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Abroad for the holidays? How to stream your favorite shows from afar

By Lyn Atwood / November 23, 2015 / Tags: , ,

When visiting foreign countries, here’s how to still get access to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

Netflix abroad

Going somewhere exotic for the holidays—awesome. Missing the new episode of The Walking Dead—major downer.

Traveling outside the US can be exciting, stressful, fun, hectic—or all of the above. No matter where you go or what you do, it’s always nice to be able to relax with some great TV.

Unfortunately, many holiday travelers will find that getting access to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video isn’t so easy abroad. Services often block access for users who aren’t in the US, even though customers are still paying subscribers.

Streaming your favorite TV shows while abroad is possible. It just requires a middle-man—something called a Virtual Private Network, or VPN.

A VPN expands a private network across a public network, like the internet. VPS are traditionally used by companies to give employees secure access to the office intranet connection from outside locations.

Today, VPNs are widely used by consumers for both added security while using public Wi-Fi connections and to access blocked content. When traveling abroad, VPNs make it easy to stream TV shows the say way a user would if they were home in the US.

The way it works (simple version) is that major VPN providers maintain servers in dozens of countries around the world. Someone on vacation in England, for example, can then log in to their VPN service, which connects them with the server located in the US.

From there, when the user navigates to a website, the site detects the location of the domestic VPN server and offers access as if the person were actually in the country. Since the VPN is the detectable online agent, the individual user is also protected from identity thieves and other online security dangers.

There are a number of VPN providers on the market today. Subscriptions usually cost between $10 and $30 per month.

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