One of the reasons common people (as in, people who aren’t tech experts) use VPNs on a daily basis is to gain access to streaming websites that are usually not available in their country. These include popular websites for watching shows and movies like Netflix and Hulu. However, the latest news is that Netflix has announced plans to crack down on customers using VPNs, proxies, and unblockers in order to gain access to their websites. To cut a long story short – watching streaming sites through a VPN will get slightly more challenging, but it will always be possible.
And Netflix isn’t the only one – Hulu has been actively cracking down on VPN sites for quite some time now (quite a bit longer than Netflix, actually). If you visit Hulu while you’re connected to one of the bigger VPNs, Hulu will promptly notify you that their entire content is only available in the USA. So, what exactly are you supposed to do? With the help of smaller VPNs and proxies, thousands upon thousands of people have successfully managed to dodge the regional restrictions set by the websites they’re trying to access.
VPNs and proxy services are able to route your traffic through another country (through the US, for instance) so that Netflix and Hulu think you actually live there. These VPNs and proxies use a handful of IP addresses and share them among their users. For a service like Hulu or Netflix, detecting and blocking such VPNs and proxies would be pretty simple. All they would have to do is track the location of the VPN user and note that a number of users with accounts from all over the world seem to be connecting from the same IP address. After pinpointing these connections, they can be certain that the IP address belongs to a public VPN and the address can be blacklisted. The VPN service can then switch to a new IP, which Netflix or Hulu will eventually notice and then block again. Basically, it’s a never-ending cat-and-mouse game.
To put it more simply, Netflix, Hulu, or whatever other services you want to use have no possible way of knowing whether you’re connected through a VPN or not. On the other hand, they can just block the IP addresses that are shared among many people. Instead of getting constantly locked up, just stop using shared VPNs. In other words, you need your own unique IP address associated with your VPN. You can do this in a number of ways.
Some VPN services offer a unique IP address if you pay an additional fee. However, be on the lookout for services that offer a “dedicated IP address,” “dedicated IP,” or “static IP.” These are the services that will allow you to keep using websites such as Netflix through a VPN service, and they are the easiest solution. Popular VPN services like TorGuard, PureVPN, and Hide My Ass! all offer this option, but you shouldn’t be surprised if they charge extra for the features. If Netflix follows through with their plan on cracking down on VPNs, more VPNs will soon appear on the market.
If you only need to access the US version of Netflix while traveling abroad, one thing you could try doing is hosting your own VPN server on your home Internet connection. You can use this trick in other countries as well, as it will just give you access to that country’s version of Netflix. Be careful, though – you will be limited to your home upload bandwidth, and home Internet connections often tend to be rather slow for watching movies. Of course, meddling with VPNs comes with a price, and there’s no way you will find a decent VPN for free. You will have to shell out a little cash, which usually doesn’t go over $10 per month, depending on how much time you buy at once (they usually drop to about $6 for full-year subscriptions). The requirements will go up too – since a shared VPN won’t cut it, you’ll need your own VPN with its own dedicated IP address.