After a long international trip on a stuffy plane with bad Wi-Fi connection and far less personal space than any human deserves, the last thing you want to deal with is limited or completely restricted access to some of your favorite streaming sites.
Unfortunately, that’s the reality that most international travelers face.
For those who enjoy streaming their favorite television shows and movies on popular sites like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Go, leaving home is like opening up Pandora’s box; you never know what will actually be available to watch abroad.
If you’re feeling singled out by this truly torturous reality, have no fear because you’re not alone. With the advent of video streaming on-demand services, more and more people are buying into the cable-cutting fad, and saying ‘no’ to hefty cable bills. That translates to roughly 180 million people worldwide, just like you, who have subscribed to at least one video streaming on demand service like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO, among others. It’s likely that each of those subscribers would find themselves equally as distraught to discover their favorite programs are inaccessible outside the comforts of their home country’s borders.
“But wait,” you whisper to yourself in utter disbelief, “isn’t Netflix available in, like, 190 countries?” Yes, you’re absolutely right. Netflix, as a service, is available in over 190 countries and continues to expand, however – brace yourself for this harsh blow – the full American library is only available within America’s borders.
This isn’t unique to Netflix, though. Most of your most prized video streaming services have restricted their content or completely blocked the site entirely to users who try and login from other countries. Hulu, for example, is only available in the states; BBC iPlayer is only available in the UK; and HBO Go is only available within the US and certain US territories.
While some of these sites do have elaborate roadmaps to release content in more countries, it’s unlikely that the full, unlimited libraries will reach every country, at least not in the near future. In the meantime, ex-pats, study abroad students, digital nomads, and foreign residents enjoying extended stays overseas are SOL unless they know how to jump the fence.
“Wait,” you say, yet again in disbelief, “There’s a way to jump the fence?”
Of course, there’s always a way to jump the fence and it’s completely legal, too. But before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk details.
- 1 Why is my access blocked in the first place?
- 2 It’s called geo-blocking
- 3 The Secret to Unblocking Netflix Internationally
- 4 Cut to the Chase: How does a VPN help me stream videos?
- 5 How Secure is a VPN really?
- 6 Are VPNs legal?
- 7 Before you purchase a VPN to unlock your favorite sites, here are a few things you should know.
- 8 FAQ’s
- 9 Conclusion
- 10 #1 – Buffered VPN
- 11 #2 – TunnelBear
- 12 #3 – SurfEasy
- 13 #4 – Tor Browser
Why is my access blocked in the first place?
Don’t take it personally. Streaming services like Netflix don’t want to restrict access to their content. It’s just that they’re regulated by less than forgiving copyright infringement laws that dictate which countries are licensed to stream certain content. While on-demand service contracts with studios are, for the most part, kept hidden beneath the blankets, it’s no secret that they’d face law suits up the wazoo from studios who’ve seen a sharp decrease in profit ever since the DVD trend went out the window and popular sites like Netflix moved to streaming models. Believe you me; the last thing streaming sites want is to be is found in violation of copyright infringement.
But why doesn’t Netflix buy global rights to stream their shows and movies? Great question. Unfortunately, there isn’t such a great answer. The truth is studios and popular streaming sites haven’t quite caught up to today’s streaming trends. Copyright licenses are largely distributed country by country as opposed to globally and, while it’s entirely possible to purchase a global license for a show or movie, on-demand streaming services aren’t really interested in buying global rights to distribute content if it doesn’t benefit them financially. Profit margins, at least as they presently stand, favor splitting licenses up by country.
This is an unfortunate reality for viewers like you and me who enjoy hopping on a plane to travel internationally once in a while. We’re stuck watching whatever was cheapest to license in that country – and trust me on this one, what’s available to stream is, well, not great.
It’s called geo-blocking
In the same way that certain government’s censor activity on the web and block access to controversial websites, Netflix and other streaming services can block your access to view their content. It’s called geo-blocking or geo-fencing, and it’s an incredibly popular form of Internet censorship that restricts access to content based on a person’s whereabouts in the world.
Websites (like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora) use well-developed geo-location technology to stand up a virtual “fence” or “barrier” intended to block all of those users in countries that don’t have the rights to be streaming the material. On demand streaming services can see exactly where you are in the world every time you attempt to access their sites through what’s called an Internet Protocol Address (IP Address), which serves two primary purposes: (1) to identify the network you’re working from and (2) to track your precise location in the world. They’re assigned to each and every phone, computer, and tablet, and, for those Internet newbies who don’t quite understand the basis of the Internet, IP addresses are exactly how streaming services shut you down each time you access from restricted territory.
Sorry to let you down. No matter how many times you refresh the screen of Netflix, the “sorry, currently our video library can’t be streamed from this location” message won’t just disappear on its own. Geo-location tools are sophisticated, and you’ll need equally sophisticated software to bypass them.
The Secret to Unblocking Netflix Internationally
Geo blocking doesn’t only hurt residents abroad; it also hurts ex-patriots, long-term study abroad students, and even military personnel who want to watch their favorite TV shows and movies while out of country. Thankfully, it’s rather easy to take back control and evade all those bothersome geo-blocking restrictions. It’s called a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A VPN is a teeny tiny bit of software that adds a very large and critical layer of security and protection to Internet users on both public and private network connections. Think of a VPN as a fully encrypted tunnel. You push your information through one end, fully encrypted, and it comes out the other end decrypted. Within that same tunnel, the VPN renders all of your data completely indecipherable to anyone without the necessary authority and tools to read it.
VPNs can be used by anyone. Universities have been known to use VPNs to allow those off campus to remotely “VPN” in network and corporations (both large and small) have been known to tap into the global, remote workforce securely by installing a VPN.
It’s not just universities and corporation that benefit from the simple safety net VPNs provide, though. Regular everyday Internet users benefit equally by installing a well established, and well built VPN.
Don’t be deceived by the inexpensive price and ease of use of VPNs. Once purchased and installed, users enjoy some of the most secure web browsing ever, comparable to military grade security. VPNs not only protect against hackers, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) spying on your web activity, and even sneaky governments who’ve instated harsh surveillance regulations on the web, VPNs also grant you control over your Internet activity. You’ll be able to access your favorite sites (like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and HBO) securely and anonymously with a VPN. Yes, you read that correctly – using a VPN will shield you from anyone trying to decipher who you are and where you’re located.
To unblock Netflix in any location in the world however, you need a Virtual private network (VPN) provider or a Smart Domain name system (DNS) service provider.
How Do You Unblock Netflix Using A VPN? When you sign up with a VPN service provider like Buffered VPN, download and install the application on whatever device you want Netflix on, be it your computer, an android device, or an iOS device, the user then signs in and connect using UK/US server as these are the best regions to watch Netflix from. After that you log into Netflix using your existing Netflix account and watch UK/US versions Netflix. When you use a VPN, your location is entirely hidden and it looks as though you’re accessing from the server you’ve chosen from their menu. If you wish to connect from other locations apart from the US and the UK you simply connect to a different VPN server.
How Do You Unblock Netflix using Smart DNS service? DNS service providers are also efficient in unblocking Netflix with providers like StreamJack TV. A Smart DNS service allows users to change Netflix location without altering your internet proxy address. It does this by allowing the user to switch to different Netflix regions by changing your Netflix country in your account. Getting started with a Smart DNS service is quite easy; Get a free account, setup the DNS on your preferred device, sign up and then log in then choose the country you wish to unblock in settings after that you can watch Netflix from whatever location you are.
Using either a VPN or DNS PROXY to change your Netflix region will fully unblock the Netflix library in whatever restricted country you presently reside in, these two methods are the surest ways to never run out of what to watch on Netflix.
Cut to the Chase: How does a VPN help me stream videos?
Remember when we were talking about you jumping the fence to watch your favorite shows and movies online? Geo-blocking is the fence, and the VPN is the trampoline to jump over it to watch Netflix with ease.
A VPN is a quick, simple piece of software that spoofs your actual whereabouts and allows you to browse anonymously from just about anywhere in the world. It’s exactly the software you need to side step conventional tracking strategies that hackers, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and governments utilize to monitor your activity and track your data online. With a VPNs you’ll be able to access remote servers located in countries scattered all across the globe to change your IP address. It’s really that simple.
For you VPN newbies, here are the basics for how to use a VPN: When you purchase and install a VPN, you’ll be able to start using it immediately. Simply login to your computer and open up the VPN application. Next, choose your desired server. Let’s say you’re in Europe and you want to watch American Netflix. All you’ll need to do is choose a server located somewhere within the United States. Once the VPN connects (which should take a split second or less if you’re using a trusted VPN provider, like Buffered), you’ll be perusing the American Netflix library in no time at all. By choosing an American server, your IP address will switch from European to American, masking your true whereabouts and fooling Netflix into believing you’re just any other American citizen logging into Netflix.
How Secure is a VPN really?
It’s secure. VPNs have been known to have military level security. Plus, if you’re using a good VPN (we suggest Buffered VPN, the tried and true), the seller will have a strict no-log policy prohibiting them from viewing or maintaining any of your personal activity online. There are also a number of protocols that are typically offered as well. See this guide on the differences.
In fact, the best VPN vendors configure their software to make it completely impossible for their staff to see what you’re doing online, even if they really, really wanted to. So, if Netflix ever came a knocking on the door of Buffered, for example demanding the information of all users accessing Netflix abroad, Buffered couldn’t hand over that information because it simply doesn’t exist.
Are VPNs legal?
Let’s get you clued in on a little secret: using a VPN is not against the law. There’s really no other way to put it. VPN’s are just like any other nifty bit of software that helps to make the web more secure and accessible. Really, though, there’s nothing illegal about using a VPN to jump from IP address to IP address securely and anonymously.
Before you purchase a VPN to unlock your favorite sites, here are a few things you should know.
If you’re in the market for a VPN, you’ll soon discover that there is no shortage of options to choose from. While there are tons of vendors willing to sell you a VPN, be sure to choose one that is established and works best for you. There are a few basic questions you should have answered before choosing a VPN.
How To Unblock Netflix On A School Wi-Fi?
Many schools and universities will block access to streaming services such as Netflix. One way to overcome this limitation is to use a VPN service. There are free and paid options available but for the best results for using with a school’s public Wi-Fi is to use Buffered VPN. These guys offer you a tool to use on your computer which will allow you to easily select a different IP to use so that you can get around any blocks that your school or university may have in place.
Does the VPN Company have a strict, no-logs policy put in place?
This prevents the company from tracking what you do online. This should be a no-brainer for all VPN providers, but unfortunately it’s not always the case. VPN vendors who don’t have a no-log policy instated technically can be mandated by ISPs to turn over your data and information. You wouldn’t want that.
Does the VPN work for your needs?
If you’re trying to stream shows abroad, be sure to check on VPN providers to make sure they’re compatible with your streaming site. Netflix, for instance, has taken a stance against VPNs recently and has shut down access to users of some popular VPN providers. Buffered VPN is actually among the few VPN providers that still offers access to Netflix abroad.
Does the VPN Company provide unlimited bandwidth and server switching?
No fancy explanation here – it’s just best practice.
How many simultaneous connections does the VPN provider support?
Buffered VPN allows for 5 concurrent connections, which is fairly competitive. This means can you can hook up your phone, your laptop, your tablet, your second phone, your third phone and so on to Buffered and still be able to stream with ultra fast speeds and reliable connections.
Using a VPN is a super easy and cheap way to unlock your favorite websites, protect your data, and browse anonymously on the web. Really, it’s simple. But as with anything online, it’s important to do your homework. Routing your Internet activity through a VPN provider means that you trust them with all of your information. Do yourself a favor and choose a trusted and secure VPN. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be set to “Netflix and chill” your way through any country. Happy streaming!
Netflix is a very popular worldwide source of streaming videos and television programs and series. Streaming with Netflix started in 2007 in the United States of America and gradually expanded to Canada in 2010 and 6 years later boasts of services in over 190 countries, with a reported 81 million subscribers worldwide. It first started as a service in America where DVDs are delivered by mail in 1998.
Netflix is however not accessible in countries like China, and also some users find it difficult to access the full Netflix library in many other countries. This is because while trying to access a service like Netflix, servers use your internet proxy address to tell your location and your access will be limited accordingly. So if your location is somewhere like in China where it is extremely restricted then you would be blocked completely.
See our Top 10 List of Best VPNs for Netflix usage
#1 – Buffered VPN
#2 – TunnelBear
In several respects, TunnelBear is very just like SurfEasy: it’s Canadian, for the day-to-day customer and does not enable P2P. Even its prices is similar for the paid plans. We found TunnelBear’s assistance to be much better, and also its client a piece a lot more enjoyable as well as beneficial.
It provides 3 simultaneous connections, up to 1.5 GB download limit and total is a great firm for giving a complimentary VPN.
#3 – SurfEasy
SurfEasy is a great Canadian firm, with intentions of bringing personal privacy and also safety to the masses, so it’s not a surprise that it offers a totally free service together with its regular strategies. All of its plans come with a monstrous five simultaneous links, sport easy-to-use clients and also provide great speeds.
Its totally free VPN plan is equally as great as its typical plan, but does come with a data restriction of 500MB (which can be raised to 1.5 GB with a few activities), which is just helpful for occasional/normal consumption. In order to be able to supply the safety that it does, no P2P is permitted.
If you’re searching for something different, it likewise supplies a Private Browser USB item, which features an initial charge but stands for a lifetime.
#4 – Tor Browser
Not purely a VPN service, however as a widely utilized free system created to make sure on the internet privacy it seemed criminal in addition to the Tor Network right here. The open source Tor client allows you to link to the web anonymously through a dispersed network (other Tor individuals) making use of a split encryption service known as Onion Routing. This indicates that whenever you access a site your demand will go through a minimum of three different computer systems (called nodules), with all details encrypted each time to give a quite high degree of safety. Additionally, considering that your evident IP is that of an arbitrary volunteer (of which there are literally hundreds of thousands), there’s no chance to even identify that you are concealing your identity. This makes this solution famously indispensable for objectors living under limiting governments.
The main disadvantage is that it’s not quick, as your web traffic is being bounced around volunteers’ computer systems throughout the globe. The Tor Network likewise asks you not to utilize the solution for P2P file sharing. The amount of web traffic involved puts a severe strain on the system as well as problems other users’ experience.
One use the truly concerned could have for the Tor Network remains in combination with Bitcoin repayments. It allows them to keep full privacy when signing up to as well as acquiring normal VPN package deals.