How Does Netflix Work ? | Comprehensive One-Stop Description

We all love and enjoy Netflix. Nothing like resting on your couch after a good day of work and enjoying your favorite TV show. Netflix and chill !, am I right ?. But have you ever sitting on that sofa and chilling asked yourselves on how does netflix work ?.

How are so many media devices capable of streaming so many different TV shows in different places at the same time ?.

So, if you are curious as to how does netflix work stay tuned because we are going to discuss how does this tech giant makes media streaming all across the world possible.

How Does Netflix Work ? : A Lesson On Its History

Before we go ahead and understand how does netflix work let me give you a lesson in history.

Netflix originated in 1997 with Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph.

In the beginning Netflix was a media service provider and now it is a leading subscription service that lets you stream TV episodes on your favorite media devices, anywhere you want, anytime that you want.

Netflix really stepped up its expansion in 2007, but prior to that Netflix primarily did business in DVDs sales and rental by mail.

The precise way through which Netflix expanded its business was by introducing a media streaming service and at the same time retaining the DVD and Blu-ray rental business.

And as they say the rest his history.

From that point on Netflix has gone a long way and at this point of time, Netflix has become every family’s favorite producer and distributor of movies, TV series and documentaries.

As of now, Netflix is streaming in about 190+ countries and its original programs have went on to win 23 Emmys.

Way to go Netflix.

So What Exactly Is Netflix & How Does Netflix Work In Terms Of Mechanisms ?

Netflix is a leading media delivery service and provides a wide variety of classic TV shows along with movies and documentaries that you can access through your internet device anywhere you want and at any time that you wish to see them.

Every month Netflix’s database gets updated with newer TV shows  and there is always something new that you can discover over at Netflix.

Users of Netflix regularly search of various TV shows or documentaries that is presented to them in an exploratory sense.

This keeps them going and discovering and new TV shows that they can enjoy and share among their family and friends.

So how is all this happening ?.

How does Netflix work with all these features and transmission in perspective ?.

Now if you have build a media server for yourself in your house or your work space you might be familiar as to how the server streams videos across all multimedia devices connected to it.

Netflix also, at a much larger scale of course does something like that.

Netflix uses a content delivery network or CDN to store and transmit movies to your favorite media devices.

Although, the complete library of Netflix could easily fit in a couple of servers in one building.

There are some problems that are obviously associated with it and that is precisely why Netflix doesn’t do this.

Problems With Having A Geographical Expanse To Streaming.

Now can you think of these a problems from basic technological understanding point of view ?.

The number one problem is location. 

Although the main server farm of Netflix can host all the content that Netflix has in one place.

But serving the media files across the continent or to a country which is far from the base country can introduce latency.

Latency is something which you are very familiar with during the starting days of YouTube when internet was not that fast.

The circling dotted animation message that said your video is loading was one of the most annoying aspect of media watching that we experienced.

The second problem would be bottle-necking

Because just think about it how can just one server from one location will be able to give seamless streaming to multiple media devices at once without introducing any kind of performance failures.

A single fast connection that can serve so many devices doesn’t exist.

And let’s say if you can create a piece of technology that can do that, it will be the most costliest thing that you as a company will experience.

And the third problem is maintenance

Now imagine a situation where some kind of TV show is being streamed on Netflix and because of one single serving conduit the entire server farm of a Netflix goes down.

And annoys a million of different concurrent users watching the TV show.

We all know how passionate fans can get with the first release of their favorite shows and companies like Netflix can’t have that trust breach on such critical and crucial times.

So serving such large numbers need some kind of backup and redundancy for security, streaming and maintenance ease.

So the very question as to how does netflix work has an answer that is multi-dimensional and the success of Netflix is hidden in taking care of all these dimensions by Netflix.

The Solution Adopted At Netflix : How Does Netflix Work Out The Problems

Solution to all the problems that we just discussed and which is now being a deployed at Netflix is, creating a number redundant servers at a variety of different geographical locations.

Having these discrete server geographical locations with something like a CDN helps provide various media files to different locations with ease and in a much faster sense without increasing too much load over onto individual servers.

how does netflix work servers

What this also allows is, for example,if one server goes down due to any technological error.

Another redundant server which is very close to the faulty server can then come into action allowing seamless streaming across various devices that are with the customers.

So this is the common logic that Netflix or any media streaming service uses to take care of all the problems of latency and seamless transmission that we just discussed.

But because Netflix is so big and has so many resources at its disposal it goes a step beyond this.

Open Connect Appliances

Netflix works directly with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) by installing its open connect appliances either at exchange points or at the ISP’s itself.

All of these appliances can keep upto 280 TBs of videos which is presently near around complete Netflix library.

This instantly removes the problem of latency which would would have been the case if the server was kept at a large distance from where the video streaming is being requested.

This means that when you are connecting to Netflix it’s your own ISP which serves the video to you and you don’t see any interrupts while enjoying your favorite TV show.

How Does Netflix Work On Simultaneous Requests ?.

Now the question is what happens if there are  a huge number of people who are accessing Netflix video at the same at time ?.

Well each of these appliances which are kept at different ISPs are capable of sending data packets at a speed of 90 GB/s, which is more than enough to support at least 13,000 people streaming Netflix at the same time in HD.

And if it so happened that the bandwidth is still less for some reason Netflix can install more of these boxes to serve more people at the same time through this ISP.

Now you might be wondering what happens when the catalog that Netflix holds in its memory needs to be updated.

In that case, Netflix chooses the most appropriate time at which the traffic that is being requested of these open connect boxes is minimum and rolls out the updates.

So by the time you are home from work and you are ready to chill and stream your favorite media, Netflix has already updated its library with fresh content that you can now enjoy.

To keep things seamless, Netflix uses this Open Connect Boxes to just stream videos.

For everything else, like login information, history, billing, recommending you the shows on the basis of what kind of shows you have just watched get stored by Netflix in Amazon Web Services.

It’s an incredible cloud based service offered by Amazon.

AWS and Netflix ?, How Does Netflix Work With Amazon ?.

AWS also comes in handy because AWS has a very high tolerance for failures owing to its incredible redundant data replication mechanism.

Now you my guys might be thinking Amazon has its own video platform called Amazon Prime video, to stream video content to its subscribers then why on earth will they allow a competitor like Netflix to share in AWS.

It’s all about them monies my friend.

Things are simple in business.

If something makes money you always say yes.

Amazon makes a lot of money by offering its cloud services to customers like Netflix.

And in addition to that Netflix has a different kind of a market segment to cater when compared with Amazon Prime.

Therefore, it just doesn’t make sense to just subside Netflix out of context because of shear competitive decision.

This kind of business practice is not a new if you are wondering.

For example, iPhones have Samsung chips in them. 

Yup !!.

And come to think about it, do you think competition is the only way to evolve a business.

What about consumer well being and collaboration. Have you ever wondered about that ?.

I talked about that in great details in my Asus Zenbook Pro Duo Overview report and Radeon 7 launch.

Do check them out.

So if amazon wants to expand its AWS services, it doesn’t make sense to just subside everyone on just core competitive instinct.

Netflix Business Model 

Now that we have understood how does Netflix work, let’s understand how Netflix actually makes money.

When it comes to internet services, money may not necessarily be a consequence of direct transaction to be honest.

There can be a variety of different ways you can make money if you have a decent subscribers base.

Netflix is one of the leading internet television network across the world and provides as I pointed out earlier, it’s services to over 190 countries and has a user base of a hundred million people.

When you have a hundred million people who are loyal to you and enjoying what you are doing, there are a variety of different ways in which you can make money.

The primary method of revenue for Netflix although, and probably the only way, is by subscription revenue.

Subscribers have to pay to access Netflix content and to get DVDs deliver to them.

There are three subscription options currently provided by Netflix with basic, standard and premium and the costs of these plans differ across the globe .

Benefits Offered by Netflix 


If you have an active Netflix subscription you can watch an entire episode or season in just one sitting.

The word that is used for this kind of a video viewing is called binge watching, if you don’t already know.

However, I recently came to know that Netflix doesn’t want you to binge watch. I don’t really know what that is all about.


On demand internet subscriptions comes out much less expensive than signing an agreement for basic cable.

And the fact is, every fourth house in Netflix houses a Netflix subscription.

That is precisely how big the Netflix is.

And the the interest in Netflix across the globe is spreading like a wild fire.

The kind of content that Netflix provides is rich in variety and diversity which is probably one of the reason why people are switching over onto Netflix from their conventional cable television.

Worldwide Subscription

With people travelling to different countries so frequently, the first thing that comes to their mind is the changing their number.

Which is also one of the most cumbersome things that they have to do.

But in Netflix’s case the subscription is world wide and if you visit some other country, you will be able to stream Netflix with shows pertaining to the local Netflix feed.

You will be able to access and see various TV series and movies that pertain to that country itself.

Continuous Updates

As we discussed in our previous statement that Netflix continuously updates its catalog with new shows frequently.

Netflix makes it easy for you to be in tune with not just the latest additions to the library but also with what your friends and family are talking about and watching on Netflix.

And you can keep an eye out between the 19th and 22nd of every month to see what is the latest update to the application and Netflix’s library.

Netflix’s Investment Into Research & Development

If you want to be on top of your game, research and development in your business has to be a very important investment.

And Netflix plays its role diligently in continuously updating and researching a variety of different technological advancements in its domain.

The technology innovations that we just talked about like open connect appliances and proper data redundancy form the basis of seamless video streaming from Netflix.

Netflix Considers Your Request

Many times people have complain the unavailability of their desired show on Netflix.

In this case Netflix allows you to actually go ahead and raise a quick request of the TV show or documentary that you so desperately want to watch.

Five Of The Best Shows Are Made By Netflix

We all know how outstanding and fascinating Netflix’s shows are.

And here is a fun fact for ya.

Five out of eight top IMDb TV shows are made by Netflix.

Netflix was even able to outwit itself against its own classics like, Only fools and Horses and Seinfeld.

The top shows from Netflix are NarcosStranger Things, House of Cards, Making A Murderer and Arrested Development.


Electronics Engineer | Former Deputy Manager | Self-Taught Digital Marketer.Owner & Admin Of A Network Of Blogs and Global E-Commerce Stores

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