How to Watch Region-Blocked Content on Netflix and Hulu
Netflix made it widely known that the company plans to crack down on VPN, proxy, and unblock DNS users who try to access content in other countries [source]. The good news is you can watch streaming sites through a VPN, which may be a bit more challenging to do, but it will be possible forever.
Netflix is not the only one, either. Hulu has been cracking down on VPN sites for even a longer period than Netflix. Visit Hulu while you are connected to one of the popular VPNs, and Hulu will tell you its content is only available in the USA. So what is a streaming nut to do?
How Netflix and Hulu Block VPNs and Proxies
As many of us know, a lot of people bypass region restrictions (e.g. “this show is not accessible in your country”) by using VPN and proxy services. These VPN and proxy services redirect your traffic over another country (e.g. the USA, where that show is accessible) therefore Netflix and Hulu consider you live there. These VPNs and proxies use a small number of IP addresses and share them among their users.
For a service like Netflix, to detect and block such VPNs or proxies is quite simple. All the service has to do is to track the location of its users and note that many users with accounts from all over the world are connecting from the same IP addresses. Those IP addresses will be blacklisted. The VPN service can switch to a new IP address, but Netflix and Hulu will eventually notice and block that IP address again. It’s a cat-and-mouse game lasting forever.
That is to say, Netflix and Hulu, or any other service you want to connect to will not actually detect if you are connected through a VPN or not. Instead. They are just blocking known IP addresses shared among many people.
The Solution: Get Your Own Unique VPN IP Address
In order to stop getting locked out, just stop using shared VPNs. Rather, you should consider getting your own unique IP address related to your VPN. The following are the possible ways you could do this:
1. Continue Using a VPN Service, But Get Your Own Unique IP Address
Some VPN services offer a unique IP address for an additional fee. Look for services that offer a “dedicated IP address”, or “static IP address.” These services will allow you to keep watching Netflix over a VPN service, and they’re by far the simplest solution.
2. Host Your Own VPN on a Hosting Service
You can install a VPN server on a web hosting service if you know what you are doing and can set up VPN server yourself. Some web hosts may have graphical control panels, making the installation of the VPN server easy.
Honestly, this is not for the average user, but rather for people comfortable to set up and manage their own server software.
You would then have your own VPN server hosted on a web hosting service. If you have enough upload bandwidth for multiple people, you can even share it with your friends and family. Hosting your own VPN on a web hosting service can cost less than a dedicated VPN service, although it requires a bit more work.
It’s Not Perfect, But It’s All We Have
Of course, this is not perfect for many reasons. There is no way to get a free VPN here, so you will have to shell out a little cash (usually less than $10 a month, depending on how much time you buy at once). The requirements are going up too, and a shared VPN will not do it anymore. You will need your own VPN with its own unique IP address.
If you are used to your VPN service that offers servers in many regions, you can switch between Netflix’s US, Canada, UK, and other country’s libraries in a single click, you’ll also be disappointed. Your own dedicated VPN will have an unique IP address and will be located in a particular country, and your VPN will give you access to services from that country only.
Nevertheless, these solutions will continue to work, as there is no absolute way to block VPN traffic completely. It is just getting a bit more intricate, and yes, more expensive. VPN and proxy services will continue to play the “cat and mouse game”, moving to new IPs constantly, but getting your own unique IP for your VPN will free you from the hassle.
If Netflix’s statements to block VPNs are to be believed, it will get a lot more difficult to access libraries of content in countries where Netflix is not available.
Making legitimate content harder to legally access drives people on the way to piracy, that is just the truth.