Netflix is an essential part of daily routines across the world. All over the globe, the streaming platform counts around 140 million subscribers, but only about 60 million are located in the United States.
Why does this matter? Actually, where you are located matters a lot when it comes to Netflix thanks to the company’s strategy of segmenting its content by region. With US viewers able to access the largest amount of movies and shows, this can leave global subscribers feeling like second class citizens.
Don’t worry. There are ways to work around Netflix’s geo-blockers, and this blog will explain how. But first, let’s explain in a bit more detail what the issue is, and why it exists.
Why would you need to access US Netflix content from abroad?
The major reason to seek a fix for the Netflix geoblocking situation is simply a choice. Viewers in the United States have access to just over 4,000 movies at the moment. This compares to 3,600 in the UK and as few as 2,500 in Switzerland or 2,200 in Germany.
The same applies to television. Over the years, plenty of shows have been US Netflix exclusives, and others like the West Wing or Parks and Recreation have been added to overseas libraries after a long period of restriction.
Then there are Americans travelling abroad. Why should they be denied access to the full Netflix library when they take vacations in Asia or Europe? It just doesn’t seem fair to entertainment fans to operate barriers between countries.
Why does Netflix do this? The issues mainly revolve around digital rights. The company seeks to spend as little as possible on purchasing the right to screen shows, so they cut back on content that they don’t think will be a hit in certain countries. And in some cases, they are in competition with other broadcasters, and simply miss out.
So what is the solution? The answer can be summed up in three letters: VPN (Virtual Private Networks). To get a flavour for how these essential apps work, check out our Private Internet Access review here. Or read on to find out how VPNs apply to Netflix viewing. You may be surprised at what they can do.
How to access Netflix from outside the United States
VPNs work in two ways. Firstly, they anonymise your IP address by routing your traffic through servers located in other parts of the world. Because of this, when websites try to determine your location, they will see the location of the server you’ve connected to, not your home.
Secondly, VPNs encrypt your data. This helps to keep your identity shielded from snoopers who may be enforcing copyright rules. It also helps to prevent Netflix detecting who you are.
When added together, these abilities allow the best VPNs to vault over Netflix geo-blockers or any geo-blockers for that matter. But beware: It’s vital to pick a VPN you can rely on. Netflix has tightened up its mechanisms for discovering VPN usage in recent times, and many VPNs now fail to provide access.
Choosing a VPN that will let you watch your favourite American shows
The good news is that a cluster of high-end Virtual Private Networks continue to defeat Netflix’s tactics, and seem to be out of the streaming giant’s reach. Here are the properties that they tend to have in common, and that you need to look for when choosing a Netflix VPN:
1. Speed – Streaming is highly data intensive, but lower-quality VPNs tend to take a big chunk out of your bandwidth. Providers like Private Internet Access don’t do that, managing to provide protection without noticeable slowdown.
2. Encryption and IP anonymisation – As we noted earlier, the key to unblocking Netflix is pretending to be located in the USA. Poor-quality VPNs leak IP information like a sieve, which totally undermines their effectiveness. Elite options like PIA or NordVPN never do that.
3. Plenty of US servers – This may seem obvious, but a good VPN for Netflix must have a wide choice of servers in the United States. That way, you can be sure of finding a quick connection which delivers the anonymity you need. Server numbers vary dramatically, so double check before subscribing. For instance, PIA has 1,471 US servers – more than enough for any streaming fans.
As we say, there are plenty of options to go for, but if you stick to operators like Private Internet Access, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, PureVPN, NordVPN, or AstrillVPN, you won’t be disappointed. All of these providers let foreign streamers access American Netflix without any interruptions or failed logins.
So, if you’re struggling to watch Netflix originals like Bird Box, or you can’t wait to get your teeth into Black Mirror, source an elite VPN as soon as possible. It’s the only way to reliably prise open the blockade imposed by Netflix.