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Are VPNs safe? How to legally watch Netflix shows blocked in the UK

Netflix regularly adds and removes our favourite binge-worthy series from its platform, but did you know it is still possible to watch many of these shows with a simple web browser add-on?

A 'Virtual Private Network' can be used to view Netflix shows only available in other countries
A ‘Virtual Private Network’ can be used to view Netflix shows only available in other countries

Anyone who has ever fired up Netflix in another country will know that many of the shows available on the streaming giant can change depending on where you are in the world.

Apart from its original content, Netflix purchases the rights to stream films and TV series for a limited time in each country it operates in. As a result, you may have seen your favourite show disappear from the site all together.

In May alone, much-loved content like Ben Stiller’s ‘Zoolander’, the cult classic ‘Sucker Punch’, and ‘The Disaster Artist’ will all become unavailable to stream in the UK.

Worry not, as these shows and thousands of others can still actually be watched with a simple web browser add-on that works similar to an online passport.

Called a “VPN”, short for Virtual Private Network, these services allow you to select which country to connect to Netflix through – changing the catalogue of content you have access to.

Is using a VPN to connect to Netflix legal?

Yes, it is completely legal to use a VPN to connect to any streaming service and you will not face any legal consequences for doing so.

Contractually, you have already paid for the Netflix service and, were you to physically travel to the country you are connecting from, that would also be legal.

On a technical level, Netflix would struggle to tell the difference between a connection from that country and a connection via a VPN, as your device is connecting to Netflix through an internet server in that country.

However, the streaming giant is not too keen on encouraging people to do this. According to their Terms and Conditions, such activity could see your account terminated – though there have been no reports of any VPN users being kicked off the service.

How do I use a VPN?

A VPN also keeps your identity safe online when you’re using a public Wi-Fi network
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Image:

Omar Marques/SOPA Images/Getty Images)

There are a large variety of free and paid-for VPN services, ranging from simple browser extensions to pricier options that allow for Ultra-HD streaming.

Many services, such as ExpressVPN and Nord VPN, offer free-trials or cut-price sign up deals, but it is worth taking a look around and checking user reviews before making any downloads or purchases.

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If you are looking for a specific show, or want to see what content is available around the world, there are lots of websites that allow you to search Netflix’s international catalogue, such as this one.

After that, all you have to do is select which country you would like to connect from. Then, once you have loaded up Netflix, you will have an entire world of content at your fingertips.

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