Netflix Is Upping Its Attacks On VPNs: Here's How To Dodge The Blocks

Netflix bolstered its VPN and DNS blockade over the weekend, but all is not lost for Aussies trying to sneak into the US Netflix library.

Photo: Trusted Reviews

The cat and mouse game between Netflix and geo-dodging services continues and it’s starting to bite Australians, with reports over the weekend that more people are locked out of the US service. Instead of being taken to the US library, affected users received the notification: “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again”.

The crackdown appears to be affecting a range of VPN services, as well as people using DNS-based workarounds like Getflix and Unblock-US, but the results are very hit and miss. It’s not a total lockout, as Netflix is experimenting with different blocking techniques which impact on different people. The country in which your account is based might be a factor.

As with previous crackdowns, the geo-dodging services are quickly deploying countermeasures. Netflix seems to be primarily targeting services which market themselves especially as options for sneaking into the US library. Free services also appear more prone to blocking than paid services, but your mileage may vary.

I’ve tested two VPN services and one DNS workaround over the weekend which all continue to access the US Netflix library on a range of devices — despite complaints from other users. These services do seem to be taking longer to connect, perhaps a side effect of the new geo-blocking countermeasures.

Netflix knows it can never win the geo-blocking war, its aim is to make things difficult enough that your average person decides that it’s too hard and throws in the towel, sticking with their local Netflix library.

People like to criticise Netflix for not making its entire library available globally, but a decision like that needs to come from the content owners. Netflix is actually one of the champions of global rights deals with its Netflix Originals content like Daredevil, but other content providers aren’t so keen because they’d rather stick with regional rights deals in order to milk us dry.

If you want to weather out Netflix’s latest crackdown then it pays to have a few geo-dodging options at your disposal so you can jump between them. Most services have a free trial so you can dip your toe in the water.

If you run into trouble, many VPN providers offer servers in multiple US cities. It’s worth switching between them to see if you strike it lucky. Some DNS-based services also offer multiple Australian IP addresses, so it’s worth experimenting with the different options to see what works best.

As I said in January, long-time Netflix users have survived many so-called crackdowns and know it will blow over with geo-dodging services winning out in the end. Are you ready to throw in the towel or have you beaten the Netflix blockade?

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This article originally appeared in Digital Life, The Sydney Morning Herald’s home for everything technology. Follow Digital Life on Facebook and Twitter.

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