Netflix is huge in the UK. Recent research found that 29% of British adults were watching content on Netflix at least once a week. In the 15-34-year-old age range, the figure was 54%.
Netflix has officially become the sixth most-watched channel in the UK, after the five established free-to-air terrestrial channels.
But while Netflix is popular, many British users still look enviously at their friends across the pond because the American Netflix service offers substantially more content than its British equivalent.
Research conducted last year found that US Netflix carried around 500 more movies than its British equivalent and 10% more TV shows. They also found that 37% of the content on US Netflix wasn’t available on British Netflix.
With monthly subscription costs coming in at roughly the same it is little wonder many Brits and US expats are keen to access US Netflix in Britain.
It can be done, with a little help from a VPN. And in this article, we are going to show you everything you need to know to watch American Netflix in the United Kingdom.
Quick Start Guide: How to Watch American Netflix in the UK
Before we dig into the details of the how and why, let me give you a quick start guide on how to get American Netflix in the UK in under 5 minutes.
Quick Step-By-Step Guide:
- Sign up with a VPN provider that supports unblocking US Netflix.
- Download and install the VPN app to your device.
- Launch the app and sign into your new account.
- Connect to an American VPN server location.
- Open the Netflix website or launch the Netflix app.
- Watch American Netflix from the UK.
It’s as simple as that. Keep reading to learn more and find out what VPN works best for US Netflix.
Why Is American Netflix Different From UK Netflix?
It’s a good question and it all comes down to the issue of rights. Netflix has to buy up the rights to all of the shows streamed on its platform that it doesn’t make itself.
The producers of these shows sell of the rights to different countries at different prices to maximize their profits and Netflix are rarely the only bidders. Much as they would love to stream every show in every country, they don’t always win the rights. This means they can only show some shows in certain countries.
The result is that every Netflix service is different. There are a lot of movies and TV shows that are available on American Netflix but not British Netflix.
This includes movies like The Bucket List, some of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and classics like Dead Poets Society. American Netflix also has excellent TV shows like Grand Designs, Cheers, Frasier, The Inbetweeners, The Office (US) and Parks and Recreation.
You can see what other shows you are missing out on in the UK here at unogs.com.
Why Can’t I Access American Netflix in the UK?
Netflix is prohibited from streaming shows in countries where it doesn’t hold rights. To try and enforce this, they use something known as geo-blocking.
Geo-blocking involves Netflix checking the IP Address of every visitor to their site. An IP Address is the equivalent of the home address of your computer.
By checking your IP Address, Netflix can see if you are located in the UK. If you are, it will only allow you to access the British version of their service. It is a simple but effective technique.
How Can I Get Around Netflix Geo-Blocking?
Geo-blocking might be simple, but it is also easily evaded too. All you need to get around Netflix geo-blocking is a VPN.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is an online security and privacy tool that is growing in popularity around the world.
The way a VPN helps to protect online privacy is by redirecting your internet traffic through its own network of international servers. When your data passes through these servers, it is tagged by the IP Address of the VPN server. This replaces your own IP address.
This is great for online privacy and has one huge added benefit. Using a VPN can make it appear as if you are connecting to the internet from a different country.
VPNs have servers located all over the world and almost all offer multiple servers in the USA If you want to watch US Netflix in the UK, all you have to do is sign up for a VPN, connect to a server in the USA, and then log onto American Netflix as usual.
Doesn’t Netflix Block VPN Users?
It certainly tries to. Netflix found that rights holders were getting increasingly unhappy at people using VPNs to access US Netflix from other countries.
Netflix needs to keep these people from seeing shows they shouldn’t, so back in 2016 when they announced their massive global expansion, Netflix also confirmed that it would be investing significant resources into blocking all VPNs from using their service.
Several VPNs have worked hard to mask or change their IP Addresses and they have continued to be able to unblock Netflix successfully.
All of those that still work with Netflix are premium VPNs. There are a lot of free VPNs on the market, but none of these will work with Netflix. Premium VPNs charge a small monthly subscription fee, but for Netflix fanatics, it is an extremely good investment.
What Is the Best VPN to Watch American Netflix in the UK?
Our extensive testing has put all of the top VPNs through their paces to see which is best at unblocking American Netflix in the UK We found that there was one VPN that consistently outperformed all of its rivals.
That VPN was ExpressVPN.
There were several things which we found made ExpressVPN stand out from the pack:
- Fast Connection Speeds: Streaming Netflix content uses a lot of bandwidth and the distances between the UK and the USA can slow things down even more. It is therefore vital that a VPN offers fast connection speeds to ensure you don’t encounter buffering and other issues. ExpressVPN is quite simply the fastest VPN on the market.
- US Servers: To connect to American Netflix from the UK, you will need a good selection of US servers. ExpressVPN’s is among the biggest with hundreds of different servers available in 32 different locations across the US. From the UK, we suggest choosing East Coast locations for the best possible speeds.
- Unblocks US Netflix: ExpressVPN is still able to unblock Netflix. We tested multiple servers from the UK and only encountered a couple that didn’t work. ExpressVPN knows this can happen and suggest simply trying a different server. It never took us long to find one that worked.
- Strong Encryption and Privacy Protection: Netflix doesn’t like you getting around their VPN ban so you should be looking to find a VPN with strong security and privacy protections to stop them from finding out. ExpressVPN is excellent on both fronts. They offer 256-bit AES encryption as standard and a no user logs guarantee that is absolutely watertight. This means there is no chance of Netflix ever spotting that you are using a VPN.
- Cost Effective: There are cheaper VPNs on the market than ExpressVPN but none that offer such great value for money. Their speeds and efficiency are a cut above the rest and more than justify the slightly higher price. They do also offer a fantastic 30-day money-back guarantee so if you are not completely satisfied, you can get every penny back.
There is plenty of reason to want to watch American Netflix from the UK. You might want to see more movies and TV shows, or you might be an expat wanting to access your subscription from back home.
Whatever the reason, it is easy to watch American Netflix in the UK if you use a VPN. ExpressVPN is the best one to choose, so give it a try and let us know your experience.