Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
Crunchyroll has an unbelievable catalog of Asian and anime content. If you live in the U.S. or Canada, you have access to a huge swath of that catalog — the episode count is over 9,000 — but international users are often unable to access some of the best shows and movies. Even in the United States, you could go Super Saiyan when you realize popular titles such as “Cowboy Bebop” are U.K.-only.
Changing your location on Crunchyroll may be the best answer. First, you should understand how Crunchyroll’s locations work and the process and risks of changing your Crunchyroll location.
Crunchyroll operates in more than 200 countries, but it doesn’t always show the same content in each of them. You can access its original content from anywhere, but the availability of other content depends on licensing rights. In the service’s major markets (the U.S. and Canada), Crunchyroll has a much larger licensed catalog than in places such as Germany and South Korea, but there’s no single country where you’ll be able to see everything.
When you use your Crunchyroll subscription to access its website or apps, the company uses your internet protocol (IP) address to determine what country you are in. That’s the country it uses to decide what geo-restricted content you can access. Any other information you provide during the sign-up process has no impact on content availability. There’s also no indication that Crunchyroll uses other location services, such as GPS and nearby Wi-Fi networks, to verify your location, but we’ll keep an eye out in case it adds those tools to its toolbox in the future.
Crunchyroll’s location data can be a bit slow to update. Many users have a hard time immediately accessing new Crunchyroll content when they get to a new country. That’s not Crunchyroll intentionally blocking your access; it’s just that its website and apps seem to have a hard time updating user locations. If you can’t access the right content for your region, try clearing your browser cache, using an incognito browser window, or restarting your device. If all else fails, you can contact Crunchyroll to get help updating your detected location.
Here’s a quick list of everything you need to know about Crunchyroll’s location rules:
Crunchyroll’s rules are fine as long as you are in a country that provides access to your favorite content, but it can be difficult for users in countries with a limited catalog. International travelers have it particularly hard since they may lose access during their trips even if the content is available in their home country. The content will be waiting for you when you get home, but good luck avoiding spoilers until then!
Crunchyroll is a solid service no matter where you are — just read our Crunchyroll review to see why. But there may come a time when you want to change your Crunchyroll location.
As long as Crunchyroll relies solely on IP addresses for location, there’s a very easy method for changing your apparent browsing region: Use a virtual private network (VPN). When you use a VPN, websites and apps see the VPN’s location instead of yours. If you are sitting in France using a VPN server located in the U.S., Crunchyroll will see only the U.S. address. It’s a tried-and-true method cord-cutters have been using for years to access geo-restricted content from Netflix and other popular services.
Be very careful if you try to access geo-restricted content from Crunchyroll though. Its terms of service explicitly forbid any attempts to “send altered, deceptive, or false source-identifying information” — a description that seems to include any method of spoofing location data. There have been numerous reports of Crunchyroll banning users for using VPNs and other location-spoofing techniques.
Every streaming service tries to detect and block VPN servers. In the simplest cases, services just rely on a blacklist of known VPN server IP addresses. More advanced measures vary quite a bit from service to service, so look for VPNs that have proven their ability to specifically bypass Crunchyroll’s VPN checks.
Since Crunchyroll has been known to block VPN users, you should be especially careful to avoid low-quality VPNs that might land you on Crunchyroll’s radar. Stick to VPN services with a large number of servers. You may also want to look into a VPN that uses obfuscation (also called stealth) protocols or servers to guard against the detection of VPN usage.
If you use Crunchyroll on only a few devices, you may be able to get away with installing a VPN directly on those devices — assuming your VPN provider has an app for each of your device types. If your VPN doesn’t offer an app for your device or if you need to spoof locations across your entire network, you should consider setting up a router VPN. Having a VPN on your router will ensure all your devices are protected and using the same IP location, but you may still need device-level VPN apps if you travel outside your home network.
No matter where you live, you won’t have access to all of Crunchyroll’s content without a VPN. Fortunately, Crunchyroll seems to use only IP-based location, so you shouldn’t need to change GPS or other device-location signals. A VPN alone should be enough. Using a VPN with Crunchyroll is still risky, though, since it has blocked users for VPN usage in the past.
Make sure to choose one of the best VPNs to use with Crunchyroll. ExpressVPN — with its large server count and stealth VPN servers — is an excellent choice for accessing Crunchyroll’s geo-restricted content with minimal risk.
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