There are literally millions of people who use Netflix through a VPN service, yet over the last few weeks they’ve had real problems. Although these people obviously have to subscribe to Netflix, they use VPNs to hide their location and gain access to different version of the Netflix library. The reason is simple, although the subscription cost is similar wherever you are, the US version of Netflix has much more content that the other locales – if you use a US based IP address then you’ll be able to access that version irrespective of your actual location.
Unfortunately not any more, recently Netflix block VPN services across the board using a new technique not used previously. Many of the online media giants try and block people using VPN and proxy services to access their content, with mostly mixed results. This is because it’s virtually impossible to completely detect the presence of a VPN, so the usual tactics involving manually locating these services and their addresses, or monitoring for multiple connections on single addresses – then adding them to a block list. It’s very time consuming and resource intensive, also it’s easily countered by simply rotating the addresses used on the servers.
So How do Netflix Block VPN Services Now?
It’s pretty sneaky but devastatingly effective as people have found out. It’s all to do with the classification of IP addresses and being able to detect them automatically. As well as being classified by location IP addresses are also tagged with another label – residential or commercial. This is an important piece of information that Netflix have used, instead of trying to identifying individual connections, they have merely blocked any commercial IP address from connecting.
Virtually every VPN server resides in a data center somewhere and hence will be tagged as a commercial IP address. The residential addresses are mostly assigned by ISPs directly to individual users and are allowed to connect without restriction. The resultant effect – Netflix block VPN services virtually across the board and lots of very unhappy subscribers.
Any VPN/Proxies Still Working?
There are a couple of services still working but not many, there are not many residential VPN services that may change as the service providers change. The solution is to ensure that any connection used to stream content from Netflix comes from a residential IP address and not a commercial one. The problem though is that these IP addresses are much harder to come by than the commercial ones, they also cost significantly more to run servers on due to the bandwidth requirements – at time of writing there is for instance only one US DNS Netflix solution which is working.
One provider that has instigated a novel solution is Identity Cloaker who have designed a system where only traffic routed for the Netflix servers is rerouted through a bank of residential IP addresses. They already have a very low key approach to accessing media sites, they never advertise the functionality, currently it’s one of the very few VPN services still working with Netflix.