On January 2015, Netflix began an assault on international users connecting to American Netflix through VPNs and proxies. This resulted in a massive outcry from UK subscribers in particular, due to the fact that many UK subscribers use popular VPN services to connect to the much larger American Netflix libraries.
You don’t have to be a computer expert to find your way around Netflix’s geo-block. All you need is a subscription to a VPN that’s committed to helping facilitate what’s known as “geo-hopping.”
Some VPNs are more “geo-hopper friendly” than others. If you want to find out which VPN services help their customers get to American Netflix (and which ones don’t) you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find out how to gain full access to the Netflix catalog.
How to Get American Netflix in the UK – A Video Guide
Before we get down to business, you may want to consider following along with the accompanying video guide to this article below. Everything you need to know from this article, compressed into under five minutes!
Watch Netflix in the UK Through a Working VPN
We’ve tested several of the most popular VPNs on the market. We found that there are several VPN services that do a good job of getting past the Netflix VPN blocking.
When it comes to choosing a working VPN service to access Netflix in the UK, we find that a good VPN service for American Netflix should have all of the following:
- A large number of US-based servers
- Multiple port options
- A VPN service that utilizes obfuscation methods to hide the fact that you’re connected to a VPN
All of our testing leads us to recommend StrongVPN as the best service to meet these criteria. StrongVPN has 14 US servers to choose from. Their service masks your IP address and utilizes an obfuscation method called “Scramble” to hide your VPN connection. StrongVPN also uses high-level encryption standards, although much of their operation is purposefully shrouded in secrecy to help circumvent the Netflix VPN banning methods.
Through testing, we’ve found excellent bandwidth through StrongVPN. You’ll experience some slow down in speed, but this is minimal compared to many other services. Another thing that we like about StrongVPN is that it’s one of the few that rarely has servers go down when accessing American Netflix from the UK.
StrongVPN also throws in their StrongDNS service for free as a benefit to purchasing a subscription.
Additional StrongVPN benefits
How to Watch American Netflix in UK Using StrongVPN
In order to download the StrongVPN client, you’ll need to sign up for your account first. StrongVPN offers two packages, often with steep discounts for purchasing the 12-year subscription.
After signing up for your account, StrongVPN will send you login information to your email address. The password will be randomly generated. Use that password and your email address to sign into the website.
Here’s a quick guide to get you started with our recommended VPN, StrongVPN.
Step 1: Download the software
After logging into your new account, you’ll want to head to the section for “StrongVPN Client”.
From there, you’ll just need to pick the correct operating system. If you’re attempting to install StrongVPN for your Android device, you’ll need to follow StrongVPN’s more detailed instructions, as their Android application uses a specific OpenVPN client.
Once installed, the application will only take a minute or two to fully install.
Step 2: Login to your application
When you first load up your StrongVPN client, you’ll need to input your login information. You can save your information so that the application automatically loads up next time.
You won’t get a tutorial on the program, so we’ll walk through your options here.
Step 3: Pick any US city
Any US city should work here. However, you may want to choose one of the cities we test for this service on Checkflix. Los Angeles (USA – str-lax302) or New York City (USA – str-jfk303) You can also choose which port to use. Once connected, you’ll see your IP address as well as a flag which flag indicating which country your remote server is in. Your VPN status will also read “Connected”.
Step 4: Turn on your “Scramble” feature
Under “Advanced”, you’ll find the “Scramble” feature in the middle of the options screen. You may want to disconnect and then reconnect your VPN connection after turning scramble on, just in case.
How Does Netflix Block VPNs?
For the most part, VPN technology is nothing new. Virtual Private Networks have been used for decades, mostly by businesses who have employees that need remote access. A virtual private network creates a secure tunnel between the user and the hosting server, allowing for remote access to a server that otherwise would not be accessible to the user.
For businesses, the benefit was the ability for employees to securely connect to private company servers to gain access to important files. VPN technology has a distinct consumer purpose, however, that allows users to connect, not to company servers but to remote servers that simply provide access to a different internet service provider.
For UK users, this means connecting to a remote server located in the United States that is itself connected to an American ISP, such as Comcast, AT&T or Time-Warner. A VPN service will not change your ISP outright. It still needs your home ISP to make the connection, but it will hide your viewing activity from your ISP while connected to the VPN servers.
To be clear, Netflix does not openly explain how they block VPNs or proxy services. While little is known of their blocking methods, what we do know is that the company has developed and is continuing to improve its own, proprietary filtering methods.
VPNs that no longer allow full Netflix access
Thus far, these methods have been successful at blocking the following popular VPN services:
Should more information arise regarding blocked VPN services or how Netflix blocks VPN services, we will be sure to update our readers.
What’s next for Netflix’s UK based customers?
Will Netflix continue to fight a losing battle, or will they relent and stop attempting to block VPN users from accessing their sites?
Here’s what Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had to say about VPN geo-hoppers in April of 2016.
“IT’S A VERY SMALL BUT QUITE VOCAL MINORITY. IT’S REALLY INCONSEQUENTIAL TO US.”
In light of this comment, Netflix doesn’t seem to be very serious about preventing VPN users from accessing their services. And experts say that Netflix’s current strategy won’t work in the long run. Daniel Berntsson of Mullvad VPN has called Netflix and their content providers “silly” and “stuck in a laughably outdated geographic distribution model.”
What do you think?
Will Netflix’s war on VPN providers continue, or will they eventually relent and give up trying to enforce regional copyright licenses? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.