Does Netflix ban accounts using VPN?

The simple answer to the Netflix VPN ban question is — no, they don’t. So take a nice deep breath, relax, and read on if you want to know more about the whys and what-ifs.

There are many layers to this ‘onion’, so if you choose to read on, we’ll peel them off, one at a time, to give you a much fuller picture into the current state of Netflix’s location-based restrictions.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Why does Netflix block VPNs anyway?
The history of Netflix and its VPN blocks
Is it legal to bypass Netflix’s geo-blocking using a VPN?
How does Netflix spot the VPNs?
How good are VPNs at getting around the Netflix geo-blockades?
So, how can you get around the Netflix blocks?

Why does Netflix block VPNs anyway?

Users and viewers worldwide probably look at Netflix and every other streaming service to utilize geo-blocking technology as a bunch of spoilsports. I mean, where’s the harm in letting people watch those programs wherever they are? They’ve paid for a subscription, so it’s not like they’re stealing, is it?

The real issue is between Netflix and its providers. If, for example, Showtime, HBO or the BBC create viewing that is accessed through their own paid-for channels and streaming services, they don’t want viewers accessing it somewhere else for free.

Where Netflix has paid for a licence, legally they’re expected to protect the provider’s needs by conforming to the agreed rights. Those licenses come at a range of prices too. For countries with low subscriber numbers, a license is far cheaper to acquire than in the countries delivering their shows to much larger audiences. And the cost of a global license? Well, you can imagine what kind of deal would have to be struck there.

With Netflix having different catalogs for each of the countries they operate in, their rights issues are all unique, country-to-country, and program-to-program.

The history of Netflix and its VPN blocks

Recently, if you count 4 years as recent, Netflix stepped up its VPN detection. Before then, they didn’t have a system in place to prevent VPN access at all, giving viewers worldwide the access to their entire catalog of superb programming.

Even more recently (a couple of years ago), Netflix started to actively search out VPN providers. Their ability to detect and block the VPNs alternative servers has improved significantly, making accessing different country’s viewing a greater challenge than ever. This action has only increased the effort made by the VPN services to beat the blocks, and for the time being, the game of cat and mouse continues.

For quite some time, just about any of the VPN services would get you access to the shows you wanted to watch, but now, well, most of them won’t get you through, however many servers you switch between. Only a handful of the premium options have the means to continue to crack Netflix’s blockades.

Oh, and StreamLocator, of course.

StreamLocator continually works to ensure reliable access to Netflix and all the other services supported. Because they focus only on streaming services, they ensure 100% attention on providing unfettered access.

Netflix’s big talk of bans and fines

At the time, Netflix took a strong stance against the VPN service providers because it was in their best interests to keep their providers happy. There were reports of threats to ban accounts and take legal action against the perpetrators. However, there didn’t seem to be any report of that happening in any of their many geographical locations.

They’ve done an adequate job since then, showing their content providers that they mean business, as their technical systems are working well and preventing a great deal of the access viewers once found easy. It’s still an uphill struggle for them though; the job of creating new methods to find and block VPNs is much harder than that of the VPNs finding their way around them.

Is it legal to bypass Netflix’s geo-blocking using a VPN?

If you read through Netflix’s terms of use, you’ll see that they’ve made it quite clear that they don’t want you to use VPNs. This is all down to the agreements they’ve made with their content providers.

“You may view a movie or TV show through the Netflix service 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 movie or TV show. The content that may be available to watch will vary by geographic location. Netflix will use technologies to verify your geographic location.”

However, there isn’t anywhere that says it’s illegal. There are issues with copyright law, rights issues and more, of course, but as a consumer, signing up to a VPN to watch geo-blocked Netflix content, so far, doesn’t appear to break any laws.

Territorial licensing

When the distributor sells the rights to a program in a particular location, it’s called territorial licensing.

Netflix has openly admitted that its goal would be for complete global licensing if that were in any way possible. International access to content, without doubt, would raise their subscription numbers. Viewers in countries with smaller catalogs could then access everything they’re missing, and demand would grow for the Netflix service.

However, a global licence is much more complicated—and vastly more expensive to acquire.

How does Netflix spot the VPNs?

VPNs use servers with IP addresses that show the specific and required country for that country’s Netflix catalog.

If Netflix spots that the same IP address is being utilized to access their servers by a large number of users, incredibly unlikely to be in the same household, it raises a red flag, and the address gets blacklisted.

The most successful VPN providers can afford to buy replacement IPs almost as fast as Netflix can block them. The smaller, less successful providers aren’t so fortunate, and that’s why so many of them can’t access Netflix locations where they once could.

How good are VPNs at getting around the Netflix geo-blockades?

Once-upon-a-time, they were great; yet now? Not so much.

Jumping to a server located in New York or California would give viewers in Canada, Europe or anywhere else, easy-access a few years ago. However, now, only the leading services seem to have the easy and direct access viewers need.

The free VPN providers stand almost no chance anymore. The cheaper services are just as unlikely to provide seamless access without having to jump servers here and there.

Netflix is working diligently to create a system that recognizes not just the most popular VPN servers, but all the way down the list to stop them all.

So, how can you get around the Netflix blocks?

You could pay into one of the more successful VPN services. You won’t get taken to court or lose your Netflix account if you do, after all. It’s one option, but it’s not ideal. You can’t be sure when Netflix will find a way to block them too.

What you need is a system that utilizes several technologies to make sure they always have access to the Netflix servers.

StreamLocator does just that, and because it works with your router, it does it without any of the usual drawbacks the VPN options come with. We’re ready and waiting to help; are you ready for simple and instant access to all the shows you’re currently missing out on?

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