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For a fraction of what the typical cable bill costs, Netflix offers access to an enormous library of original and licensed movies and TV shows. But there’s a catch: Netflix’s library will look different depending on where you live. If you’re outside of the United States, you won’t have access to as many titles. And if you’re inside of the U.S., then you won’t be able to watch certain shows and movies that are reserved for Netflix’s foreign catalogs. Which begs the question: How can you change your Netflix region and access all of these other titles?
Fortunately, it’s not that tough to switch regions on Netflix. All you’ll really need to do is use a VPN.
We know that Netflix serves up different catalogs in different regions. But how does Netflix know which library to show each user? Generally, Netflix will just use your IP address to determine your location.
This is important, because it means that your Netflix region isn’t tied to your billing address. If you have a Netflix account tied to U.S. payment details, a trip to Mexico won’t mean losing Netflix access — it will just result in you seeing Mexico’s Netflix library. If you travel to the U.K., you will see the U.K.’s Netflix catalog. This is true for any region you visit in person with your laptop or smartphone in tow, and it’s all because of IP addresses.
But if you can make it look like you’re accessing Netflix from a place you aren’t, you can get the same results without having to travel. That’s when using a VPN comes in handy.
A VPN routes your internet traffic through a server in a different place, making it appear to websites as though you’re visiting from that location. If you’re in Japan, for example, and want to watch the U.S. version of Netflix, you can simply connect to a VPN server based in the U.S.
There are lots of VPN services that can help you accomplish this very task, such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Hotspot Shield, and more. If you’re shopping around for a VPN, you’ll just have to ensure the one you’re looking at supports Netflix. Due to Netflix’s popularity, most do.
Let’s say you’ve got yourself all set up with a VPN provider. You’ve looked around, found a VPN that works with Netflix, and signed up. You may be wondering: which Netflix region should you be checking out? Where are you going to find the most movies and TV shows?
Netflix is headquartered in the United States, as is Hollywood, so it may not surprise you to learn that the U.S. is the prime region for Netflix viewing. The United States version of the service plays host to nearly 5,900 films and shows. The next closest region in the race is Canada, with a little over 4,000 pieces of content available for viewing. So if you’re hoping to see the vast majority of what Netflix has to offer, the United States is the region you want.
Your desire to view Netflix from a different region might go beyond wanting the biggest library or wanting to watch content from your home country. Though these are likely the biggest reasons those choosing this path might want to shift to a remote catalog, there are other perfectly legitimate motivations for doing so.
For instance, you might hear about a really interesting show or movie that’s only available in the U.K. The U.K. doesn’t have as much content on Netflix as other places, but it is wholly possible the U.K. version of the service has something another region does not. Instead of trying to find some alternative way to access that content elsewhere, you could change your Netflix region to the U.K. and simply get to watch what you want.
You may also have the need to watch content that’s available in another language. Netflix’s U.S. library has a lot of great foreign-language content, and settings make it easy to switch languages for audio and subtitles, but there’s no doubt that some of Netflix’s foreign libraries have more content in certain languages than is available in the U.S.
The truth is, Netflix could make the act of switching regions a bigger pain for its customers. That’s not to say Netflix appreciates you using a VPN, by the way. It’s worth mentioning that you could be violating Netflix’s terms of service by accessing content that, physically, is outside of your region.
But by skipping the deeper checks on your location, Netflix isn’t exactly standing in your way if you use a VPN, either. The company does try to sniff out VPN IP addresses from time to time, but a lot of VPN providers have found ways around that and it is rare you’ll encounter issues. For the most part, if you connect to a VPN server and try to watch Netflix, everything will work just fine. You don’t have to change any settings. You don’t have to clear your cache, empty out your cookies, or do anything of the sort. All you have to do is find a VPN server, connect, and start watching. That’s really all there is to it.
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