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The best Netflix VPN in 2021

Netflix VPN on a laptop PC
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Despite some recent issues with access, Netflix VPN services are still hugely popular, and being able to unblock the streaming giant is a hugely important string to any of the best VPN hopeful's bow.

If you're not quite sure what we're talking about, a VPN for Netflix allows you to change your location and access different content on Netflix. That's because Netflix restricts certain content to certain countries due to distribution rights. By making yourself appear to be in said country, though, you'll be able to watch these geo-blocked shows anywhere.

Since Netflix's rollout of its new VPN blocking, we've seen reliable services begin to fail, and a couple of newcomers challenge for the top spots – with one fresh contender really delivering the goods.

NB: Netflix's new blocking tech means almost all VPNs are performing less reliably. We're testing and updating this guide more frequently to compensate, but if you're having issues, contact your provider's support team.

Just want the best Netflix VPN? Look no further

1. ExpressVPN – our top-rated Netflix VPN

1. ExpressVPN – our top-rated Netflix VPN
ExpressVPN is our #1, and while it's still not back to full throttle since Netflix's changes, it's still the best on offer. It's also still our top-rated VPN overall, and Tom's Guide readers can also claim three months free on a 12-month plan.

2. ProtonVPN – Super secure and great for Netflix

2. ProtonVPN – Super secure and great for Netflix
ProtonVPN is risen through the ranks of Netflix VPNs, and has claimed second spot quite simply thanks to its excellent unblocking power. Outstripping all the competition bar Express, it's one of our new favorites, and is currently just $4.99 a month on a 2-year plan.

3. Surfshark – cheap with excellent streaming features

3. Surfshark – cheap with excellent streaming features
If you're looking for a bargain way to unblock Netflix, Surfshark could be your best option. With a recently-increased 3,200+ server network you'll have plenty of choice – but we especially like the price of just $2.21 a month.

What makes the best Netflix VPN?

The two essentials are the ability to unblock Netflix, and excellent connections speeds. Great privacy is also a bonus, and even if you're only planning on streaming with your VPN, there's no point sacrificing a little extra privacy in the process.

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 and watch what you're used to – no matter where you are.

We've rated ExpressVPN as the best Netflix VPN for a long time, and although it's been somewhat affected by Netflix's changes, it's still the most reliable on the market.

Using a VPN to circumvent restrictions goes against Netflix's Ts&Cs, and doing so may put your account at risk.

The best five Netflix VPNs available

best netflix vpn ExpressVPN

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

The best Netflix VPN today

Specifications
Unblocks Netflix: Yes (US, UK, CA, AU)
Other services unblocked: Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox
24/7 customer suppoort: Yes
Simultaneous connections: 5
Reasons to buy
+Loads of streaming devices supported+Unblocks lots of other streaming platforms+Super simple to use
Reasons to avoid
-Slight issues since Netflix update

Despite some industry-wide setbacks, ExpressVPN has consistently ranked highly as one of – if not the – best Netflix VPNs on the market for a long time. And, although all providers were hit hard by Netflix's updated VPN blocking techniques in mid-2021, ExpressVPN has shown dedication to its customers by rallying quickly and effectively.

It's not all plain sailing, though, and not every server is perfect. However, from a combination of our in-house testing and talking to the ExpressVPN support team, there are ways of accessing most locations. 

For Netflix US, use Los Angeles - 3. For Australian Netflix, use Sydney - 2. UK and Canadian libraries are pretty reliable on most regional servers. 

What's been demonstrated in recent times is the necessity of having a robust, knowledgeable support network that's quick to respond and can offer real assistance should something go awry.

If you like to stream on a number of devices, ExpressVPN's apps are available on a huge amount of tech, from PC, Mac, Android, and even routers and smart TVs. No matter how you stream, you'll get the same results, and the MediaStreamer DNS allows you to access blocked content on devices that don't natively support VPN connections.

However, one negative is the fact that ExpressVPN only support five simultaneous connections. If you're constantly using a ton of devices this might be an issue, but for most this won't be problematic – and you can also simply log in and out to free up a spot.

Overall, no other VPN can match either ExpressVPN's breadth of Netflix libraries unblocked or the power and simplicity of its apps – and that's why it's the best Netflix VPN available today.

Get 49% off plus 3 free months of the best Netflix VPN

Get 49% off plus 3 free months of the best Netflix VPN
If you fancy unlocking what 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.

ProtonVPN streaming vpn

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

2. ProtonVPN

The new hotshot Netflix VPN on the block

Specifications
Unblocks Netflix: Yes (US, UK, CA)
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux
Server locations: 1,400+ servers in 55 countries
Streaming services unblocked: Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu
Maximum devices supported: 10
Reasons to buy
+Unblocks a bunch of locations+Seriously secure+Useful free version+Top-tier connection speeds
Reasons to avoid
-Free version can't unblock Netflix

We've had ProtonVPN on our radar for a while, but in our most recent round of in-depth testing we found it to be vastly improved, and capable of giving the big names a real run for their money.

The most impressive area was its streaming performance, most notably Netflix. Since Netflix's introduction of its new VPN blocking methods, every VPN has suffered – even our top provider ExpressVPN. However, for some reason or another, ProtonVPN seems to be far better than almost any other service at avoiding these measures.

Unblocking the US, UK and Canada, the only Netflix library ProtonVPN can't unblock that ExpressVPN can is Australia. When that's compared to rivals like NordVPN and Surfshark that's hugely impressive, and ProtonVPN has more than earned its second place spot here.

It's also excellent for daily use, with superfast WireGuard and OpenVPN connections, plus features like Secure Cores, which route your traffic through ultra secure servers in locations like Switzerland.

However, ProtonVPN's pricing can be a little confusing, and its Basic plan doesn't support streaming. Because of that, we'd go for the 2-year Plus plan. It's a little more expensive than Basic, but catch it when there's an offer on and you'll get every feature the provider offers (including the stellar Netflix unblocking) for a good price.

If you're not sure, ProtonVPN offers a very capable free VPN too, and you'll also have a 30-day money-back guarantee to make sure that the service works for you.

Sign up now on the ProtonVPN website

best netflix vpn Surfshark on a range of devices

(Image credit: Surfshark)

3. Surfshark

Cheap, quick, and great for streaming Netflix

Specifications
Unblocks Netflix: Yes (US)
Other services unblocked: Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox
24/7 customer suppoort: Yes
Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic price+Simple app layout+Good speeds
Reasons to avoid
-Others have better support-Some issues with 'niche' locations

Once a contender for the top Netflix VPN spot, Surfshark's been affected by Netflix's changes, but it's still capable and outdoes much of the competition. 

With reliable US Netflix unblocking (which is often all people are looking for) alongside intermittent access to Canada and Australia, it's a good choice for the casual user – and for the price, it starts to look very attractive. Plus, 

In our testing, we found we could unblock Canadian Netflix occasionally, and when accessing Australian Netflix, both the Perth and Melbourne servers worked reliably. 

Beyond Netflix, Surfshark is able to access BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and many more region-locked services. So, when you've run out of shows to binge on Netflix, there's plenty more global content to feast upon

VPNs aren't just for streaming, though, and when you're not watching Netflix you might want to stay protected when you're out and about, or when torrenting. Thankfully, Surfshark offers polished apps on a huge range of devices, and has had its servers fully audited, which brings peace of mind.

So, if you're looking for a cheap VPN that's useful for streaming and is also secure, fast and easy to use, Surfshark ticks all those boxes.
  
Head over to Surfshark's website to sign up

best netflix vpn NordVPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: NordVPN)

4. NordVPN

Big name is seriously competitive

Specifications
Unblocks Netflix: Yes (UK)
Other services unblocked: Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox
24/7 customer suppoort: Yes
Simultaneous connections: 6
Reasons to buy
+Unrivalled speeds+Big, reliable name+Lots of extensions
Reasons to avoid
-Mobile apps are a bit fussy-Only unblocks UK Netflix

NordVPN is possibly the best-known VPN on the market, and has achieved that by prioritising security and speed: excellent AES-256 encryption, over 5,000 servers spread across more than 60 countries, strong DNS leak protection, two kill switches and searing connection speeds. All that equates to a well-rounded service that's a good fit for just about anyone.

Just like all VPNs, since Netflix's changes Nord's coverage has suffered, and in our last round of tests we were only able to unblock UK Netflix. That's not as terrible as you might think, as BritFlix has a remarkably good library. As you might have gathered, though, this is all incredibly changeable.

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. Plus, If you have any problems while using it, its 24/7 live chat will be able to assist you in minutes.

Head over to the NordVPN website to sign up

Private Internet Access

5. Private Internet Access

Much improved Netflix VPN that's not a bad choice

Specifications
Unblocks Netflix: Yes (US)
Other services unblocked: iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+
Streaming devices: Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast
24/7 customer suppoort: Yes
Simultaneous connections: 5
Reasons to buy
+Packed with features+Great security + useful kill switch+Unblocks US Netflix
Reasons to avoid
-WireGuard speeds not class-leading

Not traditionally known as a top-tier Netflix VPN, Private Internet Access (PIA) has upped its game since our last round of reviews. Now, it's very reliable for accessing US Netflix, and while that's the only library on offer, it's all that most people will need.

PIA's WireGuard speeds aren't quite as blazing as the competition, but averaging out at around 400Mbps is hardly slow – and we're jealous of you if your home connection is faster than that!

With access to BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and more, PIA is also well rounded and provides excellent privacy features alongside streaming support. Plus, it's a serious bargain, so if you're on a budget it's well worth a look. 

Sign up now on the PIA website

Best Netflix VPN FAQs

How do we test Netflix VPN services?

To ensure we're giving you up-to-date information on these Netflix VPN providers, we regularly test them in a variety of locations. This is our process:

First, we fire up the VPN to be tested, and connect to the automatically selected server in our country of choice – this best reflects what the majority of users will be doing.

We then head over to Netflix and attempt to watch content that's exclusive to the country we're testing. We do this both in private browsing/Incognito mode and on a regular browser, note any differences, and repeat a number of times to check for any discrepancies.

We then note down the results, and update any relevant guides and articles if necessary.

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.

Many services can, but you should check the full review of any provider before purchase, just to make sure that it can do everything that you expect from it.

  • If you want to protect your mobile, here's the best Android VPN
  • Need to access sites in China? See the best China VPN that works
  • Stay safe from within your browser with the top Chrome VPN extension

Mo is eCommerce Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees privacy and security content, and his product guides help his readers find the best software and products for their needs. When he's not testing VPNs, you'll find him working on his classic car or plugged into a guitar amp.

  • MigthyNoob
    I am outside of the US and Express VPN has not work in the pass 6 months for Netflix US, reported at least 5 times and they where unable to fix it
    Reply