Netflix, up until a few weeks ago, was mostly an American thing. People around the world who wanted to watch content from the comfort of their home whenever they wanted were at a disadvantage. Even travelers from the states would find themselves stuck at a foreign airport or hotel with no service despite their continued payments.
Now that Netflix is starting to expand around the world, the restrictions aren’t as tight as they use to be, but travelers and people living outside the United States are still seeing the raw end of the deal. Restrictions are still in place, and some countries will find themselves with an inferior catalog to choose from due to various content distribution deals and political matters. Other countries still have no Netflix whatsoever.
Here is what you need to know about the situation and what you can do about it:
The Restrictions Placed
The restrictions placed upon you are usually a form of regional restriction, which checks the IP address of your device and connection and then makes a judgement as to whether you are allowed to pass through to the website or otherwise access the content requested. They are used on everything from news articles to the BBC iPlayer, and they only prove to inhibit people from connecting with the content they love.
You might also run into a government block of Netflix due to government disapproval of the content shown on Netflix. These governments are usually oppressive and seek to impede the free flow of information on the internet. Censorship can only harm the masses, so you need to find a way to keep yourself informed regardless of what stands in your way.
Virtual Private Networks
The main tool you can use to watch Netflix wherever you want is a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which is a service that will connect you to an offsite server and encrypt the connection you’re using. While originally used by businesses and the military, the service has become available to consumers and is proving extremely popular with millions of users worldwide.
The primary reason that you will want to use one is that the server you use masks your IP address, effectively making you anonymous online and letting you appear as though you are browsing from the location of the server. If you use a VPN service that has servers all over the world, that means you can appear as though you are anywhere in the world. This negates regional restrictions by tricking them into letting you in, and thus Netflix won’t give you any trouble. Government blocks and restrictions will react much the same way, as technically you will be outside the power of their firewalls.
People also use VPNs for some of these other purposes in case you were wondering if you could get anything else out of one:
- They are used to protect people on public networks from hackers who hope to intercept any data being sent over the network.
- The anonymity it provides allows people to communicate online without fear or organizational tracking.
- It lets people use necessary services and social networks while they travel, as to keep work and personal communication uninterrupted.
You’ll want to be careful using some other (usually free) methods and potentially malicious VPNs (unfortunately they’re out there) to unblock Netflix, so stick to trusted and popular services. This is still the internet, and scams for every thing under the sun abound. Read reviews and customer testimonies regarding the services you’re considering, and you’ll be just fine.
Proxy servers also could be of use, but they are basically a VPN without all of the added benefits and security that a VPN provides. They are wholly unreliable and slow, and even potentially dangerous depending on the political climate you live in. Beware of the seemingly cheap and easy option, and in the long run, you always get back what you put in.
Netflix is such a major part of the internet that it might hard to imagine life without it. Fortunately, through the use of a VPN and clever thinking, you never have to live without it. You have every right to the services you enjoy and pay for, and don’t let anyone restrict you or scare you into thinking otherwise.
Do you have any thoughts or opinions on the recent Netflix expansion and how it might affect the world market? Do you have any concerns about the restrictions and blocks still in place for many users? If so, please leave a comment below and tell us what you think, as we’d love to continue this important conversation.