There are many nations who are rather keen on filtering the internet. Of course the examples they usually use are of sites run by paedophiles and criminals, which of course nobody objects to. However it rarely stops there, and once some sort of filtering system is adopted in a country you’ll find that list of sites that are blocked gets longer and more varied. Pretty soon there will be all sorts of extensive censorship being practiced – your Government will decide what you can and can’t do online.
But there’s another issue – the technical side is far from clear cut. There is no definitive best method for filtering on this scale. Some are so hopeless that you can get around them using Google translate to bypass the restrictions. Here’s a couple of the methods some countries have implemented. Both of the techniques depend on the development of a blacklist (sites that needs to be blocked). So consider – somewhere there’s a little group of people who hold meetings deciding on what should be included in this list. Imagine if these people had strong religious or political beliefs – their decisions could be quite different from your own.
Unrelated to Post But Funny !
But to utilise this black list you have to find a way of stopping people visiting the sites on the list.
One of the most basic methods is DNS poisoning, an extremely simple method of modifying the domain name tables belonging to the ISP’s.
Using this method you can redirect requests for specific blocked pages to someplace else. So when a user asks for one of these pages his browser is actually misdirected to another server – either with a warning page or simply completely blank.
Surprisingly many of the Scandinavian countries like Norway and Sweden have used this method in the past, although it is also been utilised in Holland and Germany too. It’s an awful way of filtering as it messes around with the core functionality of the internet – DNS. But it’s biggest problem is it’s extremely easy to bypass, point your machine at any non-poisoned DNS server and you will get the right address and be able to access the website. The other obvious issue is that you have to block an entire website as the address is not related to a single page. Not easy with many social sites and collaborative platforms like Blogger and WordPress. For example is you want to block a single offensive YouTube video you’d end up blocking most of the site if you use this method.
There are more sophisticated methods of filtering the internet though, companies like BT and Optenet specialize in providing such services such as Netclean. All the solutions work in slightly different ways but fundamentally they all have some sort of method of comparing the requested URL with a list of ‘naughty urls’.
Geo Targeting and Blocking by Country
This is probably now the most common method operating currently on the internet for blocked sites. Simply by analysing your physical location you can restrict access very easily indeed. In fact it’s easy to achieve for anyone, whether you’ve got a two page blog or a million page multimedia site blocking websites is a trivial task if you wish to do so.
The most common example you’ll see online is to protect copyright and broadcasting rights. For example all the online TV sites like BBC iPlayer block access to anyone from outside the UK. US media sites do the same, you can’t even listen to Pandora online while you’re physically located outside the USA. All they have to do is look up where your IP address is registered, if it’s the wrong location you’ll be denied access. To be honest this will probably account for the vast majority of blocked sites in 2020. It’s a simple method and you can easily filter out entire countries from accessing your website or redirecting them somewhere else.
Even if you visit somewhere like YouTube, depending on where you live you’ll find many videos inaccessible. This is because you can actually restrict on a video level who is able to access them and lots of people do just that. Just like the access blocked websites, it’s an increasing sign of the various borders and barriers which are appearing online.
The list is obviously one problem as mentioned above – especially in the eyes of those of us who argue against censorship of the internet. But the technologies can also cause issues as well – a current report from Watchdog International highlighted a few technical difficulties that can happen with one of these technologies.
Here are a few of the instances.
ACMA Test of Blocking YouTube
When the Australian Government trialled the BGP filtering system Netclean White Box, they included a few URLs from Youtube to be blocked. The problem was that because a URL from this site was added, all requests for this domain name (Youtube) then got handled directly through the filter. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue with some low traffic criminal website but because YouTube is so popular the box had to deal with millions of requests – which in the end made the Whitebox fall over.
Wikipedia image was contained byIWF List
The Web Watch Foundation manages a very extensive black list of sites over the web. The list can be used by anybody as a master list of which web sites to block. In this event the IWF added the URL of a Picture saved on Wikipedia. Unfortunately this caused a problem with the BT Cleanfeed system being used, when the system filters the web request it acts like a proxy server replacing it’s own IP address with the request. In one of the tests this meant that Wikipedia got hundreds of thousands of request from a single IP address range (the BT Cleanfeed system) which ended up with it being banned and Wikipedia becoming inaccessible for everyone.
The Web Watch Foundation removed the URL pretty rapidly and realised their error but at least the potential problems were highlighted by it when you start any main-stream censorship and Internet Filtering. There is also the very real issue that such censorship can normally be bypassed very easily by simply using a web proxy if needed.
How to Go to Websites that are Blocked – Use a VPN
So how do you ignore all this nonsense and bypass all these restrictions? Is it even possible to access these restricted sites? Well fortunately, with only a few minor exceptions it’s not that difficult to access whatever you want irrespective of these blocks. The method will vary slightly depending on the situation, however generally it involves using something called a virtual private network (VPN) to keep you location private and your browsing hidden.
It’s sounds complicated but in reality using a VPN to access blocked websites takes little more than a click or two. There’s loads of software around from various VPN providers which will allow you to connect safely to a vast global network of VPN servers across the world.
Now if you’re not afraid of a little technical tweaking there are a couple of free ways around this. They involve things like relaying through a friends/colleagues home connections to bypass the restriction. Or using the Tor browser which can be used to hide your location as well as delve into the Dark Web. However using Tor has a major drawback for things like video and music – due to it’s onion router configuration it can be extremely slow. Which means although you’ll be able to access sites like the BBC from abroad, it will be very painful to endure!
Fortunately there are quite a few internet security programs which are simple to use and don’t cost much. You don’t need to tweak or fiddle with settings and will work ‘out of the box’ with any browser like Internet Explorer or Google chrome. You just point it at the right VPN server and then visit the web address as normal. It will hide your current home country and any sites will just see the VPN ip addresses when you visit.
Let’s see one in action !
As you can see it’s really easy to use and requires no technological skills whatsoever. In fact half the time you don’t know you’re using a VPN as your web browser functions as normal. Well not quite as normal as all that blocked content will be visible again. Your only real decision to make is to choose the right country in order to match the blocked site. So accessing the BBC iPlayer would require a connection a UK VPN and server. To watch something from the US you’d need to click onto an American one.
If you’re trying to bypass restrictions placed by your local government or leaders then it should also work to. So if you want to access social networks when they’re being monitored or blocked, then connecting to a more open country combined with the local encryption should be enough.
You don’t need to mess around with the command prompt when you want to access a specific site. The software/VPN service demonstrated in the video is from one of the world’s biggest suppliers – NordVPN.
A few years ago, only a select few could watch Netflix. Indeed for quite a while the list of countries which had access to Netflix was very small, including only the largest developed countries primarily across United States, North America and Europe. This has changed greatly and now you can access the media giant in most countries in the world. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Japan, Turkey or the USA then you should be able to subscribe and watch Netflix without problems.
However it’s important to realise that which Netflix region you’re in, completely changes what’s available to you. The US version for example has thousands more shows and movies than all the other locales. Fortunately it is possible to switch your version of Netflix to this US one simply by changing your DNS settings.
Below we’ll explain how you can switch your version of Netflix to the US one. However if you just want to test it out, click on the image below to go to the 14 day trial for free and unblock US Netflix in minutes (no credit card required).
Click for 14 day Free Trial and Unblock US Version of Netflix
The Netflix Library is Linked to Your Location – Some are Much Better than Others
This is not the complete story, as although you can access your Netflix account pretty much anywhere nowadays. What you’ll see is heavily dependent on where you happen to be located. This is because Netflix has to license all the shows on a per country basis, i.e. if it pays for rights in the USA it would then have to pay separately for all the other countries. Obviously this means that Netflix will invest much more heavily in the bigger markets than it will in the smaller countries. So the service ( shows and movies) you get in somewhere like Austria will be much different from what you’ll receive if you access Netflix from New York.
The problem many people have with this, especially those who travel a lot is that these differences are hugely significant. The actual figures vary quite a bit, but some estimates suggest that there are tens of thousands more films and TV shows in the biggest version of Netflix (the USA) than in the other countries. Even though the subscription costs are similar it means that an American Netflix subscriber gets way more content than a subscriber from any other country. You don’t get such big differences with other streaming services like Apple TV for example. What’s more if you travel you’ll switch between versions which can be extremely annoying when suddenly the box-set you’re half way through suddenly disappears. Don’t imagine you’ll get your money back on your credit card either just because you’ve moved across a national boundary!
Is it fair? Well obviously this largely depends on where you happen to be. You’re unlikely to hear many complaints from US residents about their Netflix content especially if they don’t travel much. The US version of Netflix is so much better than everyone else’s, not only in quantity but quality too. For example at the time of writing there’s only one version of Netflix streaming the latest blockbusters – The Last Jedi and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, yes of course it’s the US version. It’s hardly surprising that so many people want to unblock the US version when you’ve seen the difference.
Using a Free Trial to Unblock the US Netflix
Of course, it’s difficult to illustrate how much better the US version of Netflix is at any given point. The movies and shows change with time, however there’s a way to see for yourself and change your Netflix region. It involves hiding your location by disguising your real IP address so it works with Netflix region you prefer.
However don’t waste money on using a VPN from a basic company, these rarely works with Netflix anymore. Even many of the best VPNs now don’t support Netflix access and you’ll get a proxy error message if you try and access whilst connected. Maintaining access has become costly and time consuming, so most of the VPN provider companies don’t support this platform anymore.
However there are a couple of service provider who do, which you can see below.
Over the years there have been many methods and indeed thousands of different services which allowed you to access different versions of Netflix from the one you’re locked into. However this has changed greatly over the last year or so. Netflix doesn’t like it’s users doing this even though it at one point there were millions ‘unofficially’ accessing Netflix from countries where it wasn’t even available. For instance, there were estimated at nearly 1/2 million Australian subscribers of Netflix in the year before it became available there! It worked with pretty much all of the major VPN providers you used to access the streaming service.
Most of these were simply using straight forward proxies and VPNs routing through US servers to hide their current location. The concept was simple, if you relay your internet connection through a VPN server or proxy in the USA for example, Netflix would see the US IP address of the server not your true location. Which meant that a Netflix user in Mexico would get access to the US version instead of the Mexican version. So the bottom line was that you subscribed to your local version as normal then you could unblock Netflix from a different country when required.
The alternative to this method was the already mentioned technology called Smart DNS which simply involved changing your DNS servers. It was developed because many devices now being used to access Netflix like Smart TV units, Games consoles etc couldn’t install the client software to enable VPN use. To install Smart DNS you just need access to the network settings on the device. It works in a similar way but only routed traffic for specific websites which were geo-restricted. It’s also faster but provides no online privacy, DNS leak protection or traffic encryption like VPN traffic does.
Netflix Stops Tools that Stream Netflix from Different Regions
Netflix started blocking and filtering these connections in a variety of ways in their bid to stop people trying to unblock Netflix regions. They had some success stopping all the free VPN services and some of the Smart DNS solutions However the real game-changer was when they started blocking access to commercial IPs.
This suddenly stopped 99% of VPNs and Smart DNS solution to unblock US login methods virtually overnight. Just about every one would receive proxy error messages when connecting. The reason that you received a streaming error was that all of these services used ‘commercially’ registered IP addresses simply because they are very easy to obtain. Getting hold of ‘residential addresses’ is much, much harder simply because they’re normally reserved for ISPs who release them to home customers.
The effect was almost instantaneous, social media and forums were filled with cries as suddenly even the best VPN services stopped working and you had to be in the United States to watch Netflix US ! There was little point contacting support, as in most cases there was nothing they could do. The problems was the IP addresses not the services themselves which affected VPNs and even the DNS options were not working too.
So is Unblock US Support for Netflix Still Possible?
Yes it is, but on a much less widespread scale. The method illustrated in the video above is working perfectly in the Summer of 2020 using a company called Smart DNS Proxy, well after Netflix’s initial purge. The current state of play is that you must have access to a residential IP address based in the country you require in order to access that version of Netflix. Most of the VPN service providers and many of the Smart DNS ones too have pretty much given up on Unblock US solutions for this reason.
Unfortunately residential IP addresses are difficult to obtain and extremely expensive even if you can access them. The companies who do have access to them, for the most part have focused on addresses based in the USA. There is a much greater demand for a US Netflix unblock solution than for any other country which is why they are still supported by some companies. It’s important to check for yourself though, forget about reputation and fancy websites – pick a trial account and try it for yourself. Netflix have indeed reduced the options and put lots of the disable unblock US companies out of business, but there are still some that remain.
IS it Really Worth the Effort to Unblock US Netflix?
It’s true that many national versions of Netflix are pretty similar, indeed some are virtually identical apart from language variants. Depending on where you travel and to what extent you use Netflix it might not be worth the trouble or additional expense. However for those of us who live in smaller countries, travel a lot or simply use our Netflix account very often getting access to the US version of Netflix is definitely worth it.
It’s not just the thousands of extra programmes and movies, but the quality as well. Netflix makes a great effort to get blockbusters onto the American Netflix in order to boost sales and support expensive advertising campaigns. They simply won’t spend the same on a smaller market with less rewards.
A classic example is the film – The Last Jedi, which currently is only licensed on US Netflix. You won’t find it on any other version currently and there are loads of the latest blockbusters which are only found on the American version which makes it well worth unblock US download to your computer. The same situation happens with TV series, you might be happy to find the first series of a popular show on the French or UK version of Netflix. However this is often because the older releases are cheaper, you’ll normally find that there most of the later series will be on the US version too.
Over the years I’ve tried loads of methods for unlocking US Netflix primarily so I can keep up with the latest releases. Proxies no longer work at all, so you can forget them. There are about two VPN services which still work in 2020 including Identity Cloaker. However you have to use the software and it won’t work on tablets and smartphones at the moment.
There is no doubt the best solution at the moment to unblock US Netflix and that’s to use a Smart DNS service which has the requisite residential IP addresses. There’s only one which I have used which is both reliable and quick enough to stream video and that’s the service from Smart DNS Proxy. They also include a VPN service but I suggest you leave that unless you need the security as the Smart DNS version works better.
It’s not just for Netflix though, you can use it to get access to any content under geo restrictions in any country from the BBC iPlayer, Sky Go in the United Kingdom to HBO Go, Hulu and NBC in the US. In fact there’s server locations all over the world to enable the world’s best media sites.
The best thing is that this company actually provides a free trial if you access from the correct link. Which means you can test it out and see if it’s worth the money before committing. Honestly I’ll think you’ll be impressed, with both the speed an reliability and also the amazing amount of content on the US version of Netflix compared you your own locale. What’s more you can try before you buy with this US Netflix Free Trial.
Surely it cannot be true! Is Netflix blocking VPNs and proxies? Are we doomed to be locked into our own crap region of Netflix or even worse are people outside the Netflix coverage locked out completely. Well the simple answer is yes, at the moment Netflix is investing a huge amount of time and resources in blocking not just proxies – they’re also blocking VPN services too! Fear not though, this article shows you how to fix Netflix VPN problems.
It’s come as a bit of a shock for many, most people go through the following stages with most region locked content.
Annoyance – tried to watch a show, video or broadcast online somewhere like YouTube, BBC or Netflix and got blocked.
Research – learn about region locking and finding out that it’s simply based on the location of your IP address
Solution – realising that if you hide your IP address by using a VPN or proxy will bypass all these blocks and let you watch whatever the hell you want!
Once you reach the last stage all those annoying blocks and filters simply disappear. You can watch anything from anywhere, irrespective of your location – for example I have sat in a Spanish bar watching the News on the BBC (UK IP address), then switched to an American IP to watch the US version of Netflix then watch some football on RTE (the Irish Broadcaster). Without a suitable VPN service none of these would be possible, for me it makes a massive difference to my viewing options.
Now over the years, many of these online broadcasters have made various attempts to thwart these efforts. In fact it would probably be safe to say the use of very simple proxy servers are now pretty much gone as far as bypassing region locking goes. There has been no such thing as a Netflix proxy free or paid that worked for many years, in fact the only major broadcaster who didn’t block proxies were the BBC but even they started doing this last year. The problem is that the use of a proxy can be detected very easily by all these sites which now makes them fairly useless.
No worries, for we still had VPN services, the virtual private network connections are encrypted and almost impossible to detect. Unfortunately these too started to suffer casualties and many broadcasters have waged a sort of half-hearted war on VPN servers too. Initially it was nothing more than individually blocking the addresses of popular ones which became too mainstream if you found your netflix vpn not working prior to 2016 it was easily remedied. It was never that bad though and usually you could just switch to another IP address and it would work fine. Unfortunately that’s looking like it’s changing too – the Netflix VPN ban was implemented towards the end of 2016.
Netflix have changed all this, they’ve really gone to war with VPN services and have actually managed to block 99% of them from working. You’ll hear many tales of woe from people who have VPN accounts set up simply to watch the US version of Netflix which no longer work. Netflix blocked VPN services every where, well very nearly all – for Netflix VPN 2017 needs something very specific.
So how to fix Netflix VPN ?
They have succeeded where many have failed by adopting a different tactic. Instead of trying to detect the VPN connections or individually identifying specific IP addresses, Netflix have focused on the origin of the VPN addresses. You see most IP addresses are grouped into two distinct groups –
Commercial IP Addresses – assigned from data centers for websites and commercial servers.
Residential IP addresses – assigned by ISPs to their customers from their internet accounts.
All the VPN and proxies came from the first category, so the VPNs all had commercial IP addresses. Netflix simply detected which group the connection was from and blocked all the commercial IP addresses whilst allowing the second category through. If you connected with a commercial IP address from a proxy or VPN to Netflix this is what you’d get this –
Suddenly almost overnight Netflix blocked VPNs, proxies and Smart DNS solutions from everywhere – they still couldn’t detect the presence of the technology – but they knew if the IP address was commercial. However there’s a solution in this video entitled Netflix Block VPN services.
Fortunately there is some hope, a couple of the most advanced VPN systems had already identified this cause and have made plans to rectify. Identity Cloaker is one of these and have introduced code to detect when the VPN is used to connect to Netflix, when it does it is relayed through a residential IP address which is allowed through. It works perfectly and should do for the foreseeable future, although the downside is that residential IP addresses like this are much more expensive so there may be some pressure on subscriptions. So if you want a VPN service specifically for Netflix you’ll need one that supports these residential addresses, that means only the sophisticated products will work and there is no best free VPN for Netflix anymore.
Identity Cloaker is now one of the only VPN/Proxy services which is not blocked by Netflix. Try the . trial here
Many companies who operate on the internet operate an economic technique called price discrimination. This is a way where companies can sell the same goods and services for different prices in order to maximise profits rather than sell at a single price to everyone. The concept follows the idea that different people will pay different amounts for the same product.
The internet initially looked like it would change this, price discrimination relies on separating markets in order to charge different amounts. When anyone can buy from anywhere in the world the barriers seemed to fall especially for services and low weight items which can be easily distributed. Why buy something for £100 from a UK based site when it’s available from a French site for half the price, the web threatened to smash down these barriers.
Alas this didn’t last long, and in some cases the internet has made things worse with global companies setting up localised versions of their sites (and prices) using a technology called geo-location. This is quite a simple technology which looks up your physical location based on the internet address (IP) that is assigned to you by your ISP (Internet service provider). Using this technology people are redirected or even blocked based on their location, so connect from France and you get a French version of a site, from USA you’ll get a US version and so on – the idea that different prices and services can be supplied based on what the local market will support.
This behaviour is now pretty pervasive with almost all internet retailers operating to some extent. Login and check an air fare price for example you’ll probably get offered a different fare depending on where you are physically for the same flight. This of course makes it essential that you can get some sort of control back unless you want to be paying top prices for everything you buy online. To do this is fortunately very straight forward – simply use proxies to change your IP address. Here’s how you can use an English proxy – just here, to switch your location to the UK.
So whilst connected to this service you can choose out of about twenty countries to route your connection through. Use a British server and you’ll have a British IP address, an American service will give you a US IP address and so on. Using this you can check out the prices of all sorts of site based on different physical locations.
For example I always use this to watch the BBC from Ireland but I recently wanted to book a city break for my family. Funnily enough I got completely different prices for flights based on an Irish address to a British address despite the flights being identical in every sense. Unsurprisingly I have found that generally my standard UK address gives me a much worse deal than a French or American on for some reason.