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One of the big downsides that I noticed after moving to Panama was that quite a bit of the media content that I was used to using like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and a few other websites were either blocked or did not have the same content. For example, using my same Netflix account in Panama had maybe half the content it used to have. Or if I would try to go to abc.com or nbc.com to watch the full episodes they post, the content would be blocked. This is highly annoying because I should not have to pay the same price for Netflix to get half the content.

The key reason that the content is restricted is that the internet recognizes my IP address is outside of the United States. The temporary solution I found was to use a free service like HotSpot Shield to mask the IP address on my computer. But this service sucks because it only works half the time, it has pop up ads, and it doesn’t work on Apple TV so I could only access U.S. Netflix on my computer.

After a lot of research, a few failed attempts, and hours wasted I now have a fully functioning U.S. IP address on my wireless router that lets me access all my favorite U.S. content on any device. The World Wide Web thinks my location is in Los Angeles at the moment.

So whether you’re a Panamanian wanting to use U.S. Netflix, an American living in Panama, or in another country, this is exactly step by step what you need to do to access all your favorite U.S. content:

You should first purchase a VPN (virtual private network). This provides you with your own U.S. IP address account to use. A VPN service that I recommend using is NordVPN and they have plans starting at $3.71 a month. The good thing about NordVPN is that if you only want to use it on your computer, iPhone, iPad, Android, etc they have a program that you can install on each device and there is not anything further that you need to do to enjoy having a U.S. IP address.

But if you want to get it to work on an Apple TV, Roku, a Smart TV, etc you have to have the VPN account on a router. You need to buy a special router to be able to do this which is where I messed up on my first attempt. I tried to save some money by buying an inexpensive router and then installing the software myself and this bricked the router and made it unusable.

So second time around I spent a lot more money and bought a router that is already preloaded with the software on it to use the VPN. The company I purchased my router from is called Flash Routers and they have 5 routers to choose from that will work with the NordVPN service.

The shipping was really fast (I used Miami Express to get it to Panama) and they provide step by step instructions in the box to get the VPN set up. I think my total set up time was around 10 minutes.

Everything has been working perfectly since I set it up and I’m really happy that I did it. My Apple TV, phone, computer, etc all think that I am in Los Angeles when I connect to my wireless network.  It’s just nice to be able to use all of the same websites and content that I was used to using back home.

Also, I am from the U.S. so that’s why this was based on how to use the U.S. version of Netflix. Safer VPN lets you set your location to over 100 different destinations so if you are from the UK, for example, you could set your location to the UK and use the UK version of Netflix.

If anyone else has done something similar to this or needs additional help setting it up, leave a comment below:


Experience Panama City

Author

I'm Joey, a guy from Louisville, Kentucky that packed up and studied abroad in Panamá at the age of 20 and haven't moved back since. What started as a semester trip to Panamá has turned into 10+ years of living in Latin America and becoming a full-time travel blogger. I now rotate between living in Panama City, Bogotá, and Lima. Follow me on Instagram @joeybonura for more updates on my life abroad!

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