What is the Netflix VPN ban and what is Netflix content geo-blocking?
If you are a streaming media junkie, it likely took you less than 5-minutes to decide to subscribe to Netflix. However, if you are living or traveling outside of North America, you likely begin to regret doing so just as quickly.
Like other streaming services, Netflix uses geo-blocking to prevent users in some areas from streaming its full media library. Here, though, we’ll show you how you can enjoy your favorite shows despite regional geo-blocks.
As anyone living or traveling outside of the U.S. knows, Netflix prevents people from streaming many of its shows overseas. There is still fantastic content available.
There’s just never the latest movies or the latest episodes of today’s must-watch series.
Netflix restricting access to content in this way is what is known as geo-blocking. Moreover, how geo-blocking works is simple.
- Netflix actively monitors your IP address to see where you are logging in to Netflix from.
- Netflix does this to make sure that the latest shows and movies are only available to Netflix users in certain global locations at certain times.
- If you are traveling, shows that you can usually watch on Netflix in the U.S. can suddenly disappear from your library when you change locations.
Thankfully, there is a relatively easy way to outsmart geo-blocking. – Or at least, there used to be.
In the past, it was possible to use free VPNs to change to login to Netflix from North America, even when living or traveling overseas. If you were in Germany and unable to watch the latest episode of Star Trek Discovery, you could simply use a VPN to log in to Netflix from the United States.
Sadly, Netflix caught on to this trick in 2016. This is why we have what is today known as the Netflix VPN ban.
Netflix geo-blocks access to some content in its library so that it can sell TV show syndication rights to other global media networks. Because of this, Netflix also needs to do everything it can to stop people from outsmarting geo-blocks.
If people in places like Europe can use VPNs to watch everything in the Netflix library, Netflix won’t be able to sell shows to European TV networks. Because of this, 2016 saw Netflix start banning people from accessing its platform when using known VPN services.
Have you been unable to access Netflix after starting to use a VPN? If so, don’t worry. To regain access, all you need to do is disable the VPN you are using.
- At present, the Netflix VPN ban sees Netflix prohibit access to show libraries when Netflix suspects users are using a VPN.
- Netflix does not ban users they suspect of using a VPN. Instead, Netflix blacklists IP addresses that it knows to belong to VPN services.
- Some VPNs like TunnelBear help Netflix (and other streaming services) to maintain geo-blocks, by automatically preventing users from being able to stream media.
Do you live or are you traveling in an area where you can’t access your full Netflix media library? If so, don’t worry.
At present, there are still ways to outsmart geo-blocking and the Nexflix VPN ban. Because Netflix only blocks IP addresses known to belong to VPN service providers, all you need to do is steer clear of using free VPNs and popular VPNs like Nord VPN.
- Free VPNs are VPNs in name only. Like with TunnelBear, many will stop you from using their services to circumvent geo-blocking.
- Some free VPNs will route your Internet connection through IP addresses that Netflix already knows are linked with VPN providers.
- Popular VPNs like Nord often have a fantastic sales pitch. However, being so popular means that millions of users often try to connect to Netflix at the same time using the same IP addresses. This makes it easy for Netflix to identify users as trying to outsmart geo-blocks.
When looking to circumvent geo-blocks, it is also advisable to only use a VPN that permits Dynamic Switching.
VPN services that permit Dynamic Switching, allow users to change the IP address they are using and in doing so, the location they appear as connecting to the Internet. One minute you could appear as visiting a website from Romania, the next you could appear as connecting to the Internet from Canada.
How Dynamic Switching can help you beat the Netflix VPN block is simple. If Netflix suspects that you are using a VPN, they may block you from accessing your library.
However, if this happens, all you need to do is switch to using a new IP address.
For best results, we recommend configuring the get-go to route your Internet connection through the U.S. This will prevent Netflix from getting suspicious about you logging in from different global locations.
Do you get frustrated about not being able to access your favorite Netflix shows when living or traveling outside of the United States? If so, don’t worry, outsmarting geo-blocking is not illegal.
There is also a case to be made that outsmarting geo-blocking is the morally right thing to do.
Every year, Netflix uses subscriber revenue from its 158.3 million global users, to finance the production of the latest Netflix Original TV shows and movies. This is content that you pay Netflix to create.
At present, it is not illegal to use a VPN. Nor does Netflix close the accounts of subscribers it suspects of using VPNs to circumvent geo-blocks. It is also unlikely that Netflix will ever explicitly ban subscribers from using VPNs. However, this could happen.
Given the above, it should be noted that using a VPN with Netflix (or any online streaming service) is done at your own risk. It is still doubtful they will ban you as it is a paid service and paid services are less likely to ban using a VPN than a free service would.
If you are currently in the market for a VPN we recommend PureVPN for streaming.
Online freelancer, owner of Shielded VPN and long time website creator and designer. Happily married man and father of two amazing boys.