How to Watch American Netflix in South Korea?
2018 Guide

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South Korea is home to electronics and automotive companies, as well as a spicy dish called Kimchi. The country boasts an astounding 92.4% of their total population - 47 million people out of 51 million - using the web.

Those users benefit from the world’s fastest average internet speed (28.6 Mbps), but they can’t make use of those fast connections to view their favorite movies using the American version of Netflix.

South Korean video lovers can access the South Korean version of Netflix, which debuted in the country in 2016. Sadly, the content offered on the local flavor of Netflix is different than that offered in the United States and other countries.

A Sampling of Netflix's American Content Offerings.

A Sampling of Netflix's American Content Offerings.

The lack of access to Netflix content from their home country can be disappointing to expats and visitors to the country on business or leisure missions who are longing to binge their favorite movies or TV series.

Why American Netflix Can’t Be Accessed in South Korea

Netflix subscribers who are located in South Korea cannot access the streaming giant’s content licensed for other countries, such as the United States or Canada.

Although a Netflix subscription can be used to log into the local flavor or Netflix, they cannot access all of the content they have available in their home country.

If you type “https://netflix.com” into your browser or use the Netflix app, Netflix will automatically limit your content selections to those that are available inside the borders of the country in which you’re currently residing.

Why is that? Is Netflix simply screwing with your head for the fun of it? Short answer: no. (Though it does occasionally seem that way, doesn’t it?)

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Why Is American Netflix Content Blocked in South Korea?

Netflix licenses the movies and television shows you view on their service from movie studios and television networks.

The licensing agreements Netflix signs to gain access to the content include clauses restricting viewing of the films or shows to certain countries. Netflix is required to sign a separate contract for each country it serves.

These geographic content licensing agreements are the reason why Netflix blocks any attempts to access content that come from outside of the licensed region. If they don’t restrict access in this manner, they could face lawsuits resulting in substantial financial penalties.

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How Does Netflix Block Non-Residents From Viewing American Netflix Content?

When your computer or any other connected device is connected to the internet, it’s assigned an IP address, which works like your home’s mailing address does. The IP address is used to indicate where requests for information come from and where the reply should be sent.

What Happens When You Connect to Netflix

All countries are assigned a range of IP addresses to be used by devices in that country. Netflix detects this IP address and can then determine which country your connection is originating from.

This allows them to determine which version of Netflix you should be routed to. This is how they restrict your access to your country of origin.

How a VPN Gets Around Netflix’s Barriers

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What Is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) delivers many helpful features to its users. The most useful of these when it comes to Netflix access is a VPN’s ability to make it appear as if a user is located in a country other than the one they’re actually in simply by assigning them a new IP address.

How Does a VPN Work

A VPN also helps protect a user’s internet travels from scrutiny by coating the connection in a nearly impenetrable layer of encryption.

Encryption acts like a subway tunnel, protecting the traffic from viewing by any outsiders, such as the government, hackers or an Internet Service Provider. This keeps a user’s activities under wraps and prevents a user’s personal or business-related information from being stolen.

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How a VPN Enables Access to American Netflix Content

A VPN’s ability to “spoof” a user’s IP address is the feature that opens up access to Netflix streaming content from another country. Thus, VPN users in South Korea can easily access U.S. Netflix movies and shows.

When the VPN user selects a VPN server based in the United States, the user’s IP address appears to be located in the U.S. Netflix sees the user as connecting from stateside and routes them to the U.S. version of Netflix.

While this has long been an almost foolproof method of accessing foreign Netflix content, the streaming giant has become adept at detecting when a subscriber is connecting to their servers via a VPN.

When Netflix detects the use of a VPN, they are required to block that server’s IP address from accessing their servers due to the licensing agreements they sign with their content providers.

Netflix’s skills at banning VPN servers has led to many VPN providers becoming so frustrated that they give up on offering Netflix access to their users. Many of the VPNs that have ceded the game to Netflix are smaller providers with limited resources.

Luckily for us, there are still providers that are willing to stay in the game, providing reliable access to the popular streaming service. I believe the best of these providers is ExpressVPN.

Best VPN to Use in South Korea: ExpressVPN

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In my experience, ExpressVPN provides the most reliable access to Netflix of any VPN provider that I’ve used (and I’ve used plenty). The provider does an excellent job of directing its considerable resources to maintaining Netflix access for its customers.

The provider’s optimal customer support and privacy protection, speedy connections, top-notch device support and better-than-average global server coverage all make ExpressVPN an excellent choice for VPN service.

ExpressVPN is Netflix-centric, offering an FAQ, a list of helpful tips and tricks, and links to browser plugins intended to enhance your streaming binges.


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Connection Speed

When I use ExpressVPN, the average connection speeds provided measure in at 80% as speedy as my ISP-only speeds. They are always sufficient to meet Netflix’s recommended connection speeds.

Thanks to South Korea’s fast internet speeds, you’ll be able to access any of Netflix’s 4K UHD content with no extended buffering sessions.

ExpressVPN Speed Test

When users want to make sure they’re getting the fastest connection possible, they can use the ExpressVPN app’s built-in speed test feature, which tests the performance of all available VPN servers.

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Multi-Platform Support

Outside of that internet toaster that burns the news onto your toast, Netflix is available on most popular connected devices available today. ExpressVPN has users covered, offering native app support for most of today’s popular connected devices. Again, except for that toaster.

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Pricing

ExpressVPN’s monthly tariff of USD $8.32 per month (payable annually at $99.95) is less than it’ll cost you for of a month of Netflix. You can also opt for a $12.95 monthly payment plan. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.

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Customer Support

ExpressVPN customers who require support with a VPN issue, Netflix-related or otherwise, can use the provider’s 24/7 support chat option to obtain assistance, night or day. A trouble ticket system and a support library are also available.

ExpressVPN Customer Support Options

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Global Server Coverage

South Korean Netflix fans will find their Netflix viewing options are wide open, as ExpressVPN offers global server coverage consisting of 1,500+ servers in 94 countries.

ExpressVPN Server Locations

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Privacy

Making its home in the privacy-cordial British Virgin Islands allows ExpressVPN to go sans logs. That means there will be no record of your online antics saved by the provider.

Users who are worried about their payment information being exposed can protect it by using the Bitcoin option to pay for their VPN subscription.

Conclusion

When you’re inside the friendly borders of South Korea, and you need a little taste of home via a 12-hour “Gilmore Girls” binge, I suggest giving ExpressVPN a try. The provider offers top-notch access to U.S.-based Netflix content.

The provider offers consistently reliable access to the streaming giant. Its features include speedy connections, wide-ranging global server coverage, optimal privacy protections, comprehensive customer support and extensive multi-platform support.