Netflix is one of the world’s most popular video streaming services. At the beginning of 2018, the multimedia giant had almost 118 million subscribers from 190 countries. But there is a trick: the number of titles available for residents of different regions varies significantly. For example, service subscribers from Australia will not have access to the same content as users from the U.S.
Due to geographic restrictions, some shows and movies on Netflix can only be accessed in certain territories and are not available in others. Therefore, many viewers wonder how to watch Netflix from other countries. In this article, I will try to answer this question and highlight the most popular ways to unblock the streaming service for different regions.
Why Would You Want to Unblock Netflix Abroad
Imagine that you live in the USA and on your long-awaited vacation you go to Spain. One evening you want to watch your favorite TV show, let’s say House of Cards. You go to the Netflix website and with surprise you find out that this show is not in the catalog. This happens because now Netflix recognizes your IP address as Spain based and automatically connects you to a local library, the content of which may differ significantly from the one you are used to when being in the U.S.
Or imagine a different situation. You live in Brazil and would really like to watch a new episode of Star Wars. However, only U.S Netflix has exclusive rights to show the space saga. But wouldn’t you want to have the same advantages as the American audience? This is the reason why for many Netflix viewers the desire to get around the geo-blocking is so strong.
Why Netflix Library Varies for Different Regions
Now it’s time to learn why Netflix content differs significantly from country to country. This can be explained by the requirement to acquire a license to show certain TV shows and movies in a region. If Netflix believes that it can recoup the cost of a license to broadcast in a particular country, then such content will be available for subscribers. However, if management of the company thinks that there will not be a substantial audience for certain multimedia content, then the right to stream it will not be obtained.
Besides Netflix, other content distributors may be involved in the fight for acquiring territorial licenses. If they bid higher than Netflix they will get an exclusive right to broadcast a show or movie on this territory. Accordingly, the Netflix audience will not be able to watch this content.
As for the amount of content, U.S Netflix is a clear winner. The service’s subscribers have access to more than 6000 TV shows and movies, which is much more than available for Canadian or European viewers. Only American users can benefit from all the advantages of Netflix, such as a free online trial.
Compared to their neighbors, subscribers of Canadian Netflix have access to less than 4000 movies and TV shows. Their counterparts from the United Kingdom and Australia are even less fortunate – only 3000 titles are in their libraries. However, it should be noted that viewers from these regions can enjoy exclusive video content of the local production.
Outside English-speaking countries, one of the largest markets for Netflix is Brazil. The primary reason the service is so extremely popular here is due to the fact that the movie library for Brazil is more extensive than that for the American audience.
For example, from the list of the top 250 movies on IMDb, Brazil has almost three times more titles than is available for the U.S viewers. So it’s no wonder that many Brazilians who live or travel abroad want to have access to the Netflix Brazil. Additionally, the viewers can benefit from watching video content with Portuguese subtitles and dubbing.
4 Foolproof Methods to watch Netflix from Anywhere
Netflix determines region you are in based on the IP address of your device. Fortunately, there are many services that you can use to mask your local IP. These services will redirect your Internet traffic through a server in another country, and this will deceive Netflix into thinking you are in a different location than you really are. Now, I am going to highlight the most popular methods for unblocking Netflix for target countries.
1. Using a VPN (Easiest and Most Popular Way)
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is one of the best tools to get past the Netflix geoblock restrictions. VPNs are able to hide users’ online activity while providing them with a decent load speed and ultimate security. VPN developers ensure that you can watch Netflix from other countries without losing quality.
On top of that, VPNs lend additional benefits such as browsing the web anonymously and providing double-security browsers. Most services work with IP addresses from at least 25 different regions. The cost of using VPN varies from $3 to $10 per month depending on the service.
How to use a VPN to watch Netflix from another country
- Create an account with Netflix if you don’t have one yet.
- Choose a VPN from my recommended list below and subscribe.
- Select a server in a desired country.
- Go to the Netflix website or run their app.
- Sign In to Netflix and enjoy content for a country you selected.
VPN is a great solution for hiding your online identity. However, some providers place a heavy emphasis on security, which makes them less suitable for unblocking Netflix.
Fortunately, many premium VPN services offer the best of both worlds so you can watch Netflix in other countries while staying anonymous and secured. Below is a brief overview of the most popular VPNs:
NordVPN is a snap to download and setup. The SmartPlay function allows fast connection to streaming servers to unblock video-on-demand platforms, including Netflix. In total, the service offers access to more than 5,400 servers from around the globe.
Support is one of the main areas where NordVPN has a lead over its competitors. You will most likely not have to contact their team but if you need support, the live NordVPN chat is always available. The service also takes the crown when it comes to security. It offers some features that are not available for many other VPN providers. Among such benefits, you can find double VPN technology, strict rules of not storing activity logs, and Onion over VPN function. NordVPN is relatively affordable and you can get it for only $2.99 USD/month – 3 years plan.
Pros: excellent user security thanks to 2048-bit encryption, diverse server network, high bandwidth, outstanding technical support, multiple payment methods (including Bitcoin).
This VPN service is a breeze to install. You can employ Expressvpn to get access to multiple geo-blocked sites by using over 3,000 servers located in more than 90 countries. The service can’t be called the cheapest out there – with a 1-year plan subscription you will pay $8.32 USD/month. However, it’s totally worth every cent! The software has recently been updated to give users better speeds. A fast connection combined with unblocking capabilities makes ExpressVPN an ideal provider to watch Netflix. A helpful 24/7 customer service is also a huge advantage. All in all, if you want to use a reliable VPN with high-quality servers, ExpressVPN is exactly what you are looking for.
Pros: Expressvpn is easy to use and it provides excellent speed. The service is also known for its amazing technical support.
3. Private Internet Access
For only $3.49 USD/month (provided you purchase a 2-year plan) this is one of the most affordable VPN services, which does not keep logs of users’ activity. Private Internet Access is extremely handy for unblocking Netflix due to its high download speed. You will surely enjoy a smooth streaming video experience.
Pros: The service accepts Bitcoin as payment. It does not store user activity logs, has affordable pricing, and provides high bandwidth.
2. Proxy Servers
Proxies have much in common with VPNs, although they are less reliable in terms of security. When connected to a proxy server, you will get a new IP address but your internet traffic will not be encrypted. Now, there are free and paid proxies. We don’t recommend using free proxies because they are unable to unblock Netflix while being too slow for other online activities. Because their servers are shared with a lot of people from around the world, their speeds leave much to be desired. Another reason to stay away from free proxies is annoying advertisements that will distract you while streaming.
Commercial dedicated proxies are doing much better in terms of speeds but they cost almost the same as an average VPN. Wouldn’t you wish to get full protection for all your devices with a VPN than a fraction of its features with a proxy at the same price?
Pros: Proxies are easy to setup and use. There are many free proxies.
Cons: Can be easily detected and blocked by Netflix. Free proxy servers work very slow, mainly because of the heavy workload. They do not guarantee the security of your online activity.
3. VPN Browser Extensions
Such extensions improve the functionality of your browser allowing you to change your IP address. Basically, they are sort of lightweight VPNs. One of the most popular free VPN browser extensions is Hola, which can be installed in Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome.
Hola is a peer-to-peer VPN service. This means that all people who install this extension contribute to the system, allowing access to IP addresses from multiple countries for free.
Pros: bypassing regional licensing is a breeze since IPs are available for most countries across the globe. Extensions are lightweight and easy to setup and use.
Cons: It is unlikely that you will be able to watch streaming video in good quality. Sometimes other users can use your bandwidth creating a load on your personal network. Most browser extensions lack security features. Netflix learned to recognize some extensions and has them blacklisted.
How to use Hola VPN Extension:
When you go to a site you desire to unblock, click Start using Hola and follow the instructions. Allow Hola to access your browser which then will launch download and installation. After this, you will be given access to all resources blocked in your country, including Netflix.
Warning: Hola is selling bandwidth of its users, it’s free, but we don’t recommend using this service. Use it on your own risk.
4. Smart DNS
This technology is relatively new and has some similar features with VPN. The principle of its work is based on changing settings of DNS server on your router, computer or any other device you use. DNS queries are redirected through a server located in another region, giving your device IP address of this country. The Smart DNS technology is really easy to configure and use. You do not need to activate anything – when you go to a blocked website, Smart DNS starts working automatically. At the same time, it does not affect the rest of your traffic. It means that traffic is not secured and not passing through the encrypted tunnel so you can browse the Internet at a full speed, but do not use this method if you are looking for privacy and security. Below i listed few of the most popular Smart DNS providers that you can choose.
1. Overplay Smart DNS
Overplay is one of the most affordable Smart DNS services with a booming popularity among European and Asian users. The service is supported on any desktop or mobile device and operating system. Overplay provides access to servers located in 48 countries. You can read Overplay complete review here.
Pros: Easy access to the most popular streaming services. Relatively affordable.
Provides access to a multitude of online media channels. Their packages include VPN services with all the benefits VPN provides (including security features, encrypting data, and keeping the logs history clean). You can test out all the Getflix possibilities by opting for their 14-day free trial.
Pros: Provides a great combination of VPN and Smart DNS. You can browse the web safely thanks to security protocols. Offers a great selection of server locations.
This service can be used on most devices, including desktop computers, smartphones, PlayStation, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku. In addition to Netflix, users have access to 108 additional services with geo-restrictions (including Hulu, ABC, ESPN, Sky, etc).
Pros: A free 7-day trial. Unlocator is compatible with a wide range of devices.
Netflix Fights Back against VPN
It would be a mistake to think that Netflix does not know about these methods above to circumvent territorial restrictions. Since 2016, the company has declared a real war against VPN and other similar services. You may ask: Does it matter from which country people watch video content if they still pay for the subscription?
Well, for Netflix it matters. The price for their packages may vary depending on a region. Asian subscribers tend to pay less than their counterparts from Europe and North America. Also, do not forget about the cost of copyright for different territories.
So, it is natural that Netflix doesn’t want to lose potential profits. Therefore, it introduced VPN detection systems. Some unblocking solutions that worked well before ceased to be effective. However, many developers were ready for this move and offered counter-measures allowing their services to stay afloat.
The services to watch Netflix from abroad reviewed in this article work 99%. However, if you came across an error accessing Netflix, do not despair. You can try to switch to a different service or connect through another region. In any case, you can be sure that premium VPN solutions quickly replace banned IP addresses so that you can always stay connected to your favorite streaming service.
As you can see, there are many ways to watch Netflix shows from other countries. The streaming service claims that it will stop attempts to bypass territorial restrictions. However, to date, Netflix has not succeeded in its battle against VPNs. Therefore, while you still have this opportunity, choose a method that works for you and enjoy watching your favorite TV shows and movies.