Lately, Netflix released an official blog post explaining why media contents differs by countries, and NO, Netflix not blocking VPN.

netflix not blocking vpn

Proxy vs DNS

According to the blog post, we can read that :

Some members use proxies or “unblockers” to access titles available outside their territory. To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are.

Netflix is enforcing their method of detection of tools such as DNS unblockers and proxies. However, VPN are a complete different stories.

While it is pretty easy, today, to discover if someone is using proxies or such “unblockers”, it is VERY hard and uncertain to discover if someone is using a VPN.

To make it short, a proxy will send headers to the Netflix server saying something like : “hello I am a proxy”. It modifies all the data you send to the Netflix servers adding some kind of footprint about the proxy it is passing the data through. Yes transparent proxies exist, but they are generally (not always) easier to detect than VPN.

In this other hand, using a VPN, is exactly like you were plugging your computer inside another location, and using it from there. Let’s say you are from Europe, but on vacation in the US and then can enjoy legally Netflix US from your hotel room. This is what a VPN does, it doesn’t add any header, nor it modify the packet (=information / data) you send to the Netflix server.

Netflix not blocking VPN

Hence my article, I want to correct the mass media saying that Netflix is cracking down on VPN users. They are not, and even if they would, they couldn’t do it efficiently due to the nature of VPN. A VPN can be completely transparent, that’s its purpose, hence totally undetectable.

However, some VPN technologies / set-ups can be “guessed” (hello, “port fail” vulnerability) to be VPN and then blocked easily (with some amount of false positives), a majority of VPNs, can not be detected AT ALL.

Some well know VPN providers could also be blocked according to the IP ranges they use, but they’ll change their IP, and other less know providers could slip through the net.

To sum up : No, Netflix  NOT blocking VPN anymore than it used to do it (if it did). Text analysis 101, in the blog post that started all this, NOTHING can tell us that Netflix is cracking down on VPN (even if they are, which I highly doubt).


  1. Very untrue. In fact, Netflix is blocking VPN accounts very hard. How exactly they did not mention. They blacklistes whole ranges of IPs of known VPN servers (the end of the tunnel into the US). I followed twitter during the last night (start of house of cards 4) and it seems all VPN providers, also paid services, have big troubles with Netflix. Nearly all services are blocked. Netflix has done a good job — at the other side they loose so many clients. Twitter is full of people shouting at Netflix and cancelling their subscription. Let’s see if Netflix will remain hard blocking VPNs…

  2. Hi Chris,

    Thanks a lot for the feedback. Will investigate as well and update this post accordingly. It really sucks Netflix chose to do this, and they can indeed block the “known” IPs from VPN providers.

    However, I am curious to know if they block “regular” host such as DigitalOcean, since they do not sell VPN, but only regular server (in which you can easily install your own VPN server).

    I’ll probably try it when I find the time and report on this site.