While the traditional advice has been to use a VPN, you may be wondering if it's possible to change Netflix region without a VPN. The answer to that question is yes, it is possible. But it may require you to do a bit of work.
Indeed, being able to access content from other regions is quite interesting sometimes. Why should not we be allowed to check out some foreign movies or tv shows?
We've put together the information you need, so you'll know how to change Netflix region without VPN. Let's crack on, those box sets won't watch themselves.
How To Change Netflix Region Without VPN
What it boils down to, is that you need some kind of way to be able to access Netflix while pretending you are in another nation. You can do this by using services such as Smart DNS or Tor Browser.
Smart DNS works in a similar fashion to a VPN. It re-routes your connection through a DNS server in another country. This then makes Netflix think that the other country is where you are based, as that is where your request is coming from. One big difference with a VPN is that they don't encrypt your traffic, or hide your IP address. So it certainly doesn't offer all the benefits of a VPN.
A proxy server works in a similar fashion, by routing your traffic via a third-party server. This server then communicates with Netflix, so Netflix will base your location on the location of the proxy. As with DNS, this won't encrypt data. But it does mask your IP address.
There are two main types of proxy server - a web proxy, which you enter via website, or as a browser extension. Bear in mind that if a proxy server is described as 'transparent' or 'anonymous' then it won't do what you need it to. This is because it tells Netflix you are using a proxy server, which sort of defeats the purpose of using it in the first place.
A final option is to use the Tor browser. Tor is an open-source network that encrypts your connection, stops trackers from following you, and clears your browsing history automatically. The encrypted data passes through three different server - known as Tor relays - before going on to Netflix.
The result of this is that Netflix will base your location on the final server that Tor passes your data to. This is known as the exit node.
The major drawback of this system is that you can't select the exit node. This means you can't control what region you have access to, or guarantee it will have the content you were looking for. It's also quite slow, given how far the data has to travel.
There are also legitimate ethical concerns about using Tor to stream movies. The whole idea of Tor is that it operates as a non-profit to advance human rights. It's primarily aimed at supporting people who live in parts of the world where the internet is tightly controlled and censored. Which is considerably more important than watching a tv show.
Why Change Netflix Region?
If you get around certain licensing agreements, you might be able to access movies and TV shows you might want to watch. Often times, even in their original language so you don't need to worry about dubbing.
It's all to do with licensing agreements, which mean that certain content is restricted to certain regions of the world. We won't bore you with the details, mostly because we don't fully understand them ourselves. But it essentially boils down to who owns the broadcast rights for that content in different parts of the world. And if Netflix doesn't own those rights where you live, then that content won't be available in your region.
This is where the ability to change regions comes into play. Historically, it was widely known that using a VPN to mask your location would grant you access to content that was not available to you locally. But Netflix has cottoned on to this. They claim that if you use a VPN to watch Netflix, then you will be limited to content that is available to all regions globally.
So if you have a VPN set up, and are struggling to find content that you know should be available in your region, turning off the VPN may help.
Is It Illegal To Change Netflix Region?
While Netflix probably wishes this were the case, no, it is not illegal to change your Netflix region. But as we mentioned earlier, it would constitute a breach of the Netflix terms and conditions, which you agree to when you sign up to use the service.
If Netflix identifies that you are using the "wrong" region, then you'll either be restricted to content that is available worldwide, or you may find your account is blocked.
The only way you might be breaking a law is if you use a method of connecting to Netflix that is illegal. Most commonly this would be a VPN, which is illegal in certain countries.
What Country Has The Best Netflix?
This question obviously has a degree of nuance to it, as the answer really depends on what content you want to watch.
But given that Netflix operates in 190 countries, and the content can vary quite dramatically depending on where you are, there are some countries that offer more choice than others.
VPN service Surfshark conducted a study to analyse what's available where. Drawing on the work of Flixwatch, which has a database of Netflix titles across 70 countries, their key findings were as follows:
- The United States has the most titles with 5,879 (4,035 movies and 1,844 TV series) and Canada has the biggest movie catalogue with 4,043 films.
- Georgia has the least titles of any country in the world: 2,116 (1,388 movies and 728 TV series).
- Netflix catalogues available in Canada and the United States have the joint lowest average IMDb score: 6.95.
- South Korea has 109 Oscar-winning films in its Netflix catalogue - that’s 24 films more than Switzerland (the next best country) with 85 Academy Award winners.
- Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore have access to the highest number of Emmy-winning titles in its Netflix library: 35 TV shows.
Of course, this only offers a snapshot, and as we said before, you may not be interested in the content on offer in a specific region.
That's all we have for you on how to change Netflix region without VPN. If you want to know more tips and tricks on this streaming service, check out our guide on how to fix Netflix crashing.