Want to Change your Netflix Region? Here’s How without a VPN
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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.
Drawbacks of Using a VPN
Perhaps this is slightly unfair, these are not really drawbacks but simply feature of using a VPN. However, it’s true there are certain situations where a VPN can cause a few issues especially if your sole reason of using one is to watch something like Netflix or another media channel online.
VPNs Affect all Traffic
When you enable a VPN connection then by default all your traffic is routed down the Encrypted tunnel of the VPN. This ensures that all your traffic is secured but it can cause a few problems. For example, you might find you get problems with other applications of websites if the VPN connection is in another country. A US resident might use a UK VPN to watch the BBC but find many of their normal US sites blocked because of the UK IP address.
VPN Services require a Client Component
Basically you need some software to connect to the VPN server. This is usually provided directly from the VPN company who customize the software to make it simple to use. Although, many operating systems like Apple include a VPN component which you can use to establish the connection. Finally, there are a number of free VPN client programs which you can install too which can be used to connect to your chosen service. Note – the VPN software is free but usually doesn’t include a VPN network to connect to.
The problem with this requirement is that many devices won’t support or allow you to install this software. For example, you probably won’t be able to install software directly onto a smart TV or a media streaming device like a Roku. This means that it’s more difficult to use a VPN with one of these devices.
Can I change Netflix country without VPN?
The simple answer is YES, you can change your Netflix region using something called Smart DNS. This allows you to hide your location but only for specific sites which the service is configured to support.
It won’t route your entire connection through a third party server just enough to hide your location and it only become active when you connect to geo-blocking sites. We’ll explain how in the following sections.
Learning How to Change the 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.
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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 iPad’s 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.
How to Trick Netflix Region with Smart DNS
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.
Smart DNS – Simple Alternative to VPNs
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 will lose the protection of the encryption as Smart DNS provides virtually no security. It’s basically designed to bypass geo-blocks and therefore doesn’t need to encrypt the connection.
Smart DNS is Fast
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.
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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.
FAQ – Additional Questions
This post is many years old and has been updated lots of times. Over the years we’ve had quite a few questions by email and directly through comments. Here we attempt to answer some of these questions –
How Do I Change Netflix Payment Country?
Many of the paid services which use geo-blocking to restrict access from specific countries also check the payment method too. So if you try and pay for a US only service with a French credit card you may get blocked too. Neither a VPN or Smart DNS will help you with this as they do nothing to change the payment method. You’ll either need a card linked to that country or you can buy single use gift or debit cards using another payment method.
Fortunately with Netflix you don’t need to worry about this as the service is supported globally irrespective of where you subscribed. The region changes with where Netflix thinks you’re physically located not the country where your subscription is linked to. So you can subscribe to Netflix in your home country and then use a VPN to switch.
Is the VPN Server Location Important?
If you’re sticking with VPNs then the location of the server you connect to is vital. Wherever it is located will be your apparent location – so for US Netflix you’ll need to either be in the US or connecting to a US VPN server.
Most of the larger VPN services have large server networks included in the basic subscription. Remember to access a UK blocked website or service you’ll need a UK VPN, a French service a French VPN and so on.
What’s Best to Change Netflix on Gaming Consoles?
You can’t use a VPN directly on a gaming console as it won’t support the VPN connection software. So your easiest option is to use Smart DNS and then change your DNS servers in the network settings.
If you want to use a VPN on devices like this, you’ll need to install the VPN on your router or switch. This will then affect all the devices connected to that gateway. Many routers support VPN client connections but not all so check first.
7 thoughts on “How to Change Netflix Region Without VPN – Switch Country to US”
Can you change to any country’s version? I’d love to watch the anime on Japanese Netflix?????
Unfortunately not, I don’t think there’s anyone who offers a Japanese VPN/DNS that works with Netflix anymore. This just works with the US version of Netflix, if anyone knows one that does work post it up please. You can access most other sites in Japan though and some with Anime – get the free trial and try them out.
Some good news if you want to access the Japanese version. NordVPN seems to be working now, I’ve used it to watch Japanese Netflix this week without problems. Don’t use the autoconnect feature, just pick a Japanese server at random and save to your favorites if it works ok for you. Their latest deals are at http://bit.ly/nord-discount , no idea how long it will work with the Japanese Netflix but works at the moment.
Excellent post from you, man! So I can change my Netflix subscription on any device with this??? Sure it works ??
Yes you can change it to the US version instead of getting the version where you’re located. It’s way better than most regions. It does work however on a few devices they don’t let you use custom DNS settings – e.g the Roku and Nvidia Shield are two examples. You can get these to work but it’s a bit trickier as you have to enable on the router instead. Works on a PC/laptop/mobile phone easily though. Just give it a go ,the trial is absolutely free for two weeks and they don’t even ask for payment details.
welshexpat, thank you for your blog post.Really thank you! Awesome.
You’re welcome Tony !