Living in Bangladesh, we don’t get access to a ton of entertainment materials online, do we? Yes, we consume all of our TV shows and movies from the torrent sites, but did you know that there’s a better way to watch movies and TV shows without having to download them?
Yes, this ‘better way’ requires you to pay a monthly fee. But to be able to watch something instantly without having to download is a big deal for a lot of lazy people like me. And that’s why I’m a big fan of Netflix.
This post was published before Netflix officially launched in Bangladesh. Because of that, it has instructions of how to avoid the geo-restriction and access Netflix from Bangladesh. If you are able to access Netflix.com and see a start your free trial page, please click here to jump down and skip the unnecessary steps described below.
If you’re reading this, I’ll assume that you already know what Netflix is. It’s one of the most popular online destinations for millions of people to watch TV shows and movies. Not all movies and TV shows are there, and it does take a while for stuff to get there after their original air date, but it has a large collection of content to keep you hooked for a long time.
But if you go to netflix.com, you’ll be greeted with a rather rude message. It’s not available in this part of the world yet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t watch it. You just have to take some alternative ways to get to it.
Assuming you’d like to know why Netflix can’t be accessed from Bangladesh to begin with, here’s some explanation in layman’s terms.
The technical term of Netflix not being available in your country or location is ‘Geo-Restriction.’ It means, whenever you connect to any web server, it can determine your location and serve you the content that is most relevant to your location. Websites can choose to serve different versions of the site based on your location or serve no content at all.
That’s what Netflix does. If you appear to be from a country where Netflix officially hasn’t launched yet, it will tell you that it’s not available in your part of the world yet.
Being from Bangladesh, I don’t assume that’s going to happen anytime soon. So, we look for alternatives.
How bypassing geo-restrictions works
So, basically, you use some techniques that route your internet traffic from your location via another location. For example, if you’re visiting Netflix from Bangladesh — where Netflix isn’t available, a VPN or DNS service will route your network through a country where Netflix is available. If you choose to route your traffic through the US, your request to connect to Netflix will go through a server that’s located in the US.
That way, when your request to access the content hits Netflix’s servers, Netflix will see that it’s coming from a US location. So, the geo-restriction will not be applied and the content will be served to you.
How VPN or DNS works can be a lengthy and complicated article so I’ll just stop explaining further about this. If you’re curious, you can search on Google to find out how VPN services can be used to access geo-restricted sites.
But VPN is slow!
Exactly. And that’s why I don’t use any VPN service to connect to Netflix. Although many premium VPN service providers say that they’ll let you use 100% of your ISP’s speed, it’s not really possible. When all of your internet traffic is routed through the VPN, some 15%-20% drop in speed is to be expected, and that is if you’re using a premium VPN service. If you use a free one, your speed will become even slower.
Using Smart DNS to connect to Netflix
Smart DNS refers to the usage of some DNS services where some websites will be unblocked while the DNS addresses are in use. To put simply, if you’re using a smart DNS provider’s DNS on your computer or your router, you’ll be able to access sites like Netflix and Spotify without being shut off due to location.
At the same time, when you visit other sites, your real connection will be used. So, unlike VPN, Smart DNS does not route all of your internet traffic. Just the traffic to some of the supported channels like Netflix.
Netflix is awesome at streaming regardless of your internet speed. If you’ve got anything around 1 mbps you are good to stream Netflix via smart DNS.
I’m using ibDNS right now to use their smartDNS offering to unblock Netflix and a number of other channels. They charge a monthly fee of $5 but you can check out their service prior to paying by starting a free trial. I’m super happy with their service and I’d recommend them to anyone willing to watch Netflix without sacrificing connection speed.
But I want to watch for free!
Sure, you can install an extension like Hola on your Chrome browser and it’ll let you connect to Netflix through a US network. But it does significantly reduce the speed (remember, free VPN?) and turning it on and off can be a bit of a hassle for some people.
It’s great for testing or temporarily unblocking sites that are not available due to geo-restrictions, but I’d rather not have it for continuous use.
Netflix isn’t free. But it provides value for the money you pay for it.
But the main point here is the fact that Netflix itself isn’t free. You need to pay Netflix $9.99 per month, applicable after one month of free trial, in order to access the content. It sucks to pay Netflix and watch low-resolution content. Netflix will deliver low-resolution content when your speed is slow, which becomes the case when you’re using a free VPN.
So, my solution is, I use Netflix and ibDNS. Together, they cost $10 + $5 = $15 per month. But I have a lifetime license from ibDNS so I don’t really need to pay them monthly. But $15 is what you’d pay if you’d follow my recommendation.
Alternatively, you can use Tunlr smart DNS which costs a lot less (About $9.99 a year or $0.99 a month). I use Tunlr DNS on my secondary internet service and it works great.
Pay just about $1 per month using Tunlr smart DNS.
For the value and entertainment that you’ll get out of that $15 or $11 per month, I don’t think you’re going to stop the service anytime soon.
All right, so how do I set it up?
An international credit/debit card. This can be the one that’s issued by your bank and has the online payment gateway open or your Payoneer or Neteller prepaid MasterCard if you have one. You can get someone to buy you Netflix gift cards from the US, assuming that you want to use Netflix’s US region, but you’ll still need to pay for the DNS service. (Unless you’re okay with free VPN services like Hola.)
Make sure to go to ibDNS, sign up for a free trial and get the DNS records from your client area. Sign up for a one-week trial to get the DNS working for you.
Setting up DNS on any computer or smartphone is pretty easy. But if you’ve got a router at home, it’s much easier to set it up on the router so that all of your devices can access Netflix.
ibDNS and ibVPN are two different services. VPN routes all your internet traffic through the service provider’s servers and slows down your speed quite a bit. ibDNS, or any other smart DNS for that matter, does not slow down your service while allowing access to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Video.
The process of setting up custom DNS on each device is different. Assuming that you’ll be using ibDNS as I recommended, you can click here and use their setup guide to configure your device. It can be used on pretty much every smartphone, computer operating system, gaming consoles, and even some smart TVs.
If you’re using Tunlr, the process of setting up can be found here. In fact, the setup instructions are all the same. It’s the DNS address that’ll be different for different providers.
If you have a router at home, you can look up the router’s model name and search on Google for ‘how to set up custom DNS on (your router’s brand and model number)’ and you’ll surely see some results.
I’ve got a TP-Link MR3420 router and the instructions for setting that up are as follows.
First, log into your router’s configuration settings and follow the screenshots below.
You may need to restart your browser after saving these changes. When your router is restarted, assuming that you did start the week of free trial with ibDNS or Tunlr, Netflix will load without a problem.
Go to netflix.com
when your DNS settings are set and you should be greeted with the welcome page. Sign up for a month of free trial and you should be able to view the list of content available to you. On first sign up, you’ll be able to select a number of titles that you’ve watched and enjoyed. This will help Netflix show you the type of movies and TV shows that you might enjoy.
I find Netflix to be incredibly reliable in this case. It does show me the titles that I find interesting. I’m pretty much glued to Netflix all the time I’m not working or sleeping as you can see from the first image on this post!
Benefits of Netflix
Aside from the fact that Netflix has tons of content for you to watch on demand and newer movies and TV shows are being added on a constant basis, here are a few more things that I’ve come to love about Netflix.
Netflix can deliver content based on your internet connection regardless of how slow or fast it is. My connection is pretty unreliable. But Netflix doesn’t seem to buffer at all. When the connection is slow, it’ll deliver a low-resolution video while downloading ahead in the background so that it can switch to a higher resolution whenever possible. It’s really amazing.
Netflix keeps track of the titles you’re watching as well as where you are when watching. That means, if you start watching Season 2 Episode 1 of Breaking Bad and 20 minutes into the episode your connection breaks down, you can log into Netflix from any other device at any time and Netflix will know to resume that episode right where you stopped.
Zoo is a particularly great TV show that I’ve recently watched and suggest everyone to watch.
For people with multiple devices like me, it’s an incredibly useful feature and a relief not having to keep track of where am I when watching a long TV series like Criminal Minds or The X-Files.
It’s also a great place to discover new TV shows and movies. I’ve personally found Netflix’s ratings (based on user ratings) to be pretty accurate. Anything above 4 stars is usually worth watching. If you don’t like what you see, you haven’t wasted anything but a few minutes, right? You didn’t have to download the whole thing via torrent that you’d otherwise have to do.
How do I pay for Netflix?
Good question. Paying for Netflix isn’t all that difficult if you’ve got a card that’s accepted worldwide. If you don’t, however, things get a little tricky. You can ask a friend or a relative to buy you a bunch of Netflix gift cards so that you can redeem the codes. On my last visit to the US, I bought $130 worth of Netflix gift cards so that I won’t have to worry about the payment for a year. You could do something like that.
Paying for the DNS service can be a bit of a hassle, though. If you’re having a hard time managing someone to pay for you, you can use an extension like Hola to access Netflix without any cost. It’s not as convenient as having the DNS addresses configured on your router, but it’s a lot better than not being able to watch Netflix at all!
Are there any good titles on Netflix?
Oh, trust me, there are a lot of good movies and TV shows on Netflix. Starting from animation movies to action-adventures, crime, drama, documentary, Netflix has got you covered. Don’t expect newer TV series or movies to drop into Netflix too soon, though. Netflix isn’t known for that.
But I’ve found a lot of good TV shows on Netflix that I can watch again without having to redownload anything. TV shows like The X-Files, Breaking Bad, Burn Notice, Prison Break, Futurama, House of Cards, Person of Interest, The Walking Dead, etc can keep me hooked for months.
There are even TV shows that I haven’t watched yet and would love to give it a try. Titles like Supernatural, Dexter, Doctor Who, The Twilight Zone, Criminal Minds, etc. Then there are Netflix originals like House of Cards, Jessica Jones, Bojack Horseman, etc. that can keep you hooked for even more months.
Sometimes I discover new TV shows that I haven’t heard of yet. Zoo is a particularly good TV show that I’ve recently watched and recommend to everyone.
Have any questions or comments? Sound off in the comments!