how to get UK netflix

How to Get UK Netflix From Anywhere in the World in 2021

I’ve been there — finally getting yourself a list of shows to enjoy on Netflix, only to find that its restrictive library won’t let you watch half of the content when you’re outside the UK. It’s frustrating, really, because I tend to spend most of my vacations resting and enjoying my favorite shows. And for most of those vacations, I wish I had known how to get UK Netflix.

netflix projector
This could’ve been us, but Netflix restricted my library. 

But alas, having an existing Netflix account still doesn’t mean you can watch every show, everywhere, thanks to Netflix’s geoblocking. To show you how to get UK Netflix, I’ll explain how to watch UK-only shows by downloading and using a VPN, and I’ll even give you my five favorite VPN apps, so you don’t spend hours looking for one that does the job. 


How to Get UK Netflix From Anywhere in 3 Easy Steps

Getting access to the UK Netflix library is remarkably easy if you have the right VPN that can bypass Netflix’s VPN ban. Not all VPNs can do it, but ExpressVPN is quite reliable, so and I’ll show you how to do it using ExpressVPN as an example. 

1. Download and install a VPN

First things first: head to ExpressVPN’s website.You’ll find a “get ExpressVPN” button — click that and download the installation file. Once that’s downloaded, install the VPN using the install wizard. The steps for this are self-explanatory and you shouldn’t have any issues with them. 

expressvpn uk

2. Connect to a server in the UK

Once you’ve installed ExpressVPN, start the app. There is a location picker button with three dots to the right — click that. You’ll be met with a list of servers; use the search bar to find the United Kingdom more quickly, and then click the United Kingdom optiontoset it as your location. Click the “on” button, and after a couple of seconds, you should be connected to the server. 

expressvpn uk servers

3. Navigate to the Netflix website and log in to your account

Start your browser –or the Netflix app if that’s what you’re using — and log in to your account. That’s all; you should now be able to watch Netflix shows from the UK. 

netflix sign in

Why Can’t I Watch UK Netflix From Abroad?

The reason you can’t watch all Netflix libraries anywhere in the world is simple — licensing agreements. Licensing agreements mean that certain streaming services and TV providers have exclusive rights to air shows and movies in some locations, so Netflix can’t air the shows in those places. 

The way they deal with this is geoblocking. Geoblocking basically limits what websites and services you can access depending on where you’re located. The gist of it is, if you aren’t in the right place, Netflix won’t let you watch some of the shows you like. This is why many people want to unblock Netflix UK and get access to UK-exclusive shows outside the UK. 

kids not sharing toys
The kid on the left is how I feel when I see other Netflix libraries with thousands more shows than I can access.

It’s not just a case with the UK library, though. Netflix USA has quite the reputation for hoarding all the best shows. At the moment, Ireland has the largest library with more than 6,300 shows available (though this number will likely change by the time you read this). 

In comparison, the UK currently only has just under 6,000 shows, which is quite the difference. And yet, there are shows available in the UK that you won’t find elsewhere. 

How Does Netflix Know My Location?

Netflix (and most other similar services, really) know your location from your IP address. Your IP address is a unique address that identifies your device when you connect to the internet. It contains information about your location, but it’s mostly general location like city or ZIP code. An IP address can’t reveal your exact location or other info.

It is, however, just enough for Netflix or other services to be able to identify where you are, and consequently, block you from accessing certain Netflix libraries. Using a VPN app gives you an IP address from a different location, and basically allows you to unblock Netflix content. 


The Best VPNs to Watch UK Netflix

If you’re set on watching UK-exclusive shows like Downton Abbey from outside the United Kingdom, you’ll need a VPN. Here are my favorite ones for the job.

1. ExpressVPN

expressvpn ui uk
ExpressVPN lets you choose which UK location you connect to, but otherwise the UI is very simple. 

PROS

  • Fastest VPN out there
  • Compatible with almost any device
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Expensive

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN provider out there, with excellent speeds across the board that make it perfect for unblocking a Netflix region like the UK. You have four UK server locations to choose from — Docklands, London, East London and Wembley — but technically they’re all in London. To add to this, it’s compatible with almost any device — you can even unblock Netflix from your router or smart TV if you want. 

The downside with ExpressVPN is that it’s rather expensive, even if you subscribe to a yearly plan. But if you decide to splurge on it, you’re looking at an incredibly fast way of getting UK Netflix, with great device compatibility and overall functionality. And if you don’t like it, the 30-day money-back guarantee has you covered.

Check out ExpressVPN’s pricing here.

2. NordVPN

nordvpn ui uk
You can see exactly where you’re connecting to with NordVPN’s map overview, but in the case of the UK, it’s just London. 

PROS

  • Strong focus on security
  • Easy-to-use UI
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Only one location in the UK (London)

NordVPN has been heavily praised for having one of the most intuitive user interface maps out there. But that’s not the only reason to go for NordVPN — its focus on security is also something that deserves praise. 

Its proprietary NordLynx protocol is very secure, adding all the privacy you could need. Speeds are close to those of ExpressVPN, but not exactly the same, which is why NordVPN comes in second. 

When it comes to pricing, NordVPN is a good value if you commit to a two-year plan, and there’s a solid 30-day money-back guarantee in case you aren’t happy with it. If security is a big concern and you don’t mind only being able to connect to a single UK location, NordVPN is a great option.

Check out NordVPN’s pricing here.

3. CyberGhost

cyberghost ui uk
CyberGhost has streaming-specific servers for various devices, and connecting to them is very easy. 

PROS

  • Affordable pricing
  • Streaming-specific servers in the UK
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Parent company has a bad reputation
  • Inconsistent streaming access

CyberGhost is a great way to unblock Netflix in the UK, thanks to its streaming-specific servers that promise improved performance when you’re watching Netflix. And I mean very specific, too — there is one for Fire TV Stick and one for Android smart TV apps, as well as a Netflix-specific server. 

Another great thing about CyberGhost is that it’s very affordable. Subscribing for two years gives you a monthly price that’s less than the average cup of coffee, and you get a 45-day money-back guarantee on longer plans. It doesn’t work consistently with other streaming services like BBC iPlayer, but if you only use it for Netflix, that shouldn’t be a problem. 

Check out CyberGhost’s pricing here.

4. Private Internet Access

pia ui uk
PIA’s server list includes three locations, and a streaming-specific server in London. 

PROS

  • Very affordable
  • Great support for devices, including an APK file for sideloading
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Inconsistent speeds

Here we have the most affordable virtual private network provider on our list. Private Internet Access is an excellent choice for unblocking Netflix libraries in the UK. Not only does it get you a dedicated streaming server in London, but it also has a regular server there, and two more in Manchester and Southampton. 

Device compatibility is great, too, with an APK file for those of you who want to sideload it on a Fire TV Stick or Nvidia Shield. 

Pricing wise, we dare say PIA is dirt cheap if you commit to a three-year plan, and the 30-day money-back guarantee has you covered in case you don’t like it. The only downside is that speeds can sometimes be inconsistent, which could prove to be problematic if you want to access Netflix and enjoy your shows. 

Check out PIA’s pricing here.

5. Surfshark

surfshark ui uk
Surfshark lets you choose between regular servers in London, or multi-hop servers via India and Germany.

PROS

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Multi-hop servers for a double VPN functionality
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Only one location in the UK (London)

If “unlimited” is your cup of tea, Surfshark should be right up your alley. There are no limits on the number of devices you install it on, or simultaneous connections, or bandwidth for that matter, which makes it perfect for protecting your entire household (and then some).

If you’d like to access Netflix with added security, you could even use their multi-hop servers, which add another location between you and the service and makes things a bit more secure. 

Arguably the best thing about Surfshark is that you get everything for a very reasonable price, provided you subscribe for two years. However, there is only a single location you can connect to in the UK, in London. 

Check out Surfshark’s pricing here.


How Can I Watch UK Netflix for Free?

There are two ways to watch UK Netflix for free — using a free VPN or using a proxy. We’ll get proxies out of the way instantly. They’re not safe, they’re not fast, and Netflix has a detection system that will pick them up within a couple of seconds, so they’re not effective, either. 

Free VPNs also don’t have a good reputation. Most of them impose unreasonably low data limits (for streaming, at least), and their servers are oftentimes unreliable. Some even sell user data obtained by monitoring your internet connection or bundle malware with the installation. 

One free VPN service that’s an exception to this rule is Windscribe. You can get up to 10GB of data on Windscribe’s free plan, which isn’t too much but should be enough, and there is a UK server you can connect to as well. Speeds are solid and so is device compatibility. Additionally, Windscribe focuses on security just as much as any paid VPN service, which is why it gets our recommendation. 


Conclusion

Now that you know how to watch Netflix UK, which is your favorite way of doing so? Do you splurge and go for the fastest option out there, ExpressVPN, or do you go for a more affordable pick like CyberGhost or PIA? Or maybe you’re somewhere in the middle, and NordVPN or Surfshark are your favorites. Let us know in the comments, and thank you for reading. 

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