A virtual private network (VPN) gives you more options when accessing streaming websites like Netflix.
For example, if you’re in the US, you’ll only see content in Netflix’s US library. The reason for regional variation in content is copyright laws. If Netflix has rights to a certain movie or TV show only in the US, you won’t find it in Netflix UK. This content is geoblocked, i.e., only accessible in specific regions.
Netflix checks a user’s IP address to determine their physical location. Then, the streaming service understands which content library a user should have access to.
That’s where a VPN comes in. A VPN that works with Netflix can help you hide your real IP address and assign you a different IP address that might belong to a different country.
When you access Netflix using another country’s IP address, Netflix will think you’re physically in that region and allow you to access its content library.
For example, when you connect to a VPN server in the UK, the server will access Netflix on your behalf and transmit the content it receives from Netflix. That’s how VPNs help you access another country’s Netflix library.
All VPNs can assign you another country’s IP address, but not all VPNs can get past Netflix’s geo-restrictions, and many VPNs do more harm than good. You should look for specific features and characteristics so you can be confident about your choice.
For example, you want a VPN that can bypass geoblocks effectively. The only way to find out which ones can do so is to try them. So, you’ll want to choose a VPN that has been properly tested.
You should also select a fast VPN. Slow VPNs can result in frustrating buffering. While all VPNs cause a reduction in speed, the best ones minimize this reduction.
RELATED: How to Use a VPN for Netflix
Split tunneling is another desirable feature that allows you to use a VPN for specific apps by creating two tunnels. Traffic in one tunnel goes through the VPN server, while the other goes through your regular internet connection.
For example, if you want to access Netflix Japan, you can use the encrypted VPN connection in your browser. On the other hand, you can continue other activities you don’t need a VPN for using your unencrypted internet connection. All VPNs in this list offer split tunneling.
Some services also offer specific features to improve the streaming experience such as streaming-optimized servers or technologies that impact streaming performance (for example, MediaStreamer on ExpressVPN).
Here are the most reliable, secure, and best-performing VPNs for Netflix.
Best Netflix VPN Overall: ExpressVPN
- ✓ Fast speeds
- ✓ Has MediaStreamer
- ✓ Excellent security
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Netflix (and also the best VPN overall). It checks all the boxes—it’s fast, secure, and bypasses Netflix’s geo-restrictions without a hitch. With a server network spread across 94 countries, ExpressVPN helps you access your favorite content libraries no matter where you are.
You get unlimited bandwidth and five simultaneous connections with ExpressVPN. This means up to five members can simultaneously stream virtually any Netflix content library, and everyone will get the same, buffer-free streaming experience.
VPNs can slow down your internet speed because your data will need more time to travel through an intermediary server, especially if the server is located far away. However, the speed reduction is minimal when you use ExpressVPN.
Moreover, ExpressVPN has a feature called MediaStreamer to tackle speed issues. MediaStreamer helps you spoof your location, allowing you to access another country’s Netflix library, without the performance drag that comes with encrypting your connection. The connection may be less secure, but you’ll get faster speeds.
The biggest downside is that ExpressVPN is the most expensive VPN on the market. Its performance justifies the cost, but if you’re on a budget, you might want to consider other services on this list.
Fastest VPN for Netflix: NordVPN
- ✓ Budget-friendly
- ✓ Uses SmartPlay Technology
- ✓ Excellent torrenting speeds
NordVPN‘s feature set and performance are almost as good as ExpressVPN’s. NordVPN even beats ExpressVPN in terms of connection speeds as per my latest speed tests. If you like streaming content in 4K, but don’t want to invest in a more expensive service, consider getting NordVPN (it costs half as much as ExpressVPN).
By default, NordVPN uses what it calls “SmartPlay Technology.” It combines the VPN’s feature set with smart DNS to optimize your streaming connection speed.
NordVPN also offers a massive server network of over 5,000 servers across 59 countries. You’ll almost always find servers for accessing Netflix content libraries worldwide.
Also, torrenting is one of the service’s strong suits. If you plan on downloading content that’s not on Netflix via torrents, NordVPN’s P2P servers will enable you to download everything at an excellent speed.
NordVPN doesn’t offer phone support. While you can reach out to support via live chat or email, these options may not be best if you’re not tech-savvy. That said, NordVPN is a reliable service with a solid app, so you’re less likely to run into problems in the first place.
Best Low-Cost VPN for Netflix: Surfshark
- ✓ Unlimited simultaneous connections
- ✓ Low-cost VPN
- ✓ Bypasses Netflix geo-restrictions
- ✗ Many servers don’t support torrenting
- ✗ Slightly slower than our top picks
If the overall cost of a VPN matters to you, consider Surfshark. The service offers a broad feature set for a wallet-friendly price of $2.49 per month on its best-value, two-year plan.
The best part about Surfshark is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections. You can share VPN access with friends and family, and everyone will be able to use the VPN at the same time. The feature helps you minimize the cost when many people you know are interested in using a VPN.
Though not as fast as NordVPN or ExpressVPN, Surfshark is still fast enough to deliver a buffer-free experience. Our tests show a loss of only about 10% when using Surfshark compared to unprotected speeds.
Surfshark offers unlimited bandwidth, but it has a much higher latency that consistently remained over 100ms in our US tests, which puts it below NordVPN and ExpressVPN on the list. Also, many Surfshark servers don’t support torrenting.
The service also offers features such as NoBorders which helps you access blocked content in censorship-heavy countries like China. Surfshark also has multi-hop servers, which route your traffic through two servers instead of one, adding another layer of security to your connection.
Most User-Friendly VPN for Netflix: CyberGhost
- ✓ User-friendly app
- ✓ VPN automation features
- ✓ 45-day money-back guarantee
For example, most VPNs offer a connect button and a list of servers on the home screen. CyberGhost goes a step further by categorizing its server list by purpose so you can find the most optimal server for streaming, torrenting, or gaming, among other things.
You can also view the distance between your physical location and the server, allowing you to select the closest server for improved performance.
Interestingly, CyberGhost also offers automation features called “smart rules.” For example, you can set a rule where every time you launch CyberGhost, it automatically connects to a UK-based server, allowing you to skip an extra step before you start streaming.
The only downside? CyberGhost tends to be a little slower than comparable services. You might experience occasional buffering, but you should still be able to stream using Netflix.
Best Free VPN for Netflix: Windscribe
- ✓ Generous free plan
- ✓ Excellent speed and security
- ✓ Flexible pricing option
- ✗ Short, three-day money-back guarantee
Windscribe is popular for its generous free plan. Fortunately, the free plan also cuts through Netflix’s geo-restrictions just fine. As a free user, you get 10GB of free data per month and access to servers in 10 countries.
The 10GB offered through the free plan may or may not be enough depending on how much Netflix content you want to stream and the quality you want to stream in. If 10GB sounds too low, Windscribe offers a flexible build-a-plan option (with a minimum $3 per month checkout value) which allows you to buy server locations for $1 per month. You can also get unlimited data for an extra $1 per month.
Don’t want to build a plan? Windscribe also offers ready-to-use paid plans. However, they are a little more expensive. If you’re open to paying for a VPN service, consider one of the other options on our list.
If you plan on giving Windscribe’s paid features a try, the money-back guarantee window is only good for three days. That’s much shorter than other services, so you might want to try the free version first and then the paid features.
Besides the data cap and limited server locations, the free version of Windscribe works perfectly for streaming. Even as a free user, you get top-notch connection speeds and excellent security.