Are you wondering how to use a VPN on Netflix? You’re not alone.
While Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services in the world, boasting around 232.5 million paid subscribers, it does have a habit of placing restrictions on its customers. Specifically, the content you can access on Netflix varies depending on your location.
Depending on where you live, Netflix’s geo-locking strategies could mean that you only have access to a handful of the thousands of shows and films the company actually offers. That’s why many consumers have started turning to VPNs to alter their IP addresses and unlock regional content.
The good news is that learning how to watch Netflix with VPN tools is relatively straightforward. You don’t necessarily need to be a tech wiz to get started. However, it is worth noting that not all VPNs work with Netflix, and each available platform has specific pros and cons to consider.
Here’s everything you need to know about using a VPN on Netflix.
Watching Netflix with a VPN: How it Works
As mentioned above, Netflix “region locks” the content it shares on its platform. The company has specific licensing deals and agreements with media companies, which influence how videos are shared with different consumers. This means the shows you can access in the US may be very different from those in the UK, Europe, and other parts of the world.
To determine which content to share, Netflix examines your location by looking at your “IP address.” This is basically the digital address assigned to all online connected devices. A VPN works by hiding that address and providing an alternative to Netflix servers based on the content you want to access.
VPNs tunnel your traffic through a remote server, essentially tricking Netflix into thinking you’re located somewhere else in the world. This means you should be able to access restricted content in other parts of the world. What’s more, learning how to use a VPN on Netflix can deliver other benefits too. With a VPN, you can safely stream content on a public or unsecured Wi-Fi connection because the system shields your sensitive data from hackers.
Additionally, VPN use can be an excellent way to eliminate the issue of “bandwidth throttling” if your internet service provider is trying to limit the amount of content you access.
How to Use a VPN on Netflix: Step by Step
Learning how to watch Netflix with VPN access is relatively simple, but it’s worth noting that Netflix is attempting to “crackdown” on VPN usage. You may need to experiment with different strategies and workarounds to ensure you can continue to access restricted content going forward.
In the meantime, here are the steps you’ll need to follow to use a VPN with Netflix.
Step 1: Choose your VPN Provider
The first step is deciding which VPN solution you’re going to use. Not every VPN provider can offer access to region-locked content with Netflix. This means you’ll need to do a little research to ensure you’re choosing the right solution. It’s also worth remembering that VPN services differ in terms of the security, speed, and functionality they can offer.
We’ll cover some of the best VPN options for Netflix in the section below, but you can start sorting through some of the fastest VPN services here.
Step 2: Install your VPN
Once you’ve chosen your VPN provider, and created an account, the next step is installing it on the devices you’re going to be using to access Netflix. Many VPN providers support installation across a range of devices, from smart TVs, to games consoles and phones.
The exact process of installing your VPN service will vary depending on your chosen provider, but it’s usually relatively simple. For instance, with Nord VPN all you need to do is log into your account, click on “Account details” then select “Downloads”. Choose the right software for the operating system of your choice, or run the NordVPN installer on your apps or Smart TV.
Once you have your app installed on the correct devices, log in using your credentials.
Step 3: Activate your VPN
Next, you’ll need to turn your VPN when you want to use it to encrypt your traffic and access region-locked contact. It’s worth checking out the configuration options in your account to make sure your system is set up correctly. For instance, you might be able to set up “kill switches” and threat protection, to help prevent malware and cybersecurity issues.
Once you turn your VPN on, you should be able to click on a map or location section within the application to choose the region you want to connect to. Simply select the region you want to access based on the content you’re looking for.
Step 4: Try Accessing Content on Netflix
Now it’s time to see if your VPN connection is working. Go to the Netflix website or app and log into your account. You should be able to start seeing changes to your library straight away. However, if you don’t see any changes, it might be worth clearing out your browser cache.
Every time you want to switch to a new region, just go back to your VPN app and choose a different location. You may need to reload the Netflix website or app between sessions to refresh the content.
Step 5: Troubleshoot any issues
While many VPN solutions should make it easy for you to access region-locked content straight away, there’s still a chance you may face some issues. As Netflix continues to crack down on VPN usage, more people are beginning to encounter issues with getting their VPN to work.
If you receive an error code that says something about you using a proxy or unblocker, start by clearing your browser’s cache and cookies. Try closing down all of your apps and reconnecting to the VPN, or consider asking your VPN provider which dedicated server you should be using.
How to Watch Netflix with a VPN: Choosing Your VPN
The most important step in learning how to use a VPN on Netflix is choosing the right solution provider. Not all VPNs work well with Netflix, and the streaming service is consistently working to reduce the number of VPN connections it allows.
Start by checking whether your chosen VPN provider offers options for Netflix; then, you can narrow down your options by considering the following factors:
- Price: VPN services don’t have to be expensive, but we recommend avoiding free VPNs for Netflix access. Their region options are generally limited, and there aren’t as many security settings available for users either.
- Device compatibility: Make sure you can access your VPN on all the devices you want to watch Netflix on, such as your smartphone (Android or iPhone), games consoles, your browser, and your smart television.
- Servers: Check the number of servers and geographical locations available from each VPN, so you can ensure you’ll be able to access the region-locked content you want. Most VPN companies will list server options on their websites.
- Security and privacy: Some VPN solutions deliver more features to help protect your privacy and security online. Make sure the VPN you choose won’t share your information with worldwide governments, and stick with a solution offering AES-256 encryption.
- Speed: Speed is crucial when you’re using your VPN for streaming. Check the speed test results for each VPN you’re considering to ensure you’re not going to experience any lag when you’re watching your favorite shows.
- Ease of use: Most VPNs are relatively easy to use, even if you’re a tech novice. However, some require a little more configuration than others. If you’re worried about ease of use, check for excellent customer service and support options.
5 Excellent VPNs to Use with Netflix
The good news is that even as Netflix tries to reduce the number of customers accessing its services through a VPN, there are still plenty of options out there that will work. Using the factors above, we’ve assessed some of the top-rated VPNs on the market to bring you our list of the top five solutions available for all use cases.
Probably one of the best-known VPN solutions on the market, NordVPN benefits from an enormous network with servers in over 60 countries. It’s also an extremely fast service, capable of offering secure access to many different Netflix libraries without compromising on speed. It even works with other streaming services, like Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.
NordVPN utilizes an in-house tunnel (NordLynx) to streamline connections and ensure buffer-free streaming for HD, 4K, and other forms of content. You can also enable an obfuscation feature to hide your activity for additional privacy. NordVPN is available on all major operating systems, including Android and Fire TV. Plus, it even unblocks content on gaming consoles and smart TVs.
Prices for NordVPN range from $3.99 to $13.99 per month, depending on your chosen plan and the length of your subscription; long-term plans feature an extra discount.
- Innovative security features
- Powerful in-house tunneling
- SmartPlay technology for consoles and TVs
- Easy-to-use environment
- Unblocks the majority of streaming sites
- No routing app available
- Server connection times can be lengthy
2. Surfshark VPN
If you want to learn how to use a VPN on Netflix without breaking the bank, Surfshark VPN is a great choice. It offers more than 3200 servers across 100 countries and works with around 30 different libraries on Netflix. You can even access crisp HD video with no lag or latency issues.
Surfshark is just as fast as many of its competitors and comes with a host of security features, including a kill switch, 256-bit military-grade encryption, and leak protection. Users can also access tools for split tunneling, malware scanning, and automatic ad-blocking. You can use this service on your desktop, mobile, smart TVs, and gaming consoles too. Plus, Surfshark benefits from unlimited simultaneous connections, so everyone can use it at the same time.
Prices for Surfshark start at $2.49 per month for the 2-year plan, making it one of the most affordable products on this list.
- Unblocking for a variety of streaming platforms
- SmartDNS support
- Unlimited connections for the whole family
- State-of-the-art security
- Affordable pricing
- Some features are limited on Ios
- Slightly slower speeds than some alternatives
ExpressVPN offers limitless access to a network of around 3,000 high-speed servers spread across 94 countries. It’s fast enough for HD and 4K streaming options and it also provides some fantastic security tools to keep your connection safe. There’s military-grade encryption included, IPv6 and DNS leak protection, and automatic kill switches available.
ExpressVPN doesn’t store any personally identifiable information on its customers and even accepts Bitcoin payments. Aside from Netflix, this solution can allow access to everything from HBO Max to Hulu and Disney Plus. What’s more, ExpressVPN works on all kinds of operating systems and devices. There are even smart DNS services for your television and custom firmware options.
Prices for ExpressVPN start at $8.32 per month for a 12-month plan, $9.99 per month for a 6-month plan, and $12.95 per month if you pay on a monthly basis.
- Support for up to 5 simultaneous connections
- Works with multiple Netflix libraries
- Strong security features
- Privacy for your online data
- High download speeds
- Limited simultaneous connections
- Slightly higher pricing than most alternatives
Another popular tool among customers learning how to watch Netflix with a VPN, IPVanish comes with support for unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can unblock libraries on any device for every member of your family. There are more than 2000 servers to choose from across 50 locations; however, certain regions will still be blocked.
IPVanish supports customer privacy and security with kill-switch tools, XOR obfuscation, DNS leak protection, AES encryption, and more. Plus, it has a solid no-logging policy. IPVanish works with a range of streaming services and uses the WireGuard tunneling protocol to keep speeds high. Plus, the service is extremely easy to use for beginners.
Subscription prices for IPVanish start at $2.96 per month, with some excellent deals available for beginners. Plus, you get a money-back guarantee for 30 days.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Works with a range of streaming services
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Decent speeds for connectivity
- Excellent security and privacy features
- Limited locations compared to some rivals
- Prices can increase after a year
Finally, CyberGhost is another fantastic pick for unblocking a range of different types of streaming content. You’ll have thousands of countries and locations to choose from, and you can use the VPN on up to 7 devices at the same time and share your account with other users. Although it’s not as fast as some other services, the performance figures are still quite high.
CyberGhost doesn’t log any personal information, and the service comes with several advanced features for security, such as an automatic kill switch, automatic ad blocker, protection against IPv6 and DNS leaks, and a malware scanner. CyberGhost can also unlock various other streaming services outside of Netflix, such as Amazon Prime and HBO Max.
Prices for CyberGhost start at around $2.19 per month, with access for 7 devices, and there’s a 45-day money-back guarantee available for peace of mind.
- Excellent privacy and security features
- Decent speeds
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Lots of locations to choose from
- No SmartDNS options
- Doesn’t offer a lot of customizations
Unlock Netflix Content with a VPN Today
Learning how to use a VPN on Netflix is an excellent way to make sure you can get more out of your streaming services. However, it’s not always as straightforward as it seems. You’ll need to make sure you’re choosing a VPN that actually works with Netflix, and it’s important to keep an eye on your connections over time, so you can experiment with workarounds if something goes wrong.
The good news is once you get the hang of it, using a VPN to watch Netflix can quickly become a lot simpler. You’ll be browsing locked content in no time.
Can I watch Netflix with a free VPN?
While there may be some services out there that could allow you to watch Netflix via a VPN for free, we’d recommend against this option. Most free VPNs don’t have a lot of servers or locations to choose from, and they don’t provide the best bandwidth speeds, so you could encounter a lot of lag. Additionally, free VPNs aren’t always the most trustworthy or secure services. You could end up having your data logged by a third party.
Can you change the Netflix region without a VPN?
The easiest way to unlock regional content on Netflix is with a VPN. However, it is possible to alter your streaming region in other ways, using Proxy websites, remote desktops, and encrypted browsers like “Tor.” You could also consider looking into a smart DNS service. Keep in mind some of the VPNs above do have their own smart DNS solutions too.
Is Netflix blocking VPNs?
Netflix is trying to prevent customers from using VPNs to access region-locked content. However, that doesn’t mean it’s illegal to use a VPN. You’re free to use a VPN anywhere in the world, but it’s worth noting that if Netflix catches you using one of these services, it could prevent you from accessing content. If this happens, you might need to experiment with switching your location on your VPN service or clearing your cache.