Netflix is a fantastic movie- and TV-streaming service enjoyed by users worldwide. However, the libraries available to each region are not equal. While most users would like to access the US’s massive catalogue, countries with a rich cinematic history like France also offer an array of alluring exclusives. Whether you’re a French citizen traveling abroad or simply a Francophile living in the wrong country, you probably already know the frustration that accompanies trying to access geo-blocked content.
Luckily, there is a way to bypass regional blocks to watch Netflix France from anywhere. In this article, we’ll go over how to use a VPN to spoof your location, and recommend the best providers for accessing the French version of Netflix. Allons-y!
- 1 How Netflix Regional Restrictions Work
- 2 Using A VPN To Get Around Regional Restrictions
- 3 Best VPNs for Unblocking French Netflix
- 4 Conclusion
How Netflix Regional Restrictions Work
The reason that different catalogues of content are available in different regions on Netflix is to do with copyright law. Here’s how it works: Netflix will pay the distributor of a TV show or movie for the rights to stream that content on their platform. However, these rights are only applicable by country. So, for example, if you wanted to show a movie on Netflix US, you would have to pay for the rights to the US distributor. But if you wanted to show that same movie in another country, like on Netflix France, then you would have to pay once again to the French distributor. Sometimes the rights for showing a piece of content in one country are too expensive for it to be worth Netflix buying them. Or in other cases, the rights for movies may not be available to streaming platforms at all.
In short: there can be a show or movie that is available to watch on Netflix in one country, but not in another. The content you can access on Netflix is dependent upon the physical location that you are connecting to the service from, rather than being based on your home country or the country where you purchased your subscription.
Using A VPN To Get Around Regional Restrictions
If you’re one of the many people who tend to watch Netflix on a phone, laptop, or a portable Kodi device, you’ll want a solution to unlock your favorite French content that travels with you. That’s where virtual private networks come in! With a VPN installed on your device, you can connect to a server in another country and route all of your internet traffic through this server. In other words, you can fool Netflix into thinking you’re connecting within France, rather than your actual location. This is known as “spoofing” your location.
In addition to unlocking the vast troves of international Netflix content, VPNs offer tremendous security benefits. All traffic flowing to and from your device will be layered with powerful encryption, which makes it impossible for third parties to determine what it is that you’re doing online. Additionally, since your connection is routed through a proxy server, snoopers won’t even know where you’re connecting from. These features keep your data safe and private, no matter where you connect from.
Issues With Netflix Blocking VPNs
There is one important caveat in this discussion: In recent years Netflix has been cracking down on people accessing their services with a VPN. Netflix may achieve this through a variety of methods, such as blocking connections from ranges of IP addresses which are known to be used by VPNs, as well as connections from multiple users on the same IP address (which is generally indicative of VPN use).
When you head to netflix.com using most VPNs, you’ll be able to load the website just fine. But when you attempt to play a video, you’ll see an error message that VPN use is not allowed. The majority of VPN providers have this problem and therefor cannot be used to stream.
Best VPNs for Unblocking French Netflix
Thankfully, some providers have figured out novel ways around the VPN bans, allowing their users full access to Netflix’s international catalogue. We’ve done the hard work for you, and narrowed down the field to the few services that will allow you to stream French content no matter where you go. Here’s the criteria we used to make our recommendations:
- Confirmed to work with Netflix. As not all VPNs work with Netflix, we found the few that do.
- Lots of servers available. It helps to have plenty of servers to choose from to get the best connection. We looked for VPNs that have servers in France in order to unlock that country’s Netflix content.
- Fast connection speeds. In order to stream high definition video with no buffering and to get good download speeds you need a VPN with fast connections.
- Excellent security. In addition to letting you get around regional restrictions, a VPN will also improve your general security as long as it has key features like strong encryption and a no logging policy.
- Software for multiple platforms. You can use your VPN to protect all of your devices as long as there is software available for the operating system which they run.
1 – ExpressVPN – Top Overall Provider
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPNs due to its combination of ease of use, fast connections, and reliably working with Netflix. If you do come across a server that doesn’t work with Netflix, you can simply connect to another server instead, or try contacting their customer support who can advise you on which servers to use for Netflix specifically. See more information on their site at https://www.expressvpn.com/vpn-service/netflix-vpn/ultimate-guide/vpn
As well as being great for Netflix, ExpressVPN also has other important security features like strong 256-bit encryption, a no-logging policy, an IP address checker and DNS leak protection. The server network is huge, offering over 1500 servers in 145 different locations in 94 countries including the US so it’s perfect for accessing Netflix US. The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Linux, plus some games consoles and modems.
Read our full ExpressVPN review here.
2 – NordVPN – Great Security
NordVPN is the VPN that we recommend for users who want not only to access Netflix but also top-notch security features. There are specific servers on NordVPN which are designed for accessing Netflix, so you just have to connect to one of these servers and you’re good to go. You can find a list of all the servers that work with Netflix here. On top of this, NordVPN has a massive network of other servers, covering more than 3300 servers in 59 different countries, with connections that are fast enough to stream video with no problems.
If you want a more secure approach, however, you can also use NordVPN’s specialist servers, which feature double VPN (in which your data is encrypted twice over for best security), P2P servers (which are optimised for torrents and other P2P downloads), and anti DDoS servers (which protect your IP address from DDoS attacks). The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, and Windows Phone, and extensions are available for the Chrome and Firefox web browsers.
Read our full NordVPN review here.
3 – CyberGhost – Newbie Friendly
CyberGhost is the VPN that we recommend for users who are new to VPNs and want a simple to use software that requires no configuration or technical knowledge. When you want to watch Netflix, you just open up the CyberGhost software and click on the option for “Unblock Streaming”. Simply click on the country-specific item within this menu, and you’ll be connected to a working server for Netflix with all the appropriate settings already configured for you. Then go to netflix.com in your browser and you’re ready to watch all of the Netflix France content that you want!
As well as easy configuration, CyberGhost offers good speeds of connections and good security with 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. If you prefer to configure your own connection, you’ll find plenty of servers with a network covering 1300 servers in nearly 60 countries. The software is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS.
Read our full CyberGhost review here.
4 – PureVPN – Lots Of Extras
PureVPN is an all-in-one security suite featuring a VPN along with other useful features. The VPN itself does indeed work great with Netflix, offering quick and stable connections and good customer service (there’s even a handy troubleshooting guide on their website). Privacy features include 256-bit encryption and a no content logging policy. There are plenty of servers too, as you get access to a network covering 750 servers in 140 different countries.
As well as the VPN, your PureVPN subscription nets you features like anti-malware and anti-virus protection, an anti-spam filter for your email inbox, DDoS protection, app filtering, a kill switch, a dedicated IP address, and a NAT firewall. You can install the software on Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Android TV devices, plus there are browser extensions available for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Netflix’s regional restrictions can be a pain, preventing users you from watching your favorite French content when traveling or living abroad. Fortunately, you can bypass these geographic restrictions with a VPN. Be careful which VPN you choose, though, as many do not work with Netflix. We’ve shared our recommendations for VPNs that do work with Netflix so you can unblock the service and watch without restrictions.
Have you tried using a VPN to access Netflix? Which ones have worked for you and which haven’t? Let us know in the comments below.