For many of us a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an indispensable tool. For anyone who travels a lot, it’s certainly the only way that you can safely use the internet to do things like internet banking or checking your email. The simple fact is that doing anything remotely important via a hotel/cafe/airport etc Wifi access point is incredibly risky and will almost certainly eventually lead to you becoming a victim of cyber crime at some point.
Even the most vigilant individuals will have no idea who controls or operates these access points and whether they are properly secure. If you’ve ever tried to speak to the IT departments associated with even quite large hotel chains, you’ll definitely suspect that most are pretty insecure. As for that coffee shop or public access point in the airport – are there even any IT staff supporting them? Remember if anyone gets control of the access point (and it’s really not hard to do unless it’s properly secured) then they can intercept pretty much all your data – even the SSL secured traffic that you think is completely safe!
A VPN protects against all this, by encrypting all your data wherever you are. So even if the access point is being controlled by a group of cyber criminals or being run by someone’s best friend who ‘knows a bit about computers’ then you’ll know you’re safe to use it. Nowadays security is definitely not the biggest market for VPN services however – they are also used as a means for bypassing the various country filters that exist online. The anonymity that a VPN provides a method to bypass the Netflix region checker or access to sites like the BBC iPlayer which are only available in the UK.
Learning How to Change Netflix Region Without VPN
Of course the other big use of a VPN is to unlock all the blocked content which sits on the web. People use VPNs to access British TV from outside the UK, streaming directly through iPlayer or the ITV hub from anywhere in the world. Checking out their HBO or NBC account from outside the USA can also be done using a VPN as long as it’s got a US server to connect through to. In truth this is probably the biggest use of VPNs with many thousands using for this and accessing media sites like Netflix.
Now for PCs and laptops, using a VPN is pretty straight forward – you install some software which acts as the VPN client and it sits in your task bar. For other devices like iPads and smartphones it’s a little harder setting up the VPN client manually and enabling it whenever you need it. However nowadays we stream our media content to all sorts of devices including phones, games consoles, chrome books and media streamers to name but a few. The problem is that many of these don’t really support VPNs or even if they do it’s extremely complicated to get them running on them. So how do you unblock region locked sites like the BBC iPlayer, Netflix and HBO without using a VPN?
It’s actually easier than you think as you’ll read in the following section.
How to Unblock Netflix without VPN
IS it possible? How can you hide your location without using something like this? Well first of all lets rule something out and that’s proxies. They haven’t worked with any major media site for some time now. So although you can still find them online for nothing for bypassing region locks they’re not much use. For something like Netflix the choice however is even more restricted as they have been spending considerable resources to block people trying to bypass their filters and restrictions. At this point in the Summer of 2020 the vast majority of the VPN services don’t even work with Netflix.
I constantly check solutions and currently there’s only one service which has functioned reliably as a Netflix region changer and then only to switch to the US version.
Here’s the only current solution I could find and you can see it demonstrated briefly in the following video.
For those who don’t need the security of a VPN or have a device which won’t support one then Smart DNS is definitely the service you need. In some senses it works a little like a VPN by redirecting part of the connection through a third party server in the correct country. However it’s only part of the connection that is routed (just enough to hide your location) the rest takes place directly between the web server and the client device.
Now obviously you lose the protection of the encryption as Smart DNS provides virtually no security. However it also means that there’s little speed drop as most of the connection takes place as normal. Also it’s much easier to set up and requires no specific software component at all. All you need to do is to change your standard DNS servers for a Smart DNS one and the system will work as long as you have a subscription. The Special DNS server sits waiting for any connection to a geo-restricted web site before routing through the appropriate country. In all other instances it will function as a normal DNS server, resolving names and IP addresses as required.
So if you don’t need any security, and just want to watch things like the BBC, ITV, Hulu and Netflix then try Smart DNS out. There’s quite a few out there, but only one that currently can unblock US Netflix successfully and that’s below. What’s more you don’t have to pay a penny to try it out as they have a free trial if you go through the link below.
Please remember though that this software allows you to access Netflix in different countries but only to the US version. It’s not a complete Netflix upgrade, only For most this is probably fine as it has by far the biggest catalogue, but there’s currently no way to switch to other regions as far as I’m aware.
Update – Smart DNS Proxy now includes a VPN client which you can also try completely free of charge. However because of various updates, no VPN currently works with Netflix – indeed to access a Netflix US account you should stick with the DNS solution.