Do You Need a US IP to Watch US Shows and Movies?
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American entertainment is just amazing – there’s so much content that Americans stream around eight hours per day on average! It’d sure be nice to get in on that fun, right?
Well, you can’t! Most of the shows and movies made in the US that are available on streaming platforms are only available in the US.
We’ll tell you why in this article. Also, we’ll show you how to unblock US content anywhere in the world.
So, let’s get started!
Why Can’t You Watch US Content Worldwide?
One word – geo-blocks (well, it’s technically two words, but let’s not argue over that). Geo-blocks restrict what content you can access on streaming sites. Also, they can prevent you from accessing certain websites altogether.
For example, the reason you see this page when you access Pandora Radio outside the US is due to geo-blocks.
Explaining how geo-blocks work can be complicated, but let’s keep it simple. Basically, they’re rules that say “you can’t access this show, movie, or website because you don’t have the right IP address.” The geo-blocks only let you through when they detect that your traffic is coming from a whitelisted IP address.
Why Do Streaming Sites Geo-Block US Content?
The all have their reasons, but it mostly comes down to licensing rights. Here’s the thing – a streaming site doesn’t usually own all the content on its platform. So, it has to license it from the actual copyright holder. When they do that, they buy the legal right to stream the show/movie – but only in a specific region!
Streaming sites can buy the worldwide licensing rights, sure, but that’s very difficult to do. They’re either very expensive or simply not for sale (a competitor might have already bought the rights for a different country).
So, the sites have no option but to use geo-blocks to make sure they don’t breach the licensing agreements they signed. That way, they can prove they’re actively trying to stop people from other countries (they don’t own the rights for) from watching the content they licensed.
Can You Bypass the Geo-Blocks?
Yes, it is possible to do that. Obviously, you need to hide your IP address. Since it tells websites what country you’re from, it helps them geo-block your access.
Sounds good, but how exactly do you do that?
Well, there are plenty of methods to get an IP address. You could use a VPN service to gain a US IP, which is the best option in our opinion. A VPN is an online tool that hides your IP address by routing your traffic through a VPN server. When you access a site using a VPN, it only sees the VPN’s IP address.
As long as you use a VPN that’s in the US, you’ll browse the web with a US IP address. So, any streaming site you visit will think you’re physically located in the US, meaning it’ll let you browse US-only content.
We tested the top VPNs with sites like Netflix, Pandora Radio, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. We were always able to unblock US-only content on those platforms – almost always on the first try!
What Are the Best US IP VPNs?
Well, pretty much any VPN with a US server will help you get a US IP address. But there’s more to a good VPN than just that!
We also look at its features – how large the server network is, how easy-to-use its apps are, if it’s secure, if it keeps logs, and if it actually unblocks US content (just having a US IP isn’t always enough).
Right now, our favorite US IP VPN is Surfshark. It’s very cheap, it has a 30-day refund, its apps are very intuitive, it doesn’t keep logs and has excellent security features, and it has tons of US servers. Surfshark is also able to unblock a lot of US-only sites. Here’s a screenshot of us unlocking Pandora Radio with Surfshark:
And best of all – Surfshark allows unlimited connections with one account. Most VPNs limit you to five or seven simultaneous connections, so with Surfshark you can use its VPN on as many devices as you want. And yes, that also means you can even share the subscription costs with your friends to save money.
How to Use a VPN to Get a US IP Address
It’s a very simple process – just follow these steps:
- Sign up for a good VPN that has US servers (like Surfshark or ExpressVPN).
- Download and install the VPN provider’s app.
- Open the app and connect to a VPN server in the US.
- Surf the web with a US IP!
Can You Get a US IP with a Free VPN?
Yes, you can use a free VPN to get a US IP – it just needs to have a US server.
But we don’t recommend sing free VPNs. While you can get US IPs, there’s no guarantee you’ll actually be able to unblock US-only content.
Because many streaming sites actively block VPN IP addresses. If they’re not refreshed very often, they’ll get blacklisted so they won’t work. And free VPNs don’t refresh their IPs fast enough, so they often can’t unblock US shows and movies on sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
And that’s not the only problem! Free VPNs also have apps that don’t work well and are missing important security features. That, and they don’t have good support and are extremely slow and limit how much data you can use each month. What’s more, some free VPNs log and sell your data and expose you to malware.
The Bottom Line
Getting a US IP is very simple – just use a VPN with a server in the US! If you don’t know which one to use, we recommend Surfshark.
Do you know other good ways to get a US IP? Please tell us about them in the comments.
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