Does the Avast VPN Work on Netflix?
Although no one would openly admit it, one of the main reasons why many people subscribe to their favorite VPN providers is so they can freely view any content they want from the top streaming sites in the business. Many streaming portals including Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer have implemented strict rules in recent years on who can see their content libraries depending on where they detect a connection is coming from, which means that if you want to see a show that’s only available in the UK for example, you’re out of luck unless you physically live in that country.
But even though a worldwide ban of VPNs has gone into effect, there are still plenty of services that offer a way around the block. Is Avast Secureline VPN one of them? Read on in our guide to find out!
The Netflix ban: A Primer
We’ve already covered the subject of Netflix and VPNs in detail in several other articles, which you can find in our Related Links section at the bottom of this page. That said for anyone who wants an abbreviated version, it goes something like this.
During the rise of streaming services in the early-aughts, many Netflix users found themselves limited by the number of options in their local libraries. This is because Netflix, like almost every streaming service in operation today, controls who can see what titles where based off a practice known as “territorial content licensing”.
In so many words, territorial content licensing is an issue that Netflix has to contend with whenever they purchase the rights to a new TV show or movie from distributors and major studios. Since the number of Netflix subscribers in each country varies depending on the local population and internet penetration statistics, studios will ask a different price for rights in the United States than they will in Japan for example.
This means that Netflix has to restrict the libraries of their content based on the country the company detects you’re connecting from. Until early 2016, VPNs were a surefire method of getting around this problem, and would let anyone with a subscription connect to Netflix from a server in their preferred viewing country so they could see the content for that specific region.
Unfortunately around March of that year the company announced they would be banning the usage of VPNs on their service outright, and many other streaming services soon followed suit.
But this ban doesn’t just affect people who want more content out of their monthly Netflix subscription. It’s also a big hassle for people who travel often and want to keep up with their favorite shows regardless of where they’re connecting from in the world. The ban means that if you start a show at an airport in the United States and fly to France, that show may no longer be available by the time you land. This is hugely frustrating for business travelers since there’s often so much downtime spent in the hotel, and right now a VPN that works with Netflix is the only way to get around the problem.
How does Netflix ban VPNs like Avast?
By utilizing a practice known as “IP blacklisting”, Netflix is able to detect which IP addresses belong to legitimate users, and which are part of mass IP blocks that VPN companies buy in bulk to distribute to their subscribers.
As soon as the company’s algorithm detects that multiple users have been accessing the service from the same IP address, it digs deeper to find out if that IP is tied to a data center or IP leasing outfit. If so, the IP block is banned and no one on that service will be able to connect to Netflix from that point forward.
So how do some VPN providers avoid the ban? Right now the answer is pretty simple: money. The largest VPN providers in the space like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and VyprVPN can afford to simply buy more IP addresses as soon as a block gets banned, and will keep doing so well into the future as long as subscribers stay signed on for the exclusive service of being able to get past the Netflix proxy error.
So where does Avast Secureline VPN fold into all of this? Well, as the single largest provider of digital security products in the world, Avast as a company has more than enough spare capital to keep up the cat-and-mouse game of IP banning/buying with Netflix as long as they see fit.
Does Avast Secureline VPN work with Netflix?
For now, yes! After running our own independent tests, we found that Avast Secureline VPN works on Netflix without any issues to be seen. But, there’s a catch: it will only work on a connection originating from a desktop or a laptop using a standard web browser.
This is because Netflix uses a different detection method when connecting through their mobile apps than they do on desktop, and it’s based on the DNS service that your phone or tablet is tied to by default. Rather than checking the IP, the Netflix app will often reroute itself to a default DNS server based in the last country it detected you connected from, rendering any VPN useless in the process.
There are some VPNs that still work with both the Netflix browser viewing experience as well as in the mobile app, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, but they use a special tool within their mobile apps to make this possible. Currently Avast Secureline VPN doesn’t work with Netflix mobile until they add this service.
Similarly, because Avast Secureline VPN doesn’t offer a way to install the service on your home router, there’s no way to circumvent the DNS detection method using that route either. That said, there’s been some speculation in the wires recently that Netflix has begun using a new strategy to ban the usage of VPNs on their service.
This involves detecting the location of the IP you used when you originally signed up for the service and then comparing it against the IP you’re currently connecting with. This means that if you signed up to Netflix from a computer in France but want to view United States content, no matter how many VPNs you have installed you may never be able to get through.
For now it seems as though Avast VPN is able to get around this blocking style, but stay tuned to VPN.com for any updates on the service’s functionality in the coming months ahead!