In the past, people accepted the content in their country’s Netflix catalog and saw no need to use a VPN. But why? Netflix wasn’t as popular globally and did not need to be diligent or effective in forbidding outside access. Also, most of the VPNs were less diverse in terms of functionality and features. However, with billions of streaming service subscribers worldwide nowadays, Netflix had 207+ million in Q1 of 2021. The ability to see the entire catalog is in greater demand and drastically harder to obtain. For that reason, let’s answer, “do VPN work on Netflix?”
Requirements for VPN to work on Netflix
The short answer is, yes, some VPNs work with Netflix. In fact, we demonstrated bypassing Netflix VPN block in the past. However, this was a straightforward guide with no elaboration on the process. What if you plan to use a different VPN provider? Or, you simply want to understand which ExpressVPN features make it possible? Well, here are the conditions for the VPN to work on Netflix that must be met:
1. VPN use isn’t restricted or forbidden
Before you start using any type of VPN, you must ensure that either:
- Your network administrator at home, educational establishment, or the workplace, hasn’t taken steps to disable VPN use on your computer or the router.
- You took measures against local VPN blocking by hiding your VPN use so that you can slip out unnoticed.
2. Reputable VPN provider
3. VPN server location and speed
This is a key requirement for unblocking the Netflix catalog with a VPN. Besides being able to hide your IP with a VPN, the server must be located in the country whose Netflix catalog you want to unlock, either physically or virtually. What’s more, that VPN server must sustain sufficient VPN speed to allow for streaming in the desired video/audio quality. After all, successful unlocking is worthless if you get stuck in a buffering loop or experience choppy playback.
Rock-solid encryption, preferably 128-bit or 256-bit AES, is a necessity to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. It will also stop Netflix and your ISP (Internet Service Provider) from matching your VPN Internet activities to your real identity and location.
5. Lack of IPv4 or IPv6 Leaks
Detection tools Netflix uses might bust you even after concealing your IP address. That’s usually the cause of the “Whoops, something went wrong… Streaming Error… You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again.” error. It’s a sign that you’re using a low-quality VPN or VPN proxy, and that you need a high-grade service.
6. No DNS leaks
We mentioned this in the “hide your VPN use” guide in entry #1. It’s crucial that your IP address and the DNS server match. If your VPN provider doesn’t offer their own DNS servers (which is rare among top-tier ones), switch to a different DNS server from the one your ISP offers. There are a plethora of publicly available free DNS servers, one of which is Google Public DNS.
7. No WebRTC leaks
This is rarely a problem for desktop or mobile VPN apps. However, it plagues users who watch Netflix via VPN browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, Brave, Opera, etc. Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is a useful open-source technology that can create a security vulnerability. To clarify, it can bypass your encryption and leak your identity and location. So, if you don’t want to change the method, ensure the VPN browser extension can authorize WebRTC under the VPN IP address only. You can also block all WebRTC requests manually or via a separate browser extension.
8. Security protocol
Not all security protocols are created equal. Some are built for top speed at the cost of security, while others pride themselves on being unbreakable, but significantly slow down your Internet connection. You can:
- Try all available protocols to select the best
- Settle for an optimal choice – OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- Use your VPN provider’s proprietary security protocol (if it exists)
- Consult your VPN provider’s Customer Support for advice
Is using VPN to unblock Netflix illegal?
Now that you can, let’s analyze whether you should. This is the legality and morality of using a VPN to circumvent Netflix measures:
You may view the Netflix content primarily within the country in which you have established your account and only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such content.
So, it’s illegal because Netflix is bound by licensing and distribution contracts sign with content owners or producers. Therefore, it’s their legal obligation to ensure this term of use is enforced.
Is Netflix making improvements?
Yes. According to Harvard Business Review, they expanded to operations in 190 countries as of 2017, and we believe the number might be between 195 and 210 in 2021. Additionally, with competitors such as Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, and others breathing down their neck, Netflix is motivated to renegotiate deals and sign new contracts to expand the availability of their catalogs.
Netflix tries its best to keep unauthorized access through an auto-detection system that scans IP addresses, DNS servers. Oftentimes, they investigate the number of users on the same IP address. Moreover, they purchase lists of IP addresses VPN servers use and block them constantly. Luckily, they haven’t punished users in other ways except consistently preventing access. So, you’re safe using a VPN for Netflix for now. Furthermore, VPN providers continuously fight to maintain their ability to circumvent VPN blocks and add new IP addresses and IP masking features. VPN services also improve identity and location leak protection to ensure it stays ahead of Netflix’s anti-VPN measures.