In early 2016, Netflix announced their worldwide expansion. Kenyans finally had this coveted service, with brilliant content at their fingertips, including original TV series and Netflix movies. Unfortunately, Netflix was not all that we imagined and more. Distribution rights and syndication means that our local stations reserve the rights to many popular shows – including some of Netflix’s own. Netflix is not allowed to provide access to this content, and therefore we have a much smaller catalogue than what is available in the U.S. and U.K.
However, savvy internet users know how to get past this problem. Getting access to the full U.S. catalogue is as simple as getting a VPN for Netflix.
Here is a quick guide to get you started.
What is a VPN?
If you don’t yet know what a VPN is, there are multiple reasons to get clued in. A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your data and reroutes it through a foreign server. It is incredibly important in this day and age for security purposes. After all, we live much of our lives online, and identity theft (or plain old hacking) is a real problem. By encrypting your data, you prevent others from tracking your activity. By hiding your location, no one can track you down even if they somehow gain access to your data.
Now, this has the added bonus of tricking websites into thinking you are in a different location. By convincing Netflix that you are in the U.S., you get access to the American catalogue.
It’s as simple as downloading a free VPN service. Or at least it was, until Netflix took action.
Streaming sites have banned VPNs
Netflix and other streaming sites came under pressure from legal authorities to stop users from gaining access to their content this way. Distribution and copyright laws are taken pretty seriously, and these sites had to at least show that they were trying.
They found ways to detect if someone was using a VPN to try and access content, and block VPN users from doing so.
Fortunately, VPN providers still had some tricks up their sleeves, and many have found ways to get through Netflix’s ban. However, free services aren’t really an option anymore. The truth is that you get what you pay for, and subscription services offer you better security along with continued access.
Check the prices
For what you’re getting, many VPN services are relatively cheap. The average for a monthly subscription is ten U.S. dollars. That drops to five or six if you purchase an annual subscription. However, since Netflix and VPNs are in a constant game of cat and mouse, it is perhaps wise to pay on a month-to-month basis. Then, in the case that Netflix manages to block the VPN you are using, you can switch to another without any monetary loss.
It’s worth it for the security
While we’ve been focusing on Netflix, we recommend using a VPN even if you’re not streaming. VPN services are crucial for the security they provide you online. In a day and age when our entire identities are up for grabs, it’s foolish to take chances.