Netflix blocks residential IP addresses during its latest VPN crackdown

(Image credit: wutzkohphoto /

Netflix is once again cracking down on VPN users who try to bypass geographical restrictions when using its streaming service but this time around some regular internet users have also been caught in the fray.

As reported by TorrentFreak and first spotted by WeVPN, the streaming giant has begun blocking residential IP addresses as well as VPN users from accessing its full library of content.

Netflix first started blocking customers that tried to connect to its service using a VPN or proxy six years ago after it was pressured by copyright holders to do so. While VPN users were frustrated by the move, many turned to ExpressVPN, NordVPN and similar services to get around the company's restrictions when it came to bypassing geographical restrictions.

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While one of the best Netflix VPN services can be used to get around Netflix's blocking efforts, some proxy providers have also begun to use residential IP addresses to make it appear as if their users are regular ISP subscribers. This has allowed them to fly under the company's radar for now but this has changed with Netflix's latest crackdown.

Banning residential IP addresses

WeVPN informed TorrentFreak regarding Netflix's latest crackdown when the VPN provider noticed that the streaming service's updated geo-fencing system had also begun blocking its residential IP addresses.

Unlike the IP addresses assigned when using a VPN, residential IP addresses are assigned to AT&T, Xfinity, Verizon and other consumer internet service providers (ISPs). Although Netflix's decision to block residential IP addresses makes sense for its business, some regular internet users have now become collateral damage as a result of the move.

According to a WeVPN spokesperson that spoke with TorrentFreak, hundreds of thousands of legitimate residential Netflix subscribers have been blocked from accessing the company's full local country catalog. Now when they log on to the service, they can only see Netflix Originals which is also the case for VPN and proxy service users.

Although Netflix has not released an official statement on the matter, the company did offer some advice for those affected by the change in a recent tweet, saying:

“If you do not have proxies, VPNs, or other routing software but still see this message, contact your internet service provider. They'll be able to determine why your IP address is associated with proxy or VPN use.”

At this time, it's still unknown as to how widespread this problem is but perhaps Netflix will reverse course as complaints from regular internet users are beginning to show up in droves online.

Via TorrentFreak

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.