Geo-blocking: how and why Netflix does it?

Netflix is one of the best streaming services that offer a wide variety of entertainment content to its users. Such content mainly includes TV shows, films and documentaries. The best thing about Netflix is that it constantly provides new content and user enjoy unlimited viewing of this content without interruptions from commercials. According to this Tunnel Bear VPN review, Netflix offers different catalogues on a geolocation basis, and currently, the best content can is in Netflix US, Canada and UK.

What’s Geo-blocking

In the digital world, geo-blocking restricts the availability of specific internet content to a geographical location. In a nutshell, geo-blocking limits access to internet content based on location. This technique is common in the entertainment industries that offer premium content over the internet such as Netflix.

Why Netflix is using geo-blocks

Apart from its TV shows and movie productions, Netflix also offers content owned by other vendors. This content is usually licensed and copyrighted. Most of these ownership rights may be exclusive or territorial depending on some factors such as production and even filming. The licenses and copyrights make the contents to be legible for a particular region and also bar Netflix from offering the same content to other locations. At times, these exclusive rights of ownership may differ from country to country. In this case, the content can be modified to for specific countries or the content will be offered on a limited time basis.

Hence, to avoid violation of owner’s copyrights and licenses, Netflix uses geo-blocking to offer selective content to its users.

How Netflix implements geo-blocks

Netflix uses geolocation services especially from IP addresses to provide different content to different locations. As mentioned earlier, content’s copyrights and licenses overly influence how Netflix delivers the content to its users.

Due to this ownership rights, Netflix worldwide catalogues are populated with few non-interesting contents while the US catalogue has lots of interesting content you’d want to watch. This is the sole reason why every Netflix user wants to stream the US Netflix catalogue. And to do that, Netflix users found ways to bypass geo-blocks mainly by hiding their actual location by using tools such as VPNs and proxies that assign Virtual IP addresses, hence virtual locations.

To maintain the content rights and avoid infringing copyrights, Netflix came up with measures to ensure that users only access content available to their geolocation. According to IBTimes UK, some of these measures include blocking VPNs, and proxies mostly by using the following methods;

Blacklisting popular VPN providers

Blacklisting is a control mechanism that prevents some items from accessing a particular service; it’s like a block list. Using industry standard technologies to backlist popular VPNs, Netflix ensures that users don’t fool the system by using virtual locations.

Blocking connections from the same IP range

Users accessing US Netflix from the same VPN server will have IPs within the same range. This triggers the system, and automatically Netflix will know a VPN is in use. Hence, they will block the whole IP range.

IP address blocking is protection practice that can secure a connection between a certain IP or group of IP addresses, internet server, web or main. It is done usually to block or ban any hosts or undesirable site from entering the node or server. In this way, it saves from causing harm to the individual computer or network. To handle this IP blocking, a user can access 5 Best VPN for Netflix from It is very simple to choose your required VPN services from here. 

Blacklisting DNS unblockers

These were the first tools Netflix blocked. Unlike VPNs, when using a DNS blocker, Netflix can make your device ping another domain and if a different IP shows up, the system would know you are cheating.

Besides blocking VPNs and proxies, Netflix has also implemented more aggressive methods that ensure no one by-passes their geo-blocks;

Banning IPv6 tunnels

Communication through the internet occurs through the Internet protocol (IP). One of the earliest addressing schemes is the IPv4, and since the internet grows exponentially, experts came up with IPv6 addressing scheme to replace the nearly maxed out IPv4. But most of the internet resources are still not compatible with the new IPv6 scheme.

Tunnelling makes it possible for IPv4 and IPv6 to work efficiently; IPv4 routing infrastructure is used to carry IPv6 traffic. Similar to VPNs, Netflix banned IPv6 tunnels as they can be used to change ones geo-location.

Forcing Google DNS lookup

Earlier on, Netflix used this technique on its Android app. forcing Google DNS lookup makes the app to bypass any tools. Especially the ones that are used to mask ones actual DNS. This reveals your actual location, and in turn, you only get content available in your location.

Bypassing Netflix geo-blocks

You can still use a few reputable VPNs which don’t leak and also own their services to circumvent Netflix Geo-blocks and gain access to US Netflix.

These VPNs make bypassing possible by creating and maintaining a secure tunnel that hides your internet traffic from prying eyes, and this includes Netflix blocking mechanisms. E.g., if you connect to a US VPN server, the server will route your traffic to Netflix servers. Also, the US VPN server assigns you a virtual IP address which hides your actual IP address and location – this makes your traffic to appear as if it is coming from a US location and hence Netflix won’t block you.