Netflix has begun aggressively increasing its efforts to ban users of VPNs and other proxies from accessing its content. But there are still some strategies that will allow you to get around this ban. Here are some potential solutions.
First, a little background. In January, Netflix started making it much harder for people who use VPNs to connect to its service. It says the change is part of an effort to prevent access to content that violates local distribution or copyright terms.
The Netflix VPN ban has left many users very unhappy, however — especially because some people use VPNs with Netflix not just to access Netflix content that is unavailable in their countries for legal reasons, but also for security or privacy purposes.
Beating the Netflix VPN Ban
So far, Netflix has been quite successful in blocking most VPN services, as well as other proxies that specialize in providing access to Netflix. But all hope is not lost. If you want to continue to access Netflix through a VPN, here are some strategies to try:
- Get a private IP address from your VPN provider. This will cost a little more — usually one or two extra dollars a month — but it will greatly increase your chances of reaching Netflix. That’s because Netflix’s main strategy for blocking connections that are routed through VPNs depends on identifying the IP addresses of VPN providers. That’s easy to do if the VPN provider has lots of users connecting to Netflix through the same IP. But if you get a private IP, Netflix will see only one connection coming from that address. The company will therefore be much less likely to realize the address is associated with a VPN, and will probably not block it.
- Get a VPN account with a niche or small provider. Netflix is blocking all of the big VPN companies. But if you can get VPN access through a smaller provider — like a college or a small business based in the country from which you want to access Netflix — Netflix might not block it, for the same reasons explained above. (We just tested this with our university VPN connection and it worked very well — we were able to connect to U.S. Netflix and stream videos while physically based in Europe.)
- Set up your own VPN. If you or someone you know has physical access to an Internet connection in the country where you want to access Netflix, you could create a personal VPN there (using software like DD-WRT). This will take some doing, but it will essentially give you a private VPN with an IP address that Netflix is unlikely to block.
- Roll back to an older Netflix version. Some Reddit users have reported success using an older version of Netflix (specifically, the December 2015 or earlier version) in conjunction with a proxy. This apparently works because Netflix had not yet introduced the proxy blocking at that time. This solution is unlikely to work over the long term, but it may be a way around the ban for the moment.
Chances are good that VPN companies or other providers will eventually figure out a way to restore proxy connections to Netflix — or, even better, that the company will react positively to the widespread backlash it is facing over the VPN ban, and decide to change course. By nature, blocking VPNs and other proxies is a cat-and-mouse game, and it’s only a matter of time before someone thinks of a good way to beat the ban (without relying on a private IP address).
But for now, the strategies above may help.