Thursday

Using a Proxy for Netflix

I've had a few comments with this question, so I thought since this blog has covered the use of proxies for many years I'd better try and answer.  So can you use a Proxy for Netflix?   Well the simplest answer is no, they don't work - it's kind of sad but true, the days of simply using a proxy server to bypass region locks are pretty much gone.

Of course, I've still got many proxies installed in various places across the world but unfortunately most of these are of very little use now, except for a few of my more obscure projects.
The problem is that all the big media sites, governments and intelligence agencies can easily automatically identify the use of a proxy now, it's then very easy to block them.  They haven't worked with Netflix for some time and in fact the only real use for a proxy was to access the BBC iPlayer which never seemed that bothered about them - but even they blocked access from a proxy last year too though.

To access these media servers from a different country you can forget using a proxy for Netflix - you need to use something more difficult to detect like a VPN.

If I can't Use a Proxy for Netflix? What Now?

Doe that mean you're stuck with the crappy localized version based on your real location, will Canadian Netflix users have to stare jealously whilst US users a few miles away pay the same price for three times as much.  Well thankfully no, but you will need to use something more sophisticated which is harder to detect such as a VPN or SSH tunnel.   These can be encrypted and are not identifiable when you visit a website, at least not if they're configured correctly.

Netflix though has gone further than all the other media companies, they have targeted VPN services heavily too.  At the time of writing about 95% of these VPN services are blocked also, if you try and use a VPN to access Netflix you'll get this message.

Proxy for Netflix


Netflix have started to block based on the classification of the IP address which is connecting. So although they can't actually identity the presence of the VPN, they know that almost all of these services use a commercial IP address. This is actually an easy block to implement and Netflix have simply restricted access to residential IP addresses. The difficulty is that these addresses are not easy to find, if you've ever looked for a residential VPN service then you'll know that they are both rare and very expensive.  This is because they're normally only available to ISPs to service home user connections, you can't normally assign these to data center server.   However one company has solved this -
Identity Cloaker are one of the VPN providers who have implemented a solution, although currently it only allows access to the US version Netflix. What the software does it to detect when a connection is made to the US version of Netflix, then it will route the VPN through a residential IP address instead of a commercial one.

This has the advantage of allowing access to US Netflix whilst minimizing the use of these residential addresses which reduces the cost. Transferring entirely to a residential IP network would involve a heft price rise simply to break even.

So forget using a proxy for Netflix now, but you can always use Identity Cloaker - test the trial here.  It works for all the other media sites too but only uses residential addresses for US Netflix currently.

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