I remember ten years ago being extremely miserable and stuck in a hotel in Istanbul trying to find something to watch. It obviously didn’t help that I couldn’t speak Turkish and my hotel wasn’t one of those 5 star international efforts with loads of satellite channels. Spending evenings on your own in a very hot hotel room (crap air-con too) with nothing to watch but badly dubbed American sitcoms is not an experience I’d want to repeat too often. However those times have gone now, no longer do we need to rely on the hotel cable systems – with half decent Wifi you can take you entertainment with you – or can you? Unfortunately sometimes it’s not quite as simple as firing up a tablet, an iPad or laptop and connecting to your favorite media streaming service.
How to Watch Netflix Abroad
So why is it so difficult to actually watch things like Netflix outside your own country? Well although the internet seems pretty global and all encompassing, it’s actually pretty segmented and restricted. Take for example Netflix, my favorite streaming service – thousands of films and movies for a few pennies a month – certainly less than one pay per view film you’d get in a hotel, yet whether you can watch it depends on your location. That’s right your physical location determines two things with Netflix –
- Whether you can access Netflix at all
- Which version of Netflix you see.
The first point has improved greatly since the beginning of 2016 when Netflix launched it’s global service – covering about 190 countries, in fact you’d have to pretty unlucky to get nothing. However these services vary greatly depending on where you are, the best version of Netflix is the US one (by a long. long way) and some of the versions in smaller markets are pretty hopeless.
There is of course a work around that can either let you watch Netflix abroad or simply select which version of Netflix you want to access. For example if you’re in Spain and your half way through the box set of Lost (only currently available in the US) then it can be might annoying when you connect. There is a huge difference in the best and worst versions of Netflix which seems slightly unfair as the subscription is pretty standardized across the world. The solution is to use a VPN to hide your physical location, something that over quarter of a million Australians did for several years to watch Netflix before it was released there!
However although there are thousands of VPN services available some caution is urged here – Netflix has recently blocked access to all proxies and most VPN services.
Most VPN Services are Blocked By Netflix
They determine whether the IP address from the connection is from a commercial or residential location, anything from a commercial host (such as the data centers where most VPN servers sit) will get blocked. Netflix is the first big media site to do this, however it is extremely effective and most people found their Netflix access blocked instantly that they tried to use a VPN. They are of course, perfectly entitled to do this as although it’s perfectly fine to use a VPN buried in the terms and conditions of every Netflix account there’s some legalese about not using proxies and VPNs.
So if you want to watch a different version of Netflix or simply want to access Netflix abroad somewhere it is not available then you have to be very careful which VPN provider you use. At the time of writing there’s only a couple that still work including our friends Identity Cloaker who we recommend on this site.
They have introduced a special check when you use Identity Cloaker – as soon as you try and visit Netflix, the connection will be switched to a series of US servers with residential IP addresses. It works perfectly and is now the best VPN for Netflix available but is only currently available for the US version – so you’ll need to connect to one of Identity Cloaker’s US servers to watch Netflix abroad. It is hoped that it will expanded to other versions of Netflix but unfortunately these IP addresses are much more expensive than commercial ones, so I’m not sure if it will be currently viable. At the moment though wherever you are you can access the US version of Netflix using your Identity Cloaker subscription !!by