How Effective Are VPNs When Accessing Netflix?

VPNs When Accessing Netflix

Netflix remains a huge global entity and one that continues to see its viewership figures rise year on year.

By the end of 2022, it’s estimated that there will be 617.4 million Netflix viewers worldwide, with this comprising 7.9% of the world’s total population. By 2024, this figure will peak at 670.7 million, with people tuning in to stream content from approximately 190 countries.

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However, international licensing constraints prevent Netflix from showing the same content in every single jurisdiction. While you can circumnavigate such restrictions through the use of a virtual private network (VPN), just how effective is this technology when accessing streaming platforms like Netflix.

Why Does the Netflix Content Library Change from One Region to Another?

Aside from its original shows (which are widely accessible in jurisdictions across the globe), Netflix doesn’t possess global distribution rights for all the diverse content held within its streaming catalogue.

As a result, you could find that particular films or TV series aren’t available when travelling or visiting other countries, as Netflix may not have purchased the necessary licence to show this in a particular region.

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Such licensing restrictions can complicate Netflix viewing for travellers, particularly for those who reside in the US or UK. In these regions, the content libraries are incredibly large and broad, whereas far fewer programs are accessible in countries such as Spain.

Of course, the library available on Netflix also changes and is updated regularly too, so it’s challenging enough to create a viewing schedule even without the issues posed by travelling.

Can You Use a VPN to Negate These Restrictions?

One of the fundamental principles behind the meaning of a VPN and its popularity is its ability to circumnavigate the type of geographical content restrictions associated with Netflix and similar streaming services.

But how does it achieve this? Well, it effectively connects your device to a virtual server, creating an encrypted tunnel through which all web traffic and data is presented as an indecipherable string of code.

At the same time, it masks your device’s IP address, effectively tricking sites and service providers into thinking that you’re actually located in the region where the virtual server exists.

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While this simultaneously answers the questions “what is a VPN?” and “what does a VPN do?”, you should note that not all clients have been created equal in terms of their functionality.

This means that some operate far more international server locations than others, making it easier to target the Netflix library that you want and minimise the risk of your connection being lost while travelling.

Are You Allowed to Use a VPN to Access Netflix Content?

While it’s easy to see why people leverage a VPN to access restricted content on Netflix, the question that remains is whether this practise is legal or permitted by the service’s terms and conditions?

Broadly speaking, the use of a VPN to circumnavigate geographical content restrictions is legal, in so much that most countries have failed to develop legislation to outlaw this.

There are exceptions of course, with nations like China and Russia outlawing and heavily restricting the use of VPNs. Similarly, the broader use of a VPN may be outlawed if you utilise it for other, nefarious means, such as purchasing illegal items online.

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This is where it gets slightly complicated, however, as, despite the lack of legal restrictions in regions such as the US and UK, Netflix has actively outlawed the use of VPNs to access their geographical restrictions and potentially infringe on their licensing agreements.

This practice is certainly against Netflix Terms of Use, which all users have to accept in order to access the service and stream content online.

What’s more, Netflix will take active steps to block your connection if it detects VPN usage. Not only does it ban suspicious IP addresses that it believes are connected to VPN clients and servers, for example, but it also detects virtual private networks by looking at whether the location of your IP address matches your DNS server.

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If Netflix does detect that you’re using a VPN to access its platform or restricted content, it will block your connection and deliver an error message such as ‘You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again.

The Last Word – How Effective Are VPNs When Accessing Netflix?

The good news is that the market-leading VPNs work hard to circumnavigate the Netflix restrictions, as this is one of the main reasons why people access virtual private networks in the first place.

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However, it’s important that you’re selective when choosing a VPN, prioritising those that offer access to a broad range of international server locations and using effective protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard.

By prioritising this type of paid client, you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of accessing Netflix content and programs from across the globe.

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By Techniblogic

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