How to watch Friends on Netflix

If you’re trying to watch Friends on Netflix, you may have noticed that the show isn’t available on your Netflix library. This is because Netflix in your location hasn’t purchased the rights to broadcast Friends.

This can be frustrating because in order to watch Friends you’ll have to subscribe to a different streaming service on top of your Netflix subscription and this can get expensive.

The good news is there’s a simple way you can watch Friends on Netflix using your same Netflix account. All you need is a reliable VPN.

How to watch Friends on Netflix: Quick Guide

At the moment, there’s only a handful of countries where where Netflix has the rights to broadcast Friends. (See below)

To watch Friends on Netflix, you need to change your Netflix location to one of these countries. Although this sounds difficult, it’s actually very easy. Just follow these simple steps:

Total Time: 2 minutes

  1. Create a new account with ExpressVPN ($6.67/month)

    How to watch Friends on Netflix

    To watch Friends on Netflix the first thing you need to do is create an account with ExpressVPN. If you click here you can save 49% on a 12-month plan and get your first three months free.

  2. Download and install the new VPN app

    How to watch Friends on Netflix

    Once you’ve signed up for ExpressVPN you can install it on nearly any device. ExpressVPN is available on Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Kindle, Amazon Fire Stick/TV, Chromecast, Nintendo Switch, Android TV and more.

  3. Open your new app and connect to a server in a country where Friends is available

    How to watch Friends on Netflix

    To watch Friends on Netflix, you need to gain access to a Netflix library in a country that has purchased the rights to broadcast the show. (You can see a list of these countries below). To do that you need to make it look like you’re connecting to the internet from within one of these countries. This means you need to change your IP address. The easiest way to do that is with ExpressVPN. Simply connect to a server in one of these countries and now Netflix will think you’re based in that country.

  4. Open Netflix

    How to watch Friends on Netflix

    Ensure you’re still connected to a server on ExpressVPN and visit Netflix. You’ll now have access to the Netflix library in the country you connected to on ExpressVPN.

  5. Watch Friends on Netflix

    How to watch Friends on Netflix

    Now if you search for Friends on Netflix, you’ll be able to find the show on the library and you’ll be able to stream every episode of the show.

Countries where Friends is available on Netflix

Below is a list of countries that have the rights to broadcast Friends on Netflix:

  • Australia
  • Switzerland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Japan
  • Lithuania
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom

Why isn’t Friends on Netflix?

Friends isn’t on your Netflix library because Netflix in your area doesn’t have the rights to broadcast the show.

Although Netflix, as a platform, is available all over the world, the content it broadcasts varies from country to country.

The reason for this is because TV studios decide who has the rights to their content and where it can be broadcast. If a TV company or film studio sells broadcast rights to a particular streaming service, then only that streaming service can broadcast it.

With Netflix this can be a bit confusing because some countries have Friends on their Netflix libraries while others don’t. This is because Netflix libraries are differ internationally, think of them as different streaming services. Just because Netflix has the rights to broadcast a show in one location, it doesn’t mean it has the rights to broadcast it all over the world.

To use the US as an example, AT&T’s WarnerMedia owns and distributes Friends. The streaming rights to the show are currently owned by HBO Max, so to stream Friends in the US you’ll need an HBO Max account.

Fortunately, Netflix has the rights to broadcast Friends in other countries. This means you don’t have to subscribe to another streaming service on top of Netflix to stream Friends, all you need is a VPN.

How to watch Friends on Netflix

How does Netflix change libraries internationally?

This is all to do with your IP address.

When you go online, you’re given a unique IP address. This is used so your device can communicate with Netflix.

The problem with this is in order for this communication to work, your IP address contains information about your location.

When you connect to Netflix it scans your IP address to determine where you’re located.  Once Netflix determines where you are, it provides you with the Netflix library from that country.

If you’re in the US, Netflix will know this and will provide you with the US Netflix library, which doesn’t have Friends.

How can I change Netflix library?

To gain access to Netflix libraries in other countries, you need to make Netflix think you’re accessing its service from within those particular countries.

To do that, you need to change your IP address.

Although this may sound confusing and complicated, a reliable VPN like ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or  Private Internet Access ($2.03/month) makes it incredibly easy.

All you need to do is download ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or  Private Internet Access ($2.03/month) on your chosen device, click on a country from the list above and you’ll be given an IP address based in that country. We advise you select a country that’s close to where you live. The closer you are to a server, the better your connection will be.

Now when you connect to Netflix, you’ll have access to the Netflix library in that country. It’s that easy.

Which VPNs work with Netflix?

ExpressVPNNordVPNPIAIvacyCyberGhost
Netflix
Download Speed79 Mbps71 Mbps27 Mbps31 Mbps41 Mbps
Throttling79%71%27%31%41%
Stream quality⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Price per month$6.66$3.79$2.03$1.00$2.19
How to watch Friends on Netflix

Will any VPN work?

Unfortunately there’s a lot of VPNs that won’t work with Netflix.

Netflix has strict requirements in regards to where it can broadcast certain content, and because of this it tries to block VPNs.

Content, copyright and broadcast rights are very strict and because VPNs allow you to change your location, they could result in Netflix breaching these agreements. These breaches are often met with substantial financial repercussions.

Obviously Netflix doesn’t want this to happen. So to stop that, Netflix blocks VPNs. For lesser VPNs, especially free VPNs this can be a significant hurdle to get over.

Fortunately there are VPNs out there that can get around these blocks.

Which VPNs work with Friends?

Netflix identifies VPNs by scanning for an abnormal amount of connections coming from the same IP address. Because lesser/free VPNs have a lot of customers and they don’t have enough IP addresses so every customer can have their own individual IP address. When this happens, these VPNs force customers to share IP addresses.

Usually only a household of devices (8-10) connects to Netflix using the same IP address, any more than that and Netflix sees it as abnormal usage.

If you use a lesser VPN, you’ll be forced to share an IP with potentially hundreds or even thousands of others. When Netflix sees that many connections coming from the same IP address it knows its a VPN and it blocks the connection. This could mean you waste money on a VPN that doesn’t work.

The good news is ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or  Private Internet Access ($2.03/month) don’t have these problems. They have lots of IP addresses, so you won’t end up sharing with other customers, and on the off chance an IP address provided by ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or  Private Internet Access ($2.03/month) gets identified and blocked by Netflix, these VPNs will close that IP address and open a new one so you can watch Friends on Netflix anywhere in the world reliably.

How to watch Friends on Netflix: FAQs

Q: Can I watch Friends on Netflix if it’s not available in my country?

Answer: Yes, you can watch Friends on Netflix from any country by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to connect to a server where the show is available.

Q: How do I choose the right VPN for streaming Friends on Netflix?

Answer: Look for a VPN with fast servers in countries where Friends is available on Netflix, such as the UK or the US, and ensure it offers reliable streaming speeds and stability. We recommend ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

Q: Will using a VPN affect the streaming quality of Friends on Netflix?

Answer: A good quality VPN should not noticeably affect your streaming quality. However, choosing a server closer to your actual location can help maintain optimal speeds.

Q: Is it legal to use a VPN to watch Friends on Netflix?

Answer: The legality of VPN use varies by country. While it’s generally legal to use a VPN, bypassing geo-restrictions to access content may violate Netflix’s terms of service.

Q: What should I do if my VPN is blocked by Netflix while trying to watch Friends?

Answer: Netflix occasionally blocks VPN servers. If this happens, try connecting to a different server or contact your VPN provider for assistance in finding a server that works.

The VPN services we recommend for Netflix

1. ExpressVPN 🥇 $6.66/month

The fastest and most reliable streaming VPN

  • Optimized for HD streaming speed
  • Wide network with 160 locations across 94 countries
  • Split tunneling feature to select apps using VPN
  • TrustedServer technology for enhanced security
  • Limited to 5 simultaneous device connections
ExpressVPN review

ExpressVPN is a top choice for watching Friends on Netflix due to its exceptionally fast server speeds, which are crucial for high-quality streaming without buffering. It boasts a vast network of servers across multiple countries, including those where Friends is available on Netflix, like the UK and the US.

This extensive server network ensures you can easily find a connection that bypasses geo-restrictions. Additionally, ExpressVPN is known for its strong encryption and security features, ensuring your online activity remains private. Its reliable performance in overcoming VPN blocks by streaming services like Netflix makes it a user-favourite.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN $3.19/month

An incredibly fast and trustworthy VPN

  • Extra encryption with Double VPN
  • Over 5,500 servers in 59 countries
  • SmartPlay technology to unblock 400+ geo-restricted streaming services
  • CyberSec feature for ad and malware blocking
  • The interface can be complex for new users
NordVPN Best VPN image

NordVPN stands out for its combination of speed, security, and extensive server options. It has a substantial number of servers worldwide, offering many options to access Netflix libraries where Friends is available. NordVPN’s servers are optimised for streaming, ensuring a smooth viewing experience with minimal buffering.

The VPN also offers advanced security features like double VPN and CyberSec, which provide an added layer of protection. Its user-friendly interface makes it easy to navigate and select the best servers for streaming Netflix content.

Read our full NordVPN review.

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3. Private Internet Access $2.03/month

An affordable, reliable VPN

  • Strong encryption for secure connections
  • Extensive server network enhancing connectivity
  • Built-in ad and malware blocking
  • Supports up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Can have slower speeds
Best VPN list - PIA

Private Internet Access (PIA) is known for its strong privacy policies and a vast array of servers. While it might not be as fast as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, it still offers reliable speeds for streaming Friends on Netflix. PIA provides access to a large number of servers, increasing your chances of finding a server that can bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions.

Additionally, its commitment to user privacy, demonstrated through a no-logs policy, ensures that your streaming activities remain confidential.

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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4. Ivacy $1.00/month

A trustworthy and affordable VPN

  • Cost-effective pricing
  • Servers optimized for P2P activities
  • Strict no browsing logs policy
  • Allows up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Smaller server network compared to others
Ivacy Best VPN image

Ivacy is another excellent option for streaming Friends on Netflix, particularly known for its budget-friendly pricing without compromising on essential features. It provides a decent number of server locations, which are capable of unblocking various Netflix libraries. Ivacy also offers dedicated streaming servers, which can enhance your streaming experience.

While it might not offer the same speed levels as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, its balance of cost, server availability, and streaming capabilities make it a great choice for users on a budget.

Read our full Ivacy review.

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5. CyberGhost $2.19/month

A solid VPN package

  • Large server network with streaming-optimized servers
  • Strong encryption standards for security
  • Specialized servers for streaming, torrenting, and gaming
  • Generous 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Speed performance can be mixed
CyberGhost Best VPN image

CyberGhost is tailored for streaming, with dedicated servers optimised for specific streaming services, including Netflix. This makes it easier to connect to a server that can unblock Friends. It offers a user-friendly interface, making it simple to find and connect to the right server for Netflix streaming.

CyberGhost also provides good speeds and reliable connections, ensuring a smooth streaming experience. Its strong security features and commitment to user privacy further add to its appeal as a VPN choice for watching Netflix content.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

Is watching Netflix with a VPN legal?

In most countries, using a VPN is legal. There are only a handful of countries (spot the authoritarianism link) where using a VPN is illegal; these are: China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, North Korea, Iraq, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Eritrea, Seychelles, Suriname, Namibia, Slovenia, Nicaragua and Tajikistan.

If you’re outside these countries and are using a VPN, you’re legally allowed to do so. However, it’s important to know that using a VPN with some streaming services may breach that service’s terms of use.

If you subscribe to a streaming service, you automatically accept its terms of use. If we look at Netflix’s terms of use, it states, “You may access the Netflix content primarily within the country in which you have established your account and only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such content.” And “You also agree not to circumvent, remove, alter, deactivate, degrade or thwart any of the content protections in the Netflix service; use any robot, spider, scraper or other automated means to access the Netflix service… We may terminate or restrict your use of our service if you violate these Terms of Use or are engaged in illegal or fraudulent use of the service.”

This means, Netflix can stop your subscription and ban you from the streaming service if you try to access its content with a VPN turned on.

However, given the wide-spread use of VPNs, plus the many legitimate and legal use cases for VPNs, it’s fair to suggest that banning customers for using a VPN would be a heavy-handed and financially costly policy for Netflix (and other streaming services) to enforce.

If you’re trying to watch Netflix in a region where it does not traditionally operate or you’re trying to change the location of the Netflix library, you risk having your account banned. In theory. However, as the best VPNs for Netflix use military-grade encryption it is impossible for Netflix to trace where you’re physically accessing its content from.

There’s one final thing to note on the subject: Netflix has never banned anyone for using a VPN to access its service.

For more information you can check out our article answering Is streaming with a VPN legal?

Will a free VPN work with Netflix?

Yes, you can use a free VPN to watch Netflix, but there are several limitations and considerations to keep in mind. Free VPNs often have a limited number of servers, which can become overcrowded, leading to slower speeds and buffering issues when streaming. This can affect your viewing experience, especially if you’re trying to watch content in high definition.

Moreover, Netflix actively works to identify and block VPN servers, and free VPNs typically do not have the resources to continually update their server networks to bypass these blocks. As a result, it might be more challenging to find a free VPN that consistently works with Netflix.

Another important aspect is the data limitations imposed by most free VPNs. Streaming shows like Friends on Netflix consumes a significant amount of data, and free VPNs often have data caps that can be quickly exhausted by streaming.

Lastly, security and privacy concerns are more prevalent with free VPNs. Some free VPNs may log your browsing activity or use inadequate security protocols, which can compromise your privacy and security.

While it’s technically possible to use a free VPN for Netflix, for a more reliable, secure, and enjoyable streaming experience, a paid VPN service is generally recommended.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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