How to watch UK Netflix abroad

If you’re outside of the U.K., you might find that Netflix offers a different lineup of content than you’re used to.

This is happening because film and TV studios enforce copyright restrictions based on location. As a result, Netflix can broadcast certain shows in the U.K. that it can’t in other countries.

This can be frustrating, especially when traveling or away from the UK. But don’t panic. There’s an easy way to access UK Netflix anywhere in the world.

All you need is a reliable VPN that works with Netflix. This tool can make it appear as though you’re streaming from within the U.K., granting you access to the familiar Netflix library no matter where you are.

This article will guide you on the easiest way to watch UK Netflix abroad.

How to watch UK Netflix abroad: Quick Guide

If you’re wondering how to watch Netflix abroad, all you need to do is change your IP address to a UK IP address.

To do that, simply follow these steps:

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

  2. Download and install the new VPN app

  3. Select a server in the UK

  4. Watch UK Netflix abroad

Why is Netflix different in other countries?

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

This is because of content licensing agreements:

Content licensing agreements decide how and where movies, TV shows, and music can be shown or played. These agreements are contracts between those who make the content, like movie studios, and those who show it, like Netflix. The hard part for Netflix is these agreements not only stipulate who owns the rights to show the content, they also detail where the content can be shown.

Because of this, a movie might be available on Netflix in one country but not in another.

There are a few reasons why studios enforce these geo-restrictions but essentially, it’s all to do with money.

It’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. If you’re looking for a show and it’s not on Netflix in the country you’re in, but is on Netflix in other countries, Netflix in your location doesn’t own the rights to broadcast the content.

Can I watch UK Netflix abroad?

Yes, it’s incredibly easy to watch UK Netflix abroad. We recommend using a VPN as it’s the easiest and one of the most reliable ways to access any Netflix library no matter where you’re located.

The tricky part is knowing which VPNs work with Netflix, as the streaming service has started trying to block VPN connections. That’s where we come in.

We test VPNs over multiple criteria and being able to stream Netflix libraries outside their original country is something we include in our tests. A good VPN for Netflix will allow you to access any Netflix library anywhere in the world without issues.

From our tests, if you want to watch UK Netflix abroad reliably, the best VPNs are ExpressVPN and NordVPN. But any of these five VPNs will work.

Our Pick 🥇

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN Favicon
  • TrustedServer RAM-only servers for extra security
  • Servers in over 100 countries worldwide
  • Specialised Lightway protocol

Buy now for $6.67/month

Highly Recommended 🥈

NordVPN
NordVPN favicon
  • Enhanced Double VPN encryption
  • Proprietary NordLynx protocol
  • CyberSec Ad and threat blocker

Buy now for $3.99/month

Runner Up

PureVPN
PureVPN Favicon
  • Dedicated/optimised video streaming
  • Ozone data protection service
  • Option for a personal dedicated IP address

Buy now for $1.96/month

Robust encryption

Private Internet Access
VPN Logos Small 0000 PIA Logo
  • Install on an unlimited number of devices
  • Independently audited no-logs policy
  • Dedicated IP options

Buy now for $2.03/month

Unlimited connections

Surfshark
Surfshark Favicon
  • NoBorders mode provides services in restrictive regions
  • Supports simultaneous connections on multiple devices
  • Camouflage Mode hides VPN use even from your ISP

Buy now for $2.49/month

If you don’t like the look of these, there are alternatives to VPNs. However, from our experience, VPNs are by far the easiest way to watch UK Netflix abroad.

Does Netflix block VPNs?

Yes, Netflix has started implementing VPN blocking techniques to prevent customers using VPNs from accessing Netflix libraries from around the world.

Netflix blocks VPNs using three key methods:

  1. The most common technique is all to do with the IP addresses your VPN can provide. Most VPNs have more customers than IP addresses, and this results in customers having to share IPs. Netflix monitors for an abnormal amount (more than a standard household) of connections coming from the same IP address. When it sees hundreds or thousands of connections coming from the same IP, it knows that this is an IP address provided by a VPN, and it blocks it. 
  2. Netflix monitors for IP, DNS and WebRTC leaks that can tip the service off you are using a VPN.
  3. Netflix teams up with GeoIP databases like Maxmind to identify IP addresses. If the IP address your VPN provides is on one of these databases, Netflix will be able to find out where in the world you are connecting to the internet from, and it will block you.

Does Netflix work with a VPN?

Yes, Netflix works with a VPN and it’s safe to use a VPN with Netflix, however, it’s important to know that not just any VPN will work with the streaming service. You need to use one that can beat Netflix’s VPN blocks.

From our experience, the VPNs that can continuously beat Netflix’s VPN blocking techniques have four features in common. First, they need to be a safe VPN, meaning they don’t log any user data, they don’t limit resources and they use secure encryption standards. Second, they need to use a VPN protocol that is secure, meaning Netflix won’t be able to identify your actual location. Third, they need to have fast VPN speed, if not you’ll run into buffering and stuttering issues when watching Netflix. And last they need to have a vast network of dedicated servers and or virtual servers so you can access servers in any country around the world.

Another key criterion is the VPN needs to be able to play a game of cat and mouse with Netflix. This means if, on the off-chance, Netflix is able to identify and block an IP address provided by the VPN, the VPN must have the capabilities to close that IP address and open a new unblocked one for you to use.

These features will ensure you can watch UK Netflix abroad reliably wherever you are. However, a lot of VPNs don’t meet these criteria. If you use a VPN that isn’t capable of all of these things, you’ll come across Netflix not working with VPN issues.

The list of best VPNs below will all work well with UK Netflix.

When watching Netflix outside the UK, you'll see a different selection than what you're used to at home. But fret not; here's how to watch UK Netflix abroad

The best VPNs to watch UK Netflix abroad

1. ExpressVPN 🥇

Why You Should Use ExpressVPN? It’s the fastest and MOST reliable VPN of 2023

ExpressVPN UK screenshot

Pros

  • ✅ Fast servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 10-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 24/7 Live Chat
  • ✅ Easy-to-use app
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • ❌ Expensive
Best VPN list - ExpressVPN

Special Offer for you!

Get 3 extra months free when you sign up for a 12-month ExpressVPN plan. That’s 15 months in total for the price of 12.

Number 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

  • $6.66/month for 15 months
  • $9.99/month for 6 months
  • $12.95/month for 1 month
  • Netflix icon
  • BBC iPlayer icon
  • ESPN icon
  • Hulu icon
  • HBO Max icon
  • Disney icon
  • Amazon Prime Video icon
  • YouTube TV icon
  • Apple TV Plus icon
  • FuboTV icon
  • ShowTime icon
  • Discovery Plus icon
  • ABC icon
  • All 4 icon
  • NowTV icon
  • CBS icon
  • NBC icon
  • Sky Sports icon
  • BT Sport icon

ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) is still the best VPN. And importantly, it ALWAYS has servers that are open with major streaming sites such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Amazon Prime Video, etc.

ExpressVPN is usually very good at playing Cat and Mouse with online streaming sites. 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 prevents its IPs from getting blacklisted for “abnormal” usage in the first place.

Check out our full ExpressVPN review.

Special Offer for you

(30-day money-back guarantee)


2. NordVPN 🥈

A very quick and trustworthy VPN

NordVPN US screenshot mobile

Pros

  • ✅ Fast servers
  • ✅ No logs
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 6-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee
  • ✅ Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • ❌ No refunds for purchases from iTunes/App store
Best VPN list - NordVPN

Special Offer for you!

Sign up for a 3-year plan with Private Internet Access and save 83% + 3 months free. That works out at $2.03/month.

Number of servers: 5,000+ | Speeds: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 62 countries | Devices supported: 6 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $3.49/month for 2 years
  • $6.99/month for 1 year
  • $11.95/month for 1 month
  • Netflix icon
  • BBC iPlayer icon
  • ESPN icon
  • Hulu icon
  • HBO Max icon
  • Disney icon
  • Amazon Prime Video icon
  • YouTube TV icon
  • Apple TV Plus icon
  • FuboTV icon
  • ShowTime icon
  • Discovery Plus icon
  • ABC icon
  • All 4 icon
  • NowTV icon
  • CBS icon
  • NBC icon
  • Sky Sports icon
  • BT Sport icon
  • ITV Hub icon
  • Spark Sport icon
  • CBC Gem icon

NordVPN is the most widely-used VPN in the world. And it’s 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 a 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 tunneling 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.

Read our NordVPN review.

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3. Private Internet Access

The BEST low-cost VPN for streaming!

Best VPN list - PIA

Pros

  • ✅ Fast and reliable servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 10-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 24/7 Live Chat
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • ❌ Only 48 server locations
Best VPN list - PIA

Special Offer for you!

Sign up for a 3-year plan with Private Internet Access and save 83% + 3 months free. That works out at $2.03/month.

Number of servers: 25,000+ | Speed: >75% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 70 in 74 countries | Devices supported: 10 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $2.03/month for 3 years
  • $7.50/month for 6 months
  • $11.99/month for 1 month
  • Netflix icon
  • BBC iPlayer icon
  • ESPN icon
  • Hulu icon
  • HBO Max icon
  • Disney icon
  • Amazon Prime Video icon
  • YouTube TV icon
  • Apple TV Plus icon
  • FuboTV icon
  • ShowTime icon
  • Discovery Plus icon
  • ABC icon
  • All 4 icon
  • NowTV icon
  • CBS icon
  • NBC icon
  • Sky Sports icon
  • BT Sport icon

Private Internet Access is one of the leading no-log VPN services with over 1-million paying customers.

This VPN is one of the best in the industry at beating streaming sites’ VPN bans. It provides reliable connections with US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+ Amazon Prime Video, etc. It also allows 10 simultaneous devices to be connected to its servers at the same time, so you can share the account with your close friends.

If – for whatever reason – you’re not happy with Private Internet Access, there’s a 24/7 live chat support available to assist you with your problem. PIA also offers the industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee.

From my tests (from New Zealand) I was able to get download speeds of 70 Mbps while connected to a UK server using the Private Internet Access VPN (my non-VPN speed is 100 Mbps).

Special Offer – Save 83%

(30-day money-back guarantee)


4. Ivacy

A very quick and trustworthy VPN

Ivacy US screenshot mobile

Pros

  • ✅ Fast servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ Dedicated streaming servers
  • ✅ 5-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee
  • ✅ 24/7 Live Chat

Cons

  • ❌ Only 5 devices
  • ❌ Sometimes runs slow
  • ❌ Occasionally block by streaming sites for several days
Best VPN - Ivacy on Mac

Special Offer for you!

Sign up for Ivacy and enjoy a 7-day trial with no strings attached

Number 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

  • $1.16/month for 5 years
  • $3.50/month for 1 year
  • $9.99/month for 1 month
  • Netflix icon
  • BBC iPlayer icon
  • ESPN icon
  • Hulu icon
  • HBO Max icon
  • Disney icon
  • Amazon Prime Video icon
  • YouTube TV icon
  • Apple TV Plus icon
  • FuboTV icon
  • ShowTime icon
  • Discovery Plus icon
  • ABC icon
  • All 4 icon
  • NowTV icon
  • CBS icon
  • NBC icon
  • Sky Sports icon
  • BT Sport icon
  • ITV Hub icon
  • Spark Sport icon
  • CBC Gem icon

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.

Special Offer – 7-day FREE trial!

(30-day money-back guarantee)


5. CyberGhost

A very quick and trustworthy VPN

CyberGhost UK screenshot

Pros

  • ✅ 1-day free trial
  • ✅ Reliable servers
  • ✅ Thousands of IP addresses
  • ✅ 7-simultaneous connections
  • ✅ 30-day money-back guarantee
  • ✅ Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • ❌ Expensive
  • ❌ Average speed scores
CyberGhost
CyberGhost

SPECIAL OFFER – 1-DAY FREE TRIAL

Take advantage of CyberGhost’s 1-day FREE TRIAL!

Number 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

  • $2.75/month for 3 years
  • $3.69/month for 2 years
  • $5.99/month for 1 year
  • $12.99/month for 1 month
  • Netflix icon
  • BBC iPlayer icon
  • ESPN icon
  • Hulu icon
  • HBO Max icon
  • Disney icon
  • Amazon Prime Video icon
  • YouTube TV icon
  • Apple TV Plus icon
  • FuboTV icon
  • ShowTime icon
  • Discovery Plus icon
  • ABC icon
  • All 4 icon
  • NowTV icon
  • CBS icon
  • NBC icon
  • Sky Sports icon
  • BT Sport icon

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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Is watching Netflix with a VPN legal?

There are a few pros and cons of using a VPN with Netflix, however legality isn’t one of them. Using a VPN to access Netflix is 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?

Can I watch Netflix with a free VPN?

Using a free VPN with Netflix can be an attractive option, but from our testing, the experience you’ll get when doing so will be lacklustre.

From our tests, we found out that free VPNs don’t always work well with Netflix, in fact most of the time they don’t work well with the streaming service.

If you opt for a free VPN service, more often than not you’ll come across VPN not working issues. This happens for multiple reasons; first free VPNs are slow VPNs. They often cap the amount of data you can use, limit speeds and don’t provide access to many servers. The other main reason is they struggle to beat Netflix’s VPN blocking techniques. Netflix finds it easy to identify and block free VPN IP addresses because they have a massive number of customers.

But, if you can’t afford a premium VPN that will allow you to watch UK Netflix abroad reliably, here’s what we think are the best free VPNs for Netflix.

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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