Practical Advice about Avoiding VPN Detection on Netflix

Practical Advice about Avoiding VPN Detection on Netflix

Feb 24, 2021, 3:36:12 PM Tech and Science

Can’t use a VPN with Netflix because you keep seeing the proxy error?

Welcome to the club! Pretty much every single VPN user has experienced this issue at one point in their lives. 

But don’t worry – while this problem is annoying, it’s also easy to fix it. We’ll tell you what you need to do to bypass the proxy error in this guide.

How to Avoid VPN Detection on Netflix

We read multiple support articles from VPN providers, checked many threads on Reddit, asked our own readers, and ran some tests ourselves. Based on all that, here are some actionable tips that actually help you get rid of the Netflix proxy error:

1. Use Your Browser’s Incognito Mode

Also called private mode, this basically means your browser won’t store cookies (especially tracking cookies) when you visit sites.

Why is that important?

Because tracking cookies could reveal your geo-location. The VPN’s IP will tell Netflix you’re from one country, but the cookies will tell the site you’re from another region. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize Netflix will immediately assume you’re using a VPN.

So whenever you use Netflix with a VPN, do it over private/incognito more. You can also clear your browser’s cookies and cache if you want to improve your odds.

2. Connect to a Different Server

When you see the proxy error, there’s a chance Netflix detected and blocked the VPN server you’re using. That doesn’t mean the site managed to block all servers, though.

Just switch to the next one on the list, and see if that solve the problem. If the provider has dedicated Netflix servers, use them instead. They refresh their IPs more often, so Netflix has a harder time detecting them.

3. Restart and/or Update Your App

In some tests, we were able to get rid of the proxy error by simply restarting the VPN app.

If that doesn’t work, see if it’s up-to-date. If it isn’t, it might suffer leaks or continue using outdated IPs (which Netflix already blocked). In case you notice pending updates, go ahead and run them right now.

4. Contact Customer Support

Tell them which Netflix library you want to unblock, and they should tell you which server location to use (like a specific city).

Why isn’t this information on their site, you ask?

Because VPNs don’t want anyone from Netflix accidentally seeing it. If that happens, their servers will immediately get blocked.

And if they can’t tell you which servers to use, the least they can do is tell you what the issue is, what measures they’re taking, and when they expect to solve it.

5. Get a Dedicated IP Address

A dedicated IP is only used by one person – you. Since you’re not sharing it with anybody, Netflix will be less likely to think it belongs to a VPN. After all, the site won’t see tons of people simultaneously signing into their accounts from the same IP.

If you can get a dedicated residential IP, that’s even better. That way, your traffic will come from a residential ISP, not a data center.

Just remember – a dedicated IP often comes as a paid add-on. The price usually varies from $6 to $7 or $8 per month.

Still Having Problems? Then Get a VPN That Actually Works with Netflix

Netflix’s detection system is actually pretty good, and many VPNs struggle to avoid it. Basically, they need to refresh their IPs very often, and doing that isn’t exactly cheap.

How do you know which VPN works with Netflix, though?

The best way to find one is to use StreamCatcher. It’s an online tool whose main purpose is to tell you where Netflix titles are available. Basically, you search a specific Netflix title, and StreamCatcher will tell you which countries you can watch it in.

But that’s not all it does. StreamCatcher also tells you which VPNs you should use to unblock said titles. And those aren’t just some random recommendations. They’re all backed up by ProPrivacy’s research. They’re the leading VPN review site on the web, so they definitely know what they’re talking about.

Here’s an example of how a search results page on StreamCatcher looks like:

How Is Netflix Able to Detect VPNs?

Netflix says they can do it, but not how they do it. Not surprising – why would they tell unblocking tools how they block them, after all?

We personally think Netflix uses geo-location services – businesses that provide them with databases contain all sorts of information about IPs, essentially. Some examples of such services might include MaxMind and IP2Location. Please remember – we’re not saying Netflix works with them. We’re just offering these two companies as examples.

Here’s how that might work:

  • Netflix pays monthly fees to get access to databases.
  • Those databases contain proxy and VPN IP addresses.
  • Netflix uses automated scripts to flag those IP addresses.
  • When the site detects them, it automatically blocks them.

Another theory is that Netflix asks its employees to sign up for VPNs to get their servers’ IP addresses. While that is possible, we don’t think the company does that. It just seems like too much of a hassle – it’s a huge time investment and implies big expenses. Plus, why do it manually when it’s easier to automate it?

The Bottom Line

Netflix is really good at detecting VPNs. To avoid seeing the Netflix proxy error, you should use a VPN that can actually unblock the site (like NordVPN, PrivateVPN, or ExpressVPN). 

Also, be sure to use incognito/private mode, keep the VPN app up-to-date, and try to connect to different servers when the one you’re using is blocked. Using dedicated IPs is also a good idea, but they cost extra.

What other ways do you know to bypass the Netflix proxy error? Please tell us about them in the comments.

Published by Alison Lurie

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