Editor’s note: A recent Netflix VPN crackdown means many service which once worked well are no longer reliable. We’ve re-run our extensive Netflix tests and updated this article to show the best VPNs for Netflix as of the time of publishing and will continue to monitor the situation.
Netflix’s library is vast but much of the content is geographically restricted due to copyright agreements. This means the movies and TV shows you can watch are limited by the country you are in. This means that if you are traveling abroad you may need a VPN to securely access your usual home streaming services.
If you’re looking for a quick answer on which VPNs still work with Netflix we’ve rounded up our top recommendations below. We’ll cover our full findings from extensive Netflix VPN testing later in this article, show you how to use a VPN with Netflix and troubleshoot some common issues.
The best VPNs for Netflix:
- NordVPN: Best VPN for Netflix. Reliably works with American Netflix plus Netflix UK, AU, JP, and CA, among others. One of the fastest services on the market. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best budget option. A reliable way to securely stream Netflix from abroad.
- ExpressVPN: A fast, privacy-conscious service that works with a huge range of Netflix libraries.
- CyberGhost: Works well with Netflix. Apps are easy-to-use for beginners.
- PrivateVPN: Very fast with a small network of servers but works well for streaming.
- IPVanish: Works with US and UK Netflix on desktop, Android and iOS.
- Hotspot Shield: Low price, fast speeds, and works well with Netflix.
Already got a VPN? Jump straight to how to use a VPN with Netflix
A VPN can open up the international Netflix catalog giving you access to watch thousands of new movies and TV shows, regardless of which country you are in. So if you are traveling abroad you can retain secure access to your home streaming services.
However, the Netflix VPN ban means very few VPNs reliably work with Netflix.
WANT TO TRY THE TOP VPN RISK FREE?
NordVPN is offering a fully-featured risk-free 30-day trial if you sign up at this page. You can use the VPN rated #1 for Netflix with no restrictions for a month—great if you want to continue streaming your favorite shows while traveling abroad.
There are no hidden terms—just contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn't right for you and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.
If you’ve connected to Netflix with a VPN and been left frustrated by the dreaded Netflix proxy error message, you’re not alone. Thankfully, there is still a select group of VPNs that beat the Netflix block.
Based on over 5,000 in-house tests, we’ll show you the best Netflix VPNs and how to use them.
Our testing found many services could not avoid the Netflix VPN detection algorithm.
When connected to most VPNs, Netflix gives the following error, accompanied by error code m7111-5059:
“Whoops, something went wrong. Streaming error. You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again.”
We selected the best Netflix VPNs based on the following criteria below. Later in this article, we reveal our Netflix VPN testing methodology. If, however, you would like to see our full VPN testing and research process take a look at our dedicated article.
- Reliably and consistently work with Netflix
- Fast enough to stream in HD
- Fast, competent customer service
- Strong digital security and privacy protections so you can access Netflix and other services securely
- Works on popular devices
- Money-back guarantee
- Good choice of servers
- Reliable connections
The battle between Netflix, customers, and VPN providers rages on and viable alternatives are still very much in flux. A server that works today may get blocked tomorrow, while new servers and locations are constantly being added.
Best VPNs for Netflix in 2022
Based on our extensive testing we found these to be the top VPNs for streaming Netflix.
- Can access Netflix in browser: Yes
- Can access Netflix app: Yes
Most of NordVPN’s dedicated streaming servers can access Netflix, although the majority will redirect you to the US version even if you’re connected to another country. Thanks to a low monthly price and the option to connect up to six devices at one time, NordVPN is a great budget option especially if you share an account with friends or family. NordVPN doesn’t skimp on security or privacy, offering military-grade encryption, plus it provides fast and reliable connections. It’s pretty good at accessing other popular streaming services as well, like BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, HBO and Hulu. Apps are available for Linux, Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
NordVPN was the most reliable option for Netflix in our testing.
NordVPN speed test data
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||460 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||349 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||299 Mbps|
- Servers specifically optimized for Netflix
- Connect up to 6 devices at once
- Very fast speeds make this a strong choice for 4K streaming
- No logs and encrypted connections for total privacy
- Live chat support is available
- Desktop apps can take a while to connect sometimes
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
- Can access US Netflix in browser: Yes
- Can access US Netflix app: Yes
Surfshark is a relatively new provider that makes it easy to stream Netflix. There’s no trial and error here, because all of SurfShark’s servers can access Netflix. Most of them will redirect you to the US version of Netflix, but it does offer local versions for a handful of countries including Canada, France, and Japan. Speeds are fast enough to stream in HD without buffering without compromising security.
Surfshark worked well with Netflix UK, US, Australia and other Netflix libraries.
Surfshark speed test data
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||317 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||253 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||400 Mbps|
- All servers can access Netflix
- Strong security and privacy credentials
- Connect as many devices as you like
- Very affordable price
- Doesn’t keep any logs
- Smaller server network
- Has the occasional slow server
Read our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
- Can access Netflix in web browser: Yes
- Can access Netflix App: Yes
ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for Netflix, although it is more expensive than NordVPN and Surfshark. It has a dedicated Netflix page and a few VPN server locations can reliably access Netflix. They change on occasion, so it’s best to send a quick message to the live chat support on ExpressVPN’s website to ask which server to connect to. We found speeds suitable for HD streaming without buffering.
ExpressVPN accessed Netflix on every platform tested, including Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Linux, and certain wifi routers. ExpressVPN lets you connect up to five devices at a time. Plus, every ExpressVPN subscription comes with the MediaStreamer smart DNS proxy. MediaStreamer can access Netflix on devices that don’t normally support VPNs, such as Apple TV, PS4, and Xbox One.
We enjoyed secure, buffer free Netflix streaming with ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN speed test data
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||136 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||134 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||136 Mbps|
- Reliably accesses Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and iPlayer
- Fast streaming and download speeds
- Keeps no logs of personally identifiable information
- 24/7 customer service
- Slightly more expensive than some rivals
- Lack of advanced configuration for power-users
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
- Can access US Netflix in web browser: Yes
- Can access US Netflix App: Yes
CyberGhost makes it easy to watch Netflix in just a few clicks. The app’s streaming video section lists dedicated streaming servers by what they access, instead of just their physical location. Netflix is clearly listed right at the top, and clicking it will turn on the VPN connection and even open Netflix on your behalf. Users can give instant feedback as to whether a particular server works with Netflix with simple thumbs up, thumbs down buttons.
CyberGhost’s dedicated Netflix servers made connecting a breeze.
CyberGhost speed test data
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||853 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||480 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||312 Mbps|
- Access US Netflix
- Fast, constant speeds
- Great for novice users
- Zero logs and good privacy features
- Doesn’t work reliably in China
- May not offer enough functionality for power users
Read our full CyberGhost VPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
- Works with US Netflix in web browser: Yes
- Works with US Netflix App: Yes
PrivateVPN works with Netflix in more countries than any other provider—no small feat for a young VPN with only a hundred or so servers. The servers that work best for streaming services are clearly labeled in the app, which is simple and novice-friendly. PrivateVPN scored well in our speed tests, meaning you can continue to stream your favorite Netflix shows in high definition.
PrivateVPN had no issues avoiding Netflix blocks.
PrivateVPN speed test data
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||94 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||57 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||62 Mbps|
- Works with US Netflix
- Very fast connection speeds
- Zero logs policy
- Use up to six devices at once
- Small network of servers
- Live chat not 24/7
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
- Works with US Netflix in browser: Yes
- Works with US Netflix app: Yes
IPVanish recently added servers for users who want to watch US and UK Netflix. We have tested it and confirmed it works on both desktop browsers and Netflix’s mobile app on Android and iOS. We recommend you contact IPVanish’s customer support to ask which server to use and troubleshoot any issues you might have connecting. IPVanish is built with privacy and security in mind while also offering decent speeds to stream in HD.
IPVanish worked well with US Netflix.
IPVanish speed test data
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||685 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||314 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||466 Mbps|
- Works with US and UK Netflix
- Fast speeds
- Zero-logs provider with strong security
- Allows unlimited simultaneous connections
- Doesn’t work in China
- Lackluster support
Read our full IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Editor’s Note: Hotspot Shield is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company.
- Works with Netflix in web browser: Yes
- Works with Netflix App: Yes
Hotspot Shield has vastly improved its streaming abilities over the past couple of years and is now able to reliably stream multiple Netflix libraries, as well as other streaming platforms such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and ITV Hub. Making it a reliable VPN for streaming. It has high-speed servers in 26 US cities and of the ones we tested at random, all worked with Netflix US. We also had luck with the UK, Spain, and Sweden catalogs.
Hotspot Shield working seamlessly with NetflixHotspot Shield is fast enough for 4K streaming and boasts a strong suite of security features, plus live-chat customer support. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux, and Android.
Hotspot Shield speed test data
|No value||Hotspot Shield|
|Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)||48 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)||49 Mbps|
|Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)||48 Mbps|
- Consistently works with US Netflix
- Connect 5 devices concurrently
- Strong security features
- 45-day refund policy
- Customer support can be hit-and-miss
- US based so subject to less favorable privacy laws
High Speed, low cost VPN:Hotspot Shield makes watching Netflix a breeze and is easy on the wallet. Plus, you can test it out for 45 days and get a refund if you’re not happy.
Read our full review of Hotspot Shield
These VPNs work with Netflix, but for one reason or another, they don’t make the top seven cutoff. This may be due to inconsistent service, privacy concerns, slower speeds, or inability to access Netflix on mobile devices. Netflix frequently blocks VPNs, so we also favor those with a proven track record of resolving the proxy error. Erring on the side of caution, we don’t want to recommend Netflix VPNs that work today but not tomorrow.
VPNs that sometimes work with Netflix
- Avast SecureLine
- Avira Phantom
- F-Secure Freedome
- Hide My Ass
- Keenow Unblocker
- Le VPN
- McAfee Safe Connect
- Norton Wifi Privacy
- Private Internet Access
- Private Tunnel
- VPN Tunnel
- VPN Unlimited
Netflix VPNs that DO NOT work
Despite Unotelly openly stating it was “confident that we can continue to deliver quality [VPN] service to our loyal and supportive users” when it comes to Netflix, Unotelly has been unable to access the streaming service for several years.
Hola won’t access Netflix, and you shouldn’t be using it as your VPN for security reasons anyway. The company has a sordid history of abusing members of its peer-to-peer VPN-ish network to distribute pirated materials, pornography, and even carry out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on websites.
GetFlix is a smart DNS proxy service that made its debut heralding a fast and cheap means to watch Netflix. That didn’t last long, and now the company is stuck with an embarrassing name that brings up painful reminders of when its users were blocked a few months later.
HideIPVPN has previously mentioned that neither its VPN nor its smart DNS proxy service would continue to work with Netflix. “[…] as stated in our ToS we cannot guarantee that you will be able to access specific websites or services. For now, that is the case with Netflix.”
After Netflix began intermittently blocking Overplay’s smart DNS proxy and VPN services, the company seems to have given up the fight, scrubbing its website of any mention of Netflix.
This unfortunately-named service has been unable to access Netflix for more than half a decade.
How to watch Netflix with a VPN (Video)
This video explains how to change Netflix region with a VPN so you can securely watch shows and movies when away from home. For example, you can access US or Japanese Netflix from the UK, Australia, Canada or elsewhere you might be traveling to.
Netflix libraries by country
You may have already realized that depending on where you live in the world you could be getting shortchanged when it comes to Netflix content. Below is a list of the top 12 biggest Netflix libraries in the world according to JustWatch.com.
Netflix VPN FAQs
How do I use a VPN with Netflix?
Using a VPN with Netflix is easy so long as your provider supports it. Sign up for a recommended VPN service from above and then follow these simple instructions.
To watch Netflix with a VPN follow these steps or watch the video above:
- Download and install the VPN software from your provider’s website or an official app marketplace. Ensure you use a VPN that works with Netflix.
- Select a VPN server in the US that can access Netflix. If you’re not sure which one to choose, consult your provider’s website or its customer service.
- Connect to the VPN. Once the connection is established, open Netflix in a browser or app and start watching!
- If you are still having problems, contact customer support. You may need to tweak a few settings on your device, such as IPv6 or DNS settings.
Why does Netflix ban most VPNs?
Netflix views VPNs as a means of bypassing geographic licensing restrictions, meaning VPN users who use a VPN for other reasons are caught in the cross-fire. If it openly allows users to view a TV show in a country where it doesn't have the rights to stream it, then it would be in breach of those licensing restrictions. However, Netflix doesn't distinguish between users who live in other countries and those that are just visiting and want to access their home streaming services, or between people who are abroad and those who just want to use a VPN for privacy and security.
Why do we advocate for using a VPN with Netflix?
A VPN is not simply a proxy tool to fool apps and websites into thinking the user is somewhere they are not. VPNs are in everyone’s best interest when it comes to privacy. We wholeheartedly recommend everyone use a VPN, whether they are a Netflix subscriber or not.
Netflix’s VPN ban is a blunt instrument put in place to appease copyright holders. It blocks VPN users no matter where they are located so long as a proxy is detected. This is not a fair policy to paying subscribers. Forcing users to turn off their VPNs could sacrifice privacy, especially those connected on unsecured public wi-fi networks or traveling abroad to surveillance-heavy countries.
You have the right to use the VPN, and Netflix should respect that right by not forcing users to choose between privacy and entertainment.
I’m traveling and want to access US Netflix Abroad, which countries will these VPNs work in?
The VPN services listed should allow you to access US Netflix in any country you might be traveling to, other than those where media is censored and VPNs are actively blocked by a firewall such as China (see our list of the VPNs working in China and pick one that works there, too).
In pretty much every other country, the VPNs in our list will work. In fact, we’ve received comments or emails from people in Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, France, Israel, Spain, Ireland, South Africa, and Italy telling us they’ve successfully accessed US Netflix!
Can I access Netflix libraries from countries other than the US with a VPN?
A VPN that works with US Netflix won’t necessarily be work with Netflix catalogs of other countries. While the US version of Netflix is highest in demand by far, we’ve also made up lists of the best VPNs for a few other popular countries:
Is accessing the Netflix app with a VPN the same as watching Netflix in a web browser?
Accessing the Netflix native app, such as the Netflix app for Android and iOS, is a little more challenging for VPNs than working with it in a web browser like Chrome or Firefox. Netflix can sometimes override the VPN's DNS servers and send requests to your nearest public DNS server. That means Netflix can determine your true location and block you accordingly, even with a VPN.
All of the VPNs we recommend have overcome this hurdle, however, so it shouldn't be a problem.
How do I watch Netflix on a device that doesn't support my VPN app like Chromecast, smart TV, Apple TV, PS4, or XBox?
If you want to watch Netflix with a VPN but your device doesn't support any VPN apps, then you'll have to route that device's internet traffic through a router and configure the VPN on that router. This process varies depending on your router's firmware, and you might have to flash new firmware onto the router that supports VPNs, such as TomatoUSB or DD-WRT. Check with your VPN provider for router setup instructions.
If you don't feel comfortable configuring a VPN on your wi-fi router, then consider buying a pre-configured router like those available from ExpressVPN.
Another alternative is to use a laptop to create a VPN-enabled virtual router. This can be done on either Mac or Windows.
Lastly, if you have a device that supports screencasting such as a Chromecast or Apple TV, you can connect to the VPN on a device that supports VPN apps and stream video from the Netflix device.
Can I watch Netflix using a smart DNS proxy?
Smart DNS proxies like Unotelly, Overplay and Unblock-US were a flash in the pan during Netflix's war on proxies. After Netflix blocked connections from most VPN servers, many users switched to these services instead. A smart DNS proxy is a server that monitors any DNS requests sent from your device. DNS requests are a means of looking up which domain names (e.g. "netflix.com") are associated with which servers. If it detects a DNS request for Netflix, it sends all the browser web traffic for that request through the server to an American Netflix server, thereby changing both your public IP address and DNS server.
This approach worked for a few months until it caught the attention of Netflix, and a subsequent crackdown blocked most smart DNS proxy users. Today, a handful of smart DNS proxy services still work with Netflix, but the only one that's consistently worked for us is ExpressVPN's MediaStreamer service. MediaStreamer is a smart DNS proxy service that comes with every ExpressVPN subscription. It's used by default when you connect to the VPN, or you can set it up separately so that it's used on its own.
Is it legal to use a VPN with Netflix?
Yes. There is no law against using a VPN to watch Netflix.
"You may view Netflix content primarily within the country in which you have established your account and only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such content. The content that may be available to watch will vary by geographic location and will change from time to time."
Although Netflix does what it can to enforce this rule by blocking internet connections from most VPN providers, it does not penalize users who attempt to watch through a VPN. We’ve not witnessed Netflix banning, suspending, or taking legal action against VPN users beyond simply blocking streams.
Which Free VPN Works With Netflix?
TunnelBear is the only VPN with a free tier that reliably works with Netflix. Unfortunately, it only offers free users 500 MB of data per month, which is only enough for about one episode of TV.
Most free VPNs do not work with Netflix, and those that do probably won’t work for long. Free VPNs just don’t have the resources necessary to offer reliable access to Netflix without being blacklisted.
All of the VPNs we recommend above come with money-back guarantees, which you can take advantage of to watch Netflix for a month before asking for your money back. These VPNs have the resources and expertise to stay a step ahead of Netflix VPN bans.
Do I need a US payment method for American Netflix?
If you don’t have a US credit or debit card, there are a few other ways to pay for Netflix in the US:
- Virtual cards are accepted in some markets. These are like credit cards but only exist digitally.
- Prepaid cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover
- Netflix gift cards are available at physical and online retailers
Note that you don’t need a US payment method to access American Netflix. You can sign up and pay in any country, then switch your location to the US with a VPN.
Can I use a VPN to watch Netflix on a Firestick, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, or smart TV?
Not all devices support VPNs. If you're looking for a streaming device that does work with VPNs, go with the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Cube. Most of the providers in our recommended list make apps specifically for Firesticks.
Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, game consoles, and most smart TVs do not support VPNs, either through an app or manual configuration. To connect these devices to a VPN, you'll have to configure the VPN on a router, then connect the device(s) to that router. See more about how to set up a VPN on a router here.
Some VPNs, such as ExpressVPN, include a standalone smart DNS proxy service in their subscriptions. Many devices that don't support VPNs still allow you to set custom DNS servers. Smart DNS proxies don't offer the same level of privacy and security as VPNs, but they can help you securely access Netflix and other content.
Netflix VPN not working? Try this...
If you're signed up for one of the VPNs we recommended above but still encounter the proxy error on Netflix, here are a few troubleshooting steps:
- Try a different VPN server. To save you some trial and error, contact your VPN's customer support to ask which server to connect to for Netflix.
- Clear your browser cookies and cache.
- Make sure you're using your VPN's DNS servers. You can usually check this in the VPN app settings.
- Try watching in a web browser instead of the Netflix app
Does Netflix auto unsubscribe users for using a VPN?
Can I use free DNS codes to watch Netflix?
Smart DNS proxies were a popular means of accessing Netflix for a time, but Netflix has pretty much stamped all of them out. We strongly recommend against using free DNS codes and other free smart DNS proxies. These services could easily redirect you to malicious sites on the web and track your web browsing activity. A VPN from a reputable, paid provider is a much safer, more private option.
Is it true Netflix has secret codes?
Yes, Netflix has more than 70,000 “secret” codes that you can use to filter titles by a number of criteria. Using these codes lets you narrow down your search to titles within a very specific genre.
For example, code 10105 is for TV documentaries, while code 67879 is for Korean TV shows. You can find a list of these codes on NordVPN’s website.
You can append these codes to the end of this URL: https://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/[CODE]
Replace [CODE] (including brackets) with the code of your choice.
If I use a VPN, can my Netflix be hacked?
Using a VPN improves your security and makes it less likely for your Netflix to be hacked. That being said, a VPN isn’t a silver bullet and your Netflix can still be hacked through other means. If someone steals your password, for example, a VPN won’t prevent your account from being hacked.
Can my Netflix VPN watch other streaming services?
Most likely, yes!
The majority of the VPNs we recommend for Netflix also work with other popular streaming services like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Crave TV, ITV, All 4, Vudu, and a number of live TV and sports streaming services.
Which is the fastest VPN for Netflix?
As of 2021, Surfshark is the fastest VPN for Netflix. In our tests, its average global download speed was 205 Mbps. ExpressVPN and NordVPN followed at 135 Mbps and 115 Mbps, respectively.
How do I change Netflix region on Roku?
A Roku device sets your region automatically when you first connect by checking your home IP address. This makes it a little more tricky to use a Roku device with a VPN. The good news is that there is a solution.
By doing a factory reset and connecting your Roku to a VPN the first time you use it, you can get the device to set to a different region. As a result, you will be able to gain access to the larger US catalog (or a different region) from abroad.
If you want access to a specific region, simply do a factory reset and set up the Roku player while connected to a VPN server in that place. Just remember that you will also need to connect to the VPN each time you want to stream on Netflix.
Is Netflix free in any country?
No. You must pay to subscribe to Netflix in every country where it is available. However, the service does sometimes have a free trial in some locations. This means that you may be able to stream on Netflix without paying for the first 30 days.
The important thing to remember is that even if you sign up for a Netflix free trial, you will need to hand over your payment details. If you don’t cancel your subscription before the trial expires, it will charge you the first month subscription fee.
It is also important to note that while anybody could get a 30-day free trial a few years ago, this has changed because of the pandemic. Netflix has now removed its free trial in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and various other locations.
The good news is that a few countries, such as Switzerland, Portugal, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan still have a trial. If you aren't sure whether your country has a trial period, be sure to access the Netflix site before subscribing to check.
Netflix VPN ban: What the VPN providers say
To find out more about their ongoing fight, we spoke to executives from NordVPN, VyprVPN, ExpressVPN, and LiquidVPN for some insight from the front lines.
“We are receiving an unprecedented number of inquiries from people looking to access Netflix service, suggesting there are not a lot of VPNs left that offer an alternative workaround,” NordVPN CIO Emanuel Morgan tells Comparitech. “Keeping up with offering new workaround solutions might require significant resources and it is understandable that some services chose to forgo advocating for this issue – choosing to concentrate their resources on primary service functions (offering privacy and security solutions) instead.”
Morgan says Netflix probably isn’t targeting isolated VPN providers. He believes a combination of techniques is used to block them. One of those techniques, says LiquidVPN CEO Dave Cox, is by identifying connections coming from data centers instead of residences. He goes on to explain that the Netflix apps combat SmartDNS services by forcing you to use a public DNS server and frequently change the URLs that do geolocation for their content. This makes it impossible for services that could support thousands of customers streaming at a time by only forwarding the geolocation packets through their servers.
Since this article was first published we’ve seen reports from other VPNs of Netflix blocking residential IP addresses in the streaming giant’s latest round of measures targeting VPNs.
It’s not just Netflix. Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Now, and several other types of streaming providers have all implemented VPN bans at some level. Should the trend continue, legally watching licensed content online from any site would require users to relinquish their privacy. Constantly maintaining a Netflix workaround requires significant resources. Each of the VPNs we contacted was optimistic, but not certain, that they would still have a workaround six months from now.
Accessing Netflix across the globe: study
A European Commission report estimates cross-border film availability on Netflix within the EU is just 31%.
Comparitech has conducted the most comprehensive study to date of which VPNs work with Netflix in which countries. We tested 59 VPNs in 30 countries with our Netflix subscription in a desktop web browser and the Netflix iOS and Android apps. In all, our team ran more than 5,000 manual tests on real devices.
Click the image below to see the full results in a Google Spreadsheet:
International Netflix VPNs: by the numbers
PrivateVPN worked with Netflix in more countries than any other provider, and it did so on all three platforms: desktop browser, iOS, and Android.
43 out of 59 VPNs were able to access American Netflix on at least one platform, nearly double the second-place British Netflix. Given that there are almost 70 million subscribers in the US alone, it should come as no surprise that many VPN providers make accessing US Netflix a high priority.
Users who want access to the Belgian version of Netflix have the smallest choice of VPN providers; it can only be accessed by one of the 59 VPNs we tested (ProtonVPN). Accessing Netflix in countries like Belgium and Turkey is probably not at the top of the priority list for most VPNs, and many of the VPNs we tested don’t have servers in those countries at all.
Our team recorded roughly 1,650 results on each platform: Netflix website in a desktop browser, iOS Netflix app, and Android Netflix app. The website in a desktop browser was accessed 286 times, while Android and iOS apps were close at 197 and 184, respectively. It’s worth noting that not all the VPNs we tested have mobile apps, in which case the result was negative.
Some VPNs redirect users to the US version of Netflix regardless of VPN server location. NordVPN, for example, can access Netflix when connected to any country, but uses a DNS proxy to route Netflix requests to the US version, except for Australia, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, and UK. Opening Netflix while connected to any other country through NordVPN will return the US version. And though Surfshark users can access Netflix on any server, they all redirect to the US version except France, India, Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK. Similarly, AirVPN redirects many international users to US Netflix regardless of their VPN server’s IP address.
For each test, our staff connected to the VPN, opened Netflix in a browser or in the Netflix app (depending on the OS), and played a video. If the streaming video played normally, the VPN scored a positive result. If it wasn’t clear which server to connect to for a given VPN, we contacted the VPN’s customer support team to ask which servers work with Netflix.
In order for a VPN to pass our test, it must be able to work with Netflix videos out of the box, meaning no manual configuration outside of the VPN app is necessary. It must also work with a reasonable degree of consistency—no reconnecting to the same server over and over in the hopes of finding an IP address that hasn’t been blocked. Finally, we used the paid subscription versions of VPNs when available.
The country Netflix catalogs we tested include:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Africa
We tested the most popular VPNs to see which worked with Netflix in each country.
The VPNs we tested Netflix with:
- Air VPN
- Anonymous VPN
- Avast Secureline VPN
- Avira Phantom VPN
- F-Secure Freedom VPN
- Goose, Hide My Ass! (HMA)
- Hotspot Shield
- Kaspersky Secure Connection
- Le VPN
- McAfee Safe Connect
- Norton WiFi Privacy
- Private Internet Access (PIA)
- Private Tunnel
- VPN Tunnel
- VPN Unlimited
A few VPNs bundle smart DNS proxies with their subscriptions, and some of those DNS proxies work with Netflix (e.g. Ironsocket DNS, Keenow Unblocker, ExpressVPN MediaStreamer). Due to time constraints and practicality, however, we elected not to test smart DNS services and instead solely focus on VPNs.
Aside from specifically testing VPNs with Netflix, we run extensive VPN testing to assess all major attributes of VPNs we recommend.
Are the solutions listed here no longer working for you? Do you know of any other VPN services that work with Netflix? Drop us a note in the comments!