Only a couple of years ago there were many options for bypassing the extending region locks that most media sites and TV shows online were using. The internet has been getting more frustrating to use with blocks, bans and ‘not available in your country’ messages appearing every time you try and visit a new site or watch a movie online. It’s pretty bad for a US based surfer but can imagine it’s even more frustrating for people surfing from a smaller country. Netflix has been one of the most aggressive in this area, using very advanced techniques to restrict access from it’s paying subscribers ! If you’ve got a Netflix account – you’re locked to the Netflix region you’re located in and no you can’t watch US Netflix instead!
Netflix wants to keep French Netflix users using the French Netflix, Canadians using the Canadian version and so on. The problem for many users they wanted to watch American Netflix as it’s way better than many other versions despite costing the same. One of the simplest methods of bypassing these blocks available was a American Netflix DNS solution which previously worked very well. This simply involved pointing whichever device you used to watch Netflix at specially configured DNS servers. This would quietly reroute your initial connection to make it appear you where in a different country to allow you to unblock US Netflix, it worked perfectly and was easy to configure on things like media boxes, phones and tablets.
American DNS Netflix Codes are a Very Bad Idea
It’s part of the reason that Netflix DNS codes became so popular and people used them to watch Netflix especially the free codes. Although proxies and VPN service were arguably safer and more effective, they were often harder to utilize than DNS codes. If your main streaming device is an internet enabled Smart TV it’s difficult to install a VPN client on your flat screen. The same with tablets, phones and people who streamed through gaming devices, the VPN solution simply wasn’t effective for these sorts of devices. No one really knew how to install a VPN service on them never mind use them to bypass Netflix geo-targeting methods.
However if you had a few DNS codes which were able to fool the Netflix servers then you were in business. Instead of messing around with software all you needed was access to configure network settings – e.g. the primary DNS and secondary DNS servers settings and you could set everything up. Normally this is available on most devices under the network configuration settings. Suddenly there was the possibility of watching US Netflix on something like your Apple TV, Xbox One or or even an Xbox 360 if you’re really retro.
There’s no real reason that a Smart DNS solution couldn’t work just as well as a decent VPN service for bypassing a Netflix block. However there are still problems, because ultimately it still comes down to the origin and classification of the connecting IP address. Whether you connected completely via a VPN or partially using DNS settings – that connecting IP address was still crucial. If it was on the huge Netflix ‘not allowed list’ for whatever reason – nothing would work.
However just as using a free proxy or VPN is a very bad idea then arguably using some of these DNS codes that are floating around on enormous free DNS codes are too. The problem is that people think that there’s no real risk to changing their DNS settings on their devices because it’s not really affecting the connection. The reality is that this is completely untrue and some of the biggest and most damaging cyber crimes have actually been facilitated by fake DNS servers.
When you put a DNS servers address in your network settings, you are trusting this server to resolve and send you to the correct internet addresses. It’s actually a trivial change to send you to any website they want to. For example if you request Googles home page to search for something, a DNS server could instead send your browser to a webpage which automatically installed malware on your computer. What’s worse it could actually send you to an exact copy of the real site, or quickly route you to the malware then redirect to the correct site. So basically your DNS server could completely control your computer or whichever device you used these DNS codes on.
Please Don’t Use Free DNS Codes – They’re Not Safe
Netflix Waged War on DNS Codes Too
Unfortunately when Netflix targeted the VPN services, it also obliterated the Netflix DNS options too. In some ways the Netflix DNS codes were actually hit harder because they were so overloaded with users. Netflix blocked all connections which originated from commercial servers, which included all the Smart DNS solution servers too. In fact it wasn’t really the method which was the problem more the origin of the VPN and US DNS servers. Both the Netflix DNS codes and commercial VPNs suffered the same issues – their IP addresses didn’t work anymore to watch Netflix. It looked like the only way to Watch American Netflix was to move to the United States – not an easy option!
Instead of trying to detect concurrent users or the presence of the VPN/Proxies, Smart DNS Netflix instead just looked at the classification of the IP address which was connecting. If that IP wasn’t classified as a residential one it would get blocked instantly. So there was no US or UK DNS code that would make a difference unless the server involved was registered as a ‘home user’. Of course none of them where, all these solutions originate from vast commercial data centers – where all the servers are classified as ‘commercial’.
The only option that survived initially were the ‘free solutions’ like Hola which shared your internet bandwidth. You’d get a residential connection through these, but you’d also get umpteen unknown people surfing hard core porn through your registered address too. Using these on your own connection or computer was madness so it looked like Netflix has won.
The problem is that whatever method you use to try and access American Netflix the important factor is the connecting IP address. First it must obviously be a US IP address, but equally important it must be trusted and registered to a residential IP address range. Anything else would be considered ‘commercial’ and blocked automatically – the DNS server or DNS codes in this instance would be irrelevant.
The big problem for any circumvention method was the US residential IP addresses that were needed to access American Netflix were very hard to obtain unless you were genuinely connecting through a US home based internet connection. In fact if you wanted to watch Netflix anywhere from another country it became increasingly difficult. No-one had access to large numbers of these residential IP addresses because they were only allocated to Internet Service providers to distribute to their customers. There were some ways to obtain them but these were either expensive or basically illegal!
So No American Netflix DNS Solution Left ?
Fortunately both the VPN services and the Smart DNS providers have started to come up with solutions. Residential IP addresses to allow access to the Netflix network are not easy to get for commercial providers. Some companies have managed to get them and establish a residential server network to facilitate access to Netflix. IDC was the first company to provide a working Netflix VPN and now there’s a Smart DNS Provider too.
The company is called Smart DNS Proxy and they specialise n Smart DNS solutions. They have actually integrated some residential addresses across their networks so you can access all sorts of versions of Netflix. The few VPN providers who now support Netflix access will normally only work with UK and US versions of the site.
Smart DNS is definitely not as secure as using a VPN and may be vulnerable to other detection techniques but at the time of writing the Unblock US solution is working well. So if you’re looking for a working American Netflix DNS solution at the moment it’s your only real option.
I’m not sure how long the free trial is available for but it’s been up for some time now. It’ completely free and they require no card details or verification so literally anyone can use it. Doesn’t matter where you are, sign up, add the DNS codes and you can be watching American Netflix in a few minutes.
It was in 2015 that Netflix expanded it’s network onto a truly global platform, adding over 150 countries to it’s reach. Your Netflix account could be used in just about every developed country in the world with only a few exceptions like North Korea and Iran. However although it could be argued that a Netflix account was global that didn’t mean you had complete control over the programmes that you were able to watch.
The main problem people who travel a lot have with their Netflix accounts is that what they can see is largely determined by their physical location. For example if you take out a Netflix subscription in the US and then travel to France, when you sign on to your account you will see the French version of Netflix not the US one. Of course, the French version of Netflix is very different to the US version and obviously contains more French and European content. If you’re a fluent French speaker this might not be a problem, but if you’re half way through a US only boxed set only available in the USA then it might just be.
The reality is that the US version of Netflix has far and away the largest range of content available. In fact compared to some smaller countries you’ll find literally thousands more movies, TV series and documentaries. All this disappears as soon as you travel outside the geographical borders of the United States. Cross over to Canada for example and the same thing will happen, when you log onto Netflix you’ll be redirected to the Canadian version of the site.
So Can I Watch US Netflix in Canada in 2017?
Actually there is a way to control which version of Netflix you see as you can see in the following video:
Simply by using a VPN server to hide your real location, you can actually access the US version of Netflix from Canada or anywhere else for that matter. In fact many people will open a Netflix account in Europe and then only ever watch the US version. You can’t blame them, when you see the amount of movies on the US version of Netflix compared to other countries you’ll be amazed.
For instance, I love the Zombie apocalypse program Z Nation which is available on Netflix. However whenever I check in most European countries there’s only a single series. Whereas on the US version of Netflix you can find four series available for streaming or downloading. This is quite common, you’ll often find that the non-US versions of Netflix are several series behind on many popular shows.
The only time these restrictions are lifted is with content produced directly by Netflix because they own the copyright and distribution rights. So as their model switches more towards Netflix produced movies and shows then this will be slightly less of an issue. However until then if you want to watch the best version and access US Netflix in Canada or any other country in 2017 then you should check out a VPN service.
Many of the internet’s biggest media sites operate a system of region locking. The BBC iPlayer for example blocks access to anyone outside the UK, similarly the US website Hulu blocks access to anyone located outside the USA. Virtually all the media web sites do this, including video sites like Youtube which controls what videos can be seen depending on your location. Fortunately there is a way around this, and millions of people across the world use VPNs to hide their physical locations.
These work by obscuring your real IP address by redirecting your connection through the VPN server. If the VPN is located in the correct country then you’ll be allowed access, so people would use a UK VPN to watch the BBC online and a US server to watch American content. Most of the web sites try to block access from these VPN servers however none have been very successful, except for one company – Netflix.
Here’s How Netflix Block VPN Programs
Most of the previous methods for blocking VPNs and proxies simply involve detecting and blacklisting the IP addresses of individual VPN servers. This works to some extent but is relatively simple for the VPN providers to bypass. When specific IP addresses are blocked they would simply replace them with alternatives, it ends up something of a cat and mouse game with the web providers. Many companies such as the BBC do this periodically so the blocks are normally fairly intermittent.
Mostly though people were unaffected, most of the decent VPN services have many servers which they rotated IP addresses when unaffected. Netflix however adopted another tactic, which proved to be more effective. What they did was instead of blocking individual IP addresses of VPN servers, they blocked a whole classification – commercial based addresses.
All IP addresses are classified into two types – residential and commercial. Residential IP addresses are allocated to domestic customers via their ISPs well companies and data centres receive commercial addresses instead. Netflix solution worked instantly by blocking access to all commercial addresses, the region locking was enforced and none of the VPN services worked.
Currently there are only a couple of VPN services which still work, these have managed to incorporate residential addresses into their network. One of the oldest companies, Identity Cloaker has built this capability into it’s software so that if anyone tries to connect to Netflix they will automatically be redirected to a server assigned with a residential IP address range. It works perfectly although these addresses are expensive and difficult to obtain so you should check if you require them as most VPN services won’t have access to them.
We’ve covered a lot about the Netflix ban on VPNs and proxies on this site and how slowly it’s being circumvented. There are now a couple of VPNs that allow you to switch between the different version of Netflix irrespective of your location. Which for expats or people who travel a lot is incredibly useful, and means you can choose Netflix region free without being forceably routed to your local version. However there has been one thing missing, up until now no-one has released a Smart DNS system which will work with the new Netflix blocks.
Smart DNS is a relatively new technology which instead of routing your entire internet connection simply routes specific parts when you try and access region locked sites by using specially configured DNS server. For instance if you are in the US and tried to access the BBC iPlayer, the Smart DNS server would route part of your connection through a UK server in order to bypass the UK only region locks. It works very well and because all you need to do is change your DNS server settings is simpler to use on different devices than a VPN.
Here’s what you do on a Windows client, simply change your DNS servers to the Smart DNS server and if you have an active subscription you’ll be able to bypass most region blocks. That’s all you need to do and you could implement in the same way on any media device, smart TV, games console or phone as long as you could specify the DNS servers.
So Which Smart DNS Still Works with Netflix ?
Except unfortunately Smart DNS Netflix was another casualty of the Netflix purge on region locking bypasses and so not only did most Netflix VPN not working the same happened to proxies and DNS servers . If you used one of these Smart DNS servers you would receive exactly the same error message as you would with a proxy as soon as you tried streaming anything. Most of the providers have given up trying to support Netflix, however finally I have found one provider who has fixed the problem and released a Smart DNS solution that works with Netflix!
It’s from a company who I haven’t used for a while but I know has been a Smart DNS/VPN solution provider for many years. The company is called Unblock-US and after a tip off that they were the first to create a DNS based solution that allows you to bypass the Netflix blocks I checked it out this week.
The setup screen is very simple to use – here it is
You basically sign up for an account, change your DNS servers and then select the version of Netflix you require. That’s all there is to it and then you visit Netflix you’ll be redirected to the region you selected. Of course most people will choose the US version which has more content than any other. However it’s useful to have access to the other locations as well because there are certain titles only available on certain regions. Netflix Canada for example has some great documentaries which are not available on any other regions.
I tried the US, Canadian and UK versions and all streamed perfectly. There is also a setting to disable which means you will go to the Netflix locale that you’re actually located in – which is useful for people who just want to use it when they are travelling. So if you’re still wondering which Smart DNS still works with Netflix then look no further….
If you’re quick Unblock-Us even has a free trial at the moment so you can test it out a real Free Smart DNS Netflix solution. You can access the trial through the link below.
It was always quite an anomaly, for several years before Netflix was actually available in Australia – there were over a quarter of a million registered users there. If you tried to access any version of Netflix there, you’d be blocked and told that it wasn’t available there yet. So how come there were hundreds of thousands of Aussie subscribers? Well the simple fact was that all these people got fed up of waiting for Netflix and simply used one of the better VPN services usually located in the USA.
The idea was, you start your VPN service first and connect through to a US based VPN server and then you’d be able to access the US version of Netflix using your subscriber account. Of course, Netflix knew about this – suddenly hundreds of thousands of accounts were created using Aussie based bank accounts and credit cards – but they still paid for the service so nobody really minded much. The same trick was used by millions across the world – either to access Netflix from somewhere it wasn’t launched in or to access a different locale version – until the Netflix VPN ban hit the world, when they banned all VPNs from everywhere!
The Netflix VPN Ban – Why and How?
So why did Netflix take such a draconian measure after all people weren’t stealing the service, they still paid for a valid subscription simply accessed from another country? The problem lies with the ways that licensing works, all the non-Netflix movies, TV shows and documentaries are individually licensed on a per country basis. So Netflix may have the license to broadcast a particular movie in the US but not in Europe so they have to segregate their services.
Unfortunately this means that the smaller countries often have vastly inferior versions of Netflix despite the subscription being the same worldwide. The companies who own the broadcast rights got fed up with people in different countries simply using a VPN or proxy to bypass these licensing issues and put some pretty heavy pressure on Netflix to block access.
This they have done, now nearly every VPN and proxy service has been blocked from accessing the Netflix service. They instigated a global block on accessing their servers using commercial IP addresses which included 99.9% of all the VPN services – suddenly everyone had to go back to their own regional version of Netflix. Which was ok if you are in the US which has a fantastic selection but not so much if you were perhaps an ex-pat accessing from a small European country.
The Netflix VPN ban on these services was incredibly effective and perhaps shows a model for region locking which other companies may follow. Previously people like the BBC had tried to block VPN services by individually identifying their IP addresses but it never worked for long as they simply be swapped out.
There are still some of the better VPN service which are still working, a small selection of VPN companies like IDC have implemented servers with residential IP addresses to bypass the Netflix VPN block. You can also read about another firm which has managed to get a Smart DNS Netflix solution working too.
Most though have simply given up as these addresses are much more expensive and harder to obtain unless you are a registered ISP. So if you want to access a different version of Netflix you should ask your provider if their service still works with Netflix as the majority don’t.
It’s cunning, it’s sneaky and has caused much sadness among movie fans across the world, I’m referring to Netflix suddenly blocking virtually every single VPN and proxy service. Slowly it’s become harder and harder to find a reliable proxy service to access the wonders of USA Netflix and last month became pretty much impossible. However on the internet it’s very difficult to block everyone and when the secret is out, you’re back to square one.
How to Bypass the Netflix Block
Well first it’s important to understand the method, how does Netflix block VPNs is the question but also the solution too. In fact it’s actually not as sophisticated as you might have thought, but it’s definitely pretty effective.
Netflix had previously followed the standard route of big media company wanting to block people like you and me trying to get round their region locks so they could watch the best movies with their NETFLIX SUBSCRIPTION. This was a combination of picking out the high profile VPNs – the services who advertise on social media and PPC plus manual identification of IP addresses with multiple streams. It works to an extent but is very time consuming and the VPN/proxy services simply switch addresses when required so that it becomes a constant battle.
However instead of pursuing this tactic indefinitely, Netflix chose another option and decided to target the classification as well as the location of the IP address. They simply blocked all ‘commercial’ classified IP addresses – which meant that anyone using an address held by a commercial organisation would not be able to access Netflix wherever they happened to be.
So every standard residential IP address would be allowed through but all the addresses from commercial enterprises were blocked across the board. These included virtually every data center too so all the VPN suddenly stopped working almost overnight. The only addresses that now worked were the ones classified as residential which are mostly allocated through ISPs directly to home users.
For a VPN service to continue to work with Netflix in any capacity it needed access to these residential IP addresses. Without these addresses it is impossible to bypass the Netflix block at at all. Fortunately a couple of companies seem to have gained access to these and introduced them into their server infrastructure effectively regaining access – one of them is Identity Cloaker which has enabled UK and USA residential IP addresses for Netflix users only.