Netflix is a top of mind application for most movie lovers. This media streaming powerhouse is available in 190 countries. Traveling overseas is a thorn in the flesh especially for Netflix users.
You are just getting tuned in to watch your favorite TV show, and you realize you have been geo-blocked. These region hitches derail your dream of catching up on your favorite TV programmes when you are out of the country.
Once Netflix knows you have left the U.K for China, your Netflix library goes through a makeover, and you can only access China’s Netflix library. Did you know that Netflix has a different library for every country? Why? because of territorial licensing.
Producers want to maximize earnings from their media. They bid their creation to different content distribution platforms in the world. The highest bidder wins the showcasing rights.
As a distributor, you want to get your money back plus profits. If Netflix decides there’s enough audience in the U.S to watch Game of Thrones than in the U.K, enough to recover their buying rights, it will buy a territorial license for the U.S but not in the U.K. So U.S citizens will be able to watch Game of Thrones but not U.K citizens.
Audience interest and territorial licensing determine the Netflix library content for each region.
How do they spoof your location?
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigns IP addresses to geographical blocks. The media companies look up your location’s IP address. And compare it with addresses of their approved list of countries. Your IP address can grant or deny you access to their website.
How to Watch Netflix Movies from Anywhere
Change your IP address. Sounds simple? Well, it is not easy. When you connect to the internet, your ISP reflects your IP address. Your IP address is visible to any website you visit.
You need to trick the websites to read out an IP address different from that of your exact location. How? There are 3 core approaches you can take to cover your tracks. Each route works to trick Netflix into thinking your device is in a different country than the one you are currently in.
- Mask your IP address using a VPN.
Netflix geo-restriction software blocks out access to content which is not permitted to the specific region. To convince Netflix to hand over access rights, you need to use a VPN. Not just any VPN but a top-quality paid VPN.
Not all VPNs are equal. You need a top-quality VPN service. We recommend this list of the best VPN for Netflix 2019.
Virtual Public Network (VPN) sneaks you past the geo-restriction application and gives you access to content from anywhere. VPN encrypts your data masking it from prying eyes securing your data against spoofing attacks. Your browsing traffic is tunneled through a VPN server. Your browsing device and VPN server register a similar local network.
Netflix is on the hunt for VPNs used to access its catalog. It is continuously blocking out VPNs and prevents bypassing of regional licensing. If you use a free VPN, you cannot watch or stream media. Instead, you get a proxy error.
Pros of VPN:
- VPN is easy to install.
- It is reliable, private and highly secure.
Cons of VPN:
- Snail-speed connection and streaming of media.
- VPN is only limited to one connection at a time. You cannot connect multiple devices at once.
- To access the media content of a different country, you will need different VPN connections for each country.
- Accessing Netflix via Smart DNS
Smart DNS offers the best approach to viewing region restricted media sites. All you have to do is change the DNS server settings on your router. DNS queries are channeled to a server located in a different country. Your device reads out the IP address of this country.
With smart DNS you can stream media at high speeds. You don’t have to tunnel your internet traffic through a third party server. And you can connect to websites based in multiple countries at once.
Also once you configure these services to your router, you can access your media from any device such as your Smartphone, computer and game consoles. These services are relatively inexpensive costing at least $4 per month.
Pros of Smart DNS:
- It is easy to set up and use.
- You can stream media at full speeds since the traffic is not configured through the encrypted tunnel.
- Relatively inexpensive service.
Cons of Smart DNS:
- DNS proxies are unreliable. It’s easy for Netflix to block these proxies.
- They support a few You have a high chance of missing the library you want to access.
- DNS proxies expose your internet traffic to cyber rogues.
- Watch Netflix via Browser Extensions
There are browser extensions that change your browser’s IP address. They are lightweight versions of VPNs. Media hint is a browser extension compatible with Chrome and Firefox. Once you install it you can access Netflix irrespective of your location.
Your website traffic is channeled through the media hint’s proxy. This extension-free service is easy to install and use. But it is much slower than a DNS server.
Hola blocker is also another free extension for Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox. It is a peer to peer media unblocking service and only routes traffic to Netflix without slowing your internet traffic. With Hola, you can access IP addresses of multiple countries at zero charges.
Pros of Browser Extensions:
- Extensions are easy to setup
- These extensions are lightweight and do not hog for space in your device
Cons of Browser Extensions:
- You cannot stream high-quality media
- They lack security features
- Netflix can recognize and block these extensions.
You can now access your Netflix library and watch your favorite tv series irrespective of where you live. You can choose to use a VPN or Smart DNS to access your catalog. stay connected anywhere anytime.
Netflix is working to secure the global availability of its entire content and to do away with geographical restrictions.