How to Watch American Netflix in the U.K.?
2018 Guide

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The United Kingdom is home to 66.5 million citizens who love bangers and mash, football (that’s what the Brits call “soccer”) and Doctor Who. However, those blokes have no access to American Netflix content.

U.K. internet penetration currently weighs in at 94.8%, and the connection speeds in the country averaged in at 13 Mbps as of Q3 2015.

While Netflix is available in the U.K., the content is different than what is enjoyed by U.S. citizens or the material offered in other countries’ flavors of the streaming service.

Why American Netflix Can’t Be Accessed in the U.K.

While it’s true that your Netflix login will work in any country where the service is available, you won’t have access to the same streaming content that you would in your home country.

When “https://netflix.com” is entered into a browser, or the Netflix app is used to connect to Netflix, the viewer is automatically routed to the local version of Netflix. Once logged in, the user will notice that much of the available content is different from what they’re used to at home.

This isn’t just a case of Netflix being willful. Instead, they are merely following the rules laid out in their licensing agreements with their content providers.

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Why Is American Netflix Content Blocked in the U.K.?

The movies and television shows you watch on Netflix are licensed from movie studios and television networks.

When Netflix signs a licensing agreement with each provider, the contract specifies the regions in which Netflix is allowed to stream the content. So, movies and shows that are available in the United States are not always available in the rest of the world (although there is some overlap in the availability).

If Netflix doesn’t attempt to enforce these regional viewing restrictions, they’ll receive letters of intent to sue from stuffy film and TV lawyer-types who have no sense of humor about such things.

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

When your computer, mobile device or any other type of connected device connects to the internet, it is assigned an IP address.

This address acts as your mailing address does in the physical world, providing a reference point, indicating where information is sent from and received by the device in question.

What Happens When You Connect to Netflix

Every country is assigned a range of IP addresses for connected devices in the country to use, which indicate the device’s location.

Netflix knows the IP address ranges assigned to each country, and it can detect a viewer’s location by reading the IP address of the device that’s connecting to the service. It then routes the viewer to the correct country’s Netflix content (and only that country’s content).

How a VPN Gets Around Netflix’s Barriers

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What Is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is arguably the best way available today to protect an internet user’s privacy, keeping their online travels safe from prying eyes.

A VPN covers a user’s internet connection in an encrypted layer of protection, ensuring that all online activity - including associated personal and business information - is protected from third parties, such as the government or that shifty guy at Starbucks who REALLY makes a cup of coffee last.

How Does a VPN Work

A VPN also can “spoof” a user’s location, making it appear that their connection is originating from a place other than where they’re physically located. It’s this ability that makes a VPN such an excellent tool for accessing Netflix content that’s locked away in another country.

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How a VPN Enables Access to American Netflix Content

How do savvy internet users connect to their favorite American Netflix content, even when they’re outside the country?

First, the user loads their VPN app on their viewing device of choice. They then select a VPN server in the U.S. and connect to the VPN service. This assigns a U.S. IP address to their internet connection.

The user then connects to Netflix, which sees the viewer as a resident of the U.S. The user’s connection is then routed to the Red, White and Blue content.

While, once upon a time, the above was a foolproof way to access Netflix content in another country, the streaming giant eventually caught on to what was happening.

Now, Netflix keeps watch over how many viewers are using a single address, which is an indication that the users are connected via a VPN server. Netflix blocks that server’s IP address from accessing the service.

When this happens, ideally, the VPN provider sets up new servers that sport new IP addresses, which allow their users to once again access Netflix...at least until Netflix notices the new IPs, and the dance begins anew.

Netflix has become so good at detecting and blocking VPN servers that many VPN providers have given up trying to keep lanes open to the streaming service. This is especially true for VPN providers that have limited resources.

Some VPN providers continue to fight the good fight but are slow to respond when their IP addresses are being blocked.

However, there are still VPN providers that are hanging in there and respond quickly to blocking, setting up new servers and IPs when needed. Of these, my provider of choice is ExpressVPN.

Best VPN to Use in the United Kingdom: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Logo

ExpressVPN offers the best way to connect to American Netflix content when you’re outside of U.S. borders. The company makes use of their considerable resources to keep the lines to Netflix open for their customers.

The service provides fast connections, top-notch customer support, optimal privacy protections and well-positioned global server coverage, ensuring access to Netflix any time, anywhere.

The provider’s website contains a wealth of information about squeezing the most out of your Netflix subscription, with informative FAQs, plenty of tips and tricks, and even links to browser extensions, all designed to optimize Netflix bingeing sessions.


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Connection Speed

Connection speed is a top priority when considering a VPN for video streaming. ExpressVPN, on average, provides protected connections that measure in at 80% as fast as my ISP-only speeds. That’s more than enough bandwidth to cover Netflix’s connection speed requirements.

ExpressVPN also makes it easy to find the fastest VPN server thanks to their app’s built-in speed test, which quickly detects the best-performing server.

ExpressVPN Speed Test

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Multi-Platform Support

I’m willing to bet that you own multiple devices that offer the ability to enjoy Netflix content. I have lost count of how many Netflix-capable devices I own. (That’s what’s known as a first-world problem, kids.)

ExpressVPN has all of the popular connected devices covered, with native app support for a large number of platforms.

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Pricing

If you think Netflix is a good deal, then you’ll find ExpressVPN’s USD $8.32-per-month (payable annually at $99.95) price of entry quite acceptable. A $12.95 month-to-month subscription option is also available.

A 30-day money-back guarantee is available for both options.

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Customer Support

I would never wish technical issues on any of my readers. However, chances are you’ll have an occasional question for your VPN provider’s customer service agents. When you do, it’s nice to know you’ll receive a prompt, informed reply.

ExpressVPN offers a 24/7 support chat option, as well as a trouble ticket tracking system and a self-service support library.

ExpressVPN Customer Support Options

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Global Server Coverage

U.K.-based Netflix lovers can access their favorite movies and TV series no matter their location thanks to ExpressVPN’s comprehensive global server coverage. 1,500+ servers located in 94 countries offer a world of possibilities to ExpressVPN users.

ExpressVPN Global Server Coverage

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Privacy

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, where they make no demands on VPNs when it comes to data retention. This allows ExpressVPN to follow a strict “no logs” policy, so there are no records of your online antics.

Bitcoin is available as a subscription payment option to protect your payment information.

Conclusion

U.K. Netflix fans who have tired of British-only content can take advantage of ExpressVPN’s ability to unlock American Netflix.

Fast connections, comprehensive global server coverage, optimal privacy protections and responsive customer support all add up to the best method available to keep your Netflix streams flowing.