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Is Using a VPN for Netflix Illegal?

Is Using a VPN for Netflix Illegal?


before you Unblock Netflix It can help to understand your legal situation. This guide takes a look at Using Netflix VPNs To access additional content from the point of view of Netflix and the law.

Will I have trouble if I use a VPN with Netflix?

Legally, no. People usually mistake a VPN with Netflix as a form of piracy, but accessing the provider’s international catalogs is very different from using copyrighted torrents. It is not illegal in any way, shape or form, and will not currently result in criminal or civil action anywhere in the world.

Technically, this is against the platform’s terms of service and Netflix reserves the right to cut off access at any time, but they haven’t implemented these rules once.

Let’s look at the terms of use

The relevant sections of the Netflix Terms of Use are:

You may view Netflix content primarily within the country in which you have created your account and only in locations where we provide our service and have licensed such content. The content that may be available to watch will vary by geographic location and will change from time to time.

Netflix ToS 4.3.2

You also agree not to circumvent, remove, change, deactivate, invalidate or thwart any of the content protections on the Netflix Service; Use any robot, spider, scraper, or other automated means to access the Netflix Service… We may terminate or limit your use of our Service if you violate these Terms of Use or engage in illegal or fraudulent use of the Service.

Netflix ToS 4.6.0 Update

This means, technically, Netflix can Terminate your contract to use a VPN to circumvent its geographical restrictions on content. But she never did and showed absolutely no interest in doing it.

The following anecdote from the Netflix Help section may also be of interest:

Do you use a VPN or a proxy for other reasons, such as business or privacy? Since there is no reliable way for us to determine if a VPN or proxy is being used for legitimate purposes, any use of a VPN or proxy will prevent you from streaming Netflix. Please disable any VPN or proxy and try Netflix again.

Netflix Help

What happens if I get caught?

If you are “booked” with a VPN, Netflix will display a streaming error message and refuse to play titles. But if you simply disconnect the VPN, the error message will disappear and you will regain full access to your regular Netflix library.

If you see this message, then we give some tips on solving the problem guide Netflix VPN Not Working.

In other words, Netflix does not penalize you in any way for trying to watch their content using a VPN. Definitely won’t suspend your account or anything like that!

If Netflix is ​​serious about preventing people from using a VPN to access its regional catalogs, it will do what services like Hulu, Amazon, HBO Now, and most others do β€” secure access to where your account is registered and/or use geolocation from your device to determine whether You are where it tells you your IP address. But it doesn’t.

Why does Netflix prevent subscribers from using a VPN?

In short, Netflix does not own all the content on its platform. As such, they are owned by certain terms set by the owners of the shows you license, and this will often include graphical geographic restrictions.

Think of it this way, Netflix content can be divided into two types:

  1. Netflix original content

    This is Netflix intellectual property (IP) over which the company has complete control and can do whatever you love with it. Nowadays, Netflix Originals are made available to all customers at the same time, no matter where they are, which means that a VPN is not necessary to watch them.

    However, there are some exceptions with previous Netflix originals, which were released before Netflix was available in as many countries as it is currently. The rights to programs like Orange is the New Black have been sold to third-party networks in Tanzania, Indonesia, and other countries, making them unavailable to Netflix users in those regions without a VPN.

    Netflix has absolutely no interest in imposing restrictions based on the geographical location of its customers. If it just came to Netflix, it would be a global platform that bypasses licensing agreements without even having to use a VPN. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

  1. Licensed Content

    Most of the content on the Netflix platform is licensed by third party content creators who retain ownership of their intellectual property rights.

    These content creators usually strike lucrative deals with regional broadcasters and streaming services around the world, who tend to insist on the exclusive right to broadcast such content in their country.

    If a US production company sells the BBC the exclusive rights to broadcast its TV show in the UK, part of the deal will be that no other UK radio station can make that show available in the UK. Including Netflix.

    It is up to the third-party distributors how and when they license their product, not Netflix, because the streaming service is simply another service from their customers.

    As part of its contractual obligations to third-party content creators that license content from them, Netflix has agreed to take measures that prevent people using VPNs to watch content on its platform that is not licensed to view it in their country.

hesitant cop

It’s worth noting that Netflix has always been reluctant to enforce regional restrictions. As said in January 2016:

We’re making progress with licensing content around the world, and as of last week…, but we have ways to go before we can offer the same movies and TV series to people everywhere. Over time we expect to be able to do this… We look forward to bringing all of our content everywhere and enabling consumers to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy. This is the goal we will continue to push towards.


As a result, it was relatively late in the game, and under great pressure from licensed content creators, I started banning VPN users in 2016:

Currently, due to the historical practice of licensing content by geographies, the TV shows and movies we offer vary, to varying degrees, by region. In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce the licensing of content by geolocation. Some members use proxies or “decoders” to access addresses available outside their territories. To address this, we are using the same or similar procedures that other companies do… This means that in the coming weeks, those using proxies and decoders will only be able to access the service in the country they are currently in.


How does Netflix detect VPNs?

Netflix maintains a block list of IP addresses that are known to belong to VPN providers. If the IP address of the VPN server you use to access Netflix is ​​in that list, Netflix will allow you to sign in to your account but will actually block content from playing (you’ll see the dreaded “streaming error” warning instead).

If the IP address of your VPN servers is not on that list, Netflix will take your virtual IP address at face value and stream content based on your VPN server location.

It does not use the country in which your account is registered or your device information, such as device ID or geo-location data to verify your true location.

The only exception to this rule that we found is when Chromecasting videos on a large screen TV. If the VPN’s IP address is not blocked, Netflix will be happy to play the content on your casting device and even send Netflix Originals content to your TV. If you try to cast content that is restricted in your country, Chromecast will display a streaming error message on your TV screen.

Netflix does not disclose where it obtains VPN IP addresses for its block list, but it is more likely to buy them from companies that specialize in this area.

These may use multiple sources to determine the IP address of a VPN server, but the simplest way is to just sign up for a bunch of VPN services, and then record the IP addresses their servers are using.

How do VPNs evade bans?

not everything. Many VPN services have decided that the cat-and-mouse game they need to play in order to stay one step ahead of the Netflix ban isn’t worth it. So, if you are planning to use a VPN to watch Netflix, please make sure that your chosen service promises to be able to unblock Netflix before you sign up for it.

However, many VPN services make a profit from unblocking Netflix reliably. Most of them focus on unblocking the US version of Netflix, as this offers the largest regional catalog of titles by far, and is therefore the site most requested by customers. But some also open other regional catalogs.

How do they do this? VPN providers can be understandably wary about the tactics they use, but tried and true methods include:

Update their IP pools

If a VPN service’s IP addresses are blocked by Netflix, it can simply rent new IP addresses, whether it’s from data centers that host their servers, or from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and backbone providers that issue said data centers with their own IP addresses.

Many VPN services now offer private “Netflix servers”, where only the IP addresses of those servers need to be updated on a routine basis.

Provide custom IP addresses

Another option is to provide customers with dedicated, unique IP addresses, which are for their own use only.

All the better if these are real residential IP addresses – real IP addresses issued by ISPs, rather than data centers whose IP ranges may be known and blacklisted. The assigned IP addresses have not been used by anyone else and are unlikely to be on the Netflix block list.

last thoughts

The bottom line is that Netflix may block you when using a VPN, but you won’t have any trouble trying, your Netflix account won’t get cancelled, and it’s definitely not illegal in any way!

A lot of VPN services fail to unblock Netflix, so it is important to choose the right one. We recommend the following services because they offer fast services, great features, and are reliable.

  1. ExpressVPN – Best Overall VPN for Netflix – Huge network of super-fast servers and a great privacy tool belt.
  2. NordVPN – The best mid-tier VPN comes with a wealth of amazing features.
  3. Private Internet Access – Best Cheap VPN for Netflix – Thousands of servers around the world, all at a competitive price.
  4. CyberGhost VPN – A great value for money option with plenty of features and an easy-to-use design.
  5. PrivateVPN – The Best Netflix VPN for Beginners – With a simple one-click connection function, so you’re instantly protected.

If you want to know more about each of these providers, click the button below to go directly to our in-depth comparison of the best VPNs for Netflix.

Best VPNs from Netflix

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