A whopping 92% of American college students have access to Netflix (either through their own accounts or through their friends/family.) And why wouldn’t they? Netflix is stuffed with thousands of TV shows and movies that can help you relax, unwind, and stay up-to-date on pop culture happenings.
But what happens when you can’t access it? Colleges across the country are blocking students from accessing streaming services like Netflix via the school’s WiFi connection. And, if you happen to be one of the millions of college students currently staying in a dorm, that school WiFi is your only way to accessing the internet while you’re in your dorm.
Sure! Colleges are places for learning. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a learning robot that shouldn’t ever unwind. Luckily, there are ways around those pesky content blocks and firewalls preventing you from binging that latest season of Stranger Things. And (by far) the most popular way to bypass these restrictions is via a VPN.
But what is a VPN? How can you use one to unblock Netflix in your dorm? And can they help you unlock the full potential of your Netflix library?
A virtual private network (or VPN) allows you to encrypt and tunnel your computer, smartphone, tablet, or smart TV traffic to a private server before releasing it into the web. So, let’s say that you’re on your computer, and you want to Google something. Normally, your computer sends traffic information to Google once you open up your browser. And that’s it! You connect. But with a VPN, your connection data is first encrypted and sent to a private server located somewhere else and then sent from that private server to Google to retrieve your search results.
This ability to encrypt and tunnel traffic has plenty of uses. But one of the biggest uses is to bypass firewalls. And we aren’t just talking about your run-of-the-mill firewalls. VPNs can get past government firewalls, bank firewalls, and (most certainly) university firewalls.
How to Bypass a Unversity Firewall With a VPN
Depending on which VPN you choose, you’ll probably download a client. This client essentially simplifies the process of connecting to a VPN (which normally requires you to go into your computer or smartphone’s settings and manipulate some network configurations.) So, all you’ll have to do is press “connect,” and you’re in.
Once you connect to a VPN, your traffic no longer comes from your computer. It comes from that private server. So, when your university firewall sees traffic coming from your computer, it normally blocks that traffic from accessing certain websites. With a VPN, that firewall can’t block your traffic, because it’s coming from somewhere else.
This means that you can binge-watch Netflix series from the comfort of your dorm without having to connect to a 4G connection or miss out on Netflix entirely. Your school won’t know that you’re bypassing the firewall since your connection activity isn’t coming from the school itself. It’s coming from that private server. Check out this article to know how to get this done easily.
Speaking of private servers. Did you know that using a VPN can give you access to Netflix content you didn’t even know existed?
Here’s where things get interesting. Believe it or not, that library of content on Netflix isn’t the only Netflix content. Netflix utilizes region blocks to prevent people in the US from watching the same Netflix material that’s available in the UK, France, India, and every other country.
Here’s how it works
Believe it or not, copyright laws aren’t universal. This leads to some interesting conundrums when it comes to streaming content. Different companies own the rights to different TV shows and movies in different countries. That’s why Amazon is much more popular than Netflix in India, and that’s why people in the UK are watching Dr. Who on Netflix instead of The Office. Let’s take a look at how this works in action.
NBC originally owned the rights to The Office — the incredibly popular comedy series and most-watched TV show on Netflix in the US. Then NBC sold the rights to The Office to Netflix (which it has since purchased back in a bizarre deal.) But, just because Netflix purchased the rights to the Office in the US doesn’t mean that they get to stream it in every country. An entirely separate deal has to take place for every single country Netflix operates in. And, in some countries, other streaming services win those bids. This leads to a mish-mash of content across every country’s streaming library.
So, Netflix in the UK streams the following TV shows.
- Star Trek Discovery
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- Rick and Morty
- The Thick of It
- It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia
- Peep Show
- Gavin & Stacy
- I’m Alan Partridge
- Red Dwarf
- Top Gear
- Steven Universe
- How I Met Your Mother
And many more!
You may be sitting here drooling at this point. After all, you’ve seen all of the best stuff on the American version of Netflix, right? Now you’re forced to play the ever-dreaded scrolling game where you look for something to watch, but you can’t ever decide on what you want (that’s probably because you’ve already seen all of the stuff you’re interested in.)
But, get this. With a VPN, not only can you unblock that pesky University firewall. You can change your location to other countries and watch their versions of Netflix!
Here’s how it works.
How to Watch Netflix Content Across the Globe With a VPN
Remember how VPNs encrypt and tunnel your traffic to a private server located somewhere else? What happens when that server is located in a different country? Well, in the same manner, that you bypass that firewall, your traffic appears as if it’s coming from the location of that private server. So, if that private server happens to be in the UK, Netflix — and every other website — will think you live in (you guessed it) the UK.
You can do this for any other country as well. Want to see what Japan has to offer? Connect to a VPN server in Japan and log into Netflix. Suddenly, your entire library will change from US content to Japan content. But, before you go off buying the nearest VPN and jumping onto Netflix, you need to make sure that the VPN you choose has servers located in other countries.
Unshackle Your Netflix Chains With a VPN
Don’t let your university decide what kinds of content you’re allowed to watch and whether or not you can do something as simple as stream TV shows on Netflix. While these rules may seem harmless on the surface, the truth is, you’re paying to attend. And, you’re probably also paying for the internet. So why shouldn’t you be able to use it how you want to use it? If you’re tired of not being able to watch Netflix (or you’re tired of your current Netflix lineup), consider purchasing a VPN and unlocking the full potential of your Netflix experience.