Person pointing a remote towards a TV with the Netflix logo
Bogdan Glisik/

Due to the mess of worldwide content licensing, Netflix tries to block VPN users from most of its catalog. It’s a game of cat and mouse, and now it looks like some normal Netflix users are getting caught in the crossfire.

Netflix’s VPN Crackdown

According to TorrentFreak, Netflix has recently intensified its VPN-blocking measures, which is obviously upsetting VPN users, whether they’re trying to access geo-restricted content or they’re just concerned about privacy, and they like the benefits a VPN offers.

Up until now, it’s been easy for most Netflix viewers without a VPN to simply ignore the company’s attempts to crack down on VPN users since it didn’t impact their ability to enjoy the content they love.

However, according to various reports around the internet, many legitimate Netflix users are reporting that almost all content except Netflix originals and a few other bits of content is missing. This is exactly what happens when Netflix flags an IP address as being behind a VPN, but they’re not using one.

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The first report came from VPN provider WeVPN. The company told TorrentFreak that, “The collateral damage is that you have hundreds of thousands of legitimate residential Netflix subscribers blocked from accessing Netflix’s local country full catalog from their home.”

While there’s no evidence that “hundreds of thousands” of users are blocked, there’s plenty of proof around the web that some are.

A Reddit user posted, “Hi! I noticed that my account is displaying nothing but Netflix originals and a handful of non-Netflix original content on my TV, but on my phone, it displays everything as usual/normal.” That’s just one example of several reports from Netflix viewers who are missing content.

A user on Twitter reported having issues with content despite not having a VPN or proxy. Netflix actually recommended they reach out to their ISP to determine if the IPS address is associated with a VPN or proxy.

In a comment to TorrentFreak, Netflix said it is working with legitimate users affected by this issue, though the company didn’t go into specifics.

What Can You Do?

If you happen to be one of the users impacted by Netflix’s VPN crackdown, it sounds like you can reach out to Netflix’s customer service to get help. You can also try reaching out to your ISP to ask for a different IP address, which some users have said fixed the problem.

Either way, Netflix has to walk a tight rope here. The company wants to keep region-locked content in the region to which it’s locked, but it doesn’t want to ruin the Netflix experience for regular users. It seems the company may have stepped over the line with its crackdown for some users, but at least it’s doing what it can to help.

Profile Photo for Dave LeClair Dave LeClair
Dave LeClair was the News Editor for How-To Geek. He is now a Mobile Analyst for PCMag. Dave started writing about technology more than 10 years ago. He's written articles for publications like MakeUseOf, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and plenty of others. He's also appeared in and edited videos for various YouTube channels around the web.
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