5 Ways to Change Netflix Region without a VPN
If you don’t want to use a VPN, there are a number of ways to change your Netflix region without one.
The best option by far is to use a Smart DNS service, but you can also use a proxy server, remote desktop software, the Tor browser, or try setting up a home VPN server.
In section below, we’ll guide you through each option. First, here’s a table comparing each solution:
NOTE: Each method requires an existing Netflix subscription, before you can change region and access geo-restricted content. None of these methods let you watch Netflix for free.
1. Smart DNS Service
|The easiest way to change Netflix region without a VPN
||Only works with specific websites and in a limited number of locations
|Works on almost every device (including Smart TVs and games consoles)
||You need to provide your IP address in order to gain access
|Cheaper than most VPN services
||Choice of VPN service is limited
|Provides fast connection speeds
||Can be more difficult to configure than a VPN application
A Smart DNS service lets you change your device’s DNS settings to re-route your connection through DNS servers in a country of your choice.
By combining a DNS server with a proxy server, you can use Smart DNS to bypass geo-restrictions on content.
Like with a VPN, Smart DNS tricks platforms like Netflix into thinking you’re physically located in that country, allowing you to access that region’s content.
For example, if you live in France and want to watch US Netflix, you can re-route your DNS requests through a US server and easily stream American Netflix from overseas.
Two popular standalone Smart DNS services optimized for streaming are Smart DNS Proxy and Unlocator.
You don’t need to download software to use Smart DNS, which means you can use it to change Netflix regions on almost any device you stream on. This includes Apple TV and games consoles like Xbox, which don’t support native VPN applications.
In fact, this is one area in which Smart DNS is better than a VPN for changing your Netflix region.
Smart DNS is also faster than VPN, although this doesn’t always translate to better streaming resolution.
MediaStreamer worked with US Netflix more often than any VPN server.
While Smart DNS tools allow streaming on a wide range of devices, they do not encrypt your traffic or hide your IP address.
In other words, your ISP will be able to see what you’re doing and you won’t be protected from cybercriminals while connected to unsecured public WiFi networks.
Some VPNs for streaming also offer their own Smart DNS tools. Based on our latest round of testing, the two that work most reliably with Netflix are:
NOTE: Our tests found that Surfshark and NordVPN’s Smart DNS features do not work reliably with Netflix, while CyberGhost and PIA’s do not let you change Netflix regions.
How to Use Smart DNS to Change Netflix Region
How to use MediaStreamer to change Netflix region.
The setup process for changing your Netflix region with Smart DNS will vary slightly depending on your provider and the device you’re using, but the general process is roughly the same.
Here’s how to use MediaStreamer to change the US Netflix region on macOS:
Sign into your ExpressVPN account and go to the DNS Settings page. If you don’t yet have a subscription, sign up to ExpressVPN here.
- Find “IP address registration” and click “Register my IP address”. If it already says “registered” next to your IP address, you can skip this step.
- Turn on “Automatically register my IP address”. This ensures your IP address is tracked, so you don’t need to re-register your IP address every time you move location. Be sure to sign in to your ExpressVPN account regularly so it can update.
- Find “Configure MediaStreamer” on the ExpressVPN setup page. You’ll see two DNS server IP addresses – take a note of them or keep the browser window open for later.
Some Smart DNS providers email you these DNS server addresses when you first sign up. If they offer you a list of DNS addresses to pick from, pick the two located closest to you.
- Click the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your Mac screen and select “System Preferences”. Alternatively, you can press Cmd+Space and type in “System Preferences”.
- Select the “Network” icon. On the left-hand side, make sure your current network connection is selected.
- Click “Advanced” in the bottom right.
- Go to the “DNS” tab. If there are any existing DNS server addresses under “DNS Servers”, note them down and then remove them by selecting them and clicking the “-” button.
- Press the “+” button and enter the first MediaStreamer DNS server IP address. From Step 4.
- Press the “+” button again and input the second MediaStreamer DNS server IP address. Click OK.
- Restart the computer. When it boots back up, your connection will be routed through MediaStreamer’s DNS servers.
- Navigate to Netflix. The US Netflix library should appear. If it doesn’t, contact ExpressVPN’s customer support.
EXPERT TIP: MediaStreamer only streams US Netflix. However, some Smart DNS providers let you unblock multiple Netflix regions. To choose a region, open your Smart DNS account settings and switch country in there. Then, restart the device, load Netflix again, and you should see the new region’s content library.
2. Proxy Server
|Often free and easy to use
||Does not encrypt your traffic
|Good proxy server providers offer a range of server locations
||Proxy IP addresses are easily blocked by Netflix
|Generally delivers fast connection speeds
||Overcrowded servers can occasionally cause slow speeds
||Only works when accessing Netflix from within your browser
||Less reliable than VPN services and Smart DNS
A proxy server can help you change Netflix region by routing your traffic through a third-party server before connecting to Netflix.
Like with a VPN, a proxy server hides your IP address and tricks Netflix into thinking you’re located in the country where the proxy server is based.
In other words, if you connect to a proxy server located in the UK, you’ll get access to the UK Netflix library, regardless of where you actually are in the world.
Unlike a VPN, proxy servers don’t encrypt your internet traffic.
How a Proxy Server works.
There are two main types of proxy server:
- Web Proxy: These are accessed via a website and are usually free to use. Simply enter the URL you’re looking to unblock, choose your desired server location, and start browsing.
Though free, web proxy servers are extremely unreliable for unblocking Netflix because their IP addresses are widely-used and very easy for Netflix to block.
- Browser Proxy Extensions: Higher-quality proxy servers tend to be available as web browser extensions. Some are free to use, but many charge a subscription fee.
Many Chrome VPN extensions are actually proxy servers, and not full VPN products. They route browser traffic through a remote server, but don’t encrypt it.
Examples of browser-based proxies that work with Netflix include Hide.me’s Chrome extension and Windscribe’s Firefox extension.
Proxy servers are application-specific, meaning they only re-route traffic from the application they’re running on. You can use a proxy server to change Netflix regions in your browser, but you won’t be able to do the same on an external Netflix app.
In general, proxy servers are less secure than VPNs, and less reliable than Smart DNS for changing your Netflix region. However, they’re free and can sometimes unblock foreign Netflix libraries.
EXPERT ADVICE: A “transparent” or “anonymous” proxy server won’t help you change Netflix region. That’s because an anonymous proxy hides your IP address but also tells Netflix you’re using a proxy, while a transparent proxy doesn’t even hide your IP address. Only “elite” proxy servers can unblock Netflix.
How to Use a Proxy Server to Change Netflix Region
Web Proxies such as HideMyAss can sometimes work to unblock Netflix.
To use a web proxy server to change Netflix region:
- Go to the proxy server’s website. In this example, we’re using HideMyAss.
- Enter www.netflix.com and choose a server based in the Netflix region you’re trying to unblock. Click “Agree & Connect”.
- Click “Continue to page” or wait for the timer to run down to zero. You may then have to click “Agree & Connect” once more.
- Sign in to your Netflix account. You should now be able to stream Netflix titles licensed in the location of your proxy server.
NOTE: Using a proxy server browser extension to change Netflix region is very similar to using a VPN browser extension. Read our guide to setting up a VPN on Chrome for instructions.
3. Remote Desktop Software
|Free for personal use
||Requires access to a computer in your desired Netflix region
|Very difficult for Netflix to block
||The remote computer must be turned on and connected to the internet
||Only viable for one or two Netflix locations
||Wide access permissions create a security risk
Remote Desktop Software (also known as Remote Access Software) lets you observe and control another computer from a distance.
In effect, it lets access and interact with a remote PC or laptop as though you were sitting in front of it.
Remote Desktop Software (RDS) is mostly used by businesses for IT support, but you can use it to change your Netflix region, if you meet the following three conditions:
- You have a remote PC or laptop physically located in the country whose Netflix library you’re trying to access. For instance, to change to the Japanese Netflix region, you must have access to a computer physically located in Japan.
- The remote computer is actively turned on and connected to the internet.
- Both the remote computer and the device you’re streaming Netflix on have RDS installed.
If you can meet these conditions, then you can use RDS to stream Netflix content from a different region. Simply access and view the remote computer, navigate to Netflix, and start streaming.
You’ll be able to watch video content licensed in the region where the remote computer is located.
TeamViewer allows you to change your location on Netflix.
Using Remote Desktop Software is more complex than using Smart DNS or a proxy server. However, it can be useful to retain access to your home country’s Netflix library while traveling abroad.
Under these circumstances, it’s also more reliable than Smart DNS or proxy services because you’re not sharing the same IP address with hundreds of other users. Therefore, it’s unlikely Netflix will block your connection.
You could also ask friends or family living abroad to set up RDS on their computer and let you connect, in order to stream foreign Netflix content.
Some of the best Remote Access Software is free to use, too. Popular providers such as TeamViewer don’t charge for “personal use” of their service.
However, keeping a remote computer switched on while you’re away can be costly and there is often a slowdown in connection speeds due to transmitting the video stream between computers.
RDS is also susceptible to a number of security risks. Once the software is set up, cybercriminals are just one password away from being able to access and control your remote computer.
To mitigate security risks, use a strong password with multi-factor authentication. Also, be extremely cautious about who you share the password with.
EXPERT ADVICE: One common problem users experience when using RDS to stream Netflix is the video being replaced with a black screen. If you encounter this, try using a different web browser on your remote computer. Firefox is less susceptible to the problem than Google Chrome.
How to Use Remote Desktop Software to Change Netflix Region
How to use Remote Desktop Software to change Netflix region.
To use Remote Access Software to change your Netflix region:
- Download and install the Remote Access Software onto your home computer. TeamViewer lets individuals create “personal use” accounts for free.
- Open the application and take a note of your Remote Access ID and password. You should also activate two-factor authentication and any other security features that are available.
- If your home computer is a Mac, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Accessibility, and make sure the “TeamViewer” and “TeamViewer_Desktop” are checked. This is a security permission that lets someone remotely control your computer.
- On your streaming device, download and install the Remote Access Software. If prompted, log into the account you created in step 1.
- Enter the Remote Access ID and password for your home computer, which you noted down in Step 2. You should now be able to view your home computer’s screen on your streaming device, and control it.
- Navigate to Netflix. Your home computer will be the one visiting and streaming from Netflix, but you’ll be able to watch and control it from your streaming device.
EXPERT ADVICE: Do a test run of the above steps before you go traveling or leave your home computer behind. Once you’re abroad, repeat steps five and six. Just make sure your home computer remains on and active while you’re away.
4. The Tor Browser
|Free to use
||Unreliable for bypassing Netflix’s geo-blockers
|Strongly encrypts your traffic
||Very little control over server locations
||Against the spirit of the TOR community
Tor is a decentralized, open source network that lets users achieve maximum anonymity online.
The service works by strongly encrypting your connection and routing it through at least three different servers located around the world, before sending it on to your desired website.
The Tor browser is free to use on Windows, macOS, Linux and Android devices, and there’s also an adapted Onion browser for iOS users.
How your data passes through the Tor network.
If you stream Netflix using Tor, Netflix will think you’re streaming from the IP address of the final server that your connection goes through – known as the exit node. You can therefore change your Netflix region to wherever the exit node is located.
However, there are three big issues for using Tor to change your Netflix region:
- You cannot control the location of the exit node. The exit node determines which Netflix region you access, which makes it very difficult to stream movies or TV shows from a specific Netflix region.
- Tor is extremely slow. Tor’s primary goal is to safeguard the anonymity of its users, so it uses strong encryption and re-routes your connection through multiple different servers. This means Tor is much slower than a VPN, and i’s very unlikely you’ll be able to stream in HD video quality.
- Streaming is against the community ethos. The Tor network has limited bandwidth. By using it for high-bandwidth activities like streaming Netflix, you’re rapidly using up this bandwidth which could be used to protect the safety and anonymity of users in highly-censored countries.
In short, you can technically use Tor to change your Netflix region. However, for the three reasons outlined above, we don’t recommend it. There are simply better options available.
NOTE: If you do use Tor for streaming, or any other activity, be aware that Tor presents some security risks and vulnerabilities. If you decide to use it, follow the best practices for configuring and using it safely.
How to Use Tor to Change Netflix Region
How to connect to the Tor Browser using NordVPN's Onion over VPN feature.
To use Tor to change your Netflix region:
- Download the Tor browser from the Tor Project website. Tor is available on Windows, MacOS, Linux and Android. There’s also an adapted, less anonymous version available for iOS called the Onion browser.
- Click the .exe file, select your language, and confirm the settings you’d like. Tor will set itself up automatically.
- Open the Tor browser and click “Connect”. The actual browser is based on Mozilla Firefox, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to use.
- Visit check.torproject to confirm the browser is working. If you’re successfully connected, it says “Congratulations. This browser is configured to use Tor”. If not, it says “Sorry. You are not using Tor.”
- Go to Netflix.com. You should see a different selection of TV shows and movies compared to your home country.
5. Set Up a Home VPN Server
||Only one VPN server location
|Very unlikely Netflix will block the IP address
You can change your Netflix region without using a third-party VPN service by setting up your own VPN server at home.
This can be done for free if you’re technically competent and have spare time. If you’re happy to pay, you can make the process much simpler by purchasing a VPN router.
You can use a home VPN server to create an encrypted tunnel between your device and your home WiFi network. You can then connect to your home network wherever you are in the world, and gain access to your native Netflix region.
You can set up a home VPN server directly on your router or on a separate computer. In both cases, one device acts as a VPN server, and the device you want to stream on acts as a VPN client.
ExpressVPN’s app for routers allows you to unblock Netflix on all of your devices.
Your home internet connection will determine the bandwidth you can stream with.
If your download speeds are slow or capped, use a VPN or Smart DNS, instead. You’ll struggle to stream Netflix without download speeds of at least 10Mbps.
Also, with a home VPN server you can only change to your home country’s Netflix region. It won’t unblock new Netflix regions, like a Smart DNS or a VPN service does.
Despite its limitations, creating a home VPN server is a reliable way to unblock your home Netflix library from abroad without purchasing a commercial VPN subscription.
How to Use a Home VPN Server to Change Netflix Region
NOTE: Before starting, you need to find out whether your home internet has a static or dynamic IP address. If it’s dynamic, you must set up a Dynamic Domain Name System before continuing. Read more about this in our guide to creating a home VPN server.
The easiest way to use a home VPN Server to change your Netflix region is to buy a router with VPN server capabilities built-in. To do this:
- Purchase a wireless router that supports the OpenVPN protocol and set it up in your home. Look for routers that advertise VPN support, and confirm with the seller before buying. It will typically cost at least $100.
- Open the browser on your streaming device and enter your new router’s LAN IP address into the search bar. In most cases, this will be either 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1. (Note: You must still be using your home network for this part).
- Input the router’s username and password into the box that appears. Again, in most cases, these will both be ‘admin’, if you haven’t changed them yourself.
- Go to “Settings”. Sometimes listed as “Advanced Settings”.
- Turn on “VPN Service”. Make sure the option that allows clients using the VPN connection to have unrestricted access to the internet is enabled.
- Select “Confirm” and “Apply”.
- Find the VPN client configuration file for your chosen streaming device (e.g. Windows, macOS, iPhone etc.) and download it onto the device. You could also download the configuration file for other devices you may wish to stream on, and then transfer them to that device at a later date.
- When away from your home network, you should now be able to connect to the home VPN server (i.e., the router). Run a VPN leak test and troubleshoot any problems before going abroad.
- Navigate to Netflix on your streaming device while connected to the VPN server. You should see the regional catalog of the country where your home VPN server is located.
EXPERT ADVICE: If you don’t want to buy a new router, you can ‘flash’ your existing router with DD-WRT, Tomato or OpenWRT firmware for free. If done correctly, the router will then support the creation of a VPN server via steps 2 to 9 above.
Alternatively, configure one of your home computers to host a VPN server, then connect it with your streaming device.
You can do this for free, and our home VPN server guide explains how to do it on Windows, macOS, and Raspberry Pi devices.
The drawback to this option is that you will need to ensure the computer remains on and active while you’re traveling.