Why is the Netflix region blocked
Bypass Netflix ban 2021: no problem with the right VPN!
The streaming platform Netflix has an extensive range for film and series fans. But if you take a closer look, you will soon discover that Netflix is not just Netflix. The offer varies depending on the location of the viewer. It is greatest in the company's home country, the USA.
This is not only due to the fact that new films and series from the USA arrive delayed in other countries, as is known from television. Rather, Netflix has different exploitation rights from country to country. This is why old fabrics are often US exclusive.
For our VPN provider test, for example, I used the four films in the "Indiana Jones" series. These are included in the Netflix program for the US audience, but usually not for the European audience. With VPN, I can get it to work in Germany too.
All in all, a VPN is currently the best way to bypass the Netflix block and get access to the expanded US offer. However, this does not work equally well with all VPN services. Our article “Stream Movies Online Legally” will help you choose a provider with whom it works.
Are you new to Netflix? Then you can find out more about the most famous streaming platform in our Netflix test.
But from the beginning. What is the Netflix block and how do I get around it?
Bypass Netflix block: geoblocking problem
Netflix is represented as a streaming video library in many countries, but has different exploitation rights depending on the country. For example, it is not allowed to distribute the Indiana Jones films in Germany even though they are in the archive.
So Netflix uses some kind of filter. The platform determines from which country you are accessing it and only shows you content that it is allowed to distribute there. The search function also only brings to light what is intended for your country.
How does Netflix know which country you are in? From the IP address. Every computer connected to the network has an IP address. This is a sequence of numbers that plays about the same role in Internet traffic as a telephone number or postal address in the analog world.
Every computer on the network must know where to send the requested information packets. And just as you can tell where the caller's connection is from the area code of a telephone number, you can also do this with the IP address. In order to be able to access the full Netflix program, a US IP address is required. This is exactly what a VPN delivers - and more.
Geoblocking was yesterday
The ultimate step-by-step guide from Sunday morning against geo-blocking of streaming providersGo to Article
What is a VPN and what can it do?
VPN stands for "virtual private network". A VPN connects you to a VPN server that can be anywhere in the world. As long as you are connected to it, every computer you communicate with only sees the IP address of the VPN server. This is a stopover for your Internet activities, which hides your real IP address and thus your identity.
This solves our Netflix problem. With many providers you get access to a global network of VPN servers for a mid-single-digit amount per month. The operation is usually very easy. You simply connect to a server in the USA and the US catalog of Netflix is available to you.
However, that doesn't always work. Here we come across a second Netflix ban. Netflix doesn't like it when you break their geoblocks. That is why the platform has put systems in place that can recognize when a user is accessing them via a VPN.
In this situation, instead of Harrison Ford on a treasure hunt, you will only see this clue:
So a VPN is not a foolproof solution. But this technology was not primarily created to hold a certain country in front of Netflix's nose. The primary purpose and benefit of a VPN is the greater data security and online privacy it offers.
When using a modern VPN, all data traffic between the VPN server and your computer is encrypted. Should someone intercept your data on the way, he would only see an encrypted data stream that nobody can do anything with.
It is crucial that this also applies to your own Internet provider. Without a VPN, you provide them with a comprehensive log of your Internet activities. Authorities - or hackers - may also have access to it.
With a VPN you can prevent such a protocol from being created anywhere. The VPN providers promise not to save anything. Your provider only sees your connection to the VPN server and the encrypted data stream.
So much for VPN in general. I said above that a VPN doesn't definitely unlock US Netflix content because a VPN lock is added to the geo lock. How do we solve this problem?
Choose the right VPN provider
It's simple: by choosing a VPN provider that has shown the best results so far in bypassing the Netflix block. The providers invest energy to varying degrees to always provide US servers that Netflix is still playing with. Some aggressively advertise their ability to bypass the Netflix ban, for others this is not a priority.
For us outsiders, this is essentially about empirical values. We can test VPN providers ourselves, read reviews and get an overview of what the specialist media are saying.
On this basis, we recommend on Sunday morningExpressVPN as the best VPN for Netflix. In many test runs, we have repeatedly got Netflix up and running with the help of this provider.
ExpressVPN is also consistently recommended in other respects. The VPN is connected quickly, the transfer rates are good and operation is easy and pleasant. The VPN server network covers 94 countries. The company itself is based in the British Virgin Islands. You can find all the details in our ExpressVPN review.
The only minus compared to the market environment is the cost point. It doesn't get cheaper than $ 6.67 a month here. With other providers you can end up with less than half of them with multi-year contracts.
To name names: NordVPN and CyberGhost are two cheaper competitors that have also proven themselves in bypassing the Netflix block.
NordVPN is based in Panama, offers VPN servers in 62 countries and is available as a 2-year subscription for 2.97 euros a month. The Hungarian CyberGhost has similar key data. There are 60 countries and a monthly fee of 2.00 euros for a 3-year subscription. This is a blockbuster price compared to most of the competition.
For more information this way:
Smart DNS instead of VPN: the alternative
A “Smart DNS” is an alternative way of accessing US Netflix content from abroad. While it's a technically elegant solution, a VPN will be a better choice for most users.
Because while a Smart DNS costs about the same as a VPN, the VPN simply does more in terms of data security and privacy. Nevertheless, I want to briefly explain the principle of Smart DNS here.
What does “DNS” in Smart DNS stand for?
A few basics first. What does "DNS" mean? The abbreviation stands for "Domain Name System". I mentioned above that every computer connected to the network has a numeric IP address and that computers use these addresses to send data to each other.
When you visit a website, you don't enter an IP address in the browser, but a domain name. This is simply because it is more user-friendly.
The Domain Name System is a register in which the IP address belonging to each domain name is recorded. When you enter a domain name in the browser, it first contacts a DNS server to get the IP address. The data exchange between your computer and the server on which the desired website is located then takes place via IP addresses.
Just as there is not just one copy of the phone book, but many identical copies, there are also many DNS servers with the same information. If you haven't set anything else, you usually use a DNS server from your Internet provider. If you use a VPN, a DNS server of the VPN provider takes its place.
The function is the same, but if you were to continue using the provider's DNS server, you would be constantly telling them which websites you are visiting. That is not the point.
A Smart DNS now works like this: You enter a specific DNS server from your Smart DNS provider in your system settings. In this way, your computer will always obtain the IP addresses of the web offers with which you interact from this server in the future.
What makes the DNS “smart”?
The “smart” aspect comes into play when you visit the domain www.netflix.com or another domain that you want to activate with the Smart DNS. The DNS server reacts differently to this entry.
Instead of just giving your computer the IP address of Netflix, it switches between your computer and the Netflix server. As with the VPN, the purpose is to contact Netflix with an IP address from the USA so that access to the extended offer is possible.
A Smart DNS only intervenes minimally in your data traffic. Even the actual video stream runs directly from Netflix to you - the redirection is only necessary initially to bypass the block.
This minimalism is at the same time the biggest advantage and the biggest disadvantage of a Smart DNS compared to a VPN:
- The advantage is that you do not have to run any additional software and do not have to accept any loss of speed.
- The disadvantage is that a Smart DNS does not encrypt your data traffic. Geo-lock bypassing is its only function.
Stream Netflix with Getflix
I tried this on the example of the Australian provider Getflix. You can test it for two weeks free of charge and all you have to do is provide an email address. Registration is therefore risk-free.
After confirming my e-mail address, I will be directed to a set-up guide. Getflix has a number of DNS servers in different countries. The instructions recommend that I choose a server near me. The next one is in the Netherlands.
I enter its IP address in my network settings, as described in the instructions. Getflix recommends specifying a second server as an alternative if the first one is not available.
That is all. I go to Netflix and search for "Indiana Jones" as usual. No success. After a little trial and error, I want to give up, but then I see in my dashboard that the Netflix option is not activated at all.
This is how I find out that I can individually specify in which country I want to appear for a number of streaming platforms. So for Netflix I am specifying the USA.
The fact that you can set a specific country for each streaming service is another advantage over VPNs. Because the Smart DNS then always automatically selects the right country, while you have to reconnect to a VPN as required.
However, not that many users will likely need to stream regularly from many different countries. For those who have this need, a Smart DNS is certainly interesting because it is convenient.
So I reload the Netflix page and search for "Indiana Jones" again. It works out! The titles appear in the search result and I can also start the film.
The performance was not optimal during testing. It took a while for the film to start, sometimes several minutes. At first the picture was still very pixelated, but that soon disappeared. After the somewhat sluggish start, the film ran smoothly in good quality.
Smart DNS is an elegant solution to bypass the Netflix block. But as I said, a VPN can do that too, but at the same time offers protection against data snooping. Meanwhile, prices are similar. At Getflix, the month costs between 2.29 and 4.95 US dollars, depending on the term. It's only a little cheaper than a VPN.
... and what is a proxy?
"Proxy detected" is the error message from Netflix when using VPN. The word appears more often when it comes to overcoming geo-locks or to disguise one's own identity on the Internet. So what is a proxy?
“Proxy” means something like “representative” and in network technology the word refers to a computer that is connected as the third between two communicating computers. In terms of their basic construction, both a VPN and a Smart DNS are similar to a proxy.
As independent services for anonymizing or bypassing geo-locks, proxies are usually only designed for individual page requests or sessions. One example of this is the ProxySite.com page. Here you enter the desired domain and can use the website in question without revealing your IP address. But that would be too cumbersome as a permanent solution - and it doesn't work with Netflix.
Bottom line: for most, a VPN is the best choice
For real movie and series fans, it pays to bypass the Netflix ban, because they receive a larger and more attractive offer for their monthly subscription. Unfortunately this is not available for free. A VPN or Smart DNS is required for reliable access and both cost a few euros a month.
It should be mentioned here that there are also free VPN offers. But with these, the monthly data volume is limited or the speed is throttled. You can read more about this in our article “The 5 best free VPN providers”.
For most users, a VPN is likely to be the better choice over a Smart DNS - simply because, for a comparable price, it is also a good solution for more privacy and data security on the Internet.
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