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access american netflix from ukA common complaint about UK Netflix (and it’s competitor LoveFilm, though I still maintain the selection and interface of Netflix is far superior Netflix Versus LoveFilm - The Battle Of The UK Movie Streaming Services Netflix Versus LoveFilm - The Battle Of The UK Movie Streaming Services With Netflix having recently launched in the UK, it looks like consumers are going to have to make a choice between the established Amazon-backed LoveFilm, and the newcomer Netflix. Which is the best? Let me... Read More ) is that the updates are so infrequent that the choice of movies quickly gets tiring. On the other hand, the flagship Netflix service in the US is immense and is regularly updated.

Today I’m going to show how you can get access to all the US movies through the use of a VPN. If you already have an existing UK Netflix subscription or you’ve been holding out because of the selection, this is an essential trick to make use of.

VPN, Eh?

We cover VPNs a lot here at MakeUseOf. It’s the safest way to browse anonymously online. You can read all about VPNs What A VPN Tunnel Is & How To Set One Up What A VPN Tunnel Is & How To Set One Up Read More here. Basically, it’s a way to tunnel your Internet connection through another country, thereby masking where you actually reside. If you have a VPN that connects you to the Internet via Sweden, any websites you visit will think you’re Swedish, and any site-blocking your own ISP has in place – like the Pirate Bay 5 Ways To Bypass The UK Pirate Bay Block 5 Ways To Bypass The UK Pirate Bay Block A recent UK high court ruling from a case brought by the British Phonographic Industry (the UK version of RIAA) means that The Pirate Bay is now inaccessible from many ISPs, with BT and remaining... Read More – won’t work. You’re free to do as you wish.

The best VPNs won’t even keep records, so when the authorities come knocking, they won’t be able to find you. A lot of people use them to get access to US-only services such as Hulu; it turns out the same trick will enable your UK-based Netflix account to access the entirety of the US Netflix content.

There is a small downside though – VPNs are a premium service, typically costing up to around $10 a month. It’s a small price to pay for complete online security and freedom, though.

In today’s tutorial, I’ll be using IP Vanish, but any premium VPN which lets you connect to servers in the US will work. Before you sign up to one, note that not all VPNs are created equal – those I previously mentioned such as BT Guard How To: Setup A Premium VPN Service For The Ultimate In Online Security [Windows] How To: Setup A Premium VPN Service For The Ultimate In Online Security [Windows] The online world is fast becoming a dangerous place. A premium VPN service is a small price to pay for the ultimate in online security, allowing you to both download what you wish and avoid... Read More , used to primarily secure your torrent downloading activities, typically won’t be based in the USA. If you’d rather not use IP Vanish for some reason, I recommend HideMyAss Pro.

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Set Up

I’m going to show you how to get this VPN set up for full Netflix access on four different devices – the iPad, the Xbox 360, and your regular Mac or Windows 7 PC. Each setup is unique, but first we need to get some basic information about the VPN server.

Once you’ve got a login and password for IP Vanish, head on over to the control panel here and check out the Server List. Look for the least used US-based server and note down the URL. In this case, I’ll go ahead with a Chicago server, at chi-a01.ipvanish.com

access american netflix from uk

iPad

Head into Settings -> General -> Network -> VPN. Tap Add VPN Configuration.

Change the VPN type at the top of the screen to PPTP. Although IP Vanish does allow you to use L2TP which is far more secure, our goal today is not security but speed, in order to achieve fast enough speeds for movie streaming.

Type a helpful description, then the Server field should be the URL of the US-based server you looked up before. The account field is your username, then obviously also your password. Leave everything else as default. Don’t forget to use your new password if you changed it when you first logged in; the one we initally sent you will no longer work!

access american netflix

Toggle the VPN to ON if it hasn’t automatically done that. Once it’s working, you should see a small VPN icon in the upper left that indicates you’re connected:

access american netflix

Go ahead and launch the Netflix app – and marvel at the incredible new library you just got access to.

access american netflix

Mac OSX

From the Network Preferences pane, click the small + icon in the list of interfaces to add a new one. Choose interface VPN, type PPTP, and name it appropriately. If you’d like your password to be remembered each time, do so by clicking Authentication Settings.

american netflix from uk

Click Advanced and check that Send all traffic over VPN connection is enabled.

american netflix from uk

It’s also a good idea to check off Show VPN status in the menu bar as it also gives you quick access to connect and disconnect.

american netflix from uk

Browse to Netflix via your regular browser and you should now have access to the full library.

Windows 7

IP Vanish supplies an application which you can download to make connections on Windows even easier and more efficient. However not all providers supply this so I’ll be showing you to set the VPN up manually. It’s not difficult by any means.

Start by typing VPN into the start menu search bar. There should be an option called Set up a virtual private network (VPN) connection appearing.

Fill in the details, with your account name (username) and server address, then your password on the following screen. Once done, you’ll connect instantly. To connect and disconnect in future, click the networking icon in the taskbar, where you’ll see all of your various connections listed.

Xbox 360

This setup is a little more tricky, as the Xbox 360 doesn’t have a native way to connect to a VPN like a PC or the iPad does. Instead, we’re going to need to go via your PC. This means your PC will need to be on whenever you want your Xbox to use the VPN.

In order to use this method, you’ll need two network adapters on your PC. If you connect to the Internet through Wifi normally, then you’ll need to be able to either create another virtual Wifi connection, or use some crossover cable for a wired connection to your Xbox. On the other hand, if you currently connect through a wired Internet connection, then you’ll need either another ethernet port and crossover cable for your Xbox, or a spare wireless connection to create a hotspot for your Xbox.

I found manually setting up an Adhoc Wifi connection to be too troublesome using the built-in Windows 7 wizard. You need to manually assign IP addresses on both the Xbox and PC side. Instead, I recommend you try either Connectify Pro ($29.95) Create Your Own Wi-Fi Hotspot With Connectify [Giveaway] Create Your Own Wi-Fi Hotspot With Connectify [Giveaway] Connectify turns your laptop into a personal wireless hotspot. Windows makes this possible, but makes you disconnect from Wi-Fi and connect with a wired connection to do it. We're giving away a whopping 25 Connectify Pro... Read More or the free Virtual Router software How To Share Your Windows Internet Connection With Any WiFi Device using Virtual Router How To Share Your Windows Internet Connection With Any WiFi Device using Virtual Router Read More Steve highlighted back at the beginning of 2011. Either way, you’ll want to set it up to share your VPN connection, with your Wifi.

If you choose to use a piece of crossover cable to create a wired connection, again you’ll need to manually set up IP addresses. We covered the process of making your own home network throughly in this 2010 article How to Build a Local Area Network Without a Router How to Build a Local Area Network Without a Router Read More . After you’ve completed this and each machine is able to see the other, the final step is simply to share the VPN connection. Do this from Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network Connection, then right click on your VPN connection and select Properties -> Sharing -> Allow other computers to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.

access american netflix from uk

You should now get full access to Netflix from your Xbox. However, because we’re going through a few different connections here, you may find performance is not good enough for HD movies. I don’t suggest using this connection all the time as your gaming pings will be terrible, too. Use a wired gigabit connection on all sides for best speeds.

Summary

I hope you agree this makes a Netflix subscription in the UK a lot more attractive. Enjoy your newfound access to all those great America-only movies and TV. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments or on the Answers forum and I’ll do my best to help!

Please, consider sharing this great Netflix trick with your UK friends too. We’d really appreciate it; and if you’re logged in to MakeUseOf, don’t forget you’ll get points everytime you share and comment!

  1. Zara Walker
    November 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Great article!

  2. chetan c
    November 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    very useful..will be nice to see how this compares to hotspot?

  3. Jennifer Sutton
    November 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    This is amazing - thanks for the step-by-step for those of us who are somewhat technologically challenged (when it comes to my new Ipad)

  4. Ryan
    November 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I'd recommend UnoTelly over IPVanish. They're cheaper and super easy to set up, especially for Apple TV users. http://www.unotelly.com/unodns/

  5. Mitch Dynomite
    November 1, 2012 at 4:35 am

    Thank you this article is extremely useful for those such as me who don't have the Netflix luxuries as they do in the US.

  6. Lucas Dagstråle
    October 29, 2012 at 2:53 am

    I can inform that it works for the Swedish Netflix aswell. :-)

  7. Jim
    October 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Anyone using an iPad, iPhone or Desktop Mac could purchase Netshade for ~$19/year. It's dead simple to use (you open it like an application), then open your browser and hey presto... hello Hulu, Netflix!!

  8. Keith D.
    October 25, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Good article. Me will have to attempt this feat!

  9. Ivano Vingiani
    October 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Great! I like Netflix but the movies' choice is really depressing...

  10. Casper Lind
    October 24, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Thanks for this awesome and helpful guide! :)
    Helped me alot. :)

  11. Ashley
    October 17, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    thanks Bruce.
    Anyway to set this up on smart tvs (Samsung etc)?

    • James Bruce
      October 18, 2012 at 7:37 am

      I don't think a VPN would work, but you should be able to use a replacement DNS service like Unotelly (http://www.unotelly.com/unodns/) which is faster anyway; you just have to adjust your network settings on the TV side, though I don't have a smart TV to test with I'm afraid.

  12. Paul
    October 7, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I've started using Unotelly since July when I learnt about it from a review you guys had. Excellent service, thanks for letting me know about it.

  13. Saul Small
    October 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    This is amazing

  14. Mark
    September 27, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Primary? DNS: 190.14.36.90

    Secondary DNS:? 109.123.111.24

    Enjoy! :D

  15. jediondito
    September 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Absolutely agree with Luis Gomez. In Colombia Netflix is full of soap operas and 80s movies. I have tried several DNS solutions and comparing to VPN in terms of speed they rock. Though with security concerns I tried the 7 day trial from unblock-us, zenok region-free and tunlr and none has disappointed me. Anyone has had experience with this kind of solutions?

  16. Lewis Martin
    September 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Awesome - thanks for the detailed article

  17. anthonymonori
    August 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Looking forward to use this, as Netflix comes to Denmark this year! I'm pumped!

  18. goingbananas
    August 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Hi, how could I make this work on the ps3?

  19. Dean Cooper
    August 6, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Fantastic, was getting pretty bored of the quite pathetic UK Netflix.

  20. Rob Long
    July 30, 2012 at 4:23 am

    Nice

  21. Paul
    July 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    What about http://unblock-us.com/ as a much simpler, faster and cheaper. Connection speeds are not affected either. I'm trying the servcie on a free trial and finding it very impressive.

    The bonus, for me, is by simply changing 2 settings in my wifi router I can view 'restricted' content on any device using my wireless signal or connected by ethernet - my xBox for Netflix and UK TV catchup. I can now access the US library from a UK subscription and watch UK catchup from my home in Spain - priceless!

    • muotechguy
      July 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks for the tip, though apologies, I removed your affiliate link.

  22. Sarah Bletcher
    July 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I'm sorry for all the comments but would this also help me download American only ebooks onto my iPhone?
    Thanks again!

    • muotechguy
      July 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      I believe it would yes, but you'd also need a legit American Amazon account; which I believe you'd need a credit card for.

  23. Sarah Bletcher
    July 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Metglix is far better than Netflix :)

  24. Sarah Bletcher
    July 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    This looks great, I've certainly watched a lot of drivel on Metglix!
    Could you possibly help with watching through a Wii?
    Thanks :)

  25. April Alboc
    July 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Yes, awesome. finally! this is what I've been looking for. Thanks James Bruce for delivering liberation. Ha!

  26. Shyam Sundar
    June 28, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Thanks for this awesome software! IPVanish rocks! :)

  27. BitMastro
    June 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    No android?

    • James Bruce
      June 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      I don't have an Android device, try this: http://strongvpn.com/setup_android_pptp.shtml

      • BitMastro
        June 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm

        Thanks!

        • Pierre C
          October 5, 2012 at 3:09 am

          I use the Strong VPN for Android in my Galaxy Note. Works flawlessly. With the L2TP version I can even get around the Great Chinese firewall (censorship). Form Canada I guess a PPTP would be good enough.

  28. Gary Callaghan
    June 15, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Awesome :) I've been looking for a decent VPN provider!

  29. Alan Judson
    June 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I'm from Canada, and I use the free "Anchor Shield", though it has many annoying pop-ups and in-browser ads. (download it from CNET.com)

    Is there an advantage of ipvanish over anchor shield?

    • muotechguy
      June 15, 2012 at 8:15 am

      I'm afraid I haven't tested Hotspot Shield, but it sounds like it runs a custom bit of software that also does malware protection. The advantage of ipvanish, other than no ads ofcourse, is that it's just a raw VPN connection; not limited to a specific device or with proprietary software.

  30. Gary Mundy
    June 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you. I am so looking forward to some new movies. This weekend.

  31. Tyler McMillian
    June 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Thank you!

    Great Article

  32. Dean Richards
    June 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you, been looking for a way to do this after the dns method stopped working.

  33. Rhys Davies
    June 14, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Great article really useful

  34. parkyerbike
    June 13, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Great article

  35. Tyler McMillian
    June 13, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Hello

    Would I be able to do the same thing from Canada?

    • muotechguy
      June 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      Absolutely! Sorry, thought we in the Uk were the only Netflix-oppressed country!

      • Jonathon Béasse
        June 14, 2012 at 12:00 am

        The selection of videos available on Netflix is pretty bad here in Canada. Having friends in the US talk to me about stuff they watch on Netflix usually helps prompts griping from me, haha.

        VPN looks like a good solution to enjoy more of a selection, and at a fairly decent price it seems.

        Awesome article, thanks!

        • Luis Gomez
          June 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm

          I live in Mexico, and Netflix just started here some 4 months ago. The selection is like being back to 2005.

        • Rob Long
          July 30, 2012 at 4:28 am

          That sucks! Yeah canadas is not the best but not that bad.

    • Rob Long
      July 30, 2012 at 4:27 am

      You sure could... it will mask your location, so you can get netflix (US) in canada who has greater selection of titles.

    • Chris Throup
      September 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      yes

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