VPN sometimes not functional when it would be most useful?
July 7, 2019 6:37 AM   Subscribe

I have come across occasional websites that just don't work with a VPN. Mostly these have been sites where privacy protection is useful, esp if I want to access them from a public wifi. Examples: Experian, health insurance, donations via charity navigator. I know it's due to the VPN because I get an error when I have the VPN on but if I turn off the VPN - lo and behold, the site will work.

I presume this is because the sites think my via-VPN connection is suspicious or potentially nefarious. I also often have to go through extra catchpas when on the VPN and while I don't really like that, I understand it and can accept it. But it seems unreasonable for the site to just not work at all if I have a VPN. Why do they do this and more importantly is there any way around it?

I use Nord and my devices are a MacBook pro and an iPhone , if it matters. I am in the US and my VPN "node" (not sure the correct word - I mean the country I tell Nord to connect to) is also generally in the US. If I travel I usually will connect to a US "node" if trying to access one of these sites since I have sometimes had troubles if going through a non-US "node."

(Oddly, though probably not related, Amazon sometimes blocks US Nord but apparently the solution to this is to login via a Canadian "node" and I have found that usually works.)
posted by 2 cats in the yard to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
People use VPNs for protection, but they also use them to try to hide when they're doing things they shouldn't. This article pretty much sums it up. "The most legitimate reason why a website would block VPN access is to mitigate unlawful or annoying behavior."
posted by jzb at 6:43 AM on July 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, as I figured as to the reasons. That article does give some suggestions for bypassing the blocks - thanks!
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 7:20 AM on July 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Why do they do this and more importantly is there any way around it?

If you have a high rate of fraud or attacks coming from them and the math on the cost/benefit of banning them entirely vs trying to deal with it skews to the left, it can make a lot of sense. Some of the big "we protect your website" companies also aggressively push things like VPN blocks at customers who may not actually need it and if a non-technical manager gets the right sales pitch, that can cause it too.
posted by Candleman at 8:45 AM on July 7, 2019

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