Netflix is a leading provider of on-demand entertainment, and is headquartered in the United States. The company started off as a DVD by subscription mail order service but over the years it has made a full transition into an online streaming media provider. The company has a collection of over 100,000 movies and TV series (including some exclusive titles) and enjoys a subscriber base of over 35 million in US alone. After its success in United States, the company has started its operations in several other countries and regions such as Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Although Netflix is such a popular streaming service, it is not accessible from all the countries in the world. Visitors who try to access Netflix from outside the countries where the service is officially available will see the short but unfriendly message “Sorry, Netflix hasn’t come to this part of the world yet.” While most people would expect an online giant such as Netflix to be available from all across the world, there are several reasons why the company restricts the delivery of its content only within designated regions:
1) Copyright and DRM Issues - Netflix, like many other media delivery services, often doesn’t have rights to broadcast the content in all the countries. Most content owners sell broadcasting and distribution rights specific to a particular region and by restricting its audience to specific countries, the Netflix team ensures that it is not violating any copyright.
2) Bandwidth and Hardware Consideration – Delivering streaming media over the internet isn’t cheap! By restricting the content availability, Netflix can deliver a much better service to the paying customers and save significant amount of money in hardware and bandwidth costs.
It’s Not Just Netflix that is Unavailable Outside the US
Netflix isn’t the only streaming service to restrict content availability by region; many other online streaming services follow the same route. Here is a small list of other major content providers and the corresponding error messages that you might see when trying to access the service from outside the United States or other regions that have licensed their content:
“Sorry, currently our video library can only be watched from within the United States”
“Sorry, this video is unavailable from your location”
“Sorry! The page you are looking for is not available in your region.”
HBO Go (www.hbogo.com)
“To access HBO GO, you must reside within the fifty states of the United States of America.”
Good Morning America – Yahoo! (gma.yahoo.com)
“We’re sorry… This video is not available in your location.”
As you can imagine, such restrictions can prove incredibly frustrating for expats and travelers who wish to watch their favorite shows from abroad.
Netflix and other content providers are able to prevent people from accessing their websites since they can detect visitors’ location through their IP addresses. In order to access US only web services from abroad, you will have to use an IP changing service like a proxy or VPN that can provide you a US IP address. While proxies have their advantages, they are prone to disconnections, speed throttling and even leaking of IP addresses. A VPN is able to deliver much better speed since most VPN companies have robust infrastructure in place. A VPN also encrypts your traffic so the chances of IP leakage are remote and Netflix and other service providers would not be able to detect your true location.
How to Unlock Netflix and Other Streaming Video Sites Outside the USA
Step 1: Signup with a VPN service that has a server within United States. There are several reliable VPN providers with US based servers like PureVPN, ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, Overplay, Invisible Browsing, HideMyAss and IPVanish that deliver great speeds which are suitable for streaming movies and TV shows through Netflix.
Step 2: Once your subscription is active, download the VPN client and install it as per the instructions provided by your VPN company. Not all companies provide a custom VPN client so you may have to configure the service manually by changing the network settings. Also for mobile devices and Mac/Linux based systems, there is often no client available so manual configuration is the only option available in such cases.
Step 3: Save and apply the changes and restart the system if required. For mobile devices, you just need to save the new settings and restart the Netflix app for the changes to take effect.
Step 4: Click on the VPN icon on desktop or tap on the Connect button to connect to the service.
Step 5: Once you are connected to the service, check the location of your VPN server. If you are not connected to an American server, you wouldn’t be able to unlock Netflix and other American services. Choose a US based server nearest to your current location to get best streaming speeds.
Step 6: Connect to the Netflix site again and see if you are able to log into the site and watch streaming movies and TV shows. Mobile users have to close and restart the Netflix app in order to enjoy the Netflix service in its full glory. If you face any glitches, check the documentation available on your VPN provider’s website or contact the support staff.
As you can see from above steps, a VPN service can deal with Digital Rights Management and GEO-IP based restrictions effectively so that you can enjoy Netflix and other streaming services without facing any location based restrictions.