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There’s nothing like pouring yourself a glass of wine and booting up Netflix after a long day of sightseeing and day trips in the comfort of your hotel room or Airbnb. It’s the recipe for a perfect night, really. If the show or movie you want to watch is available where you’re vacationing, that is.
Well let’s say you really like watching Weeds. If you travel to Italy or the UK, you won’t be able to watch it there. The show is only available in the US. The same goes for The Office, The Tudors, and Dexter. The list goes on and on, really. Use StreamCatcher from ProPrivacy if you don’t believe us. Just look up the name of a show or movie, and it’ll show you which countries it’s available in.
So does that mean you need to settle for less entertainment during your trip?
Not at all! You can actually unblock Netflix libraries, and it’s not even complicated. We’ll show you three easy unblocking methods in this quick article:
1. Use a VPN
VPNs are online tools that hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic. Here’s a quick summary of how they work:
- You download and install a VPN app, and use it to connect to a VPN server.
- The two establish an encrypted connection between them. Nobody can monitor any data that passes through it. If they take a look, they’ll only see gibberish.
- When you visit Netflix, your traffic goes to it through the VPN server (so it acts as a middleman).
- Because of that, Netflix thinks your connection requests are coming from the VPN server, not your device.
- Consequently, Netflix only sees the VPN server’s IP address (so your address is “hidden”).
It sounds like a lot of steps, but don’t worry – everything happens in the background. On your end, you’ll just connect to a server, and that’ll be all. In one-two seconds, you’ll be able to unblock any Netflix library you want. Just make sure you use a server in the same country where the content is available (so a US server for US shows).
Just don’t use free VPNs – they won’t be able to unblock Netflix for you.
Because the site detects and blocks VPN IPs pretty often. If you’re caught, you’ll see this error:
The only way a VPN can bypass it is to lease new IPs regularly. And that costs money. Since free VPNs are well, free, they can’t keep up with that kind of detection.
If you need help finding a good Netflix VPN, try ExpressVPN or CyberGhost. Or, even better, use StreamCatcher from ProPrivacy. It will recommend the best three VPNs to use for each specific show and movie you look up.
2. Use a Proxy
A proxy is pretty similar to a VPN. It’s also a server that sits between you and Netflix, hiding your IP address in the process. To unblock Netflix content from one specific country, you just need to use a proxy server in that region.
But unlike VPNs, proxies don’t offer strong encryption. That means you’ll get smoother speeds, yes, but it also means you won’t get any privacy. So don’t be surprised if you start getting spammed with relevant ads about shows you previously watched on Netflix.
Oh, and just like VPNs, be sure to avoid free proxies. They’re not able to unblock Netflix 100% of the time (or at all), and they offer really slow speeds to boot.
3. Use a Smart DNS
A Smart DNS is an online service that lets you unblock streaming content by doing the following:
- It tweaks your DNS settings to stop them from revealing your geo-location.
- It routes your traffic through different proxy servers around the world.
- And finally, it intercepts your DNS queries, and removes any data that might reveal your geo-location. Then, it replaces it with new data that points to a whitelisted region.
Smart DNS services don’t offer any encryption, so don’t expect privacy and security like you would with a VPN. On the plus side, your original speeds won’t suffer at all (and we already know that hotel speeds aren’t great to begin with).
There are a lot of stand-alone Smart DNS services you can use, but – in our opinion – you get a much better deal if you buy a subscription from a VPN that also offers additional Smart DNS services. Both NordVPN and Surfshark do that.
Why Are Some Netflix Shows Unavailable in Some Countries?
You can thank geo-restrictions for that (also called geo-blocks). They are a form of content control technology that allows streaming sites to decide who can and can’t watch the content on their platforms.
Sites that use geo-restrictions normally redirect, blacklist, or whitelist your access based on your IP address. It tells them what country and city you are from, after all.
Why Does Netflix Use Geo-Blocks?
They don’t really have a choice. If it were up to them, they’d make all the content on their platform available worldwide.
So what’s stopping them from doing that?
Copyright agreements, basically.
Here’s the thing – Netflix doesn’t own all the content they show. And for those shows and movies, they only bought distribution rights in specific countries.
Because the copyright holders probably sold the rights in other countries to other streaming sites and local TV networks.
So if Netflix doesn’t have the right to stream Weeds in the UK, for example, they can’t do it. Otherwise, it’d be against the law.
How Else Can You Unblock Netflix Libraries?
Do you know other methods that work? If yes, please tell us about them in the comments. Oh, and if you’re going to mention any online tools, don’t forget to include links!