Video licensing often moves at a snail’s pace. As a result, Netflix subscribers living in countries other than the United States often have to wait months or even years to stream popular shows and movies. Fortunately, there’s an easy workaround available. Using the instructions provided below, you can hop into American Netflix from anywhere in the world on Android phones and other Android devices.

As you read through this short guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to “geo-hop” into American Netflix via your Android phone
  • How Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) work
  • The reason why Netflix blocks its own customers
  • Which Netflix videos are only (officially) available in the United States

The VPN app I’ll be using to show you how to geo-hop into American Netflix is ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN utilizes strongly encrypted and effective VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN UDP and TCP, that ensure your data and identity are protected while bypassing VPN detection software.

Prerequisites

  • Google Play compatible Android device
  • An active ExpressVPN account

How to get American Netflix on Android

There are two things you need to do if you want to get access to American Netflix on Android. First, sign up for ExpressVPN.  Next, download the ExpressVPN Android app.  Then, switch to any US server.  Once all 3 steps are complete, you’ll be able to stream all the shows and movies that American Netflix subscribers enjoy.

Step 1: Sign up for ExpressVPN

The ExpressVPN app has a user-friendly interface and makes it ideal for geo-hopping into Netflix. Additionally, ExpressVPN scored very high for its security features when we tested it out against other VPN providers.

You can signup for ExpressVPN directly from their website or from your mobile device. You can choose between either a month-to-month subscription plan, 6-months, or an annual subscription. Regardless of which option you choose, you will get a 30-day money-back guarantee upon signing up.

Step 2: Download the ExpressVPN app from Google Play

Once you download ExpressVPN, you’ll get a confirmation email delivered to you.  Then, you can log into the Android app.

Android expressvpn

Step 3: Choose a server

ExpressVPN has a large number of US servers available for users. You can choose between a large number of cities, with many cities having multiple server options as well.

american netflix android

Avoiding detection is key

The key to accessing American Netflix is obfuscation. Netflix employs technology that can detect VPN technology or overused IP addresses. You’ll still be able to use the Netflix app, but you won’t see any exclusive American Netflix content. However, ExpressVPN, you will be able to bypass Netflix’s VPN blocking technologies and get American Netflix on Android dervices.

Still Getting Blocked on Android? Do This

Did you find that Netflix is still blocking your access to American Netflix while using an Android device? There’s a good chance that the VPN server you’re connected to has been detected and needs to be updated.

While ExpressVPN effectively bypasses Netflix VPN blocking, at times, Netflix will break through and block a VPN server. If you’re getting blocked, this is likely what happened. To find out which server works, contact ExpressVPN through their live chat customer service. They will ask for your email address to verify your account and then will provide you with the exact server to connect to.

VPN technology in a nutshell

ExpressVPN’s VPN app provides a convenient way to connect to its various VPN servers when you use your Android device to access the web.  But how does it work?  Read on to learn more.

Note: If you’ve ever seen the 1979 thriller Escape From Alcatraz, you already understand the basic concept behind VPN tunneling.  In the movie, protagonist Frank Morris (Clint Eastwood) escapes Alcatraz by using a spoon to tunnel through the prison’s walls.  

Tunnels, encryption, and servers

A Virtual Private Network consists of 3 major components:

  1. The VPN software.  In addition to its Android app, ExpressVPN also works with Windows and Mac.
  2. The tunnel.  Once you choose a server and click the green connect button, the software forms an encrypted connection between your Android device and the VPN server.
  3. The server.  The VPN server hides everything you do while on the web, making it impossible for observers to determine exactly what you’re doing.

Without a VPN, Netflix can pull up information about your location every time you access their network– this is how the company prevents you from accessing content that’s not licensed for your region.  But with your VPN switched on, it appears as though you’re located in the US if you’re logged into a US server.

IP addresses

All devices on the internet (including VPN servers) use unique numbers called IP addresses to identify themselves.  Netflix’s VPN ban stops IP addresses connected with various popular VPN services from accessing its content.

“We will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location.” – Netflix Blog, January 2016

Additionally, Netflix uses deep packet inspection to block out users that attempt to view Netflix videos while connected to a VPN.

ExpressVPN’s bypassing methods

Fortunately for Netflix subscribers located outside of the continental United States, new VPN technology allows targeted users of targeted VPN services avoid detection. ExpressVPN is even strong enough to break through the so-called “Great Firewall of China.”

Like China, Netflix also uses deep packet inspection to check for VPN usage.  But with scramble mode on, there’s no way to tell that you’re using ExpressVPN to access the American version of the Netflix catalog.

Why we recommend ExpressVPN

There are many VPN companies out there and several very good ones, but few have the global resources and advanced features that ExpressVPN offers.  We recommend ExpressVPN for people traveling, working, and living overseas because of its global presence, high performance, and value.  Also, ExpressVPN’s excellent Android app makes it a great geo-hopping solution for Android users.

Global presence

According to the ExperssVPN’s blog, the company has now expanded into 90+ countries and now has more than 2,000+ servers.

Fast and reliable

Some VPN providers have trouble keeping up with demand, but ExpressVPN doesn’t have that problem.  ExpressVPN has opted to reinvest its profits into server upgrades.  As a result, ExpressVPN has evolved into one of the very fastest VPN providers around.

Flexible plans

Source: ExpressVPN

If you opt to pay for a year of service, you can subscribe to ExpressVPN for just $8.82 per month.  Alternatively, you can get a single month of service for just $12.95. The month-by-month plan is a good option for those who want to try out ExpressVPN first before they commit.

Geo-hopper demographics

Many different types of Netflix subscribers use VPNs to avoid Netflix’s geo-block policy.

American military personnel

American military service members still have to pay $9.99 every month for Netflix services while stationed overseas, just like their friends and family back home.  However, the amount of content they can access changes as soon as they leave the states.  To avoid getting geo-blocked while abroad, they use geo-hopping to log into Netflix.

International Netflix customers

Netflix subscribers living in the UK, Canada, Australia and other countries pay just as much as Americans for Netflix.  However, they don’t get access to nearly as much content.  If geo-hopping didn’t exist, Netflix’s international customers would have to wait months and sometimes even years for popular shows and movies to become available.

One Canadian Netflix subscriber recently used Twitter to voice his frustrations about Netflix’s content policy:

The folks at Cordcutting.com recently did some number crunching to measure each country’s Netflix catalog.  The United States had the most content at the time with 5,087 titles.  By comparison, 77% of countries in the study had catalogs that were less than half the size of the American catalog.

Recommended reading

Privacy-conscious Americans

Even though they reside within the correct licensing geo-zone, many American Netflix subscribers that prefer to use a VPN when they access the web are having trouble accessing Netflix.

American customers of VPN providers that do not offer obfuscation as a feature are met with the following error message every time they try to access Netflix:

Netflix error message
This is the message you see if you try to use a normal VPN with Netflix.

Netflix can’t tell the difference between somebody in Moscow accessing the American Netflix catalog through a VPN and somebody in Seattle doing the same thing.  So in order to keep their geographical licensing agreements intact, the company has opted to simply ban all VPN users from using its services.

Netflix’s licensing woes

In many ways, Netflix is caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to movie and TV show licensing.  Netflix customers want more new films and movies, but movie makers want to make as much money off of their content as they possibly can.

Regional licensing schemes are designed to maximize profit.  The more available a movie is, the less it’s worth.  Why would anyone buy a DVD of a movie or go see it in the theater if they could easily stream it online via Netflix?

“Licensing agreements that are not exclusive to a single streaming platform are less expensive to obtain.” – Investopedia.com

During the license negotiation process, Netflix sometimes agrees to place geographical blocks on certain movies and shows.  The blocks drive up the price of licenses and give content makers the opportunity to make more money selling their content around the world.

An aging paradigm

The machinery of the content distribution industry dictates when movies get released in theaters, when they reach cable, how soon you can buy them when you can rent them, and when you can stream them.

At each stage of the process, someone cashes in.

Technology is driving huge changes in the way content distributed.  Still, powerful interests want to hold on to the old way of doing business.  For the moment, Netflix appears willing to maintain the status quo– even if they wind up losing customers to torrenting and other streaming platforms in the process.

“For now, given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory.” – David Fullagar, Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture at Netflix

More original content, more control

Sandy Wexler on Netflix
Source: Netflix

Over the past several years, Netflix has proven that it doesn’t need to buy content licenses. The company is fully capable of creating its own original shows and movies.  Recent news from Netflix indicates that more originals are on the way.  Netflix has already announced plans to spend more than $1.7 billion to develop original content in Europe and launch fifty new productions in Latin America.

Original content could give the company more leverage as it negotiates the ability to stream programming globally.  In the meantime, geo-hopping into American Netflix via a VPN is the only way for international Netflix customers to gain access to more content.

Exclusive American Netflix content

All of the following shows and movies are available in the American version of Netflix, but will not appear if you search for them in your app while you’re in the UK.

  1.  Parks and Recreation
  2.  The West Wing
  3.  House
  4.  Futurama
  5.  30 Rock
  6.  Mad Men
  7.  The Walking Dead
  8.  The Hunger Games
  9.  Family Guy
  10.  New Girl
  11.  Lost
  12.  Fraiser
  13.  Sharknado
  14.  The King’s Speech
  15.  Skyfall
  16.  An Idiot Abroad
  17.  Trainspotting
  18.  In the Loop
  19.  Mean Girls

Summary

The reason why Netflix has implemented content blocks boils down to supply and demand. Netflix availability lowers the market price of content, which is why some license owners have struck bargains that force Netflix to restrict the availability of the stream to certain geographical areas. As a result of the Netflix’s geographical blocks, Netflix subscribers that don’t live in the United States are faced with reduced access to movies and TV shows.

Currently, ExpressVPN offers the best solution for Netflix users who want to gain access to American Netflix via Android.  All you have to do is sign up for ExpressVPN, download the app and log into an American VPN server.

Alex Munkachy is a freelance writer, game developer and hobby robotics enthusiast. You can find his blog about robotics news and reviews at robotfanatics.com.