Like most major streaming platforms, Netflix geo-restricts its content. This means that users in different countries can only watch a limited selection of shows and movies. As a result, people traveling abroad often find themselves unable to watch their favorite shows unless they use a VPN, such as Private Internet Access.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides location spoofing services and online privacy. This should let you securely access Netflix from anywhere. However, very few VPNs work to stream Netflix anymore, thanks to the service’s stringent anti-VPN methods. If you try to watch Netflix with most VPNs, you’ll see the following proxy error: “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again.”
This means that you must do your VPN research carefully to pick out a VPN that does work. In this article, we look at whether Private Internet Access still works with Netflix, some common problems you might face and their fixes, and some alternative VPNs to try if all else fails.
Does PIA work with Netflix?
Private Internet Access has a wide network of servers in 84 countries to help users gain access to censored, restricted, and region-locked content from around the world. To test PIA Netflix compatibility, we connected to servers in various countries and then attempted to use Netflix in incognito mode (to prevent cookies and cache from affecting our ability to watch a foreign Netflix catalog).
Our tests revealed that while it is possible to access a handful of foreign Netflix libraries, streaming will result in an error message on most servers. Consequently, we can deduce that PIA has focused its energy on providing access to just a few Netflix regions that are in high demand. Unfortunately, this means that the vast majority of its servers will not allow users to stream Netflix abroad.
The table below shows which versions of Netflix we were able to access via PIA servers during this round of testing:
|Supported Netflix libraries||USA, UK, Canada, Netherlands|
|Netflix libraries inaccessible||Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates|
As you can see, PIA only works with a few regional Netflix libraries, but they are the most popular ones. Despite this, it’s not the most reliable way to access Netflix abroad. Company representatives have publicly admitted that Netflix blacklists PIA’s servers and real IP addresses, explaining why PIA can struggle to access Netflix catalogs that were previously available.
PIA is also slower than the very best VPNs for Netflix and is a little inconsistent. This means that even if you succeed in watching your home Netflix library, your experience may be lackluster. We found that streaming quality can be affected by which server you use, how far away it is, and what time of day it is.
If you can’t access a version of Netflix that PIA should work with, it is worth contacting customer support for advice on which server to use. However, if you have not yet subscribed, we strongly recommend opting for a VPN provider that works better with Netflix. We recommend using NordVPN, Surfshark, or ExpressVPN instead.
WANT TO TRY A BETTER ALTERNATIVE FOR FREE?
NordVPN is offering a fully-featured risk-free 30-day trial if you sign up at this page. You can use this top-rated VPN with no restrictions for a month—perfect for anyone interested in seeing what other Netflix libraries have to offer.
There's no catch—just contact support within 30 days if you decide not to continue with NordVPN and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.
How to securely stream Netflix with Private Internet Access
New to VPNs? Don’t worry: with the right VPN, it’s easy to securely access platforms like Netflix abroad:
- Start by signing up for Private Internet Access. Although, if you want the best VPN for Netflix, we actually recommend NordVPN.
- Download and install the appropriate version for your device (PIA currently offers desktop and mobile apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS).
- Connect to one of PIA’s VPN server locations in the country where you’d like to access Netflix.
- Sign in to Netflix and start streaming. Videos should load without any issues.
- If not, try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies, then refresh the page. Failing that, contact PIA’s customer service team and ask them for help choosing the best streaming-optimized server for Netflix.
Which are the best VPNs for streaming Netflix abroad?
Netflix is one of the world’s most popular streaming platforms and can afford to devote a huge amount of resources to blocking VPN users. This means that VPN providers, especially smaller ones like PIA, often find it difficult to keep up. However, there are a few VPN services that work reliably with Netflix, and we’ve listed the best of these below. It’s worth noting that we tested just 30 different regions, so the number of libraries they can securely access could be even higher.
- NordVPN: Our top pick provides high-speed streaming servers, exceptionally strong security features, and a no-logs policy. Further, it works with some of the most popular Netflix libraries. It also includes a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.
TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly for Netflix.
- Surfshark is a low-cost, high performance, privacy-oriented VPN that works with several Netflix libraries. Better still, it works in China, has no connection limit, and offers a true no-logging policy.
- ExpressVPN is another great choice for Netflix. Fast, highly secure, and privacy-focused. Provides secure access to over a dozen different Netflix libraries and most major streaming services.
- CyberGhost is a fast, reliable VPN that works well with Netflix. Vast network of streaming-optimized servers. Secure, user-friendly, and has strong security and privacy policies to protect your online security.
- PrivateVPN is an excellent choice for Netflix as it keeps no logs, works with most of the Netflix libraries we tested, and offers higher download speeds than most other VPNs.
Best VPNs for Netflix: at a glance
We’ve compared the most important features of the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for Netflix.
|Website||NordVPN.com||Surfshark.com||ExpressVPN.com||Cyberghost.com||PrivateVPN.com||Ranking for Netflix||1||2||3||4||5||Devices Supported||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, Routers||Windows, MacOS, Linux (command line), iOS, Android, Smart TVs Routers||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV||Avg Speed (Europe)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||41 Mbps||Popular Sites Unblocked||95%||88%||86%||85%||85%||Simultaneous Connections||6||Unlimited||5||7||10|
|Best deal (per month)||$2.99|
SAVE up to 69% + 3 months FREE
Save 82% + Get 4 Months FREE
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free
SAVE 84% on the 2 year plan + 4 months free
Save 85% on a two year plan + 12-months free
Why PIA doesn’t work consistently with Netflix
PIA should be able to securely access a few of the most popular Netflix libraries, but if you’re having issues, there could be a few reasons why.
First, it could be that Netflix is using old location data. This could cause problems if it points to a different country than your IP address does. To fix this, clear your browser’s cookies and reload the page.
Here’s how to clear your cookies on the most popular browsers:
- Firefox: Click Menu icon in the top-right > Settings > Privacy & Security > Manage Data under Cookies and Site Data, type “Netflix”, click Remove All Shown, click Save Changes
- Google Chrome: Click Menu icon in the top-right > Settings > Privacy and security > Site settings > View permissions and data stored across sites > type “Netflix”, click Clear all data
- Microsoft Edge: Menu icon > Settings > Cookies and site permissions > Manage and delete cookies and site data > See all cookies and site data > Type “Netflix”, click Remove all shown
This is a crucial step and one that you should repeat after any failed attempt to access Netflix.
If that doesn’t fix the issue, your device itself may also be giving Netflix hints that you’re using a VPN. For instance, Netflix apps have been known to use GPS data to cross-reference your location. This could mean you’re able to watch on a PC but not on mobile devices. To resolve this, you’ll have to either find a GPS-spoofing app or use a VPN that takes care of this automatically.
Finally, it could be that Netflix has blacklisted the server you’re using. If so, switching to a new server in the same location should help. Failing this, it’s a good idea to get in touch with customer support and ask them if there’s a specific option on the server list that still works.
How Netflix blocks PIA from working
It’s actually pretty simple. Netflix PIA blocking works by detecting when a user is connected to a VPN server and then blocking their access. This is done by looking at the IP address of the user and seeing if it matches with any known VPN servers. If it does, then the user is blocked from accessing Netflix.
There are a few reasons why Netflix may do this. One reason is to prevent users from accessing content that is not licensed in their country. Another reason is to prevent people from using VPNs to get around geographic restrictions on content.
Whatever the reasons, it’s fairly easy to bypass Netflix’s PIA blocking. All you need to do is find a VPN that changes your IP address to one that’s not on their list.
Watching Netflix with a free VPN
Free VPNs can be tempting, but they come with several major disadvantages for anyone looking to stream. For example, these services usually don’t have enough streaming servers to accommodate all of their users. This means you’re likely to experience slow streaming and download speeds, which leads to low-resolution video streaming and frequent buffering. Further, your chosen service might not have servers with local IP addresses in your required country, and there’s no guarantee it will even work with Netflix in the first place.
Finally, there’s no easy way to tell if you’re actually using a legitimate free VPN or just one of the many malware-carrying apps lurking in popular app stores. Your chosen VPN might not be safe even if it doesn’t contain malware: recent research found that 18% of tested apps never encrypted user data at all, and 66% were vulnerable to DNS leaks. Well-known services aren’t necessarily safer, though; back in 2016, Hola was caught selling user bandwidth to help run a botnet.
To stay safe online, we recommend using a VPN with a good reputation and a history of standing up for its customers’ online privacy. If you’re worried about the price, make the most of a reputable provider’s free trial or 30-day money-back guarantee. That way, you can be sure you’re getting a decent product before committing long-term.
Private Internet Access & Netflix: FAQs
Does Private Internet Access have a kill switch?
You likely already know that VPNs encrypt your traffic. However, if your connection to the VPN is interrupted and you have the kill switch turned off, you’ll just be browsing like you would normally. This could potentially be a real problem if you were in a country like China or the UAE, where internet usage is heavily censored and under surveillance. In contrast, a kill switch would prevent you from browsing until you could reconnect to the VPN.
Like many other providers, Private Internet Access offers a kill switch. However, this one is slightly different, allowing you to choose between three modes (Off, Automatic, and Always) instead of just off or on. The automatic mode only blocks internet traffic if you were disconnected unexpectedly, while the always setting only allows you to browse when connected to the VPN. This is likely overkill for most users, but it’s certainly a nice option to have.
How many devices can I use with PIA?
Most VPNs on the market allow users to connect around five or six devices at once. However, Private Internet Access stands out from the crowd by permitting unlimited simultaneous connections. This means you can secure all of your devices and your friends’ and family’s too.
Can I install Private Internet Access on my router?
It’s absolutely possible to install Private Internet Access on an internet router. In fact, this service even provides detailed setup guides to configuring it for use with DD-WRT, Tomato, LEDE, and ASUS-WRT routers, as well as pfSense gateways.
Router VPN installations are a fairly involved process, and there’s plenty that could go wrong. If you’re unsure of what to do, it’s best not to press ahead regardless. Remember: if you’re having problems, you can get help at any time, day or night, thanks to this VPN’s 24/7 live chat help desk.
Does Private Internet Access keep logs?
There’s a pretty clear-cut answer to this in the Private Internet Access knowledge base. It says (emphasis theirs): “NO! PIA absolutely does not keep any logs of any kind, period.”
Additionally, PIA has a history of looking out for its users’ privacy. After the Russian government seized its servers in the hopes of accessing user activity histories, the provider immediately stopped hosting servers in that country.
The only information that this VPN stores is your name, payment information, and email address (taken during registration). This is saved not to track you but to allow you to log in and have your payments processed by vendors like MasterCard or PayPal.
Can I use PIA to watch Netflix Japan?
Unfortunately, PIA did not work reliably with Netflix Japan in our tests. That’s not to say it won’t ever work, because as we said above, VPNs are constantly working to bypass the restrictions put in place by streaming services. And those services work just as hard to increase their restrictions. Leading to a constantly changing cat-and-mouse game.
So if you already have a PIA subscription it’s worth trying to access Netflix Japan by connecting to a few different Japanese servers just in case. However, if you haven’t yet made a VPN purchase consider going with one of the best VPNs for accessing Netflix Japan, for a provider with a proven history of accessing the site.
How do I turn off Private Internet Access?
Disconnecting from Private Internet Access is very simple: just click the big green power button on the main page. In the unlikely event that the app has frozen, you can kill it from the task manager, then restart it before disconnecting as normal.
Is Private Internet Access a slow VPN provider for streaming?
Not at all! We have carried out speed tests on dozens of VPNs and found that Private Internet Access is one of the fastest VPNs on the market. It averaged 68 Mbps, which is more than fast enough for streaming in high definition and even 4K. Furthermore, this VPN doesn’t engage in bandwidth throttling, so there’s no limit as to how much streaming you can do. Overall, PIA is a solid choice for streaming.
Will using a VPN connection slow down my network speeds?
You can expect a slight reduction in network speed regardless of which VPN you choose. It’s worth noting that your speeds are also influenced by the protocol and type of encryption used, as well as the current server load and its geographical distance from you. However, even before taking these factors into account, some services have more of an impact on your internet connection than others.
Depending on which VPN connection you choose you may lose up to one-third of your internet traffic speed when using a VPN. Netflix recommends a download speed of at least 3 Mbps for streaming HD video, but you’ll need higher speeds for full HD and 4K content (around 5 Mbps and 15 Mbps, respectively). At the time of writing, the average internet connection speed in the US was around 167 Mbps, but as long as you get 8 Mbps or so, you shouldn’t have any issues streaming Netflix with a VPN.
Our recommended VPNs all have super-fast Tier 1 servers in their network that provide exceptionally fast speeds. This means that you should only experience a negligible drop in speeds when using the VPN. This will not affect your ability to stream on Netflix.
Will my ISP know if I’m using PIA?
Your ISP knows if you’re using a VPN because it can see encrypted data is traveling from your device to the VPN server. It sees some basic information, such as the IP address of the VPN server and the timestamp of when you connected. However, it can then no longer see the websites you visit or your browser history. In summary, your ISP knows you’re using a VPN but won’t know it’s PIA without investigating further using the VPN IP address it sees.
Will Netflix ban my account if I use a VPN?
VPNs are legal just about everywhere in the world and although streaming platforms like Netflix don’t like people using VPNs while watching their content, there really isn’t much they can do about it. After all, VPN providers have gotten extremely good at evading detection and usually have a workaround soon after any new blocking begins.
To be fair, Netflix’s terms of service do forbid users from streaming with a VPN active. That said, we’ve never heard of anyone being banned for this; even if Netflix detects your VPN, you’ll usually just see an error or only have access to a smaller content library (and these problems will go away once you turn the VPN off or switch to a different server).
What other streaming services does PIA work with?
PIA is able to securely access some Netflix libraries. However, it also works with a number of other popular streaming services including BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Sky Go. Unfortunately, we found it didn’t work well with Amazon Prime Video in our most recent tests.
Whether a VPN is able to access a particular streaming service is very much a fluid situation and can change at a moment’s notice. It’s always worth trying multiple servers. Be sure to clear your cookies between each new attempt.
Which shows can I watch abroad with PIA?
Although PIA can’t help you securely access many different Netflix catalogs, it does work with some of the more popular ones. Below, we’ve created a short list of the content you’ll be able to watch from abroad with PIA: