If you’re like most American expats living abroad, then you’ll definitely want to know how to get your hands on a US IP address. By far, the best way to get a US IP abroad is to use a virtual private network (VPN). I use a VPN every day to virtually tunnel into the US from Europe.
Why? Because there’s so much I can do with a US IP that I wouldn’t be able to do with the Hungarian IP address provided by my ISP in Hungary. I can access my American streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO; I can securely access my American bank accounts; I can often find cheaper deals on flights home; I can find excellent deals on all kinds of products and services online; I can stream my local sports teams’ games, and there are many other advantages of using a VPN as an expat.
So, how exactly can a VPN help you get a US IP address?
To put it simply, a VPN is a piece of software that reroutes your internet connection through a secure, encrypted tunnel to a server in a remote location. In doing so, the VPN not only secures your online activity, but it also effectively changes your IP address from the one assigned to you by your ISP to the address of the VPN server you’re connecting through.
Why is your IP address important? Because the websites and online services you visit and use all rely on your IP address to determine your approximate location. So let’s say you’re in Rome and you fire up Netflix because you want to stream Schitt’s Creek, for example. Well, then you’ll find yourself up shit creek without a paddle – as they say – because Netflix can tell by your IP address that you’re in Italy where the show is blocked from being streamed.
If you use a VPN to connect to a server in the US, however, you’ll get yourself a US IP address and Netflix will think you’re actually in the States, even though in reality you’re an ocean away. And when Netflix thinks you’re in the US, you’ll have access to Schitt’s Creek and all the other titles available in the US library, many of which aren’t available in other Netflix libraries around the world. Check out my article on unblocking Netflix with a VPN for more information about how this works.
It’s not just that though. You’ll be able to unblock all kinds of other streaming services, sports, and TV programming restricted to the US when you use a VPN to get a US IP address. Watch your favorite shows and your favorite sports teams as if you’re back home in the States, even if you’re an expat living abroad.
What’s more, you’ll be able to access and manage any bank accounts you may still have back in the US without any restrictions, and even find deals on airfare and other products and services online.
You may be thinking that a VPN is this super-complicated technology that’s reserved for tech geeks and computer whizzes. In reality, though, a VPN is incredibly simple to install and use – so easy that even the most technophobic people out there will have no issues using one. VPN providers these days make their VPN software so user-friendly and intuitive, anyone can use them without issues. And there are plenty of cheap VPNs as well!
So if you want to use a VPN to get a US IP address, all you’d need to do is sign up for a VPN service, select a server to connect to in the US and click the connect button – that’s it… seriously.
Once you’ve connected to a server in the US, all the online websites and services you visit or use will think you’re in the US.
So what VPNs do I use?
Again, I use a VPN every single day to get a US IP address and help me access the internet as though I’m in the US. Although I use several different VPN services regularly, I tend to use ExpressVPN the most. Express VPN is my go-to VPN – especially for tunneling into the US – because I find it to be fast, secure, easy to use, and reliable. And of course, because it gives me access to my US Netflix catalog – a capability which most American expats can tell you is a big deal. Other VPNs I use regularly to get a US IP include NordVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and Surfshark. Each provider is more than capable of providing the speeds, security, functionality, and US IP addresses that you need for a solid VPN experience – and you’ll find that they’re a bit more budget-friendly overall than ExpressVPN.
Now that you know how to get a US IP address – and what VPNs I’d recommend taking a look at to do so – you’ll be able to open up the internet just like you’re back home in the US!