Thanks to licensing and copyright restrictions in each country, Netflix may have different shows and films on offer. But, many of us have been sneakily getting around this issue with VPNs, which allow us to disguise our IP addresses from the Netflix police.
Unfortunately, our VPN tricks - otherwise known as virtual private network - may be coming to an end as Netflix is making moves to shut down those bypassing geographical restrictions by blocking their IP addresses.
What happens if you use a VPN to watch Netflix?
The news, initially reported byTorrentFreak, claims that those who use a VPN or proxy server to change countries will only be able to access Netflix Originals as this is the only type of content to be wholly owned by the streaming service.
The news isn’t entirely new, as Netflix has made efforts to block VPN users for the past six years. Previously, those that tried to access Netflix internationally wouldn’t be able to watch any content. At least now they’ll still let you binge BoJack Horseman.
Netflix hasn’t revealed which VPN users will be blocked or why, but it seems they’re getting stricter. TorrentFreak explained:
This issue was brought to our attention by WeVPN, which noticed that the updated geo-fencing system is blocking its residential IP addresses.
New Netflix VPN restrictions are affecting regular users
Netflix and VPN providers have been playing cat and mouse for years, but it seems the new updates to the geo-hopping crackdown have been spilling over onto regular Netflix users.
Complaints have been filling Netflix’s social media, with people stating that content is disappearing on their wifi but works when connected to their mobile data. The streaming service has yet to make any announcements but has urged one customer to check with their internet service provider who will be able to determine why their IP address was banned and issue a new one:
Help is here! If you do not have proxies, VPNs, or other routing software but still see this message, contact your internet service provider. They'll be able to determine why your IP address is associated with proxy or VPN use.
Netflix’s intensified VPN/proxy banning efforts is also having a rather unexpected effect; immigrants who have been using VPNs to access subtitles in their mother tongue can no longer do so. One person commented online:
Hey Netflix, I need content with subtitles in different languages. Please stop blocking VPN! Since you don't provide subtitles in languages I need in my own region... don't block access to other regions. Alternatively you can provide subtitles in all languages!
Netflix has now reached out to TorrentFreak, claiming that they are working to help people who have been ‘inadvertently affected.’