How to Watch American Netflix Abroad with a VPN in 2018
All of your favorite TV series and movies in one single place – what’s not to love about Netflix USA!?
What most people don’t know, however, is that the Netflix library will change the second you leave US territories. Yes, even if you have a US account.
So how do you go about gaining access to your favorite shows when abroad?
Here we reveal all.
Ah Netflix, the clever catalog where all of your favorite movies and shows are huddled together in one place.
With a massive 52.77 million U.S. subscribers at the end of 2017, US subscribers account for almost half of Netflix’s entire worldwide subscriber base.
The extensive catalog has transformed the way that we live and breathe ‘TV’. What many people don’t realize, however, is that the Netflix library in the US differs from those overseas.
When entering a new country, those with a Netflix account will notice that their homepage and library contents will greatly differ.
And with an average of 72 million Americans now traveling abroad every year (over the last four years), only the savvy travelers among them will know how to get around the Netflix barrier.
Here we enlighten you on how to watch Netflix abroad…
How to Watch US Netflix Abroad
So the question remains: how to watch Netflix abroad?! For those avid travelers among you, even with a US Netflix account, you’ll notice that your Netflix library changes as you set foot on foreign soil.
This Netflix’s way of enforcing national licensing restrictions. If you’re wondering how to watch American Netflix shows, experienced travelers know that the only way to gain access is through the use of a VPN.
A VPN provides users with the means to totally bypass geo-restrictions and copyright laws, by allowing users to connect to the internet via an encrypted tunnel.
This ‘tunnel’ allows users to connect to a server in the country of their choosing (in this case it would be the US), and make it appear as though they are browsing from within said country.
You could, therefore, browse from Europe connect to a US server, and while hiding your IP address, successfully gain access to the US Netflix library. This is known as ‘geo-spoofing’ your location.
A VPN is a traveler’s best friend when it comes to traveling and streaming Netflix abroad. A very handy trick to bypass the copyright laws of the country you are visiting. And there you have it, now you know how to watch US Netflix abroad!
It would be convenient to assume that the Netflix library is synonymous worldwide, especially for those who have a taste for travel. But that simply isn’t the case.
The Netflix US library towers over every other country due to the differing copyright laws in other countries.
Countries such as Hong Kong, Israel, and Indonesia have as little as 10% (or even less!) of the US catalog.
Each and every country has its very own list of shows and movies available. The least fortunate of countries, with the fewest number of shows available, is Morocco.
Where only 3% of the original US library is available to viewers. Not fair you say? C’est la vie. Netflix cannot physically offer certain shows in certain countries due to the specific copyright laws in each one.
If the rights of a show have been assigned to another broadcaster, for example, Netflix is banned from legally providing the show on its list. But, there is a way around this…
How we Determine the Best VPN Services to Access American Netflix
With such a wide range of choice, we have done the hard work for you.
By comparing the following elements, we are able to determine which VPN service is best suited to access the US Netflix library when abroad.
A good VPN should have:
The ability to unblock Netflix
: There are only very few VPNs that can actually bypass the Netflix block allowing access to the US library from abroad.
: Many VPNs can slow down your internet speed. A good VPN should minimally affect internet speeds and ping times, allowing for a smooth streaming experience.
: With a large choice of servers, it is less likely that your network will be ‘maxed out’ due to high amounts of traffic.
Strong encryption technology
: Network tunnel protocols should be foolproof, allowing users to bypass geo-restrictions with ease.
No traffic logging
: This makes sure that there are no breadcrumbs left behind so that you don’t have to worry about third parties spying on you.
No bandwidth caps
: The last thing you want is to be binging your favorite show and everything stops because you no longer have any bandwidth left to stream. Find a VPN that does not put a limit on the amount of bandwidth you use per month.
TOP USA Netflix VPN
#1 ExpressVPN – Over 43,000 IPs from Across 145 + locations
ExpressVPN is by far one of the best VPN services out there especially when it comes to unblocking the US Netflix library abroad – one of the few that is able to bypass the Netflix block with flare.
Launched in 2009, ExpressVPN has become one of the most popular premium VPN services in the world.
When paying for ExpressVPN you are paying for high quality, high Speed and high level of privecy.
So confident they are, a 30-day money-back guarantee is on the cards if you aren’t happy – meaning anyone can try the service for free for the first month.
- Very easy to set up, perfect for those less tech savvy.
- No issues when connecting to Netflix.
- Fast, consistent speeds – shows and movies stream with ease and ping times are barely affected.
- Over 43,000 IP address to choose from across 145+ locations.
- Solid security – military grade encryption (256-AES bit).
- A little more pricey than its rivals.
- Limited to three connections per subscription.
- No multi-hop configurations.
- $12.95 a month.
- $9.99 a month for a six-month plan.
- $6.67 a month for a 15-month plan (including three months free!).
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
Based in Romania, CyberGhost has recently undertaken a major renovation and has now become one of the top VPNs for unblocking the US Netflix library. As well as this, improvements in the quality of service have been made including access to a massive 1,000 servers. For those not so tech inclined, CyberGhost is easy to use and has some very appealing deals, including its 30-day money-back guarantee, on all of its offers.
Pros: They’re unique in that there is no data transfer limit and you don’t have to enter an email address in order to use it (a massive privacy plus).
CyberGhost can support up to five devices simultaneously with a very competitive standard price of $10.99 a month and even includes a 30 day money-back guarantee
Honesty and transparency are the two core values of CyberGhost in their mission to make the internet a safer place. When they went through a phase of not being able to unblock Netflix, they outright explained that they were unable to do this, and that their team of minions were working round the clock to fix the issue.
Cons: It’s hard to find the ‘perfect’ VPN, as every VPN has its downfalls. One of the main disadvantages of CyberGhost is that is can be argued as being more beautiful than functional. Its simple and well-designed user interface is perfect for the less tech-savvy users but for those more advanced may find it a little too simple. There is also the issue with customer support; their live support is only available during Eastern European working hours, making it hard to get help out of hours.
Summary: An honest, reliable VPN provider. Despite the lack of 24/7 customer support, we praise CyberGhost for keeping us all informed with the truth regarding Netflix. Though they’re now fully capable of accessing the site, when they were previously unable to, they were highly transparent about this. This shows they are a trustworthy VPN provider that certainly gets our vote.
Founded in 2008 in Panama, far away from data retention laws, NordVPN is amongst the top of the pack when it comes to safety and security. NordVPN is notorious for regularly updating its software and staying on top of the game. It is one of the few VPNs that is able to bypass Netflix’s firewall providing an all-around great service. You can also trial NordVPN totally risk-free by taking advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee service.
Get NordVPN Now!
Pros: NordVPN has over 1000 servers to choose from (400+ in the US alone), including servers that are dedicated to high speed streaming. The variety means that you shouldn’t face any problems with connection speeds.
It’s one of the most intuitive VPNs available, and they also offer 24/7 support via live chat with decent response times.
Cons: NordVPN is a solid VPN in nearly all respects, but it’s not necessarily the best option for accessing Netflix specifically. Due to NordVPN’s popularity, Netflix actively seeks out and restricts known IP addresses used by the VPN.
Nord quickly replaces these addresses, but this back-and-forth tussle means that connecting to American Netflix can sometimes be difficult. It’s also a relatively expensive VPN but NordVPN 2-year plan offers the best value for your money at $3.29/month and the service comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee policy.
Summary: NordVPN is a great VPN for usability and speed, but watching US Netflix isn’t really its strong suit. It’s probably a better bet to go for ExpressVPN for this use case, as both are priced similarly.
Visit our NordVPN review to get more features and applications.
When testing SaferVPNs service, we were able to access the US Netflix library from abroad without any issues. Just note that if you are planning to watch Netflix using an iOS or Android device, SaferVPN does not support these methods. Other than that, you can count on SaferVPN as a simple and effective service when it comes to accessing Netflix from abroad and keeping your online presence hidden. If you aren’t sure if SaferVPN is the right choice, be sure to take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee on offer, or even check out the 24 hours totally free trial!
Get SaferVPN Now!
Pros: Delivers a very speedy connection and streaming service, so if speed is the top quality you are looking for then this is one to try! Its high speed means you can watch your favorite movies and series without interruption. Though fast, we still found ExpressVPN to be faster.
SaferVPN also has a list of specific servers and locations to use when you want access to the US Netflix library, so make sure to follow that if you want in.
Cons: Some users have reported issues using the Netflix app particularly on Android. So if you were looking to use the app, we’d advise you to take advantage of the 24 hour free trial to see if it works for you.
Summary: Overall a very good VPN provider for watching Netflix particularly from a computer or laptop, if you want to use the app however, we recommend trying it out first. Luckily SaferVPN also offer a 30 day money-back guarantee and their prompt customer support will surely be able to help you with any issues.
Based in Sweden, PrivateVPN is exactly what it says on the tin – private. Known as one of the few VPN providers with a true no-log policy, users can be sure that all of their online and streaming activities are totally under wraps. PrivateVPN can successfully work its way around Netflix’s firewall and it too comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Other than its private nature, however, it doesn’t particularly stand out from the crowd, but it certainly gets the job done.
Pros: PrivateVPN delivers access to US Netflix on several of its US-based servers. Despite Netflix’s efforts to limit its availability, the company constantly updates users regarding which of its servers are currently still up and running. We found that this list is never empty.
The VPN enables reliable streaming speeds so you can still stream your favorite US shows in full HD. Rated one of the best VPN for Android and iPhone, PrivateVPN also provides smartphone applications which allow streaming via Netflix’s mobile applications.
Cons: One of the downsides of PrivateVPN is that the company hosts a smaller set of servers compared to some of its competitors. If Netflix were to restrict too many of their addresses, you could be facing a situation where you couldn’t view US content with your account. Support is also not available 24/7 like ExpressVPN, so if you’re facing downtime, you may have to wait to receive assistance.
Summary: If you’re looking for a reliable server that gives you alternatives in case your preferred server is down, PrivateVPN is for you. However, the limited number of servers means that Netflix could quickly restrict access to all of them.
Sign up with PrivateVPN to access US Netflix anywhere!
VPNs that Won’t Let You Access American Netflix
We test a variety of VPNs every month, as well as read user feedback to assess what is working and what isn’t. At the time of writing this (January 8th, 2018), we have found the following VPNs are not able to unblock US Netflix library:
- PureVPN – some locations, mainly not working
- IPVanish VPN
- HotSpot Shield
- HideMyAss – there is one server dedicated to Netflix streaming, but users have remarked about slow speeds and lots of buffering
What About the US Armed Forces Overseas?
This is a big question that has many of us raising eyebrows. Surely the armed forces putting their lives on the line should be able to feel closer to home. Soldiers should be able to access their favorite shows and movies. It’s hard enough as it is being relocated away from family, friends and the culture that they are used to. And that is why Anne Marie Squeo, a spokeswoman for Netflix has announced that; “Netflix always exempts US military bases around the world” going on to mention that “they will still be able to access the US catalog.”
Although we comment Netflix on this revelation, there is still an issue in that there is no similar treatment for other overseas workers on military bases (for non-US countries). It is also an issue for those soldiers who spend most of their time off base, meaning that they still have to rely on a VPN.
Will a VPN Slow Down Netflix Streaming?
Using a VPN is bound to slow down your computer a touch, but every VPN will vary. We tried using NordVPN to stream a program from the US Netflix library and were pleasantly surprised by the results. The ping time while using the VPN was 146 ms and without the VPN was 135 ms. We didn’t notice any lag time when watching and were overall very impressed.
The upload and download speeds, on the other hand, were highly affected. Without the VPN in use, the download and upload speeds were both 157 Mbps on average. But when using NordVPN, the download speed was reduced to 41 Mbps and the upload speed was reduced to 26.5 Mbps. This is to be expected and would affect P2P sharing, though, for the purpose of streaming, the effect was minuscule.
Speed test when using NordVPN to watch US Netflix:
Speed test when not using NordVPN to watch Netflix:
Get a VPN and Watch US Netflix Abroad
At the end of the day, if you want to gain access to all your favorite shows and series abroad, without streaming at snail’s pace – the only way is via a strong VPN. VPN providers are engaged in a constant game of cat-and-mouse with Netflix. A VPN or server that works today, may not work tomorrow. New servers and IPs are constantly added to a VPNs library to chase of the Netflix boffs avidly attempting to block them. Don’t fall behind; make sure to stay up to date, and use a secure VPN for gaining access to Netflix. Happy streaming!