NordVPN vs Netflix

It might surprise you to know that Netflix’s content varies from one location to another. This means that at any given time, you’re only seeing a small portion of Netflix’s available shows. The reason for this is simple: the service only has the rights to broadcast particular titles in specific countries. There is a workaround, though: by connecting to a VPN, you can spoof your location and access your usual Netflix library as you travel abroad.

The problem is that Netflix is extremely good at detecting whether or not you’re using a VPN. In fact, there are only a handful of major services that still reliably work with Netflix, and often, they’ll only provide access to one or two libraries. We’ve thoroughly research whether NordVPN can securely access Netflix and below, we’ll explain how well it works, whether you can use the service with Netflix mobile apps, and which libraries it supports.

Why choose NordVPN?

NordVPN

NordVPN is ideal for streaming. For a start, it has one of the largest networks of any popular service, with more than 5,000 servers covering 62 countries. It’s capable of providing secure access to numerous popular streaming platforms including BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

This VPN cares about your security. It keeps your activities private at all times using a combination of 256-bit AES encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and perfect forward secrecy, as well as IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection. There’s even a customizable, app-specific kill switch for desktop versions.  

WORKS WITH NETFLIX: NordVPN is a great choice for Netflix users. It works well with Netflix, offers good value, and is extremely easy to use. Best of all, it has apps for all popular devices and operating systems.

Read our full review of NordVPN.

How to securely access Netflix with NordVPN

Never used a VPN before? They’re actually quite simple to get the hang of:

  1. Begin by registering for NordVPN, if you haven’t already.
  2. Download the relevant app for your device’s operating system (NordVPN currently has apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android).
  3. Connect to a NordVPN server in your home country.
  4. You should notice that Netflix has updated its content to show the titles you’d be able to watch back home. Try playing one. It should begin almost instantly, although you may have to clear the cache and reload the page first.

Does NordVPN work with Netflix?

We’ve researched 59 popular VPNs to see how well they performed with Netflix. NordVPN is able to access over a dozen regional libraries including Netflix US, UK, Japan, Australia, and Canada. Better still, it works both in a browser and using the iOS and Android apps. Of course, as Netflix continuously updates their VPN-detection measures, these results may change in the future.

Interestingly, NordVPN can actually access Netflix regardless of which country you’re connected to. However, if you’re not using a server in a supported region, NordVPN uses a DNS proxy to return the US version of Netflix. For example, if you try to watch Netflix while connected to an Italian NordVPN server, you will likely be redirected to the US Netflix library. This means that American travelers can use servers that are much closer to their actual location, which could reduce lag.

Can I stream Netflix with a free VPN?

Free VPNs come with several disadvantages that their premium rivals don’t. For instance, due to limited server networks, they often provide slow connections. This is a particular problem for people trying to stream as it results in stuttering, low-resolution video, if you’re able to watch at all. Additionally, most free VPNs are incapable of accessing Netflix.

Despite their claims, these services aren’t completely free. Some offer higher speeds in exchange for a fee, but usually, you’ll pay in personal data instead (or as well). Free VPNs can tell a lot about you just by observing your behaviour: which of their ads you click on, which you close, and how often you visit a particular site, for instance. This information is valuable, and can be sold without your knowledge once enough has been collected — hardly the level of privacy you expect a VPN to provide.

Choosing a VPN is difficult enough already, before you even consider the myriad of malware-carrying apps looking to take advantage of your desire to protect yourself. Even assuming you find a free VPN app that doesn’t infect your system with malware, it may not protect against DNS leaks or encrypt your traffic in any way. There’s no guarantee of safety with larger free VPNs either, as we found out during the Hola botnet incident in 2016. The best way to protect yourself online is to use a reputable VPN which logs no personally identifiable information.

Using a VPN with Netflix: FAQs

Why does Netflix show an error when I use a VPN?

Netflix streaming error

The vast majority of VPNs can’t actually access Netflix at all. Attempting to do so will cause the following error to appear: “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again.

Netflix is the world’s largest over-the-top streaming platform, and as such, has invested huge amounts of time and money into preventing VPN users from accessing another country’s library. However, at the time of writing, NordVPN still works. Should any subsequent updates prevent you from securely accessing Netflix as you travel, you can contact the customer support team via 24/7 live chat to find out which servers still work.

Do VPNs negatively affect my connection speed?

Unfortunately, whichever VPN you use, there will likely be some degree of slowdown. Some services are faster than others, but it’s difficult to quantify this precisely as your connection speed is influenced by factors like the current server load, how far away you are from the VPN server, your encryption settings, and which connection protocol you’re using.

In any case, most major VPNs only have a minor impact on your speeds. As a general rule, you can expect your connection to be about one-third slower. This means that with an 8Mbps download speed, you’ll be able to stream flawlessly on most platforms.

Netflix’s own guidelines recommend a download speed of at least 3Mbps to watch standard-definition content. As the video resolution increases, so too does the minimum speed required: 5Mbps for HD video, and 25Mbps for 4K. You should note that you’ll need at least 0.5Mbps to use the service at all, but the vast majority of people should already have this.

What can I watch on Netflix?

Netflix is one of the world’s most popular streaming platforms, and unsurprisingly, has a huge range of content available. Here are some of the titles you’ll be able to stream on Netflix US, though it’s worth mentioning that they might not be available in other countries:

  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  • The Office
  • Friends
  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • Code Geass
  • Mob Psycho 100
  • The Walking Dead
  • Stranger Things
  • Black Mirror
  • Making a Murderer