Caching changes take Netflix offline in New Zealand

netflix-logoIt appears as though some Netflix subscribers in New Zealand have had their access impaired. A number of users took to social media over the weekend to decry the situation.

On Geekzone, 27 pages of comments are dedicated to the subject.

UnblockUS, a VPN service, posted:

we’ve investigated the issue and here is what we’ve found:

1. Netflix recently changed the format of URLs for US and Canadian CDN used for video streaming

2. The affected NZ providers are using transparent caching proxies for the Netflix CDN range of IP addresses.

They are NOT using these for other IP ranges we tested.

3. The affected NZ providers are using transparent caching proxies that are set up incorrectly:

– They cache content with “no cache” directive in HTTP header (Pragma: no-cache & Cache-Control: no-store)

– They ignore query string part of the URL for caching

The combination of 1, 2 and 3 has resulted in the Netflix streaming issue. Netflix has started using query string part of the URL to request the movie pieces.

Since the content is cached incorrectly, the Netflix player tries to get a fragment of the movie but gets a completely different movie piece from the proxy and shows the error message.

Affected ISPs have to reconfigure their proxies to:

Take query string into account OR
Respect “no cache” directive OR
Turn them off for Netflix CDN IP range as caching Netflix streaming does not provide any benefit to the ISP.

We encourage you to send the above to your ISP – as this is how they can fix the issue. If enough of you speak – then your ISP might do something about it.

Initially, it had been assumed that Sky may have been involved in pressuring the US streaming giant to tighten up on access and that some ISPs may have been shaping traffic.

Subscribe to our mailing list

About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
More from this author »

  • Chris

    Interesting that people were blaming Sky – aren’t Telecom, one of the internet service providers who are likely at fault here, also setting up a Netflix-like service that would surely fail if Netflix were available here too?!

    • Jarrod White

      SKY shouldn’t be blamed at all, but how are ISP’s also to be blamed? Netflix is NOT officially available in NZ, and it is an extremely grey area for content rights. It is not supported internationally and there is no partnership with Netflix and ISP’s where they have not officially launched. This is just one of those things, which is why we need a decent NZ Streaming service

      • Grabate

        Quickflix is trying to fill the Netflix void but is held back by outdated movies and the ridiculous pricing for its recently launched premium tv shows.

        • Robyn Carter

          And quick flix doesn’t caption movies whereas all are captioned by law on netfi

      • Chris

        I just meant inasmuch as Telecom are an ISP (the issue was sourced to settings at the ISP end) and that they are launching a service to rival Netflix.