- Jun 15, 2011
Netflix has stepped up its efforts to ban VPN and proxy users from bypassing geographical restrictions. The streaming service is now blocking residential IP addresses too, since some unblocking tools use these to bypass restrictions. This isn't without collateral damage as many regular Internet users without a VPN now report "missing content" on Netflix.
Netflix logoSix years ago, Netflix started blocking customers who tried to access its service over a commercial VPN or proxy service.
These changes came after copyright holders repeatedly complained that ‘pirates’ were bypassing Netflix’s geographical restrictions.
The VPN ban caused a lot of frustration for legitimate VPN users, many of whom had no intention of breaking any rules. At the same time, the VPN ‘pirates’ found workarounds by picking services that actively bypass Netflix’s restrictions.
There are various ways VPN services have managed to circumvent these blocking efforts. Most keep the technical details private, but it’s commonly known that some are using residential IP-addresses as proxies, to make it look like VPN users are regular ISP subscribers.
This cat and mouse game has caused quite a bit of frustration at Netflix headquarters and, over the past few days, the company appears to have intensified its blocking measures.
There is a flurry of complaints on social media from users whose VPN services were suddenly ‘blocked’ by Netflix. Previously, these people couldn’t play any content while using a VPN. That changed last year. Now, VPN users can still see Netflix originals while other content is hidden and blocked.
People who try to access blocked titles directly through a saved URL will see Netflix’s dreaded proxy/VPN error message instead.
Netflix Bans Residential IP-Addresses
Netflix doesn’t explain which IP addresses are blocked and why, but the most recent efforts are much broader than before. This issue was brought to our attention by WeVPN, which noticed that the updated geo-fencing system is blocking its residential IP addresses.
Netflix has stepped up its efforts to ban VPN and proxy users from bypassing restrictions, which affects regular subscribers as well.