India is home to the Taj Mahal, Bollywood and the Kati Roll…but not American Netflix content.
As of mid-2016, internet penetration stood at 29.5% of the country’s total population (over 374 million of a total 1.3 billion people). The average internet speed in the country as of Q1 2017 measured in at 6.5 Mbps.
The folks that have internet access in India can access the India-centric version of Netflix, which came to the country in 2016. However, the content offered on Netflix in India is different than that offered in other countries
At the time of its debut, Netflix India offered only 7% of the same content offered by its United States counterpart and continues to lag behind U.S. offerings.
This lack of content can be especially disappointing to expats, folks visiting India on business or leisure, and even Indian citizens who want access to movies and TV shows from outside Indian borders.
The easy way to access US Netflix in India...
You don’t need to relocate to access the US Netflix library, all you need is a VPN, but not all VPNs will work.
I’ve tested a lot of VPNs and I find ExpressVPN to be the most reliable for access to Netflix USA and many other countries.
It’s really fast as well so you can binge in HD without the buffering.
ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.
Why American Netflix Can’t Be Accessed in India
Sadly, a Netflix subscriber located in India cannot access the streaming service’s content in other countries, such as the United States or the United Kingdom. While a Netflix subscription is good worldwide, access to the service is restricted to the local flavor of the service.
When you type “https://netflix.com” into your browser or use the Netflix app, you will automatically be routed to the version of the streaming service for whichever country you are currently in.
But why? Is Netflix just being a corporate jerk for not allowing access to other countries’ content?
Why Is American Netflix Content Blocked in India?
Netflix licenses all of its movie and television content from film studios and television networks.
The licensing contracts contain clauses restricting viewing of the content in certain countries. Netflix is required to negotiate a separate licensing agreement for each country it serves.
The geographical licensing restrictions are why Netflix blocks attempts to access a country’s content from outside of that country. They are legally required to do so. If they don’t restrict access on a country-by-country basis, they would face legal and financial penalties.
How Does Netflix Block Non-Residents From Viewing American Netflix Content?
When your connected device accesses the internet, it’s assigned an IP address, which works much like a street address for a physical home or business. The IP address is used to specify where information came from and where it should be sent to.
All countries are assigned a range of IP addresses to be used by its citizens. Netflix uses your IP address to decide which version of the service you should see. By monitoring IP addresses and routing traffic in this manner, the streaming provider can restrict your Netflix access to your country of origin.
How a VPN Gets Around Netflix’s Barriers
What Is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers a number of capabilities to its users, not the least of which is the ability to make it appear as if the user is located in a different country by changing their IP address.
A VPN also offers added security to a user’s internet activities by encasing the connection in a layer of encryption.
This encrypted tunnel prevents any third parties – like the government, an Internet Service Provider or even that shifty guy down at the coffee shop – from monitoring a user’s online activities and possibly stealing personal or business-related information.
How a VPN Enables Access to American Netflix Content
It is a VPN’s ability to make it appear as if a user’s connection is coming from a different location that allows it to open up access to Netflix content in another country. This makes it easy-peasy for VPN users in India to access Netflix content in the United States.
When a user selects a VPN server in the United States, that user’s internet connection is routed through that server and uses that server’s IP address, which is a U.S. IP address. This makes it appear that the user is located stateside, not in India.
When the user connects to Netflix, the streaming service sees that the connection has an IP address originating in the U.S., so it routes their connection to that country’s version of the service, where the user can then binge to their heart’s content on U.S. Netflix content.
However, over the years, Netflix has gotten good at detecting when a viewer is using a VPN to access the streaming service from outside of the country.
Thanks to constant pressure from their content providers, when they do detect a VPN connection, they block that particular IP address from accessing their service.
Netflix’s banning skills have frustrated many VPN providers, leading them to give up on providing access to the streaming service; this is especially true for smaller VPN services, which may have limited resources.
Thankfully, there are still VPN providers who are hanging in there, striving to provide reliable Netflix access to their subscribers. Arguably, the best of these providers is ExpressVPN.
Over the last few years, I have found ExpressVPN to offer the most reliable access to Netflix out of any of the many VPN providers that I’ve tested. The provider makes a point of directing its resources toward maintaining access to my favorite streaming service when I’m away from the U.S.
The provider offers excellent connection speeds, customer support and privacy protections; supports all of my devices; and provides above-average global server coverage.
In addition to the features listed above, Netflix also offers a good bit of information on how to optimize your Netflix experience, providing FAQs, a list of tips and tricks, and even links to browser plugins designed to enhance your viewing sessions.
In my experience, ExpressVPN’s connection speeds are always more than up to Netflix’s recommended connection speeds. Speeds I’ve received from the VPN service have consistently measured within 20% of my ISP-provided connections.
Performance like that is important in a country like India, where the connection speeds are slower than average.
Users who want to ensure they’re using the best-performing ExpressVPN connection can use the provider’s app’s built-in speed test to find the best option among their available VPN servers.
Netflix seems to be available on just about every connected device available today, which makes multi-platform support particularly important. ExpressVPN offers native app support for all popular device platforms.
ExpressVPN offers its services for USD $8.32 per month (payable annually at $99.95). That’s less than the cost of a month of Netflix. Customers can also opt for a $12.95 month-to-month plan. All payment options offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you find yourself requiring customer support in the middle of the night, you can take advantage of this provider’s 24/7 support chat option. A trouble ticket system and a support library are also available.
Global Server Coverage
Netflix lovers in India won’t experience any issues accessing Netflix from the U.S. (or any other country, for that matter). With 1,500+ servers in 94 countries, ExpressVPN has your international access needs covered.
This provider is located in the privacy-amicable British Virgin Islands. The country has no oppressive data retention laws that apply to VPNs. That means ExpressVPN keeps no logs of any kind that are related to their customers’ online antics.
Additional privacy protections can be had for users who opt to pay for their subscription with Bitcoin.
When visiting or residing in India, and you’re homesick for a little U.S. Netflix action, I highly suggest using ExpressVPN to open access to the streaming service.
ExpressVPN offers reliable access to Netflix, speedy connections, wide-ranging global server coverage and top-notch multi-platform support, as well as optimal customer support and privacy protections.