The ability to watch any TV show or movie, the second I want to?
Take my money!
But Netflix didn’t want our money, did they? Oh no, Netflix is off limits for anyone who doesn’t reside in the land of the free.
Well, that was true until early 2016 when Netflix became available in over 130 countries!
What amazing news, right? Heck no. The library Netflix offers to people outside of the US is pitiful.
Check out the graphic on the right to see what you’ll be missing with a Netflix subscription outside of the US.
Some countries are even more screwed than that!
Thailand has access to less than 6% of the US library. If you happen to be Albanian you’re practically throwing money out of your window, with only 3% of the US content available to you.
Now that’s pretty unfair in my opinion.
Is my money not as good as that in the US? We all pay the same prices after all so is it too much to expect the same product?
I just want to sit down after a long day and enjoy some Parks and Recreations.
Fortunately for us all there is a way to access 100% of Netflix’ TV & Movie library and it will take you less than 5 minutes to do it!
Thanks to VPNs we can all enjoy the same, full array of entertainment that we’re paying for. All you have to do is hit that “connect” button on your VPN client, refresh the page and you’re ON!
No more restrictions and no more blocked content. Instead every TV show or movie you’d ever want. Right at your fingertips.
Are you ready to learn how thousands of people unblock Netflix content and have been doing for years?
Let’s dive right in.
How a VPN can unblock Netflix
The primary way Netflix finds out whether you reside outside the US is by tracking your IP address.
Every device connected to the Internet has an IP assigned to it. Since the main purpose of an IP is to pinpoint the device’s location it’s an easy, quick and accurate method to find out where you hail from.
But it’s also a method that’s easily circumvented.
If Netflix uses your IP address to find out your location, all you have to do is change your IP address. So, to unlock Netflix, all that’s required is for you to trick their system into believing that you’re situated inside the US.
How? Acquire a US IP address of course!
By masking your true IP address and adopting one situated inside the United States, in the eyes of Netflix, you’re just another American customer.
This is exactly what a VPN does!
Check out our in-depth guide on how exactly a VPN masks your IP address.
Important VPN Factors for Netflix
- Streaming Quality
- Server Availability
After hundreds of hours of VPN testing and as we continue to pit VPNs against each other day in and day out, we’ve adopted a certain set of judging factors we deem most important. The main criteria remain largely unchanged – Safety, Speed, Usability & Customer Support.
However, as each and every scenario is different, we may ascribe different weight to them and introduce new ones where applicable. For example, in our Best VPN for Torrenting article, safety is obviously going to be #1! We don’t want any ISP snooping around our business!
With Netflix, we can relax a little bit on that front, as they really don’t have the time to go after VPN users.
In this testing our obvious main ranking criteria, in addition to our original ones, were streaming quality & server availability.
The higher the stream quality, ergo the connection speed & stability, and the more Netflix unblocking servers a VPN service could provide, the higher they were placed in our ranking!
Make sure you check out our biggest comparison study yet, where we crowned the best overall VPN provider.
As usual, we started our search for the best Netflix VPN from a pool of the 15 most popular providers. We then narrowed them down according to the factors mentioned above and ranked them by their performance.
Before we present you with our results, here’s a deeper look into our criteria.
Streaming Quality (Connection Speed)
Streaming quality is the single most important factor when it came to choosing the best VPN provider. A crisp picture was what we were after.
The better the quality, the higher we ranked the VPN provider.
The driving force behind an HD, or as Netflix calls it – Ultra HD, experience is the connection speed to Netflix. It’s that simple. The faster your Internet connection, the better picture quality you can expect.
Check out the following Internet connection speed recommendations that Netflix have published. Take the Ultra HD one with a grain of salt – we discovered a 10Mbps connection to be plenty.
We were both surprised and elated to see that our top contender not only met the 25Mbps requirement but went above and beyond!
All download speeds were tested via Netflix’ own speed test over at Fast.com. All speed tests were done from Europe with a connection rated at up to 50mbps.
AKA the biggest surprise of this test: the number of VPNs & servers that managed to circumvent the Netflix restrictions.
We were surprised to find out that the vast majority of VPN providers were unable to bypass Netflix and unlock their content.
In early 2016, David Fullager, the Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture at Netflix, announced that Netflix would move to appease Hollywood by ramping up their proxy & VPN detection efforts.
In other words, Netflix tried to protect themselves and avoid litigation by Hollywood. This is nothing new, and Netflix has always publicly been against VPN usage, all the while letting users connect via VPNs as much as they want.
While their stance towards VPN users hasn’t changed (zero bans in the history of Netflix), they have indeed been able to block a huge amount of VPN servers from circumventing their IP restrictions.
In fact, out of the 17 VPNs we tested, only 7 were able to unlock all content. Big players such as Private Internet Access were absolute zeros. We tested over 20 of their servers without success. Very disappointing from such a household name.
Other big name VPN providers which were unable to unblock Netflix were: IPVanish, NordVPN, HotspotShield, SaferVPN, TunnelBear, HideMe,VPNarea & others.
Further, looking at those VPNs which did manage to unlock Netflix, we were again surprised that not all of their US servers were tricking Netflix. Again, the majority didn’t.
Fortunately for you and me, some of our favorite VPNs did indeed manage to unblock Netflix.
And one of them just blew our minds. Ready to find out which provider it was?
Top 5 Netflix VPNs (+ Reviews)
According to our tests with a 50Mbps raw connection
|VPN Service||Streaming Quality||Download Speed
||Working Servers||Cost||Rating + Usability|
||Ultra HD||37 Mbps||10||$8.32/mo||★★★★★+|
||Ultra HD||20 Mbps||3||$5.00/mo||★★★★★|
||Ultra HD||13 Mbps||Multiple||$5.83/mo||★★★★|
||Ultra HD||12 Mbps||Multiple||$4.99/mo||★★★★|
1. ExpressVPN – Best VPN for Netflix
Well, ExpressVPN, here’s one more!
In addition to being a powerhouse in terms of security & safety, with an iron-clad NO Logging Policy, they have also been ranked #1 in usability. Their super simple connection client is unequivocally the simplest and fastest VPN client we have seen.
Their 24/7/365 customer support echoes ExpressVPN’s commitment to perfection. They were quick to hand us over a list of US servers that support Netflix.
But neither of these three things is why we ranked this provider as #1.
No. ExpressVPN earns the pole position by offering the single fastest VPN speeds to a US server we have experienced to date. Despite having a good 5,000 miles of ocean between our test system and their VPN server, we had an unprecedented 37MBps peak download speed to the Netflix servers.
With our raw connection being rated at 50MBps, this is an efficiency of 74%! What an amazing achievement for such distance!
ExpressVPN is bar none the best VPN for Netflix unblocking. Amazing speeds, super stable, easy to use, fast to connect, sporting amazing support, zero logging policy and a money back guarantee. Need I go on?
ExpressVPN has also been named as the best VPN service by PCMag, TechRadar, and hundreds of other tech publications worldwide.
If that doesn’t convince you to try their server, backed by a 30-day money back guarantee, nothing will!
You may be familiar with VyprVPN already, as we love to tout their service as much as we can.
Similar to ExpressVPN, VyprVPN is a leading VPN provider. Their zero logging policy, AMAZING connection speeds and abundance of server, more than 700 servers in 70 locations around the world, has put them high in our VPN graces.
Their round the clock chat support is a huge plus too.
When it comes to the US, we tested all 8 of their servers to see what sort of speeds you can expect. And boy were we blown away. While, by now, we almost expect excellence from ExpressVPN, VyprVPN was never this high in our ranking before.
From Europe to US and to Netflix – 20Mbps download speeds. Plenty for a seamless UltraHD stream. Not only were their servers lightning fast, the stream quality was stable and never dipped below Ultra HD.
Guess it pays when you’re one of the few VPN services that hosts its own servers, eh?
They’re also one of the few VPN companies to offer a completely FREE 3-day trial. What more can you want? Go on, test their service and watch as muchNetflix for 3 days as you can and decide for yourself.
A round of applause for StrongVPN as it debuts in one of our Top 5 rankings!
Hailing from the idyllic Lake Tahoe, StrongVPN is a VPN provider that offers you a choice of 448 servers located in 24 countries.
Out of those 50 or so US servers, only the 9 situated in New York were able to unblock Netflix successfully for us.
As for connection speed, StrongVPN tested at 13Mbps, almost 3 times as slow as ExpressVPN. As we pulled up Netflix and started streaming, we fully expected HD quality but were surprised that, after a short while, Netflix switched over to Ultra HD.
We reconnected, retested and opened up several other streams to confirm. There it was -Ultra HD every time! As we were soon to find out, speeds over 10Mbps were almost guaranteed to achieve Ultra HD streams.
Yet StrongVPN isn’t without drawbacks.
When it came to usability, StrongVPN disappointed us. Their connection client is the manifestation of “bad design”. While it may take 3-4 clicks to choose a server & connect to it with ExpressVPN, it will take twice as long with StrongVPN.
The lack of a live chat is also a drawback. That’s something we consider vital for VPN newbies with pressing questions or issues. Lastly, their 5-day money back guarantee is the shortest we’ve seen in the industry. At least they have one, which we do appreciate.
TorGuard, which has nothing to do with the TOR project and everything to do with torrenting, is a VPN service that offers a staggering 1600+ servers in over 55 countries.
While we love it when VPN providers boast about their infrastructure, TorGuard was able to offer us only one single server which managed to unblock Netflix for us. Granted, we didn’t go through all the US servers as we really value our sanity.
The server which did work for us, worked surprisingly well. It tested at 12MBps which turned out to be enough for a continuous Ultra HD stream!
We’re confident there are more servers that work with Netflix as well, you’ll just have to test.
And that’s our problem – testing servers. While we don’t mind spending our time testing servers for you, we know that connecting to a server, refreshing Netflix to test if it managed to unblock it and disconnecting 20 times until you find a working one, isn’t how you want to spend your free time.
Last but not least we have Buffered.
Buffered is one of our favorite VPN providers, coming in at #6 in our overall best VPN ranking.
They have many things going for them. An ron-clad security feature, NO logging policy and awesome support and a no questions asked 30-day money back guarantee.
While we expected Buffer to be among the top 3 VPNs for Netflix, we were bummed out to achieve very slow speeds with their US servers.
Yes, all three servers worked perfectly. But both connecting to them and our experience afterwards was less than ideal. Connecting was a hassle and failed several times and the speeds were just plain unimpressive.
While we did achieve an HD stream, we couldn’t even test the speeds with Fast.com. According to Speedtest.net, we achieved a 5Mbps download rate.
Because of these slow speeds we simply can’t rank Buffered higher than this.
Why does Netflix restrict content?
Netflix is not your enemy!
In fact they’re doing everything in their power to offer you as much content as possible.
The reason why Netflix content differs between countries is simple. Film studios are hell-bent on squeezing every dollar out of you. If they deem that a certain country has a high demand for a certain title, they’ll increase the price that Netflix has to pay accordingly.
Say you want to watch Park and Recreations. This show has big international ratings – though not nearly as big as Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. Since the US market can always watch re-runs on TV, while international viewers can’t – demand will always be higher overseas.
Film studios know this and will charge much higher prices for the streaming rights. Netflix is ready to pay such prices, if the movie or TV show is considered exceptional, as is the case with Game of Thrones & Breaking Bad. But everything else is less likely to get picked up.
As you can see, it’s not Netflix that’s the money-hungry culprit. In fact, in 2016, Netflix’ profit margin was around 2%!
That means, with your $9.99 subscription, Netflix will make less than $0.20 from you!
This is also the reason why Netflix has been rather lax when it comes to people using VPN service to access their full library. While they may officially state they are against it, they’ve been known to close their eyes whenever possible.
But how do they restrict their content in the first place and how does a VPN unblock it?
Is unblocking Netflix Illegal?
It should come as no surprise that tampering with Netflix’ content restriction options is against their Terms of Service Agreement (TOS).
However, there’s zero evidence of account terminations due to the use of a proxy or VPN. Netflix has never banned an account due to accessing content that it’s not supposed to.
But what about the legalities?
You’ll have to read up on your jurisdiction’s applicable copyright laws. The most accurate answer we can give you is this:
Thousands of Netflix users do it and there hasn’t been one account banned because of it. If you don’t believe us, give Netflix a call and ask them pointblank.
As for Hollywood suing you? Well, not only do they not have access to your personal information (thanks privacy laws!), they couldn’t care less about you.
If anyone is liable, it’s Netflix themselves. And despite public announcements to battle VPNs, the company has always been extremely lax with users using VPNs.
No worries here!
That’s the number of times I’ve watched, from beginning to end, my favorite TV show – Lost.
Thanks to Netflix (and VPNs) I have been able to indulge my TV & movie addiction for years.
In fact, if I had to pay the standard $25 per season of every show I’ve watched on Netflix, I’d be paying off my debt into retirement.
With ExpressVPN being so easy to use and their connection seamless, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try it out for yourself. It’s magical to be able to click the connect button, refresh the page, and be greeted with an array of new content – right at your fingertips.
If you’re not ready to take advantage of ExpressVPN’s 30-day money back guarantee, try VyprVPN instead – for free.
Their 3-day free trial should offer you plenty of time to test their servers & convince yourself.
With Netflix being so liberal and understanding, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pull the trigger!
Have fun with your new Netflix experience!