It sounds a very boring and geeky subject, but it has huge implications for those of us who travel and routinely use VPNs to watch films and movies online. A VPN stands for a Virtual Private Network and is basically an encrypted tunnel between your client and the VPN server, generally used to keep data safe and to access secure networks over the internet. There is another reason though and that’s to be able to watch the myriad of websites who lock their content to specific regions.
This includes pretty much all the best multimedia sites on the web, from Hulu, NBC to BBC and ITV in the UK – all are region locked to their specific countries. So if you’re in somewhere like South America you can’t access any of your favorite sites across the internet. Fortunately VPNs bypass these restrictions because if the VPN server is in the correct country then you can access whatever you like. For me I use a UK server to stream the BBC World News and then US servers for the American news and Netflix.
It all works great but I suspect not for long, due to a new tactic adopted by Netflix. You see all the IP addresses that are used to connect to the internet have a classification of either residential or commercial. The one you get assigned by your ISP will be residential and the ones generally used by web and VPN servers will be commercial. Netflix have decided that anyone who uses a commercial IP address will not be able to access their service, which includes all of us VPN users.
Instead you have to disconnect and use the version of Netflix which is assigned to your current location. So for instance if you connect to Netflix while on holiday in Cancun and you connect you’ll access the Mexican version of Netflix irrespective or where your account was created/paid for. Let me tell you know that the Mexican version is nowhere near as good as the US version particularly for an English speaker.
So if you do try and use a VPN or Smart DNS solution, you’ll have to ensure that you use one that has residential IP addresses. Not surprisingly there aren’t many around but I’ve found a few including this one which uses a US DNS Netflix solution, it definitely includes residential IP addresses so works perfectly.