One of the things that bug me most about Netflix is how drastically different the content can be depending on which part of the world I’m in.
For example, if I wanted to watch the five Terminator movies currently available on the service, I would have to travel to no fewer than three different countries: the UK, Japan, and Canada.
Or would I?
There is, of course, a much easier (not to mention cheaper) way to go about it.
To access any show from any country, all you need to do is change your Netflix region. It’s an easy process anyone can manage. The only thing you need is a virtual private network (VPN).
To that effect, here’s a quick guide on how to change the country on your Netflix account at will using one.
How to Change Your Netflix Region – A Quick Overview
It’s a simple, four-step process to switch your country on Netflix. While I touch on all these points in much greater detail further down, here’s a quick rundown:
- Pick a VPN provider that reliably unblocks Netflix. NordVPN and PureVPN are two of the best in the business.
- Download the VPN client app and install it on your device.
- Using the VPN app, connect to a server in the country whose Netflix library you want to stream.
- Start up Netflix, pick your show, sit back, and relax.
Why You Need a VPN to Stream Netflix?
The biggest reason to use a VPN to watch Netflix is the geographical restrictions it places on its content.
In other words, the selection of shows you will see on Netflix US may be drastically different from those you see on Netflix Canada, which will be different still from Netflix Japan.
In the end, Netflix maintains 34 distinct region-specific catalogs. Though some of the content overlaps from country to country, for us viewers, it usually translates to a much different streaming experience based on our location.
Netflix determines your current location and which catalog you have access to based on your device’s IP address.
Connecting to a VPN hides your real IP and replaces it with that of the VPN server you picked.
If you pick a German server, your device will now have a German IP address and will be allowed to stream content from Netflix Germany.
It’s that simple. And this, of course, works for any country.
How to Pick a VPN for Netflix
When it comes time to choosing a VPN provider to swap your Netflix region with, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Pick a VPN That Works With Netflix
It used to be possible to unlock any Netflix library with just about any VPN service. As of early 2016, however, that is no longer the case.
In January of that year, in an attempt to keep content license holders happy, Netflix banned VPNs and started to crack down on their use.
While they’ve had success, and many VPNs no longer work with Netflix, some manage to stay one step ahead. One of those providers is what you need.
VPN Servers in Countries You Want to Unlock
You can’t change your Netflix region to a specific country if your VPN doesn’t have servers there.
In other words, if you want to stream Netflix France, double-check your selected VPN has French servers (here’s a list of the best French VPNs in case you’re really looking for one).
All VPNs will let you connect to popular countries like the US, UK, Canada, or Australia. But if you want to change regions to Japan, for example, odds only providers with large server lists will do.
Excellent Download Speeds
For a good Netflix streaming experience from anywhere in the world, you’ll need a fast VPN – one that can maintain a quick and reliable connection.
Otherwise, while you may get access out of market Netflix content, it’ll likely be a pixelated mess – one often interrupted by those annoying buffering screens.
And that’s no way to watch.
Multiple Connections Allowed
If you’re not the only person in your house who wants to watch Netflix shows from other countries, you’ll need a VPN that allows multiple connections at the same time.
These days, most providers give you five or more. But some will still cap you at two. So, it’s certainly something to be mindful of.
Good Customer Support
As I mentioned, Netflix tries hard to prevent region changes with VPNs. And, from time to time, even the best providers will experience a temporary outage.
When that happens, a good support department is worth its weight in gold. They’ll help you get up and running by troubleshooting your connection and pointing you to the right VPN servers – those that still work.
How to Watch Netflix From Other Countries
Using a VPN to change your Netflix location is surprisingly easy. Here is the simple step-by-step guide.
Choose a Good VPN
As covered in the section above, the first step to streaming out-of-market Netflix content is to pick a VPN that’s right for the job.
Assuming you followed the five points I laid out when choosing your provider, you’re good to go. Sign up, and you’re one step closer to watching anything and everything Netflix has to offer.
Install the VPN Client App on Your Device(s)
Once you’ve set up your VPN account, download the client. All providers will have a “VPN apps” section on their website where you can find the right software for your platform.
Every half-decent VPN will have software for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
If, however, you want to watch Netflix on a less commonly used device – like a Linux box or a Smart TV – there may be a bit of manual work involved.
That said, you should be able to find detailed step-by-step setup instructions on the provider’s website. And if you run into issues, that good customer support I mentioned will be more than happy to help you out.
Connect to a VPN Server in the Country You Want to Watch Netflix In
With your VPN app installed, you’re now ready to access a different Netflix region. Open up the client, pick the country you want to stream content from, and connect.
Most VPN apps have a map or list that makes connecting to a specific country simple. Here’s what that looks like with NordVPN.
Other providers may include specialized Netflix servers. If they do, use one of those instead. PureVPN does this.
Watch Netflix From Other Regions
With your device connected to the VPN, fire up Netflix. The content you see will now be that of your selected region.
All that’s left is to sit back and enjoy a show.
Which Netflix Countries Can I Access With a VPN?
The short answer is all of them.
The long answer is that, even though Netflix is available in over 190 countries, it only has 34 country-specific catalogs – with a good amount of overlap among most of them.
So, in practice, as long as you can access those 34 countries, you can see everything the streaming giant has to offer (the table is sortable by column if you wish to do so).
The 34 Netflix regions are as follows:
|Slovakia||South Africa||Sout Korea|
For most of us, the most important catalog to access is Netflix US. It is the largest among the major markets – though, for the record, the Turkish catalog is even bigger just with significantly fewer big releases.
Here is how the movie and series numbers break down for the eight most frequently accessed Netflix countries.
The above data is sourced from the unofficial Netflix online Global Search website.
Can I Watch Netflix Abroad?
If you’re traveling to one of the 190 plus countries where it is available, you can use Netflix abroad. By default, you will, however, only be able to stream content from the country you’re in.
But, just like you can change your Netflix region using a VPN when at home, you can do the same when on the road. In other words, you can continue to access the exact library you always have by connecting to a VPN server located where you live.
Taking things one step further, Netflix can even be used in different countries at the same time.
As long as you don’t exceed the number of screens you can watch on simultaneously allowed by your plan, you’re free to share your Netflix account across international borders.
So, while you stream your favorite show on your next vacation, anyone with access to your Netflix can also watch back home.
Does Netflix Allow VPN Use?
Officially, Netflix does not want us to connect to their service with a VPN, due to their obligation to enforce licensing agreements with content producers.
For that reason, in January 2016, the company has put into place one of the most sophisticated VPN detection and blocking systems of any internet content provider.
In practice, however, there have been no public reports of Netflix penalizing any subscriber for country hopping with a VPN – beyond, of course, blocking us from streaming while connected to one.
This makes perfect sense. Netflix has zero incentive to upset us subscribers too much at the behest of rights-holders.
Completely banning VPN use is a very difficult problem to solve anyway, and as long as Netflix at least looks like it’s trying, content producers seem to be satisfied.
The bottom line is that if you’re willing to do what it takes to change Netflix regions with a VPN – which isn’t all that difficult – no one is going to punish you for it.
Can I Use Free VPNs to Change Netflix Regions?
While it’s certainly possible to use a free VPN to change your Netflix country successfully, it’s usually challenging to do. And often, it could even be a bad idea to try.
The vast majority of free VPN services are already on Netflix’s blocked list. They can’t connect, and it’s unlikely they ever will – a free provider does not have the resources (or even the inclination) to continually try to get around the Netflix VPN ban.
Most free VPNs also come with data restrictions. Even if you can unblock a show from another region, you may hit your data limit before you can watch it from beginning to end – even at Netflix’s lowest quality settings.
And what if you manage to find a free provider without data caps? The odds are others have as well. You’ll probably end up with overloaded servers, poor performance, and an overall miserable streaming experience.
Then there are, of course, the questionable security and privacy practices of many free VPNs.
You can find yourself subjected to ad injection, intrusive data collection, and, in the most extreme cases, malware infection.
When the monthly price of some of the best VPN providers is a fraction of what a Netflix subscription costs, to me, using one is a no-brainer.
That said, if you’re still tempted to go the free VPN route to satisfy your our-of-market Netflix cravings, at the very least, don’t blindly start using the first provider you find. Do a bit of research first.
Change Netflix Region Conclusion
Streaming Netflix content from any country in the world is not complicated. As long as you have the right VPN provider and follow the few simple steps outlined above, you’ll be able to change your Netflix region as much as you want.
It all takes only a few minutes to set up. Get it done, and you can watch any show Netflix has to offer, no matter where in the world you are.