If you have been leeching off your parent’s, sibling’s, cousin’s or employer’s Netflix account, the free ride is nearing the end. Netflix did a pilot rollout of a password sharing ban in four countries (Canada, New Zealand, Spain and Portugal) in early 2023 and is set for a broad launch in the coming months. This guide will analyze changes to Netflix password sharing in Canada to help you understand what to expect.
Key Takeaways: Netflix Account Sharing Ban
- With Netflix’s new password sharing policy, you have to set your primary location and log in with your home WiFi once every 31 days to avoid being blocked from the account.
- Netflix will use the device’s ID, IP address and account activity to check whether you’re accessing the account from the primary location.
- In terms of Netflix password sharing, Canada is a reliable predictor of what could happen when the company launches the policy changes in the U.S. and other popular Netflix hubs.
Netflix earmarked Canada as “a reliable predictor for the U.S.” Canada posted positive quarter-one 2023 earnings following the implementation of its password sharing crackdown, which has given Netflix confidence that the same could happen in the U.S. As things stand, Netflix seems poised to proceed, and it’s unlikely that even the “cancel reaction” will tempt them away from broader launch.
Barring any change in strategy, the popular streaming service could go about its password sharing crackdown in the U.S. the same way it did in Canada. Read on to arm yourself with the correct information to stay ahead of the Netflix password crackdown in the U.S., for more information, read our general Netflix password crackdown guide.
Yes, Netflix Canada introduced the password sharing ban in February 2023. However, by March of the same year, 46% of Netflix users claimed they were still sharing Netflix accounts with family and friends.
There are a few options to get around Netflix password sharing in Canada. NordVPN’s Meshnet could be a great option, but the tool hasn’t been tested thoroughly with the ban. The only viable option otherwise is to ask friends or family members to add you as an extra member to their account.
Netflix completed its pilot password sharing crackdown in the first quarter of 2023. Following impressive results, including subscribership growth in Canada, the streaming giant is set to unleash the broader ban. The ban could soon hit your country in the second quarter of 2023.
Netflix Password Sharing: Canada Crackdown Explained
When rolling out the password sharing policy in Canada, Netflix asked all subscribers to set their primary location. According to the streaming service, a primary location is the main place you watch Netflix — be it at home, your workplace or anywhere else.
For example, if you primarily watch Netflix at home, you’d set that as your primary location. Once you set your primary location, you can share the same account with members of your household.
According to Netflix, an account is meant to be shared in one household or by “people who live in the same location with the account holder.” However, for Canadians, other users will need to be added as an extra member to the Standard or Premium plans.
In January 2023, Netflix has a lot more detailed information about device verification, including needing to log in to your Netflix account or open the Netflix app once every 31 days through the designated home WiFi network to avoid being blocked. However, that information has since been removed from the site.
Is There a Way Around the New Password Sharing Rules?
If you still want to share your streaming account, there are a few possible options you could consider.
1. Pay Extra for Additional Members
If you want to share Netflix, the simplest workaround to the password sharing ban is to pay an extra charge for additional members. As mentioned, Netflix allows Standard and Premium plan subscribers to add two additional users to their Netflix accounts for an additional fee.
2. Try NordVPN Meshnet for Free
NordVPN’s Meshnet might also be helpful. Meshnet allows you to route your traffic through another device. Netflix uses the device’s ID, IP addresses and account activity to determine whether you’re in the primary location, and therefore, whether to allow access.
Let’s say your friend subscribes to Netflix and is at the stipulated primary location. When you use Meshnet, it assigns you the friend’s IP address. This way, Netflix will only see the friend’s IP, not your actual IP address. This could fool the system into thinking you’re accessing Netflix through a device in the primary location. NordVPN has made Meshnet free for all users.
3. Ditch Netflix
The last resort is to switch to a different streaming service. Netflix is becoming expensive and the password sharing ban might instigate a cancellation chain reaction. Thankfully, the streaming arena is evolving, and several Netflix alternatives with a good selection of movies are now available.
Some popular alternative streaming services include Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Max and Paramount Plus, to name a few.
How the Netflix Sharing Ban Works
There are a few key points to understanding Netflix’s network sharing rules. We’ll look at how Netflix can pinpoint devices logging in from outside the primary locations, how you can still share accounts without resorting to VPNs, and the streaming giant’s rationale behind the ban.
Determining Primary Location Devices
Details about how Netflix detects devices within the home network aren’t available on the Netflix Canada help center. The information was “mistakenly” published on the Netflix U.S. help center, but Netflix later removed the article. However, we dug up the information from an internet archive page.
According to the details on this page, Netflix uses device IDs, IP addresses, network information and your account activity to determine whether you’re signed into your account through the home network. If the system notices that you’re not connected to the home network, it blocks you.
Traveling Away from Primary Location? No Problem
That leads to another question: Can the account holder and members of the same household access Netflix when traveling?
The short answer is: yes. You can still watch your favorite movies and TV shows on personal devices when traveling. However, you still have to log in to your account or open the Netflix app through the home network once every month.
If you are away for an extended period (more than 31 days), you’ll have to request a temporary access code to continue streaming Netflix. Netflix sends the four-digit code to your account’s primary phone number or email address. The code is valid for 15 minutes.
Buying an Extra Member
Netflix hasn’t shut the door entirely for friends and family who aren’t members of your household. There’s a lifeline.
In Canada and other countries with the password sharing ban, Netflix allows Standard and Premium plan subscribers to add up to two people they don’t live with at an additional cost. What that additional monthly fees will be for U.S. subscribers remains unclear.
Canadian subscribers pay CAD$7.99 per month per extra user; the fee in the U.S. could be more or less than that figure.
Netflix charges subscribers in other countries as follows (monthly):
- 🇳🇿 New Zealand — NZD$7.99
- 🇪🇸 Spain — €5.99
- 🇵🇹 Portugal — €3.99
- 🇨🇱 Chile — $3
- 🇨🇷 Costa Rica — $2.99
- 🇵🇪 Peru — $2.13
For the price, each extra member you add to your account gets a profile, unique login credentials and personalized recommendations.
Why Is Netflix Ending Password Sharing?
In the quarter-one 2023 report, Netflix claimed that widespread password sharing is hampering its ability to “invest in and improve the service for paying members.” However, there’s more to that statement than meets the eye. The decision to bar users from sharing passwords is meant to enhance Netflix’s dwindling revenue. Let’s dig in.
Not long ago (in 2016), Netflix was OK with users sharing accounts. The then CEO — Reed Hastings — said that sharing a Netflix account is a “positive thing.” According to Hastings, people who shared passwords with friends or family eventually got their own accounts, which benefited the company. That sentiment came on the back of explosive subscriber growth.
Fast forward to 2022, when Netflix’s growth dipped and the streaming giant experienced a shrinking subscriber base for the first time in a decade. This likely compelled Netflix to change tactics to address revenue decline amid the growing competition. They started exploring strategies such as cutting content spend and introducing an ad-supported tier.
In a letter to shareholders (dated Jan. 19, 2023), Netflix seemed to have settled on new strategies to boost monetization and revenue generation. “We successfully launched our new, lower priced ad-supported plan in November and are pleased with the early results,” Netflix said in the letter.
The letter further states, “We have a clear path to reaccelerate our revenue growth: continuing to improve all aspects of Netflix, launching paid sharing and building ads offering.” The assertions prove that Netflix adopted paid sharing to boost revenue after a bumpy period in 2022.
How Strictly Is the Password Crackdown Being Enforced in Canada?
We have described how password sharing works and the rationale behind the move, but how strict is Netflix when it comes to enforcing the crackdown?
According to a poll conducted in March 2023, 54% of Canadian Netflix users claimed that the streaming behemoth had removed them from their friends’ Netflix accounts. Remember that the crackdown began in early February. This means that one month after the initial launch, Netflix had booted more than a half of the leechers.
On April 26, 2023, we reached out to our contact in Canada to find out if password sharing was possible. According to their experience, he was still able to share his Netflix password with his ex-partner, and they hadn’t bought an extra member.
The data and user accounts suggest that Netflix is taking things slowly but surely. The provider might have split subscribers into cohorts and is making a gradual server-side update to boot all freeloaders, group-by-group.
What’s certain is that Netflix isn’t relenting on the move to end password sharing. According to the Q1 2023 report, Netflix has had an uptick in subscribership in Canada. The password sharing seems to have spurred a growth in paid membership, with Netflix claiming its subscribership in Canada is growing faster than in the U.S. Revenue is also up, due to this and the ad-based tier.
The company might have had some reservations about the ban because of the cancel reaction. However, the impressive results have seemingly allayed such fears, giving Netflix the impetus to enact a wider launch.
Can I Still Use a VPN to Access Different Netflix Libraries?
Whether you’re the original account owner or an extra member on your friend’s account, you can still access different Netflix libraries. You can use the “traveling” exception, whereby you can still use Netflix on different devices or IP addresses, as long as you log in on your home WiFi network once a month.
Just bear in mind, Netflix uses your IP address to determine your location. It then serves up content based on that location.
The best VPNs for Netflix let you change your location to match the library you want to access. For example, if you’re in the U.S. and want to watch a movie on Netflix France, you only need to connect the VPN to a server in France and log in to your account. Doing so fools the streaming service into thinking you’re in France and displaying the French library.
Best VPN For Netflix: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is easily the best VPN for Netflix. The service has servers in 94 countries and has unmatched unblocking ability. Whether you want to access Netflix Canada or Netflix India, the VPN unblocks it on the first attempt.
Speed is another area where ExpressVPN excels. The service loads videos like they’re local sessions and streams without interruption. In addition, ExpressVPN offers unlimited data and bandwidth, so you don’t have to worry about losing connection in the middle of the month. You can try ExpressVPN with its 30-day money-back guarantee. Learn more in our ExpressVPN review.
Final Thoughts: Sharing Accounts on Netflix
The Netflix password sharing ban “beta” phase is finally over. The growth in subscribership in Canada and other pilot countries seems to have encouraged Netflix to press on with the broader launch. If Canada’s results are anything to go by, the streaming giant sees the ban as a viable route to boosting revenue.
The times Netflix freeloaders have been dreading are finally here. The rollout of the broader password-sharing ban is coming to the U.S. and other countries worldwide. If you’ve long been using your parent’s, ex-lover’s, friend’s or employer’s account, Netflix will lock you out of the shared account sooner rather than later.
There are options to circumvent the Netflix password ban, such as using NordVPN’s Meshnet feature (read our full NordVPN review for more details on the service). However, as the ban kicks into full gear, the streaming service could tighten the chokehold, rendering these options obsolete and leaving you to toe the line and purchase an extra member or get a new account.
What are your thoughts on Netflix password sharing in Canada? Will you stick by Netflix when the password sharing ban is introduced in your country? If yes, will you ask a friend to add you as an extra member or buy your own Netflix account? We’d like to hear about it in the comment section. As always, thank you for reading.