Netflix has different content libraries available depending on the country you are located in. For example, Netflix USA has over 6,000 titles available while smaller regions like Netflix Netherlands has under 3,000. This is due to the licensing agreements Netflix establishes with studios and distributors based on country.
Many people use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to change their Netflix country. By routing your internet traffic through another server in a different country, it tricks Netflix into thinking you are located there instead. However, using VPNs to access Netflix comes with a few drawbacks:
- Netflix is actively working to block most well-known VPN IP addresses and render them detected. When identified, viewers will get error messages instead of streamable content.
- Many free VPN services sell data about users and engage in unethical practices. Going with a paid VPN doesn’t completely eliminate privacy risks either.
- VPNs require running dedicated apps/extensions on each device which slow down internet speeds and can be difficult to set up properly across all hardware.
This is why alternative “geo-unblocking” solutions are worth considering instead for bypassing Netflix country restrictions legally and more seamlessly.
Using Smart DNS
One method gaining popularity is using Smart DNS proxy services to effortlessly change locations. Smart DNS works differently than VPNs by rerouting just your Netflix app traffic instead of all device internet connections.
How Does Smart DNS work?
When any device connects to Netflix, it first needs to convert the domain name (Netflix.com) into an IP address number sequence through DNS (Domain Name System) servers. These act like phone books that match domain names people type to the correct backend servers.
Smart DNS services operate private DNS servers that intercept your device’s domain name requests. When the DNS lookup for Netflix’s server address happens, Smart DNS identifies it and returns an IP located in another country instead of the actual U.S. IP. This routes only your Netflix connection through optimized international servers rather than your whole internet traffic.
Once your device gets the IP address belonging to the country you want, it opens the localized Netflix site. From Netflix’s perspective, your IP location appears as the country you want to access rather than your true location. No VPN required!
Pros of Smart DNS Over VPNs
There are a few advantages Smart DNS proxy services have over VPNs:
1. Superior streaming performance – There is no app or VPN client running that can slow down connections. By not routing ALL device traffic through intermediate servers, near-original internet speeds are maintained. Streaming qualityoutput is higher as a result.
2. Access across all devices – Smart DNS proxies only require changing network or individual device DNS server settings instead of installing apps. This makes setup easier across smartphones, media players, tablets, game consoles and many other unsupported VPN devices.
3. Does not get blocked by Netflix – VPN IP addresses are actively targeted and blocked via blacklists. Smart DNS IP addresses fly under the radar much more easily since only small amounts of traffic reach them. Outages are less likely.
4. Retains full internet functionality – Unlike VPN tunnels that disable or throttle certain types of traffic, Smart DNS allows full use of non-Netflix internet apps and services simultaneously without performance drops.
The main limitation is that Smart DNS works purely at the DNS lookup level rather than encrypting end-to-end traffic flows. Using VPNs are more recommended where complete traffic encryption is important. But for Netflix access specifically, Smart DNS serves the purpose smoothly.
Step-By-Step Setup Guide
The exact steps to configure Smart DNS settings for changing your Netflix region differs across devices and software. But the general process is:
1. Select and purchase a reputable Smart DNS service
The best Smart DNS providers for Netflix access with servers in over 190 countries include:
After registering an account with one, they provide custom DNS server addresses.
2. Change the DNS server settings on your device/router
On a router: Manually enter the provided DNS IP addresses from your provider in place of the default DNS numbers under your router’s internet or DHCP settings page. This changes DNS lookups for all devices connected to use Smart DNS.
On an individual streaming device/computer:
Go into your network adapter settings (varies by OS and device) and set the DNS servers manually to your provider’s IP addresses instead of defaulting to the home router’s DNS server records.
3. Refresh DNS and test new settings
Flush your DNS cache/reload for the changes to take effect immediately:
- Windows – Open command prompt and type “ipconfig /flushdns”
- Mac OS – Open terminal and type “sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder”
- IOS & Android – Turn your wifi Off and back On
Opening Netflix and checking their website URL after forcing the flush/renewal should display the new country specific site. Their library content when browsing now also matches this region indicating a successful change.
And that’s it! The process to start streaming Netflix content from other countries is straightforward using Smart DNS proxies. Changing locations only requires updating configurations rather than installing client VPN software.
Legality and Netflix’s Policies
When considering any method for accessing international Netflix libraries, an important question arises – is this legal? Netflix actively works to enforce geo-restrictions based on regions. So bypassing this goes against their policies.
Is it illegal then to stream restricted Netflix content?
- Currently there are no specific laws in most countries prohibiting consumers from circumventing Netflix geo-blocks for personal use. No legal precedent has declared cross-region streaming as direct copyright infringement either as long as individual accounts are paid for. Personal password sharing even across borders is generally not viewed as illegal file sharing.
- The area remains contentious – some major studios and license holders argue that geo-unblocking technically violates aspects of copyright treaties regarding territorial broadcasting rights. Certain copyright acts have gray areas around “rights of making available”. Educational, documentary and other public interest programming generally have fewer ownership constraints however.
In essence – accessing foreign Netflix content might not be outright illegal depending on jurisdiction and interpretation, but still contravenes Netflix’s acceptable use policies agreed to when creating accounts. Users undertake such actions at their own risk without guarantees against potential civil or criminal liability claims if pursued aggressively.
What action does Netflix take against region bypassing?
The most likely result Netflix deploys currently against suspected VPN/Smart DNS usage is blocking incoming IP addresses that seem to geo-hop across vastly different locations over short time spans.
Warnings may get displayed saying “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy”, followed potentially by suspensions or terminations of subscriber accounts if the circumventing continues. Reactivating service may require stopping usage of VPNs/Smart DNS services.
Less likely outcomes? Lawsuits against individuals have not happened yet unlike the aggressive targeting of various piracy venues over the years. However the space remains legally uncertain. As more titles get licensed exclusively in certain markets, studios pressuring for harsher geo-evasion penalties can’t get ruled out either.
Weighing the personal risks against convenience and cost factors around accessing global Netflix content warrants consideration before attempting to bypass their regional access policies.
Do other options exist besides VPN and Smart DNS services for opening international Netflix regions? Yes, but they generally prove less effective:
Connecting through public proxy servers to mask IPs rarely works to fool Netflix. The well-known anonymity focused services get identified and blocked quickly. Attempting with unreliable proxies risks account lockouts. Performance also takes a hit trying this route.
Mirror Sites & Modified Apps
Unofficial clone sites and hacked Netflix apps inappropriately distribute copyrighted programming against terms of service. Besides legal risks, malware dangers abound. User experience is also poor.
Cross-Border SIM Cards
Theoretically activating a foreign cellular data plan with SIM card purchased overseas should display that country’s Netflix. But roaming charges get extremely expensive fast. Cell carriers might foil this approach too.
Physically relocating your residence to another market naturally allows you to subscribe directly to that geographic Netflix region. But the financial costs and life disruption utterly outweigh the convenience factor long term in most cases!
The alternatives above generally prove impractical or too risky for frequent Netflix geo-blocking bypass needs. Masking your location using properly configured Smart DNS or VPN services remains the only usable options currently.
In closing – accessing the wider selection of Netflix programming available internationally often motivates attempts to bypass geographic access restrictions imposed on their platform. Changing locations via inexpensive Smart DNS services enable smoothly overridding limitations legally placed on content availability between regions.
Carefully researching proper setup using reputable Smart DNS companies facilitates safely opening Netflix libraries abroad with minimal disruptions to picture quality or internet speeds. Practicing reasonable consumption of exclusively overseas licensed titles avoids potential civil headaches.
Combining flexible Smart DNS technology with discretion around usage volumes ultimately empowers broader access to Netflix’s rich diversity of foreign entertainment. Enthusiasts in strictly geo-fenced areas can expand boundaries imposed by their locality’s more limited offerings. Effortlessly exploring new genres and shows enhances user experience.
However lingering in gray areas around actively contravening clear platform policies bears remembering. Future legal precedents and copyright holder opinions could shift. Weighing personal risks and ethical factors around undermining territorial media rights factors into each user’s decision calculus.
Proceeding safely through employing only reliable products and moderate viewing practices allows pragmatically expanding Netflix scope. Streaming beyond borders can responsibly widen entertainment horizons.