Netflix — friend of so many — is having a little difficulty trying to please everyone.
While the popular video streaming site is available in countries across North and South America, as well as such overseas markets as the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway, viewers outside of these select countries are finding it difficult to enjoy the luxury of binge-watching TV shows and catching a late-night flick in the comfort of their home.
The dreaded error message
For people who are experiencing streaming issues because of their geographical location, the error message is familiar: “You Cannot Watch from This Location.” According to the Netflix Help Center, “This error indicates that you’re trying to stream to a country or region Netflix does not yet support.”
Others see the error message “Netflix Has Not Come to This Part of the World Yet,” which essentially means the same thing. Though Netflix offers a couple of tips, such as checking your IP address and troubleshooting the network connection, there really isn’t much the company has to say about the issue.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other sources of assistance on the Web.
The VPN solution
One of the most effective answers is to switch to a VPN, which allows users to connect their personal device to a discreet, private network based out of a country where Netflix is allowed to stream. According to Jenna Cyprus of Digital Journal, “VPNs are available through a number of different VPN clients, all of which offer highly secure connections by encrypting all the data sent or received by users.”
While VPNs represent a satisfactory solution to this annoying problem, not all of them are created equal. Some of the top VPNs include ExpressVPN, AirVPN, and VyprVPN. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Widely regarded as one of the top providers on the market, ExpressVPN is a popular choice. It is based out of the U.S. and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with Android support, fast speeds, and no logs.
- AirVPN is a nice alternative to ExpressVPN that features eight U.S. servers, provides a three-day free trial, and accepts Bitcoins. AirVPN is also highly committed to privacy, which may be a factor in the relatively high monthly price.
- If you’re interested in an established company with good customer service and mid-level pricing, VyprVPN is a solid choice. As a point of differentiation, it has a unique privacy protocol that’s great at concealing VPN traffic.
Net neutrality and what it means for you
Thanks to a new rule proposed by the Federal Communications Commission earlier this year, geographical location may not be the only thing that prohibits you from accessing a service like Netflix. The new network neutrality proposal might allow Internet providers to block certain websites and slow down speeds, which would force subscribers to upgrade their service packages.
VPNs may come to the rescue by providing an alternative solution for getting access to popular services and applications that standard Internet providers are attempting to charge more for.
Officially launched in 1999 as a subscription service that offers unlimited online movie rentals for a low monthly price, Netflix now has more than 10 million subscribers and provides thousands of titles. These include movies, TV shows, and documentaries.
Members have the ability to stream regular or HD versions of shows with no interruptions. Offered the choice to watch on a smart TV, smartphone, tablet, gaming system, or other compatible device, many people are bypassing cable packages altogether in favor of Netflix.
Only time will tell what effect geographical restrictions and net neutrality will have on your ability to use Netflix and other popular online services. While you may be in the clear for now, you might want to keep in mind the alternatives out there … such as VPNs.