Use a VPN to Access US Netflix Content? You Can, Sort Of.

What's the Big Deal?

Woman using Netflix on tablet
Netflix can be accessed via VPN to unlock American content. Kevin Schafer/Moment Mobile/Getty Images

Because of the annoying and convoluted world of media copyright, many international users cannot see all American Netflix offerings from their countries. For movie and TV distributors, the licensing and fees to circulate their content to these countries are prohibitive or are not profitable enough, so they just withhold their content. Australia, Canada, the UK, France, Mexico, and Brazil are some examples of who is forced to receive a smaller selection of Netflix choices.

Example: US Netflix users have access to approximately 8300 movies and TV shows.  Canada Netflix users only have access to 4200 movies and TV shows  (source)

To circumvent this bureaucracy limitation, users outside the USA will sometimes use a virtual private network (VPN) service to convert their connection to originate within the USA, therein unlocking access to American Netflix choices.  

This contravenes some of the spirit of the copyright agreements, because the users are essentially cloaking their actual location, and consuming the benefits that are supposedly reserved for those on American soil.  Yet at the same time, these subscribers are paying the same, or more, for monthly subscriptions to Netflix, while being forced to receive a smaller selection of choices.

Netflix is very torn on this issue, as you might guess, as this regional restrictiveness does reduce the attractiveness of their service.

At the same time, though, Netflix says that technical enforcement is not 100% possible with preventing VPN connections.

Does this mean that as a non-American that you will be banned from Netflix or be financially punished for using a VPN?  At this time, yes, it could happen to you.  As of May 2016, Netflix has started blacklisting some VPN providers and blocking those users from accessing US Netflix.

Not all VPN's are banned yet, though; readers describe that they can still use some services to get access to US Netflix.

So, if you really want to see reruns of 'Airwolf' or 'Flashpoint' outside of the USA, get a lesser-known VPN and watch those episodes soon before your VPN gets banned!

 

Related:

Here is a list of titles that are unavailable to Netflix Canada

  • 30 Rock
  • A Fish Called Wanda
  • An Inconvenient Truth
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Bad Boys II
  • Being John Malkovich
  • Capote
  • Cheers
  • Conan the Barbarian
  • Days of Thunder
  • Drive
  • Face Off
  • Flashpoint
  • Footloose
  • Frasier
  • Ghost
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • Highlander
  • Jarhead
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Law and Order: SVU
  • Magnum P.I.
  • MacGyver
  • Memento
  • Men in Black
  • The Mission Impossible movies
  • more...

 

The Inverse:  Titles Only Available via Netflix Canada

  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Butterfly Effect 
  • Children of Men
  • Coach Carter 
  • Crank
  • Crank 2
  • Dexter Season 1-6
  • The Expendables
  • Final Destination 2
  • Final Destination 5
  • Finding Neverland
  • Flight 
  • Gamer
  • Ghost Busters
  • Ghost Busters 2
  • Grudge 2
  • Grown Ups 
  • Hackers
  • Halloween
  • Hostel
  • Hostel: Part II 
  • Inside Job
  • In Time 
  • Iron Man - Season 1 
  • Iron Man - Season 2 
  • I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
  • Karate Kid, The
  • Kick-Ass 
  • Resident Evil: Afterlife
  • Resident Evil: Extinction

More From Us