Netflix began in the United States. In fact, it got started in California in the 1990s, back in the day when your only options were renting DVDs that arrived via envelopes in the mail. Now, of course, the vast majority of Netflix viewers get their content by streaming it. And Netflix’s reach is no longer limited to the United States or even to North America. You can watch Netflix if you’re in the United Kingdom. And even if you’re not, you can watch the same Netflix titles that Brits do by getting a VPN — or do the reverse, and watch American Netflix from the U.K. Keep reading to learn more about watching Netflix in the U.K.
Is Netflix Available in the U.K?
Netflix is a global brand that’s available in almost 200 countries. So yes, Netflix is definitely available to streamers in the four countries that make up the United Kingdom. People in the U.K. enjoy watching television just as much as people in the United States.
U.S. vs. U.K. Netflix Library
A lot of things are a little different on the other side of the Atlantic: Americans and Brits both speak English, but it’s not the exact same kind of English. Everyone drives on the other side of the road. Even the cakes they’re baking on The Great British Baking Show differ significantly from what contestants are baking on an American show like Cake Wars. To this list, you can add one more little difference: You won’t be able to watch the exact same library on Netflix in the U.K. as you will on Netflix in the United States.
Is Netflix better in the U.K? Well, that’s a matter of taste. But Netflix is certainly different in the U.K., which can be frustrating to those who are in one country but want to stream as if they’re in another.
We can say for sure that the U.S. library is larger — unsurprisingly, the United States has the largest Netflix library in the world. The United Kingdom isn’t doing as well, at least when it comes to the sheer volume of titles available (though it’s not the smallest Netflix library — countries like South Korea, Greenland, and Sudan have fewer titles to choose from on Netflix than the U.K. does).
Netflix is constantly working to expand its library in other countries. But that involves buying the rights to stream content in specific areas. Netflix can stream most of its original content just about anywhere it wants. That’s because it owns the global rights to virtually all of the content it produces in-house. Yet content produced by other studios is a different matter. That’s why you’ll see some movies available in the U.K. but not in the United States, or vice versa.
So what do you do if you’re in, say, Michigan, and there’s a movie you want to see that’s only available through Netflix in the U.K? Or what if you’re in London, but want to stream something that’s only available in the U.S?
Your simplest solution is to use a VPN to shift your location. This doesn’t require a transatlantic flight: You can use a VPN to location-shift on your computer or another device without ever leaving your home.
Shift Locations Using a VPN
To shift locations, you’ll need to use a VPN. VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network.” VPNs are popular for a lot of reasons. If you don’t want sites tracking your location when you’re browsing the web, you can use one to throw trackers off the scent, for instance. From a privacy standpoint, VPNs are essential tools.
VPNs are also good from a “watching more Netflix content” standpoint. See, Netflix figures out what titles to offer you based on your IP address. If you use the built-in address that comes with your phone or laptop, then you’ll end up watching only what’s available in your country. But with a VPN, you can choose what kind of IP address you want your device to display. You can get an IP address in the U.S. or U.K. without ever getting out your passport.
Does Netflix like VPNs? They do not, actually. Netflix discourages users from using VPNs to shift their location. They’re not illegal, but Netflix doesn’t like the idea of people tricking its servers. If Netflix knows about a VPN server, they might block it. Nevertheless, many VPNs work well with Netflix — and we can help you choose the best VPN for the job.
How to Watch U.K. Netflix With a VPN
Once you’ve looked at your options and decided on the best VPN for your needs, just go to that VPN’s website and sign up. It’s generally a quick process; VPNs know that you want to start using the product as soon as possible.
After you create an account, it’s time to download and install the VPN app. This ensures that you can use a VPN on whatever streaming device you prefer. If you’re using both a laptop and mobile phone to stream, you’ll need to make sure and download the app to both devices.
Once it’s downloaded, the biggest decision left is choosing a server. If you’re looking for Netflix in the U.K., make sure to choose a server in the right country: England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. A good VPN service will help you out by grouping U.K. servers together or placing them on an easy-to-read map. Similarly, if you’re in the U.K. and looking to watch American Netflix, you’ll need to choose a server that’s in the U.S.
But what if you choose a server and find out that Netflix has blocked that one? There’s no need to panic. Just go back to the list of servers and choose another one to route your traffic through. It can take a bit of trial and error, but it’s not a process that takes all day. Once you’ve found the right server, you’ll be watching U.K. Netflix or U.S. Netflix just like a native.