Netflix operates in approximately 190 countries, making it widely-available indeed. However, this doesn’t mean you can view the same content everywhere. Licensing rights are given on a per country basis, creating differences between countries. Some places are better or worse off when it comes to the amount of content users can watch. Countries like the US or Japan have huge libraries, including lots of exclusive content, whereas some others enjoy only a fraction.
This means that you pay the same price for subscription as anyone else in the world, but you don’t necessarily get the same benefits.
We don’t expect Netflix to force copyright holders to make deals with 190 countries giving free access. Yet this whole situation is very easy to solve using a VPN. With it, you can fool Netflix servers into thinking you’re connecting from the US (or any other country) and enjoy the full library that they offer.
1. Sign up for a VPN
When choosing a VPN for Netflix, consider these criteria:
- First and foremost, make sure that the service you’re looking at can unblock Netflix. Doing it is no easy task – Netflix is always upgrading their filtering tools to block VPNs from accessing their libraries.
- Performance is vital – if your selected service can unblock VPN, it will still be useless if the speeds are inconsistent. For that, you need a good pool of servers to choose from. If you want to access not only US Netflix but also the libraries from other countries that might have other exclusives, you should make sure that the service has servers in those countries.
- Safety might not be the first priority if watching Netflix is the reason why you’re getting a VPN, but it’s no reason to completely dismiss it. Chances are you could benefit from an additional layer of security that VPNs provide. Check if your VPN uses encryption, what kind of tunneling protocols are on offer, does it have a kill switch, and so on.
We have a list of VPNs that are best suited for the task, read up on our Best VPN for Netflix page.
2. Download the selected VPN app
If you’ve made your decision and chose your provider, it’s time to get the software that will make all the magic happen. More often than not, you’ll find it on the provider’s page. If a provider doesn’t have a web page, this should be a red flag. Respectable app stores like Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App store have some good VPN tools, but even these can lack security.
Most providers have clickable download links in their webpages. When you click on the link, it will then download setup in .exe or .dmg formats, so once you go through the installation wizard, you should be good to go.
As a rule of thumb, most providers offer several native apps, all of which you can use with one subscription. That’s neat! If your provider offers that, it’s a good idea to download and install VPN apps on all your devices, that way you will be able to watch the full Netflix library on all your devices while also taking advantage of an additional layer of security.
3. Connect to a server in the desired country
Once you type in your login credentials and get to the main screen, everything should be pretty straightforward. Usually, you get a map or a country list that once clicked automatically connects to a VPN server. You will get a confirmation that the connection was established, and now you’re browsing as though you were living in a different country with a different IP address than that of your own.
So, if you want to access Netflix US, just connect to a server somewhere in the US.
4. Go to Netflix
We’re assuming that if you’re looking for ways to expand your library, you already have a Netflix account, so we’re not going to cover getting an account here. Instead, we’re going to focus on how to know that it worked and test it.
First of all, when connected to a VPN, go to Netflix and click on any of the shows or movies to see if it buffers and loads. If it works, that’s great, your VPN unblocks Netflix, if instead, you get an error message that says: “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy” – bad news, this means that the particular server you just tried is blocked. Connect to a different server and try again. Usually, you will find one that works just fine.
Our favorite way to check if you’re on Netflix US is searching for the first season of the original Twin Peaks, released in the ’90s. It’s only available on US Netflix, so naturally, if this works, you can be pretty sure that now you have the full library in your hands.
5. Don’t have a Netflix subscription?
Your VPN subscription doesn’t include Netflix, so keep that in mind when planning. The first month is free, and all the subsequent months will cost you depending on your plan of choice. There are three options:
- Basic, costs $8.99/month and doesn’t provide high definition viewing, and its programs can only be watched on one screen at a time
- Standard, costs $12.99/month and offers HD streaming with the option to watch Netflix on two simultaneous displays.
- Premium, costs $15.99/month and gives you the option to watch on four screens at the same time (and access to 4K content).
Be advised that 4K streaming quality is very dependent on your connection speeds, which is all the more important when using a VPN. If you want to watch high-resolution content through a VPN, make sure that it will have good speeds. In most cases, they offer a money-back guarantee, and you can verify the speeds using the official Netflix speed test at fast.com.