For our American readers this might seem a bit confusing, after all Netflix now operates in over 160 countries now and the number is rising all the time. So why would anyone need a US IP address for Netflix when they can probably already access it in their own country.
The problem is that although the Netflix subscription is pretty much global and indeed is roughly the same cost all over the world, the service is far from equal. In fact in some cases it’s not even close, the UK version of Netflix for example is often thought to be one of the better localized versions (which it is) but it doesn’t come close to the US version for quantity and quality of content.
If you connect with an American IP address to Netflix then you will currently have access to some 6300+ movies and films, back to the UK version and there’s about 3700! These figures change all the time as licenses expire but you get the picture the USA Netflix has nearly double the UK version. Compared to some of the more local versions of Netflix then this disparity is even greater – for example check out the comparisons with Australian Netflix or Canadian and you’ll find it’s much worse.
The simple reality is that licensing all these movies costs big money and because of the antiquated way much of these rights are handled – Netflix has to pay on a per country basis which means that the bigger markets get all the best films – i.e the US version of Netflix. Which is why if you’re sitting there watching some small rather underwhelming version of Netflix you’re likely to feel a little jealous.
The Benefit of Using a US IP Address for Netflix
Is in fact, quite simple, if you access the Netflix site with an American IP then you’ll get redirected to the US version of Netflix complete with it’s massive movie catalogue. However before you rush off and pay for a cheap proxy or VPN to hide your real IP address then you need to be aware of another twist in the story. The vast majority of proxies and VPNs that are perfectly capable of supplying a US IP address will be blocked by the media giant. IN fact there’s hardly any of them that work anymore.
Proxies have been blocked for some time, Netflix is capable of detecting all of these automatically – see here Using a Proxy for Netflix. VPNs were the solution for some time, in fact before Netflix went global millions used them across the globe to access the media site. Unfortunately Netflix have started a crackdown against the VPN services too – in a slightly sneaky way by blocking any address that originates from a commercial service (all IP addresses are classified either commercial or residential).
This has caused havoc for the many users who use this method and effectively 99% of the VPN providers cannot be used to access Netflix anymore. Fortunately these is a solution and although Netflix block VPN services has almost been 100% effective the ban is not completely total.
A select few of the VPN providers like Identity Cloaker have been able to bypass this block by incorporating residential classed IP addresses into their infrastructure which are not able to be blocked. However this solution is difficult to implement and expensive so it’s likely not many VPN companies will implement these solutions.
James Hamilton, BBC Block VPN Services, Waber Press, 2016