The new season of Stranger Things has hit U.S. Netflix, and it’s time for another bingeing session. You grab your laptop, a glass of your favorite beverage, settle in, turn on your VPN with a U.S. server selected, hit play and…
“Whoops, something went wrong…Streaming Error. You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again.”
Nope, it’s not the fault of the omnipresent fog of the Upside Down. Instead, your VPN has been blocked from accessing Netflix – again!
CyberGhost not working with Netflix? Try this...
CyberGhost offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, so it’s nice and easy to switch to ExpressVPN (which I think is the best VPN provider for unblocking Netflix).
I’ve tested a lot of VPNs and I find Express reliably works to unblock Netflix US, UK, AUS, CA, FR, IT, JP, DE and others. It’s really fast as well so you can binge in HD without the buffering.
ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.
More and more, VPN users are finding their access to Netflix streams in other countries are being turned upside down. VPN providers that used to offer reliable unblocking of Netflix streams are failing to break through to the other side.
VPN provider CyberGhost has long been known as a reliable way to access Netflix content housed in other countries. However, the provider seems to have given up the ghost when it comes to accessing Netflix goodness housed anywhere except the United States.
How Netflix Blocks a VPN Provider
While many computer and mobile device users may first subscribe to a VPN provider for a specific benefit, such as unblocking Netflix or another streaming service, I’d argue that they soon find a number of uses for their new encrypted internet connection. For many users, this leads to staying connected to their VPN of choice whenever they are online.
First, let’s take a quick look at how a VPN works. When a user loads their VPN app of choice and presses the “Connect” button, they are connected to one of the VPN provider’s many VPN servers. When they sign in, they are given a new IP address, which makes it appear they are connecting from the VPN server’s location. That location can be anywhere from the other side of town to the other side of the world.
A single VPN server can provide service to a large number of users at once. All connected users receive the same IP address. This helps provide an extra layer of security, since all of the users’ online activity is coming through the same IP address.
However, this also makes it easier for a service such as Netflix to detect if a VPN is being used to access their services.
When Netflix sees a large number of its subscribers are connecting via the same IP address, this clues them into the possibility that those users are making use of a VPN provider to access their content, possibly from outside the country where the Netflix content is being streamed from.
Once Netflix confirms the traffic is coming from a VPN server, they can quickly block that IP address from accessing their servers, as seen below.
Of course, this leads to a VPN user no longer being able to access Netflix via their favorite server, and they may complain to their VPN provider’s customer support department.
The support agents will confirm the server’s IP address is being blocked, they let their network admins know about it, new groups of IP addresses are created, and they work until Netflix once again notices multiple user traffic coming from a single IP, blocks the IP, and…
This leads to a continuous virtual game of “Marco Polo” between Netflix and your VPN provider. While this can be frustrating, Netflix is well within its rights to block VPN access to their servers, as they are locked into contracts with movie and television studios that restrict content access to only certain countries.
Sadly, these restrictions lead to content being available in the United States, but not in another country (and vice-versa).
The Best Alternative When CyberGhost Fails
Bowing to increased pressure from their content providers, Netflix announced in January 2016 that they would begin actively blocking VPN and proxy users from accessing their streaming service. Since then, a large number of VPN providers have ceased actively attempting to provide access to the service.
Thankfully, not all VPN providers have given up the ghost, and are still in there swinging. In the next section, I’ll tell you about one of these providers.
While this means that, occasionally, you may experience an issue where your favorite connection fails, you should be able to disconnect and then reconnect to another VPN server, and find an address that hasn’t been blocked.
Global Server Coverage
A VPN is a fantastic way to open access to international content that might normally be blocked in your particular area of the world. ExpressVPN has 1,500+ servers, located in 94 countries around the globe, making it a valid candidate for unblocking content almost anywhere in the free world.
Unblocked video content isn’t any fun if you have to wait for an eternity for it to finish buffering, or if it pauses halfway through to catch up. ExpressVPN offers protected connection speeds that come within 16% of my unprotected ISP speeds, which is plenty of horsepower for streaming 1080p or 4K HDR content.
ExpressVPN is stationed in the British Virgin Islands, and as such, is not required to keep any logs related to their customers’ online antics. The provider takes full advantage of this lack of oversight, following a strict “no logs” policy.
As an additional layer of privacy protection, the provider also accepts the privacy-friendly Bitcoin cryptocurrency as payment for their services.
I think any of us would be hard-pressed to name a modern desktop or mobile device platform that Netflix isn’t available on. ExpressVPN has that covered, with native app support for macOS, Windows and Linux desktop devices, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. They also provide browser extensions for the Safari, Chrome and Firefox browser platforms.
Gaming console and set-top streaming box devices are also covered, as PlayStation (3 and 4), Xbox (360 and One), Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV platforms can stream Netflix content located outside of the country through ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer service.
The provider allows up to 3 concurrent connections via the same user login. It also works on numerous makes and models of wireless routers, including Linksys, Asus, D-Link and TP-Link. Folks looking for a ready-made router solution can buy a pre-configured router from FlashRouters.com.
While I hope your VPN connection is never “ghosted” and always works as it should, it’s highly likely that you’ll need to contact your VPN provider’s customer support department with an issue from time to time.
ExpressVPN provides top-notch customer support to its users, with live support chat, a trouble ticket submission form and an informative searchable support library.
The provider has always provided a high level of support when I have had issues, providing fast and informed answers to all of my support inquiries. I have also been able to quickly find helpful support-library articles to aid me in the search for VPN-related knowledge.
While ExpressVPN is not exactly the Walmart of VPN providers, they do provide an excellent level of service for their price.
Month-to-month VPN subscribers will pay $12.95 per month, and those willing to commit to a 6-month or a 12-month subscription will pay $9.99 per month ($59.95 every 6 months) or $8.32 per month ($99.95 paid annually), respectively. As you can see, the longer the commitment, the bigger the savings.
A 30-day money-back guarantee offers users an opportunity to see if this is the VPN provider that fits their needs.
Don’t Be Ghosted by Netflix
ExpressVPN still provides a reliable way to unblock Netflix content in other countries when CyberGhost doesn’t have a ghost of a chance. ExpressVPN continues to respond quickly when one of its IP addresses is blocked by Netflix, quickly replacing it with an unblocked IP.
In addition, the provider supplies excellent connection speeds, comprehensive global server coverage that aid in unblocking streaming and gaming content around the globe, and their privacy protections and customer support are both top-notch.
While no one can safely say how long ExpressVPN will keep up with their IP address tango with Netflix, for now, they continue to look for ways to avoid having the streaming provider step on their users’ toes.