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How To Fix Showbox ‘cannot play video’ and ‘server not available’ on Android

Posted by Robert Hayes on August 16, 2019

Showbox, despite being banished from the official Google Play store, remains one of the most popular apps on Android smartphones and tablets. Some streaming apps maintain a veneer of legitimacy by sourcing the movies and TV shows that they offer from legitimate online sources. Other apps are perhaps less scrupulous about the legality of their offerings. Showbox more or less abandons all pretense and just serves up pirated movies without apology or explanation. Because of this, Showbox is not offered in the Google Play store, and must be sideloaded using an APK file obtained from a website.

As of August 2019, the latest Showbox release was version 5.35. We do not offer links to Showbox, both because of the questions about the legitimacy of the app, and the fact that various APK offerings (there are dozens online) may have viruses or malware, and we simply cannot guarantee the safety or usability of any particular Showbox download. However, because the app is so popular in the Android world, we do offer resources to help people who have the app use it. One common problem that Showbox users have reported to us is that they get error messages, such as ‘Cannot play video,’ ‘Video not available, try another server,’ or ‘Server down or Server unavailable.’ In this article, I will show you how to resolve the errors and get Showbox working for you again.

How Showbox Works

First, let’s explain how an app like Showbox works. Is there a website somewhere with thousands of pirated video streams on it, and the Showbox app just happens to know where it is? No, although for some shows or movies, the app might pull from a single source. For the most part, the app works on a peer-to-peer model, essentially similar to how torrenting works. The Showbox app is sharing the download and distribution of the various video files that its users are playing behind the scenes, so that from the user perspective, they just hit play on a movie and after a buffering period, the show begins playing.

What Can Go Wrong?

What can go wrong with an app like Showbox? It would be a lot shorter to describe the things that can’t go wrong. Copyright holders are constantly working to take down illegally streamed materials, particularly for new movies or hit shows. The lack of a single official development team with the power to enforce code standards means that client versions can have all sorts of problems. The Showbox clients themselves are often virus- or malware-ridden, released by unscrupulous developers to get their bad code on thousands of phones worldwide. Because of these problems and many more, Showbox can barely be considered to be a stable app.

Solutions to Showbox Errors

Reboot the phone

As with practically any error you get on an Android smartphone or tablet, the first fix to try is simply to reboot the phone. Rebooting an Android device is very quick and will instantly flush out any configuration problems or memory glitches that might be generating error messages. Even if rebooting the phone doesn’t fix your issues, it gets your phone in a clean state in which to try the other fixes in this article.

For most Android devices, simply press and hold the Power button until the restart menu appears. This will usually offer you the choice of turning the phone off, restarting, or canceling. Select the restart option and let your Android device get a fresh lease on life.

Showbox ‘cannot play video’ error

The ‘cannot play video’ error is one of the most common errors encountered, particularly for new users who have not yet gotten their Showbox setup properly tuned and configured. The main reason this error appears is that Showbox supports a large number of video file formats, but it relies on standalone programs to actually play the downloaded or streamed video. If the player you have installed can’t handle the format of the video you’re asking it to play, you’ll get this error message. Fixing this problem is usually simply a matter of installing a different video player which does support the file format.

One of the most popular video players that experienced Showbox users install is MX Player. It’s free, supports lots of formats, and plays nicely with Showbox. Alternatively, you could try VLC for Android. You do not need to take any special steps to get Showbox to recognize a new video player; just download install the player(s) of your choice, then shut down Showbox and restart your phone. When you start Showbox again, it will automatically recognize the new video player and use it for any appropriate formats.

Showbox ‘server unavailable error’

Another common error encountered by Showbox users is the ‘server unavailable error’. Although the error sounds like you are having trouble finding a server online, this is actually a problem with your Showbox app’s cache memory. What has happened is that Showbox thinks there is a server out there at a certain IP address and has stored that IP address in its local memory. However, the server has gone down or been moved, but Showbox doesn’t understand this and keeps trying to visit the server that it “knows” is out there. For this error, the fix is quick and easy.

  1. Stop the Showbox app and shut it down.
  2. Navigate to Android Settings, App Manager and then the Showbox app.
  3. Select Clear data and let the process complete.
  4. Select Clear cache and let the process complete.
  5. Restart Showbox and retest.

 

Showbox crashes and other errors

There are a couple of other random issues that occasionally occur with Showbox that don’t have specific fixes. If clearing the cache above doesn’t remedy the situation, you could try an app update or reinstalling the app completely. To update Showbox, you can either select Update from the Showbox notification bar when it appears, or manually install a fresh version. Both work if there’s a newer version release. Sometimes it’s useful to download the APK anew and reinstall it completely. This should fix most issues.

As you are reinstalling, you won’t need to set up Unknown Sources like you did when you first set it up. That’s an Android setting and doesn’t change. I have done this a couple times when I couldn’t fix server errors by clearing the cache. Reinstalling the app did the trick. Showbox is a great little app that performs incredibly well considering it comes from an unauthorized developer. It streams well, offers access to a huge range of content, and has a simple, effective interface. It does have the odd issue, or throw up the odd error, but so do other apps. Perform any of these steps above and you should have Showbox up and running again in no time.

TechJunkie does not condone piracy or streaming content from anywhere other than legal sources.

Got any other fixes for ‘cannot play video’ and ‘server not available’ and other Showbox errors? Tell us about them below if you do!

We’ve got more Showbox resources for you to check out.

Here’s our guide to great Showbox alternatives.

We’ve got a walkthrough for installing Showbox on your Amazon TV Fire Stick.

Here’s our tutorial on using Showbox with Chromecast.

Store your Showbox movies on a memory card – read our piece on downloading Showbox movies to an SD card.

Be sure to see our overall guide on how Showbox works.

23 thoughts on “How To Fix Showbox ‘cannot play video’ and ‘server not available’ on Android”

Team says:
Downloaded widows and second act on showbox but it requires xvid codec, what do I need to do and how can I avoid this next time
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Daniel bellinger says:
It’s a set up. Showbox has been compromised. There is no showbox anymore. They are using fake showbox apps to collect information and then charge you. Showbox is not safe. Look for other apps instead. They are pressing charges now. Also there are other showbox apps that hackers are making. The real showbox is now closed. Stop using it before government charges you.
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Lindsay Richardson says:
Any answers why showbox doesn’t work on my android box. It was always good up to last month.
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Taz says:
Has anybody found out what the issue is still not working
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Nate says:
I think it is done. They are in a court case. I think movie execs and those type are fighting them. I heard it may come back but I doubt it which sucks. There r other apps but not as good as Showbox.
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Jeanette Kelly says:
Uninstalled re installed just keeps sayin showbox not responding .wait-close.keep pressin wait but does not come on.hours of trying.
Ray says:
Has anyone figured it out yet?
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Harri says:
When i go into app it just keep spinning on home page, nothing. Go on a tv file says downloading season but episode files not showing just blank screen
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Joe says:
When I go to your recommended download site for Showbox, I get the skull and crossbones saying Showbox is not legal with links at the bottom steering you to other sites that cost money. WTF?
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Kathy says:
I just updated Showbox. I keep getting the server unavailable message. Tried A & B. Same message. Cleared Data & Cache. Same message. Uninstalled & reinstalled. Same message. Restarted phone. Same message. HELP, PLEASE! I love showbox until today. I have a brand new Note 9.
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Miranda Marshall says:
Yes it’s doing that to me now and just got a new LG stylo 4 which before I had a stylo 3 and I need this app back love it I most definitely need help!
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Eric says:
I keep getting check your internet connection. There is nothing wrong with my internet. Please help!
Cori Keay says:
So sad I have tried numerous times install uninstall update showbox to no avail.
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Ian Williams says:
Did you ever solve this problem? I’m getting the same message.
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Rachel says:
I’m having all of the same problems. Showbox used to work great, and now it very rarely works. I have to pick “seeds” and it usually tells me there is not enough space on my SD card, or I get a “wait patiently” message and it never plays. I’m so bummed and am ready to delete the app.
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Dink says:
I have read many articles and they show a link to a download site for showbox, but they all seem to end up at a different place. So, how do we know which one is the “Official” one. And when we are prompted for an update how do we know its an update without all the JUNK?
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Ramin says:
My show box dose not finding server a without VPN. Do I need use specific DNS . I’m sure the address is blocked I’m from Canada but using even VPN thro us it is working I’m using 5.04 version
Thanks in advance
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Janie says:
So i have had showbox do an update twice this week?? and absolutely nothing has changed…no servers only torrents and they buffer non stop or play for like 30 sec at a time and freeze and show play arrow and if you press it it takes it back to the beginning. Have tried fast forwarding to where it was when it froze and again i get maybe 30 sec of play before freezes again and have to do all those steps again..anyone able to help or have a solution yet? Am i the only one going thru this??
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Junior UK says:
Hi guys, with just a “clear” data and cache everything start works fine in the app. Just needed to add your “favorites” again. But at least works!!!
Good luck.
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Rik says:
I’ve done the clearing .. even updated to a newer version.. still getting connection errors.. can’t find server.. no internet connection.. an so on.. there seems to be quite a bit of forums and threads about this.. it’s been down for some time now.
YANA says:
My show box doesn’t stream anything with Wi-fi only with mobile internet. Does anybody know why?
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Paul Hulme says:
Does anyone have any new updates on correcting torrents only issue ?
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dmitri says:
tells me to choose a seed and then it doesn’t play never asked me to do that before
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Martin says:
I a
M getting the same thing,Which ever one I used android vlc or other.The seeds cone on and I press one and it say sit back the film will start shortly. IT NEVER DOES. ON MY ANDROID BOX
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Sanesh says:
Use a vpn… I worked for me..
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Janie says:
Didnt help. Still no servers only torrents and only those worked if download first…then voice and pic didnt match up 🙁
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Deniz says:
My show box app shows streaming through torrents only. Server A used to be my preffered choice of streaming as I watch in 480p. But Server A is unavailable for a week now. Need help on this. I’ve tried reinstalling, clear cave, clear data , all of it. Helps pls?
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Brent says:
I’ve tried uninstalling and reinstalling 4 times with different versions, cleared data and cache, basically all the crap that is said to do on the internet. Nothing works. All I had to do was click (watch now) and that was it. Now if by chance I click it and it does work, I have to pick a seed (and that’s always freezing up) or I get (movie unavailable), please help.
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Ash says:
I am having this exact problem too! Please someone post a remedy! 🙁
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Asif says:
I cannot watch my movies anymore because before i used to select 450p or 720p now when i want to watch it tells me to choose a seed and then it doesn’t even play
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delskie says:
its been 3 days cant watch video from server A other video are torrént cant watch ether! its there a problem?
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Michelle says:
I am having the same problem. I have deleted and reinstalled and still nothing. Tech Junkie any thoughts??
Judy says:
I used showbox all the time and the last month it’s not working. I can’t watch my movies
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basnik says:
Use a VPN, it works for me.
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Richie says:
Yeah guys im not all that tech savvy but iv had no probs withshowbox til like a week ago. I even went and got a stupid hulu account which sucks in comparison. I dont know whatto do. I want showbox back! Any thoughts please email. Thanks this really sucks
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Stephen k. says:
I have a Samsung note 5 and it won’t play without skipping or freezing through Chromecast. This app was good but as of now I’d rather pay for Hulu. It sucks. I went through all the “fixes” and nothing works. Boo. Fix it!!! Please
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Tony says:
you probably casting to your chrome cast wrong.
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Damian Madril says:
Did all of the above, still will not work.. Used it for a long time but all of a sudden it stopped working.
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Denisia says:
Same here! If u figure it out on how to make it work, please let me know. Right now I’m not liking Showbox.
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Martin says:
Will do.

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