Netflix is one of the world’s most popular streaming services. With a user base consisting of 100 million users all over the world, chances are you not only use Netflix, but rely on it for daily entertainment. The biggest problem with this otherwise stellar service is that the libraries differ depending on where you are located in the world.
If you’re in Italy, and you try to access another country’s Netflix, you’ll be redirected back to your own country’s version of the site. Or, if you try a proxy service, you’ll just be served the dread “proxy error“. These regional restrictions are the result of Netflix’s partnerships with copyright holders – their film or TV rights, their rules.
If you are a regular user, you are probably aware of the fact that American Netflix has one of the largest content libraries. If you are currently traveling in Italy or have permanently relocated, you will need a VPN in order to bypass these geo-restrictions, as well as stay secure online. This article will delve into how to pick the right VPN, give you provider recommendations for unblocking U.S. Netflix from Italy, and explain more about Netflix’s pros and cons.
How do I pick a VPN provider?
Before you start with browsing the wide range of content on American Netflix, you will need to pick out a VPN provider that suits your browsing/streaming needs. For example, if you need to overcome regional blocks and ensure that your online data is never traced back to you, you will need a VPN with a large server network and strong security features.
Below are the features that we recommend you prioritize before you continue with our VPN provider recommendations.
- Quick connection – Once you download and install your VPN and start browsing Netflix, the last thing you will want is buffering and loading delays. To avoid this, choose a VPN provider who offers unlimited bandwidth, high connection speeds and no speed caps or throttling.
- Multiple servers in America – When unblocking American Netflix from anywhere in the world, including Italy, servers in America will allow you to be selective when choosing your location and speed. For example, if your VPN has 15 available servers in America, you will have the option to pick the fastest available server.
- Strong security – One of the main benefits of a VPN is the security it offers its users. Choose a service that uses 256-bit AES encryption and has a no logging policy. This will protect your online identity and activity logs.
- Software availability – If you want to enjoy American Netflix on your mobile phone, computer, or even game console, make sure the VPN provider you choose has wide software availability. This means you will have more options when it comes to downloading the VPN for your devices.
On a final note, we would like to cover the question surrounding free VPN usage. Although it is tempting to opt for a service that doesn’t cost you anything, a free VPN typically does not have strong security policies. Therefore, your personal data could be at risk of being passed on to the government, ISPs, or even cyber criminals. For a few dollars a month, you get reliable access to Netflix and, more importantly, peace of mind.
Our VPN recommendations for unblocking American Netflix
Now that you know what to look for in a VPN provider when it comes to unblocking U.S. Netflix from Italy, take a look at our top VPN recommendations:
ExpressVPN is our top recommended provider when it comes to speed and security. True to its name, ExpressVPN is the fastest on the market, and surprisingly easy to use. With 2,000+ proxy servers in 94 countries, the service allows you to be selective with your servers. This means that even if the server you connected to is slightly slow, you have the option to choose a faster one, maybe even in the same location. Further, ExpressVPN has nodes in more than 30 locations in America. With no limitations on bandwidth or speed caps, you will be able to enjoy American Netflix without noticing the VPN in the background.
ExpressVPN is ahead of its competition in terms of security, too. The service uses 256-bit AES encryption, which protects your data the entire time you are online. Encryption protocols include OpenVPN’s UDP and TCP, as well as L2TP, PPTP, and SSTP, which beats hardcore censorship blocks. The no-logging policy ensures that nothing from your DNS requests to IP addresses and browsing history is stored. This helps you stay anonymous online and make sure your activity logs are not traced back to you.
Read our full ExpressVPN review to learn more.
NordVPN’s service primarily focuses on security, beating censorship, and unlocking regional content, making it a solid choice for unblocking American Netflix. NordVPN has a server network of 5,200+ nodes in 62 countries, with a mind-bending 1900 of those located across the U.S. NordVPN further offers speciality servers for advanced users, including onion over VPN, anti-DDoS, double VPN, and obfuscated servers, which helps hide the fact that you are using a VPN service. These features make it one of the most reliable services for bypassing VPN blocks on all websites, including Netflix.
NordVPN is on track when it comes to security, too. The service uses a 256-bit AES encryption, which would take the world’s strongest supercomputer millions of years to crack. Other encryption protocols include UDP, TCP, L2TP and SSTP. The no logging policy ensures that there are no logs on traffic, IP addresses, timestamps, bandwidth, and even browsing history. It is considered to be one of the most complete in the industry, which protects your data from getting into the hands of third parties.
Check out our full review of NordVPN for more.
CyberGhost primarily focuses on ease of use, security and privacy, making it a particularly great VPN for users with no previous experience. Once you install the app, which only takes a few moments, you will be given the option to choose one of six configuration profiles depending on the case. These profiles include “surf anonymously”, “unblock streaming”, and “unblock basic websites”. The profiles can further be customized with simple toggles, which exchange features for some of the performance. For example, you can choose to “block ads”, “block online tracking”, or add “extra speed”.
CyberGhost is also one of the most secure VPN providers on the market. With a 256-bit AES encryption, your data will always remain protected online. Furthermore, the kill switch will ensure that if you ever get disconnected, your entire internet will be shut down. Other features available for desktop include a connection guard and an online tracking blocker, which protects you from being tracked while you are browsing. CyberGhost also employs an immaculate logging policy, which stores almost nothing at all, including your email address. Instead, the provider logs anonymous login events once a day in order to generate monthly login statistics.
Take a look at our full review of CyberGhost.
PrivateVPN not only ensures that its users have a hassle-free experience, but protects their privacy with some of the strongest security features in the industry. The service employs top-of-the-line military grade 256-bit AES encryption, which protects your data the entire time you are connected. Furthermore, the automatic kill switch shuts down your internet if you lose connection, which is a fail-safe method to ensure that your privacy is always intact. The zero-logging policy on traffic further increases your online security and ensures your activity log is not stored.
PrivateVPN operates a network of 80+ servers in 57 countries, which gives you all the speed and security you need to establish a fast and secure connection. Although this provider’s network is smaller than some of the others in the industry, almost 10% of these nodes are spread out across the U.S. This makes it a great choice for unblocking American Netflix from anywhere, including Italy. PrivateVPN has other servers in locations across Europe, Asia, Africa, as well as Australia for added convenience and utility.
Read our full PrivateVPN review for more info.
How to use your VPN to watch American Netflix from Italy
Now that you are familiar with the VPN providers and have selected one based on your internet needs, you are ready to get started. In order to unblock American Netflix in Italy, follow the simple steps below – it only takes a few moments.
Install the VPN
- Open your browser. Sign up for the service of your chosen provider and make sure to note down the account details. Download the app for your device (for example, Android smartphone).
- Open the app and sign in with your new VPN account details.
- Once you open the app, most providers will automatically connect you to the fastest server available. However, you need to make sure that the said server is in the United States; otherwise, you won’t be able to unlock American Netflix.
- You are now ready to enjoy your new access to American Netflix all the way from Italy.
Check your connection
Although you are now connected to the VPN service, it is important to make sure that everything works properly. This step can be omitted, but we recommend you take a few moments to go through with it in order to ensure your online security.
- Go to ipleak.net from within your browser.
- Give the page a few seconds to run an automatic IP address lookup test. You don’t need to do anything while it is loading.
- Under “Your IP Addresses”, you will be able to see the IP address you are connected to. If the IP address is from the United States, the connection is safe. If, however, you still see your IP address from Italy, there might be a leak and you need to contact the VPN provider for further information.
Why do Netflix libraries differ between countries?
Netflix is now available to more than 100 million users across 190 countries, but the question many people have is why the libraries differ between countries. While VPNs can help you bypass these regional blocks, there is a bigger reason behind location-based restrictions that come as a part of Netflix’s service. Furthermore, Netflix has a history with VPN blockers, which makes picking the right provider even more important.
If you are one of the 100 million Netflix subscribers, then geographical restrictions are likely not news to you. Where you are located in the world ultimately determines what shows you can binge-watch on the weekend, and this can get quite annoying. Having said that, there is a reason why Netflix has location-based content libraries.
One thing is clear – the television industry has been blooming ever since the likes of Hulu and Netflix stepped into the game. While roles in television used to be reserved (or more like left over) for actors who weren’t good enough for film, today, these streaming platforms have become a way for talented stars to explore their creativity and passion. The content in question is produced and owned by Netflix, but the limitations stem from the content that is not owned by Netflix and makes up most of its’ library.
What does this mean? In a nutshell, the fact that most of the content on Netflix is owned by external partners means that Netflix must abide to their rules. If a copyright holder only wants its content streamed in the United States, Netflix ultimately has no choice but to make the piece of content available in America. Therefore, Netflix cannot be held accountable for these restrictions – as well as the VPN blocking that came as a result of these contracts.
In 2017, Netflix began to aggressively ban all VPN usage on its website and app. This means that all users who tried to access Netflix with a VPN immediately faced a “Netflix proxy error” message, which prevented them from streaming any content altogether.
As it turns out, Netflix didn’t have much choice when it came to introducing this ban. Since they do not own rights to all their content, they were obligated to follow the rules agreed upon in their contracts with copyright holders. If they did not comply with these rules, they would be breaching their contracts, which would eventually put a major strain on their partnerships.
Now that Netflix is a content creator as much as it is a distributor, this issue is much closer to home. The problem is that Netflix is obligated to pay copyright holders a separate fee for every location they stream the title to. This is because if users view the content with a VPN (that is usually not available in said country), copyright holders do not get paid for these viewings. Moreover, some of the titles are simply too costly for Netflix to buy rights for in certain countries. This is why Netflix carefully selects titles depending on what the location-specific audience likes to watch.
Netflix has been blocking IP addresses associated with VPN providers for some time now. By opting for one of our recommended VPN providers, however, you can unlock American Netflix from anywhere in the world, including Italy. The end goal for Netflix as a streaming service is to eliminate these regional restrictions as a whole and start providing a global entertainment service. However, this will probably be a long time coming, therefore your immediate solution lies within this article.
Have you used a VPN for American Netflix? How did it work for you? Share your comments and experiences down below!