Broken Smart DNS for US Netflix – Here’s the Fix
There’s a bit of a war starting online, and it looks like it might get a bit nasty. Only a few days ago, Netflix announced that they would be launching a Australian/New Zealand version of it’s popular media streaming site. There was one slight issue though for the global media giant, it estimated there were already over 200,000 Netflix US members already streaming from Australia. Now this wasn’t some strange mass exodus of US citizens in search of Aussie beer and TV. It referred to the fact that loads of Australian’s fed up with the local online offerings and their TV stations were using programs like . to stream US Netflix already.
They were also using some configured proxies, although mostly these don’t work any more and the new Smart DNS technology to bypass the blocks. Normally when you sign up for a Netflix account, you actually receive a global enabled one. This means that what you see is actually based on your location. So my UK Netflix account turns into a US one when I’m physically in the USA, it’s a German account when in Germany and so on. Which is fine except for one small problem, the US version of Netflix has literally thousands more films, movies and TV shows than any other version. The UK version of Netflix is ok, but the US version is awesome.
So everyone started to use methods which hide their IP addresses and get access to the US version of Netflix (although Canadian Netflix isn’t too bad either). One of the most important was Smart DNS, which is the easiest way to get access on devices like Smart Phones, Smart TVs and other such devices. This is the service I use and it comes highly recommended. But that looks like it was stopping, over the last few weeks Netflix has updated it’s client software on these devices and built in something that stops Smart DNS working (here’s exactly how Smart DNS works). Now on any of these updated devices, you can only access your legitimate country version of Netflix, which means if you’re not in a Netflix enabled country you can’t watch it at all. Basically they’ve updated their systems so that third party DNS servers can’t be used to resolve the addresses of the Netflix Site. This means that none of the Smart DNS solutions work any more.
How to Fix Broken Smart DNS for Netflix
Fortunately there is a solution which follows, I have demonstrated on my router a Netgear WNDR 4500 but you should be able to do this on most decent routers. Basically Netflix is forcing everyone to use specific DNS servers, the Open DNS and Google ones, in order to stop the Smart DNS trickery working. The fix ensures that these DNS servers are not accessible and the client will then go back to the Smart DNS ones – So here’s the fix, first go into your routers configuration screens – mine is accessed by putting it’s internal ip address into a browser . i.e. http://192.168.1.1 which gives me this screen. You then need to move down to Advanced settings and select Static Routes. From this screen we need to make sure that the four public DNS servers that Netflix is trying to force us to use are not accessible.
Here’s the screen (click to enlarge), and you need to simply add a route for each DNS server to ensure it never gets to it’s destination.
Commonly the information required is – Destination IP address – the address of the DNS servers as follows:
- 188.8.131.52 Google DNS
- 184.108.40.206 Google DNS2
- 220.127.116.11 Open DNS
- 18.104.22.168 Open DNS
Subnet Mask – Put in 255.255.255.255 Gateway IP address – Your Router or a made up internal IP address – mines set to a PC 192.168.1.253 Metric – 2 This should ensure that none of your devices will be able to access any of these DNS servers, thwarting Netflix’s plan and making Smart DNS work yet again – hooray!! The last check to see if it’s working is to ping any of the devices to see if they can be accessed. Here’s an example, you can see the Google DNS server is not reachable. Now Netflix runs like a dream again and connects to the USA version without a hitch. This obviously relies on you having a router which allows static routes to be set up, however this is not always possible – the crappy routers most ISPs hand out are usually locked down so you can’t get access to these. There are other potential solutions which I’ll check out and hopefully post up here if I get chance.