How to Beat the Netflix VPN Ban

obr2By Stephen Ayton — Last Updated: 25 Sep'17 2017-04-13T03:25:31+00:00

If you have a Netflix subscription, you may have been tempted to look at the shows and movies that are on offer in other countries. Netflix doesn’t allow subscribers to have cross-border access and so it has controls in place to keep each subscriber watching the service of the country they are presently in.

You may have tried to employ a VPN to get around the Netflix access controls. Although many virtual private network services can get you into the Netflix website of another country, when you try to watch a show, you will get the following error message.

The Netflix server can detect the use of VPNs and blocks them. In this article, you will learn about a Netflix VPN ban bypass that works, but first let’s talk about why there even is a ban; click here to jump straight to the list of VPNs that work for Netflix.

Other Reasons to Use a VPN

Of course, there’s more to using a virtual private network than just accessing Netflix: you can browse the Internet anonymously without needing to worry about hackers or government agencies — no to mention ISPs — spying on you. Cloudwards.net has a huge selection of the best VPN providers we have done reviews on, so you’re almost guaranteed to find one you like. We also have a guide on VPN security.

International Netflix

Netflix is a U.S.-based company and that country’s site is the original version of the streaming service. The business has expanded to create channels available in other countries and is now available in every country in the world except for Syria, North Korea and China.

The company’s main rivals in the U.S. are HBO and Showtime. These two paid TV stations only operate in the American market, making the international operations of Netflix unique. This presents the company with difficulties when delivering its service that its competitors do not face.

Regional Restrictions

You may be wondering why Netflix bans VPN users. In fact, the company is not alone in restricting access to its content. All streaming services try to prevent cross-border access over the Internet and they all realize that VPNs can get around the ban.

Most countries only allow certain companies to operate TV stations and streaming services. There are rules about foreign ownership of such operations and many companies have limits on the amount of foreign content that can be shown on TV stations or streaming services operating within their country’s borders.

Although Netflix operates in almost every country in the world, it simplifies the legal complexities of the industry by dividing up the administration of the business. So the service in each country is legally treated as a separate entity. Thus, there is Netflix U.S., Netflix France, Netflix India and so on.

Netflix gets most of its content from other companies. It shows movies that have been produced by the big Hollywood studios, and when it buys the rights for a movie, it has to write out a separate contract for each country in which it wants to show it.

The content may need to be altered in order to be approved for viewing in each country, and it also needs to be dubbed or have subtitles added so people who don’t understand English can enjoy the production in their native language.

These considerations mean that the same movie is actually slightly different when it is shown in another country. Local laws on foreign content also mean that Netflix is legally obliged to only make a certain percentage of its U.S. productions available in some countries. The company, therefore, contracts with local entertainment producers to fill up its library in other countries.

As Netflix is not able to show all of its U.S.-produced content in other countries, it may contract with TV stations overseas, so it can sell the first-showing rights to channels that haven’t hit their quota of foreign content. Those other companies are unlikely to pay for Netflix Original programming if anyone in their country can just log in to Netflix U.S. and watch it there first.

All of this means that Netflix has to take steps to prevent people in one country accessing the Netflix site of another. The unique nature of the company’s structure means that it has to work harder than other streaming services to preserve its regional restrictions.

Subscription Model

Netflix actually only has one web address. The company can be accessed at www.netflix.com from all over the world. When you log into the site from another country, you will automatically be redirected to a subsection of the site that specifically caters for the country that you are in.

A subscription to Netflix gets you access to the company’s online library wherever you are in the world. However, the segment of the library that you are allowed to view is tailored to the country that you are in when you access the site. Thus, if you take out a subscription to Netflix in the U.S. and then travel abroad, you will still be able to use the service. However, you will be given access to the Netflix service for the country that you have traveled to.

If you have an HBO subscription through your local cable operator, you can access HBO shows over the Web through the HBO GO website. This access is granted wherever you are in the USA, but if you go abroad, you are blocked from getting any service. Therefore, the international aspect of Netflix adds an extra dimension to the company’s service.

The main problem with the Netflix international service is its localized programming. This tempts travellers to try to get back into the service of their home countries.

Netflix VPN Ban

In January 2016, Netflix decided to invest money into stopping people using VPNs to access the service of other countries.

The first obstacle to getting into the service of Netflix U.S. from abroad is the redirection method that the server uses in order to direct access from each country towards the service intended for that location.

You may think that you have worked out a Netflix VPN ban fix if your VPN actually gets you into the Netflix’ American homepage. However, Netflix has several levels of checks for VPNs and the website access check is not very thorough. So, any VPN will get you into the service.

If you select a VPN server in Sweden and then navigate to Netflix.com, you will be directed to the Swedish homepage, if you then switch to a VPN server in the United States and then reload the Netflix page, you will see the U.S. one.

Once you are in the website for the U.S. version of Netflix, you will be able to browse the library of shows and select one. However, when it gets to the point where the movie starts playing, or where Netflix shows the summary of an episode of a series, you will see the Netflix proxy error message. That shows you that your chosen Netflix VPN ban workaround didn’t work.

VPN Detection

Netflix has the tightest controls on VPN usage on the Internet. The VPN industry knows this and so each provider is constantly revamping its service to get around the Netflix VPN ban.

Every message sent out over the Internet has to have a destination address on it and a source address as well. The initial Netflix check on access location reads the IP address of the incoming request.

Every IP address includes a country code, so this makes it easy for the Netflix server to work out which place the request for the Web page has come from. This is how it is able to redirect each user to the home page for the country from which they accessed the site.

VPN providers have servers in many different countries. The selection of a VPN server in the country that you want to watch the Netflix for is enough to get around the redirection problem. Beating the checks that the Netflix content server makes is much harder.

VPN companies buy a large number of IP addresses. They have to keep changing their IP addresses when they access the Netflix server. This is because the Netflix content delivery system keeps a record of the IP addresses it detects as being from a VPN service.

Knowing that VPN companies bulk buy IP addresses, Netflix will often blacklist a whole range of addresses once it works out that it has been accessed by a VPN. This sometimes results in users who are not using a VPN being locked out of Netflix — it just so happens that their IP addresses are sequentially surrounded by ranges of address that are owned by VPN companies.

VPNs That Work

All the VPN services in the world are working hard to combat the fact that Netflix bans VPN users. Thus, some VPNs can get you past the block.

Before you subscribe to a VPN service, it is important to check with the provider’s customer service reps first. Will Netflix ban VPN traffic from their service? Not all sales reps know the answer to that question, and not all of them will admit if their service is blocked — they just want your business.

Fortunately, we have checked. Here is a list of six VPNs that can get past the Netflix VPN ban. We also have a list of the five best VPNs for Netflix.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN services available and the company can get you into Netflix for the US, Canada and Germany. The company has one of the widest server networks in the industry, so it is worth checking out because all of those locations open up the possibility of access to streaming services from other companies around the globe.

Check out our full ExpressVPN review if you want to know more.

VPN Area

VPNArea is a Bulgaria-based provider that has four servers in the U.S. which can get you into Netflix. It also has a UK server that is specifically tuned to get past the Netflix proxy detection procedures there. Read our full VPNArea review to find out more about this service.

TORGuard

The regular TORGuard VPN service can be detected by the Netflix content delivery VPN detection system. However, if you buy a dedicated IP address as an add-on, you will get through the restrictions.

This is a pristine IP address and won’t be added to the Netflix blacklist. TORGuard reports that its dedicated IP addresses get into Netflix in the U.S., the UK, Canada, the Netherlands and Germany. However, one IP address would not get into all of those — you should buy an IP address for each country. Besides allowing you to access Netlfix, the service is a decent VPN provider all around, as you can read in our TORGuard review.

TUVPN

Like TORGuard, TUVPN offers shared IP addresses and also a more expensive dedicated IP address service. If you want to get into Netflix U.S., you don’t need to pay extra for the dedicated IP address, because the standard shared IP address should get you in. However, the service is not so fast, so opt for the low-end Netflix subscription when using this VPN.

VPN.asia

VPN.asia is somewhat deceptively named — it offers the best service around for connections to North America. It gets past the Netflix content delivery proxy detection system. VPN.asia offers very high speed connections. However, the company doesn’t always stick to their money-back guarantee.

Shellfire VPN

You need to sign up for Shellfire’s PremiumPlus package to get into Netflix U.S. with this service. Shellfire also offers a free version and a Premium package, but neither of those will get you in. Select “Server 36” to watch American Netflix content.

Conclusion

Does Netflix ban VPN users? Yes, but don’t take it personally — the company is legally obliged to do so. However, the company is working on solving this problem, not by tightening its controls on VPN access, but by working out a way to provide global access. The company is now working on creating one world-wide service. 

Should this work out, the Netflix VPN ban may become a thing of the past; do you think this would be a good thing? Let us know in the comments below, thank you for reading.

22 thoughts on “How to Beat the Netflix VPN Ban”

  1. I’m just learning about vpns and the only reason I want one is for cheap cable, netflix, and amazon prime.

    If I’m a US subscriber to Netflix, they know my account login is a US subscriber and if I log on to my vpn using a US IP, why would they block me? I don’t really care about watching it in other countries.

    I feel stupid asking this, but it makes no sense to me. All they have to do is match your login with your IP location and leave you alone.

    1. Hi Gianna,

      They won’t block you if you’re accessing U.S. Netflix from the U.S., so no worries there.

      1. I’m in the same situation as Gianna, but both Netflix and Amazon Prime block my access when I use my PIA VPN. I tried a trial version of NordVPN but it was blocked as well. At least some of the servers in SoCal.

      2. I get block from the US, but I am using a proxy that goes to another site in the US. So traffic doesn’t leave the US, yet I still get blocked.

        VyprVPN w/Chameleon worked
        Windscribe has not so far

        1. That’s probably because you’re using an IP address through your proxy that is on Netflix’s blacklist.

      3. Except yes they do. If you are on a vpn connected to an area close to you, in this case the U.S. you can in fact still be blocked. Happens to me daily when I forget to turn mine off.

      1. Hi Rob, you probably need to switch servers. Netflix started blocking ExpressVPN’s DC server about two weeks ago, switch to a different U.S. server should fix any problem you’re having. I won’t tell you which one, cuz that’ll just make it easier for Netflix to find you 🙂

    2. What you don’t understand is when you use a VPN your IP is blocked so they don’t know if it is you operating your account or someone abroad.

  2. Agree that you should just use the chat support for Express VPN and they’ll tell you exactly which server to use (I even told them what show I was trying to watch because it doesn’t stream on Netflix in the US or UK).

  3. When you think about it, it’s funny that we are willing to pay for netflix and to pay for a vpn, when we could just download everything

  4. People, wake up, just pay for the VPN and download the shows on piratebay or other torrent sites. Also you can use Kodi if you are lazy.

    1. That’s definitely a solution, Barry! I think that more and more people are getting sick of the draconian Netflix ban, but can’t bring themselves to download the shows on torrent sites.

    1. Netflix seems to go pretty hard for PIA IPs, they seem to get blocked every few days. If you’re a PIA customer, the best advice seems to be “keep trying.”

  5. Both Netflix and Amazon Video are now blocking U.S.-only content through VPN.Asia as well.

  6. I have a dedicated server which acts as my personal VPN for streaming.

    My Netflix stop working with this server recently after some proxy detection service like IP2Proxy listed my IP address as proxy.

    How can I whitelist it to enjoy my Netflix US?

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