Surprised? Thankfully, the streaming giant has convinced NBCUniversal to bring back your favorite comfort show this January. You can now check out The Office (US) on Netflix by clicking this link. StreamCatcher has up-to-date information about which international libraries hold the complete adventures of the Dunder Mifflin gang.
That, and any other show Netflix has been losing to licensing restrictions over the past few years. Like The Office, you’ll find that some shows don’t leave the platform for good – they’re just removed from certain regions and pop up in others. For example, right now you can watch The Office on Netflix in the UK and Ireland, among others.
Wondering how to do it if you aren’t a local? Well, scroll on for the details.
The Best Way to Watch The Office on Netflix
It’s pretty easy to watch geo-restricted shows nowadays. Just use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and you can change your online location at will. Live in the US? Netflix doesn’t need to know that. Once you’re connected to, say, a VPN server in the United Kingdom, you immediately gain access to The Office and any other shows on the UK catalog.
Not only that, but you can also watch shows on BBC iPlayer, or other local streaming platforms depending on which country you select. That’s why it’s a good idea to pick a VPN provider with a wide server network – you’ll have way more options to unlock content from all around the world.
How does all this work, you ask? It’s pretty straightforward, actually. Content platforms can detect your location through your IP address, which reveals your country, city, and even ZIP code. By using a VPN app, your traffic is rerouted through one of their servers, meaning any online service will see their IP instead. You can basically go server-hopping around the world through a single app.
Here’s another cool fact: you can use VPNs to get around firewalls at the office, at school, or public places that block the fun side of the Internet. Since your device’s only direct connection is with the VPN server, you can easily get around buzzkill network rules set up by the local admins.
That is, unless they also block VPNs, but that rarely happens. Moreover, any top-tier provider would have obfuscation in place to mask the fact that you’re using their app.
Can I Watch the Office with a Free VPN?
While we’re on the topic of VPN providers, you’re probably wondering if there’s any meaningful difference between them. Well, we can tell you right off the bat that Netflix and co. have an easy time blocking free VPNs, due to:
- Their small server networks, as there are fewer IP ranges to filter (and fewer options to unblock content from abroad)
- Lack of proper funding to obtain new IP addresses and keep on top of new obfuscation techniques
Speaking of funding, have you ever thought about how “free” services pay for their operational costs? The answer here is simple – they sell your browsing and location data to advertisers or inject ads into your browser.
That’s not the worst of it, though. Some of the most downloaded free VPNs collect way more data than they should be able to, displaying behavior that’s more akin to malware than security software. The culmination of this data collection trend has seen 20 million people having their sensitive info leaked online. Home addresses, logins and passwords, payment data, the works.
Now, there are a handful of free providers who are just trying to run an honest business. Don’t expect them to work on Netflix, though. And if by some miracle they aren’t blocked yet, here’s what you can expect:
- Slow download and streaming speeds – caused by the small number of servers, congestion, and bandwidth throttling to keep up with their growing user base
- Monthly data caps – another way to get you to hop onto their premium plan. But then they aren’t “free” anymore, are they?
With all that out of the way, there’s one last thing left to cover.
How to Speed Up Your VPN for Streaming
All VPNs, regardless of quality, will slow down your connection somewhat. That’s because your data needs to travel a greater distance before reaching its destination, and vice-versa.
On the plus side, VPNs can help you bypass bandwidth throttling from your ISP. And if you haven’t heard, each Internet provider focuses their throttling efforts on specific content platforms. For example, AT&T is more likely to slow down speeds on YouTube and Netflix, but leave Amazon Prime Video untouched.
Back on topic: the slowdowns are less noticeable with premium providers that can afford lightning fast servers. However, it can’t hurt to optimize things. Here’s what you can do without any extra software or hardware upgrades:
#1 Use a VPN server close to your location
There are lists of multiple countries where you can watch The Office on Netflix. Try connecting to one that’s closest to you, so your data doesn’t need to travel as far.
#2 Take advantage of split-tunneling
Split-tunneling allows you to select which apps have their traffic routed through the VPN. Any apps that don’t use the VPN will instead rely on your ISP’s servers, leading to improved speeds. This is useful in case you’re downloading any large files or updating your system in the background, for example.
Want to watch The Office? All you need to do is “whitelist” your browser or the Netflix app on your PC or mobile device. Your ISP will do the grunt work and take care of every other network-capable app.
#3 Choose UDP over TCP
Your VPN client settings should feature an option to use a UDP-based protocol (such as OpenVPN UDP). TCP is more suited for when you need reliable file transfers, which isn’t required for streaming. At worst, you’ll get some dips in video quality here and there. Of course, if your network connection suffers from frequent hiccups, then TCP might be the better idea. Experiment and see which works best in your case.