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The best Netflix VPN 2022

The words 'best VPN for Netflix' next to a television
(Image credit: Future)

The use of VPNs has become enormously popular for many reasons, including general online security, accessing blocked apps and avoiding online censorship. But using a VPN for Netflix is right up there.

In a recent survey, we found that around 40% of VPN customers use theirs for streaming. That's because they also allow your computer, mobile or streaming device to appear in a completely different part of the world to where you actually are. And in the case of Netflix, that means the ability to stream excusive overseas content that wouldn't ordinarily be watchable where you are.

Now we should tell you right from the top that finding the best Netflix VPN is no walk in the park. The streaming giant goes to great lengths to make its service incompatible with VPNs and last year went to the extreme of blanket blocking residential IP addresses. That's why we carry out real-life testing of the major services and whether they're currently working with Netflix, and for which regional catalogs.

Today's top 3 best Netflix VPNs:

1. ExpressVPN - #1 best Netflix VPN
ExpressVPN has been the most reliable service in terms of responding to Netflix's latest crackdown on international streaming. Currently, it lets us access Netflix exclusives in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and more. Plus, it comes with a no-questions-asked 30 day money back guarantee and 3 months extra free.

2. Surfshark VPN - ace VPN for a really low price
If Express or Nord are too expensive, look no further than Surfshark. For less than $2.50 USD per month it's a fantastic, premium option that's unbelievably simple to use. And it's really upped its Netflix unblocking game of late.

3. NordVPN - the biggest name in the business
Chances are, even if you don't know a lot about virtual private networks you may have heard of NordVPN. But it really walks the walk, too, with a fantastic reputation for unblocking geo-restricted streaming services and offering super security smarts if you're planning on streaming on public Wi-Fi.

How to use your Netflix VPN

Using a Netflix VPN means that you can make your laptop, phone, tablet and even your games console or TV streaming device (think Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire) appear to be in a completely different country to the one you're really in. So if you're in the US, you'll be able to access shows that are exclusively available on catalogs of the UK, Canada or anywhere else - and vice versa.

It's really easy to do, too. Once you've installed your VPN on to your chosen streaming device and turned it on, you simply choose a server in the country that you want to 'appear'. Netflix will then think it's in that country, and serve up shows and films that are available there.

Bear in mind, though, that accessing content which shouldn’t be available in your region is something Netflix doesn’t want you to do. Indeed, it is expressly forbidden in Netflix’s terms and conditions of usage. Naturally, you travel down this avenue of content unblocking entirely at your own risk, but we've never ever heard about anybody having their Netflix account suspended for accessing it with a VPN.

The best 5 working Netflix VPNs in 2022:

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

The best Netflix VPN is fast, easy and usable on loads of devices

Unblocks Netflix: Most countries | 24/7 customer support: Yes | Money back guarantee: 30 days | Also unlocks: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu, BBC iPlayer | Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox | Maximum devices supported: 5

The most reliable for global unlocking
Support for wide range of devices
Reliable fast speeds
Fantastic customer support
Not the cheapest provider

Best Netflix VPN 2022 - Get 3 months free with an annual plan

In uncertain times for Netflix VPNs, ExpressVPN has consistently stayed put at the top this chart for an array of important reasons.

TechRadar Editor's Choice logo

For starters, ExpressVPN has been one of the best responders to Netflix's more aggressive approach. At the time of writing, it was successfully unlocking content in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and many more. That means Express keeps its spot as top of this chart, especially as its 24/7 customer support is so effective and will help you locate today's best servers if you're struggling.

Regardless of where you do the majority of your Netflix watching - on your laptop, smart TV, mobile, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, another streaming device, or a mix of the lot - ExpressVPN will be available for you to use for secure streaming and the ability to appear in another country altogether. Indeed, its MediaStreamer DNS, unblocks Netflix on devices that don’t immediately support VPNs (like Apple TV, some smart TVs and game consoles).

The consistency of ExpressVPN's speeds is another asset here, and we've experienced speedy connections even when logging on to servers in faraway corners of the globe. It means you can forget about frustrating buffering when you're watching another just-landed blockbuster or eye-popping nature doc in 4K.

Unblocking Netflix is one thing, but if you're a serious streamer you'll inevitably have a collection of other subscriptions and preferred OD services. Pretty much all we tried with Express (e.g. Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Peacock) we got around region blocks in no time.

One of its other major bonuses is that it's incredibly straightforward to install and use, so shouldn't be too daunting for those unfamiliar with VPNs.

It is a bit more expensive than many rivals, but ExpressVPN does provide an excellent experience for Netflix users and a reassuring 30-day money-back guarantee is available if you want to try before you commit fully.

Get the best Netflix VPN with 3 months FREE
We've already told you why ExpressVPN is the best, but it's also great value. That's because TechRadar readers get 3 free months free added on when you sign up for a one year contract. And don't forget that you can try Express for a month, knowing that you can get a full refund.

Surfshark VPN working across a range of devices

2. Surfshark

A Netflix VPN without any hassles - and for a very fair price

Unblocks Netflix: Most countries | 24/7 customer support: Yes | Money back guarantee: 30 days | Also unlocks: Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

Likeable, easy-to-use interface
Bargain pricing
Good reputation on Netflix
Fewer servers than the rest
Issues on Amazon Fire Stick

Surfshark is one of the best overall VPNs out there for streaming and is making a decent fist of overcoming the restrictions in place from Netflix, too, with unblocking results improving greatly during our most recent tests.

If all you really want to do is access US Netflix from outside the 50 states, then Surfshark is a solid, brilliantly priced option. It does a great job of unlocking the exclusive shows and movies in that library. Outside of that, we also had joy accessing exclusive content in Canada, UK, Australia and even Japan in our last test - a fantastic array of results.

Like Express above, Surfshark has really helpful customer support agents just a click away on a live chat, any time of the day. They're on hand to help get you connected to the best server for your needs where possible.

And for those new to Netflix VPNs, Surfshark has two extra strings to its bow. Firstly, it's sublimely easy to use and not too many services out there have 'friendlier' interfaces (or cooler names!). And for anybody worried about yet another pricey bit of software to install, Surfshark has some of the market's best pricing - leading our list of the best overall cheap VPNs - and a 30-day money back guarantee if you just want to dip your toe into the water.

Note though, that for power users who have bigger plans for their VPN, Surfshark perhaps lacks a couple of extra features that the competition tote and its connection speeds have just begun to lag behind providers such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN. And if you usually watch Netflix on an Amazon streaming device, Surfshark has had some issues there - so probably better going for a different Amazon Fire TV Stick VPN if that sounds like you.

3. NordVPN

VPN giant is great for streaming

Unblocks Netflix: Most countries | 24/7 customer support: Yes | Money back guarantee: 30 days | Also unlocks: Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox | Maximum devices supported: 6

Lots of support for Netflix watching
Great choice of server locations
Speedy connections
So secure
Not always the easiest mobile experience
Iffy Netflix VPN performance of late

NordVPN is a great option for streamers. The provider offers fast performance thanks to its proprietary NordLynx protocol, and in testing it barely affected our speeds - that should mean you won't notice the difference even when streaming HD and 4K content.

Over the last few months, Netflix has definitely caused Nord problems. The VPN giant was one of the first services to react after the streamer's most recent IP block, but then struggled to access more than just US Netflix.

But as predicted, NordVPN's engineers have clearly been busily working in the background to find ways to bypass the geo-restrictions. And our latest tests were really positive, adding exclusives from the UK, Australia, Canada and the ever-tricky Japan to US unblocking.

Elsewhere, the service also gave us easy access to other services including BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and YouTube. If you do find yourself struggling, Nord's customized support pages should get you watching your favorite shows and newly added films in no time. Beyond that, the support team is on hand 24/7 and should be able to get you going in no time.

Further benefits of this service include super-strong 2048-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and an extensive choice of servers. The company has a no-logs policy regarding the user’s online activity that has been audited by the renowned PricewaterhouseCoopers auditors. All told, these contribute to make NordVPN a premium choice for every use.

NordVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. With the monthly billing being quite expensive, the multi-year plan offers the best value for money, if you can make that commitment.

ProtonVPN working on a smartphone and laptop

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

4. ProtonVPN

Netflix unblocking the world over

Unblocks Netflix: Most countries | 24/7 customer support: No | Money back guarantee: 30 days | Also unlocks: Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | Streaming devices: Chromecast, Android TV | Maximum devices supported: 10

Works on many tested Netflix regions
Great speeds should mean less buffering
Effective with other streaming services, too
Plus plan required

Over on our main best VPN chart, this is a provider that's climbing fast in the rankings. With the improvements that ProtonVPN keeps making, it seemed inevitable that it would eventually hit the top five on the overall list - and that's exactly what has happened here on our dedicated Netflix VPN countdown, too.

While the likes of Hotspot Shield, Private Internet Access and IPVanish (all of which are generally recommended providers for other uses) stumble in certain regions when trying to access Netflix exclusives, ProtonVPN joins the elite few services that have a great track record all over the world. Accessing catalogs in the US, UK, Canada and Australia worked in our most recent testing.

That kind of coverage should be regarded as a real feather in the cap of ProtonVPN, which has also made strides with its connection speeds, feature list, server count and general client usability. This time last year we barely recommended this service at all - now we consider it a real go-to name.

Now if you're thinking: "ProtonVPN has a great free VPN, so this is the obvious choice," then you'll need to hold your horses. Netflix unblocking is only available on Proton's premium 'Plus' plan.

IPVanish running on multiple devices

(Image credit: IPVanish)

5. IPVanish

Speedy, reliable VPN that can access US Netflix

Unblocks Netflix: Some countries (incl. US Netflix) | 24/7 customer support: Yes | Money back guarantee: 30 days | Also unlocks: BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire | Maximum devices supported: 7

Lightening speeds
Plenty of features
Only unblocks US version currently
Limited device availability

Unlike most providers, IPVanish doesn't make lofty claims and big brags about the amount of streaming services it can unlock. Go to its website and you'll see no reference to Netflix at all.

That's why finding that IPVanish can capably get access to shows and movies exclusive to US Netflix was such a pleasant surprise. We had no joy with any other territories, but if you're just a homesick patriot abroad and want to watch all the series you normally can on Netflix, IPVanish should do the job admirably.

Outside that, IPVanish finally joined the competition in 2021 and introduced WireGuard as a protocol to choose. That instantly rocketed IPVanish up the rankings of our guide to the fastest VPNs, with max speeds that are barely equaled.

Away from streaming, IPVanish has been on the VPN scene for a good while now and so has its clients and apps functioning fantastically. They're jam-packed with features and analysis that offers brilliant insights into your connections - although all that ca be a bit bamboozling if you're a newcomer to the VPN scene.

As it doesn't hold itself up to be the master of all streaming VPNs, it's no great surprise that you can't use it easily (unless you install it on your router) with devices like Roku, Apple TV or games consoles. So go for one of the others on this list if that's something important to you.

Best Netflix VPN: FAQ

What is the best Netflix VPN

Topping the lot at the moment is ExpressVPN as the overall best Netflix VPN. Naturally, it unblocked Netflix in different regions every time of asking during our testing and ExpressVPN makes things so easy to do so (with excellent 24/7 live chat support available in the unlikely event things go awry).

It's fast, secure and is available on pretty much every device you can imagine. So use it on your laptop, mobile, smart TV, PlayStation, Xbox or any one of a range of TV streaming devices. One sub allows simultaneous connections on five devices, too, so you can even let friends and family members use it for their global Netflix-streaming needs as well.

How to choose the best Netflix VPN

Many providers have given up on Netflix unblocking, leading to the infamous proxy error advising you to turn off your VPN when watching Netflix. But all five VPNs recommended in this guide work for Netflix.

Connection speeds are a priority, of course - video streaming is an intensive activity, and you’ll need nippy performance levels to avoid suffering at the hands of stuttering footage, particularly when watching HD or 4K content. Having plenty of servers on offer will mean you’ll be more likely to be able to find that vital fast connection, as well. And it pays to go for a service with excellent support, just in case you do run into any issues.

Privacy and security are important whatever you’re using a Netflix VPN for, with a ‘no logs’ policy and good encryption being definite must-haves. Support for mobile devices, and hopefully native clients for iOS/Android, will obviously be handy for watching flicks on the move.

And another good idea is to plump for a provider with a money-back guarantee – that will be useful if things change suddenly and the particular VPN you’ve gone for ends up getting the cold shoulder. Some countries block Netflix completely – for example, China – and again, you can use one of our top Netflix VPN picks above to get around this.

How and why does Netflix prevent VPN use?

It's very clear... Netflix doesn't want you using your VPN when you stream with the platform. It says as much in its Ts&Cs. And it's understandable, as it needs to protect its rights agreements.

Generally, its engineers will do this by completely blocking the use of Netlflix at a select range of IP addresses that it knows are associated to VPN servers.

But in August 2021, it stepped up the game even further. Netflix went and blocked a whole range of residential IP addresses in an effort to clampdown on the abuse of its TS&Cs. The effect was to seriously curtail the attempts of VPNs to circumnavigate the geo-blocks.

Netflix logo

(Image credit: Netflix)

Why Netflix has regional restrictions

The reason why Netflix catalogs differ country to country is simple: copyright law. Movie studios have different contracts in different countries, so it’s possible that one series may be available in one country but not in another.

And then you have to deal with local broadcasting rights, where some countries may have the rights to some shows and therefore don’t permit them to be accessed on Netflix. House of Cards in Hong Kong is a great example—because a local TV network has the rights to the Netflix show, it’s not available online.

It’s no surprise that America has the best Netflix library. With the majority of original content coming out of the States, it makes sense that more series would be available there. In fact, the U.S. Netflix library has nearly 1,000 more shows than its UK cousin. Again, great if you’re in the States, but not so much if you’re in the UK.

You can check out our pick of the best Netflix series for each region below:

And what about the movies? TechRadar has up-to-the-minute 'best of Netflix' guides for the longer format, too:

What can I watch with a Netflix VPN?

Combining your VPN and Netflix means that you can watch shows and films that are exclusive to certain regions - that's usually because their licensed to another streaming service in that country.

A fantastic example is for people who want to watch Rick and Morty. In the US, you'll need a service that gives you access to Adult Swim. But down in Australia, every single episode is sitting on Netflix. It's a similar story for Friends, The Office and Fargo - none of which are on US Netflix, but can be accessed using a VPN.

It's beyond the scope of this article to list and update every single show and film that is exclusive to certain regions. Luckily, the site FlixWatch does a pretty good job of that.

Netflix VPN streaming error

How to bypass the Netflix VPN proxy error

Netflix has invested big bucks in detecting and blocking VPNs, and users can attest that servers that work with Netflix one day may not work the next. You’ve likely seen the infamous “Streaming Error” message below if you tried to access Netflix from outside the US with a VPN.

Netflix has been systematically finding and blacklisting suspected VPN IP addresses. And while the past few years have been an ongoing battle between VPNs and Netflix restrictions, VPNs are now setting up specific server locations intended to be used with Netflix.

How some providers overcome the Netflix VPN ban

Every IP address is associated with a country code, which Netflix then uses to either reroute or block network access. As the majority of VPN providers have multiple servers in cities and countries around the world, hopping from location to location is essentially the only way to stream the US Netflix library abroad. It’s a tab cumbersome, but it works.

Be aware that not every server will work – it’s best to contact the provider’s customer assistance to see which servers are working on a particular date. ExpressVPN, for example, has been one of the leading providers to stay one step ahead of the Netflix VPN ban.

The company (along with a handful of other VPN providers) has been working overtime to acquire new IP addresses, which they can then cycle out whenever an older address is no longer working. As soon as Netflix detects and subsequently blocks a specific IP, the VPN then switches to another IP and encourages customers to use that specific location to stream.

Our VPN disclaimer

Adam Marshall
Adam Marshall

Adam is the Content Director of Subscriptions and Services at Future, meaning that he oversees many of the articles TechRadar produces about antivirus software, VPN, TV streaming, broadband and mobile phone contracts - from buying guides and deals news, to industry interest pieces and reviews. Leading and developing a great team, Adam can still be seen dusting his keyboard off to write articles for the likes of TechRadar, T3 and Tom's Guide, having now written about cybersecurity topics for the best part of a decade.