1. Why do different countries have different Netflix libraries?

The video streaming giant is currently available in over 190 countries with thousands of shows and movies on offer. However, every Netflix library differs by country.

Copyright and licensing issues are the main reasons why various territories have access to content libraries. For example, the United States and the United Kingdom have more original programming than many other regions, while Georgia has the least titles of any country in the world.

The United States has the most titles with 5,879 (4,035 movies and 1,844 TV series) and Canada has the biggest movie catalog with 4,043 films as of the time of writing this post. Granted, this used to be more of a problem when Netflix didn’t have a large selection of original shows that they own the rights to indefinitely.

It’s not illegal to use a VPN with Netflix, although it may go against their terms of service.

The Netflix Terms of Use (4.3) state:

“You may access the Netflix content primarily within the country in which you have established your account and only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such content. The content that may be available will vary by geographic location and will change from time to time. The number of devices on which you may simultaneously watch depends on your chosen subscription plan and is specified on the “Account” page.”

At worst, they may suspend your account, but I’ve not heard of it happening personally. Of course, Surfshark states that it “does not encourage using a VPN in any way that would potentially violate the Terms of Service of streaming service providers.” Neither would we, but what if you’re on holiday and just want to catch up on your local Netflix shows? A VPN is a viable legal method to do so.

3. Can I use a free VPN with Netflix?

A range of free VPN services will be able to bypass basic online restrictions, but they’re likely to struggle when it comes to Netflix. That’s because the service aggressively targets the IP addresses used by VPN services, blocking them in waves. The latest collection of bans came midway through 2021, as reported by Torrent Freak at the time:

“Netflix has stepped up its efforts to ban VPN and proxy users from bypassing geographical restrictions. The streaming service is now blocking residential IP addresses too since some unblocking tools use these to bypass restrictions. This isn’t without collateral damage as many regular Internet users without a VPN now report ‘missing content’ on Netflix.”

Free VPNs often lack the resources necessary to source new IP addresses that haven’t been banned by Netflix. In other words, it costs time, effort, and money to provide a VPN service that can be used to unblock the streaming service.

For example, I’m able to confirm that multiple versions of Netflix work with Surfshark, including the US and the UK. For consistent results, you’ll have to stick with a premium name. (Make sure to check out the VPNs refund policy too. Surfshark guarantees you the right to claim your money back within 30 days of purchasing your subscription.)

If you’re desperate to use a free provider, check out a freemium model such as the one used by Atlas VPN. It has slower speeds, limited servers to choose from, and up to 2 GB of free data per day. In other words, it’s an advert for the premium service, but a usable one nonetheless.

4. I can access Netflix but the show won’t load?

I’ve seen this happen from time to time while testing out various versions of Netflix for review purposes. Sometimes, you won’t be able to load into the website at all, often accompanied by a server error.

A soft block is found if you’re able to access an international version of Netflix, but the shows won’t load. (Alternatively, you might only be able to see shows from your region.) Once again, this means that Netflix has detected the use of a VPN. Switch to a different server or location, and reload the browser or Netflix app.