With thousands upon thousands of shows and movies, few video streaming services are better than Netflix. And while it’s available in an astounding 192 countries, unfortunately, not all of its libraries are created equal.
Australian Netflix subscribers, for example, can watch but a fraction of the programs available to Americans. Yes, the difference has been getting smaller over the last few years but is still far from insignificant.
That said, what if I told you things don’t have to be that way?
As it turns out, they don’t. And in this article, I’ll show you exactly how to get American Netflix in Australia and watch anything and everything you want. You may be surprised how easy it is.
How to Watch US Netflix in Australia
The quickest and easiest way to access Netflix USA down under is by using a VPN. I’ll explain in detail why that is shortly, but, for the time being, I’ll just mention that it’s a method that has never failed me.
These steps, by the way, will let you unblock Netflix libraries from any country, not just the US. They’ll also work regardless of which country you’re in, not only Australia.
- Pick and sign up with a VPN provider (only specific VPNs work with Netflix these days – I like Surfshark or NordVPN best, but there are a few other good choices listed below too).
- Download your chosen VPN’s app and install it on your device.
- If you are currently running Netflix, be it in a browser or through an app, turn it off.
- Start the VPN app and sign in to your account (you’ll only have to sign in the first time).
- In the app, select a US server or, if it exists, a specialized Netflix US streaming server, and connect to it.
- Open Netflix in your browser or launch the Netflix app.
- You are now accessing American Netflix from Australia – sit back and enjoy the show.
Switching Back to Netflix Australia
Once you’re done watching Netflix US, switching back to the Australian version is even easier.
Simply close the browser tab or app you were watching Netflix with and disconnect from the VPN. You will then be back in Australia and have full access to the local library, just as you did before.
Why Do VPNs Unblock Netflix?
Without going into the gory details, a VPN works by encrypting and re-directing your internet traffic through a VPN server of your choosing.
When you connect to such a server, any website or online service you visit can no longer tell what country you’re really in. It will instead think your device is located where the VPN server is located.
By connecting to a US server, you’re fooling Netflix into thinking you’re in America. Hence, it gives you access to all movies and shows available there.
It’s a simple idea that works brilliantly.
Best VPNs to Get American Netflix in Australia
When picking a VPN to watch US Netflix in Australia, one thing to keep in mind is that not all providers are created equal.
Netflix knows full well how easily a VPN can sidestep their geographical restrictions and, staring in January 2016, has been clamping down hard on their use.
Only a select few services – those with the resources to do so – continue to work well. With that in mind, here is a list of what are, in my opinion, the best VPNs to watch American Netflix from Australia.
Hands down one of the best Netflix VPNs, Surfshark works with all major Netflix libraries both from Australia and anywhere else in the world. Just connect and watch – it’s as simple as that.
Surfshark backs up their uncanny ability to unblock Netflix with excellent server speeds, so you’ll always be able to stream your favorite shows in high-definition.
If you fancy accessing a Netflix library in a country other than the US, Surfshark can help you out there as well. Their server network covers 99 countries, making every major library well within reach.
Surfshark is also the only VPN provider that allows unlimited simultaneous connections. So, you can stream on as many screens as Netflix lets you at the same time.
And, if that wasn’t enough, they’re also the least expensive VPN of all the providers listed here – especially so if you take advantage of any of their current discounts.
- Excellent privacy and security with no logging
- Great server performance
- Unblocks Netflix, BBC, and many others
- Easy to use client
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Torrenting support network-wide
- Very inexpensive
- Inconsistent speeds at a few locations
- Fairly slow customer support
NordVPN is another excellent choice for watching out-of-market Netflix in Australia. It unblocks libraries worldwide like it’s 2014 – years before Netflix brought in its VPN ban.
Server performance is as good as it gets, so you’ll have no problems streaming even at ultra-high-definition settings. And a server list that spans 60 countries means you don’t have to limit yourself to watching only Netflix USA.
With NordVPN, you can connect up to six devices at the same time – plenty for even the largest of families.
And, as well as the NordVPN Netflix combo works, in if the off chance you run into any hiccups, helpful customer support is available day or night over chat or email.
You get a 30-day money-back guarantee for complete peace of mind too.
- Excellent download and upload speeds
- Large ever-expanding server network
- Great privacy with independently verified no logging policy
- Specialty servers (including double VPN, obfuscated, and Tor over VPN)
- Clean, easy to use client
- Works with Netflix and other streaming services
- Allows torrenting and P2P
- Offers dedicated IP addresses
- No split tunneling feature
- A bit pricey on shorter-term plans
Some VPN providers make which server to use for Netflix a bit of a guessing game. Not so with CyberGhost. Their purpose-optimized US Netflix server is marked as clear as can be.
Performance is excellent. The best download speed I measured for CyberGhost was 103.1 Mbps – much quicker than what Netflix suggests you should have for maximum quality. And indeed, the entire server network of 91 countries is nearly as fast.
CyberGhost’s client is a breeze to use and allows a generous seven concurrent connections.
You also get a full 45 days to try out the service. That’s the longest money-back guarantee of any top-tier VPN and proof of how much CyberGhost trusts the quality of what they offer.
Be sure to take advantage of any current CyberGhost sales too. It’ll make this provider one of the best deals around.
- Zero logging for maximum privacy
- Excellent server distribution with over 9100 servers in 91 countries
- Very fast connection speeds
- Works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Allows P2P torrenting
- Long 45-day money-back guarantee
- Parent company with a questionable reputation
- Convoluted manual OpenVPN setup
- Doesn't work from China
PureVPN prides itself on letting you watch geo-blocked content from anywhere in the world, and they certainly do not disappoint with Netflix USA. Simply connect to their clearly marked specialized server, and off you go.
Their long list of servers, one that covers 74 countries, lets you can connect to any Netflix library, not just the US version. Netflix Brazil, anyone?
Based on my speed tests, PureVPN is also the quickest VPN you can get your hands on, so no buffering or picture blockiness issues here.
You can run PureVPN on all kinds of devices too. Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS are, of course, a given. But Linux, Android TV, Apple TV, BoxeeBox, Roku, Firestick, Kodi, multiple routers, and more than 20 other platforms also make the list.
And the price is right – especially if a promo code is currently available. Considering just how much you get, PureVPN offers terrific value.
- Fast speeds
- Big server network (74 countries)
- Unblocks Netflix, iPlayer, and over 70 other streaming services
- Compatible with over 50 devices and platforms
- Independently verified zero log VPN provider
- Dedicated IP option
- Great value
- Apps could use a bit more polish
- Some intermittent connection problems
Even though it wasn’t always on the first try, I had zero issues unblocking American Netflix with ExpressVPN. No matter what the streaming giant throws at them, they continue to work. And, that is why so many people continue to use them.
One limiting factor with ExpressVPN may be that they only allow three device connections at the same time. For most of us, that shouldn’t be an issue, but it is something to keep in mind.
Other than that, ExpressVPN will let you watch all Netflix libraries as well as any other provider. Consistently good speeds and a long server list make sure of that.
The standout features for ExpressVPN are its super intuitive app and excellent customer support – the latter, as I argue in my review, is, by far, best in business.
Unfortunately, ExpressVPN is not the cheapest of VPNs, even coupon code in hand. But, in my opinion, you more than get what you pay for.
- A feature-rich and intuitive client
- Strong back-end technology
- Plenty of servers and server locations
- Fast and consistent connection speeds
- Works with US Netflix
- Top-notch customer support
- Some aggregated logging
- Not the cheapest
Netflix AUS vs. Netflix USA
So, just how much do the Australian and US versions of Netflix differ? Quite a bit.
At the time of this writing, American Netflix has a total of 5819 titles available. Of those 3737 are movies and 2082 series.
In comparison, Australia has access to 3826 movies and 2112 series, for a total of 5938 titles.
Keep in mind that all those titles don’t overlap, meaning, in practice, the difference is a lot bigger. The US also gets many new releases you can’t watch in other countries.
Don’t get me wrong. The Australian Netflix library is excellent, and I would certainly put it among the top five. But, there are still many titles available to the US that are missing. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Better Call Saul
- Breaking Bad
- Call the Midwife
- The Flash
- Grey’s Anatomy
- The Walking Dead
Where Australians do get a better deal, however, is with pricing. Netflix’s three tiers are between 20% and 25% less expensive than in the United States.
Netflix and Geo-Blocking
Geo-blocking is when content is restricted – be it changed or limited – based on your geographical location. And Netflix is a highly geo-blocked website.
Why Does Netflix Geo-Block Content in Australia
Netflix produces a lot of its content, but it licenses even more. That licensed content is why the company makes use of geo-blocking.
The most popular shows and movies are a hot commodity in the online streaming world, and rights to them are often sold off country by country.
Because Netflix is not always able to pick up rights to a program down under – an agreement with a different service may, for example, already be in place – their Australian library will differ from the American one (and, indeed, every other country’s).
And, to avoid breaches of contract with the content copyright holders, Netflix has to try and prevent you from accessing those US-only shows. Hence, geo-blocking.
If you’re ever curious as to how different the various Netflix libraries are and what you’re potentially missing out on by sticking to only Australia, take a look at uNoGS.com.
How Does Netflix Geo-Block Content
So how does Netflix know you’re in Australia? By looking at your device’s easily traceable IP address.
Everything connected to the internet, from your computer and mobile phone to your smart TV, has an IP address. And every IP is tied to a very specific geographical area.
You can think of your device’s IP as the equivalent of your home’s mailing address. It’s there so that the Netflix servers – and, of course, every other online service and website – know where to send data.
What a VPN does is it first hides your IP address. It then assigns you a different one from the country where the VPN server you connect to is located.
By making it look as though you’re in the United States and not in Australia is how a VPN lets you access American Netflix.
VPN Not Working With Netflix US?
Even the best VPNs, those that can usually unblock American Netflix without breaking a sweat, will experience outages from time to time. When that happens, you’ll see the following screen:
What the above message means is that the VPN server you have connected to has been blacklisted by Netflix and will no longer work.
As serious as that sounds, it’s nothing to worry about and an easy fix. Just because one server is blacklisted, doesn’t mean they all are.
The simplest solution is to try a different server. Good VPNs tend to fix them quickly, so there should always be plenty around that work.
You can also try reaching out to your VPN provider’s customer support. They will be more than happy to point you to a good server. Every provider I listed higher up has live chat, so getting an answer should only take a few minutes.
As I’ve said before, with the right VPN, I have never not been able to unblock out-of-market Netflix. Occasional hiccups may happen but, ultimately, it’s a method that continues to work very, very well.
Is It Legal to Watch Netflix With a VPN in Australia?
There are many benefits to changing your Netflix region from Australia to the US. And, as you can see, doing so is not at all difficult. The next question is, however, is it legal – both from Australia’s and Netflix’s point of view.
Are VPNs Legal in Australia?
Yes, according to current Australian laws, VPN use is legal. And while using a VPN to get around content geo-blocking may be a bit more of a gray area, that too is not illegal.
In other words, there are no Australian laws that prohibit you from streaming Netflix programming from the US.
Is Streaming Netflix Over a VPN Legal?
Netflix has been restricting VPN use for several years so, clearly, they prefer we don’t use them to access their service. Why? Because they’re legally obligated to try to enforce their licensing agreements with content owners.
Try is, however, the key word here. And what they seem to be doing is trying just hard enough to satisfy right-holders without upsetting us subscribers too much.
Even though Netflix easily could ban from their service anyone using a VPN, that hasn’t happened once. After all, dropping hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of subscribers who use VPNs would not look that great on the balance sheets, would it?
So, ultimately, while officially using a VPN to watch Netflix is frowned upon, in practice, no one will punish you for doing so.
Do Free VPNs Unblock American Netflix from Australia?
In theory, you could unblock US Netflix with a free VPN. In practice, however, the odds of it working are slim.
If you find a provider that works, consider yourself lucky. But, also know that it won’t last.
Netflix routinely blacklists VPN servers. Paid VPN providers have the resources to replace those servers quickly and, more often than not, can stay one step ahead of Netflix altogether. Free providers can’t do that.
Free VPNs also typically come with bandwidth restrictions and suffer from server overload. Both things translate to a less than optimal video streaming experience – especially in high-quality.
I also avoid free providers because of privacy and security concerns.
Unlike paid VPNs, many free alternatives not only log your online activities but also sell your data to advertisers. Since they don’t charge for subscriptions, they have to find other sources of income to survive.
So, as much as I like saving money, there, unfortunately, isn’t a good free way – VPN or otherwise – to stream Netflix US from Australia.
As good as Netflix Australia is, the programming selection in the US is just that much better. And plenty of top-rated shows are only available there.
Why limit what you can watch when you can get American Netflix in Australia so easily. Give yourself the power to access everything the streaming giant has to offer at will. Then, sit back, relax, and binge away.