Jul 31 2020
If you’re a streamer then you know internet censorship started way before Netflix and VPNs became a handy tool after then. But I’m not sure if you know about anti-VPN technology and how governments use them to track and block users with proxies. Once providers like Netflix and its partners discovered this technology, they created one of the most advanced detection systems apart. In fact, it is the second-best VPN detection system after The Great Firewall of China.
So, can you get banned when streaming on Netflix using a VPN? Hmm, not really. What happens is that Netflix will detect you using a VPN and you’ll see a proxy use error message on your screen. The battle of VPN use is actually between Netflix and the VPNs and while Netflix doesn’t allow accessing content from VPNs, they haven’t terminated any user’s contract for doing so.
How Does The Netflix VPN Ban Work?
For the normal observer, you just have to log in to the site and watch whichever show that’s currently hot. Well, Netflix is geo-sensitive and even if they may not state on their homepage, their library varies from one region to another. The US library, for instance, is one of the largest and has selections exclusive to the US market only. If you live or have traveled overseas, you may not be able to access the library.
To get a clear picture of how the VPN ban works, you’ll need to understand Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), IP blocking, and Port blocking.
- Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)
In DPI, your service provider can examine your traffic through their network and log that information. Netflix can easily team up with broadband providers and probably block your usage if they suspect you’re streaming with a VPN.
- IP blocking
It is obvious that IP addresses are the main trails for successful IP tracking. Netflix normally checks your IP to determine if you’re from within the permitted country. However, with the advent of VPNs, Netflix has gathered a blacklist of IP addresses from VPN providers which they use to block out suspecting customers.
- Port blocking
Similar to the technique above, your network administrator or third-parties like Netflix can block all ports associated with certain VPNs.
Can You Bypass The Netflix VPN ban?
While Netflix has implemented stringent rules for streaming and access, it is still possible to unblock the Netflix VPN ban. There are several ways to bypass this and here are the most successful tricks so far:
A reliable VPN provider
Netflix may have a blacklist of VPNs but they surely don’t have one for all VPNs in the world. A reliable VPN provider can help bypass the anti-VPN hurdles and allow you to access Netflix without errors. Good VPN providers know that Netflix logs the list of VPNs and they are known for constantly changing their IP addresses.
Using a VPN is easy too. Here are simple steps to follow:
- Once you’ve subscribed to the service, go to their official website and download the application.
- Install the VPN and set up all proxy requirements, which the application will do automatically anyway.
- Next, launch your VPN and choose the server country which you do not have access to and connect to the internet.
- Launch Netflix and stream the show you wish. Some VPNs might allow streaming via web browsers while others may restrict you to stream Netflix via the provider’s app.
Dedicated IP address
Also, if you don’t trust the VPN’s general IPs, you can ask for a dedicated IP address. A dedicated IP address ensures that you don’t get caught easily as it records minimal traffic, just like someone at home using a computer. However, dedicated IPs come at an extra cost.
What Happens If You Get Caught?
Getting caught is inevitable if you are not following the right steps to mask your IP address. If Netflix finds out you are using a VPN, a streaming error will pop up and refuse to play any title. But when you stop using the VPN Netflix will redirect you back to its regular site with a library that matches your location.
Generally, you won’t get punished for streaming using a VPN. Netflix will certainly not suspend your account either. They still seem not as serious as services like Amazon or HBO Now which locks access to the geolocation where your account registered.
Is It Illegal To Bypass Netflix Geo-blocking Using A VPN?
The legality of using VPNs is a hot debate and even though Netflix has not agreed to its use, it is still not entirely illegal. Here’s an excerpt from Netflix terms and conditions that clearly states the streaming services take on VPNs.
“You may view a movie or TV show through the Netflix service primarily within the country in which you have established your account and only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such movie or TV show. The content that may be available to watch will vary by geographic location. Netflix will use technologies to verify your geographic location.”
If you look closely, there isn’t anywhere it states that it is outright illegal. The only issues are those regarding copyright laws and other issues. But there are no terms that state signing up to a VPN is actually against the law.
Ever since the start in 2014, Netflix doesn’t seem to slow down on cracking VPNs. As more platforms try to bypass Netflix, we may see the streaming provider bringing in tougher restrictions. However, it’s still hard to make full implementation as these geo-restricted users make up to 30 million of the total subscribers in Netflix. They may not afford to lose so many people if they start enforcing tight laws. Netflix also aims to reach a wider population and stream content in more countries. In the meantime, you can get ahead of these changes and continue to use reliable VPNs that mask your identity and unlock unlimited content from Netflix.