Is a Residential VPN Service – Essential Now?

If you’d asked about a residential VPN service 12 months ago not many people would know what you were talking about. Although there were a few companies like Storm Proxies supplying residential IP addresses mainly for use in the UK and USA. They were mainly used for people seeking that little extra privacy and in the SEO and internet marketing arenas for promoting sites and using marketing tools. However having access to a residential IP address is becoming important in another areas – bypassing region blocks.

What Exactly is a Residential IP Address?

Well the reality is that you almost certainly already have one. If you go to any of the check my IP address type sites and look at your public IP address, it’s normally been assigned by your internet provider. Your modem or router will be assigned this by your ISP to establish your internet connection. Here’s mine, heavily censored obviously –

Residential IP Address

Residential IP Address

– it is assigned by British Telecom, whom I have the misfortune to be a customer, they allocate that address and it’s pretty much out of my control.    The address can be classified as a UK Residential IP Address and that in itself has many implications for example;

  • Can Watch BBC iPlayer and all UK TV channels
  • Blocked Access if I try and watch Hulu or NBC
  • Search Engines Set to UK Results
  • Netflix will Route to the UK version only

That’s only the start but it gives you an idea about how your IP address controls what you can do online.  Of course, many people weren’t happy about all this filtering, blocking and redirection.  They wanted to watch the BBC News when on holiday, watch the rugby from Ireland and knew that the US version of Netflix was way better than any other one.

The solution was simple enough – to hide your real IP address and instead relay your connection through a proxy or VPN service.  This was a perfect way to access any web site you liked, especially as most of the best services offered a range of servers in different countries.   At the click of a button you could switch from a UK address to watch the BBC, then switch to a US server to enjoy your Hulu subscription.

The important thing was having access to a server physically located in the country you needed, nothing else mattered – until now.  

It looks like it’s going to get much more complicated in the future and we can probably thank the media giant Netflix for this.  In a few short weeks they have effectively blocked 99% of the VPN servers used to access their site.   Not only have Netflix blocked access based on the location of the IP address, they have also restricted any connections from commercial IP addresses.   The problem is virtually every VPN service uses a commercial IP address as they are housed in data centers across the world.

Most VPN Services Can’t Access Netflix 

It doesn’t matter how advanced your VPN or proxy solution is, if it doesn’t have a residential IP address it’s going to get blocked automatically.     These residential IP addresses however are mostly reserved for domestic customers – you can get one easily for your home connection but it’s very difficult to get a range to support VPN services in different countries.     The other worry is that when other media companies see the huge success that Netflix has had in blocking VPN access they are likely to follow suit.

There is some hope,  Identity Cloaker  have come up with a solution by integrating residential US IP addresses into their infrastructure.  They are not used all the time, but merely when a connection is made to the Netflix site – it is automatically routed through a US residential IP address.  You can see this working in this video rather confusingly called Using a Proxy for Netflix which shows how a UK viewer can access the US version of Netflix through a VPN without issues.

For access to US Netflix from anywhere try out the . and see how well it works for all the world’s major media sites including US Netflix.

 

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2 Responses

  1. Andy says:

    Thanks for this I have two other VPN services and both have stopped working with Netflix. Can I ask does a residential VPN service offer increased security from a normal one?

    • says:

      Hi Andy,

      No not really, the security is pretty much the same. Although a residential IP address is increasingly required to access many of these services like Netflix and it’s arguably a little more discrete to have than a commercially tagged address.

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