If you’re a fan of Netflix and their huge catalog of TV shows and movies, you may be a little upset to learn that you can’t access your favorites while traveling. This is true even if you have a legitimate account in your home country that you pay good money to access. The fault doesn’t lie with Netflix itself. It’s due to a complicated system of licensing agreements between media copyright holders and specific countries, which leads some content in the company’s catalog to become geo-blocked in those locations. In countries like China, the media viewing platform is banned altogether. Many people try to get around geo-blocking of banned or restricted content by using a proxy server to mask their location. Proxy servers hide your IP address while you’re using the internet, but that isn’t really enough. For really effective privacy controls and access, you need more solid protection.
- What’s the difference?
- What is the Best VPN for Netflix?
- 1. NordVPN – Full Netflix Access + SmartPlay Technology
- 2. Surfshark – Netflix + Speed + Security
- 3. ExpressVPN – Great Netflix Access + Maximum Speed
- 4. VyprVPN – Good Netflix Access + Decent Speed
- 5. CyberGhost – Decent Netflix Access + Decent Speed
- 6. Trust.Zone – Decent Netflix Access + Limited Functionality
- 7. TorGuard – Decent Netflix Access + Great for Torrenting
- Bypassing the Netflix Proxy Error
- FAQs About Using VPNs and Netflix
- Final Thoughts
What’s the difference?
Proxies are great if you need to hide your address during a routine IP swapping process, but that’s really all they do. They’re also configured on an application-by-application basis instead of system-wide. There is no encryption, security, DNS leak protection, or other privacy controls. For that you need a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN will mask all of your identifying information and activity on any device that’s connected through the server. They can be configured to work with your operating system or router, capturing and rerouting any internet activity on that network and making it appear that your IP address originates from another location. Using a strong, top-rated VPN provider will create a secure tunnel between DNS services and you that’s heavily encrypted from spies, hackers, and platforms like Netflix. This doesn’t simply get around the problem of being geo-blocked. It also protects you from the legal consequences of bypassing government and corporate censorship, and stops DNS leaks that can lead to identity theft, session hijacking, and spyware infections. Because VPNs use up network resources and bandwidth, many place limits on connectivity, speed, and bandwidth. That’s why we don’t recommend using free VPNs. Aside from limiting bandwidth and throttling your connection, they often keep logs of your location, information, and activity. Some even sell that information to third-parties. You may find a few legitimate providers that offer “free” services, but they all do this with free trials and not completely free packages. Check out this list of the best free VPN services that don’t sell you out to advertisers.
What is the Best VPN for Netflix?
Because VPNs hide your location, you can access content from anywhere in the world. The country with the largest Netflix catalog is Japan, followed by the United States; Canada is number three. You needn’t rely on old news or biased lists to find the best VPN for Netflix in 2020. Things change fast in cyberspace, so we rigorously try and test VPN services regularly in an effort to provide you with the most current information about access to popular video streaming platforms and services. Main factors that you should look out for:
- Price/services ratio
- Number of servers and locations
- All inclusive no-log policies
- Netflix access
- Adequate speed and bandwidth to support streaming HD content
- Responsive tech support
- Support for multiple devices
Without further ado, here’s a list of six companies that provide the best access to Netflix.
1. NordVPN – Full Netflix Access + SmartPlay Technology
This is the first choice, but take note, the differences between NordVPN and ExpressVPN are almost negligible; one edged out the other only with a few functions. Nord has the muscle to give you high-speed connections, but it comes quite inconsistently. One speed test from Europe to a server in the US realized a download speed of only 3.87 mbps. Another clocked in at a little over 65 mbps, and yet another registered more than 100 mbps. The company is based in Panama, and it has more than 5,000 servers located in 60 countries. You can also purchase dedicated IP addresses and specialty connections.
- Great value
- Supports up to six devices
- Ad blocker feature
- Also compatible with double-hop and Tor-over-VPN servers
- 24/7/365 live chat support
- Inconsistent speeds across server platforms
- Steep discount is only available with a long-term contract
As mentioned, they offer a lot of features and functionality, including the all-important no-log policy and a user-friendly interface. Other perks include connectivity for up to six devices, DNS leak protection, and ad blocking. The win for NordVPN comes from their proprietary SmartPlay technology that provides most of their 5,000 servers the ability to stream Netflix and over a hundred other streaming sites with ease. With Nord, you can get a three-year contract, which will bring your total cost down to $2.99 per month. They also offer a money-back guarantee and other pricing plans for those who don’t want a long-term commitment. The pay-as-you-go monthly fee is $11.95 per month, or you can sign on for a one- or two-year contract at $6.99 or $3.99 respectively. All but the monthly plan are billable up front via credit card, Amazon pay, or crypto-currency. For a long time, ExpressVPN was the only true contender to NordVPN. A new age has dawned and the new guy around these parts is showing some true promise. Learn more about NordVPN in our comprehensive review of the service.
2. Surfshark – Netflix + Speed + Security
Surfshark has decided to throw their hat in the ring and we like what we see. There is even a possibility that they can overthrow NordVPN in the future. Location is extremely important when talking about Netflix viewing. The jurisdiction Surfshark set up shop in is the British Virgin Islands. The islands have built a reputation for being the best place for a VPN to run. The great thing about Surfshark is that it just works in every facet of how a VPN should work. For long-term contracts, you can pay $1.99 per month. It kind of feels like you’re getting a VPN for free at that price. The other big thing worth mentioning is since they are so new, they are also growing extremely quickly. New servers are popping up all the time and at current count, the company has more than 800 servers in over 50 countries.
- The best protocol for streaming
- Able to torrent and P2P share
- No logs
- Unlimited everything
- Located in the British Virgin Islands
- Best security and encryption available
- Some servers aren’t stable
- Server base still needs to grow
One of our favorite things about Surfshark is that it gives you the option to connect as many devices as you’d like. When watching Netflix, this is important. You may want to watch Netflix on your smart TV while surfing the web on your computer and phone. Your family member may also be doing the same exact thing upstairs. Another fantastic thing about Surfshark is the compatibility it has with a number of operating systems and devices. Surfshark works with Windows, macOS, Android, Apple, Linux, FireTV, AppleTV, Xbox, Playstation, and routers. No matter which device you want to stream Netflix on, Surfshark will allow it. Customer support is offered in various languages, for those that need help. Surfshark also has instant email support but there isn’t much of a use for it as their live chat operators respond fairly quickly. Customer support isn’t needed much with Surfshark anyways but if you do have questions, their knowledge base is helpful and will probably be able to answer any question you have. With the pricing mentioned above, adding two dollars per month for a VPN can be rationalized easily. If you’re an avid Netflix user, you’re missing out on a lot of content available in other countries. Imagine that Netflix increased its price two dollars per month to access every country’s library of content. You would pay that extra two dollars 10 out of 10 times. Instead of paying Netflix, you just pay Surfshark for a VPN. Read our full review of Surfshark’s VPN.
3. ExpressVPN – Great Netflix Access + Maximum Speed
ExpressVPN has been the only contender to NordVPN for years. But where NordVPN flickers, is where ExpressVPN just shines bright. There are 2 major reasons why ExpressVPN has always been considered one of the best VPNs today:
- It works for Netflix streaming in test after test.
- It has the speed you need for quality HD viewing.
The company originates in the British Virgin Islands, but it escapes the reach of the UK’s rigid snooping laws. The average download speed, using 100mbps as a baseline and comparing six servers in various locations throughout Europe and the US, is 87.67. That doesn’t change appreciably no matter how far you are from the server. The platform is also reliable, with a user-friendly interface and military-grade encryption standards. They also follow a strict no-log policy.
- 24/7/365 tech support via live chat
- Split tunnelling feature for connecting different operating systems, devices, or routers.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- More expensive than other providers
- Limited to three simultaneous connections
Express also provides subscribers with a high degree of connectivity. There are more than 3,000 servers in their network, which can be used to unblock Netflix rosters in America and Canada, as well as those in non-English-speaking countries. With their MediaStreamer feature, you can convert your ExpressVPN into a smart DNS service that works directly on your smart TV. This is a function that isn’t available through many VPN services. It’s supported by most operating systems, including Windows, MAC, Linux, Android, and iOS, and you can use up to three simultaneous connections per subscription. Tech support is available around the clock, year round, via live online chat, and the website is viewable in more than 20 languages. Their website also houses setup tutorials and other useful information and features. The company offers a free trial and 30-day money back guarantee. Express offers a monthly pay-as-you-go plan for $12.99 per month, or you can purchase a subscription for terms of six or 12 months. The 12-month plan is the best deal. It amounts to $6.67 per month, billed annually, with three months added on for free, making a total of 15 months under this plan. The six-month subscription is $9.99 per month, billed bi-annually. You can pay via PayPal, credit card, or Bitcoin. To learn more about these payment options and more, see our ExpressVPN review.
4. VyprVPN – Good Netflix Access + Decent Speed
VyprVPN runs a close fourth, but it is probably one of the most secure of all platforms tested. This is mainly due to their proprietary Chameleon protocol that fights VPN blocking and has superior encryption capabilities. The Swiss company also owns and operates all of their own servers, which number more than 700. The network has some 200,000 IP addresses at its disposal, which reduces the risk of yours being blocked by Netflix.
- Advanced security
- Independently owned and operated
- Customization features
- Fewer servers than other providers
- Chameleon not available with basic plan
- No crypto-currency payment option
- Lacks the speed of other platforms
What this network majorly lacks is speed. In several speed tests on the closest server to the test location, the speeds were recorded as 27.02 mbps and 29.06 mbps, respectively. As far as functionality goes, Vypr offers several easy to use apps as well as connectivity with UK and US Netflix, HD streaming, and DNS/IP leak protection. There are two payment plans, basic and premium, available as a monthly or annual contract. The company does offer a three-day free trial before you commit. The basic monthly rate is $9.95 and includes up to three device connections; yearly, that rate breaks down to $3.75 per month. The premium service is $5.00 per month or $12.95 per month, depending on whether you’re paying monthly or purchasing an annual contract. This service supports up to five devices and also comes with cloud storage. Payment options are credit card or PayPal.
5. CyberGhost – Decent Netflix Access + Decent Speed
This VPN is a real up and comer for those who like enhanced security and value. There was a time when potential customers were suspicious about its capabilities due to its relatively low cost, but minds are changing fast. Installation takes only minutes, and the easy interface makes for a shallow learning curve when it comes to using the VPN. You can take a shortcut through a panel of buttons labeled, “What do you want to do today?” From there, you’ll find several drop-down menus to choose your purpose beyond each basic option, such as torrenting or watching streaming content from specific platforms, one for customization features for logging on and use, an upgrade key, and more advanced features.
- Free trial available
- Easy user interface
- Unlimited bandwidth and traffic
- Up to five simultaneous connections
- Strong security
- Accepts cryptocurrency
- Limited customer support availability
- Some servers are very slow
As far as access, CyberGhost offers users 2770 servers that are spread out over 60 different countries, 462 of which are in the US, and there are no caps or limitations on servers or data. It’s supports MAC, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS. This service is very reliable, too. Speed is not quite so fast as streaming content without a VPN, but it’s much safer. It also comes with free browser plugins for Firefox and Chrome so users in countries with blocked internet content can still get access, and it’s Netflix-friendly. CyberGhost allows up to five simultaneous connection with each account. CyberGhost offers monthly pay-as-you-go service as well as annual and two-year contracts. Pricing is $12.99, $5.99, or $3.69, respectively, and the contract options are payable up front. They also offer a basic or premium service. Payments can be made via credit card, PayPal, or crypto-currency. You can get a seven-day free trial, and they offer a 30-day money back guarantee. The service operated on the OpenVPN protocol, with an option for advanced users to switch to PPTP or L2TP with IPsec. Because the company is operated out of Bucharest, Romania, live chat is only available during Eastern European business hours. That means you can only reach them Monday – Friday, 8am – 3pm EET, which is about seven hours ahead of US Eastern daylight time. Since closing their user forum in 2014, there’s also no peer-to-peer support. You submit a help desk ticket via their contact form and wait for them to get it.
6. Trust.Zone – Decent Netflix Access + Limited Functionality
Launched in 2014, Trust.Zone is one of the newer VPN services, but it’s fast gaining a reputation for security and reliable connections. The company operates out of the Seychelles under the trade name Trusted Solutions, Ltd, so it’s not bound by restrictive laws that regulate VPN services or data retention in other countries. It supports Windows, MAC, Linux, Android, and iOS, but doesn’t have many apps or extra features; the sole app is a stand-alone for Windows users. The most important feature outside of security, a kill switch, does come with the service.
- Supports P2P file sharing
- All inclusive no-log policy
- Reliable connections
- Military-grade encryption
- Free trial
- Fewer servers and locations than other VPNs
- Lack of advanced features and customisation options
- Slower speeds than other service providers
- No live support
Although it has servers in most major cities, it’s reach is limited to just 131 servers across 32 countries. Speeds average about 65mbps, except for the Asian servers, which rarely reached speeds above 20mbps. Trust.Zone is compatible with all routers that run on the OpenVPN protocol or L2TP/IPSec VPN client, and it can be configured manually to run right through your router. Streaming Netflix content is decent and file sharing is pretty reliable, but not as fast or wide of an access as other VPNs. One big bonus is the three-day free trial that comes with 1GB of data transfer and access to 110 locations. Once you decide to subscribe, you’ll get a 10-day money-back guarantee. Unfortunately, customer support is only available via contact form. Subscriptions are available as a monthly pay-as-you-go service and with an annual or two-year contract. Monthly and annual contract allow up to three simultaneous connections, but the two-year contract will allow up to five. Pricing is $8.99 per month, billed monthly, or $3.33 and $2.89 for annual or two-year contracts, billed up front.
7. TorGuard – Decent Netflix Access + Great for Torrenting
This is the option for those who value anonymity over selection. This provider has fewer servers and locations than the others, but the connections they have are very secure; it’s great for P2P streaming platforms and torrenting. The VPN is available in 50 countries, and they have 5,000 servers at their disposal. TorGuard also offers dedicated IP addresses, which means your Netflix viewing is unlikely to land you on a blacklist.
- Speedy connections
- Unblocks Netflix America
- TSL and 256-bit encryption
- Lots of customization features and add-ons
- Not for tech-newbies
- Unpleasant-looking, dated user interface
- Discount is only available if you pay with a cryptocurrency
The service provides a speedy connection for up to five devices per account, and they adhere to a strict no-log policy. Average speed is around 45mbps, but it’s stable across all of their servers. It supports all major operating systems, including Microsoft, Apple and Linux devices, and it can be configured right to work directly through your router. Pricing is on a monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual basis. The cost of a subscription is $9.99 per month, $19.99 per quarter, $29.99 every six months, or $59.99 per year. Customer support is 24/7/365 via live chat or toll-free calling. There are 10 percent discounts available for using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, but they also accept PayPal and major credit cards.
Bypassing the Netflix Proxy Error
Netflix has some of the most sophisticated geo-blocking capabilities and VPN detection software around. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be bypassed; it just makes it harder. The trick is to not use any particular location on a consistent basis. As soon as Netflix detects an unusual amount of traffic generating from one IP address, it will add that address to its blacklist. You can get around that Netflix proxy error by finding a current Netflix-connectable VPN provider like those we tested, and changing server locations frequently. That means your VPN should also have a large number of available servers.
FAQs About Using VPNs and Netflix
We hope this guide has been useful. If you want to skip the details and just get answers to common questions about Netflix and VPNs, here they are.
Q: Is using a VPN to watch Netflix illegal?
A: It’s not technically illegal to watch Netflix through a VPN, but the company does list such viewing as a violation of their TOS. This is due to licensing agreements between individual content creators and locations. Netflix only owns the rights to their own original programming, but the rights to rebroadcast some movies or TV shows are granted conditionally by whomever is the legal owner of that content. For example, you may be able to watch a certain TV series or Hollywood film in Canada, but the producers of that TV show or movie may not have an agreement with media platforms in Paris or Istanbul to broadcast it. Therefore, viewers with Netflix accounts in those countries can watch other shows or movies on the Netflix roster, but not those that are prohibited for broadcast in their location due to government censorship or lack of permission from copyright holders. VPNs allow access to Netflix in other countries that have a wider range of programming, like the US, by hiding where you and your device are physically located. Reading through the Netflix terms of service (TOS) will provide you with more details.
Q: Can I change my Netflix country?
A: It would be expensive and illogical to pay for a Netflix account in every country you visit. The only other way to see content from other locations is through a VPN. This is a pretty simple process:
- Sign up for a Netflix account
- Install a VPN
- Connect it to a server in your preferred location
- Go to the Netflix website and sign in to your account
Q: How does Netflix know I’m using a VPN?
A: Netflix has some of the most advanced detection mechanisms in place, but that isn’t how they know customers are using a VPN. You see, anyone looking at an IP address alone won’t know the true location of an individual user beyond where that IP address is registered. The problem begins when the company notices hundreds or thousands more logins from an IP address than there should be for the population and number of subscribers in that location. This is a huge red flag, and Netflix will respond by blocking that IP address. VPN service providers don’t assign unique IP addresses unless you buy one; all traffic is managed using the older IPv4 protocol, which has a limited number of available, randomly assignable IPs. As Netflix notices an unsupported amount of web traffic originating from one location, they’ll blacklist that IP. When an account holder logs in from a geoblocked IP address, they’ll receive an error message.
Q: Is the “kill-switch” feature important when using a VPN to watch Netflix?
A: Whether you’re planning to stream media content or not, a kill switch is an essential feature to have in a VPN. They allow you to automatically and immediately disconnect from the internet if for some reason the connection to your VPN is dropped or disrupted, which would expose you as if you never had a private server to hide behind. All of the VPNs we reviewed have this feature.
There are currently more than 75 million people subscribed to Netflix around the world. Whether you’re going to be away from home or you live in an area with restricted access to your favorite Netflix content, a VPN service is an essential bit of technology. Not only will it provide a platform for secure, unfettered viewing, it will also protect your identity, browsing activity, and personal information. You have a lot of choices on the market, so choose the best VPN for your location, budget, and purposes before making a commitment.