Accessing Netflix via VPN didn’t get any easier this month. The company started blocking proxies back in January and hasn’t let up yet. In fact, Netflix has gotten more aggressive, if anything.
The blockade Netflix put up didn’t just affect unblocking services, also called SmartDNS services. Those who use full-fledged VPNs are getting shut out of the site, as well.
In addition to buying a VPN service commercially, users have the option of making their own service. Netflix has blocked those users. Those using a home-rolled VPN to access the US version of Netflix will likely get a streaming error message when they try to enter the site.
Commercial VPN providers have been employing various tactics to keep the sites open to subscribers, with varying degrees of success.
What’s at stake, however, could involve more than the diversity of entertainment options one enjoys.
VPN subscribers may well wish to leave their VPN connection on when watching Netflix, even if they’re accessing the Netflix catalog for their own region.
Turning off the encryption that VPNs provide, particularly in certain situations, can be risky. Netflix is making it difficult for legitimate streamers to maintain good security habits.
For the moment, VPN providers are playing what has widely been described as “whack-a-mole.” Netflix blocks VPN providers, the providers find a way around it, and Netflix blocks them again.
For customers of both services, even those only accessing content in their own nation, it creates a rather dire choice. They can have good security or the full range of Netflix titles they’re paying for, but not both.
Getting Around the Blockade
The entire battle between Netflix and VPN providers is being played out on the Internet. There are other ways that users can get around region restrictions, however.
USENET is one popular option. The service is secure and not carried over the regular Internet, so there are no streaming companies, or streaming company policies, to obstruct users. Free USENET tools such as Sonarr allow users to stream content from any region in the world.
For the moment, however, those who rely solely on Internet streaming services and who want to use a VPN to stay safer look to be in a tough spot.