Updated: May 12, 2017
- Start by getting a VPN account
- Then download and install the VPN software to the device(s) you plan to watch US Amazon Prime in the UK on
- Open VPN software and connect to US-based server
- Next, go to Amazon Prime and sign into your existing US account or create one accordingly
- Enjoy US Amazon Prime in UK
How to watch US Amazon Prime in UK
in more detail:
I was absolutely loving my new Amazon Prime account. So many brilliant shows I had no idea I was missing out on! Sure I have a Netflix account, which satisfies most of my on demand viewing pleasure -- but Amazon Prime is seriously giving Netflix a run for their money by not only offering shows Netflix are not, but in also commissioning their own fantastic productions like "The Man in The High Castle", which is so good.
However, I was super disappointed to discover that on my first trip outside of the US -- to Scotland -- I was unable to access my US Amazon Prime video streaming account. No!
Rather than just accepting this defeat, I decided to research and see if there is a way to solve the problem of how to watch US Amazon Prime in UK locations.
It took me a little while, but I figured out a solution that works 100%, giving me full access to my US Amazon Prime account while sitting in my temporary Scottish AirBnB! Therefore, I wanted to throw this quick guide together to give others that are trying to figure out a solution to the same problem.
This solution takes less than 5 minutes to setup, so you'll be enjoying the US Amazon Prime video library quicker than the time it takes you to make a coffee. Read on!
Why is US Amazon Prime not Available in UK?
In order to determine my solution, I first had to understand exactly why Amazon Prime does not allow their on demand video streaming service to US account holders when they are in the UK.
The reason Amazon Prime do this essentially comes down to distribution agreements set between Amazon.com and the owners of every piece of media they offer on the service. These agreements have been decided so that only US Amazon Prime account holders can watch certain shows and movies that may not necessarily also be offered on the Amazon.co.uk (i.e. Amazon Prime UK) version.
Netflix are very generous with their service in this regard, because although they also have individual distribution agreements for each and every country their service is available in -- they simply present users the according "version" of Netflix, depending on the user's location at that time.
Amazon Prime, however, are not so generous. If you want to access Amazon Prime video streaming in the UK and you already have a US Amazon Prime account, then you must sign up and pay for the UK Amazon Prime service. That sucks!
How is US Amazon Prime Blocking Access in UK?
Before walking you through my solution on how to watch US Amazon Prime in UK locations, it's important to specify how Amazon knows which users to block and allow.
Amazon knows each and every user's location when they access the service by using a process that's called "geo-blocking". This process is essentially like having a bouncer on the door of your shop. This bouncer stops you at the front door, checks your IP address, gets your location based on your IP address, and then either grants or denies access to the Amazon Prime service accordingly.
So when you try to access Amazon Prime from the UK, like I did, when you only have a US Amazon Prime account, then the service will know from your IP address that you are attempting to access from the UK, so rather than granting to you access, you will be asked to sign up for the Amazon.co.uk (UK Amazon Prime) service before getting access.
When I figured out that Amazon uses geo-blocking, I determined that if there is a way to somehow change my IP address to a US-based IP, then access Amazon.com from my Scottish location, Amazon would "believe" my location is actually within the US, and I would get access to my beloved US Amazon Prime account. Makes sense, right?
I quickly realised that by far the most effective and secure way to change your IP address is to use what's called a Virtual Private Network (VPN). By using a VPN, you have complete control over securely, privately, and legally changing your IP address to any location your VPN service offers you to connect to.
Use a VPN to Watch US Amazon Prime in UK
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
After researching and reviewing a whole host of VPN providers (there are literally hundreds to choose from), I settled on using ExpressVPN, as this service provider best suited my needs and my budget. So I will be using this VPN as an example while I quickly walk you through the setup process.
First, head over to ExpressVPN's website, pick the plan that best suits you, sign up and confirm your account details. Here's a snapshot that shows how straight forward this process is:
After subscribing to your VPN plan and confirming your account details via email, you will then be prompted to download the VPN software onto whatever device you are using (or plan to watch Amazon Prime on).
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
ExpressVPN automatically takes you to the download section, wherein you simply click "download" on whichever your device is. One fantastic benefit of using a VPN for this solution is that you can use them on every single device you would ever want to watch Amazon Prime media via...
So for myself, I use a Macbook and an Android smartphone (I'm a rare cross-platform'er!) Thus I simply downloaded the OS X software onto my Mac, and then went to the Google Play Store on my Android mobile device and downloaded the ExpressVPN app (free, of course) and installed both of them within a few seconds.
Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN
This step is the all important one, and also the simplest. Once you have your VPN software downloaded and installed, you just go ahead and open it up. The main software interface will be completely self-explanatory; asking you to simply choose a location you want to connect to the VPN through.
You obviously want to select a US-based server location, as this is what will change your IP address from your UK one to a US one -- which will solve the problem of how to watch US Amazon Prime in UK locations.
Here's how clean and understandable the ExpressVPN interface looks on both my Macbook and Android device:
Step 4: Setup US Amazon Prime Account
This step is important if you are a UK native (i.e. you live in the UK), and just want to have access to the US version of Amazon Prime. You might want to do this because maybe you prefer the shows/movies offered on the US Prime over the UK Prime, or perhaps you want both.
Either way, as mentioned earlier in this quick guide, to do this you will have to sign up and create a US Amazon Prime account on amazon.com and then connect to your VPN through a US-based server location.
The only hurdle you will have is to use a valid Zip code, which is unlike the UK's postcode system. To do this simply enter any five digit number ending with three zeros, e.g. 34000. If it doesn't work at first, change the first two numbers until it's accepted.
Step 5: Watch US Amazon Prime in UK
Once you are connected to a US-based server through your VPN service provider, go ahead and navigate to amazon.com and sign in to your US Amazon Prime account. You will have instant total access from the comfort of your UK location.
If you ever want to switch or turn off your VPN connection and bring your IP back to it's real location, it's simply a case of disconnecting from your VPN. You can do this as often as you want.
The best reason to use a VPN to watch US Amazon Prime in UK locations, for me, comes from the incredibly sophisticated level of privacy that you get when using a VPN. The second you connect; every second of your online activity is encrypted to 'military-grade' levels of privacy, meaning that your online privacy and anonymity is protected as much as possible.
So there you have it -- a super quick guide on how to watch US Amazon Prime in UK locations by using a VPN. Like I said, this entire process should take you no more than 5 minutes to set up.
I said earlier that I personally researched and reviewed a whole bunch of VPN service providers in order to find the one that best suited my needs and (modest) budget at the time of solving this problem, which was ExpressVPN. However, to give you some more options, here are all five of the top VPNs for watching US Amazon Prime in UK locations -- check them out:
I hope you found this guide useful and are happily sitting watching your US Amazon Prime on demand video from your UK location! If you have any questions at all, or feedback in general, go ahead and let me know in the comment section below.
Happy US Amazon Prime'ing!