NordVPN is easy to use, but its ownership is a mystery, and there are faster, cheaper services available.
Windscribe is a strong player in the VPN space, with a range of affordable plans, plus a free tier. Those who step up to one of the paid plans are rewarded with access to a much larger choice of servers, with additional features such as Windflix to facilitate Netflix streaming.
Netflix may be available to watch in almost every country around the world, but it doesn't show the same thing in every country. To see everything, you'll need a VPN service such as ExpressVPN, Nord or Windscribe.
Doctor Who and Star Trek: Discovery are regular Netflix fare in much of the world, but not in the United States or Canada. The U.S. version of The Office is on U.S. and Canadian Netflix but not the Netflix service in many other countries. Japanese Netflix has lots of anime you won't find elsewhere; Netflix in the United Kingdom has classic British cop shows like Prime Suspect.
If you feel like you're missing out on all that delicious Netflix content that you can't get in your home country, you might want to try using a VPN on your computer to make Netflix think you're somewhere else. Your regular Netflix account will still work, and you won't be charged extra. (It's a lot more work to get a VPN to work on a set-top box, in case you were wondering.)
The only problem is there are lots of VPNs to pick from. That's why we've tested them, narrowed it down to the best and placed them below with positives and negatives so you can find the perfect Netflix-friendly VPN for you. While ExpressVPN has taken the top spot there are other options out there with the best ones explained below.
There are a couple of caveats here. First of all, using a VPN or other kind of proxy service to access Netflix in other countries may violate Netflix's terms of service (the actual language is kind of vague).
If so, then Netflix would be within its rights to terminate your account. Using a VPN for this purpose may also be illegal in certain jurisdictions, and it's not something we can endorse or condone.
Second, Netflix tries to identify and block VPN and proxy servers, with mixed results. 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. This may seem harsh, but if you can recall the devastating legal settlements that ordinary file-sharers had to pay record companies in the early 2000s, you might appreciate this approach. You'd probably rather be blocked than sued.
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," the post reads. "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."
Our Top 5 Netflix VPN Picks
The best all-rounder for speed, unblocking and security – ideal for Netflix
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Netflix. In fact it's the best VPN for most purposes thanks to its superb speeds, excellent 24/7 customer service support and wide compatibility across devices. That means you can enjoy Netflix on the likes of Mac, Windows, iOS, Android or even Linux and BlackBerry as well as many smart TVs. Currently Netflix is supported by ExpressVPN in the UK, US and Canada.
Customer support is excellent and available 24 hours a day, meaning you can login and ask someone for help directly. For example, you may want to know which is your best server bet for Netflix at high speed, and get an answer right away.
MORE: Best VPN Services and Apps
One really useful feature is ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer DNS, which unblocks Netflix on devices that don’t support VPNs – including the likes of Apple TV, consoles and a whole host of smart TVs.
The only negative we found was a limit of up to three devices using the service at once. Although even that is probably enough for most people's needs since some Netflix subscription plans limit the number of shared accounts used at one time anyway.
Another nice addition to this service is a 30-day money back guarantee. So you can basically try this for free for 30 days and if you don't like it you can cancel without having spent a dime.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Security and speed made for Netflix
NordVPN is one of the very best VPN solutions for security and speed thanks to its 2048-bit encryption, over 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, strong DNS leak protection, two kill switches and excellent connection speeds. All that equates to a fast and secure Netflix connection – ideal if you want to watch content outside of your location without Netflix finding out.
Also you get SmartPlay which helps you get around geo restrictions, making it ideal for Netflix abroad or for getting access to UK shows, for example, that US residents might otherwise miss out on.
A lack of instant customer service may be an issue for some but a general 12-hour reply to emails wasn't too bad. With lots of payment options available there should be something for everyone here.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Another great option for streaming Netflix
One of Windscribe's top features is a very generous free service that gives you up to 10GB per month making it a great way to try a VPN with your Netflix subscription. Of course if you want 4K regularly you'll probably use that data up and need to pay for the full version. This also lets you connect as many devices at once as you like which is ideal for multiple Netflix viewings across gadgets. Most other VPN services permit only five at a time. There's even a handy "Windflix" location setup made for the ultimate Netflix experience.
MORE: Best TV Shows on Netflix
Windscribe's network performance was once about average in our tests, but a recent switch in VPN protocols put it on par with some of the market’s best in head-to-head tests. Windscribe is compatible with many platforms – including routers and Amazon Fire and Kodi TV set-top boxes which are all Netflix capable. It was also one of the best at connecting to Netflix UK and also works with the US version.
You can pay for a Windscribe subscription with bitcoin, and you don't even have to provide an email address making it ideal for the security focused.
Read our full Windscribe review.
Tons of features, but uneven performance.
CyberGhost is a great way of using Netflix both in the UK, the US and further abroad thanks to 3,100 servers in about 60 countries worldwide. You don't need to provide your real name, just a working email address, and you can pay in Bitcoin to remain nearly anonymous.
You can handily select from among VPN protocols and set up a home Wi-Fi router to use CyberGhost all the time. That means you can access Netflix on different devices without needing to setup the VPN on each one.
CyberGhost is transparent about its company structure, posting photos and bios on its website of everyone from the CEO to the cleaning lady, and privacy fanatics will like that the company is based in Romania rather than the US. But CyberGhost's full-service subscription price is among the most expensive month-on-month, making it better to pay for a year at a time.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Impressive support and speeds
A fantastic VPN that, in fact, claims to be the world's best VPN, which of course makes it Netflix friendly. That means over 1,100 servers across over 60 countries, 24/7 customer service and a whopping ten simultaneous connections available at any time. Yes, you can watch all the Netflix on all the devices all at once.
Netflix need not be limited to a certain device type either. You can use those ten IPVanish connections on lots of devices including Mac, Windows, Android and iOS. The desktop apps offer plenty of options while simplicity is there for everyone that just wants this for Netflix. This all works at high speed making it perfect for the 4K, UHD and HDR quality video that Netflix is famous for.
Generally everything worked well and that 24/7 live chat support wasn't needed during our testing, but it's nice to know it's there if you want to enquire about a faster Netflix server where you are.
Read our full IPVanish review.