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Netflix not working with your VPN? Here’s why…

Dominik

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Netflix not working with your VPN

If you’re having issues with Netflix not working with VPN services, we’re afraid that’s by design. Much like any other media company on the planet, Netflix is bound by seemingly countless licensing agreements which tend to come with various geographical restrictions the company’s legally obligated to enforce.

Though there are still ways to fool Netflix into thinking you’re in a different country than you actually are, always be aware that in doing so, you’re acting in direct violation of its terms of service.

Granted, no one has (yet) been banned for using a proxy or a virtual private network to circumvent the streaming platform’s content restrictions as of early 2020, but Netflix would be fully within its rights to start sanctioning such accounts.

Given how there’s no surefire way of telling if and when it could start doing so, proceed at your own risk (or skip to the end for some peace of mind from this disclaimer).

Why Netflix isn’t working with your VPN

While Netflix is certainly doing a better job at identifying traffic patterns with obfuscated origins than most, the truth is, there’s not much it can do to truly prevent its users from location spoofing.

In spite of its multiple anti-proxy systems, the bulk of the mechanism Netflix has in place to detect VPN and proxy users comes down to IP vetting. Too bad for its technology team then, that circumventing IP vetting is kind of the whole point of a VPN.

Sure, many of the largest players in the industry have found a significant bulk of their server farms blacklisted by Netflix since the start of the company’s war on location spoofers in early 2016.

Yet many more prevail to this date, offering dynamic systems specifically designed for the purpose of removing geographical content restrictions on Netflix. Choosing a VPN that has a positive track record with bypassing geographical restrictions on Netflix is at least half the challenge here.

Luckily for you, that list is so lengthy that even just summarizing the best VPNs for Netflix is no mean feat. As for which one in particular should you opt for, that will largely depend on your actual location, i.e. the content that isn’t available in your region, and not necessarily the best country for online anonymity.

“You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy” – if Netflix greets you with that error message, check whether your VPN provider offers a specialized service for bypassing its content lock and ask for a refund if it doesn’t because you’ll need a different solution.

Sure, Netflix acknowledges that there are plenty of legitimate reasons for using VPNs that aren’t in any violation of its ToS, but maintains there’s no feasible way for it to consistently tell those use cases apart from good ol’ location spoofers. That’s why it’s simply blocking any and all VPN traffic it identifies; add that to the list of reasons against using “free” VPNs and proxies.

If you’re not accessing Netflix via a traditional VPN setup but a convoluted IPv6 proxy tunnel – the company still doesn’t care to differentiate between those methods and won’t knowingly allow users to stream content in that manner.

In most circumstances, the reason Netflix caught you spoofing your geographical location is because you did so with the help of a free service that already performed the same task or attempted doing so on behalf of countless other users. An IP previously associated with bad actors or merely actors that are nowhere near your supposed location is all it takes for your spoofing plan to fall flat.

That’s yet another advantage of investing in a dedicated-IP VPN. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to consistently circumvent Netflix’s content restrictions while also sharing an IP address with anyone else, simultaneously or not.

Should we even be telling you this?

Well, of course we should. Even if freedom of speech isn’t your cup of tea, there’s still the fact that VPNs are perfectly legal.

Naturally, you can’t use them to break the law, or rather, doing so would be illegal. But guess what? Netflix’s word isn’t the law. Its terms of use are just that: provisions detailing the manner wherein the company’s providing you with its services.

And while they could hence be grounds for account suspensions, the highly selective fashion in which they’ve been enforced since the inception of the streaming service already set a notable precedent when it comes to hiding your location from Netflix.

In the long run, even Netflix itself wants to get rid of geographic restrictions on its content, which may explain why it’s been rather lax about sanctioning its VPN-reliant users so far. As a matter of fact, that does explain it, as even Netflix CEO Reed Hastings previously went on record to describe VPN users as an insignificant portion of the firm’s subscriber base.

All things considered, even if Netflix detects you using a content unblocker solution of any sort, VPN or not, the company’s track record suggests there’s essentially nothing to be worried about in terms of sanctions impacting your account.


Editor’s Note

Netflix not working with VPN” was written by Dominik Bosnjak, a long-time VPN-user-turned-advocate who spends more time scrutinizing VPN Providers on a daily basis than he’d like to admit. When he isn’t writing VPN Guides and covering general Tech News, he’s probably spending time with his dog, video games, or both. Fun fact: the Shih Tzu in question is the only remaining creature in Dominik’s life who hasn’t told him they’re sick of him talking about Best VPN practices and government-sponsored erosion of digital privacy which made using the Internet less convenient over the years. He occasionally dabbles in video editing, Wall Street memes, and demonstrating a remarkable lack of guitar-playing ability.

If you want more tidbit-sized rants about any of those things, you can find him on Twitter @dddominikk.

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