Why Can’t I Watch My Regular Netflix Shows Abroad?

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If you ever went abroad and tried to watch Netflix at the end of a long day of sightseeing or business meetings, you probably noticed that some of the titles you regularly watch weren’t showing up. 

What was the problem? Did Netflix temporarily remove them from its platform while you were away?

No, it’s nothing like that. You simply lost access to your favorite shows because they weren’t available where you were currently at. If you don’t believe us, go ahead and use StreamCatcher. It’s an online tool from ProPrivacy that tells you where a Netflix title is available.

For example, if you look up Doctor Who, you’ll see that it’s only available in the UK.

Why does that happen?

We’ll tell you in this article. Also, we’ll show you how to bypass this annoying issue, and get access to any Netflix title you want no matter where you’re traveling.

Why Are Some Netflix Titles Unavailable Abroad?

Simply put, Netflix doesn’t have the licensing rights to stream those shows in certain countries. The thing is Netflix doesn’t own most of the content on its platform. So it licenses it from different third parties.

Unfortunately, Netflix often can’t get global licensing because the copyright holder sold the rights for different regions to different streaming sites and TV networks (probably because it’s more profitable that way).

Even if Netflix has the opportunity to buy global rights, they first need to see if it’s a worthwhile investment. Licensed content is a huge part of Netflix’s budget, so the company uses data mining to see how interest varies from country to country for the content they’re planning to license. If data shows that users in your country wouldn’t really watch it, Netflix won’t buy rights for your region.

Why Are Some Netflix Originals Unavailable Abroad?

Since Netflix owns the copyright, they should have no problem streaming them worldwide, right?

That’s correct, and yet shows like Orange Is the New Black or Lilyhammer are geo-blocked in some countries.

So what’s going on?

Well, here’s the thing – when those shows launched, Netflix wasn’t available in as many countries as it is today. In places where it didn’t offer its service, the company chose to sell the licensing rights for its shows to other streaming websites and TV networks. Now that Netflix is available there, it can’t stream its own shows because it doesn’t own the distribution rights. Netflix has to wait for them to expire, and try to buy them back, which can be a problem because:

  • The current rights holder could ask for absurd prices.
  • Data mining might show that there’s no longer enough interest for those shows in your country.

How to Unblock Netflix Abroad (Quick & Easy)

The solution is simple – just use a VPN. It’s an online service that lets you bypass geo-blocks by hiding your IP address. That way, Netflix can’t see what country you’re from anymore.

You just need to use a VPN server in the same country as the Netflix content you want to unblock, and you’re good to go. The site will think you’re physically based in that location, so it will redirect you to said country’s library.

You’ll need to use a good VPN, though. Netflix can easily detect VPN IPs, and redirect them to the Netflix proxy error.

The only way a VPN can avoid that is to regularly refresh its IP addresses (lease new ones, basically). Unfortunately, not all VPNs can do that fast enough – only a select few. 

To find out which ones, we recommend using StreamCatcher. It tells you which countries have a specific Netflix title, but it also recommends the best Netflix VPNs. And it does that by using ProPrivacy’s data (one of the leading VPN review sites on the web).

How Does a VPN Unblock Netflix?

Here’s a very simple overview that should make things crystal-clear:

  1. You download, install, and use a VPN app to connect to a VPN server (NOTE: the server has to be in the same country as the content you want to unblock).
  2. The app and the server establish an encrypted connection (any data passing through it can’t be monitored by anyone).
  3. When you visit Netflix, the VPN server will act as a middleman between it and your device. Instead of your connection requests taking this route Device ???? Netflix, they’ll take this path Device ???? VPN Server ???? Netflix.
  4. Because of that, Netflix thinks your requests are coming from the VPN server. Since connection requests contain IP addresses, Netflix will only see the VPN server’s IP address. Your IP remains “hidden” from the site.

And that’s about it. We know it sounds like a lengthy process, but it’s pretty much instantaneous. On your end, you’ll just pick the VPN server in the app, connect to it (should take one-two seconds at most), and start binging any Netflix content you want.

How to Optimize VPN Speeds for Netflix

VPNs will slow down your initial speeds, but it’s usually not noticeable. Still, if you already have low speeds (like 30 Mbps), it’s not uncommon to see your VPN speeds dip under 25 Mbps. That’s a problem because you need at least 25 Mbps to stream Netflix in Ultra HD.

If that happens to you, try these tips to increase your VPN speeds:

  • Use WireGuard, IKEv2, or L2TP/IPSec instead of OpenVPN. They’re more lightweight, so faster.
  • If you’re stuck with OpenVPN, use it over UDP instead of TCP. It’s faster that way.
  • Connect to nearby servers. If you’re in Asia and want to unblock Netflix US, use servers on the West Coast instead of the East Coast.
  • Use wired connections instead of WiFi. A weak WiFi signal can really tank your VPN speeds.

How Do You Unblock Netflix Abroad?

Do you use VPNs, or did you find other methods to bypass the site’s geo-blocks? If you did, please tell us about them. Oh, and don’t forget to mention how efficient they are!