What VPNs is Netflix Blocking?
Since early 2016, the streaming service Netflix has been banning the usage of VPNs on their network left and right. The company is doing everything it can to keep its users locked in their respective markets (based on the country they’re connecting from), which means that depending on where you live you could only be getting a fraction of the total amount of Netflix content that’s available to the rest of the world.
So what VPNs are actually being banned by Netflix, and how can you get around this problem if you’re subscribed to a banned service? Read on in our tutorial to learn more!
The Netflix VPN ban rages on
VPNs used to be the most effective way of getting around the problem of geo-restricted content, but once the ban went into effect many smaller VPNs soon went into tailspin as many of their users left for any providers who could manage to keep up with Netflix’s race to the bottom.
In 2018 it’s survival of the fittest out there, and any VPNs that can promise to keep the lights on for Netflix users usually tend to be the companies who win out in the end. But being able to stand toe-to-toe with one of the largest media companies on the planet is no simple feat, which is why primarily the largest VPN providers are the only ones who can promise consistent access to Netflix and actually back up that claim for months, even years at a time.
Why did my VPN get blocked?
Put simply? Because it was their turn on the chopping block. Since Netflix keeps their IP blacklisting schedules and techniques close to the chest, there’s no real way to predict which block of addresses (belonging to which VPN provider) are going to get banned next.
Despite their efforts, VPN providers and privacy enthusiasts alike haven’t found any effective methods of seeing a pattern in how Netflix bans VPN services, nor when those bans can be expected to come through. At this point all we can gather is that it’s suspected the system works on volume. This means that a certain number of IPs sourced in a particular block of the IP address spectrum can connect to Netflix just fine, but once a threshold is crossed (some specific number) the algorithm picks up a signal that these addresses might be tied to a VPN provider.
Once marked it’s only a matter of time before the block is inevitably blacklisted, and the process starts all over again.
What VPNs is Netflix partially blocking?
Because of the way that Netflix bans VPNs through IP blacklisting, sometimes you might find that your provider can still connect to some servers in a certain country but not in others, or that your VPN requires you to connect to a specific server block in order to get through.
A good example of this is NordVPN. On one of their supports pages the company has a set number of server blocks that support Netflix streaming, and it’s only via these blocks that Netflix will work properly through steaming in the app.
Browser vs. app blocking
Which brings us to the next point: the difference between being blocked in the browser and being blocked streaming through an app. When you connect to a Netflix stream in your browser, Netflix scans that traffic using standard IP detection tools. But when you connect via the Netflix app (whether that’s from your smartphone, tablet, smart TV, Chromecast, etc), sometimes the app will override the VPN tunnel and reroute you to a local DNS that still shows you connecting from a country that’s on the banned list.
The most effective method of getting around this issue is to subscribe to a provider that lets you install their VPN on your home router, or even better, sells pre-configured routers straight from their own online store. Outside of that (connecting via LTE, for example), you might find yourself getting a proxy error on your smartphone while the same server still works fine from your desktop or laptop instead.
Ultimately the only way to find out whether or not the location you want to view your Netflix library from is banned is to test it on the VPN you already own. For smaller VPNs you might find that you’re able to connect to the Dallas server and get through to a US library, but the New York and California servers are already banned.
This means that technically your VPN does still work to access the US Netflix, but may be slower than what you’re used to due to the increased distance between your device and the exit node. Primarily VPN services will focus their efforts on doing whatever they can to keep the US-based IP blocks fresh, but smaller outfits might not have the capital to keep buying more blocks in regions like Canada or the UK.
What VPNs is Netflix blocking completely? (UPDATED: June 2018)
Although we were unable to test the true extent of these bans on our own, we did some research across the web and found an aggregated list of VPNs that have been tested by other review sites and weren’t able to get past the Netflix proxy error at the time of the test. These include:
- Private Internet Access
- Opera VPN
- Hide My IP
- Celo VPN
- Ra4w VPN
- Avast! Secureline VPN
- Anonymous VPN
- Kaspersky Secure Connection
- F-Secure Freedome
- Hoxx VPN
How do I get around the Netflix VPN block?
As you can tell by the list above, not even the biggest names in the business (Private Internet Access in particular) are immune to the Netflix VPN ban. So what can you do if you wake up one day to find yourself staring down the dreaded Netflix proxy error?
Well, you’ve got a couple options at your disposal. The first is to simply ditch whatever VPN you’re subscribed to that got banned and jump on the bandwagon of the big boys. As we’ve already mentioned previously VPN companies like NordVPN and ExpressVPN have recognized the value in being able to stay one step ahead of the competition when it comes to streaming bans, and have devoted a significant chunk of their war chests to buying up IP blocks by the bucket load. Although these services aren’t an absolute guarantee of consistent Netflix access, right now they’re the best bet that the VPN industry has.
The next is to simply wait and see if your own VPN provider is going to buy more IPs once the one you used is banned. Sometimes this can take a few hours, other times a few days or weeks, and the only way to know is to contact customer support directly and ask when they expect the next block to go live.
Finally, you can say nuts to all of it and simply make your own IP by following the guide we have in our other tutorial found here. By creating your own VPN you can take control of which servers get unblocked in which countries and generally fly under Netflix’s radar as long as you like, but this is also the most technically complex method and may not be a valid option for less techno-savvy users out there.
As long as there’s geo-restricted content in the world, there’s going to be VPN services to unlock it. Although it may look like the privacy industry is fighting a losing battle at times, the fight to maintain total content will rage on and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
If you’re looking for an unblocked Netflix VPN, be sure to stay up to date with our list of all VPNs for Netflix in 2018!