How to watch US Netflix in the UK - access content not available in UK

Netflix is one of the best TV- and movie-streaming services, but those in America get more and better content than us in the UK. That's not fair, but there is a workaround - for now. Here's how to get US Netflix in the UK on almost any device, including Xbox, PlayStation, iPad and Apple TV.

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Scroll down to see our full step-by-step walkthrough on how to get US Netflix in the UK. (See also: Best Blu-ray players 2016)

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Step 1 of 7:

How to get American Netflix: Summary

You can get American Netflix using a free VPN such as Hola, which fools it into thinking you are browsing from the US. Download Hola to your PC, laptop, phone or tablet, then open the app and choose to browse to Netflix.com. Sign in with your Netflix UK details to start accessing Netflix US content.

For now that's all you need to do, but there are fears Netflix will soon ban VPNs and proxies. Over the following slides we present our complete guide to accessing US Netflix from the UK.

Netflix announces VPN and proxy-blocking measures

Update 22 January: Following last week's news that Netflix would band UK users getting US Netflix using a VPN or proxy to "respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location", it now appears that the company isn't worried about subscribers abandoning Netflix as a result. In an earnings call on 19 January CEO Reed Hastings said: "I don’t think we will see any impact. We’ve always enforced proxy blocking with a blacklist. Now we’ve got an expanded and enhanced blacklist, so I don’t think we’re going to see any huge change."

The firm hasn't said exactly how it will block VPNs and proxies, but its blog post confirms that Netflix "employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are."

The BBC did something similar recently to block people from watching iPlayer outside the UK. And until add-ons like Hola! and VPN services work out how to get around the measures, you won't be able to use the tutorial below to watch shows and films in the UK which are only available on US Netflix or other countries.

The post 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.

Next Step »

Next Prev slideshow image

How to get American Netflix: Summary

You can get American Netflix using a free VPN such as Hola, which fools it into thinking you are browsing from the US. Download Hola to your PC, laptop, phone or tablet, then open the app and choose to browse to Netflix.com. Sign in with your Netflix UK details to start accessing Netflix US content.

For now that's all you need to do, but there are fears Netflix will soon ban VPNs and proxies. Over the following slides we present our complete guide to accessing US Netflix from the UK.

Netflix announces VPN and proxy-blocking measures

Update 22 January: Following last week's news that Netflix would band UK users getting US Netflix using a VPN or proxy to "respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location", it now appears that the company isn't worried about subscribers abandoning Netflix as a result. In an earnings call on 19 January CEO Reed Hastings said: "I don’t think we will see any impact. We’ve always enforced proxy blocking with a blacklist. Now we’ve got an expanded and enhanced blacklist, so I don’t think we’re going to see any huge change."

The firm hasn't said exactly how it will block VPNs and proxies, but its blog post confirms that Netflix "employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are."

The BBC did something similar recently to block people from watching iPlayer outside the UK. And until add-ons like Hola! and VPN services work out how to get around the measures, you won't be able to use the tutorial below to watch shows and films in the UK which are only available on US Netflix or other countries.

The post 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.

Step 2 of 7:

How to watch US Netflix in the UK: Step-by-step guide

Netflix is one of the best TV- and movie-streaming services, but those in America get more and better content than us in the UK. That's not fair, but there is a workaround. Here's how to get US Netflix in the UK on almost any device, including how to get US Netflix on Xbox, PlayStation, Apple TV, iOS, Android and other devices. See: 42 new Netflix films and TV shows for April and Netflix Original series list for 2015.

One of the most common complaints from Netflix customers here in Blighty is that we don't have access to the same amount of content that US-based users do – especially films. Competing streaming services such as, Amazon Prime Video, Sky's Sky Store and Now TV have swept up the rights to many films exclusive – including the whole of Warner Bros' new releases. See also: The 80 best movies on Netflix UK

Netflix US also gets TV shows earlier than we do here in the UK. You can watch cult favourites such as Mad Men and American Horror Story on Netflix US – but not on Netflix UK. Sometimes this is linked to content deals between US producers and UK TV channels that mean you can't see episodes until after they've debuted on UK – sometimes the reasoning behind this is unclear (like much of international content licensing). See also: Netflix vs LoveFilm Instant (Prime Video) comparison review: What's the best streaming service?

Step 3 of 7:

The oddity of licensing – coupled with that you essentially have an international subscription to Netflix rather than to Netflix UK – means what affects what you have access to is based on where you are, not where you signed up. This was brought home to me on a recent trip to the US. I opened my laptop in a hotel room in New York, logged on to Netflix and was greeted with a warm message welcoming me to the US and letting me know that things are different over there – though it mainly concentrated on ratings differences, which is good if you've got kids like me. A quick scroll down the homepage made what those changes were obvious – a heck of a lot of films that aren't available now I'm back in the UK. Bummer. (See also: How to watch The Open golf online.)

Well, kind of. It's very easy to get your hands on browser plugins that let you pretend you're in the US – which means you get the US Netflix content instead. This is officially naughty and almost certainly against Netflix's T&Cs, which says "You also agree not to: circumvent, remove, alter, deactivate, degrade or thwart any of the content protections in the Netflix service" - and could get you banned.

However, assuming you're comfortable with this, on the next slide we'll show you how you watch US Netflix in the UK. The workaround works only on PCs, Macs and Android tablets – not with the iPad, iPhone, PS3 or TV sets or services (for info on how to watch US Netflix on these devices skip to the last slide in this article).

Read: How to watch US Netflix on an Android smartphone or Tablet: Use a VPN to view US programs on you Android devices.

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Step 4 of 7:

Netflix's 'VPN ban'

Although updated back in January, it was only publicised in early April that Netflix had changed its terms and conditions. They now state "We may terminate or restrict your use of our service, without compensation or notice if you are, or if we reasonably believe that you are (i) in violation of any of these Terms of Use or (ii) engaged in illegal or improper use of the service."

This has implications on those using VPNs to 'virtually cross borders' and means you access US Netflix from the UK at your own risk.

The changes are likely to stop people viewing content in places for which Netflix doesn't own the rights. This could be because the legitimate content licencees are complaining: if Sky has paid for the UK rights to a movie you are watching on Netflix, Sky isn't happy.

In late 2014 Netflix told Engadget that it had not changed the way it handles VPNs. Our sister title PC World asked the company for further clarification, but has heard nothing in return. We have had no problems using a VPN as outlined below to access US Netflix from the UK. But, as we've said, you follow the tutorial below at your own risk.

How to get US Netflix in the UK using a VPN

Now you've read all the warnings, it's up to you whether you still want to watch US Netflix in the UK.

Assuming you do, the first step is to download the Hola unblocker browser plugin, which works with Chrome, Firefox or the Android OS. Here we've used Chrome.

Go to hola.org and click on Download. Install the plugin. If you're using Chrome, click on options (the three horizontal bars) then Extensions. In the Chrome web store, search for Hola Unblocker, and then click the Free button in the Extensions (NOT Apps) section of the results

Step 5 of 7:

Go to Netflix. Chance are, the plug-in will notice and either offer to switch you the US – or have done it automatically. Either way, you'll soon see a whole bunch of content that's technically off limits to those of us in the UK. If the connection doesn't work, click on the little icon at the top of your browser window and there should be an option to try another server.

Step 6 of 7:

If you want to go back to the UK Netflix – for example, to watch BBC content that's not available in the US – just switch off Hola and reload the page. Voila.

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Step 7 of 7:

How to get US Netflix on Xbox, PlayStation, Apple TV, iPad, Android and more

If you want to get US Netflix on your Xbox or PlayStation then you will need to fiddle with some DNS settings. If you head to the network settings of the console/device and manually configure the settings then you can enter a primary and secondary DNS (Domain Name Servers) numbers.

You can search the internet for these (they change fairly regularly) and DroidKit has a good list which you can try. They are free but get easily clogged up and slow and occasionally send you to someone's own site rather than Netflix in an attempt to sell you VPN software or worse.

If you fail to get any of the free ones working, or don't like the sound of it, then you can use a paid for service called Unblock Us. It costs $4.99 Canadian dollars per month but there's a free trial so you can test it out before committing fully. The server numbers you need are 208.122.23.22 and 208.122.23.23.

Unblock Us is compatible with various devices including games consoles, media streamers, Android, iOS and more. The site has good guides on how to change your DNS settings on specific devices.  If you encounter any problems try a simple reboot of your device which normally fixes things. See also: Netflix tips & tricks

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