Netflix will block use of VPNs to watch content in different regions

Netflix will no longer allow subscribers to use proxies or VPNs to watch content not available in the country where they currently are.

The video-streaming giant said it will be cracking down on the use of VPNs to access geo-restricted content.

The company licenses content by specific regions, meaning that the TV shows and movies available to watch with the service differs by country.


Those who use a VPN to watch Netflix content in a different region won’t be able to do so for much longer.

However, many subscribers find ways to access content not available in their region by using VPNs to virtually cross borders – violating Netflix’s terms of use.

David Fullagar, Netflix vice president of content delivery architecture, said in an official blog post:

“Some members use proxies or “unblockers” to access titles available outside their territory. To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it.

“That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are. We are confident this change won’t impact members not using proxies.

Subscribers often resort to proxies, or servers that facilitate access to Internet content not available locally, to watch Netflix’s popular shows such as “House of cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”

The decision by Netflix was likely a result of heavy pressure from studio companies wanting to ensure that geographic restrictions are enforced.

A Netflix spokesperson told Reuters: “Ultimately, the aim is to provide a service around the world that is more similar than not. Using VPNs or proxies to virtually cross borders violates Netflix’s terms of use because of licensing restrictions on TV shows and movies,”

The news comes following an announcement that Netflix expanded its service to more than 130 new countries around the world. The company made the announcement — and the service went live — during a keynote by Co-founder and Chief Executive Reed Hastings at CES 2016. The expansion added Arabic, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it already supports.

The company said that the service won’t be available in China yet though (a potentially huge market):

“Netflix will not yet be available in China, though the company continues to explore options for providing the service. It also won’t be available in Crimea, North Korea and Syria due to U.S. government restrictions on American companies.”