Does Netflix Work With a VPN at College?
While going to college and university for the first time is definitely about learning all the skills you need to succeed as an adult: showing up on time, getting your work completed on schedule, and turning in high quality assignments...sometimes it’s okay to know when to kick back and enjoy a little Netflix too!
But what are the rules and regulations around using Netflix and similar streaming services on campus? And can you find a more effective way of getting through them without upsetting your college’s local network administrator?
Read in on our guide to using a VPN at college for Netflix to find out!
Why would Netflix get blocked at college?
We’ve covered this topic in previous articles, but here’s a quick refresher summary for anyone who doesn’t want to dive into the subject in too much depth.
The first reason why Netflix might be blocked on your college’s WiFi network is that overall, the administration in charge of these types of decisions might believe that your time as a student would be better spent studying instead of streaming. Many universities will block access to popular social media websites during certain hours (generally from morning to afternoon) if that’s when the majority of their students are supposed to be in lectures.
Aside from encroaching on your freedom to study however you want, these sorts of blocks can prove especially annoying if your schedule is more night-based and you are spending the majority of your days trying to browse and stream as you please.
Netflix and other streaming sites like YouTube, Hulu, and HBOGo/HBONow can get lumped into these blanket bans, meaning that you may only be able to access them during specific times of the day. This can be aggravating to say the least, which is why a VPN is a worthwhile investment for any college student.
Plus, although most colleges and universities around the world allow the free usage of Netflix and other social media sites on their networks, the actual Netflix libraries you can access will change depending on where your college is physically located in the world. This is due to an issue known as “territorial content licensing”.
This is a big problem specifically for international students. Let’s say you’ve grown up in the UK and spent most of your life streaming from the UK Netflix library, but get accepted to a university in the United States. This means that most of the content you’re used to streaming from the UK library will change, since the US and UK libraries differ depending on which studios have licensed the copyrights to their content to each Netflix region.
The only way to get around the blocks your college administration put in place on their network (or the difference in Netflix libraries depending on region) is to use a VPN.
How does a college block Netflix?
College WiFi is always managed and controlled by the network administrative staff employed by the school you’re attending. These employees are able to create rules on the network which detect specific types of traffic and can block access to those websites and data streams in much the same way parental controls might back on your home network.
Generally this is done through DNS detection, though IP detection and Deep Packet Inspection can sometimes be employed by larger colleges with robust network security systems in place. A VPN gets around this by encrypting your traffic at the source -- the device you’re connecting from -- and then uses that encrypted tunnel to connect to the website you’re trying to access.
By encrypting your traffic you prevent the network owner (your university, in this case) from being able to scan your data for signs of Netflix streaming, P2P torrenting, or anything else that might be banned by the administration.
Which VPNs work with Netflix at college?
If you want to get access to a blocked service on your college WiFi (P2P, Bittorrent, Netflix streaming or otherwise), you’re going to need a VPN that can consistently update their networks and IP blocks often enough that none of the major streaming services can keep up.
This is because although a VPN service might advertise the ability to unblock Netflix, that service will only last as long as the company behind the VPN can afford to keep buying new IP blocks. This is because Netflix is working to constantly ban the usage of VPNs on their servers in order to prevent users from viewing content outside of their geo-restricted region.
Luckily for us though, there are plenty of larger VPN providers that can afford to constantly buy new IP blocks as soon as an older one is blocked by Netflix. But this also means there is a limited pool of select VPNs that you can choose from that will actually work on Netflix in the long run.
If you want to see our full list of VPNs that currently work on Netflix, head on over to this article here to get a complete breakdown of everything you need to know.
Even though most colleges and universities around the world are usually cool with Netflix streaming, you’ll never actually know until you get there!
The best way to ensure you’ll always have access to any of the streaming services, social media sites, or P2P portals that you want is to use a VPN while you’re at college. If you’re unsure of whether or not a VPN subscription would be worth it though (every college student is working on a tight budget), head on over to our list of the best free VPNs for Netflix (linked above) to find the service and trial period that works best for you and your monthly stipend!