Netflix fights VPN region bypass by blocking some residential IP addresses
A hot potato: It appears Netflix is stepping up its efforts to prevent users from bypassing region locks with VPNs and proxies by banning hundreds of thousands of residential IP addresses. Now, some legitimate subscribers who do not use VPNs find themselves unable to access certain content.
Netflix began banning VPN providers in 2014 after receiving several complaints from rights holders. Users and VPN services continued to find workarounds, and in 2016 PayPal allied with Netflix in cutting payment processing services associated with some VPN providers. This back and forth has been going on for years.
A workaround adopted by some VPNs is to use residential addresses to route traffic. Netflix systems treat these addresses as legitimate users, so those outside the United States can bypass region locks. This method was not a big secret and worked for a while.
Hi Raymond, help is here! 🚨 If you don’t have a proxy, VPN, or other routing software but still see this message, contact your ISP. They will be able to determine why your IP address is associated with the use of a proxy or VPN. 👉 https://t.co/JMty6kcu3j ^ KG
– Netflix CS (@Netflixhelps) August 11, 2021
However, TorrentFreak notes that Netflix now appears to be blocking residential IP addresses associated with certain VPN providers. WeVPN was the first to notice that the streaming service was blocking its residential addresses. The problem is, hundreds of thousands of subscribers who don’t use VPNs find themselves limited to Netflix originals. Others are outright restricted to access and receive a notification to turn off their VPN.
While Netflix clearly has the right to stop using VPN in its service, banning entire blocks of residential IP addresses might not be the best solution. The streaming giant is aware of the problem but has not officially recognized it or offered a suitable solution. The best solution the Netflix customer service Twitter feed can produce is to contact your ISP to see if they can tell you why your IP address is associated with a proxy or VPN.