Netflix is an awesome streaming platform, but did you know that it’s split into different content libraries? Yes, there’s actually one for each country.
Is this important?
For some of you, yes. Some country libraries have more content than others. The US, UK, and CA libraries are at the top right now with nearly 6,000 titles. If you’d like to see more about which countries have which titles, follow that link. It’ll lead you to StreamCatcher – an online tool from ProPrivacy that shows you where Netflix shows and movies are available.
For example, if we look up The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, we can see that it’s only available in 14 countries – even though Netflix is available in over 190 countries.
Not fair, is it? You’re mostly paying the same money as everyone else, and aren’t able to watch whatever you want.
Why does Netflix do that, though?
We’ll take a look at that in this article. Also, we’ll tell you how to easily and quickly unblock any Netflix titles you want.
So What’s the Deal with Different Content Libraries?
Here’s the thing with most of the shows and movies you see on Netflix – they’re not owned by them. Netflix actually has to buy licensing rights from the copyright holders to show that content on their site in different countries.
They usually try to get global rights, but that’s not always possible. Here’s why:
- The copyright holders sold the licensing rights for different countries to other streaming sites and TV networks. So Netflix might have the right to show Dexter in the US, but Sky Go has the right to stream it in the UK.
- Netflix’s data mining shows that people in your region aren’t interested in certain shows. Since licensing content is a huge expense for Netflix, they can’t afford to invest in licensing rights for certain areas if they don’t pay off.
So because Netflix doesn’t have the legal right to stream shows in certain countries, it decided to split its site into different regional libraries.
How Does Netflix Control Which Libraries You Access?
It all comes down to your IP address. It’s not just a random number that lets you browse the web. It also tells sites what country and city you are from. Because of that, Netflix knows which regional library to redirect your connection to.
This process is called geo-blocking. If you’d like to understand it a little better, here’s a quick explanation:
- When you visit Netflix, you send a connection request which contains your IP address.
- Netflix checks your IP to see what country you are from.
- Based on that information, it redirects your request to your country’s library.
How to Bypass Netflix’s Geo-Blocks (3 Options)
Geo-blocking seems like a complex process (and it is to some extent). Despite that, there are three simple unblocking methods you can use to bypass it:
1. VPNs (Best Solution)
A VPN is an online tool that hides your geo-location by stopping sites from seeing your IP address. It does that by routing your traffic through a VPN server that sits between you and Netflix. In short, your connection will look like this:
You à VPN Server à Netflix
Due to that, Netflix thinks your connection requests are coming from the VPN server, not your device. Because of that, it only sees the server’s IP address.
So to unblock a Netflix title, you’d need to connect to a VPN server that’s in a country where it’s available. If we’d like to unblock The Tudors, for example, we’d have to use a US server.
Another cool thing about VPNs is that they encrypt your traffic. Basically, that means nobody can monitor it to see what you’re doing online. So your ISP can’t selectively throttle your bandwidth when you binge Netflix. On their end, they’ll only see you’re connected to the VPN and exchanging data with it.
Not all VPNs can unblock Netflix, though. The site can actually detect VPN IPs and redirect them to the Netflix proxy error page.
To avoid that issue, you need to use a VPN that regularly refreshes its IPs to avoid Netflix’s detection algorithms. To see more about those kinds of services, follow that link to use StreamCatcher from ProPrivacy. Besides telling you where certain Netflix titles are available, it also recommends the best Netflix VPNs for the job.
2. Proxy Servers
A proxy works similarly to a VPN – except it doesn’t use powerful encryption (or any at all). Another difference is that a proxy can save requested content (like a Netflix web page) on its local cache. When it does that, it delivers faster load times if said content is requested again (since it doesn’t need to forward connections to web servers anymore).
Just like VPNs, you need to connect to a proxy server that’s in the same country as the content you want to unblock (a UK proxy for UK-only content like Doctor Who).
Be sure to avoid free proxies, though. Not only do they have low speeds, but they also can’t bypass the Netflix proxy error all the time. So you only get intermittent Netflix access.
3. Smart DNS Services
A Smart DNS is an online service that helps your bypass geo-blocks by spoofing your geo-location. It doesn’t do that like VPNs and proxies, however. Instead, this is how it works:
- The tool tweaks your DNS settings so that you aren’t using your ISP’s DNS server anymore.
- Then, the Smart DNS routes your traffic through different proxy servers around the world.
- Finally, the service intercepts your DNS queries and erases any metadata that leaks your geo-location. Then, it replaces it with new data that is linked to a whitelisted geo-location (a country where the content is available).
Smart DNS tools don’t use encryption, so you can’t stop bandwidth throttling. On the plus side, that means your speeds don’t suffer at all.
What’s Your Take on Different Netflix Libraries?
Do you think the approach makes sense, or is it unfair to Netflix users? Also, which unblocking method do you like the most? Please let us know in the comments below.