You can use a use a VPN to keep your browsing details private while navigating your online world, but you may hit a roadblock when trying to watch your favorite movies or television shows. Streaming services and VPNs just don’t play well together, and streaming companies are constantly updating and changing their policies when it comes to blocking or limiting access for VPN users. At the same time, VPN services work to keep streaming content available for their customers.
Why Streaming Services Block VPNs
Many streaming services have licensing agreements with their content holders stating the specified content is only available in certain countries or geographical territories. When a subscriber uses a VPN and tries to watch or listen to content that isn’t available in their region, they’re likely violating a licensing agreement.
Another reason streaming services block traffic coming from VPN servers is to comply with local law. Some governments block certain content from users within their country.
It’s a sticky situation for all parties because subscribers may feel they should be able to access their entire content library regardless of their location. Streaming services have to please their rights holders (and not get on the bad side of governments). VPN services have to find ways to keep streaming services unblocked to please their customers. As a result, streaming services and VPNs engage in a near-constant battle of cat and mouse when it comes to blocking and unblocking IP addresses.
What You Can Watch
Some streaming services, like Netflix, let VPN-using subscribers watch original and select licensed content. So if you’re in Atlanta using a VPN server located in the Netherlands, you can still watch hit series like Stranger Things or k-dramas like Vincenzo.
Some VPN services manage to evade detection and allow access to the entire Netflix library for the VPN server’s region. Other streaming sites block VPN users from their service completely, even if the user’s region matches their home region.
VPNs vs. Streaming Sites
If you’re looking to watch videos using well-known streaming platforms, we put together a chart of VPN services and their ability to log in to some of our top-rated streaming sites. We have not tested how much content you can view from region to region. This chart simply notes which services have VPNs wholly blocked and which VPNs can access streaming programming.
- Open: Content played normally
- Blocked: Content did not play
- Limited: Subset of content available and played normally