Written by: Elizabeth March
Netflix is now available in most countries around the world, but many users are getting a bum-deal when compared with those in the US. While most countries now have more titles available than they did just a couple of years ago, Netflix USA still has a far bigger catalogue than anywhere else. This is down to Netflix or other broadcasters owning the rights to shows and movies in different countries.
Like all websites, Netflix can see which country your accessing it from. They do this primarily by checking your public IP address, and giving you specific content according to which country you’re in. This is pretty annoying for people who don’t live in the USA and have to make do with fewer titles, but also for Americans who have signed up for the full service but can’t get access when abroad.
So, if you want to get access to all the Netflix content available in the USA, without actually being there, you’ll need to change your IP address to one in America.
Sounds complicated? Well it’s quite easy. You need to get a VPN that has servers in the USA and works with Netflix (not all do). Read on for more information or just skip straight to our list of the best VPNs for Netflix, where we’ve tested which VPNs actually work with Netflix and are fast enough for full HD streaming.
Netflix does its best to block VPN users from accessing their content, and they’re generally pretty good at it. As I mentioned earlier, Netflix can detect where you’re located by tracking your public IP address. In just the same way, they can block IP addresses they know belong to VPN services.
VPN companies know that a big part of their user base wants something that works with Netflix, so they have to continually renew their IP addresses to become unblocked. Then Netflix finds the IPs and blocks them again, and this game of cat and mouse continues ad infinitum.
This is where the big VPN companies have a major advantage over smaller ones, as they have the resources to run many servers, each with hundreds or thousands of IP addresses. NordVPN, for example, have over 1,600 servers in the USA alone, which means tens of thousands of individual IP addresses.
Now, different VPN services focus on different areas of the technology. Some are mainly focused on just providing an ultra secure way to connect to the internet, but might not have many servers or IP addresses available, while others have extremely fast servers that are optimized for streaming, with thousands of IPs that remain fresh enough to stay ahead of Netflix.
Look familiar? That’s what happens when Netflix detects that you’re using an IP address from a VPN service.
It might be that you just generally use a VPN, but not for unblocking Netflix, in which case just disconnect and refresh the page, and you should be able to access your country’s Netflix catalogue.
If you connected to the VPN in order to unblock netflix, you’ll need to disconnect and choose a different server. It might take several attempts before you find one that works.
If none of the servers available work, then you might have a problem. Go to the VPN provider’s website and get in touch with support to see if they can do anything to help. If you still can’t connect, it’s time to seek another VPN provider.
In some cases, Netflix may detect a blocked IP address when you’re not using a VPN at all. This is called a false positive, and can usually be sorted by switching off your router and waiting 30 seconds before trying again. You may also need to clear your cookies too.
NordVPN is one of the biggest VPN providers out there. The service is frequently used for unblocking Netflix and other streaming services. But does it work with Netflix every single time and does it provide a fast enough connection to stream HD content without buffering issues?
Let’s take a look.
No VPN provider will be as successful with offering 24/7 access to Netflix, but I have reviewed all the top VPN providers in order to determine which ones are still on top of their game.
While I already see some VPN services having trouble accessing Netflix, my NordVPN app can still connect to Netflix from all the servers I’ve tried. This is because NordVPN is extremely fast at replacing individual IP addresses once they get blocked, and also it’s delivering traffic across thousands of different IP addresses in order to make it more difficult for Netflix to determine that an IP belongs to a VPN.
This is perhaps the principal factor when evaluating whether a VPN is suitable for Netflix or not. Some VPNs may only replace their banned IPs after they’ve been blocked for a while already.
I personally use NordVPN now for anything Netflix related, as all the other VPNs (including some of the top ones) are starting to have problems. So far NordVPN does well in this regard and as said above, it’s on top of its game.
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Like Nord, Express is one of the very best VPN services out there. They have top notch customer support so any time a server stops working with Netflix, you can be sure they’re get it up and running again quickly.
All VPNs will slow down your internet speed, there’s nothing you or anyone else can do about that, but ExpressVPN has some of the fastest servers out there. This makes streaming HD content a joyful experience.
They have servers in 32 locations around the USA, and I’ve never had any trouble connecting to Netflix during my tests.
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If you’ve tried to sign-up for a Netflix account or fancied taking them up on their offer of a free trial, then you will have been presented with a request for your credit card details.
Now, some people are quite happy to enter details of their personal cards into the platform, but there are many others who are not comfortable with this. Additionally, there are lots of people who don’t actually have access to a credit card but would still like to use the service. Another person might not be able to get Netflix at all if they reside in a country where Netflix is not available.
These methods don’t work everywhere, so if you don’t see the options, you may need to change your IP to one in a different country.
PayPal is a great way to pay for the service due to its flexibility and security. It also enables you to pay for services online, without needing to divulge your own credit card info. With this method, you simply need to sign up for PayPal and add some funds.
Netflix actually have their own gift cards that can be used as a payment method. The minimum denomination is $30, and you can purchase Netflix gift cards on their website, along with a number of other online stores such as Amazon.
There are many people who have use of a debit card but not a credit card. You can purchase a prepaid debit card, and both are accepted as alternatives to using a credit card.
If none of the above are applicable options, you can always ask your friends and family anyone would be willing to share their login details with you. Because Netflix allows simultaneous connections from a single account, you would be able to do this without causing any interruption to the service for either party.