The most popular streaming services are virtually always region-locked, which means they are only accessible in a limited number of geographic locations. Some, such as Netflix, take this a step further by delivering content that varies by region. The good news is that by connecting to a VPN, you may fake your location and so access region-locked services from anywhere. To combat this, many streaming services have incorporated VPN-detection measures; nevertheless, they are not foolproof. We’ll show you how to avoid VPN restrictions on services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer in the sections below.
Thus, how does a streaming service determine the nation in which you are located? The majority of geo-restricted platforms verify your IP address, allowing access if you are in a supported area and prohibiting access if you are not. When you connect to a VPN server, you are assigned a new, region-specific IP address corresponding to the location of the VPN server. While accessing region-locked platforms, it will now look as if you are physically in the same area as your selected VPN server, allowing you to use the service.
Here’s how you can get around Netflix’s and other platforms’ VPN restrictions
Ironically, all you need to do to circumvent VPN bans is upgrade your VPN. We’ll guide you through the procedure in detail below.
- To begin with, sign up for a VPN provider capable of unblocking a broad variety of streaming services. While we suggest NordVPN in particular, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN are equally viable choices.
- Install the app on your smartphone and then log in.
- Establish a connection to a VPN server located in the specified country. For example, you’d utilize an American server to access Netflix in the United States or a British server to access BBC iPlayer.
- Finally, launch your selected service and play a video. If it does not begin immediately, delete your browser’s cookies and cache and then restart the page. If difficulties continue, contact your VPN’s customer care staff to determine whether you should utilize a certain server.
How do services choose which VPNs to allow and which to block?
There are several techniques for determining if a person is connected to a VPN or proxy, and new ones are being developed all the time. We’ve included a couple of the most prevalent below:
Utilization of GPS data
If you’re using a mobile phone or tablet, unblocking region-locked services like Netflix is far more complicated. This is because mobile devices have access to a variety of data that desktop PCs do not, including your current GPS position. If both your GPS and IP addresses indicate that you are in the United States, for example, you are most likely in the country. On the other hand, if your IP address is from the United States but your GPS data indicates that you are in France, you are almost probably using a VPN.
Examining a well-known VPN blacklist
The majority of streaming sites maintain a list of IP addresses associated with well-known VPN servers. This kind of filtering is more successful against cheap VPNs or those with tiny networks, since using the same IP address to connect to hundreds of Netflix accounts in a single 24-hour period is a dead giveaway.
However, blacklisting IP addresses does nothing to deter big VPN companies. With thousands of servers, users are typically able to locate a functional server without difficulty. Additionally, the fact that a well-known VPN is capable of unblocking a famously tough service may attract additional clients.
Putting a halt to traffic from specified ports
When you surf the internet, you are transmitting data to the server of the website you are currently visiting. This server is set up with a variety of ports to accept various types of traffic; for example, the majority accept HTTP traffic on port 80 or HTTPS traffic on port 443. Certain VPN protocols, on the other hand, have unique ports. This implies that if a website wants to prohibit PPTP connections, it just has to block the PPTP protocol’s default port of 1723.
Of course, there are workarounds for port closures. Certain VPNs have capabilities that encrypt your data and masquerade it as standard HTTP traffic, thereby circumventing this issue. Additionally, providers would need to block many ports to accommodate all possible VPN protocols, which might prohibit genuine consumers from using the service.
Deep packet examination
This is a technique that is seldom employed by streaming providers. Rather, it is mostly utilized by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in countries where access to the internet is severely limited or VPNs are prohibited. Effectively, this technology analyzes and filters the user’s internet traffic according to predefined standards. For instance, if you are trying to transmit VPN communication via a regular HTTP port, this may be discovered and blocked.
The simplest method of circumventing deep packet inspection is to utilize a VPN with sophisticated cloaking capabilities. VPNs encrypt your data, ensuring that no one (not even the government) can see what you do online while cloaking functions bend your traffic, masking the data patterns associated with VPN use and enabling you to evade deep packet inspection. Naturally, if a government employs deep packet inspection, it is quite probable that it will also prohibit access to VPN sites. As such, it is essential to install a VPN before your arrival.
How can I determine whether or not a platform has detected VPN usage?
Occasionally, services may inform you directly if they believe you’re using a VPN. For example, Netflix’s iconic “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy” problem message and Amazon Prime Video’s “Your device is connected to the internet through a VPN or proxy service.” Often, though, you’ll encounter a general message indicating that you’re not in the appropriate nation, such as “BBC iPlayer is only accessible in the United Kingdom” or “Sling TV is only available in the United States.”
Alternatively, you may discover that there is no problem and the service just does not operate while connected to a VPN. Despite a high-speed connection, videos may lag indefinitely, or the website may just stop loading halfway through.
Can a free VPN unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other websites?
Unblocking big streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer is exceedingly improbable using free VPNs. To begin, they often operate on very tiny networks, which means that blacklisting even a single server might have a significant effect. Even if you locate a service that works, streaming is likely to be problematic because free VPNs sometimes have more users than their networks can handle, resulting in incredibly poor rates.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that free VPNs have a mixed track record when it comes to security and privacy. Indeed, one research examined over 280 free VPN applications and discovered that roughly 40% included malware. Even those that did not utilize encryption were not always secure, since more than 80% were susceptible to IPv6 leaks and almost one-fifth used no encryption at all. These hazards are not confined to small, unknown enterprises; in 2015, Hola was detected selling idle bandwidth from its customers to aid the operation of a botnet.
Why is it that my VPN no longer unblocks streaming services?
If your VPN previously worked to unblock a certain streaming service but no longer works, the platform’s VPN detection mechanisms may have been improved. The good news is that major VPN companies take pride in their ability to unblock even the most obstinate platforms and nearly always discover a workaround quickly after they are banned. Indeed, there are situations when all that is required is to connect to a new server. If you’re truly having trouble, your VPN customer care service should be able to assist you further.