Last year, the Australian government passed new internet legislation that had its residents signing up for VPN accounts in droves. And in 2017, even more unnerving new laws entered the pipeline.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) provide internet users with bulletproof privacy, which is the main reason why more and more Australians are signing up. However, it’s important to understand that not all VPNs are the same. For example, some are faster than others. Also, some can be used to “geo-dodge” (aka “geo-hop”) into the American version of Netflix.
Read on to find out which Australian VPN services are the overall best ones to have for geo-dodging your way into the full Netflix catalog.
How to Get American Netflix in Australia – A Video Guide
Before we get down to business, you may want to consider following along with the accompanying video guide to this article below. Everything you need to know from this article, compressed into under five minutes!
Why is Netflix blocking Australian VPN users?
The reason for the Netflix VPN block boils down to money.
When a new show or movie comes out, studios shop it around and try to sell broadcast licenses to as many different media outlets as they can. Different broadcasters sign different deals, which is why new movies and TV shows are often released on different days in different parts of the world.
For example, United States movie theatres will begin playing the new Wolverine movie Logan on March 3rd. Germans, on the other hand, get to see it on day earlier on March 2nd.
Wide open, international streaming services like Netflix make it harder to sell content licenses. If anyone in any part of the world can access a show or movie via Netflix, that makes it less valuable in the eyes of international broadcasters.
The Netflix block keeps the old business model alive, which in turn enables content providers to keep making lucrative deals.
How is Netflix blocking Australian VPN users?
The Netflix geo-block is basically a simple IP address filter.
A computer’s IP address functions like a mailing address. You can’t receive postcards if you don’t have an address. The same principle applies to IP addresses. There’s no way that computers can send or receive data without them.
Once you sign into a VPN server, it looks like you’re logged in from wherever the VPN server is located. That’s why if you login to an American VPN, you can fool Netflix into thinking that you’re locate in the USA.
To prevent international VPN users from getting to American Netflix, Netflix compiled long list of IP addresses associate with different popular VPN servers. If your VPN service’s servers are on the list, you won’t be able to get to American Netflix.
Fortunately, IP addresses are not hard to change. Some VPN service providers regularly change their VPN server IP addresses in order to make them harder to block.
4 of the best VPN services for accessing Netflix
The most responsive “on the ball” VPN companies develop workarounds as soon as a new Netflix block comes out. Others, however, aren’t quite as quick on the draw.
Out of all the VPN providers we looked at, StrongVPN had the best set of features for Netflix subscribers.
However, these 3 were also very good:
What’s so great about StrongVPN?
Here are 7 reasons why we think StrongVPN is just a bit better than Buffered, Nord and Privateinternetaccess for accessing Netflix:
- More US-based servers. It’s easy for Netflix to block a VPN service that only has one American VPN. But it’s a whole lot harder for them to block VPN services that have multiple servers located in the USA. StrongVPN has 14 American servers, which is more than what the other 3 services had to offer.
- Configurable ports. VPN services that rely on port 1194 won’t work at all with Netflix. 1194 is a very common VPN port– that’s why Netflix has blocked it. With StrongVPN, you can opt to use a range of different ports to communicate with its VPN servers.
- Obfuscation technology. StrongVPN uses port forwarding and other advanced data concealment methods to help their users lay low and go unnoticed on the web.
- “Scramble” mode. StrongVPN has a unique feature called “Scramble” that adds an extra layer of complexity.
- Hardly ever goes down. StrongVPN always reacts quickly to Netflix policy updates.
- Literally impenetrable. Out of all the VPN services that we’ve tried out and tested, StrongVPN is by far the most secure. Most VPN services offer 256-bit protection, but with StrongVPN you can lock down your connection with 2048-bit encryption.
- Subscribers get free access to StrongDNS. If you want to spoof your location without using encryption, you can turn off StrongVPN and logon to StrongDNS.
StrongVPN’s encryption is indeed very powerful. However, all that encryption does take a small toll on your internet connection speed. Be prepared to wait a few extra seconds for your Netflix movies to buffer when you access American Netflix with StrongVPN.
Protect your privacy
If you don’t care about anonymity, you should. Even if you follow all the rules when you go online, there are many bad things that can happen if you don’t protect your data.
If you give an expert your name and email address, there’s a big chance that they’ll be able to pull up sensitive information in just a few hours. Websites can gather an vast amount of data if you’re not careful. A VPN won’t fix everything overnight, but it will keep even more information from making its way to the public sphere.
Online harassment and cyber-stalking
Online harassment can affect your personal or professional life at any time. 1 out of 12 females will experience some form of cyberstalking during their lives, according to a study from Harvard University. VPN security can play a big role in helping you defend yourself from anonymous threats and bullying.
Additional StrongVPN benefits
How to Watch American Netflix in Australia With StrongVPN
Step #1: Sign up for a StrongVPN account.
The entire StrongVPN setup process only takes about 5 minutes. The first thing you have to do is sign up for an account.
Tip: If you sign up for the 12 year plan, you can reel in a huge discount.
Step #2: Get your initial password
After sign up, StrongVPN will automatically email you a login name and password.
Tip: After you login for the first time, you can change your password to something more memorable via the “My Account” menu.
Step #3: Download and install the StrongVPN software
Once you’re in, you’ll see a screen that looks something like the one depicted below. Click the section labeled “StrongVPN Client” to proceed to the download page.
After you select the appropriate operating system, a window will popup that’ll allow you to select a download location. Once download is complete, open up the program and follow the wizard’s instructions to complete the installation process.
Step #4: Open the StrongVPN client and login
The first time you open StrongVPN, you’ll need to type in (or copy-and-paste in) your login information and password. Of course, if you opt to allow StrongVPN to save your credentials, the next time you open StrongVPN you’ll be able to login with a single mouse click.
Step #5: Select any United States server from the server list
The CheckFlix script is always checking to see if the following to StrongVPN servers are able to access to American Netflix:
- The Los Angeles based StrongVPN server named str-lax302
- The New York City based StrongVPN server named str-jfk303
If you notice any slowdowns while using those, go ahead and try your luck with one of the other American VPN servers.
Once you’re in, you should see an American flag icon in the left hand part of the screen.
Step #6: Turn on “Scramble” mode
Go to the “Advanced” tab and select the “Scramble” menu. Then, choose the “Obfuscate” option from the list. This will keep Netflix’s servers from detecting that you’re logging in via a VPN.
Australian professor David Glance on the recent Netflix block
After Netflix implemented their controversial VPN ban, thousands of people canceled their subscriptions and the Netflix stock plummeted. So, what gives? Are the people at Netflix stupid, just plain greedy– or both?
David Glance– the University of Western Australia’s Director of the Centre for Software Practice– has a theory that content providers have been putting behind-the-scenes pressure on Netflix.
Netflix has been forced into the move to block “geododgers” by the content providers who are still trying to control geographic restrictions that underpin their licensing deals around the world.
Dr. Glance thinks that the Netflix crackdown will wind up being counterproductive. He suggests that if the Netflix blockade continues, its Australian user base will simply cancel their accounts and use illegal torrent sites to download the TV shows and movies that they want to see.
And if Australia’s ex-Netflix-subscribers-turned-Pirates use VPNs while they torrent, there will be no way for content providers to track them down.