Netflix is an absolute juggernaut of worldwide streaming services. It is clearly the number one place to stream movies and tv shows with other similar services still way behind. The popularity of Netflix is immense, partly because there is much to like about the platform. However, there is one thing that particularly annoys many Netflix subscribers: geo-restrictions.
If you go to a different country, you will have access to different content. While some countries have large Netflix libraries, others have scarcely any content. This article will look at why it is so and how you can bypass these restrictions in 2022.
How do they apply geo-restrictions?
The Netflix library can be made different for a particular region by utilizing a set of technologies collectively known as geo-blocking or geo-restrictions. This is made possible by the fact that every device connecting to the network has an identifier known as the Internet Protocol (IP) address.
In short, an IP address is a unique allocation of numbers (or numbers and letters in Internet Protocol version 6) that identify particular devices making requests throughout the web. Your IP address is assigned to your device by your Internet Service Provider, which is a local company providing internet access in a particular region. Thus, your IP identifies what geographical region your traffic is coming from.
When you travel abroad and connect to a different local network, your public IP address changes as well. Your request for access to particular content is now seen by the content provider as coming from this country that you are actually currently in.
This allows the creation of a different Netflix region with its own Netflix library for every geographical region for which this streaming company has varying rights of distribution. In other words, due to your IP address, Netflix knows where you are and blocks your access to the content that is not distributed in that Netflix region.
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4 ways to access Netflix content from different regions
Even if you understand why Netflix applies geo-blocking, it’s understandable if you still want to be able to watch Netflix shows and movies that you love wherever you are. After all, the content is already on this streaming platform, which makes it quite annoying to have only a limited Netflix library due to the particular Netflix region you happen to be in. Ideally, you would have access to the entire global Netflix library and make your own picks regarding what you want to stream.
But is there a way to change your Netflix region and have access to various Netflix libraries? And how to watch Netflix from other countries and still have your familiar home Netflix library at the tips of your fingers? Let’s look at the 4 main ways to gain access to another Netflix library.
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a great way to change one’s Netflix region and watch Netflix from other countries. A VPN works by hiding your IP address from any website or app that is being accessed. Naturally, this includes Netflix.
VPN hides the IP by first redirecting your request to another server of its own and only then to its final destination. The server can be on the other side of the world, which makes it look like you and your device are there. This means that Netflix gets the request to stream something from another country and sends it to the server in that country if the distributing rights allow it. And then the VPN server can send their answer, that is the content they stream to you even though being in a different Netflix region you could not stream it directly.
During this procedure the VPN also encrypts and decrypts your traffic which has its upside and downside. The plus is that it increases your privacy. The downside is that it often slightly decreases your speed, thus you might have some connection and content loading issues when streaming Netflix via VPN.
Most VPN service providers work on a monthly subscription basis with prices starting at a few dollars a month and depending upon the features you get. With a VPN you will be able to choose the geographical location of the server you want to connect from (depending on what the provider can offer). Many such service providers will have VPN servers in 20 to 30 countries or sometimes even offer global coverage.
Assuming you already have a Netflix subscription and want to watch Netflix with a VPN, here’s what you do:
- Choose which VPN product you want to use from one of the reputable and well-reviewed service providers. You can find many options online and decide which suits your needs best.
- Subscribe to the chosen VPN service and create an account.
- Log into your VPN account on the device you will use to stream Netflix.
- Choose the country of the VPN server you wish to connect to.
- Turn on Netflix and you now have access to the chosen country’s Netflix library.
Another great way to watch Netflix from other countries is by utilizing proxies. It is quite similar to using a VPN in that instead of going directly to Netflix, your request is first routed to a proxy server. This also hides your real IP address and provides you with the IP address reflecting the country in which the proxy server is.
The main difference between using VPN and using a proxy is that proxies do not encrypt your data in the same way as VPNs do. On the one hand, this makes the proxy less private in theory.
On the other hand, if all you want to do is simply access a Netflix library in another Netflix region, all the privacy you need is hiding your IP and location. The advantage of using a proxy is that without the additional encryption and decryption it works faster, making the experience of watching Netflix all the more enjoyable.
There are many free proxies that you can just look up online and use. However, the advantage of speed disappears in this case as there will most likely be others using the same proxy. And multiple other connections will naturally slow down yours.
Additionally, there will also be ads popping up when using a free proxy since, as usual, when someone is giving you something for free, they’re making money off you in some other way. Managed commercial proxies are much better suited to unblock Netflix while retaining the speed and security of the connection.
In the case of using such a commercial proxy for your Netflix account, the setup is also quite similar to that of a VPN. You will need to sign up with a well-known and reliable proxy company and login into your account. Then you can choose the proxy server that suits your needs the best from those offered by the company. The setting up might depend upon the device and/or browser you are using, but the instructions should be provided along with your subscription.
Use a VPN browser add-on
VPN browser extensions, as the name would indicate, also work much the same way as VPNs in hiding your actual IP address and encrypting traffic. The main difference is that with an add-on you only get that on the particular browser you use it for.
When you download and switch on your VPN as a separate app, it will protect every network action on your device. Whichever other app, browser, or platform you would then open, it would go under the same umbrella of protection of your VPN connection. When you get a VPN extension for, let’s say Google Chrome, it will only work on Chrome and nothing else.
On the plus side, there are also free extensions available for many of the most popular browsers. However, using these free add-ons might also mean that you will experience speed issues and reduced video quality when streaming Netflix. Alternatively, you can get an extension instead of the entire product from one of the trusted VPN service providers.
When using this method to access Netflix libraries across the globe, just add a free or purchased extension to the browser you will use to stream Netflix. Then choose the wanted country to connect to go straight to the website to enjoy that country’s Netflix library.
Use Smart DNS
You can also unblock Netflix by changing your DNS address instead of your IP address by using Smart DNS also known as DNS changers. DNS stands for Domain Name System whose primary function is to translate machine-friendly numeric addresses into familiar domain names like, for example, Netflix.com and vice versa.
However, the feature that will help you access Netflix using Smart DNS is related not to translating domain names but to changing your device’s DNS server address. Since these, just like IP addresses indicate your geographical location, changing them will allow you to change your Netflix region.
The advantage of using Smart DNS is that a lot of Smart TVs do not support VPN, while Smart DNS can be used to change their DNS address. This would allow you to access Netflix libraries from other countries on your big screen TV, making the streaming experience all the more enjoyable. However, Smart DNS does not do anything else for your privacy, thus its primary function is exactly to unblock streaming services.
Smart DNS can be used on its own or as an additional feature offered by proxy and VPN service providers. The steps to set it up differs for different devices used. Tutorials for how to set it up with the most popular smart TV brands are easy to find online.
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Does Netflix allow bypassing restrictions?
Now that you know how to watch Netflix from other countries, you might be wondering what Netflix thinks about such methods. Well, to put it shortly, they’re not happy with it.
Netflix doesn’t allow using proxies or any other methods of bypassing their geo-restrictions as that would defeat the purpose. However, even though they have to do their best to enforce licensing agreements, simple users have no such obligation.
In the end, if you are not profiting from streaming content yourself, you are not breaking any copyright laws. Generally speaking, it is not illegal to access various Netflix libraries for your own entertainment.
Having that said, Netflix will do everything on its part to stop you from changing your Netflix region. Thus, if they detect that you are using proxies or other methods to unblock Netflix, they will deny access. Which leads to the most important question – how well can they do it?
Can Netflix detect proxies?
As you may have noticed, the best methods to access different Netflix libraries are in one way or another related to hiding your server address by using proxies. Thus, the ability to stop you from doing that is largely dependent on how well Netflix can detect that you are using a proxy.
The truth is that the better geo-blocking gets, the better proxy services get at bypassing it. And the better the latter, the better Netflix and other platforms get at detecting proxies. And when that happens you get the infamous “Netflix proxy error”, telling you that “you seem to be using an unblocker or a proxy”. Seeing this instead of the Netflix content you were going for is of course not ideal.
The good news is that the main way Netflix detects that you are using a proxy is by noting the IP addresses of proxy servers and then blocking them. Additionally, it can detect that there are very many connections from the same proxy server which makes it suspicious. This latter reason renders most if not all free proxies useless in the year 2022 as Netflix will most likely already blacklisted them due to too many requests.
This means that the best way to circumvent this problem is by having access to many different proxy addresses that are not listed online. This turns us back to the commercial VPN and proxy services that can provide you with multiple choices. VPNs, however, might not be the best choice as the number of IPs they have is quite limited and often well-known to services like Netflix.
A great way to circumvent the Netflix proxy error is by using rotating proxy servers. These are a pool of proxies that will give you a new proxy address either with every new request after regular time intervals. It will make it harder for Netflix to detect multiple requests from the same IP address and give you a better chance of avoiding the error as a result.
Alternatively, with paid proxy services, you can change your connection whenever you encounter an error. In this case, you would need to disconnect from the proxy you are using and then clear your history, cookies, and other tracks of your previous online activity.
After that, you can connect to a different proxy IP and try streaming the content again. Paid proxy service providers have and keep acquiring very many IP addresses, thus making it hard if not impossible for Netflix to quickly blacklist all of them.
When you are paying for your Netflix subscription it’s only natural that you want access to all the Netflix libraries available all over the world. Geo-blocking technology tries to restrict you to your Netflix region and your Netflix library. Luckily, in the year 2022, there are ways to bypass it and even go around the Netflix proxy error to be able to enjoy all the best Netflix content.
Using the above methods you should be able to access all Netflix libraries from any country where Netflix itself is available. And when Netflix develops its ability to detect proxies, these methods will almost certainly develop to bypass the new restrictions or other solutions will come along. We’ll do our best to keep you posted.
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