VPNs are becoming a more and more widespread part of internet usage these days, with an ever-growing number of millions of users worldwide.
The letters VPN stand for Virtual Private Network, and they’re a great tool for keeping your information secure while you browse the web.
They hide your IP and your activity from everyone who might be watching, whether that’s government agencies or cyber criminals who want to get their hands on your precious information.
However, there is another reason why you might want to use a VPN other than the security benefits. Since you can use their servers to make yourself appear to be in another country than where you really are, you can also use them to unlock region-locked content.
In the US but want to browse the UK’s Netflix library? No problem! A VPN can make it happen for you.
However, not all VPNs are created equal, and you might have different amounts of success using Netflix with some than with others. In this article, we’re going to look at the very best VPNs for Netflix, so you can make the right choice for your needs.
There’s an ongoing arms race between VPN providers and streaming services. When a streaming service introduces measures to block VPN users from accessing them, the VPN providers then respond by finding a way to get around these features.
The streaming services develop new methods to shut the VPN user out and the cycle continues.
While this isn’t likely to end any time soon, the most consistent and effective VPN for getting around Netflix’s blocks has been and currently remains ExpressVPN.
At the time of writing, ExpressVPN has no trouble unblocking Netflix in just about any country, from the USA and UK to Australia and Japan.
It’s not just Netflix, either – ExpressVPN is also great for unblocking a wide range of other streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer to name just a few.
ExpressVPN also offers reliably fast speeds, both for uploading and for downloading
You’ll also find it very simple to install and use – it works on a wide range of different platforms, and the setup process could hardly be simpler. Its interface is also intuitive and simple to use, so even if you’re a newcomer to VPN use, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
If you do run into trouble, then you’ll be pleased with the customer support services that ExpressVPN offers.
While of course you can email with queries and problems, you’ll also be able to live chat with a customer service operative 24/7, so you’ll never have to wait too long to get your issue cleared up. You’ll also find that the operators are helpful and will give detailed responses.
The main caveat with all this is that ExpressVPN is a bit more expensive than a lot of other VPNs. However, we’d say it’s worth it, given the high performance you can expect, so unless you’re specifically looking for a budget VPN, then it’s probably worth the outlay.
Surfshark is another VPN that’s very reliable when it comes to accessing Netflix libraries from a nice range of countries. You’ll have no trouble getting US, UK, Australian, and other libraries while using it.
One of Surfshark’s other advantages is price – it’s notably cheaper than several of its market rivals while still providing a very high level of service.
For those on a budget, or who simply don’t want to part with too much money for a VPN, Surfshark is a good option.
It also boasts good connection speeds that should be enough for most streaming activities, although they’re not quite up there with some higher-end competitors.
It also has fewer server options than some others (like ExpressVPN), although its servers still number in the thousands, and they’re well-distributed across the world.
Like ExpressVPN, it also offers very good customer support services, having a similar 24/7 live chat function for getting your problems cleared up quickly.
Finally, it also has a very easy to use interface, and it works on all the major platforms that you’ll likely want to use a VPN on (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS), as well as several others.
It doesn’t have quite the same amount of publicity as some of its competitors, but don’t let that put you off; ProtonVPN is a very solid VPN in its own right.
It has a great record when it comes to accessing Netflix libraries the world over, including the main suspects like the USA, UK, and Canada.
One important thing to note here is that while ProtonVPN also offers a free version, you unfortunately can’t expect much from that version as regards Netflix. You’ll only be able to get that benefit with the paid version.
While this might sound disappointing, it’s hardly a surprise since free VPNs in general can almost never keep up with the streaming services in keeping content unblocked anyway.
One slight disadvantage of choosing ProtonVPN is that, while it works on things like Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, it’s not compatible with Amazon Fire Stick or Apple TV, as well as some others.
If you don’t use these then, of course, it won’t be a problem for you, but it is something to consider if you do.
On the other hand, it’s not only good for unblocking Netflix but also a nice variety of other streaming services like Hulu, Disney+, and many more, so you’ll have more than just Netflix content to enjoy.
NordVPN is one of the very biggest names on the VPN market, so you might be surprised to see it in fourth place. Just to be clear, it’s still a great choice and it’s not at all a bad VPN.
Indeed, it’s particularly great for streamers because its NordLynx technology makes sure there’s barely any noticeable drop in speeds when streaming, meaning that even 4K content shouldn’t pose a challenge.
The reason that it’s lower down here is that it’s had a few troubles with Netflix and other streaming services of late.
At the time of writing, it’s able to access Netflix content in any country without problems, but we’re being cautious by keeping it in fourth place until it shows that this capability is stable and can be sustained.
We’ve already mentioned that there’s a constant back and forth struggle between streaming services and VPNs, and this is a typical episode in it.
Aside from this, its performance as a VPN is top-notch, with excellent security features like a kill switch and split tunneling available, and reliable, immediate customer support as standard.
It positions itself more toward the premium end of the VPN market, so, like ExpressVPN, its prices are slightly higher than average. Whether you think the extra cost is worth it is up to you.
IPVanish is a VPN that flies a little under the radar – unlike some other VPNs, it doesn’t make any big promises about being to unblock streaming services and doesn’t mention Netflix in its promotional material. Perhaps that’s one of its strengths, as it can unlock Netflix well enough.
However, don’t get carried away just yet – while it can unblock the US Netflix library well enough, it doesn’t seem to be able to do the same for the libraries of other countries.
So, if you’re only interested in the US library, this will do you fine, but if not, then you’d better look elsewhere.
One other caveat to consider is that it’s a US-based VPN. We’ll go into why this could be a problem in the buyer’s guide beneath, but it has to do with the fact that the US is a member (one of the two founding members, along with the UK in fact) of the Five Eyes alliance, an intelligence-sharing network.
The short version is that this could compromise your data security.
However, if you’re not too bothered by this, it does have other things to recommend. Its speeds are reliably very good, for example, although it can’t easily be installed on games consoles, Apple TV, or similar devices.
There are a lot of things you’ll want to consider when it comes to choosing a VPN and depending on your own personal needs, you’ll probably want to focus on some or other features as being the most important.
We’ll go through some of the most important considerations here, so you can get up to speed on what you should be looking at to help you choose.
Of course, being able to access the Netflix library you’re interested in is only half of the battle. Once you’ve done that, you’ll also need to be able to actually stream the content you want to watch.
To do that properly, you’ll need to be able to get good speed, particularly if you want to stream in 4K.
It’s normal for a VPN to reduce the speeds you’ll get to some extent, since the processes that keep your browsing data safe take time to apply.
However, the speeds can vary enormously depending on which VPN you’re using, where you’re located, and which server you’re using.
This means that some VPNs will, on the whole, give you better speeds than others, so you’ll want to make sure you’re using one of those for the best results.
Number Of Servers
Different VPNs also vary a lot in how many servers they grant you access to. Some smaller VPNs might only have a few hundred servers, while larger ones might have several thousand.
It’s not just about the raw numbers of servers, though – you’ll also want to consider where they’re located.
First, there’s the obvious reason that if you want to unlock a country’s library, your VPN will need to have a server in that country. It’s not just that, though – VPNs generally work more quickly if you’re connecting to a server not too far from your actual location.
Having a good number of servers close to you makes it easy to do this.
If you’re in the US or Europe, you probably won’t have much to worry about here, since nearly all VPNs, even small ones, usually cover these two areas well enough.
Take care if you’re in Africa, Asia, or South America, though, as those areas often have sparser coverage.
What Else Can It Unlock?
You probably already know that it’s not just Netflix that employs region locking on its content – many other online streaming services do it too. This includes big names like Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and lots of others.
If you’re interested in getting region-locked content from those libraries as well, then check before you buy to see whether your chosen VPN has a proven track record with those services.
Privacy And Security
Even if your main motivation for using the VPN is to allow you to access Netflix or other streaming services, you shouldn’t forget about the original purpose of VPNs completely. Their primary function is to keep your internet activity and information hidden so that governments, businesses, and criminals can’t gain access to it.
This might not be why you want a VPN but if not, it’s a useful bonus. Some VPNs are more effective at hiding your information than others, so look into a company’s security credentials before you buy a VPN from them.
This includes not only the features of the VPN itself, but also where the company is headquartered. This matters because certain countries are part of intelligence sharing alliances such as the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes.
These countries spy on each other’s citizens to circumvent legal restrictions on doing so themselves, and this includes tracking millions of people’s online activity.
The Five Eyes consists of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Nine Eyes countries are those five plus Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway.
The Fourteen Eyes countries are those nine plus Italy, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, and Spain.
If your VPN is headquartered in one of those countries, its government or intelligence agencies might be able to pressure them to give up information. Check where your VPN is headquartered to make sure that it’s a safe place.
For instance, Panama or the British Virgin Islands are safer than the US or the UK.
This is one of the reasons why IPVanish is only fifth on our list – it’s US-based, which ultimately represents a security risk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do I Need A VPN For Netflix?
Well, as long as you live in a country that Netflix operates in, then you don’t, technically.
However, quite a lot of Netflix’s content, including some big-name shows and movies, are region-locked. This means that those shows can only be accessed from certain locations and not from others.
Of course, this doesn’t suit everybody (probably including you, if you’re reading this article). People often want to watch things that are region-locked in their territories, and the easiest way to do that is to use a VPN.
A good VPN can trick Netflix into thinking that you’re accessing it from somewhere else, allowing you to bypass the region locking.
Is It Legal To Use A VPN For Netflix?
While you’re not going to end up in any legal trouble for using a VPN to get around Netflix’s region locking restrictions, you will technically be in violation of Netflix’s terms of service.
Netflix is required to block certain content in certain regions due to content licensing laws, and in theory, if you’re caught attempting to get around this then Netflix could stop you from using their service by banning your account.
As far as we’re able to tell, however, this has never actually happened. In practice, all Netflix does is try to block VPN users from accessing their content and, as we mentioned earlier on, this is where the arms race between the streaming services and the VPNs comes from.
So, in summary, you don’t need to worry about any repercussions for using a VPN to access Netflix.
Can A Netflix VPN Also Access Other Streaming Services?
The answer is that yes, they usually can, although it depends on the VPN. If there’s a particular service you’re interested in, make sure the VPN you’re considering has a good track record for unblocking that service.
As with Netflix, these other services are always improving their defense against VPNs, so which VPNs can unblock which services can change quickly and regularly.
So, now that you’ve read this article, you have a pretty good idea of what your best options are when it comes to getting a VPN. While ExpressVPN comes out on top of our list for those who want full Netflix access, any of the others we’ve listed would also be respectable choices.
It mostly comes down to which other features you value more, as well as how much you’re willing to pay for the privilege of traveling the world via instant streaming.