Yes, it can. Actually, this is one of the biggest issues that VPN services are facing. It’s impossible to think of a time where the ability to unblock geographically restricted content was not available, which is currently what most people use VPNs for.
It’s pretty much common knowledge by now that streaming services have been starting to detect and block VPN traffic, with Netflix being the prime example of this. Since 2016, in fact, many foreigners had to stop relying on this method of virtually locating themselves in America to access the most complete TV and film library in the world when the company began to implement what is still one of the most advanced VPN detection methods today.
There are many companies that sell this kind of VPN blocking service to any clients that might be interested in it, such as Netflix. These services collect all the info related to IP addresses that they can to find out whether they are genuine or in fact proxies, scouring details such as the country and city that an IP address belongs to or whether they are used for commercial, residential or business purposes.
In turn, the most popular VPN companies use thousands of IP addresses worldwide, but when filtering by country it’s fairly easy to discover that they’re always the same addresses, shared between different users. Other methods of detection include deep packet inspection and other such technical methods to find the tiniest details, and if results show that the IP addresses belong to companies that sell VPN services then they are quickly added to a blacklist.
How Are VPN Services Blocked?
This not only explains why the biggest VPN companies are often unable to circumvent these methods of detection, but also why the less popular services usually fly under the radar – because the IP addresses they provide have yet to be recognized.
One of the most commonly used methods of stopping VPN connections is port blocking. Different VPN protocols use specific ports to encrypt the traffic, so all it takes is to block any traffic coming from ports that are known to be used by VPNs.
But it’s not just websites doing this, either; certain countries block VPNs, too, though on a much larger, national scale. Turkey and China are the most famous, the latter being one of the few places on Earth where it is pretty much impossible to use this software or any other workaround. The country’s infamous Great Firewall ensures only national content is available to Chinese citizens and that they have access to the smallest number of western websites as possible. VPNs are blocked by specialized teams that work on behalf of the government to detect and eliminate all VPN traffic and many companies in the past have ceased their activities in China and shut down their servers, and those that didn’t are only able to ensure that the country is part of their network via a virtual location.
The Best VPNs of 2019
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Have all your VPN related questions answered by checking our VPN experts' answers to frequently asked questions:
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