If you watch Netflix, you will know that it has a selection of different TV shows and movies in each region. As such, the shows you get in the US may not be the same as the ones you have access to in the UK. To work around this problem, many people use a VPN or Virtual Private Network.
Unfortunately, Netflix got wise and started blocking VPNs, leaving you with an error screen instead of accessing your favorite shows. Fortunately, there are ways to beat the system. In this article, we explain how Netflix detects your VPN, how to use a VPN that works on a range of devices, and how to connect to a different server.
Netflix VPN Blocked – How Do They Detect My VPN?
A VPN blocks your originating IP address which indicates your location. It then redirects your internet connection through a new IP address in a different geographical location of your choosing. By doing this, you can trick Netflix into believing that you are located elsewhere and access Netflix shows from that region.
However, a VPN service only has a limited number of IP addresses available. Countless other users from different locations could have used the IP address assigned to you. Netflix's most effective method of blocking a VPN is to check if your IP address is associated with a VPN. Once it's clear you're using a VPN, Netflix will block your IP address and mark it in a VPN database.
I don't use a VPN but it says I am
When Netflix marks an IP address as being related to a VPN, it often automatically marks many other IP addresses belonging to the same host. This wasn't a problem until VPN providers started using residential IP addresses. When Netflix started blocking these IP addresses, they also blocked valid users.
If your Netflix account is reporting an error regarding VPN usage, even if you're not using one, chances are that's what happened.
You can contact your Internet service provider and ask them to change your IP address to solve this problem. You can also try unplugging your router for a few minutes before plugging it back in – this may also reset your IP address.
How to Use a VPN That Works
The best way to access Netflix with a VPN is to use a reputable provider that offers hundreds of thousands of IP addresses. These big VPN providers frequently update the IP addresses they use, so you're less likely to end up with an address recognized by Netflix.
There are many VPN providers out there, but the one that worked best in our tests with Netflix was ExpressVPN. It is easy to use and secure. ExpressVPN is worth it, considering it's fast and secure.
Let's take a closer look at how to use ExpressVPN with Netflix on different devices:
How to Connect to a Netflix VPN That Works on a Firestick
Connecting your Firestick to a reputable VPN provider like ExpressVPN is simple.
- Open your Fire device and search for ExpressVPN in the Amazon Appstore. Download and activate the ExpressVPN app.
- Log in to the ExpressVPN app. The app will prompt you to choose if you want to share anonymous information to make the app faster and more reliable. Make your selection to continue.
- A dialog box will then ask you to accept or allow ExpressVPN's connection request. Click "OK".
- To connect to a VPN server, click the large connect button, which displays the same icon as an on/off switch on a TV remote. By default, ExpressVPN will offer a “smart location”. This place is usually the one that will give you the best experience.
- Wait for the “Connected” message to appear. Once it does, you can go to Netflix and start watching the shows you want to see.
How to Connect to a Netflix VPN That Works on a Roku Device
Roku devices do not support VPN usage on their own. To use a provider such as ExpressVPN, you will need to install ExpressVPN on your router.
To use your router, first make sure you have an ExpressVPN account and that your router supports that provider. Then follow the instructions in ExpressVPN's guide on how to install ExpressVPN on your router at home. Remember that each router will have its own set of instructions, so be sure to find the right ones. Once you have this setup, follow these steps to stream unrestricted Netflix on your Roku:
- Go to your Roku and go to "Settings". Then choose "Network" before selecting "Set up connection".
- A list of available networks will appear. Choose the VPN-protected Wi-Fi connection from your ExpressVPN connected router.
- Enter your Wi-Fi password. Your Roku is now connected to ExpressVPN through your router. Go to Netflix and you should be able to watch your shows without geo-restrictions.
How to Connect to a Netflix VPN That Works on an Apple TV
Like Roku, Apple TV does not directly support VPN software. ExpressVPN's MediaStreamer feature works well for this purpose and makes it easy to stream Netflix from another location on your 4th generation Apple TV:
- Make sure your IP address is registered on the ExpressVPN website.
- Now get the IP address of your MediaStreamer server. Go to the ExpressVPN setup page and sign in. Enter the verification code that ExpressVPN will send to your email address.
- On the right of the screen that opens, you will see the IP address of the MediaStreamer DNS server. Keep this tab open because you will need this information.
- Open Apple TV and go to "Settings", then "Network". In the "Network" menu, find your current Wi-Fi connection. Click on this connection.
- In the menu that appears, choose "Wi-Fi network" to access the settings. Now scroll down and select "Configure DNS".
- Choose "Manual" from the options that appear. A manual DNS entry screen will open. Here, enter the numbers for your MediaStreamer DNS IP address shown in the ExpressVPN tab you opened earlier. Close these windows.
- Restart your Apple TV. You can now stream your Netflix.
How to Connect to a Netflix VPN That Works on a PC
The VPN software is PC compatible and simple to use. Here's how it's done:
- Open Netflix in your web browser and sign in.
- Download ExpressVPN on your PC, launch the app and connect. A contextual tab will then open.
- Click on the icon with the three horizontal dots in the "Smart Location" bar. A side menu will open with different locations you can choose from – select the region you want to use.
- Tap "Connect" (the big red circular icon that looks like the on/off button on a remote control) and wait for the VPN to establish a connection. Once connected, this red button will turn green.
- Minimize your ExpressVPN tab and refresh your Netflix tab. Shows for the particular region you chose should now be available.
Netflix VPN Blocked – Connect to Another Server
Another way Netflix recognizes you using a VPN is when the DNS server location doesn't match your IP address. Often on Android or iOS devices, Netflix will attempt to override your Domain Name Server (DNS) configuration and reveal your actual ISP server. If it doesn't match the IP address you're using, Netflix will flag you as using a VPN. One solution is to connect to another server. Luckily, it's relatively easy to do:
- Open ExpressVPN and locate the connection status and server name.
- Go to the “Choose location” option to see the list of available servers and select the server location you want to use.
- Click the “On” button and wait for the connection to be established.
Why does Netflix care if I use a VPN?
Netflix is not licensed to stream the same content in all regions of the world. Due to these restrictions, Netflix does not want users around the world using VPNs to access different geo-blocked shows. This could put Netflix in hot water with major movie companies selling its licenses to the streaming company.
It's time for Netflix and chill
Streaming Netflix using a VPN is relatively simple once you know how. Follow these simple steps and you'll soon be streaming your favorite shows from anywhere in the world.
The only thing you will need to worry about is which show to stream next!
Have you watched Netflix shows from another region using a VPN? Did you use a method similar to those described in this guide? Let us know in the comments section below.