Netflix proxy error fix – 11 VPNs that still unblock Netflix in 2018

Published by on Juni 1, 2018 in VPN & Privacy

Netflix VPNs working in 2017
Last updated June 01, 2018.

If you’ve been left frustrated by the dreaded Netflix proxy error message, your not alone, and thankfully there is a workaround. Ever since Netflix implemented its overseas VPN ban–preventing customers from accessing its US, UK, Canadian and other show catalogs from abroad–VPN providers and users alike have been scrambling for a solution.

When connected to most VPNs, Netflix gives the following error, accompanied by error code m7111-1331-5059:

“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.”

The battle between Netflix, customers, and VPN providers rages on and viable alternatives are still very much in flux. VPN providers are engaged in a game of cat-and-mouse with Netflix. A server that works today may get blocked tomorrow, while a new servers and IPs are constantly being added.

That said, we’ve come up with a list of VPN providers that offer some means of bypassing the Netlix proxy error message. Many of them require contacting customer service for a fix. Some only work when watching in a web browser, and not with the native Netflix app. Here are our top picks for the best VPNs for Netflix last tested and confirmed as working on June 01, 2018:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN works with Netflix

  • Unblocks US Netflix in web browser: Yes
  • Unblocks US Netflix App: Yes

Our preferred option. Speeds are fast, stable, and every subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk free. ExpressVPN does indeed bypass the Netflix ban on a couple server locations . These servers may change over time and we don’t want to draw undue attention to them, suffice to say they do stream video from US Netflix in good quality from out of country. We recommend subscribers hop on the 24/7 live chat support available on the ExpressVPN website and ask what servers to use. We got a response in about two minutes! Best of all, ExpressVPN is one of the few providers on this list that consistently works with the Netflix iOS and Android apps. That means you can watch US Netflix on an iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone, or Android tablet.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

BEST FOR NETFLIX: Get 3 months free on ExpressVPN’s annual plan & save 49%

2. NordVPN

NordVPN 3 year plan

  • Unblocks US Netflix in browser: Yes
  • Unblocks US Netflix app: Yes

NordVPN has informed us it offers Netflix-optimized servers that do not require any special configuration on the customer’s side. In our testing, even the servers that say they work with Netflix in the app might get blocked, anyway. You can find out which servers work with Netflix on this help page or by contacting customer support. There you’ll find how to use NordVPN to watch US Netflix in a browser, on iOS and Android, and on a router.

READER OFFER: Save 77% on a 3 year plan with NordVPN, which brings the monthly cost down just $2.75.

Read our full NordVPN review.

3. Cyberghost

cyberghost homepage

  • Unblocks US Netflix in web browser: Yes
  • Unblocks US Netflix App: Yes

CyberGhost is now under new ownership and the provider has clearly ramped up its operation with a deluge of new servers and locations. Among them is a dedicated Netflix streaming feature which you can select from the streaming menu in the app. No need to contact customer support or try random servers and hope for the best–the feature is clearly labeled and just works. Users can give instant feedback by clicking a thumbs up or thumbs down to let staff know if the server has been blocked or not. We tested on both desktop and mobile and didn’t encounter any issues.
CyberGhost also offers great speeds, top-notch security, a no-logs policy, and fast customer support. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

SAVE OVER 70%: Our readers who subscribe to this CyberGhost deal can get the two-year plan for almost a quarter of the normal price.

Read our full CyberGhost VPN review.

4. PrivateVPN

privatevpn deal

  • Unblocks US Netflix in browser: Yes
  • Unblocks US Netflix app: Yes

Despite having a smaller network of servers to work with, PrivateVPN unblocked US Netflix both on mobile and desktop platforms in our tests. That includes the Netflix apps for Android and iOS. Not all servers worked all of the time, but the company keeps a list of currently working servers that in our experience is never empty. PrivateVPN scored well in our speed tests, meaning you can continue to stream your favorite Netflix shows in high definition. You’ll also get a zero logs service, up to six simultaneous connections, and live chat support.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Comparitech readers save over 70% on the annual plan, plus get 5 months extra free.

Read our full PrivateVPN review.

5. PureVPN

  • Unblocks US Netflix in browser: Yes
  • Unblocks US Netflix app: No

PureVPN recently added Netflix unblocking capabilities to its desktop apps. We recommend using the dedicated IP mode, as the „streaming“ and „purpose“ options labelled for Netflix didn’t work for us. PureVPN also has live customer support on its website if you encounter any problems. Speeds ranked well in our tests, and should be enough to watch in HD without buffering. Our reviewer also unblocked BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video.

While PureVPN is fine for unblocking Netflix, it falls a bit short of the other VPNs on this list when it comes to privacy and security. We recommend PureVPN if your main concern is watching Netflix US and not privacy protection.

In short, use PureVPN if you’re not concerned about security and privacy and just want to unblock Netflix.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

READER DEAL: Save 50% on PureVPN’s 1 year plan here. It includes a 7 day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk free.

Read our full PureVPN review.

6. StrongVPN

StrongVPN homepage

Update: Some readers have alerted us that StrongVPN is no longer working with US Netflix. We will test as soon as possible and update this article shortly. 

  • Unblocks US Netflix in browser: Yes
  • Unblocks US Netflix app: No

All but two US servers–Miami and Atlanta–bypass the Netflix proxy error when using StrongVPN. This is a particularly good option for Netflix customers in China, as StrongVPN has long been a top choice among expats there and caters well to them. You can also watch Dutch and UK Netflix using StrongVPN from outside of Holland and the UK, respectively. The only downside is that OpenVPN won’t work. We were instructed to use PPTP, which is not a secure protocol, but SSTP also worked when we tested it.

STRONGVPN DISCOUNT: At the time of writing, StrongVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 42% off their 12 month package as standard. If you’re happy accessing Netflix via a web browser and don’t need it on a mobile device StrongVPN is a good choice.

7 . VyprVPN

VyprVPN

  • Unblocks US Netflix in browser: Yes
  • Unblocks US Netflix app: No

VyprVPN now works with US Netflix again after a brief hiatus. We were able to log in and stream without any issues from a US server as we normally would without any configuration changes from the default OpenVPN setup. Not all servers work, but some do. We unblocked US Netflix both in Chrome browser and on the Netflix Android app.

MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE: VyprVPN are currently running an offer with a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans here so you can try it risk free. VyprVPN works with Netflix in a browser but not with the mobile app. If you want to view Netflix on a mobile or tablet, we recommend ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

8. SaferVPN

SaferVPN Unblock Netflix

  • Unblocks US Netflix in browser: Yes
  • Unblocks US Netflix app: No

SaferVPN recently added a “US Streaming” server to its list of locations. When connected to this server, SaferVPN unblocks Netflix in a web browser. In our tests, only desktop web browsers were affected, and SaferVPN could not unblock the Netflix mobile app. If you only watch Netflix in Chrome or Firefox, SaferVPN is a good option thanks to its extremely fast servers.

DEAL ALERT: You can save a huge 65% on the 2 year plan here.

Read our full SaferVPN review.

9. HideMyAss

HMA streaming

  • Unblocks US Netflix in browser: Yes
  • Unblocks US Netflix app: Yes

HideMyAss recently added a server specifically for users who want to unblock US Netflix. We have tested it and confirmed it works on both desktop browser and Netflix’s mobile app on Android and iOS, however, we found speeds to be frustratingly slow. We recommend you contact HMA’s customer support to ask which server to use and troubleshoot any issues you might have connecting, as you might need to change some other settings on your device as well. The same server also unblocks Hulu. Note that HMA is based in the UK, a country with strict data retention laws for service providers, and it has a history of logging customer browsing data that allegedly resulted in the arrest of one of its users. You can use HideMyAss to unblock Netflix, but privacy-conscious users should look elsewhere.

HIDEMYASS DISCOUNTED DEAL: Save 43% here on HMA’s annual plan

10. Ivacy

ivacy homepage

  • Unblocks US Netflix in browser: Yes
  • Unblocks US Netflix app: Yes

Ivacy unblocks US Netflix in a web browser and the app. Not all servers work, though, so you’ll have to contact the provider’s live customer service available on the website to ask which server to connect to and which settings to use. This will likely require you to add a specific server address to the app’s connection settings.

In addition to the usual Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android apps, Ivacy also makes an app for Kodi devices that run on the Linux-based OpenELEC operating system. Unlike most VPNs, Ivacy VPN can be activated from within Kodi. Unfortunately, the Kodi addon didn’t unblock Netflix or other geo-locked services when we tested it.

READER DEAL: Save 78% on IvacyVPN’s 2 year plan. It includes a 30 day money back guarantee.

Read our full Ivacy review.

11. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield review cover.

  • Unblocks US Netflix in browser: Yes
  • Unblocks US Netflix app: Yes

We’re not huge proponents of Hotspot Shield due to some lingering privacy issues, but this fact cannot be denied: it unblocks US Netflix. You’ll have to upgrade your account to an Elite plan and connect to the US Virtual Location server. Speeds are fast enough to stream in HD but we occasionally encountered dud servers during testing.

Hotspot Shield notes in its privacy policy that while it doesn’t keep traffic logs, it does inject tracking cookies into users‘ web browsers, a practice Comparitech is firmly against due to privacy concerns,

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

SAVE 57%: Save 57% here and get a 45 day money-back guarantee

Read our full Hotspot Shield review.

VPNs and Smart DNS providers that DO NOT work with Netflix

 IronSocket

As of July 5, 2016, like most smart DNS services, IronSocket is now struggling with the Netflix ban and will only work on certain devices, if it all. We recommend opting for one of the VPNs listed above instead.

Unblock-Us

As of July 5, 2016, Unblock-Us says it will not work on all devices. We’re recommending users go for one of the VPNs listed in this article instead since they have, on the most part, consistently worked during our testing. Update, November 17, 2016: Unblock-Us is now working with Netflix. We have tested this and can confirm that Unblock-Us is evading the Netflix Ban although it won’t work with the Netflix App on mobile devices.

Unlocator

As of July 4, 2016, Unlocator is not working with Netflix anymore. We’ve have official confirmation from the company that Unlocator is blocked by Netflix. We understand a solution is being worked on but were not given a date for when this will be available.

Private Internet Access

PIA has said it does not officially support circumventing geoblocks, and it does not currently work with Netflix.

IPVanish

IPVanish VPN has recently given up the fight against Netflix and has informed us it no longer can bypass the firewall. IPVanish may not work with Netflix but is a very popular choice for torrenting, due to its fast speeds and zero log policy. With a growing number of customers frustrated by the Netflix VPN ban, more and more are turning to torrenting.

Buffered

Buffered previously was able to unblock Netflix in a web browser on MacOS and Windows, but this is no longer the case as of September 2017. A customer support rep told us, „As of the moment, we are unable to access Netflix US with any of our servers. A fix is being worked on and should be forthcoming fairly shortly. We have no update though as of yet.“

Unotelly

Despite Unotelly openly stating it was „confident that we can continue to deliver quality service to our loyal and supportive users“ when it comes to Netflix, Unotelly has been unable to unblock the streaming service since the first half of 2016.

Hola

Hola won’t unblock Netflix, and you shouldn’t be using it 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.

Tunnelbear

Tunnelbear makes no mention of Netflix on its website, and searching for it in the VPN’s knowledgebase points to a troubleshooting article about how to get around geographic restrictions. But no amount of troubleshooting will help Tunnelbear users unblock Netflix at this time.

GetFlix

GetFlix is a smart DNS proxy service that made its debut heralding a fast and cheap means to unblock 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

HideIPVPN announced in 2016 that neither its VPN nor its smart DNS proxy service would continue to unblock 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.“

Overplay

Netflix intermittently blocked Overplay’s smart DNS proxy and VPN services for about a year starting in 2016. Now the company seems to have given up the fight, scrubbing its website of any mention of Netflix.

Blockless

Netflix put Blockless‘ name to the test in 2016. It failed.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield now works with Netflix as of May 2018.

CactusVPN

CactusVPN announced in July 2016 that it would wave the white flag of surrender in the war on Netflix. „Unfortunately we can’t compare to Netflix’s resource so we have to admit: starting today, CactusVPN does not unblock Netflix with Smart DNS or VPN.“

Opera VPN

Opera VPN, a proxy built into the Opera browser, will not unblock Netflix.

How to 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:

  1. Download and install the VPN app from your provider’s website or an official app marketplace.
  2. Select a VPN server in the US that unblocks Netflix. If you’re not sure which one to choose, consult your provider’s website or its customer service.
  3. Connect to the VPN. Once the connection is established, open Netflix in a browser or app and start watching!
  4. 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 do these VPNs work when others don’t?

Netflix usually blocks VPN users by their IP address. While we can’t speak for Netflix, the company appears to be blacklisting the IP addresses of known VPN servers. It can even block an entire range of IP addresses from a data center known to host VPN servers, which is why most VPNs are unable to combat Netflix’s firewall.

The VPNs we recommend can all bypass Netflix’s ban using at least one server or location. It’s not that these VPNs never get blocked; it’s just that they are prepared with both the resources and manpower to quickly replace blacklisted servers and IPs with ones that haven’t been blocked yet. This requires more time, expertise, and money than most VPN providers can reliably offer, but those that we recommend make a concerted effort to keep Netflix-unblocking servers up and running at all times.

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 one of Netflix’s 125 million subscribers 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 make the choice between privacy and entertainment.

Can I unblock Netflix using a smart DNS proxy?

Smart DNS proxies like Unotelly, Overplay, Unlocator, 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 traffic for that request through the server to an American Netflix server, thereby changing both your 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 can still unblock 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.

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 unblock 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!

What about accessing other countries‘ Netflix?

A VPN that unblocks US Netflix won’t necessarily be able to unblock the 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:

How to unblock the Netflix app by setting up the VPN on a router

When using a browser such as Chrome or Firefox, any of the VPNs recommended above should allow you to watch American Netflix without any issues. Both traffic and DNS requests are sent through the VPN, preventing Netflix from determining your true location.

When using a Netflix native app, however, the app can override the DNS routing used by a VPN and send requests to your nearest public DNS server. This means Netflix can determine the user’s true location and block them accordingly, even with a VPN app switched on. ExpressVPN and NordVPN have figured out how to overcome this behavior, so they both work with the iOS and Android Netflix apps so this won’t be a problem for if you are using one of these two VPNs.

ExpressVPN and NordVPN will unblock the Netflix app on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. But other devices–Roku, Chromecast, smart TVs, game consoles, Fire TV, etc–do not support any VPNs. As such, even ExpressVPN and NordVPN have no apps for them. For those devices, you need to configure a router or buy a pre-configured one.

For the VPNs that don’t unblock Netflix on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, router configuration is also the best alternative.

The VPN must be set up on the wifi router that your device is connected to. This process varies depending on your router’s firmware, and you may have to flash a new firmware onto the router that supports VPNs (Tomato or DD-WRT). You can usually find router setup instructions and configuration details on your provider’s website.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing all that, ExpressVPN sells pre-configured routers and also offers free router firmware that can be installed on select routers. You can simply buy a router or flash the free firmware onto a compatible router and save yourself the hassle of a complicated procedure. This should unblock Netflix on any device.

Once the VPN is set up, you’ll also need to configure your firewall to forward DNS queries to our DNS servers (or whatever DNS servers the VPN service in question uses to bypass the Netflix ban). Again, look to your provider for instructions on how to accomplish this.

Netflix app vs Netflix in a web browser

A VPN that unblocks Netflix in a web browser might not unblock the Netflix app on your mobile device, set-top box, or smart TV. That’s because a web browser must use the DNS servers specified by the operating system. Most VPN apps take care of this for you and route all DNS requests to their own in-house DNS servers, which ensures that DNS requests match the location of your VPN server.

The Netflix app, however, can override a device’s DNS settings and force DNS requests to be sent to either a public DNS nameserver or the default ISP’s nameserver. This results in a mismatch between where the user’s IP address is located and where their DNS requests come from. That’s a red flag indicating the viewer is using a VPN or some other type of proxy, resulting in the dreaded Netflix proxy error message.

ExpressVPN and NordVPN have both figured out how to overcome this obstacle. If you want to watch Netflix through the app and not a web browser, they are the best options.

Unblock Netflix on Apple TV

Apple TV does not have built-in support for VPNs, which means you’ll need some other means of routing traffic through the VPN. There are three options we know of:

  • Connect to a VPN on your iPhone or iPad, then stream Netflix on your device and cast it to Apple TV using Airplay. This isn’t exactly the same as just watching Netflix on your Apple TV, but it works so long as you’re using one of the two VPNs we’ve confirmed work with the Netflix app: ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
  • Use a laptop to configure a virtual router. Connect to a VPN on the laptop, then connect the Apple TV to the laptop’s wifi hotspot. This works with most modern Windows and Mac laptops. You can find more detailed instructions in our tutorial on how to turn your Mac into a VPN-secured router. Windows PC instructions can be found in this tutorial.
  • Flash your wifi router with a VPN-compatible firmware and configure the VPN on it. This is the most technically advanced option, so make sure you know what you’re doing. The process varies from router to router, and not all wifi routers are compatible with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. If you’re not comfortable with replacing the firmware on your home wifi router, you can opt to purchase a preconfigured VPN router from ExpressVPN.

 Netflix VPN ban: What the VPN providers say

To find out more about their ongoing fight, we spoke to executives from NordVPN, Buffered, 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.

Buffered CEO Jordan Fried suspects Netflix could put the final nail in the VPN coffin if it truly wished to do so. Instead, it has resisted to avoid losing more customers. The argument against a billing address-based filtering scheme, Netflix might argue, is that the copyright licensing restrictions apply to where content is being watched from, not where the subscriber’s money comes from.

It’s not just Netflix. Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Now, and several other 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 were optimistic, but not certain, that they would still have a workaround six months from now.


Are the solutions listed here no longer working for you? Do you know of any other VPN services that bypass Netflix’s anti-VPN firewall? Drop us a note in the comments!

To shreds, you say“ by Jeffrey licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

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