Netflix is one of the most popular TV and movie streaming services around, but users in the US tend to get more content than us in the UK, sometimes getting the latest shows or films earlier than other territories. That might not seem fair, but there is a workaround.
The best way to get American Netflix in the UK is by using a VPN such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN, or one of the other VPNs listed in our best streaming VPN round-up, which fool the service into thinking you're browsing from the US. You can use the same technique to watch Hulu outside the US and BBC iPlayer abroad too.
- Download a VPN such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN to your PC, laptop, phone or tablet
- Open the VPN app and choose a US server
- Browse to Netflix.com and log in
We explain these steps in much more detail to help you through the process below. However, it's not guaranteed to work, and you should proceed with some caution. Read on to find out why and get more detailed instructions on how to get US Netflix in the UK. Also find out how to get Netflix on Sky Q.
Has Netflix banned VPNs?
For a long time, using a VPN was all you needed to do to watch US Netflix, but the company has begun blocking VPNs and proxies, so some might not work for everyone and may stop working in the future.
Netflix announced in early 2016 that it would prevent users from using a VPN or proxy to access content from another region, to "respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location."
Netflix has begun enforcing the ban on many popular VPN services, so they're having to continually determine workarounds. This means that the services mentioned in this article may temporarily stop working from time to time as Netflix catches up to them - there's no VPN that can guarantee to always give you US Netflix access.
Netflix doesn't say that people using VPNs or proxies will have their accounts banned, but only that they will be limited to watching content available in their own country.
This has implications on those using VPNs to 'virtually cross borders' and means you access a foreign Netflix service at your own risk - the company is unlikely to ban you or remove your account, but it does have the right to.
How to use a VPN to watch American Netflix
Now you've read all the warnings, it's up to you whether you still want to use a VPN to watch US Netflix.
Assuming you do, the first step is to download a VPN to your computer or device (some are browser plugins rather than apps, but they all work in very similar ways). We're using NordVPN as an example, but the steps will be similar for any of our recommended VPNs.
Go to NordVPN's website and click Buy Now. Normally, there are three versions available, and depending on which you choose it can work out as cheap as £3 per month. Note that you'll need to pay for the entire subscription upfront, so if you opt for two years it may end up close to £100 or more. This is the case for any VPN service you opt for.
Once you've signed up and downloaded and installed the app, you'll need to launch it on your computer or device.
Once the app is open, you'll need to connect to the country you're trying to trick Netflix into thinking you're in. In this case, you want to choose US. You can do so by navigating to the US on the Map view and choosing a pin in the US, but a simpler method is to click 'list' and choose US from there.
After a few moments, you should be connected. You can now browse to Netflix and you should find that you have access to the US content.
If you still struggle to get Netflix working, try choosing a different US server. It could be that one particular server has been recently blocked and NordVPN hasn't quite managed to fix it yet, but the company has technology working in the background that should prevent this from happening.
Using a VPN on a game console or smart TV
While most of the major VPNs now have apps for smartphones and tablets, as well as PCs and Macs, there are probably still some devices you use that aren't supported, like a game console or smart TV (though some VPNs do support those directly). Don't worry though, you can still use a VPN to watch foreign Netflix on them too.
The easiest way is simply to install your chosen VPN to your home router, which will run all of your internet traffic through the VPN. That means you can appear to browse from the US or another country no matter which device you use - though it also means you can't easily set specific devices to not use the VPN.
The way to set this up will vary depending on your VPN and your router, but generally you'll have to go into the web configuration panel of your router from a computer connected to it, and use your login details to connect to your chosen VPN. Check the support page for your VPN for more specific instructions.
Take a look at the articles below for further instructions on installing a VPN on your chosen device: