If you want to watch American Netflix from outside the United States, you need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. After testing out several different popular VPN services, we’ve identified four that still provide an international entry point for American Netflix: ExpressVPN, StrongVPN, NordVPN, and VyprVPN.
Continue on to find out everything you need to know about how to watch American Netflix abroad in 2021.
The Best Option: ExpressVPN
Out of the four VPN services listed above, ExpressVPN is the best all-around choice. The main thing I like about it is that it lives up to its name. It’s a very fast VPN service. The speed probably has something to do with the way ExpressVPN has set up custom-built servers that are designed specifically for streaming.
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Even if you’re not good with computers, you’ll have no trouble using this VPN service. If you happen to run into any issues, you can always open up a chat and get an immediate response. With other services, you have to open up a ticket and then wait for a reply.
This is what the ExpressVPN desktop looks like at this time of writing:
As you can see, the interface consists of three buttons. All you have to do is select “United States” and then choose a server in the US that’s currently optimized by ExpressVPN for American Netflix. The company regularly changes which servers are optimized for American Netflix, so you may need to contact customer service to determine which server to use if you’re struggling to find the right one.
Friendly and quick customer support
All American Netflix VPNs experience occasional service issues. The reason: Netflix is always looking for new ways to prevent VPN users from accessing its services. When Netflix makes a change, you have to reach out to customer support for answers.
ExpressVPN has an interesting way of helping its customers connect to American Netflix. After you sign up, you have to download the software and log into the program. Then, you have to contact customer support to find out which server to use. This strategy of using the customer support team to direct Netflix subscribers to the right place prevents confusion and allows ExpressVPN to balance its server loads more efficiently.
Additionally, we’ve found that ExpressVPN’s method has thus far helped it stay well ahead of the Netflix proxy ban. By switching servers regularly and getting customers to contact them directly to find working servers, the service has been able to actively provide servers that help bypass Netflix proxy bans ever since the streaming service instituted them.
To find customer support, go to the ExpressVPN homepage, then click on the green live chat button on the bottom right.
In my experience, ExpressVPN technicians are always on top of American Netflix solutions. They tend to be nicer compared to techs from other VPN services, too.
StrongVPN was the first VPN I started using when I moved overseas. Though the interface now seems a bit dated, it still works fairly well.
- American Netflix: Yes
- Apps: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Routers, Linux
- Plans: $79.99 annual plan (with a major first-year discount) or $10 per month (with a major first-month discount)
- Trial: 30-day money-back guarantee
Getting started with StrongVPN is also fairly straightforward. First, you sign up for an account, then you download the installer, pick a US server and connect. Once you’re on the network, you can load up Netflix and enjoy an expanded range of titles.
Extensive Protocol List
One way to rate the effectiveness of a VPN service is by the quality and number of its VPN protocols available for users. StrongVPN’s list of protocols is fairly impressive. You can choose between L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, IPSec, and IKEv2 protocols, as well as WireGuard, a proprietary VPN protocol more commonly associated with the VPN service carrying the same name. The option to use WireGuard’s protocol is excellent as it’s shown to be faster than the popular and more commonly-used OpenVPN protocol.
NordVPN also provides a quick and easy way to access the American Netflix catalog from outside the continental United States.
- American Netflix: Yes
- Apps: Windows, Mac, iOS, Apple TV, iPad, Android, Routers, Linux
- Subscription plans: $11.95 per month, or prepay $59 the first year ($143 after the first year), or $89 for two years ($289 after the two-year period). NordVPN occasionally offers discounted 3-year subscription plans
- Trial: 30-day money-back guarantee
NordVPN’s client is quick and responsive and its intuitive buttons and menus make it user-friendly.
Lots of extra features
NordVPN is king when it comes to advanced features. NordVPN has “specialty servers” that let you do things like hide behind two interconnected VPN connections.
However, you don’t need to configure a specialty server to use NordVPN with Netflix. During my test, NordVPN let me get into American Netflix right away.
NordVPN’s advanced features give you a way to create your own workaround in the event that Netflix updates its anti-VPN defenses. Currently, Netflix is fairly easy to beat because it uses simple methods to determine your location. However, if Netflix starts using other kinds of data to figure out where its subscribers are located, a deluxe VPN service like NordVPN could come in handy.
VyprVPN claims that its vaunted “Chameleon mode” is strong enough to overcome China’s anti-VPN technologies. With Chameleon mode on, VyprVPN customers look exactly like everyone else on the web. There’s no way to block them out or prevent them from accessing any part of the internet.
- American Netflix: Yes
- Apps: Windows, Mac, Blackphone, Android, iOS, Apple TV, Routers, QNAP, Anonabox
- Subscription plans: $12.95 for two months, or prepay $45 for 18 months, or $60 for 3 years
- Trial: 30-day money-back guarantee
Like the other VPNs I tried, VyprVPN’s client is extremely easy to use. Here’s what it looks like:
Chameleon mode is interesting, but in my testing I didn’t need to switch it on to access American Netflix. So if you want to save some money, you may want to get the basic VyprVPN service instead of VyprVPN Premium. The standard version of VyprVPN is significantly less expensive, but it doesn’t come with Chameleon mode.
Also, VyprVPN Premium allows 5 simultaneous connections. With VyprVPN standard, you get 3.
Fast speeds, great performance
Out of all the VPNs I’ve tried, I’ve had the best luck in terms of performance with VyprVPN.
VyprVPN’s CEO is a self-proclaimed Netflix geo-hopper
Perhaps because Netflix is a large and influential streaming service, very few VPN services have gone on record to speak out against their anti-VPN policies. Golden Frog CEO / VyprVPN boss Sunday Yokubaitis is the exception. In a blog post, Yokubaitis said that Netflix’s blanket ban on VPN services doesn’t make any sense.
“As a Netflix customer, I know that they collect my billing information, including my mailing address and country. Why doesn’t Netflix use the customer billing information to display the correct content to users?” – Sunday Yokubaitis
Though Netflix may one day figure out how to effectively block all VPNs, the fact that Yokubaitis is dedicated to helping his customers access American Netflix wherever they go means that VyprVPN likely won’t ever stop finding Netflix workarounds.
How to Watch American Netflix Abroad In a Nutshell
The only tool you need to watch American Netflix abroad is a VPN. VPNs have many security and privacy uses, but international Netflix subscribers often use VPNs to make it appear as though they are located inside the United States.
Netflix went to war against VPN services in 2016, but the four VPNs I tried still work.
Once you have an account with a VPN service, you can download the software and connect to an American VPN server. After you connect, you’ll be able to access American Netflix from any location.
Though each of the four VPN services I sampled work with Netflix, they all have different benefits and disadvantages.
We’ve provided the pros and cons of all four VPN services below. For pricing information, be sure to visit their websites before you join for updates on special offers.
The American Netflix Advantage
If you use a VPN to make it look like you’re located in the US, you’ll be able to watch 1100+ TV shows and 4500+ movies.
Outside the US, Netflix’s catalog shrinks down to just a few hundred titles.
The exact amount of content that shows up changes depending on your location. In Thailand, you can only get around 100 TV shows and 200 movies. In most European countries, you’ll get about 200 TV shows and 500 movies.
With a Netflix-compatible VPN, you’ll be able to access not only American Netflix but also every other Netflix region.
Different regions get different Netflix content. For example, the Japanese version of Netflix now has even more movies than the American version.
Why Aren’t All Netflix Regions the Same?
The answer boils down to licensing and distribution issues.
Content creators are incentivized to squeeze all the money they can out of every movie or TV show that they make.
Studios cut deals with regional broadcasters and cable channels as well as streaming services like Netflix. If the deal grants a distributor exclusivity, the next distributor in the pipeline has to wait. Usually, regional distributors get first dibs.
Because different regions have different distributors, the amount of content you can get through Netflix changes depending on where you go.
The current business model for TV show and film licensing was created long before the Netflix era when the idea that people would one day use the internet to watch TV shows and movies seemed like science fiction.
Technology-driven changes in distribution have rocked theaters the hardest.
Before the internet, feature films remained in the theater for around six months before they finally made their way to the next stages in the film distribution pipeline. Now, one out of every five films leave the theaters after just two weeks.
Now that people can use the internet to watch TV shows and movies, geographic boundaries don’t seem to make sense from the consumer’s point of view.
After Netflix subscribers found out that they could get more content by using VPN services to access American Netflix, studios likely pressured Netflix into attempting a ban on all VPN services.
In 2016, Netflix declared war on VPN technology. So far, VPN services are winning.
Why I Use VPNs With Netflix
I signed up for Netflix in the US, so I pay US Netflix subscription prices. Yet, I’m stuck with a reduced content library because I happen to live outside the US.
If I try to watch The Walking Dead without a VPN, all I get is a suggestion to watch Night of the Living Dead instead.
But when I use a VPN to get American Netflix, The Walking Dead appears when I look it up.
After testing out lots of different VPNs, I’ve found four that work reliably well with American Netflix.
United States-based Netflix subscribers use VPNs, too
Sometimes, movies and shows that aren’t available in the United States are accessible in other Netflix territories. Many blockbuster movies, for example, tend to become available to Canadian and United Kingdom Netflix subscribers first before they make their way to the United States.
Back in 2018, we found out that the Japanese version of Netflix had more titles than American Netflix. If you live in the US and you’re a fan of anime and other types of content that are more popular in Japan, you can use ExpressVPN to geo-hop into the land of the rising sun.
What’s the Best Way to Watch American Netflix Abroad in 2021?
The answer, of course, depends on what you’re looking for in a VPN service. Here’s a quick breakdown.
The most reliable VPN for Netflix…
I personally can vouch for ExpressVPN because it’s the one I use the most. In my experience, the other services are spotty and don’t always work like they should.
The most inexpensive VPN for Netflix…
When it comes to monthly subscription plans, all VPNs are about equal. If you don’t want to pay for more than 30 days of service at a time, you’ll end up paying about $10 a month for VPN service.
If you’re willing to pay in advance, NordVPN is the best deal. If you’re willing to pay $100 up front, you can get three full years of service. That averages out to about $2.78 a month if you do the math.
The most full-featured Netflix VPN…
When it comes to dodging Netflix’s VPN block, VPN services have all kinds of tools at their disposal. For example, VyprVPN has “Chameleon mode,” which is designed to help Chinese VPN users access the free world.
NordVPN comes with a bunch of cool advanced features including Double VPN, link to Onion Over VPN, and more. Best of all: You don’t have to pay extra to use them.
Nevertheless, extra features are not always necessary or effective at unblocking streaming content, meaning your choice will ultimately come to which services provide the best access to Netflix without much hassle.