Content you can trust

Netflix Detecting VPN? There’s an EASY workaround!

If you’re seeing the error message “Oops, something went wrong… You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy”. It’s bad news. Your VPN server’s IP address has been blacklisted by Netflix. Don’t worry though. There’s an easy workaround. In this article, we help you understand how the Netflix VPN ban works and what you can do to beat it! We also list three excellent VPNs that still work with US Netflix.

See also: BBC iPlayer detecting VPN? Here’s how to fix that!

How Netflix detects VPNs?

Netflix detecting VPN - body

A cheap, oversubscribed VPN is easy to detect.

Too many people connecting from the same (VPN) IP address is basically how all VPN IP addresses get detected and blacklisted.

An IP address is like a telephone number, complete with a dialling code. Every internet connection in the world has its own unique IP address. Your IP address reveals (to a website) which country/city your internet connection is coming from.

VPNs make money by sharing a small number of servers/IPs with a larger number of customers. When you use a low-end VPN, you’re sharing your IP address with a lot of other customers. So naturally, this IP will be detected and blacklisted by Netflix first.

The better VPNs, such as  NordVPN ($2.75/month) and ExpressVPN ($6.66/month), have a lot more servers and IPs. This is important as it allows them to spread their customers across their IPs. Keeping them undetected as the number of customers connected to Netflix via each IP remains under Netflix’s “abnormal” threshold. NordVPN and ExpressVPN also play a game of Cat and Mouse with Netflix. When one of their IP addresses is detected and blacklisted, they react by shutting it down and opening a fresh (undetected) IP.

The BEST Netflix VPN Workaround?

The best workaround for the Netflix VPN block is to simply use a VPN with servers/IPs that aren’t blacklisted by Netflix. It’s as easy as that.

These can be tricky to find and verify. So we recommend you use one of the VPNs featured below. These VPNs play a game of Cat and Mouse with Netflix. When Netflix blacklists one of its IP addresses, the VPNs open a new one and direct their customers to it.

If you want to start watching US Netflix (again) all you need to do is sign up with one of the VPNs listed below and connect to a US server.

Netflix detecting VPN

Which VPNs still work with Netflix (US)?

If you’re looking for a VPN that works with Netflix 100% of the time, we suggest choosing for one of the three listed below. NordVPN, ExpressVPN and PureVPN all open new servers and IP as soon as its older ones are blacklisted. This ensures that they offer their customers a way to watch American Netflix all of the time.

From our tests, we’ve found ExpressVPN to be the fastest provider. Is also has the most servers open to US Netflix. NordVPN comes a close second regarding the number of US servers it makes available to its customer base. However, because NordVPN is a lot cheaper than ExpressVPN, its servers are often more crowded. Which makes them slower. The final VPN we recommend is PureVPN. PureVPN is slightly more guarded about how many open servers it has with US Netflix, due to how its app is set up to manage connections. PureVPN still performed well in all of our tests and provided a solid connection to Netflix with zero downtime.

1. NordVPN

Netflix detecting VPN - NordVPN

$2.75/month (£2.04)

NordVPN is the best VPN for unblocking US Netflix. It has 1883+ servers and a dedicated technical team that monitors each connection (with US Netflix).

In the unlikely scenario where you’re unable to find a server that works with US Netflix, don’t panic. Just head to the Netflix Support page to find a list of servers that are “open” and verified by Nord’s dedicated tech team.

The NordVPN app is available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux (plus a Chrome extension).

Get NordVPN ($2.75/month)


2. ExpressVPN

Netflix detecting VPN - ExpressVPN

$6.66/month (£4.80)

ExpressVPN is another great option for unblocking US Netflix. It’s one of the more expensive. But you’re paying for a quality service. Using ExpressVPN guarantees you’ll always have a working connection with American Netflix (and BBC iPlayer in the UK).

Finding a server that is open to US Netflix is easy. Most of the time, all you need to do is navigate your way to the Recommended servers list in the ExpressVPN app and you’ll be able to watch Netflix without any issues. If this doesn’t work, for whatever reason, users are encouraged to speak to a support agent via the ExpressVPN website’s 24/7 Live Chat. Here users can speak to an ExpressVPN representative and literally ask which servers are currently working with Netflix.

ExpressVPN has a dedicated app for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPhone, iPad, Amazon Firestick, Apple TV, PS4 and Xbox. There are also browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

Get ExpressVPN ($6.66/month)


3. PureVPN

Netflix detecting VPN - PureVPN

$2.49/month

PureVPN is another good option. It has a user-friendly app (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Amazon Firestick) that lets you select your “Purpose” for using a VPN. It will then automatically connect you to its best Server for the job. To watch US Netflix for example, you would go to Purpose and then Netflix US. PureVPN’s excellent app will do the rest – automatically connecting you to a server that works with US Netflix.

Like the two examples above, PureVPN also offers fantastic Live Chat support via its website. If you ever have difficulty connecting to US Netflix or doing anything with a VPN, you’re encouraged to speak to a support agent. The other service PureVPN offers is a dedicated IP ($1.99 extra per month). A dedicated IP, in theory, means you’re the only customer who has access to the server’s IP. We have tried this service out with mixed success. It works well with BBC iPlayer, however, our dedicated IP was detected when trying to watch UK Netflix (from New Zealand).

PureVPN has dedicated apps available to download on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux (plus a Chrome extension).

Get PureVPN (2.49/month)


Why does Netflix block VPNs?

It’s common knowledge that Netflix has different size libraries for different countries. This is due to the third-party content Netflix includes in its library.

Let’s use the TV show Frasier for example. You can watch it on US Netflix, but not on UK Netflix. This is because Netflix US has bought distribution rights from Paramount (the show’s producers and rights holders). However, Netflix doesn’t have the same distribution rights for the UK. Channel 4 and 4OD does.

But, if a UK Netflix subscriber uses a VPN to spoof their internet connection to somewhere in the US, they can use their same Netflix account to watch Frasier on US Netflix.

This is a global problem for Netflix. Part of the reason US Netflix has a much bigger library than any other region is that there are more subscribers in the US than any other country.

Data released by Statistica highlights the mismatch. In Q4 2017, Netflix had 54.8m subscribers in the US and 62.8m international subscribers. Netflix has customers in 160 different territories. With 159 of these only just overtaking the number it has in America. Which means more buying power for the US. Hence the bigger and better library.

TV & Film distributors recognise this and sell their content to Netflix accordingly. Netflix’s recent crackdown on VPNs is likely to be due to pressure put on them by the third-party rights holders it licences content from.

See also: How to watch Amazon Instant Video abroad.


List of VPNs blocked by Netflix

  • TunnelBear
  • IPVanish
  • Hotspot Shield
  • VyprVPN
  • Windsscribe
  • CyberGhost

Read next: How to watch 4oD abroad.

  • Zuco

    I bought vpn mainly for streaming us netflix content and don’t have any complains as I experience only ~5-10% speed drop, which is reasonable. As for my usual activities I reach quite the same speed like my ISP. Btw, now I use nordvpn, after trying their free trial.