We all know fairly well about Netflix’s region restrictions and bans on users who try to access content from another country’s Netflix library. Talk about us, this is the most annoying thing about Netflix and we would not have loved it so much if there wasn’t a way around it.
It only makes sense to unblock Netflix and access all the content available on its library. If people around the world are paying the same subscription fee, for the same package, and to the same streaming service, they have the right to access the same content. But that’s not how Netflix works.
If you open Netflix in US, you would see TV shows and movies that you love, and have been watching. But if you go to another country, say Thailand, and use your existing Netflix account, the content you will be able to access will be very different than what you had access to, back at home. Many TV shows and movies that were accessible to you in a single click will no longer be available for you to stream anymore.
Why use VPN with Netflix?
There are many reasons why Netflix is biased when it comes to content distribution, and this bias is not due to Netflix. Rather, it’s because of multiple external factors such as regional regulations, licenses, and distributors in different regions. Let’s analyze all of these one by one.
Distributors are the primary reason why some content is available in few regions but unavailable in others. In most cases, producers sell rights of their content to different distributors, which are located within specific regions. Such content becomes easily available in regions where those distributors are operating, but gets blocked by the distributors from regions where they do not operate.
For instance, Spotify is a premium music streaming service, based in the US. Any content that has been sold to Spotify will only be available in regions where Spotify operates. Or Amazon Prime, for example, is the exclusive distributor for the famous movie, Doctor Strange. Naturally, Doctor Strange will only be available in regions where Amazon Prime is available. Outside those regions, streaming Doctor Strange is just not in option under normal circumstances.
Every country has different broadcast laws, derived from their constitution, culture, and at time religion as well. Some piece of content that may be acceptable in a certain region, may be deemed extremely inappropriate in another region, and get banned.
For instance the movie, titled as Innocence of Muslims was released in the US, as Americans are entitled to freedom of speech. But the same movie caused protests and uproars in the Muslim community, demanding the video to be deleted from YouTube. It even led to the entire YouTube service being banned in multiple Muslim majority countries simultaneously. This caused a loss of millions to the streaming giant.
To avoid situations like these, Netflix takes special consideration of content that may be deemed inappropriate in any culture or region, and bans the TV shows and movies that can offend the audience in a particular region. It also practices special caution, and considers local regulations and laws of different regions before making certain content available for them.
Netflix users from around the world realize that they pay up exactly the same subscription fee, for the exact same service, yet do not get access to the same content library. Now, if Netflix had been banning content out of its own discretion, people may have hated the streaming service, but of course, that is not the case, as explained above.
To circumvent the regional, and legal implications that suppress Netflix from making all the content available for all of its users, people use a VPN. This small piece of software/app allows users to change their virtual location to another region of their choice. By this, they fool the Netflix servers about their existing location, and get access to Netflix’s entire content library.
Netflix would not have cared about this at all, but the distributors won’t sell rights of their content to Netflix. Very often, distributors release a certain movie in one particular region and wait another month or so, before releasing in the next region. This is so that they can monetize effectively on their content. But if people use a VPN, they can see content even if it is not released in their regions. This offends the distributors.
To keep the distributors, Netflix has started restricting and limiting users who stream Netflix through IPs that are known to be associated with VPN providers. However, its ban on VPN users is not as effective as VPN providers keep finding ways to circumvent the limitations that Netflix continue to implement on VPN users.
What to look for in a VPN for Netflix?
Despite the ongoing ban against VPN and VPN users, we are confident that this will remain a cat-and-mouse game. Just like in the old classic Tom and Jerry, where sometimes Jerry chases Tom, and sometimes, it’s the other way round. The VPN industry is here to stay, and with the amount of resources and infrastructure that VPN providers have put in overtime, it’s highly unlikely that Netflix will ever be able to put an absolute ban on Netflix for VPN users.
With that said, there are many VPNs out there in the market, some of which suck at streaming! This is primarily because they aren’t optimized for streaming, or contain features and functionality that’s primarily intended toward achieving different objectives.
If you are aiming to unblock Netflix using a VPN, there are a few things that you should cautiously consider before throwing in the money. Here are the things you need to consider in a VPN for Netflix.
Optimized for Streaming
Not all VPNs are optimized for streaming. This is because the primary purpose of any VPN is not streaming, even though it allows you to do that. VPNs are primarily for providing users with added privacy and security, which means that their data is sent through multiple servers for added encryption, which adds to the ping time, of the response time a server takes to send and receive data requests. The more time it takes, the slower your streaming speeds will be.
A VPN that’s optimized for streaming will always talk about it in big and bold fonts on its website. So, it should be easy for you to know if the VPN you are about to purchase is good for streaming. Just check their website, or use Google search.
Say you want to know if the VPN, PIA (Private Internet Access) is optimized for streaming. Just search PIA Streaming, and look for a dedicated page on the official PIA website for streaming. If you find one, it means that the VPN is optimized for streaming, which is not the case for PIA, as revealed by a simple Google search.
Optimized for Unblocking Netflix
It’s one thing for a VPN to be good at streaming, and another for it to allow users to unblock Netflix. Like explained earlier, Netflix has been constantly finding ways to crack down VPNs and its users who are unblocking Netflix to access region restricted content, such as TV shows and Movies.
However, not all VPNs get affected by it. The ones that do get affected are the free VPN services which operate by selling their users’ information to advertisers. Since their information is public, Netflix can restrict access for all such users. As a rule of thumb, never go for a free VPN service. Remember, if you are not paying for the product, you are the product. Why get sold without consent?
When getting a VPN service, make sure it’s paid, has optimized servers for streaming, and most importantly, is able to unblock Netflix. A more detailed analysis on which VPNs are good will follow below, but to name a few paid VPN services that do not work are, IPVanish and Tunnelbear.
Which Netflix VPN is the best?
Here are our top three picks for you to choose from:
The best VPN in the industry, PureVPN gives unblocks the entire internet for you in just one click. It provides great pricing plans, ultimate performance for security and streaming related features, and 24/7 live support. PureVPN has got more than 750 servers across 180 countries, which makes a highly reliable VPN service.
The best part is that it is available on all the popular platforms for mobile as well as desktop. These include iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows and many other internet connected devices.
PureVPN works amazing when it comes to unblocking Netflix or any other streaming channels which may be banned or regulated in your region. Trust us, we have made the best choice for you right here.
Ivacy is a very close second to PureVPN. It matches up by providing exceptional security features. It is very useful in keeping your data safe and encrypted when you send it over the internet. It also works great for unblocking region restricted websites.
Although Ivacy has been in the market for much longer, its user base is small, which reflects its market position. It is usually considered a small player in the VPN industry and is not considered a multi-purpose VPN, even though it is.
ExpressVPN has established its repute over time by providing exceptional services to the masses. It is available on all the popular platforms and OS for many devices. Unblocking the internet with ExpressVPN is simple and convenient.
It comes with just one downside – it’s pricing. The monthly plan costs $12.95 a month, and the service doesn’t even offer a free 30-day trail. However, what it does offer, is a 30-day money back guarantee, so there’s that!