Why Can't You Watch Netflix Using a VPN?
We’ll start out by saying this is a pretty weird question. Most people ask if you can watch Netflix with a VPN, not the other way around.
Still, we came across this question on Reddit and Quora, and even heard it from some of our readers. So we’ll answer it as best as we can in this quick article.
Yes – they’re great unblocking tools, in fact. VPNs stop Netflix from seeing your geo-location by hiding your IP address from it. Here’s how it all works:
1. You subscribe to a VPN, and use one of its apps to connect to a VPN server. The server must be in the same country as the content you want to watch. So if it’s a show that’s only available in the US, use a VPN server in the US.
2. The app and server will establish an encrypted connection. Nobody can spy on the data shared between them (not even your ISP, so bandwidth throttling won’t be an issue anymore).
3. When you visit Netflix, the VPN server will act as a middleman between the site and your device. It will intercept your connection requests (which contain your IP), and forward them to Netflix on your behalf.
4. Because of that, Netflix will think your requests are coming from the VPN server. So, the site will only see the VPN’s IP address.
5. Finally, Netflix will redirect you to the regional library that matches the VPN’s IP. If the IP is from Germany, you’ll end up on the German Netflix library.
If you’re asking that, it likely means you’re seeing the Netflix proxy error whenever you use a VPN with the site.
In that case, here’s the problem – Netflix is able to detect the VPN you’re using. The site knows you’re sending traffic from a VPN IP address, so it blacklists it. As long as you keep visiting Netflix using that VPN, you’ll end up on the proxy error page.
Unfortunately, that means the VPN can’t evade Netflix’s detection. It doesn’t refresh its servers’ IPs often enough, so Netflix manages to block them.
Why doesn’t the provider do that?
It’s hard to say, but maybe they can’t afford it. Leasing new IPs from data centers and ISPs on a regular basis isn’t exactly cheap.
Finding a good Netflix VPN can actually be pretty hard. It’s not like the providers advertise how often they refresh their IPs in their marketing copy. They just say you can “unblock Netflix” with their service. That sounds nice, but isn’t really helpful. How long can you unblock the site? If it only works a week out of a whole month, it’s not really worth it.
But what options do you have left? It’s not like you can get multiple subscriptions and spend months testing all VPNs to see which one works best with Netflix.
Well, you won’t have to do that at all. You can easily find the best Netflix VPNs by using StreamCatcher. It’s an online tool that tells you where Netflix titles are available. Besides that, it recommends the best Netflix VPNs (right there on the left). To use it and see more about good Netflix VPNs, follow that link.
How do you know you can trust those recommendations?
Simple – StreamCatcher belongs to ProPrivacy, one of the biggest VPN review sites on the web. They stress-test VPNs regularly to see which provider has the best speeds, and which one can unblock Netflix 24/7.
Maybe you don’t want to switch VPNs, or maybe you’re already using a good Netflix VPN. Either way, here’s how you might bypass the proxy error:
- Restart the VPN connection or app.
- Connect to a different VPN server (ideally, one optimized for streaming or Netflix).
- Update your VPN app.
- Clear your browser’s cookies.
- Use incognito mode.
- Get a dedicated IP address (it usually costs extra, though).
- Contact support to see what’s going on.
Before we say anything, please check that you’re not connecting to Netflix using a VPN server in your country. It’s not the most useful tip, but you never know.
Okay, so if that’s not the problem, here’s what’s going on – your VPN is leaking. Basically, it’s not routing all your traffic through the VPN tunnel, so Netflix is able to see your real IP address.
Sometimes, that’s the VPN’s fault. But most of the time, the problem is on your end. You can often experience IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks due to network and browser settings. For example, the SMHNR feature on Windows 10 can cause DNS leaks even if the VPN is working well.
So, here are some tips that should help you prevent leaks:
1. IPv6 Leaks
- Just disable IPv6. Here’s how to do it on Ubuntu, Windows, and macOS.
2. DNS Leaks
- Disable IPv6.
- Disable Teredo and SMHNR on Windows 10.
- Make sure you’re using your VPN provider’s DNS server. Alternatively, use OpenDNS (220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168) or Google Pubic DNS (22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199).
3. WebRTC Leaks
- Disable WebRTC in your browser.
- Use uBlock Origin. It’s an open-source script blocker that can prevent WebRTC leaks.
If you tried everything and you’re still experiencing leaks, the issue is with the provider. In that case, you should switch to a different one.
VPNs can usually unblock Netflix. If you’re not able to do it, it’s either because Netflix detected the VPN, or because you’re experiencing VPN leaks. The best way to avoid any of that is to use a really good Netflix VPN (like ExpressVPN).
If you have other information about this topic you’d like to share with us, please do so in the comments below.