We’ve been getting this question a lot lately, so we decided to dedicate an article to it.
It seems that a lot of people think that if VPNs can unblock Netflix that automatically makes them less secure. But just how true is that?
Well, not very. If you see the Netflix proxy error, that doesn’t mean the VPN you’re using is compromised. We’ll tell you why in this article. Also, we’ll give you some actionable tips that should help you bypass this error.
So Are VPNs That Can’t Unblock Netflix Less Secure?
No, not at all. That just means the VPN can’t avoid Netflix’s detection and blocking methods. Other than that, your data is still safe with the VPN (as long as it’s not a free one and it’s trustworthy, of course).
Why do people think that, though?
It’s probably because they associate not being able to unblock Netflix with IP leaks.
Here’s the thing about that – if your VPN suffers an IP leak, you likely won’t get the proxy error. Instead, you’ll end up on your country’s regional library. After all, Netflix isn’t going to see a VPN IP, but an IP from your country.
Quick Note about IP Leaks
Just because you end up on your country’s Netflix library doesn’t necessarily mean the VPN you’re using is leaking your IP address. Sometimes, the issue can be on your end – tracking cookies might be giving your geo-location away, for example.
If you want to be sure you’re not dealing with a VPN leak, do this:
- Without being connected to the VPN, access this link. It’s an IP leak test tool called ipleak.net.
- Take a screenshot of the results.
- Next, connect to the VPN.
- Head to ipleak.net again.
- Compare the results you get with those from the screenshot. If you see your original IP or DNS address, you’re dealing with a VPN leak.
If your VPN is leaking, there are some things you can do – like making sure leak protection is enabled in the VPN app, or disabling OS features that might cause leaks (like SMHNR and Teredo in Windows 10). But the best course of action is to contact your provider’s support team to see what you can do. They might offer specific tips that only work for their service.
Here’s How Netflix Probably Blocks VPNs
We believe they use services like IP2Location or MaxMind to get access to databases that contain VPN IP addresses. Those companies are just some examples off the top of our heads. We’re not saying Netflix definitely works with them.
Anyway, once they have those databases, Netflix can use automated scripts to flag and block the IPs contained in them. If VPNs don’t refresh their servers’ IP addresses fast enough, their IPs will be added to those databases and subsequently blocked by Netflix.
As you can see, it has nothing to do with how secure the VPN is. It’s mostly about how much money a VPN provider is able to invest in regularly leasing new IPs.
How to Get Around the Netflix Proxy Error
The best way to avoid this issue is to just use a VPN that actually unblocks all of Netflix’s titles without any problems. You can find one by following that link. It’ll take you to an online tool called StreamCatcher. If you look up a Netflix title on it, it will tell you which specific servers you need to use from which VPN providers to unblock it.
If you don’t want to switch providers yet, though, here are some things you can try that might help you bypass the proxy error:
- Connect to a different server. Netflix might have blocked the IP of the one you’re currently using.
- Close the VPN app and restart it.
- Make sure the app is up-to-date.
- Clear your browser’s cookies and cache before signing into Netflix with the VPN.
- Try using your browser’s incognito/private mode when accessing Netflix via the VPN.
- Try using a dedicated IP address. If it’s a residential one, even better. Netflix is less likely to flag them as VPN IPs.
- Contact your VPN provider’s support team to see what else you can try.
How to Tell If a VPN Is Really Secure
Since we’re on this topic, we might as well tell you what to focus on when picking a VPN if you want to be 110% sure it can protect your data. Here are some must-have features for any VPN that deems itself secure:
- High-end encryption – Ciphers like AES and ChaCha20 are a must if you want to relax knowing your data is safe. Both 128-bit and 256-bit keys are good as long as the cipher is strong.
- Zero-log policy–You’re using a VPN to stop others from spying on you, so why would you want it to keep tabs on how you use it online? Zero logs are the only real way to protect your privacy.
- Kill switch – VPN connections can and will disconnect, so a kill switch is a must. Basically, it’s a feature that shuts down your Internet access until you reconnect to the VPN. No data is at risk during the reconnection process that way.
- Obfuscation – Some countries actively block VPN traffic. Obfuscation lets you hide it to continue surfing the web securely.
- Malware protection – VPNs can’t offer the same level of protection like antimalware programs, but they can provide firewall-like features that block connections to malicious domains.
The TL;DR Version
No, just because a VPN can’t unblock Netflix doesn’t mean it’s not secure. You seeing the proxy error has more to do with the VPN’s IPs getting blacklisted than how it protects your data. And as long as you use a really good Netflix VPN, that shouldn’t happen too often.
Speaking of which, what VPNs do you guys use to unblock Netflix? Please let us know in the comments below.