VPN For Netflix – The Ultimate 2017 Netflix VPN Guide for Aussies
There are two main reasons why Australians are typically interested in a VPN service. The first is to make torrenting safe. And the second is to sneak in to Netflix catalogues from around the world. We’ve got a huge guide on the best VPN for torrenting already. Now, it’s time for a mammoth guide to using a VPN with Netflix.
This guide is over 2,000 words long and will give you a bit of a background on why Netflix try to prevent VPN use, the legalities around it and, most importantly, how to circumvent the Netflix VPN block. If you want to jump ahead to any section, just use these links:
- Netflix with a VPN is not working. Why?
- Is watching geo-blocked Netflix content via VPN legal?
- Why can’t we watch Netflix anymore through a VPN?
- How does Netflix detect and block your use of a VPN?
- How can I bypass the Netflix VPN block?
- How can I get access to American Netflix using a VPN?
- What is the best free VPN for Netflix?
If you’re just looking for our pick of the VPN’s for Netflix then check out these options:
Ultimately, we recommend Express VPN as the best option due to it’s combination of speed, security, the fact they are actively working on keeping it working with Netflix at all times and the fact it is also a great VPN for use with torrent programs.
Netflix with a VPN is not working. Why?
Well we’re not going to sugarcoat it. Netflix with a VPN is not working because Netflix decided to crack down on it.
Over the past few years many hundreds of Australians were able to sneak into Netflix by using a VPN to make the location look as if it were overseas.
Netflix (we suspect) was really happy with this arrangement, as their subscriber numbers grew every quarter, and so did their stock price.
When Netflix launched in Australia, customers were still able to use a VPN to access the infinitely better content available to Netflix subscribers in the USA and Europe.
Unfortunately, in early 2016, Netflix decided to start cracking down on their subscriber’s use of VPNs. People were finding error messages stating “You seem to be using a proxy or unblocker” and advising them to turn off the VPN.
However, all was not lost. Yes, Netflix made it more difficult to get access to their foreign content with a VPN, but where there is a will there is a way, and there is a handful of VPN providers who have continued to play a game of cat and mouse ever since. They dedicate themselves to sneaking around Netflix’s blocking technology, and if netflix makes a change, the VPN providers make a change right back.
Is watching geo-blocked Netflix content via VPN legal?
Yes. Yes it is.
As much as the copyright holders might want to scare people into thinking it’s illegal to use a VPN to access the full Netflix catalogue, that’s a lie.
There are no laws prohibiting the use of VPN services in Australia. And in addition to that, using a VPN to get around the geo-restrictions put in place by content owners is also not illegal. That much is certain.
In fact, the Turnbull Government has commented on this many times, with the following statement coming straight from the horse’s mouth:
“The Copyright Act does not make it illegal to use a VPN to access overseas content. While content providers often have in place international commercial arrangements to protect copyright in different countries or regions, which can result in ‘geoblocking’, circumventing this is not illegal under the Copyright Act.”
So don’t expect to have ASIO or the Federal Police or an angry Movie Studio executive kicking down your door because you streamed content as a paying customer of Netflix!
Now, although it is not illegal to use a VPN with Netflix, it does go against their terms of service. Netflix are making an effort to try and stop their customers using VPN services. Their Terms of Service no doubt say you cannot do it. They are within their rights to cancel your account if they catch you using a VPN…
But that doesn’t happen. Once again, coming back to our earlier point, Netflix is a public company that lives and dies by their subscriber numbers. We believe the half hearted VPN block put in place by Netflix is just there to appease content rights holders, and if people sneak around it they really don’t care.
Why can’t we watch Netflix anymore through a VPN?
We believe this all comes down to pressure being put on Netflix by content rights holders around the world.
For example, here in Australia, Foxtel will buy up the rights to certain TV series and Movies. So too does Stan and the commercial networks like 9, 7 and 10.
In the UK, Canada, France, Netherlands and all of the other hundreds of countries Netflix has a presence, the same thing happens – local media companies buy the rights to different shows.
Netflix, as a truly global company, also is involved in this, and has the rights to some shows in one country, and other shows in another.
The thing is, your one Netflix account can access all of this content. They just slice and dice what you see based on your location.
The local content rights holders hate this. They are stuck in their (often) single markets, trying to (often) gouge as much money as possible from their customers. When people can easily stream the content on Netflix (a service they’re already paying for) it means these content rights holders don’t make that precious, precious moola.
We believe that pressure to block VPN’s was put on Netflix by the rights holders around the world, and that rights holders also pressured the movie and tv studios they buy the content from to also put pressure on Netflix.
How does Netflix detect and block your use of a VPN?
This is a good question, and of course one that is hard to be certain of, because Netflix obviously don’t want it worked out. However, it is widely accepted these are the main ways to block use of VPN with Netflix:
- Blacklist VPN exit/end points
- Block all connections that come from the same IP address or IP range
- Restrict billers to seeing content from their billing address country only
It seems that Netflix is using the first two options at the moment.
They figure out what IP addresses belong to the VPN providers and then block them from accessing their platform.
That’s why it’s a game of cat and mouse. If a VPN provider is committed to the cause, they can just keep cycling through IP addresses to stay a step ahead of Netflix (as ExpressVPN are for example, all you have to do is contact their support to find out what servers are currently working with Netflix).
How can I bypass the Netflix VPN block?
Now for the fun part.
Yes, Netflix has a VPN block. A VPN block that can be skirted around quite easily.
Certain VPN providers are making a concerted effort to help their users access that sweet, sweet international Netflix content.
You don’t need to be tech-savvy to use it to watch Netflix either. There’s three (maybe four) steps:
- Sign up for an ExpressVPN account.
- Connect to a VPN server location in the Netflix region you want to access.
- Log in to your Netflix account and enjoy streams from that region’s Netflix library.
Now, time for a bit of a pro tip. The fourth step if you need it is to chat to their live chat on their website if you run into issues or can’t unblock the content. The chat is always quick to provide a solution, and will help you with which server you should be choosing to get around the block.
So, if you’re wondering which VPN is still allowing access to Netflix region-specific content, you’ve got your answer.
Unfortunately, some of the other VPN providers we review here like Private Internet Access simply gave up as soon as Netflix cracked down on VPN use. They have stopped putting any resource towards getting around these blocks at all.
How can I get access to American Netflix using a VPN?
Well, let’s face it. When it comes to sneaking past the Netflix geo-block, most people are wanting access to that sweet, sweet American library of content.
And it makes total sense too.
The American library has over 75% of the entire global catalogue. Here in Australia we have less than 20%. Waaaaaaah!
The good news is, with so much of the good content being available in America, the VPN providers who are making the effort to get around the netflix blocks, are naturally focusing a lot of their attention on the American library.
So with that being said, any of your more premium providers like ExpressVPN will be up to the task when it comes to unlocking the American content.
The bad news is, netflix are actively trying to stop people from doing this, so as covered before, it really is a game of cat and mouse. Just as one server works, Netflix might squash it down again.
What is the best free VPN for Netflix?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it simply doesn’t exist.
The problem with “free VPNs” is that they are not free at all. They make their money by harvesting your data and selling it on to whoever is willing to pay for it.
A prime example of this is Hola Unblocker. This aptly named blog post pretty much sums it up – Do Not Use Hola Unblocker Unless You Don’t Care About Your Privacy
So, we know Hola are dodgy. And so too are pretty much any other free VPN.
Because, the thing is, these things cost quite a bit of money to run.
You need to have servers located around the world, network infrastructure, support staff, billing infrastructure, developers, marketing expenses and so on and so forth.
If a VPN is free then it covers these costs by selling you as the product. Your data. Your bandwidth. You.
There certainly isn’t enough money left over to invest into playing the game of Netflix-Geo-Block-Whack-A-Mole that the big boys in the VPN world are engaged in at the moment.
So, for two reasons, there is no such thing as a best free VPN for Netflix.
Wrapping it up.
That’s just about all we have the energy to write on this topic.
If you’re looking for the TL;DR version then here it is:
You can sneak into foreign Netflix content. It’s a little harder than it used to be, but it is achievable with a high end VPN. Don’t use free ones, they suck.
Hope you found this useful.
Have a cracking day.
By January 2016, Netflix had spread its wings to about 190 countries globally. But this doesn’t mean just because you can easily create an account fast the kind of movies, TV shows and other content are the latest, such as content watched in the USA. This is why VPNs have always been the perfect way of accessing the elusive US content everyone craves. Anyone from Australia can use a VPN to have a North American IP address or a UK one if that’s the content you’re targeting. The reason for clamour of the American Netflix content is that while Australians only access 2,475 shows via Netflix, those in America have about 7,000 to choose from. The United States full shows and movies library is one of a kind and hugely different from that of any region globally.
Way to go before global access of similar content
On their website in January Netflix observed that if all the content they offer was available globally to anyone VPNs would not be needed, which they observed help people from around the world fool their system to access the American content and not that within their locality or region. As a result, they indicated their progress in world wide licensing of content now in over 190 countries but admitted they have a long way or years before they’re able to provide the same TV shows and films everywhere around the world.
Netflix anticipates doing this in future, but for now they’re just licensing segments of content by region or geography, which is the reason why the Australian shows and films on Netflix are very few in contrast with those accessible to Netflix users in America or Canada. Netflix claims to be extremely committed to enforcing content licensing as per the region. By January 2016, the company claimed to be working hard to block VPN users from accessing Netflix content outside their geographical location.
By April 2016 some VPN providers were reported to have been blocked by Netflix in Canada, whose users couldn’t use the VPN anymore to access US content. As result, Unblock-US among other VPN vendors had to go silent and quiet as the reality of Netflix catching up with them sank in.
The blocking of VPNs did not go well with many people and a petition by OpenMedia to request Netflix to rethink their ban has attracted over 50K supporters to date.
While some VPN vendors are already affected, those in Australia seeking to access the US Netflix content have other VPN choices to go with. Obviously, the Aussie love affair with the quality, fresh and better United States content is not stopping any time soon. In fact, studies indicate that the average Netflix subscriber use 120 minutes daily to watch some content on Netflix rather than exercise, read or socialise.
VPN also used for security reasons
The Netflix VPN war is expected to have drawbacks and might not work in the long run for a number of reasons. Firstly, not everyone is using a VPN to trick Netflix to access a US show from Australia. People use VPNs to protect their networks and security online even when watching content on Netflix. Blocking VPNs renders their PCs and mobile gadgets insecure.
Large scale VPN block unlikely
So far Netflix hasn’t been able to apply a blanket or large scale VPN block, meaning that they’re obviously fighting a war they can’t win. Even as you wait for the VPN vs Netflix tussle to unfold and conclude there’re a number of VPN vendors unfazed by the onslaught. One of them is ExpressVPN that has been able to keep its customers out of the probing eye of Netflix. For customers who’ve been detected and blocked, as few a number as they might be, are requested to simply contact the VPN provider and their connection to the US content will resume almost immediately. The good thing with ExpressVPN is their month long money back guarantee if the IP address ends up being blocked by Netflix and others and they’re unable to offer any recourse.
ExpressVPN provides more than 43K IP addresses to select from and its security and cost are other pluses. Other VPNs to use include Buffered, which might not come with immense perks but delivers on its mandate. It’s not clear whether other VPN vendors such as VyprVPN, IPVanish and SaferVPN have been affected like Unblock-US.
Have in mind what you intend to do with VPN, whether it’s just to access US content or remain safe and secure online or both. No matter the reason there’s definitely a VPN vendor with a solution for you.