If you never watched Friends, you missed out on one of the best sitcoms ever. And if you already saw the show, now’s a good a time as any to rewatch all ten seasons – especially since most of the early episodes have an autumn vibe going on!
It’s available on Netflix, though, right?
Yes, it is – unless you happen to live in the US. Friends aren’t available on Netflix there.
We’ll tell you in this article. Also, we’ll show you how to watch everything on Netflix (including this show).
Why Can’t You Watch Friends on Netflix in the US?
Because Netflix no longer owns the licensing rights for the show in the US. They likely expired, and the company didn’t renew them. We have no idea why – maybe data mining told Netflix that the show isn’t as popular in the US as it is abroad (it’s hard to believe that, we know).
So what’s the alternative then?
Well, most people would say you only have three options left:
- Catching reruns on cable TV.
- Buying the show on DVD.
- Getting an HBO Max subscription ($14.99 per month).
To us, none of those options sound appealing. Why should you spend more money when you already have a Netflix subscription? Or keep your eyes on the TV guide to see when a few episodes are broadcasted this week?
Don’t worry – there’s actually a fourth option: using a VPN. We’ll tell you how that works in a little bit. First, let’s see what Netflix actually does to restrict your access to Friends.
How Does Netflix Stop You from Watching Friends in the US?
The site uses geo-blocking to redirect you to the US content library which doesn’t have friends. Here’s a quick look at how that works:
- When you visit Netflix, your device sends connection requests to the site through your web browser.
- Netflix receives those requests and checks your IP address (the requests contain it).
- Since your IP reveals geo-data like what country and city you are from, Netflix will know you’re connecting to its platform from the US.
- Based on that information, Netflix automatically redirects your connection to the US library.
How to Watch Friends on Netflix in the US
It’s really simple – just use a VPN! It’s an online tool that hides your geo-location by preventing sites from seeing your IP address. Here’s how it does that when you use Netflix:
- You download, install, and use a VPN app to connect to a VPN server. You need to use a server that’s not in the US, but in a country where Friends is available on Netflix (let’s say the UK).
- The app and server establish an encrypted connection. That means nobody can spy on your traffic (which goes through that connection). Thanks to that, your ISP can’t throttle your bandwidth (lower your speeds) when you binge Netflix for hours on end.
- When you visit Netflix, the VPN server will act as a middleman between it and you. Basically, that means it intercepts your connection requests, and it forwards them to Netflix’s web servers on your behalf.
- Because of that, Netflix will think your traffic is coming from the VPN server, not your device.
- So, Netflix only sees the VPN’s IP address (its geo-location). In this example, it’d be a UK IP address, meaning you’d get redirected to the UK content library (where all seasons of Friends are available).
Whew, sounds pretty overwhelming, right?
Don’t worry – on your end, it’ll be easy-peasy. This is all that will happen: you run the VPN app, connect to a server outside the US, and boom – you can now binge all episodes of Friends.
How to Pick a Good Netflix VPN to Watch Friends in the US
The most important requirement a VPN needs to meet is the ability to actually unblock Netflix. While pretty much all providers say they do that, they’re not exactly telling the truth. Some of them can only unblock specific Netflix libraries, while others can only unblock Netflix for a short time.
So what’s going on?
Well, Netflix is really, really good at detecting VPN IP addresses. It’s why so many people see the Netflix proxy error when using a VPN. Unfortunately, not all VPNs can bypass Netflix’s detection algorithms. To do that, the provider has to regularly refresh their IPs (lease new ones, essentially). And not all of them can afford to do that very often.
How to watch everything on Netflix with a VPN that really works, then?
Simple – just follow that link. It’s an online tool from ProPrivacy that’s called StreamCatcher. When you look up a Netflix title, it tells you which countries it’s available in. Also, on the left, it recommends the best three Netflix VPNs on the market.
You can trust those suggestions because they’re powered by ProPrivacy’s data. They’re one of the biggest VPN review sites on the web. And they regularly test VPNs to make sure they can unblock Netflix 24/7. We also tested the Netflix VPNs they currently recommend, and we’re happy to say they work really well.
Can You Watch Friends on Netflix in the US with a Free VPN?
Free VPNs sound really appealing, we know, but they likely won’t work with Netflix.
Like we just said, to actually unblock the platform, a VPN needs to keep refreshing its IPs. And that costs quite a lot of money. Since the VPNs are free, how could they afford to do that?
Plus, even if a free VPN can unblock Friends for you on Netflix, the streaming experience won’t be too smooth. Free VPNs often have slow servers since they’re overcrowded or just have low speeds, and capped bandwidth.
How Else Can You Unblock Friends on Netflix in the US?
If you know other ways to bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions, please tell us about them in the comments. Oh, and if you use specific services, please leave a link and tell us what you think of them.