipv4 address and some insane bandwidth. You don’t even have to put in a credit card like you do with some other “free” services.

      4 votes
    2. Protected
      Link Parent
      I've recently experienced whole ASN blocking targeting common VPS providers, so that might soon be a problem for you too (Cloudflare's firewall has that feature).

      I've recently experienced whole ASN blocking targeting common VPS providers, so that might soon be a problem for you too (Cloudflare's firewall has that feature).

      2 votes
  4. kwyjibo
    Link
    I am also using Mullvad and I have not encountered any issues. Although I did have to solve a captcha for a Google search the other day. It just happened once, but it happens rare enough that when...

    I am also using Mullvad and I have not encountered any issues. Although I did have to solve a captcha for a Google search the other day. It just happened once, but it happens rare enough that when it does, you notice it. This used to be a more frequent problem with Mullvad, where once your IP address made it into a list, you'd have to solve captchas for days on end but I guess they found a way to rectify the issue as much as they can.

    Having said all that, websites/services are also getting smarter about blocking access to VPN users. An IP address is not the only way they can detect whether or not a user is connecting via VPN. Your problem might be just that. I'd suggest trying to access whatever website/service you're having issues with on another device using Mullvad to see if it works.

    PS: Probably irrelevant but I'm using their diskless servers, which are currently in beta.

    4 votes
  5. Wolf
    Link
    Also using Mullvad but I haven't had any trouble. To be fair, my internet usage mostly consists of visiting forums and such, so not a very diverse sample. The only time I had to turn VPN off was...

    Also using Mullvad but I haven't had any trouble. To be fair, my internet usage mostly consists of visiting forums and such, so not a very diverse sample. The only time I had to turn VPN off was when I made my new Steam account. I could use the VPN after creating the account though.

    3 votes
  6. kfwyre
    Link
    I use Mozilla (Mullvad) VPN. I definitely get captchas more often with my VPN on. It used to be rampant but something must have changed, as I don't see them as often as I used to (or maybe I've...

    I use Mozilla (Mullvad) VPN. I definitely get captchas more often with my VPN on. It used to be rampant but something must have changed, as I don't see them as often as I used to (or maybe I've just gotten used to them?).

    As for specific sites:

    Imgur is currently broken for me, and that's a recent thing (noticed it maybe a week ago?).

    Kobo and Etsy have never worked on it for me. They seem to flat out block all Mullvad's IPs (or at least the US-based ones -- I always keep myself set to those).

    Humble Bundle is hit or miss for me. Sometimes it works fine, sometimes it loads but suspiciously slowly, and sometimes if I order with the VPN on I'll get a notification that it's under review and has to be manually cleared, which makes sense as a lot of people try to switch locations to abuse regional pricing.

    I've just gotten used to toggling it on and off when I run into issues. I figure 98% uptime for it is still way better than nothing?

    2 votes
  7. meff
    Link
    Unfortunately as IPv4 space continues to become more crowded, this is inevitable. I'm not sure of any Mullvad issues specifically but the more competition there is for addresses, the more likely...

    Unfortunately as IPv4 space continues to become more crowded, this is inevitable. I'm not sure of any Mullvad issues specifically but the more competition there is for addresses, the more likely that a bad actor has at a given point in time used an IPv4 address for blockable reasons.

    2 votes
  8. cloud_loud
    Link
    Last year I was able to watch the BAFTAs on BBCiPlayer thanks to my VPN. Just yesterday I tried watching an episode of Graham Norton on there and it wouldn’t let me since I had a VPN on. Last year...

    Last year I was able to watch the BAFTAs on BBCiPlayer thanks to my VPN. Just yesterday I tried watching an episode of Graham Norton on there and it wouldn’t let me since I had a VPN on.

    Last year I was using Surfshark and this year I have Mullvad. I think even when I first got a VPN in late-2020 I was able to watch Netflix and other things, and that stopped happening in late 2021.

    1 vote