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Unable to load M3U8; Cross-domain access denied– how to fix?

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You’ll see the M3U8 file format in one of the stream references, which provides easy access to a particular stream. M3U stands for Uniform Resource Locator level 3 of a group of moving image experts (that’s quite a lot) and is a computer file format for a multimedia playlist.

When trying to play an M3U8 file, some users report an error in which they receive an error message that says I can’t load M3U8. Here I will explain why you can get this error and how you can fix it.

What is the M3U8 File Format?

As mentioned earlier, M3U8 is a UTF-8 encoded playlist file. It is used to create and send playlist files over the Internet. Typically, it is used to create a single-entry playlist file that points to a stream on the Internet. An M3U8 file is a simple text file that specifies the location of one or more multimedia files.

The generated file is used to direct applications to play streams over the Internet. However, it is known that these playlists are the cause of many vulnerabilities in music player applications such as VLC, iTunes, etc.

Why can’t I play the M3U8 file?

When you receive a .m3u8 file, you need to open it in a music player or a web browser. Most users prefer to use web browsers over dedicated apps for various reasons. However, sometimes they are met with an error that says: Unable to load M3U8Cross-domain access is denied/ 404 not found / No levels for the game.

There are many reasons why you will not play the specified file. Some of these include:

  1. Disabled flash is one of the most common reasons why users get this error.
  2. Some users also report that disabling third-party cookies has blocked the device from playing M3U8 files.
  3. M3U8 Cross-domain access denied is known to be caused by an active file blocking firewall. The firewall blocks certain files that may be geo-blocked or considered harmful, and you get this error,
  4. Ad blockers are also known to be caused by this error being the activation of paid access to certain links, which can prevent sites from loading content.
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How to Resolve Unable to Load M3U8 Error?

Now that you know why you might get this error, you can use it and start fixing the M3U8 error.

Solution 1. Enable through the firewall

If you get unable to download M3U8, access denied from multiple domains is possible because the application is not allowed through the firewall. If you need access to the stream, try disabling the firewall for video access.

For third-party premium antivirus programs, turn off the screens while watching the broadcast. If you are using Windows Firewall, follow these steps:

  1. In Windows Search, type Firewall.
  2. Find and tap Allow an app through Windows Firewall.
  3. Find the app you’re using to stream the file. Make sure it’s enabled through public and private firewalls.
  4. If it is not, click on the Change Settings button at the top.
  5. Select the check boxes next to the app on private and public networks.
  6. Close control panel and start the app over.

Solution 2. Allow cookies

Due to privacy concerns, third-party cookies are blocked in many browsers, and they are not allowed to save data on computers. This is one of the most common reasons you can’t download M3U8 videos on your device. You need to enable your browser or app to store third-party cookies on your device.

In Google Chrome

  1. open Google Chrome on your device.
  2. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner.
  3. Click on settings from the context menu.
  4. Scroll down and click Advanced.
  5. Click on Site Settings.
  6. Find and click on Cookies under the site settings.
  7. Make sure that the toggle next to ‘Block third-party cookies‘ is turned to Off.
  8. Start over your browser
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In Microsoft Edge

  1. Microsoft Edge is open on your device.
  2. Click on the three horizontal dots in the upper right corner.
  3. Click on settings from the context menu.
  4. Select Privacy Security from the next panel.
  5. Under Cookies, select “Do not block cookies” from the drop-down menu.
  6. Start over your browser

Allowing third-party cookies allows you to store streaming data on your device and exclude the M3U8 Cross-Domain Access Denied error.

If you’re still encountering the bug, here are a few more fixes that can help you resolve the M3U8 error.

Solution 3. Enable Flash for your website

M3U8 videos sometimes require Flash to play specific content on their devices. Flash players are gradually discontinued, Flash is disabled by default in many browsers. It would be best if you allowed Flash in Google Chrome so that the website can play videos on your device.

  1. open Google Chrome on your device.
  2. Click on the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner.
  3. Click on settings from the context menu.
  4. Scroll down and click Advanced.
  5. Under the Privacy & Security section, click on Site Settings.
  6. Under the Permissions section, click on Flash.
  7. If your site is already blocked from playing Flash content, click the trash can icon next to the site name to remove the Flash content block on your site.
  8. If you don’t want to block Flash content on your site, turn off the switch to Block Flash content.

This should allow Flash content to be played on your device, and the M3U8 error should be fixed.

Solution 4. Remove ad blockers

The AdBlocker extension installed in your browser can block viewing your favorite media files by blocking the streaming video playlist file.

Some websites have a protocol installed on their web page that prohibits data playback unless all advertisements are loaded completely. This can be seen on many websites that depend on survival revenue.

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If AdBlock is installed in your browser, AdBlock will start the paywall protocol, and you will get the Cross-Domain Access Denied error. This will hinder your media consumption. If you know of another source with the same video you are trying to upload, you can view the video from there. If not, you’ll need to disable all the adblockers your browser has to download this video.

For example: if you use AdBlock Plus in Google Chrome,

  1. Navigate to a site that does not play the desired media content.
  2. Tap the hamburger menu icon in the top right corner.
  3. Click on the AdBlock icon in the Settings context menu.
  4. You’ll see that the power button is blue, which means AdBlock Plus is turned on. Press the power button and the extension will be disabled for the website you are on.

Now try. If you can monitor the stream, you can confirm that an AdBlock issue caused the problem.

Solution 5. Delete browsing data

A cache is data stored on your device by various websites to download data from them faster the next time a website loads. However, sometimes mismatched cache data can cause all sorts of errors, which is one of them. To resolve your can’t download M3U8 error; Clear all browsing data such as cookies and cached images and files.

Press Ctrl + Shift + Delete in a new tab to clear Google Chrome data to open the Clear Browsing Data dialog box. Here, select All Time from the Time range drop-down menu. Then select Clear Data.

Note: This shortcut also works in many other browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge.

Final Words

So you have that. Now you know how to resolve the ‘Can’t Load M3U8‘ error message using one or a combination of solutions presented here. Let us know in the comments how you resolved this error on your device.


Shubham is a prolific writer who has contributed many detailed tutorials for A tech enthusiast and avid Apple fan, Shubham has shared his knowledgeable work with other many popular tech sites like Business Magazine, Thrive Global etc.

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