David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 15 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. He has published his articles on such online media as Hackernoon, Tripwire, Infosecinstitute, and Cybrary.
- Best VPN for Netflix 2019
Best VPN for Netflix 2019
Netflix is the most popular streaming service, and it offers thousands of titles to users in 190 countries. However, the content you get on Netflix is usually tailored for the specific country you are in, something that prevents subscribers from accessing lots of Netflix content. A VPN can easily help you bypass these restrictions, and we’ll show you how to do that with the best VPN for Netflix.
From there, you’ll be able to expand your Netflix catalog within just a few seconds. All you’ll need to do is select a server in the country whose library you want. Netflix US is the biggest, and it’s 2 times bigger than Netflix UK which is the third largest catalog after Canada.
Unfortunately, most VPNs don’t work with Netflix as they have been banned, but we’ll show you the top 5 VPNs for Netflix in 2019.
Netflix VPN Ban
Back in 2016, Netflix banned VPNs from streaming on their network. This was due to pressure from content distributors as they were not happy with the fact that Netflix users could access geo-restricted content just by using a VPN. Since then, the streaming service maintains a system for blocking IP addresses belonging to VPNs.
The introduction of IP-based blocking rendered most VPNs unusable for streaming on Netflix. If you try streaming with a blocked IP address, you’ll only get the famous Netflix proxy error.
However, there are still some VPNs that have managed to stay ahead of the game for years. These VPNs regularly update the IP addresses of their servers, something that makes it difficult for Netflix blocking.
The Best VPN for Netflix
As regular Netflix users, we have thoroughly tested most of the top VPNs to find out the best VPN for Netflix. Selecting our top 5 VPNs wasn't easy, but we based our analysis on the most important aspects for streaming on Netflix and using a VPN in general. Apart from the VPN being able to unblock Netflix, here are the other factors that we considered:
- Working servers in various countries
- Good streaming speeds
- Solid privacy & security
- Highly compatible and user-friendly
- Money-back guarantee/ Free VPN Trial
Below is our list of the best VPNs for Netflix.
ExpressVPN – Overall best VPN for Netflix
ExpressVPN is currently the best VPN for Netflix as it always works with the streaming service, offers huge Netflix regional availability, and has the best streaming speeds.
The VPN is registered in the British Virgin Islands and it does not keep any connection or activity logs. Its security is also excellent as it uses AES 256-bit encryption, and it compliments it with features such as an automatic kill switch, DNS and IPv6 protection, multiple protocols, and split tunneling.
ExpressVPN can be installed in very many devices, and the apps are all user-friendly. You can also configure the VPN on devices that do not support VPN installation. This is thanks to the VPN’s Smart DNS service which can be used to stream Netflix US on devices such as LG/ Samsung Smart TVs, and even gaming consoles. This smart DNS service is called media streamer and the ExpressVPN website has detailed guides for setting it up.
You can also configure your VPN at the router level since ExpressVPN has a dedicated router applet with advanced features such as split tunneling and even inbuilt media streamer.
After configuring Netflix on any of your devices, you’ll be able to stream Netflix regions such as:
- United States
- The Netherlands
- South Korea
- India, and others
Due to Netflix blocking, not all the servers will work with the streaming service. You can always contact the ExpressVPN’s live chat support team for information on the optimized servers.
The VPN comes with a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee which should let you test the VPN sufficiently.
- Excellent client apps
- 3,000+ servers in 160 locations and 94 countries
- Supports many Netflix regions
- Zero logs & solid security
- 24/7 live chat support
- Includes Smart DNS services
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Only 3 simultaneous connections
NordVPN – Best VPN for Netflix US
NordVPN is another great VPN for Netflix, and especially if you want to watch Netflix US. The VPN is registered in Panama, a country that doesn’t have any invasive data retention laws.
NordVPN has a Smart Play feature that stands out when it comes to streaming on Netflix. This feature combines the best features of the VPN with Smart DNS technologies within the app. All happens in a seamless way where you don’t have to set up the feature or even know that it exists.
Due to Smart Play, all NordVPN servers work with Netflix. The provided regions are:
- United States
- United Kingdom
To connect to any of the above regions, just choose any server in the specific country. If you choose a server outside these countries, you will be redirected to the US Netflix. This makes connections to Netflix US easier and faster since you can connect to a server near you.
Apart from that, there’s also a Smart DNS option that lets you watch Netflix and other streaming services that do not support the installation of VPN apps. This service is super easy to set up on your streaming device, and NordVPN provides the guide for doing so.
Additional features that you’ll get with NordVPN include Kill Switch, double VPN, Onion over VPN, CyberSec, Anti-DDoS, and DNS & IP Leak protection. A single subscription allows up to 6 simultaneous connections, and you will be eligible for a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Keeps absolutely zero logs
- Has the biggest number of servers
- Up to 6 simultaneous connections
- Offers Smart DNS services
- 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Variable speeds with some servers
CyberGhost – Cheapest long-term subscription
CyberGhost is one of the biggest names in the VPN world, and despite being bought by a Germany-based firm, it still operates under the laws of Romania, it's country of registration. The VPN, therefore, manages to keep zero logs of your connection and usage activities.
One feature that makes CyberGhost one of the best Netflix VPNs is its dedicated streaming mode. This mode, which is found in all its apps, contains servers in different countries which are optimized for various streaming services.
These servers are labeled to make it easy to unblock a certain catalog. For example, if you want to stream Netflix US, you’ll see a US server written: “optimized for Netflix.” Available Netflix servers currently include:
- United States
The VPN states that “Netflix US is guaranteed with our streaming-friendly US servers. Localized versions of Netflix currently available are France and Germany, other countries are not guaranteed right now but may be added at a later time.”
During our tests, all the Netflix servers worked. We also managed to unblock Netflix UK with the VPN, but this is not guaranteed.
CyberGhost can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Their apps are all user-friendly, and they contain features like a kill switch, DNS & IPv6 protection, ad blocker, and malware blocker. A single account supports up to 6 simultaneous connections and is eligible for a 45-day money-back guarantee.
- 1-day free premium trial
- Keeps absolutely zero logs
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Dedicated streaming mode
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Allows payments via bitcoin
- Live chat support is not available 24/7
IPVanish – Superfast VPN for Netflix US
IPVanish is known for being one of the few VPNs that own and operate their whole server network. The VPN is based in the US, a region with invasive privacy laws, but it still manages to keep zero connection and usage logs.
Though IPVanish doesn’t promise Netflix catalogs for many countries, the VPN has always worked with Netflix US. Normally, there are usually about 4 or 5 IPVanish servers that are not blocked by Netflix. You can always clarify the working servers with the VPN’s live chat support team. During our tests, Chicago, Ashburn, Dallas, and Las Vegas servers all worked.
IPVanish is also one of the fastest VPNs in the market, and so you’ll be able to stream HD content without buffering. You can also use the VPN to unblock other streaming services such as Hulu, Spotify, Amazon Prime, etc.
IPVanish can be installed on Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Linux, and Fire TV devices. The VPN allows you to connect up to 10 devices simultaneously, and you will have a 7-day money-back guarantee window in case it doesn’t do the trick for you.
- Keeps zero logs
- Excellent speeds
- Own their network
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Super apps
- Kill switch
- 7-day money-back guarantee
- Based in the US
- No bitcoin payment option
VyprVPN – 3-day Free Trial
VyprVPN is registered in Switzerland which is a privacy-friendly country. However, it’s operated by Golden Frog, a US company, and it has been keeping user logs till recently. Gladly, the VPN now promises not to keep any records of your connections or online activities.
VyprVPN allows you to stream the following Netflix catalogs:
- United States
- United Kingdom
It’s important to note that not all servers work with the streaming service. You may need to use a little trial and error with the servers in those countries or contact VyprVPN support team through their live chat system.
VyprVPN will also help you unblock other streaming services, as well as unblock content in highly censored countries. This is thanks to their proprietary obfuscated protocol known as Chameleon. You can test VyprVPN’s efficiency risk-free using their 3-day free trial.
- Based in Switzerland
- Own their server network & infrastructure
- Multiple Protocols
- 200,000+ IP addresses
- 24/7 live chat support
- 3-day free trial
- Relatively costly
- No bitcoin payment option
Top 5 Netflix VPNs: Head to Head Comparison
All the above VPNs work seamlessly with Netflix. However, some are better than others, and we’d like to give you a quick comparison of the five to help with your decision making.
Even though Netflix US has the most titles, it still lacks so many movies and TV shows that are available in other regions. It’s therefore important for a VPN to offer a variety of Netflix regions.
ExpressVPN wins in this category as it provides the most Netflix regions. It currently has Netflix-compatible servers in over 10 countries. NordVPN comes in second with 7 countries. Both CyberGhost and VyprVPN offer 3 countries, while IPVanish only works with Netflix US.
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide excellent privacy. The two VPNs are based in privacy-friendly locations (BVI and Panama), and they do not keep any connection or usage logs. They also have leak protection features that ensure your DNS requests and IPv6 information do not leak while on the internet.
CyberGhost is also based in a friendly location (Romania), does not keep any logs, and does not leak any data. However, the VPN has come under scrutiny recently, especially after it was purchased by Kape Technologies (formerly known as Crossrider Plc). The Germany-based Israeli firm was initially known for distributing adware, but they have since broken away from the ad-tech world and ventured into cybersecurity.
IPVanish comes in fifth for the fact that it’s based in the US. This is the home of NSA and other surveillance agencies, and so IPVanish can be easily manipulated. However, they promise their users that they “do not keep a record of any connection, traffic, or activity data” in regards to their services.
All the Netflix VPNs listed here offer top-notch security. Here’s a summary description of each.
ExpressVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption, which is the recommended encryption standard. It combines this with an RSA-4096 handshake and SHA-512 HMAC hash authentication for data security.
Further, the VPN offers perfect forward secrecy, a shared key that refreshes after every 60 seconds. This is implemented through the Elliptic Curve Diffie–Hellman (ECDH) key exchange.
There are also multiple protocols on the desktop and router apps. You can choose among any of the protocols below:
- OpenVPN UDP and OpenVPN TCP;
OpenVPN (UDP) is the recommended protocol due to its great balance of security and speeds.
NordVPN offers one of the most advanced security standards in the market. The VPN uses OpenVPN AES encryption with 256-bit keys which is combined with a 2048-bit DH key. They also have a state-of-the-art version of the Internet Key Exchange (IKEv2) protocol which is unbreakable even by supercomputers. OpenVPN is used in Windows and Android while IKEv2 is used in Mac OS and iOS devices.
Apart from that, NordVPN goes ahead and offers double-hop technology. This technology allows you to connect to two VPN servers in a chain instead of one. The result is that your traffic is encrypted twice instead of once, and therefore security and privacy is doubled. You can also use Onion over VPN for maximum privacy and security. This will however lead to poor speeds.
CyberGhost also offers military-grade security standards just like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. The VPN uses 256-bit AES encryption with a 2048-bit RSA key. Authentication is done using the secure HMAC SHA-2, which is the standard recommended by the OSTIF OpenVPN Audit. Perfect Forward Secrecy is implemented through the Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange (DHE).
The VPN offers three protocols to choose from:
Apart from that, CyberGhost also has other protection features such as an ad, malware, and tracking blocker. There’s also data compression for mobile traffic and forced end-to-end encryption. All these features are server-based, and so you won’t even need to configure them.
VyprVPN is also a very secure and reliable VPN. It uses AES 256-CBC for data encryption and this is combined with an HMAC SHA1 hash authentication and an RSA-2048 handshake. Though HMAC SHA1 can still be upgraded to HMAC SHA2, these are already very secure security standards.
VyprVPN lets you choose between the following protocols:
- L2TIP/ IPSec;
The VPN also has a proprietary protocol called Chameleon. This protocol is primarily meant to help users who want to overcome government censorship as it contains obfuscation features. There’s also an option of NAT Firewall to prevent unfamiliar inbound traffic.
IPVanish uses AES 256-bit encryption with an RSA 2048-bit key authentication. This is combined with HMAC SHA1 for data authentication and HMAX SHA-256 for control authorization. Generally, this can be termed as solid security that you need not worry about.
IPVanish uses several protocols, and these protocols vary depending on the device.
- Windows- OpenVPN 256-bit, OpenVPN Scramble, PPTP
- macOS- OpenVPN 256-bit, IPSec, L2TP
- iOS- IKEv2, IPSec
- Android/ Fire TV- OpenVPN UDP/ TCP
- Router- OpenVPN, PPTP
- Linux- OpenVPN, PPTP
- Chromebook- L2TP (128 bit), IPSec
The variety of protocols allows you to tweak between security and speeds depending on the task that you want to accomplish.
The number of servers and locations provided by a VPN are very important. Many servers ensure great speeds and stability, and many server locations let you access content from any region of the world. Here’s a quick analysis of the number of servers and server locations offered by our top 5 VPNs for Netflix.
- Though NordVPN has the most servers in the market, ExpressVPN gets the edge due to its excellent distribution of servers. The VPN has 3,000+ servers spread across 160 VPN locations in 94 countries. The performance and speeds provided by ExpressVPN servers is simply top-grade.
- NordVPN comes in second due to its huge server network that consists of 5,600+ servers. These servers are however not as distributed as those of ExpressVPN, and they are only found in about 70 locations in 59 countries.
- CyberGhost also has an impressive server network that consists of 3,800+ servers situated in 82 locations in 58 countries. In the VPN apps, these servers are grouped into ‘’All servers’’, ‘‘For torrenting’’, and “For streaming” categories.
- IPVanish stands out for the fact that it completely owns and operates its entire server network. This network consists of 1,300+ servers in 75 locations in 60 countries. Considering that they own these servers, this is still an impressive server list.
- VyprVPN has the least number of servers out of the top 5 Netflix VPNs. However, just like IPVanish, the company owns and operate all its servers. The server list consists of 700+ servers in 50 countries, sharing 200,000 IP addresses.
All the above VPNs support installation on Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Linux. The Android apps can all be side-loaded into the Amazon Firestick, but IPVanish already has an app in the Amazon Store.
When it comes to router installation, ExpressVPN leads the pack with an easy to use and fully-featured router applet. The applet lets you use features such as split-tunneling which is very useful, and it even has a Smart DNS (media streamer) option.
VyprVPN also has a router app that is just as easy to use although it can’t match the features of ExpressVPN. The other VPNs don’t have dedicated router apps, but you can still configure the VPNs manually on a compatible router.
ExpressVPN’s support can be described as simply impeccable. The VPN provides detailed guides for every service they offer and all compatible devices. Apart from that, they also have a 24/7 live chat support team that responds within a few seconds. Their email support is equally impressive, and you can get technical assistance in less than 2 hours.
NordVPN’s customer support service is just as good as that of ExpressVPN. They have detailed troubleshooting and how-to guides as well as an elaborate FAQ section. Their live chat support team also operates 24/7, and their technical assistance team shouldn’t take long to reply to your questions either.
CyberGhost excels in the written support section. Their guides address each of the services they offer, and you can easily solve your issues without contacting the support team. However, their live chat team is not available 24/7, contrary to what they state on their website. Whenever online, you can always talk to an agent within just a few seconds.
IPVanish also has comprehensive installation and troubleshooting guides. They top this up with a ticket/ email support system, a live chat, and phone support. The phone support agents only work Monday to Friday from 9 am – 5 pm CT (UTC -6), but the email and live chat agents work around the clock.
VyprVPN has fairly sufficient written guides that help users install and troubleshooting VPN apps. They also have live chat support, but it’s not available around the clock. Further, their support team is part of the entire Golden Frog company and so it’s not dedicated to the VPN only.
Generally, the pricing of a VPN depends on the quality of service offered. However, this is not always the case. If the price is an important factor in making a decision, here’s a quick breakdown. Since the VPNs have different subscription periods, we first considered the monthly subscription period.
- IPVanish has the cheapest monthly subscription which costs $10 per month. The longest subscription renews after a year, and it costs $6.49 a month.
- NordVPN comes in second with a monthly cost of $11.95. Their 1-year plan costs $6.99 a month, but there’s also a 2-year and 3-year plan that cuts the monthly cost further.
- ExpressVPN costs $12.95 a month. They have a one-year subscription that includes an extra 3 months and goes for $6.67 a month.
- VyprVPN goes for $12.95 a month. Their yearly plan costs $6.67 a month.
- CyberGhost has the most expensive monthly subscription which costs $12.99 per month. However, they also have the cheapest long term subscription. Their 1-year plan goes for $5.99 a month, and their 3-year subscription costs just $2.75 a month.
Head to Head Comparison Winner: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN tops in almost all the categories of comparison, some with a huge margin. Though it doesn’t have a subscription longer than a year, it’s still the VPN that offers the best value for your money due to its excellent and all-round performance.
Why Netflix has Geo-restrictions
Although Netflix is available in almost every country, each of these countries has a different Netflix library. The reason behind all this is licensing agreements with content producers.
Though the streaming giant has continually been stepping up the production of original content, the majority of the titles they have is still controlled by other distributors. This means that the distributors have a say as to what content gets shown where.
This happens because Netflix isn’t the only player in the TV shows and movies business. If a network has the rights to a particular TV show in the UK, Netflix will most likely not have the show on Netflix UK. The agreements between the content distributor and the company rarely allow them to license the content twice in the same country.
To implement these restrictions, Netflix checks your country each time you connect and then offers you the library tailored for your country.
How Netflix Blocks VPNs
When content distributors noticed that people were using VPNs to bypass geo-restrictions, they pressured Netflix to ban the use of VPNs on their network. These kind of bans had already been initiated by companies like Hulu and HBO, although the former didn’t have much success in 2014.
Netflix finally succumbed to the pressure in 2016 and released a statement saying that VPNs won’t be permitted on the network. To implement this ban, Netflix keeps a huge database of blacklisted IP addresses belonging to VPNs.
The streaming service gets this data from companies like MaxMind which provide IP intelligence and online fraud prevention tools. The company also scrutinizes the IP addresses that are frequently used for access by many people.
When you connect to the service, your IP is first checked for the region to present you with the right Netflix library. When you select a service to stream, the servers then check your IP address against the database of blacklisted IP addresses through IP filtering. If your IP address is blacklisted, access is denied, and you are shown the Netflix proxy error.
Can I unblock Netflix using a smart DNS proxy?
Smart DNS services are used to re-route traffic for certain domain names to a different server. A DNS request generally involves requesting for the IP address of a particular domain. If a Smart DNS detects that you are searching for “Netflix.com” it sends your traffic through an American Netflix server, thereby giving you access to Netflix US.
Smart DNS like UnoDNS, OverPlay, Smart DNS, etc. were a popular alternative when Netflix started blocking VPNs in 2016. They would provide access to Netflix US without even lowering speeds like VPNs do.
However, a subsequent crackdown also blocked Smart DNS services. Since then, Smart DNS services haven’t been reliable in unblocking Netflix US. They are significant with many malfunctions, and you can’t even access a different library like Netflix Canada.
And though there are some Smart DNS services that can stream on Netflix, the most reliable one is Media Streamer, which is a product of ExpressVPN. This Smart DNS service rarely has downtimes, and you can use it to stream on devices that don’t support VPN installation like some Smart TVs and gaming consoles.
How to solve the Netflix Proxy Error
After changing your virtual location and searching for the title you want to watch, there’s nothing more annoying than getting the Netflix proxy error.
This error means that the IP address you have received is blocked by Netflix, and even if you refresh your app or browser, you still won’t get access. There are two ways of dealing with this:
Use a good Netflix VPN
Some VPNs simply can’t keep up with the cat and mouse game played by Netflix and VPN services. If you have one that doesn’t actively refresh its IP address ranges, we recommend that you turn to one of the best VPNs for Netflix listed above.
Note that you will get the error more often when you try connecting to countries outside the US as they may have few or no Netflix-optimized servers. Sometimes you may need to connect to these countries because even though the US has the most comprehensive library, there are still many TV shows and movies that are not available there.
For example, most Marvels films and other popular titles like The Big Bang Theory are not available on Netflix US. You can however watch them in India, Germany, and Canada among other countries. For this, you will need a VPN like ExpressVPN that provides Netflix in many countries.
If you have one of the VPNs in this list and you are still getting the error, it’s important to understand that not all servers work with Netflix. A VPN optimizes a few servers for this task, and so you may need to get this information from live chat support agents. All the VPNs listed above offer live chat support.
Alternatively, you can use the good old trial and error method.
Can I use a VPN to watch Netflix in China?
China is famous for its huge censorship standards which are implemented through the Great Firewall of China (GFW). The GFW is a government-enforced internet filter that is meant to prevent outside influence in the country.
The firewall filters very many sites and even the most popular websites like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Netflix are not available in the country.
The Chinese government bans services like Netflix in order to promote local companies, and this restricts Chinese residents and expats from streaming the great titles available on Netflix.
Worse of all, the GFW uses deep packet inspection (dpi), a form of technology used to detect and block VPN traffic. Most VPNs therefore can’t bypass the censorship in place to offer Netflix in China.
For a VPN to work in China, it needs to have frequently updated obfuscation features. Such a feature disguises OpenVPN traffic to make it appear like regular https traffic and therefore fooling the GFW.
If you want to continue watching your favorite shows or movies in China, you can check out our best VPN for China guide.
Free vs. Premium VPNs for Netflix
Free VPNs provide users with an option to gain some of the advantages of using a VPN without having to spend. But can you use these services to beat the geo-restrictions implemented by Netflix?
Unfortunately, these VPNs don’t work with Netflix. Since Netflix keeps on updating its blacklist database, VPNs are usually blocked after a short time. Since free VPNs do not have the resources to keep refreshing their IP addresses, it’s hard to find one that works. And even if you do, you can be sure it won’t work for long.
Apart from that, these VPNs have lots of other weaknesses too.
Slow speeds & Bandwidth limits
Free VPNs normally have many users and limited servers. This congestion leads to slow speeds and buffering. The VPNs also have speed limits which are put in place to regulate the use of resources and also to entice users to move to the paid tiers of the VPN.
You will also find daily or monthly data transfer limits with almost all free VPNs, and so you won’t be able to stream for long with such.
Poor Privacy & Security
One of the best reasons for using a VPN is the privacy and security provided by the service. A good VPN will encrypt your traffic using standard encryption policies and not log any of your activities or connection logs.
Unfortunately, you can’t easily get such a promise from a VPN that lets you use its service free of charge. These VPNs still need to earn in some way, and so others even end up selling your data to third-parties.
How do I set up a VPN for Netflix?
If you haven’t used a VPN before, it can sound like it’s hard to get started. However, that’s not the case and you can unblock Netflix easily within a few minutes. Here’s how you can do that:
- The first important step is to choose the best VPN for Netflix. We have given you a list of the top 5 VPNs for Netflix, and so this shouldn’t be hard for you. If you are not sure which one to go for, we suggest ExpressVPN as it’s all-round and easy to use. Visit the official site by clicking here.
- Now, choose a subscription plan and create an account.
- You can then download the VPN app for your device.
- Install it just like any other app and sign in with your credentials. If you are using a PC, you’ll need to get your ExpressVPN activation code from the dashboard.
- All you need to do now is connect a server that is optimized for Netflix. ExpressVPN provides live chat support and you can always get the list of Netflix servers through the support agents. From there, you can stream on Netflix without restrictions!
This procedure also works for all other VPNs in this list.
Best VPN for Netflix – Wrap up
Finding a VPN that will let you circumvent Netflix restrictions reliably can be a daunting task. However, with the above guide, it should be easy since we have reviewed the top 5 VPNs for Netflix. We have thoroughly tested all the VPNs in the list, and you won’t go wrong with any of them. Apart from streaming, you’ll also stay private and secure, beat ISP throttling, and overcome government censorships in countries like UAE and China.
If you are not sure which VPN to choose, we suggest that you go for the all-round and risk-free ExpressVPN.
We hope this guide was helpful!