IPVanish Netflix Blocked Workaround
You settle in for a nice Netflix binge, connect to your favorite Virtual Private Network (VPN), connect to Netflix 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.”
UGH! That is not what you want to be greeted with!
Is your VPN provider letting you down when it comes to accessing Netflix? This formerly-reliable method of accessing U.S. Netflix streams from outside of the country has ceased to work for subscribers of many VPN providers. This is due to an active effort on Netflix’s part to block the IP addresses of VPN servers.
One of the providers that previously worked to unblock Netflix was IPVanish. Sadly, that is no longer the case. The provider seems to have conceded the IP address chess game to Netflix. So, if you’re still with IPVanish, what are your options?
How Netflix Blocks a VPN Provider
Many VPN users find that their VPN connections are so useful in protecting their internet connections and personal information, they turn them on to protect their internet activities whenever they’re online.
When a VPN user logs in to their provider, they are connected to a VPN server, as are a large number of other users. When they’re signed in, they receive a new IP address, which makes their connection appear to be connecting from that server’s location. The other users also do this. All users connected to a particular server are assigned the same address, effectively sharing an IP address.
VPNs use IP-sharing for their customers’ connections for two main reasons. The first is economy of use. The second is that IP-sharing enhances the users' anonymity, due to every user’s online activity being conducted through the same IP address.
Unfortunately, multiple users coming from a single IP address is also a good way for streaming providers like Netflix to detect that a VPN is being used to access their content. When this is detected, Netflix can make it tougher for a VPN’s users to access their content by simply blocking the shared IP address.
Once a customer finds they can no longer access Netflix via their favorite VPN server, they are likely to complain to their provider, who confirms the IP addresses are indeed being blocked. The provider then sets up a new group of IP addresses, once again enabling access to the Netflix servers. Netflix then eventually discovers the new IP addresses, blocks them, and the game starts all over.
While this can be frustrating to VPN-using Netflix subscribers, the streaming provider is well within their rights to block such access to their servers, even if it does cause a problem for U.S.-based subscribers who might only be using a VPN to protect their internet connection and their online activities from prying eyes.
Netflix has contracts with movie and television studios that only allow subscribers in a certain geographical area to access the licensed content. While this may be an antiquated way to license content, it’s still how the movie studios do it today. Unfortunately, this means that content available in the United States might not be available if you’re located in another country.
In January 2016, Netflix began actively blocking VPN and proxy service connection from accessing their content. Until then, almost any VPN service could be used to access Netflix. However, soon after Netflix began its blocking activities, VPN providers began dropping their claims of Netflix-unblocking abilities. IPVanish has proved to be one of those fallen providers.
However, some VPN providers continue to fight the good fight against the Netflix VPN blockade. In the next section, we’ll take a look at one of these providers.
Best Blocked-Netflix Workaround: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is one of the VPN providers that continues to play hide and go seek with Netflix, creating new IP addresses when Netflix detects their current addresses. While the method isn’t foolproof, and there may be times when you’ll need to connect, disconnect and reconnect multiple times to find a VPN server that unlocks Netflix, the provider does still work. (Read a full review of ExpressVPN here.)
Global Server Coverage
ExpressVPN has an impressive number of servers located in spots around the world. With over 1,500 VPN servers located in 94 countries, the provider makes an excellent way to access geographically-blocked content, such as that offered by Netflix, Hulu and other streaming content providers.
ExpressVPN is also an excellent choice for streaming any type of video or audio content, due to its fast connection speeds, which regularly measure in at nearly 84% as fast as my ISP-provided speeds.
Depending on your usual ISP speeds, these speeds should be more than up to streaming your favorite Netflix content, even if it’s in the 4K HDR format.
ExpressVPN is second to none when it comes to the category of privacy protection. This British Virgin Islands-based provider doesn’t keep any logs of their users’ online activities, so if anyone comes a-knockin’ for information, there simply won’t be anything to turn over - even if they’ve brought a subpoena with them.
The privacy protections offered by ExpressVPN also extend to subscription payments. The provider accepts Bitcoin as payment for their services. Bitcoin is arguably the safest form of payment available today when it comes to protecting your privacy. Sure, the cryptocurrency itself may be volatile, but it’s still completely anonymous.
Netflix seems to be available on just about every connected device you can think of. Luckily, ExpressVPN offers native apps for the macOS, Windows and Linux desktop platforms, and iOS and Android mobile devices. Browser extensions are available for the major browser platforms. You can also use multiple devices at the same time, as the provider allows users to connect up to 3 devices at once under the same account.
Playstation (3 and 4), Xbox (360 and One), Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV owners can access Netflix’s U.S. content from outside of the country by using ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer service.
If you’d like to protect all of your connected devices at once, you’ll be glad to know ExpressVPN works with numerous makes and models of wireless routers, including Linksys, Asus, D-Link and TP-Link. Plus, pre-configured routers can be purchased from FlashRouters.com.
I hope that none of the folks reading these words have a less-than-carefree VPN experience. However, there’s a better than even chance that you’ll need to contact your VPN provider’s customer support department with a question or two. When the need arises, you’ll want to feel secure that support will be there when you need it.
ExpressVPN provides customer support that compares very well with any other provider in the VPN industry. The company offers online support chat, a trouble ticket submission form and an easy-to-search knowledge base.
ExpressVPN customer support agents were always quick to reply with knowledgeable responses, and the knowledge base was quick to give up an answer when I did a little digging for answers on my own.
ExpressVPN will never be mistaken for the low-price leader of the VPN provider industry. That said, the company offers a great bang for the buck.
A month-to-month VPN subscription is $12.95 per month, but you can save a few bucks if you’re willing to spring for a 6-month or a 12-month subscription at $9.99 per month ($59.95 every 6 months) or $8.32 per month ($99.95 paid annually), respectively.
Stream Lover, Where Are You?
While ExpressVPN is my ace in the deck for unblocking U.S. Netflix content when I’m out of the country, I sometimes do have to work a bit to find a server to unlock the service’s video content. Occasionally a server that worked great would simply stop allowing content to stream, and I’d have to go in search of another server that could come through for me
It’s hard to say how long ExpressVPN will continue to offer access to Netflix, but at the time of this article, it’s still hanging in there and providing a way to binge your favorite video content, even if you’re outside of the United States.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to do a bit of bingeing. By the way, is it possible to watch all of the episodes of “Shameless” in one weekend?