Do you want to watch Netflix abroad or access different Netflix catalogs? You might already know that you need a Virtual Private Network (VPN), but not every service enables you to access other country’s Netflix libraries. Today we’ll explain how to unblock Netflix with ExpressVPN, test how effective it is, and address some commonly-raised concerns about accessing foreign Netflix content with a VPN.Netflix has different licensing agreements for each of its shows. Like most streaming services, Netflix geo-blocks their content to restrict access to the appropriate audience. This is the reason why Netflix viewers in the US have access to different content than those in the UK, for instance. When you connect to a VPN, you’re given a new, region-specific IP address. This tricks Netflix into thinking you’re actually somewhere else in the world, and lets you browse other country’s libraries.
As one of the world’s biggest streaming platforms, Netflix is very good at detecting whether you’re using a VPN or not. But some services, like ExpressVPN, are still capable of going undetected. We’ve thoroughly tested ExpressVPN with Netflix and below, we’ll let you know exactly which content libraries it lets you access, whether it unblocks the Netflix app too, and if the MediaStreamer app is worth using.
ExpressVPN is a good choice for most streaming services, not just Netflix. It offers high speeds, excellent multi-platform support, and access to 2,000+ servers spanning 94 countries. You can even choose which city you’d like your server in, which is great if you’re a baseball or hockey fan looking to watch games that are subject to regional blackouts.
This is a very secure service. It uses 256-bit encryption, a kill switch (desktop apps only), perfect forward secrecy, and IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection to keep your traffic private at all times. Further, ExpressVPN does not log any information that could be used to identify you.
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ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will have to pay upfront, but can cancel at any point to receive a full refund. This means that if you only need a VPN for a short time (for instance if you’re going on vacation or want to watch a specific geo-blocked event), you can effectively use this VPN for free.
How to unblock Netflix with ExpressVPN
Using ExpressVPN to access different Netflix libraries from abroad is easy; just follow these steps:
- Start by signing up for ExpressVPN if you haven’t already. This only takes a minute.
- Next, download and install the appropriate version for your device.
- Decide which Netflix library you’d like to access.
- Connect to one of ExpressVPN’s servers in the appropriate country.
- Open Netflix and try watching something. You should see some new titles, but if not, try clearing your cache and reloading the page.
Can ExpressVPN unblock Netflix?
Of the regions we recently tested, ExpressVPN unblocked 13 different Netflix libraries (UK, US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, and Spain). During testing, the majority of these were accessible both in a browser and via the iOS or Android app. The libraries for Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain couldn’t be accessed with the Android app. Note that Netflix unblocking is a continually evolving issue, so these results are subject to change.
Although Netflix doesn’t provide a breakdown of subscribers by country, recent analysis by eMarketer shows that of the ten countries with the highest user penetration, ExpressVPN allows you to access six of the respective libraries. It appears that ExpressVPN has prioritized unblocking the libraries of countries where Netflix usage (and over-the-top adoption in general) is on the rise. This is a smart strategy: Netflix pours additional resources into these locations, and as such, will likely offer more in the way of exclusive content.
See also: Best VPNs for Netflix
What is ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer app?
As part of its package, ExpressVPN offers a smart DNS service called MediaStreamer. In practice, this enables you to bypass regional blocking without encrypting your internet traffic. However, it’s important to note that while your speeds will increase, you won’t be getting the security benefits (freedom from monitoring and a reduced chance of Internet Service Provider (ISP) throttling, among others) of a VPN.
MediaStreamer isn’t an app as such. To use it, you just tell your device to use ExpressVPN’s DNS servers instead of your ISP’s. Then it essentially serves as a proxy, allowing you to access geo-blocked content. It’s a particularly useful feature that if you want to access other country’s Netflix catalogs on platforms without an ExpressVPN native app, like PlayStation, Xbox, or some Smart TVs.
MediaStreamer worked well when we tested it, but only allows you to unblock US-based websites. This could change in future, should country-specific servers be added, but as changing location would require manually editing your device’s preferred DNS settings, using the app would be preferable, assuming it’s available for your device.
Can’t I just unblock Netflix with a free VPN?
Free VPNs aren’t as good as they sound. In fact, they’re often pretty terrible, especially if you’re trying to unblock and stream Netflix from abroad. These services have very limited networks, but more users than their premium counterparts. This leads to choppy playback and very long buffering times, which would be bad enough. When you consider that most free VPNs have monthly data caps and can’t unblock Netflix, it becomes clear that they’re just not up to the task.
These service providers, like any businesses, are designed to make money. There are several ways they can do this: selling ad space, charging money for increased speeds, or more worryingly, selling details of your browsing habits to third parties. VPNs are supposed to give you control over your own personal information, but by resorting to shady business tactics, free services take this matter out of your hands.
Finally, even finding a legitimate free service is difficult. Recent research shows that the Google Play Store is home to dozens of malware-carrying apps claiming to be free VPNs. Assuming you install a virus-free app, there’s no guarantee it actually encrypts your traffic, and a high chance it leaks personal information over DNS and IPv6. Even well-known providers have been caught abusing their user’s trust in the past, so it pays to be cautious. To stay safe online, we recommend using a reputable VPN which puts its customers’ privacy first.
Netflix via VPN FAQs
Can I sign up for Netflix from abroad?
If you don’t already have a Netflix account, getting one is fairly straightforward. The service is available in over 100 countries, and even if you live in a place where it isn’t, there’s a workaround.
Netflix allows users to pay for their subscription with gift cards. These are available for sale via numerous online marketplaces, but it’s important to do your due diligence on the site and its refund policy before buying anything. Sellers on less savory marketplaces might provide you with a code which doesn’t work or has already been redeemed.
Why am I shown an error when I try to play anything?
If the content on Netflix doesn’t load or you see an error saying something like “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again”, the problem is likely your VPN.
Netflix has invested significant time and effort into preventing VPN users from accessing its content. As a result, many services can no longer unblock Netflix.
We can confirm that ExpressVPN works at the time of writing, and even when Netflix’s restrictions are updated, this VPN usually finds a workaround shortly after. Should a Netflix update cause problems that take longer to resolve, ExpressVPN customer support will be able to point you towards a server that still works.
Will a VPN reduce my network speeds?
Every VPN reduces your connection speed to some degree, but some have more of an impact than others. Additionally, your speeds are affected by several different factors, including distance from your chosen server, the protocol you’re using, and the current server load. As such, your speeds can fluctuate wildly from one day to another.
Netflix requires a minimum speed of 0.5 Mbps but recommends at least 3 Mbps for streaming SD content. This increases to 5 Mbps to watch in HD, and 25 Mbps for 4K. Generally, if your ISP provides you speeds of around 8 Mbps, you should be able to watch most Netflix content when connected to a VPN without any issues.
What region-specific Netflix shows can I watch with ExpressVPN?
With ExpressVPN you’ll be able to stream some of Netflix’s most popular titles abroad including:
- Stranger Things
- Black Mirror
- 13 Reasons Why
- Breaking Bad
- Parks and Recreation
- Orange is the New Black
- The Walking Dead
- American Horror Story
- The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina