Does Netflix Let You Use a VPN?
Like any normal person, you probably got tired of dealing with geo-blocks on Netflix, and decided to find a solution. A few quick Google searches and you found it: VPNs. They will hide your IP, essentially stopping Netflix from seeing what country you’re from.
But you didn’t start looking for a decent VPN service just yet. Right now, you’re probably wondering whether or not using a VPN with Netflix is a good idea. Will the site detect that you’re using one? What will happen then? Will Netflix ban your account?
We’ll answer all those questions (and much more) in this article. So be sure to stick around!
First Things First – Can Netflix Even Detect VPNs?
Most marketing messages would have you believe that no, Netflix can’t do that. But the reality is completely different.
Yes, Netflix can definitely detect VPNs. The site could be programmed to focus on sign-ins that originate from the same IP address, for example. If 100 people are logging into their Netflix accounts from the same IP, that tells Netflix they’re using a VPN.
Netflix could also ask some employees to sign up for popular VPNs. They then collect the server IPs, and add them to a database. Netflix can then refuse connections from those IPs. However, we don’t really think the company does this because it’d require a lot of manpower and time, so it’s not very cost-efficient.
What might work is using geo-location service, though. Companies like IP2Location provide access to databases that contain proxy and VPN IP addresses. Netflix just has to pay a monthly fee to get access to updated databases. They then set up automated scripts that flag and block traffic from those IP addresses.
Next, Let’s Take a Look at Netflix’s ToS
Their Terms of Service should give us a pretty good idea of how they view and handle unblockers like VPNs. While the company doesn’t mention these services by name, certain phrases make it pretty obvious that using a VPN is against Netflix’s ToS:
First, we have this part:
“You may view the Netflix content primarily within the country in which you have established your account …”
And then there’s this section:
“You also agree not to: circumvent, remove, alter, deactivate, degrade or thwart any of the content protections in the Netflix service;”
Circumvent is the key word there. It’s pretty obvious that the phrase refers to using a VPN to bypass Netflix’s geo-blocks. Those restrictions are the content protections the ToS refer to. Netflix uses them to show copyright holders that they enforce the licensing agreements they signed with them.
Finally, there’s this part:
So yeah, judging by those statements, your account could be in trouble if Netflix catches you using a VPN.
tl;dr: the ToS you agree to when signing up for Netflix say that bypassing the site’s geo-blocks is against the rules, and that you could lose access to the site if you’re caught doing that.
Does That Mean Netflix Will Ban Your Account If You Use a VPN?
Judging by that we just said, you’d think that yes, they’d do exactly that.
Well, surprise, surprise – they actually won’t ban or terminate your account! At least, we haven’t heard of that happening to any VPN user yet. We scoured Reddit, and just weren’t able to find an instance of that.
If you know someone who experienced that, however, please let us know in the comments.
So What Happens When Netflix Catches You Using a VPN?
Just because they won’t ban you doesn’t mean they’ll let you off the hook. When Netflix realizes you’re using a VPN, the site will route your connection to the proxy error page. If you haven’t seen it in any photos yet, it looks something like this:
You won’t be able to get rid of that page until you disconnect from the VPN you’re using. It’s a less severe punishment than terminating your account, sure, but it’s still annoying and frustrating.
Can VPNs Avoid Detection from Netflix?
Yes, that is possible. VPNs just need to refresh their IPs very often. That way, Netflix won’t have enough time to detect and block them.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell how often a VPN provider refreshes their IPs just by looking at their websites. They don’t really mention that. Instead, they just say their service “unblocks Netflix.” Not very helpful, to be honest.
Don’t worry, though – there is an online service you can use to find a good VPN that works with Netflix: StreamCatcher. It’s a tool developed by ProPrivacy whose main purpose is to tell you which regional libraries have which Netflix titles. But besides that, it also tells you what servers you need to use from which VPN provider to unblock said titles.
For example, if we look up Superbad on StreamCatcher, we’ll get this result:
According to the tool, we can watch the movie on Netflix if we use US, Canadian, or UK servers from either NordVPN or PrivateVPN.
We tested all the locations the tool recommended, and we can confirm that those claims are true. Here’s us using a UK server from NordVPN to watch Superbad as proof:
By the way, we removed the IP of the server to make sure nobody from Netflix could see it in this article. If they would, they’d be able to block connections from it.
Read More: NZXT Cam! Free System Monitoring Software.
How Often Do You Use VPNs with Netflix?
Do you only use them to unblock a title every once in a while, or are you pretty much connected to a VPN the whole time you’re binging shows and movies on the site?
Also, which VPN has worked the best for you? By that, we mean which provider helped you unblock anything you wanted instantly without having to deal with the proxy error.
Go ahead and tell us about your experience in the comments section below.