Netflix crackdown on VPN services has begun
If you are currently using a virtual private network, unblocker or proxy to access Netflix, you have likely been greeted by an "whoops, something went wrong..." message on the site on stream start.
The error is listed as a streaming error, and the description found underneath it reads:
You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again. For more help, visit netflix.com/proxy.
Error code: H7111-1331-5059
Netflix You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy
The proxy help page on the Netflix website provides little information besides what the company mentioned already in the error description:
This error occurs when our systems have detected that you are connecting via a VPN, proxy, or â€œunblockerâ€ service. Because our content library can vary by region and these types of connections are frequently used to bypass geolocation methods, you will not be able to stream when connected in this way.
Netflix's only recommendation is to disable "any proxies, VPNs, or other software that might route your Internet traffic outside of your current region".
Many unblocker and VPN services stopped working today, including Mediahint, Zenmate, Betternet, AppVPN, ExpressVPN, Tunnelbear, and Private Internet Access, and it is likely that a lot of services not listed here have stopped working as well.
It is unclear how Netflix determines when a user is using a VPN connection to stream content on the site, but there are several possibilities how the service could have done it.
- Sign up for popular VPN and Unblocker services, record all IP addresses you get while connecting to the service, and block those.
- Check which IP ranges VPN and Unblocker companies have purchased, if possible, and block those.
- Check which IP addresses are used by multiple users on the site, verify who owns them, and block those that you can associate with these services.
- Compare a user's home country with IP addresses he or she connects to, scan those IP addresses for association with VPN and unblocking services, and add hits to the blocklist.
What can you do about it?
There is little that can be done about it. Most users probably don't want to set up their own VPN network as it is a technical process and comes with additional costs.
One could try to connect to different servers offered by a service provider to see if some are not blocked. Many VPN services offer several entry locations in the US and sometimes other countries.
This is a temporary solution at best though considering that more and more users of the service will utilize those.
Another option is to find a smaller VPN provider and test if their servers are blocked by Netflix.
Last but not least, you may vote with your wallet. Unsubscribe and let Netflix know that they have lost a customer because of this practice.
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