While you can watch Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Ozark, Squid Game and Bridgerton wherever you are in the world, there are loads more TV shows and movies that are only available to watch in certain countries. It's one of the main reasons why people have turned in their droves to use a VPN for Netflix.
Indeed, 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 an entirely different part of the world to where you actually are. And in the case of Netflix, that means the ability to stream exclusive 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 best VPNs to see whether they're currently working with Netflix and for which regional catalogs - below you'll see the results of our latest testing in June 2022.
Today's top 3 best Netflix VPNs:
1. NordVPN - #1 best Netflix VPN (opens in new tab)
Chances are, even if you don't know a lot about virtual private networks you may have heard of NordVPN. Well, it walks the walk too with a fantastic reputation for unblocking geo-restricted streaming services. It's currently the most reliable, and also offers super security smarts if you're planning on streaming on public Wi-Fi.
2. Surfshark VPN - ace VPN for a really low price (opens in new tab)
After a service as reliable at unblocking as Nord, but at a cheaper price point? 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. ExpressVPN - a powerful VPN for unblocking (opens in new tab)
ExpressVPN is fast, secure, incredibly easy to use, and has great 24/7 support. It is also a decent option for unblocking, able to access some Netflix exclusives. Plus, it comes with a no-questions-asked 30 day money back guarantee and 3 months extra free.
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 - the same applies if you're trying to get American Netflix.
It's straightforward 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 heard about anybody having their Netflix account suspended for accessing it with a VPN.
The best 5 working Netflix VPNs in 2022:(opens in new tab)
NordVPN is the best option out there right now 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. Not least, it makes easy work with unblocking Netflix around the globe.
Best Netflix VPN 2022 - Save 68% and pay $3.29 a month for 2 years (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
NordVPN's engineers have clearly been busily working in the background to find ways to bypass Netflix's beefed up geo-restrictions. And our latest rounds of tests have been really positive, adding exclusives from the UK, Australia, Canada and the ever-tricky Japan to US unblocking. That's a great result for Nord as it has had its struggles in the past... However, the tides have turned, and right now it's actually a far more consistent unblocking service than Express.
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.
As mentioned before, it's also one fast provider. Though not quite the peaks of IPVanish (#5 on this list), in our last speed tests it clocked up averages of 730-760Mbps, which will comfortably support your 4K streams without buffering or sacrificing on a quality resolution.
Further benefits of this service include super-strong 256-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 costly, the multi-year plan offers the best value for money, if you can make that commitment.
Get the best Netflix VPN and 68% on 2 year plans (opens in new tab)
NordVPN has claimed the top spot as the the best VPN for Netflix thanks to its consistent unblocking prowess with the ability to stream exclusives in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan. It's also incredibly speedy thanks to its NordLynx protocol, and one of the most secure VPNs out there. Try risk-free with its 30-day money back guarantee.
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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.
Surfshark also boasts 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 OpenVPN speeds have just begun to lag behind providers such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN (so we'd suggest you use the speedy WireGuard protocol as and when you can). 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.
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ExpressVPN has been top-dog for some time, offering consistently fierce performance in terms of unblocking and gaining access to worldwide Netflix exclusives. While NordVPN and Surfshark have overtaken it in recent months as Netflix cracks down on IP addresses, it's still a great choice and offers one of the most feature-packed and reliable VPN tools overall.
At the time of writing, it successfully unblocked Netflix in the US, UK, and Australia with some niggles, while it was able to access Canada without issue. We also had some success unblocking Japan's Netflix library.
Really, it's a case of trial and error. In our August testing we jumped around on different servers in the US, UK, and Australia before we were able to find one that worked. However, it's worth noting we really rate Express' exceptional 24/7 customer support. Run into any issue and they can quickly help you to locate the best server that day.
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's MediaStreamer DNS assists with secure streaming and the ability to appear in another country altogether including 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 with speedy connections on servers in faraway corners of the globe. That means no frustrating buffering when 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, ITV, YouTube, Peacock, Kayo) 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 it shouldn't be too daunting for those unfamiliar with VPNs.(opens in new tab)
Over on our main VPN chart, this is a provider that's climbing fast in the rankings. With the improvements that Proton VPN continues to make, it seemed inevitable that it would eventually hit the top five on the overall list - and that's precisely what has happened here on our dedicated Netflix VPN countdown, too.
While the likes of Hotspot Shield, Private Internet Access and CyberGhost (all of which are generally recommended providers for other uses) stumble in certain regions when trying to access Netflix exclusives, Proton VPN 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 Proton VPN, which has also made strides with its connection speeds, feature list, server count and general client usability.
Now if you're thinking: "Proton VPN has a great free VPN, so this is the obvious choice," then you'll need to hold your horses. Netflix unblocking is only available for paying Proton customers.
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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 or UK 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 NordVPNas the overall best Netflix VPN (opens in new tab). This, bolstered by its reputation for being incredibly secure and mighty fast makes it the perfect choice for all your streaming. And if you get stuck, it offers 24/7 customer support.
It's fast, secure and is available on pretty much every device you can imagine, with its Smart DNS available for the less smooth sailing devices. 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.
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:
- Best shows on US Netflix
- Best shows on UAE Netflix
- Best shows on UK Netflix
- Best shows on Australian Netflix
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 (opens in new tab) does a pretty good job of that.
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 (opens in new tab), 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.