Netflix to crack down on proxy servers

Say goodbye to accessing Netflix across borders

The days of using a proxy server to access Netflix across borders could soon be over.

The streaming service said on Thursday that it plans to "evolve" its technical defenses so that those attempting to skirt geographic content blocks can't access Netflix sites in foreign countries.

Proxies enable users in one country to appear as if they are in another, allowing them to gain access to sites and content that they normally wouldn't be able to see.

Netflix is one of the most popular destinations for proxy users because until recently it was only available in a limited number of countries. But that changed last week when it expanded its service to an additional 130 countries, giving almost the entire online world access to its service.

The Netflix service that users see in each country varies because of movie licensing and distribution agreements that are still handled on a territory by territory basis, so demand for access to the U.S. version of Netflix probably won't end just because the service is available in other countries.

But it could be blocked by technical means. That's exactly what the BBC did late last year to prevent access to its iPlayer streaming and on-demand service from outside of the U.K., and Netflix is now set to follow suit.

"This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are," David Fullagar, vice president of content delivery architecture at Netflix, wrote in a blog post.

Fullagar acknowledged that "we have a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere," but he said that remains a goal of the service. In the meantime, users in some countries might have to wait to see movies and TV shows that are available to viewers just across the border.

There's a small cottage industry of companies selling VPN and proxy services that allow users to access geo-blocked content. They typically try to find a way around any technical blocks.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?