The best VPN services are no longer simply privacy software, and their elevation into the mainstream is arguably thanks to the Netflix VPN. By allowing users access to everything in Netflix's vast catalogue of content, VPNs provide a great opportunity to both widen your viewing at home and access what you're used to when you're abroad.
However, Netflix puts up a fight, and tries its best to stop Netflix VPN users from accessing the service. That means that only the very best services work reliably with Netflix, while lesser contenders face the inevitable 'Streaming Error' screen.
This content blocking is often to do with Netflix's distribution rights or licensing issues, but may also just be because it thinks people in a certain country just don't want to watch a certain show. Whatever the reason, one thing's for sure – if you're not using a Netflix VPN to unlock extra content, you're certainly not making the most of your Netflix account.
What makes the best Netflix VPN?
The best Netflix VPN should be fast, reliable and, more than anything, be able to unblock as many Netflix locations as possible. Having great privacy helps too, as although you'll mostly be using it to stream, there's no point in sacrificing the security any good VPN can provide.
That's why ExpressVPN tops our list. It ticks all the boxes and has never let us down when accessing Netflix from any location – and it's also crammed with extra functionality so that experienced users can really get under the hood and tailor the VPN to their needs
At home, you'll be able to make the most of what you pay for from Netflix and stream pretty much anything that's available anywhere. If you're abroad and craving some home comforts, you'll also be able to select a server there, virtually sink into your own sofa and watch what you're used to – no matter where you are.
Below we've run down the five best Netflix VPNs, and all that's left for you to do is pick which one suits you the most.
1. ExpressVPN – our top-rated Netflix VPN
Whether you want to stream overseas Netflix from your sofa or watch what you know when you're abroad, ExpressVPN is the most reliable option. With over 3,000 servers greats speeds all over the world, it's the best Netflix VPN – and you you can grab three months free.View Deal
2. NordVPN – big name is great for Netflix
With a huge 5,000+ servers worldwide, NordVPN can get you watching wherever you want. While it's not quite as perfect as Express in other areas, for just $3.71/mo it's great value and will be a great Netflix companion.View Deal
3. CyberGhost – cheap with excellent streaming features
CyberGhost has over 6,300 servers and delivers some really neat streaming-focused features not often seen in other VPNs, like server filtering and its Smart Rules panel. And, for just $2.75/mo, it's one of the best-value ways to widen your viewing wherever you are.View Deal
The best five Netflix VPNs available
Simply put, ExpressVPN is the best Netflix VPN on the market, thanks to its superb speeds, excellent 24/7 customer service support and wide compatibility across devices.
Express allows users to access a wide range of Netflix libraries, including the US, UK, Canada and loads more besides, and Smart TV support means that you can explore the world's Netflix from your sofa.
The useful feature that allows this is ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer DNS, which unblocks Netflix on devices that don’t support VPNs – including the likes of Apple TV and consoles, too. That means you don't have to rely just on your mobile or laptop – you can get international Netflix goodness wherever you want.
Express also has a huge network of over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, which means you'll have a great range of options when it comes to picking a location.
If you run into any trouble, Express's customer support team is on hand 24/7 to provide you with assistance, and in our experience the operators are eager to help and very knowledgeable – they'll also be able to tell you which server will be best for whatever regional Netflix library you want to explore.
There's a limit of up to five devices using the service at once, which is fewer than some competitors. However, that should be more than enough for most people's needs, since many Netflix plans limit the number of shared accounts used at one time.
If you're looking for the most well-rounded, fully featured VPN for Netflix and more, look no further than ExpressVPN.
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If you fancy unlocking everything Netflix has been hiding from you, Tom's Guide readers are being offered 49% and three free months of ExpressVPN – which means you'll get 15 months for the price of 12. Not bad for the best Netflix VPN on the planet.
NordVPN is possibly the best-known VPN on the market, and has achieved that by prioritising security and speed: 2048-bit encryption, over 5,000 servers spread across more than 60 countries, strong DNS leak protection, two kill switches and excellent connection speeds. All that equates to a service that can unblock Netflix with very little fuss.
While some VPNs can unblock a couple of locations but struggle with others, in our testing NordVPN's Netflix unblocking was excellent, and it was able to access every server we tried. However, if you do have any problems, its 24/7 live chat will be able to assist you in minutes – and there are custom support pages outlining how to access certain popular shows
If you're using a mobile device the interface can be a little tricky, but that's a minor quibble with what is an excellent VPN with fully-featured apps for pretty much every device you have – and having six simultaneous connections is handy, too.
If you're after a Netflix VPN that focuses on security without sacrificing functionality or speed, NordVPN could be right up your street, and if it doesn't work out, you've got a 30-day money-back guarantee to protect you.
Head over to the NordVPN website to sign up
CyberGhost has set out to make itself the Netflix VPN of choice, with powerful dedicated streaming and torrenting functionality. With attractive clients and a tempting price tag, there's no wonder it has over 10 million customers.
Naturally CyberGhost unblocks Netflix with ease, but within the apps you'll also be able to filter the best servers for whatever streaming platform you want to use. That sort of feature makes it super simple to get going.
However, although it does a great job at unblocking Netflix, CyberGhost doesn't top this list because as a package it's a little rough around the edges, and its connection speeds aren't great enough to make up for that. The apps aren't quite as intuitive as others, but we'd really love to see every VPN take a leaf out of CyberGhost's book when it comes to the fantastic dedicated streaming filters.
Also, CyberGhost's generous 45-day money-back guarantee is great way to test out the service with no risk, and landed it a place on our best VPN free trials buying guide.
For the price, CyberGhost is a very attractive proposition, and is perfectly suited to being your Netflix VPN.
Head over to the CyberGhost website to sign up
Surfshark is very bold with its Netflix unblocking claims, stating that it can give access to 14 different libraries around the world – and in our testing it delivered. A good thing about this bold claim is that the company is selling itself on its abilities as a Netflix VPN, so it's much more obliged to maintain its performance, even as Netflix tightens its restrictions on VPN usage.
The other great thing about Surfshark is the price – at around $2.50 a month it's one of the best cheap VPN services, but it performs like a premium product and also features on our guide to the best fast VPN. To boot, it also sports very fetching apps which are easy to use and nice to look at. However, they don't have the hugest feature list, so if you're going to be digging around in the settings it might prove restrictive.
As well as unblocking Netflix, Surfshark can get those outside the UK into BBC iPlayer, as well as unblocking YouTube and Hulu. However, it did struggle to get access to Amazon Prime video.
As a Netflix VPN, though, there's very little to fault with Surfshark, especially for just $2.49 a month. If you're after a cheap and simple way to get stuck in to overseas Netflix content, there are plenty of worse options than Surfshark.
Head over to Surfshark's website to sign up
While IPVanish doesn't really market itself on the fact, the service works great as a Netflix VPN. The US-based provider was able to access every Netflix library we tried in our testing, which means you should be able to get stuck into pretty much everything that Netflix distributes the world over.
However, while Netflix is no problem, IPVanish does struggle access BBC iPlayer, so if you fancy a wider range of media to explore, it'd be worth checking our best streaming VPNs to see if any other services can offer you a better deal.
However, if it's just Netflix you're after, it does a fine job. Plus, if you do run into any problems, the 24/7 live chat support are always willing to help out, perhaps by suggesting a better server or guiding you through the settings.
The desktop clients and apps are fairly easy to use, and they also display a whole loads of data, including your IP, connection speed and data up and down. It's useful to be able to keep tabs on these stats, and it's an easy visual way to diagnose if anything's not working as it should.
With great speeds and good Netflix unblocking, IPVanish is certainly worth considering in your hunt for the best Netflix VPN.
Head over to IPVanish's website to sign up
Best Netflix VPN FAQs
Why do I need a Netflix VPN?
While some shows may be regular Netflix fare in much of the world, even the powerhouses that are the United States and Canada miss out on some content – and things can even vary drastically between north and south of the border.
Japanese Netflix has lots of anime you won't find elsewhere, and Netflix in the UK still has some classic British shows that aren't available anywhere else – and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
If you travel, a Netflix VPN is a must, as when you're out of your home country it's likely that you won't be able to keep up with the shows you're currently bingeing..
Also, if you feel like you're missing out on all that great Netflix content that you can't get in your home country, it's definitely worth considering investing in a Netflix VPN to expand your viewing. And, on top of that, you'll be able to use the service to secure all your browsing on your desktop PC and mobile device, too.
Is it legal to use a VPN for Netflix?
There are a couple of important things to note here. First of all, using a VPN or another kind of proxy service to access Netflix in other countries may violate Netflix's terms of service. That puts your account at risk of being terminated – but that's never actually happened.
Second, Netflix tries to identify and block VPN and proxy servers, with mixed results – that's why many VPNs can't get you watching. The company didn't always do this, but it's now under pressure from Hollywood studios and other content creators to block cross-border streaming.
We reached out to Netflix for further clarification, and were directed to a company blog post from early 2016.
"We have a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere...In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location. ...We look forward to offering all of our content everywhere and to consumers being able to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy."
Why is Netflix not working with my VPN?
Netflix (and other streaming services, for that matter) are constantly trying to block the IP addresses of VPNs to stop people watching content they're not entitled to.
While the five Netflix VPNs above have proven that they're reliable and can consistently unblock Netflix, there's always the possibility that at one point certain servers will be unavailable.
In this situation, we recommend speaking directly to the VPN's support team. They will know many users prioritise streaming support, and will usually do all they can to get you on a working server as quickly as possible.
On that note, great support is an important reason why we rate ExpressVPN so highly. Whenever anything goes wrong – which isn't unheard of with any VPN – having top-class assistance is a massive help in rectifying the issue.
Can a Netflix VPN access other streaming services?
If you pick the best Netflix VPN, you may be able to access other streaming services like BBC iPlayer, NBC's Peacock, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and tons more. However, if there's a particular service you want access to, it's worth checking in advance.
An example is an iPlayer VPN. One of the best Netflix VPNs, IPVanish, is great for Netflix, but unfortunately can't access iPlayer. So, if that's something you'd miss, we'd recommend a service like ExpressVPN which can unblock pretty much everything.