Why Does Netflix Geo-Block Its Content?

Netflix has the potential to be the best streaming platform on the web, but its use of geo-blocking is holding it back. If you’re not sure what that is, it’s how Netflix splits its site into different regional libraries. So some titles are available in certain countries while others aren’t. This is an advertorial.

If you don’t believe us, go ahead and use ProPrivacy’s new StreamCatcher tool to check some Netflix shows and movies. One simple search was all it took to find out that Shameless (U.S.), true to its name, is only available in the US, and that Doctor Who can only be watched in the UK.

Because Netflix uses geo-blocks, some content libraries have more variety than others. Right now, the US, UK, and CA libraries are at the top with nearly 6,000 titles each. Doesn’t feel fair, does it? You mostly pay the same price as everyone else, so why don’t you get access to all the content?

Let's take a look at why Netflix uses geo-restrictions in this article, and we’ll also offer you unblocking solutions that actually work.

So Why Does Netflix Use Geo-Blocks?

Because it’s the only way they can respect the licensing agreements they signed with copyright holders.

Here’s the thing – Netflix doesn’t own all the content on its platform. So it needs to license it from the companies that own it. However, they can’t always get global rights.


Because the copyright holders already sold the rights for other countries to different streaming sites and TV networks. So while Netflix has the right to stream Dexter in the US, it can’t do that in the UK since Sky GO owns the licensing rights there.

Besides that, Netflix won’t buy rights for a certain show in a specific country if its data mining shows that users have no interest in it. It’s not a very profitable move for them, after all. And seeing how licensed content is a huge part of their budget, they can’t afford to make any mistakes.

Why Does Netflix Geo-Block Netflix Originals?

Okay so it makes sense why they geo-block the content they don’t own, but what’s the deal with geo-blocking Netflix Originals?

Well, most of the time, they’re available wherever Netflix is. But there are some exceptions – like Orange Is the New Black or Lilyhammer. Those shows came out when Netflix wasn’t available worldwide. So the platform sold the licensing rights to third parties in the countries where their service wasn’t present.

Even though Netflix has a global presence now, they still can’t stream their Originals in countries where they don’t own the rights anymore. Instead, they have to wait for them to expire and try to buy them back.

That’s easier said than done, though, since the current rights holders can ask for absurdly high prices. Or Netflix’s data mining might show that there’s no longer enough interest in your region to warrant a buyback.

Can You Bypass Netflix’s Geo-Blocking?

stream catcher

Okay, so Netflix has a good reason to use geo-blocking. But is there anything you can do to get around it? Waiting for them to release certain titles in your area certainly isn’t an option right now.

You have three ways to unblock Netflix:

1. Use a VPN

VPNs are online tools that hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic. Here’s how they help you unblock Netflix:

  • You use a VPN app to connect to a VPN server.
  • The two establish an encrypted connection.
  • When you visit Netflix, the VPN server will act as a middleman between it and your device. Basically, it will intercept your connection requests, and forward them to Netflix.
  • Due to that, Netflix believes your requests are coming from the VPN server. Since requests contain IPs, Netflix only sees the VPN server’s IP address. Your device’s IP remains “hidden.”
  • That’s it – Netflix can’t see your geo-location anymore.

You just need to use a VPN server that’s in the same country as the content you want to unblock (so a UK server for UK-only titles).

And here’s another cool perk – by encrypting your traffic, your ISP can’t throttle your bandwidth anymore. They won’t know you’re binging Netflix, just that you’re using a VPN.

To find a really good Netflix VPN, use ProPrivacy’s new StreamCatcher tool. When you look up a Netflix title, it tells you where it’s available, and it also recommends the best VPNs for the job.

2. Use a Proxy

Proxies work just like VPNs – they hide your IP address by routing your traffic through a server that sits between you and Netflix. So the server’s location has to match the country where the content is available.

Here’s how a proxy is different from a VPN, though:
  • It doesn’t use strong encryption (or any at all). So stopping bandwidth throttling is out of the question.
  • It can save requested content on a local cache. If you end up requesting it, the proxy can retrieve it without forwarding your requests to Netflix. So you get faster load times (but might also get outdated content).

3. Use a Smart DNS

This is an online tool that spoofs your geo-location by tweaking your DNS settings and routing your traffic through various proxy servers around the world.

Furthermore, it intercepts your DNS queries and removes any metadata that leaks your geo-location. Then, it replaces it with new data that’s linked to a whitelisted region (so the US for US-only content).

Smart DNS services are a popular alternative to VPNs since they don’t slow down your speeds at all. That also means they don’t offer encryption, though (so no way to prevent bandwidth throttling). It’s worth mentioning that most of the top VPNs on the market offer Smart DNS functionality alongside their main VPN service.

How Do You Feel about Netflix’s Use of Geo-Blocks?

Do you think it’s unfair, or do you believe it’s just something they need to do to follow the rules? Please tell me your opinion in the comments below and check out our post on why you need to use a VPN when travelling.



  1. I think a VPN is very useful. I love the security it brings and being to watch Netflix is another country is great

  2. I don't really mind the restricted content but it's great that there are some ways to get around it.

  3. I understand why they do geo-blocks as it's dependant on the licensing laws that they have. Although it is a shame that we can't see all of the things on offer x