In this guide we’re going to show you how to change your Netflix region and safely access all Netflix libraries from anywhere in the world. We’ll go over what it means to change your Netflix region, the reasons you might want to do so, and why you need a VPN to do it. We’ll also give you short descriptions of three VPNs that are ideal for watching Netflix content from different regions.
But let’s start at the beginning with the answer to a frequently-asked question:
What are Netflix regions?
A Netflix subscription allows you to connect to their servers and view content virtually anywhere in the world. However, that doesn’t mean that you can view any Netflix content from anywhere in the world. Netflix divides the world into regions.
Each region has its own library of available content. And each library has region-specific content available. For example, the US Netflix library has content specifically-selected for a US audience. It is usually in English. The Mexican Netflix library has a different mix of content (selected for a Mexican audience) and is usually created in, or translated to, Spanish.
The libraries also vary in the number and quality of TV shows and movies that they contain. This table illustrates some differences by country with the total number of Netflix films and TV shows.
When you log into Netflix, their system figures out which region you are in and gives you access to that region’s library. To do this, Netflix looks at the IP address of your computer. Among other things, the IP address indicates your approximate geographic location.
Normally, this won’t be a problem for you. But there are a few situations in which you would want to change your Netflix region.
What does it mean to change your Netflix region?
When we talk about changing your Netflix region, we’re not talking about somehow subscribing to Netflix in some other country. What we are talking about is making Netflix think you are physically located in a different Netflix region so you can get different content by viewing that region’s Netflix library.
Do you need to purchase more Netflix subscriptions to access different regions?
No, you do not need to purchase multiple Netflix subscriptions to access different regions.
You only need one Netflix subscription to access any region in the world. The catch is unblocking these different regions from anywhere in the word, which is also easy to do with the right tools.
Why would I want to watch Netflix in a different region?
There are a few reasons you might want to watch Netflix in a different region. They include:
- You want to view content that isn’t available in your home region / library
- You want to view content from your home library while you are physically outside your home region (such as watching your favorite Netflix shows while on vacation overseas)
These reasons look very similar, so let’s examine an example of each. When we talk about your home region, we mean the Netflix region in which you signed up for a Netflix account. If you signed up for Netflix from your home in Houston, Texas, then your home region is the United States.
When we talk about your home library, we mean the Netflix library associated with your home region. So if your home region is the United States, your home Library is the Netflix US library. But recall from above, you are not necessarily limited to your home library.
You want to view content that isn’t available in your home region / library
Let’s say your home Netflix region is the United States. Your home library is huge, giving you access to a massive amount of content, but even here you don’t get access to all the content in the world. Some TV shows and movies are simply not available in this library.
You might be sitting in your living room with an urge to watch Doctor Who, so you log into Netflix. Because you are physically located in the United States, your IP address reflects that, and Netflix automatically connects you to the Netflix US library. Unfortunately, this library doesn’t include that TV show. If you want to watch Doctor Who, you will need to do it from a different region that offers the show.
You want to view content from your home library while you are physically outside your home region
In this case, Netflix is preventing you from viewing content in your home library that you would be able to watch if you were at home. Let’s say that you are a Netflix US subscriber who happens to be on vacation in Cabo San Lucas on the Mexican Riviera, but want to watch your favorite Netflix series. If you try to log into Netflix from your computer, you will have no problem… except that you only have access to the Mexican Netflix library.
Why? Your current IP address indicates you are physically located in Mexico, so Netflix connects you to the Mexican library. If you want to watch content available in your home library, you will have to convince Netflix you are in your home region, not your current physical location.
In either of the above examples, the solution is the same: use a good VPN for Netflix.
Why a VPN is the best tool to change Netflix regions
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is designed to protect your privacy while online and also unblock websites. Fortunately, the same trick that a VPN uses to protect your privacy can also make Netflix think you are somewhere you are not. Here’s how that works.
All messages sent through the internet include the IP address of the sender and the recipient. As you recall, Netflix looks at the IP address in your messages to know which Netflix region you are located in.
When you use a VPN to connect to a website (Netflix, for example), all message traffic passing between your computer and that website goes through a VPN server. Among other things, when a message from your computer arrives at the VPN server, your IP address is replaced by the IP address of the VPN server. This makes you appear to be in the same location as your VPN server.
Now imagine that you are logging in to Netflix through the VPN. When you are connected to a VPN server in the UK, you will be able to access the UK Netflix library — assuming you are using a good VPN that works with Netflix. This is the trick for easily changing Netflix regions from anywhere in the world.
Note: While working on this guide, it appears that Doctor Who has (temporarily?) disappeared from Netflix. No word on when/if this all-time favorite will return.
Unfortunately, Netflix knows that people will try to do this, so they try to find and block the IP addresses of VPN servers to keep you out. There is an ongoing battle between VPNs and Netflix, with only certain VPNs being able to reliably connect you to the Netflix library of your choice. This is why it’s important to choose your VPN carefully.
We’ll tell you all about the three best VPNs for viewing Netflix content based on our monthly tests. But first, let’s walk through the process of changing your Netflix region with a VPN, and an easy way to tell if you have successfully connected to the regional library you are targeting.
How to change your Netflix region with a VPN
The actual steps to changing your region with a VPN are simple. Here we go:
- Download and install one of our recommended VPNs (see below).
- Launch the VPN and log into your VPN account.
- Select a VPN server in the region you want to change to and connect to it.
- Launch Netflix and log on as normal. You should be automatically redirected to the Netflix site that corresponds to the region the VPN server is located in.
Assuming all went well, you will now have access to the Netflix library in that region. This will be especially useful if you are running a Chromecast Netflix setup.
How to confirm that you were able to change Netflix region
If you complete the preceding steps with one of the VPNs we recommend at the end of this article, you should be connected to the correct library with access to all its content. You can’t always be sure at first glance. If virtually the only thing you see is Netflix Originals content, you probably don’t have full access.
Your best bet is to simply search for whatever it is that you wanted to watch. We’re assuming you chose to switch regions because you wanted access to specific content. If you can find it after following the steps above, you’re done. Sit back and enjoy the show!
What makes a good VPN for changing Netflix regions?
To be good for changing Netflix regions, a VPN needs a few characteristics:
- It must be able to unblock the most popular Netflix libraries (of course!).
- The VPN also needs to be fast enough to stream HD-quality or higher video content.
- It needs to have reliable VPN apps for the most popular operating systems and devices.
- And finally, it needs to provide 24/7 live chat support to deal with any connectivity problems.
We’ve tested all the best VPNs on the market. When we considered the characteristics above, we found three VPNs that consistently and reliably unblock Netflix regions. The three winners are:
We will now examine the top three best VPNs for changing Netflix regions. At the end of each VPN overview, you will find a link to our full review of that VPN.
1. NordVPN for unblocking Netflix regions
|Logs||No logs (audited)|
|Support||24/7 live chat|
NordVPN is a great VPN for this task, as well as our #1 pick for best VPN overall. It easily unblocks key Netflix regional libraries around the world without any hassles or complexity. Simply log into any NordVPN server in the region and you are ready to go.
One reason NordVPN is so great for this use is that its apps have built-in SmartPlay technology. SmartPlay is a mix of VPN features and Smart DNS. SmartPlay takes all the work out of connecting to any of the 15 Netflix libraries NordVPN supports.
Note: If you want more details on how NordVPN work with Netflix, you can get them on this NordVPN support page.
Netflix does sometimes manage to block one of NordVPN’s servers, as you will find with any VPN service. But no worries, because you will have over 5,400 other servers to choose from all around the world, and NordVPN is constantly update the network. NordVPN also provides 24/7 live chat support that can help if you face any difficulties.
Once you are connected, you will appreciate the fast that NordVPN is the fastest VPN we have ever tested. They have rebuilt their entire network with work on a custom implementation of the WireGuard VPN protocol. WireGuard is extremely secure and super fast, making for a great streaming experience. NordVPN even outperformed ExpressVPN in our NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison.
You will also appreciate that NordVPN has apps for all the major operating systems, devices, and all sorts of other stuff (like VPN routers) too. These apps are easy to use, reliable, private, and secure. Potent privacy features include a no-logs policy, ad and malware blocking with their CyberSec feature, and conversion of 100% of their VPN servers to diskless operation.
As mentioned earlier, their network is huge, with over 5,400 VPN servers deployed across 59 countries. As of early February 2021, NordVPN works with the Netflix libraries in 14 countries. For a current list of the supported regional libraries, check out this support page.
All NordVPN subscriptions come with a full 30 day money-back guarantee, which allows you to test the service risk-free. For the best savings on a NordVPN subscription, use the coupon below.
For more info and test results, you can also see our NordVPN Review.
2. Surfshark VPN to access Netflix regions
|Based in||British Virgin Islands|
|Support||24/7 live chat|
Surfshark is a low-priced VPN service that continues to grow in popularity. It is similar to NordVPN when it comes to their no-logs policy, quality apps, strong added privacy features (including diskless operation), and fast speeds. Yes, Surfshark now also supports WireGuard for industry-leading security and speed. While not quite as fast as NordVPN, Surfshark is significantly faster than virtually any other VPN today.
Surfshark also does well with privacy. It is a no logs VPN based in the British Virgin Islands. All Surfshark apps have a built-in leak protection with a kill switch to secure traffic at all times. They use strong encryption to secure traffic with an AES-256 cipher.
Surfshark also ranks as one of the best VPNs for all-around streaming. It is a great VPN for Netflix, with official support for 8 Netflix regional libraries. To verify that Surfshark works with the particular Netflix region you need, simply visit their website here and check with the live chat support.
Surfshark does a great job accessing Netflix libraries, and actually beats NordVPN here. Surfshark unblocks 18 Netflix regional libraries. They offer apps for all types of streaming devices and are one of the best VPNs for Firestick. In the screenshot below, I was using Surfshark to unblock UK Netflix from my location in the United States:
Surfshark has over 3,200 servers deployed in 65 countries around the world today. This gives you more than enough capacity to handle all your Netflix viewing needs, with a very fast and secure network.
Also like NordVPN, Surfshark has responsive 24/7 live chat support. The service really does give you a lot for your money, and has a 30 day money back guarantee.
What makes everything about this service even better is the fact that your subscription includes an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. Compare that to the 5 or 6 that most VPN services support. Then think about how many computers, smartphones and other internet-using apps you have around. If you have multiple family members working from home, you are probably already at or near the limit on simultaneous connections.
All Surfshark VPN subscriptions are backed up with a 30 day money-back guarantee. Use the coupon below for the best savings.
For the full story on this excellent VPN, check out our complete Surkshark review.
3. ExpressVPN to unblock Netflix regional libraries
|Based in||British Virgin Islands|
|Logs||No logs (audited)|
|Support||24/7 live chat|
ExpressVPN is the final VPN in our list for unblocking Netflix regions. This is a secure and reliable VPN service based in the British Virgin Islands. ExpressVPN has an excellent track record going back many years and continues to perform well against other services.
ExpressVPN offers great performance and support for a wide range of VPN protocols, including Lightway, which is a self-developed protocol that’s similar to WireGuard. And while it does offer above-average speeds, it’s not quite on par with NordVPN and Surfshark in the performance category.
ExpressVPN has many other excellent characteristics. They have a strong no-logs policy, and to the best of our knowledge, they have never been hacked or exposed user information to anyone, even legal authorities. Their apps remain private, secure, reliable, and easy to use. They can even support gaming consoles, making it one of the best VPNs for gaming.
Of our three picks, ExpressVPN has the greatest distribution of servers. In total they have 3,000+ servers deployed in 94 countries worldwide. While this may not make much of a difference in normal use, it does mean that they have servers in virtually any Netflix region you might want access to. To see exactly which countries they have servers in, check out the ExpressVPN server locations on their website.
To help keep your browsing activities private, ExpressVPN has built-in defenses that include Network Lock (their kill switch) and a private DNS. They also started the trend toward maximizing your security by rebuilding their network with exclusively diskless servers. Another point in ExpressVPN’s favor is their high-quality customer service team with 24/7 live chat support.
While ExpressVPN does not publicly list all supported Netflix libraries, we’ve tested numerous regions and found it to perform well. If you need access to some of the more exotic regions, you can simply check with support.
To learn more about ExpressVPN, read our complete ExpressVPN review.
Is it legal to change Netflix regions?
Yes, it is perfectly legal to use a VPN to access Netflix and view whatever region Netflix directs you to, based on your VPN server location. This means it is legal to change Netflix regions with a VPN, provided you are a paying Netflix customer.
However, you may not copy, share, or torrent copyrighted material that you access through Netflix. So long as you aren’t doing that, you will be fine. (See our best VPNs for torrenting to stay safe.)
Conclusion on changing Netflix regions and libraries
Netflix arguably provides the best streaming service, with the most content. But where you are located in the world determines what portion of this content you get access to. Changing your Netflix region is the way to get access to streaming media that you would otherwise be prevented from using.
To change Netflix regions you need to use a good VPN that consistently works with Netflix. In this article we talked about why this is so, and gave you short overviews of three VPNs that work for the task.
While our top recommendation here is NordVPN, Surfshark and ExpressVPN are also very capable of changing Netflix regions and delivering quality streaming content without problems.
Since all three of these VPNs offer 30 day money back guarantees, you can test any of them to see how the process works, without any risk.