Netflix is a subscription-based online movie streaming service that was founded in 1997. As of January 2021, Netflix has a worldwide subscriber base of up to 203.7 million. The service is available in most countries except in a few places like China, Crimea, North Korea and Syria.
Netflix started with DVD rental and sales by mail but later, they decided to focus on only DVD rental. About 10 years after the founding of the company, they expanded their business to include a streaming service. From here they expanded internationally and now operate in more than 190 countries.
The company plays an active role as a movie producer as well as a distributor for television series and films. You can watch Netflix on any internet-enabled device such as computers, mobile phones, tablets and smart TVs.
The streaming service charges each subscriber a monthly subscription to have access to its service. This helps to ensure that the movies and TV shows are ad-free, on-demand, fast and available at any time.
How Netflix Works
Netflix has a user-friendly interface where the user can easily search for a movie or show. As a service, it provides subscribers an option that is similar to a shopping cart. With this, you can add any content you like to view in a system known as a queue.
As you spend time on Netflix, the service begins to suggest movies and shows based on what you have watched. It uses an algorithm that picks up on your viewing habits and history and uses this to suggest contents to you.
One vital feature of the service is that the content available to each subscriber is based on the country they are located. What this means is that the content available for people located in the US is different from that of other countries. Each country has its unique content.
As a result of this, you can only watch shows that are available in the country you are domiciled. So how do you watch foreign shows that you are interested in and are not available where you are located?
There is a modest and simple way to approach this. Netflix utilizes regions to provide its contents. You simply change your region if you want to access a show or movie from any country.
This sounds pretty simple but how do you change your Netflix region? You do so by using a virtual private network (VPN). You can find more information on how Netflix works here.
What Is A VPN?
A VPN is a service that provides you a way to make a safe connection to another network over the internet. It is great for accessing region-restricted websites. It also provides you with a layer of secrecy and anonymity for your browsing activities.
VPNs were created to connect business networks over the internet in a secured manner so that they can be accessed from home. They have become popular not for this reason but other reasons. Typically, VPNs helps do the following:
- Hide your IP address as well as encrypt your internet connection thereby making your browsing activities private.
- Hide your location and internet activities so that you are not tracked especially when you are on public networks.
- They help you to use torrents safely and anonymously.
- They help you to get around online censorship so you can surf the internet without inhibition.
- They help to unblock streaming services like Netflix.
You can see more on what a virtual private network can do for you here https://www.pcmag.com/news/what-is-a-vpn-and-why-you-need-one.
Why You Need a VPN
As stated above, Netflix is a region-based service and maintains up to 34 separate region-specific listings. The service determines your location based on the IP address of your device. A VPN will help to hide your real IP address and will replace it with one from the VPN server location you choose. With this, you can begin to enjoy shows from that region.
In other words, if you are in the US and want to watch a UK show, simply choose the UK as your location. Your device will now have a UK IP address and this enables you to stream shows from Netflix UK.
How to Choose a VPN
When it comes to getting a VPN, you have many choices. You can create a VPN server by yourself or get one from the several hundred available for download. While you may require some technical skills to do the former, doing the latter is easier.
You simply go online, download and sign up for a VPN client based on your device type. There are apps for MAC, Windows PC, IOS and Android. With the availability of hundreds of VPNs, it can be difficult selecting one.
There are some pretty common ones available and they are usually paid versions. Some offer both free and paid versions but with fewer features when you are using the free version. Most paid VPN clients offer trial periods so if you change your mind, you can get your money back.
When choosing one, below are a few factors to look out for.
- Get one that works with Netflix.
- Choose one that has servers in the countries you like to switch to.
- Fast download speeds
- Strong encryption
- Allows multiple connections
- Has great customer support
- Compatibility with different platforms and devices.
- Honest private policies.
You can take advantage of the free trial period to assess and test the service before settling on a VPN provider. If you are not satisfied, simply get a refund and try another provider. You can check out this FastestVPNGuide’s how-to guide to learn more about choosing the best VPN.
Steps to Switching Your Netflix Region
- Choose the appropriate VPN.
- Install the client on your device. If you have more than one device for accessing Netflix, then you need to install it on each one. This is why it is good to select one that is cross-platform and compatible with several devices.
- Connect to a server by selecting the country you like to switch to. Some providers have servers that are specifically for Netflix. You can use these instead if your VPN has this feature.
- Go to Netflix and the contents available to you will be from the country you selected. You can then binge as much as you want.
What About Free VPNs?
You can use a free VPN service to switch your Netflix region but there are several challenges to doing so. Netflix frowns at using a VPN to connect to their service and therefore has systems that detect and block VPNs.
Virtually all free VPNs are blocked by Netflix. This implies that you cannot connect using this method. Does this mean all free VPNs are blocked? No, it does not. You may still be able to access the streaming service with some.
The next challenge is that free VPNs come with restrictions on data. You will likely exceed your data limit before you finish watching the show and without data, you cannot continue watching. If you find a VPN provider without a data cap, there is the likelihood that you will get a poor experience. This is because they will have overloaded servers.
There are also privacy and security issues you need to be wary of. You should ensure that you do some research before you use any free VPN service. You will find the advantages and disadvantages of using a free VPN in this article.
Binging on Netflix is fun but you can take this to another level by expanding your options. While ordinarily, the streaming service will not allow you to do so, you can circumvent this with a good VPN.
As much as possible, ensure to use a paid VPN version. This will give you peace of mind and you can avoid any issues.
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