Why Can’t I Access Netflix Abroad?

words Al Woods

Netflix is a true trailblazer in the entertainment space, having been one of the first companies to recognise the immense potential of delivering a video-on-demand model through a monthly subscription service.

Since entering the market in 2007, Netflix has seen its revenue peak above $26.7 billion (as of 2021), while the total number of subscribers now exceeds an impressive 214 million.

However, there may be rare instances where you’re unable to access your Netflix account overseas, while the media library made available by the platform varies from one country to another. We’ll explore this in further detail below, while asking how using a VPN for your PC could provide a solution.

Access Netflix Abroad

Using Netflix When Overseas – The Key Considerations

Before we delve into how you can access your Netflix UK content while overseas, it’s important to define the most common issues that you’re likely to experience.

For example, it’s highly unlikely that you won’t be able to access Netflix at all in your destination country.

The reason for this is simple; as Netflix is currently available in approximately 190 countries across the globe, while there are only 195 nations and jurisdictions that have been officially recognised (excluding Taiwan, the Cook Islands and other regions that aren’t classed by the United Nations as being self-governing).

While you’ll most likely be able to access some iteration of Netflix content overseas, this doesn’t mean that your UK library will be available in your destination country. So, when you first log into your Netflix account once you’ve landed, you may see a much changed and smaller selection of programs on offer.

Even those that you were part way through watching may simply have disappeared, making them completely inaccessible for the duration of your trip.

But why is this the case? Well, much of the programming on Netflix is produced by creatives who work outside of the streaming platform. So, many titles may be bound by individual licensing terms and broadcasting rights, making them inaccessible in a number of different countries.

Netflix manages this by offering country-based libraries and content that comply with local licensing rules, creating a different viewing experience depending on where you are in the world.

The good news is that this rule doesn’t affect Netflix originals and content that has been produced in-house, which the streaming platform is legally allowed to broadcast across all of its 190 supported countries.

Access Netflix

Now for the Solution – Consider Using a VPN

In some cases, you may be perfectly happy with the Netflix library on offer in your destination country.

However, if you’re part way through an exciting series or find yourself unable to access any iteration of Netflix when you land, you may be able to resolve the issue through the use of a VPN.

A VPN describes a ‘virtual private network’, and it works by creating a private network through a public Internet connection. This masks your device’s IP address to maintain online privacy and anonymity, while enabling you to access content that may not have been previously available in your destination country (such as the UK Netflix library).

It works by routing all your data traffic through an encrypted virtual tunnel, making your computer’s IP address invisible to everyone when using the Internet.

So, by completing a free VPN download for your PC, you can create a scenario where Netflix thinks that you’re still in the UK and enables you access your full account and library of titles.

The Last Word – Downloading a VPN on Your Device

There are many factors to consider before finding and downloading your chosen VPN, particularly in terms of pricing and device compatibility.

Usually, VPN operators like Surfshark will offer flexible pricing packages, including monthly and annual subscriptions that start from around $12.

This type of flexibility is key, as it allows you to tailor your subscription according to your usage. So, if you simply want to utilise a VPN to watch UK Netflix over the course of a two-week holiday overseas, you can pay a single monthly subscription before cancelling once you’ve returned home.

For those who travel more regularly as part of their work, an annual subscription may offer a little more value, but you can compare the available pricing to find out more.

You may also be able to access a free trial in some instances, enabling you to test out the service and ensure that it’s right for you.

When it comes to device compatibility, you just need to ensure that your VPN provider allows downloads through the relevant operating system.

Most market leading providers will offer VPN downloads for Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, iOS and even Amazon Fire TV, but it’s always worth checking and ensuring that your device meets the minimum spec requirements before proceeding.

Finally, we’d recommend favouring VPN providers that maintain multiple servers in a large number of countries. The number of regional VPN server locations that an operator has is a significant consideration, as providers with narrow networks in a particular country may see marked drops in connection speeds from one area to another.

This could interrupt your Netflix viewing experience, so check out your VPN’s network scope before making your final decision!

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