If you’re outside the UK, you may have noticed Netflix doesn’t have all the same shows as it does back home.
The reason this happens is because film and TV studies enforce copyright by country. Netflix has the rights to broadcast some shows in the UK but not in others.
This can be frustrating when you’re travelling or away from home, however, there’s an easy way to get around this issue.
A reliable VPN can trick Netflix into thinking you’re watching its content from within the UK. This will provide you with the same Netflix library you get at home so you can watch all of your favourite shows anywhere in the world.
This article will explain how to get a reliable VPN that will allow you to watch UK Netflix abroad.
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How to watch UK Netflix abroad: Quick Guide
To watch UK Netflix abroad, you need a UK-based IP address.
A VPN makes this process simple. Just follow these steps:
Why is Netflix different in other countries?
When Netflix started, it was only available in the US. It didn’t expand for 10 years, until 2016 when Netflix went through a massive expansion. Now it’s available almost anywhere.
Although Netflix as a platform is available all over the world, the content it broadcasts varies from country to country.
This is because film and television studios spend a lot of money creating their productions. And to protect their investment they enforce copyright and licensing measures in regard to where and how their content is broadcast.
Studios are the ones that decide how and where to market their content. A TV series might be popular in the UK so the studio sells the UK broadcasting rights to Netflix. This means you’ll be able to access that show with UK Netflix, however it might not be popular in France so they may potentially sell the license to a French national television channel instead. This means you won’t be able to watch it using the UK version of Netflix.
That’s a bit confusing but all you need to know is Netflix is different in every country because film and TV studios may or may not sell Netflix the rights to broadcast their content in certain countries.
Can I watch UK Netflix abroad?
These VPNs allow you to trick Netflix into thinking you’re accessing it from within the UK. And this will give you access to the UK Netflix library.
Whenever you go online you’re given a unique IP address. This IP contains geographic information that discloses where you’re located.
When you connect to Netflix, it scans this IP address and uses this information to determine which Netflix library you’ll have access to. For example if you’re in the United States, you’ll be using an American IP address and Netflix will show its US library.
NordVPN ($3.49/month) or Ivacy ($1.33/month) allow you to change your IP address. When you use these VPNs you can choose to change your IP address to one based in the UK. Now when Netflix scans your IP address it will think you’re in the UK and you’ll have access to the UK Netflix library. It’s that simple.
Does Netflix block VPNs?
Because VPNs are a good way of watching region-locked Netflix outside its broadcast zones, Netflix tries to block VPNs.
The good news is Netflix cannot block a VPN in its entirety, the bad news is it can block the IP addresses a VPN provides.
For lesser VPNs, especially free VPNs this can be a problem.
Free VPNs have a massive amount of customers and they cannot provide enough IP addresses to keep up with the demand. To get around this, lesser VPNs force customers to share IP addresses.
Netflix knows this and it monitors for what it calls an “abnormal,” amount of connections coming from the same IP address. Because lesser VPNs force customers to share IP’s often hundreds of customers connect to Netflix via the same IP address. This is deemed abnormal by Netflix and the streaming service will block that connection.
Over time Netflix is able to identify all the IP addresses these VPNs can provide and that VPN won’t work anymore.
What VPNs work with Netflix?
The VPNs that work with Netflix are the ones that meet three key criteria. First they need to have a lot of IP addresses so there’s less chance you’ll share an IP with another customer. Second, they need to have reliable servers around the world you can connect to and thirdly and most importantly they need to have measures in place to get around Netflix’s VPN blocks.
Even the best VPNs have their IP addresses identified and blocked by Netflix from time to time. It’s how they react to this that sets them apart from lesser VPNs.
NordVPN ($3.49/month) or Ivacy ($1.33/month) play a game of cat and mouse with Netflix. When an IP address provided by these VPNs is blocked by Netflix, they’ll close that IP address and open a new one. This will allow you to reliably watch UK Netflix abroad. They also have a lot of IP addresses and some of the fastest servers on the market.
The best VPNs to watch Netflix abroad
The BEST VPN of 2022Number of servers: 5,000+ | Speeds: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 62 countries | Devices supported: 6 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes NordVPN is the most widely-used VPN in the world. And its easy to see why. It’s a polished app that delivers fast connections (more on this later) to a massive network of VPN servers. It’s the most reliable at unblocking popular streaming services too – US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. This is because NordVPN hired full-time technical team (that’s responsible for monitoring its servers connections with popular TV streaming services) and has been aggressively investing in its network of IP addresses in key locations. Another interesting thing to note is that NordVPN is an industry leader in its development of Nordlynx technology. Nordlynx is built using the WireGuard, a new VPN tunnelling protocol designed to outperform current standards (OpenVPN and IPSec). The benefits, according to NordVPN, are dramatically faster transfer speeds while connected to a VPN. My tests – New Zealand to London – confirm that Nordlynx is currently the fastest VPN on the market. However, the difference isn’t dramatic, a few Mbps is all.
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The BEST low-cost VPNNumber of servers: 1,000+ | Speed: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 275 in 100 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes If you’re looking for an excellent VPN, with an even better price tag, Ivacy ($1.16/month) is a great option. This VPN has all the features you need to stream BBC iPlayer, in HD, from any country in the world. I’ve been testing the app recently on Mac, PC, Android, iOS and FireStick and the results have been impressive – unlocking BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. with ease. The Ivacy app is a little different in regards to its UX (user experience). Instead of just selecting a UK server, you need to select the specific BBC iPlayer server. Don’t worry, this isn’t a bad thing – by connecting to a dedicated BBC iPlayer server, it simply means that you’re connecting to an IP address that Ivacy knows works with BBC iPlayer. For an extra $1.99/month (£1.74) you can add-on a dedicated IP. This will buy you sole access to an IP address in a country of your choice, meaning you won’t have to share your IP (and speeds) with any other use. I don’t recommend this though, using the regular Ivacy servers is enough 95 per cent of the time.
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A very reliable and fast VPNNumber of servers: 3,000+ | Speed: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 160 in 94 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes ExpressVPN is still one of the best VPNs you can buy. However, we’ve got it ranked in the number three spot for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s the most expensive VPN on the market. This was understandable when it was also the fastest and most reliable VPN too. But now it’s not. NordVPN is. ExpressVPN has recently been struggling to unblock some big streaming sites – BBC iPlayer and BeIN Sports – too. And importantly, it ALWAYS has servers that are open with major streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video etc. ExpressVPN is usually very good at playing Cat and Mouse with online streaming sites (apart from BBC iPlayer). Meaning, whenever one of its servers is blacklisted it creates a new one – giving its users a constant stream of servers that aren’t blocked. Needless to say, this is a valuable attribute if you’re looking for a VPN to unblock streaming sites. Its app is easy-to-use and free to download on pretty much any device you can think of. Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, FireStick, Android TV, Roku, PS4, Xbox, Linux, even Apple TV (with a workaround). It’s got it all covered. The app is another main reason this VPN is so good at unblocking TV streaming sites (that claim they block VPNs) is that its software takes a pragmatic approach to user management. While other VPNs tempt customers by promising them access to hundreds/thousands of servers in multiple countries, ExpressVPN does things differently. With ExpressVPN you only have a handful of server locations to choose from. Once you select your location the app takes care of the rest. Assigning you to the fastest available server that’s not oversubscribed. This simple technique is so important, as it keeps ExpressVPN’s servers operating at lightning-fast speeds and prevent its IPs from getting blacklisted for “abnormal” usage in the first place.
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5. CyberGhostNumber of servers: 6,000+ | Speeds: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 200 in 90 countries | Devices supported: 7 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes CyberGhost is one of the more established VPNs on the market. It has a well-established, and well-tested global network of servers that perform well. From my tests over the past several months, CyberGhost has no trouble at unblocking major streaming services – US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max etc. This VPN performed well at maintaining download speeds, well above 65 per cent of my regular (non VPN) ISP speed. That said, there’s nothing really unique about the service. Which forces you to look at its price-point. And there’s nothing special here. Its short-term $12.99/month price tag puts is well above the industry average of $10.10/month. Similarly, its long-term $2.75/month for 3 years deal isn’t much of a “deal” either. Oddly, CyberGhost’s most unique feature is its a 1-day, no obligations, free trial. This is an appealing offer to customers who are new to VPNs. However, it’s important to remember that most reputable VPNs will offer customers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so try not to be too seduced by the offer.
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