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How to watch Netflix using ExpressVPN

How to watch Netflix using ExpressVPN
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Despite the ever-increasing streaming competition, more users than ever are seeking out a Netflix VPN to both secure their viewing and access geo-blocked content.

The biggest issue with Netflix is that fact users in the US, for example, can't watch the same content as those in the UK, Canada, or Japan. That means if you've gone abroad, you won't have the same selection as you would at home. However, if you use one of the best VPN services like ExpressVPN with Netflix, you can change your location and access shows and movies that are blocked wherever you are.

Plus, using ExpressVPN with Netflix can also secure your viewing – you'll no longer have your Internet provider knowing about your six-hour Glee marathons or throttling your connection when it deems you're streaming too much.

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How ExpressVPN works with Netflix

First up, it's worth mentioning that there are plenty of other VPNs that work great with Netflix. Other good options are NordVPN and Surfshark, but here we're going to be discussing ExpressVPN's Netflix abilities because, frankly, it's the best service we've tested.

When you connect to Netflix using any VPN, you create a secure tunnel between your device and the webserver. An ISP can still see your connection and your IP address, but they can’t see what you are watching. In fact, no one can – not an advertiser, or a hacker, or an employer. You're safe and clear to watch whatever you want on Netflix without any overlord seeing your media preferences.

The most interesting part of using ExpressVPN when watching Netflix, however, is the fact you can change your location and access shows and movies that are exclusive to a certain part of the world.

This means you can, for example, access UK-exclusive shows when you're in the US. All you need to do is connect to a UK VPN server and refresh Netflix – it really is that simple.

Fortunately, setting up ExpressVPN is remarkably easy even if you use a tablet or smartphone, connect on a laptop, or use a smart television or game console. We’ll start with the basics of how to sign up for the app and start using a VPN, and then how to access Netflix.

How to get started

To install ExpressVPN on a computer, the fastest method is to go to the ExpressVPN website and look for the Get Started link. We won’t walk through every step that’s involved here, but suffice it to say the process is extremely easy. Once you download the client, you'll choose a country as the location you want to use and click connect. After that, you can use Netflix normally. There are no other settings to configure. 

The same goes for using ExpressVPN as an Android VPN or iPhone VPN. Head over to the site, sign up, and then download the app from the relevant app store. Once it's installed all you need to do is sign in with your details, and open up the Netflix app to start watching.

Installing ExpressVPN's router VPN app requires some configuration for your router’s make and model, but once you do that, the VPN will protect your game consoles and smart television.

Watching Netflix with ExpressVPN

To find out what shows are available on certain regional libraries of Netflix, a useful tool is Flixwatch. On that site you can check which shows and movies are exclusive to different regions.

Once you've found a show to watch – or if you're abroad and your favorites aren't available – all you need to do is connect to a server in a country that will allow you access. For some inspiration, take a look at the best US only Netflix shows.

Then, once you're connected, all you need to do is open up Netflix and search for the title you want to watch. ExpressVPN is super reliable in just about every location, so you should have no problems watching whatever it is that you want.

Things to know about Netflix and a VPN

While all of this is straightforward and easy, there are a few important caveats to mention. One important thing to note is that a VPN protects and secures your connection, but it does add about 10-15% of extra usage to your internet connection.

If you're using a connection that limits bandwidth, your ISP will know you are consuming more data each month. The good news is that ExpressVPN prevents an ISP from throttling your speed due to this excess usage.

Another important note is that Netflix itself still knows what you are watching. This is because, even with a VPN, you still have to log in to your account, which reveals your identity and allows Netflix to track what you watch. 

There are no clear assurances about how Netflix uses this data, although we do know the company makes suggestions about what to watch based on your previous viewing history.

A final word of caution. There is no clear indication about whether Netflix sells or abuses user data. For the most part, the service is supported by subscriptions and the company has stated they keep it safe (you can read more about that at their privacy page). However, the company has also stated they will work with authorities about users who commit fraud or conduct illegal activity. A VPN does not protect you from that.

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.