Should you worry about Netflix blocking VPNs? Nope

Update April 2016: If you still can’t access USA Netflix check out this guide

The big question at the moment is:

Should you worry about Netflix blocking VPNs?

No. And here is why. Well at least reasons pertinent to the practicality of blocking them!.

Regular readers may recall I wrote an article in January last year about Netflix blocking VPN connections. You can read it here.

The fact is Netflix has always blocked VPNs, and it has always done so by blocking IP ranges and that is pretty much the only method reasonably practicable to use. The truth is that its totally futile as even Netflix agrees.  I read an article over on tech dirt that summarised Netflix’s response pretty damn well so I won’t regurgitate it here other than to say this.

Blocking an IP or an IP range will only work for as long as the VPN company keeps that same IP or IP range. Which will likely be until 5 minutes AFTER they realise its been blocked before switching to a new one!

Here is the full tech dirt article, it focusses on the customer service annoyances but is very direct in its viewpoint and it is a viewpoint shared by UnlockWorldTV.

Is there anything Netflix can do to block a VPN?

They could use deep packet inspection techniques. This would prevent some of the smaller VPN companies temporarily in all likelihood, but most VPNs have China in their sites as a potential swathe of customers stuck behind the great firewall and so they already implemented that. This means that Netflix cannot determine if the traffic hitting its site is behind a VPN or otherwise irrespective of the IP address.

Unless it had a real time list of IP addresses and their owners it is simply not possible or practice to engage in blocking VPNs. And even then, what if a UK user uses a UK VPN IP Address to access the service. That doesn’t violate the TOS but it throws up whether Netflix is asking you to give up a statutory right to privacy.

The fact i wrote about this last year should tell you that its cyclical in nature. And by that I mean, Netflix feels it needs to, or likely its contracted studios feel it needs to remind you of the terms of service every once in a while.  As I previously wrote, using the VPN is definitely against the Terms of Service, and I shall let you argue over whether this infringes on your privacy rights rather than discuss it here, but it is absolutely legal and within your ability to use a VPN for whatever you wish.

The only difference between Netflix’s stance on VPNs right now vs. any other time is that its stance is in the media. Netflix has, can and always will periodically block IP ranges where they are known to belong to VPN providers. However Netflix is the mouse in this proverb cat and mouse chase and I don’t fancy its odds of winning any time soon.

I note in the media that there is no mention of DNS addresses or Smart DNS services. However these will come under the same banner as VPNs in that they can change DNS at any time.

In the end, You don’t have anything to worry about long term. You may occasionally be blocked but if it lasts more than a few hours before your VPN provider unblocks you I’d be very surprised! just do a google search for Netflix being blocked and its always rectified quickly.

My advice is just keep your existing VPN or DNS service and let the media storm simmer down.

Also enjoy them films and tv shows they don’t want you to watch!

See other Netflix Related Articles

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Watch Netflix in Indonesia and Kenya

Avoid Netflix Tax in Australia

Watch Netflix USA on Apple TV

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