It took a good six years but in 2016, Netflix finally opened its doors to the Indian market. A smart move considering that India has the world’s second-highest number of internet users.
However, three years down the line and Netflix has only managed to garner about 1.2 million subscribers out of the possible half a billion internet users. Still a decent number but I am sure that was not their expectation.
So, what is the problem exactly? Well, I would say the first and biggest problem is huge competition from other streaming services in the country. Disney-owned Hotstar is the most popular streaming service in India and is the biggest hurdle Netflix will have to overcome.
Another possible reason for the sluggish growth and one which we will be addressing today is the blocking of content based on geographical locations.
Netflix US has the best library of shows and movies and unfortunately, a significant number of them cannot be accessed from India.
But the good news is that there is a way to bypass this block and access the American content.
Follow along as I show you how to do it.
The Easy Way to Watch Netflix US in India
In order to view the American Netflix, your connection requests need to be coming from the US.
Now, in normal circumstances, this would mean being there physically. But these are not normal times and all you need is a VPN software that will help spoof your location so that it seems like you are in the US.
Just one problem though. There are so many VPN options that all promise to bypass the geo-restrictions but don’t live up to it.
That’s where we come in. We have tested all of them and we believe we have found one that works best. Express VPN. It has a very intuitive and straightforward interface and offers multiple locations in the US that you can use to connect to Netflix.
Netflix India vs Netflix US
How exactly do these regions compare in regard to the number of titles available in each?
According to Unogs, an unofficial platform where you can search for Netflix titles, India currently has 5,539 titles. That is 247 fewer titles than the US which has 5,786. That is very impressive.
But this post is about titles that are available in Netflix US but cannot be accessed from India. And, considering that Netflix India also has its own exclusive titles, We can conclude that the number of titles that are blocked on Indian Netflix is more than 247.
Why Does Netflix Block Content in India
A number of reasons and unfortunately, none of which they have control over.
See, Netflix does not own the majority of the content in its library. What they do is approach movie studios and television networks and buy the rights to stream their content.
Unfortunately, due to the varying copyright laws in different countries, these companies may enforce restrictions that prevent the viewing of their content outside the US. Netflix has to oblige to these restrictions or they face legal repercussions.
Other times, the companies may already have sold the exclusive rights to stream their content in India to another video streaming service.
For instance, the movie Logan is not available on Netflix India because Hotstar has exclusive rights to it. However, you can still watch it on American Netflix because they have the streaming rights there.
Then the other reason that Netflix may block content in India is if it is in violation of the country’s rules and regulations. A good example is when they had to block an episode of the comedy show, Patriot Act, in Saudi Arabia due to claims that it was in violation of their Cybercrime laws.
Is Unblocking Netflix Using a VPN Legal
To put it simply, it is in violation of their terms of service. But it’s not enough a crime to get you arrested. Netflix won’t close your account for doing it either.
But that does not mean they are not doing anything about it.
They have come up with an algorithm that can detect when you are using a VPN and they will consequently block your connection until you disconnect from the VPN.
The crackdown has affected a number of VPN solutions but there are others like Express VPN that have managed to stay a step ahead. This is why you can’t just settle for any VPN just because they claim to bypass geo-restriction on their site.
How Does a VPN Software Unblock Netflix
It is able to achieve this by altering your IP address. Let’s take that back a bit.
Anytime you connect to the internet, the device you are using gets assigned a special identification number. This number is called an IP address and it’s how the internet knows specifically where to send back the requested data.
Just like a normal address, the IP also contains your physical location and that is how Netflix is able to tell where you are connecting from.
However, when you connect to a VPN software something changes. Instead of your connection requests being sent directly to the web they are first sent to the VPN servers in the location that you choose. In our case, it’s America. Here, your real IP will be discarded and a new US IP allocated to your device.
Now when Netflix receives your connection request, it will be as if you are connecting from the US.
Why is Express VPN the Best for Accessing American Netflix in India
Consistency. That’s the number one reason.
Since Netflix launched their crackdown on VPNs, many vendors have been unable to keep up. They will only work for a short while and then boom! You get hit with the proxy error.
But not Express VPN.
Even in moments when they have been detected, they are very quick to update the available addresses allowing you to continue enjoying the US Netflix library.
These are some of the other reasons why I think Express VPN is the best.
Ease of Use
You don’t need any special skills to use this VPN software.
You just need to install their application on the device you will be using to watch Netflix, select any US server location and then connect.
Now, when you launch Netflix you will be directed to the US version.
Multiple Device Compatibility
Express VPN comes with a dedicated application for all the popular streaming devices. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an Android phone, iOS device, or a computer running on Windows, Mac, or Linux OS.
It’s also available for Samsung Smart TV, Amazon Fires Stick, Playstation, and other similar devices.
Better yet, it can be configured on your router meaning every other device you connect is VPN-protected.
Excellent Streaming Speeds
Express VPN has very minimal effects on your speeds and therefore, you don’t have to worry about continued buffering or reduced quality of videos. Unless you already had these problems.
Also, you can use the speed test feature to find the server with the best speeds for optimum performance.
Multiple Server Locations
One of the reasons some of the other VPNs are so easily detected by Netflix is because they only have a few locations and hence few IP addresses to allocate. Express VPN, on the other hand, has 28 servers in the US only and that gives you a lot to work with.
30-day Money-back Guarantee
If after purchasing Express VPN it does not meet your expectations then contact their support team before 30 days are over and you will get a full refund. Which brings me to my other point.
Excellent Customer Support
Express VPN has a live chat option and their agents are available 24/7. Guess what? They respond in less than a minute. That is faster than my girlfriend.
So, anytime the VPN stops working with Netflix, you can contact them and they will immediately recommend the best working server location.
Unblocks other Streaming Services in Multiple Locations
On top of unblocking Netflix, Express VPN can also unlock other streaming services such as Prime Video, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. Also, it does not work just for the US. You can use it to view content reserved for other countries like the UK, Canada, Germany, and France.
Although not related to unblocking Netflix, this feature is as equally important. Express VPN includes several security features that help protect and maintain your online privacy.
All the connection data being transmitted is encrypted meaning that hackers and advertisers cannot access your personal information or browsing history.
Netflix is working towards being able to offer a universal library in all regions but until then there is a limit to what you can view.
It’s not fair but at least you have a solution. Express VPN remains to be my top recommendation for unblocking Netflix and hopefully, they will always remain a step ahead of Netflix.