The Best Netflix VPN Of February 2023: How To Watch Netflix With A VPN
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- Access 5200 Servers in 55 Countries
- Connect Up to 6 Devices at Once
- No Web Activity Logs
Netflix & VPNs: A History
In early 2016, millions of Netflix users signed in to their account and were greeted by a message they had never seen before. A now-infamous error message which read: “Whoops, something went wrong…Streaming Error”.
The reason for this message? They were using a VPN.
Without a single forewarning to their paying subscribers, Netflix attempted to prevent anyone connected to a VPN service from accessing their library. To this day, the streaming powerhouse continues to seek out and block IP addresses they believe to be associated with VPN servers.
So why did Netflix decide to ban VPNs? And are there any legal methods to find a VPN that works with Netflix?
In this guide, we’ll discuss the answers to both of those questions and explain everything you need to know about how to watch Netflix with VPN.
Why Netflix Subscribers Want To Use A VPN?
Before we dive too deep, it helps to know a bit about why a VPN is such a helpful tool when it comes to streaming media. In fact, watching shows and movies on Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, etc. is one of the most common use cases for a VPN.
A primary benefit of watching Netflix with a VPN is of course the added layer of privacy it provides. A VPN encrypts data sent across the Internet, making it impossible for anyone to see who you are, where you are, or what you’re doing online. And given that the vast majority of streaming sites house sensitive billing information, it’s always smart to secure your data from hackers and prying eyes.
That being said, there’s no ignoring the gorilla in the room when it comes to Netflix VPNs and streaming. The simple truth is that using a Netflix VPN can increase the amount of shows and movies you have access to by a huge amount.
How so? Well, one of the neater features of a Netflix VPN is that it can alter your digital location to nearly anywhere in the world. So, for example, if you’re in Europe but want to watch Japan Netflix, a Netflix VPN can make it appear as if you’re connected to the Internet from Tokyo.
Want to sign up for a Hulu account but don’t live in the US? A VPN can fix that as well.
When used correctly, a Netflix VPN can effectively give you access to any streaming content in the world. A normal Netflix subscription only allows you to watch shows and movies available in your region.
So why does Netflix have an issue with this practice? Aren’t VPN users paying for their subscription all the same?
Why Does Netflix Ban VPNs?
In short, Netflix bans VPN connections because they don’t have the rights to air certain content in many countries. So when a subscriber uses a Netflix VPN to watch a show that isn’t typically available in their region, Netflix is in violation of their copyright agreement. Even though the user is the one with a VPN, it’s the streaming company’s responsibility to ensure media is watched strictly in areas that it’s licensed for.
As a result, Netflix has enacted measures to prevent paying subscribers from using a VPN with their service. Even if the Netflix VPN is being used solely as a form of Internet security.
So why doesn’t Netflix have rights to air their shows and movies universally? Namely, because they can’t afford to. Media distributors also don’t want to make those deals, because it isn’t in their best interest.
Instead, Netflix acquires content through a practice known as territorial content licensing.
What Is Territorial Licensing?
In media, territorial licensing is when a distributor sells the rights to their content to a streaming service in country or region-based chunks, rather than charging one flat fee for a universal license. The rights holder can raise or lower the price of their content based on dozens of factors including population, the number of current subscribers, and the number of potential customers that may sign up over the next (X) years.
For instance, Netflix boasted around 56 million subscribers in the US in May 2019, while the UK only had about 7.5 million. As you can imagine, purchasing a license to make content available for 56 million people would be a lot more expensive than for 7.5 million. Purchasing a universal, or global, license would cost even more.
A good example of territorial licensing is the NBC show Community. While five seasons of the show have been on UK Netflix for years, the only place you can find Community in the US is on Hulu, Netflix’s biggest competitor in the region. Why hasn’t Netflix been able to obtain rights to a popular sitcom in the country it was filmed?
That would be because NBC, who owns the rights to Community, has a majority stake in Hulu. So it made competitive sense to stream the show exclusively on that platform in the US. NBC then chose to charge Netflix for the rights to air Community in the UK, since Hulu is not available in that country.
Territorial licensing has been such a hindrance to Netflix achieving their goal of globalized content that they’ve invested billions ($8 billion in 2019 alone – compare that to HBO’s $7.8 billion) in producing their own ‘Netflix Originals’ shows and movies. If Netflix owns the media from front to back, then they can feature it in every one of their 200 markets, avoiding licensing agreements entirely.
What Does Netflix Say About The VPN Ban?
The company has publicly stated many different reasons for the Netflix VPN ban, including that the loss of VPN users was “inconsequential” to their bottom line. Unsurprisingly, dismissing the wants of paying customers didn’t bode well with privacy enthusiasts. An uproar ensued, leading to the creation of a 40,000-strong petition calling on Netflix to reverse its decision on VPNs.
During an earnings call in 2016, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings addressed the issue:
“The VPN thing is a small little asterisk compared to piracy. Piracy is really the problem around the world,” Hastings noted. “The basic solution is for Netflix to get global and have its content be the same all around the world so there’s no incentive to [use a VPN]. Then we can work on the more important part, which is piracy. The key thing about piracy is that some fraction of it is because [users] couldn’t get the content. That part we can fix. Some part of piracy however is because they just don’t want to pay. That’s a harder part. As an industry, we need to fix global content.”
Furthermore, the official Netflix Twitter account claimed that the streaming giant was moving quickly towards embracing globalized content.
Unfortunately, years have passed and territorial licensing remains a large part of Netflix’s content strategy. Apart from an increase in Netflix Originals, there has been no further mention of globalized content.
It appears that subscribers can expect for their libraries to continue to be determined by the country they’re located in.
How Does Netflix Ban VPNs?
Now that we understand why Netflix decided to ban VPNs, let’s discuss how they actually do it. While the exact process remains an industry secret, the primary method the company utilizes is IP blacklisting, which involves mass banning IP addresses Netflix believes to be associated with VPN servers.
Once an IP or block of IPs is detected as being used by multiple users rather than a single household, Netflix’s server infrastructure automatically bans that IP address from its service.
Can VPNs Avoid The Netflix Ban?
Well, not all of them can. Buying new IP addresses is expensive, so for now only the largest VPN providers are able to stay ahead of Netflix’s aggressive tactics. As soon as it’s been detected that a group of IP addresses has been blacklisted (often through reports submitted by subscriber base), they’ll simply buy more and distribute the new IPs among their servers.
This cat-and-mouse game has proven successful for the VPN providers that can afford to play, but it’s left hundreds of smaller VPNs without the resources to give their users access to streaming services.
On a bright note, there are presently no signs that Netflix is in development of more advanced systems (like deep packet inspection) to predict whether traffic is coming from a Netflix VPN-based IP address. so for the time being as long as you’re using a Netflix VPN from one of the providers listed below you should be able to stream freely as much as your heart desires!
Which VPNs Does The Netflix Ban Block?
As of writing, the VPN providers blocked by Netflix’s ban include:
- Private Internet Access
- Opera VPN
- Hide My IP
- Celo VPN
- Ra4w VPN
- Avast Secureline VPN
- Anonymous VPN
- Kaspersky Secure Connection
- F-Secure Freedome
- Hoxx VPN
How To Find A VPN That Works With Netflix?
We’ve already made this part easy for you by testing over 1,000 VPNs and finding the best for Netflix, which you can find at the top of this page. However, if you’d like to do some research on your own, here are a few tips on finding a great VPN that will work with Netflix.
Large VPNs Can Afford To Stay Ahead Of Netflix
As we discussed earlier, the most popular Netflix VPNs — those with hundreds of thousands or even millions of users — can afford to purchase new IP addresses at a rate faster than Netflix can ban them.
There are other benefits of using a large, established VPN, too. They often have expansive server networks with thousands of connection points all over the world, work across multiple devices, and feature the most user friendly apps and websites.
While providers in this tier may cost a few dollars more per month, they’re still very affordable and their reliable, feature rich VPNs make the extra expenditure more than worth it.
Very Small VPNs May Not Be On Netflix’s Radar
On the other end of the spectrum, particularly small or newly formed VPNs may still work with Netflix simply because they haven’t been recognized yet. These providers are able to get through the ban for the exact opposite reason as their larger counterparts — their user numbers are so small that Netflix never detects an issue.
However, we don’t recommend this approach for a number of reasons. The quality of these services often pales in comparison to the best Netflix VPNs, they rarely house servers in locations around the world, and there’s no telling just how long the network will be able to fly under the radar.
That’s not saying you won’t find a diamond in the rough that fits your needs perfectly, but typically large, established Netflix VPNs offer a much higher level of service.
Make Your Own VPN
This is the only surefire way to guarantee that your Netfllix VPN will never be detected by Netflix, but it comes with a pretty significant limitation — only one server location to access the VPN from. That means you won’t be able to access Netflix libraries from around the world, which is the main reason a lot of people want to use a Netflix VPN in the first place. You’ll also need to install the VPN on your router if you want to use it on your mobile devices, and even then you’ll only be protected in your home.
However, making your own Netflix VPN isn’t terribly difficult or expensive, and there are some great DIY resources to help guide you through the process. It won’t grant you any additional content, but from a pure privacy standpoint making your own Netflix VPN is the most affordable and surefire way to watch Netflix.
How To Compare The Best VPNs For Netflix
Now that we’ve covered everything there is to know about the relationship between Netflix and VPNs, it’s time to choose the VPN provider that’s best for you and your needs.
It’s important to remember that not all VPNs that work with Netflix are created alike, and that you should always compare features, read reviews, and do a free trial if possible before paying anything.
To help your research, here’s a list of what we’ve determined to be the most important features when it comes to watching Netflix with a Netflix VPN.
Speed is easily the most important factor when determining whether a VPN will be good for streaming Netflix content. No one likes to be stuck watching a buffering wheel when they’re trying to enjoy a show or movie.
According to Netflix, these are the speeds required to stream their content:
- 0.5 Megabits per second – Required broadband connection speed
- 1.5 Megabits per second – Recommended broadband connection speed
- 3.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for SD quality
- 5.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for HD quality
- 25 Megabits per second – Recommended for Ultra HD quality
Any provider you choose should have a minimum speed of 5 Mbps, but the faster the better.
Live Customer Support
Whether it’s through a chat box or phone operator, it’s important that you have some way you can contact support 24/7. You don’t want to be left waiting if your Netflix VPN goes down or you’re experiencing issues connecting to Netflix. If you ever find yourself getting the Netflix proxy error, you should let your Netflix VPN provider know immediately.
This accomplishes two things:
- Gives your provider up-to-the-minute information that their IP addresses are being targeted by Netflix
- Allows them the opportunity to provide you with access to a server with new IP addresses
Fast and responsive customer service should be a cornerstone of any VPN, and the absence of an available support staff is an immediate red flag.
The Number Of Server Locations
Simply put, the more server locations a VPN has, the more Netflix libraries you’ll have access to. The actual number of servers a VPN has is not the be-all end-all, but you will want to make sure their network is spread across the globe.
Other Factors To Consider
Be Careful Of Bogus Claims
The ability to watch Netflix is a sought after VPN feature. As a result, unscrupulous companies have been caught falsely advertising the ability to circumnavigate Netflix’s VPN ban. Be sure to conduct due diligence to ensure every claim a VPN makes is legitimate and, if possible, always sign up for a free trial before spending any money.
Does The VPN Unblock Other Streaming Services?
After the Netflix VPN ban went into effect, other major streaming providers soon followed suit. YouTube, Hulu, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, and Showtime all attempt to prevent VPN users from accessing their services.
However, the same technique used to circumvent the Netflix VPN ban can also be used to access other streaming services. Unfortunately, access to each service often differs case by case
If there is a specific streaming service you want to watch, check the FAQ page of the provider you’re considering or contact their support staff to see if you’ll be able to access it with a VPN.
Is There A Free Trial Or Money Back Guarantee?
It’s always important to look for providers that offer a free trial or money-back guarantee. This way you can make sure the VPN fits your needs and achieves everything it advertised sufficiently.
You never want to get stuck with a product that you aren’t satisfied with!
How To Watch Netflix With A VPN
On Your PC
Using a VPN is almost deceptively simple, and our recommended providers have apps for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
To sign up, visit the website of your preferred VPN provider and purchase a subscription or start a free trial. You’ll then be directed to download and install the provider’s app in a one-click process.
Once installed, open the app, choose the server you’d like to connect to, and activate the VPN. You’re now ready to watch Netflix with an additional layer of security and access to thousands of more shows and movies.
On Your Phone And Other Devices
If you, like millions of others, also watch Netflix on your phone, tablet, smart TV, gaming consoles, etc., you’ll also want a VPN enabled across those devices. In many cases, you’ll follow almost the same steps as you would on PC — download the VPN app, sign up for a subscription, choose a server, and activate the VPN.
Depending on your device, however, it may be difficult to find an app for your preferred VPN provider. Many of the top providers are in the Google Play and iTunes App Stores, but when it comes to native apps for gaming consoles and smart TVs, the pickings can be slim.
Another issue is that a single VPN subscription rarely covers more than five devices. Even for small families, that can be a bit restrictive considering the amount of Internet-enabled devices we use today.
Luckily, there’s a fairly easy solution to enabling a VPN across every device in your home. And you probably already have all the necessary equipment.
Install A VPN On Your Router
Installing a VPN on a router requires some technical ability and we definitely recommend seeking help and following a guide closely if you attempt it. Despite that, it’s still the best way to watch Netflix with a VPN on every device in your home.
Once activated on your router, the VPN will be active on every device connected to your home network. Better yet, your provider will only count the VPN as being installed on one device, even though it’s protecting several.
If you don’t want to go through a custom installation process and are willing to spend a bit more, some providers do sell their own pre-configured routers. This can also be a good option if your router is dated or in need of replacement.
Take Your Stand — Sign The Petition
Take your stand against the Netflix VPN Ban and sign the My Netflix, My Privacy petition from our friends at OpenMedia, a community-driven organization that works to keep the Internet open, affordable, and surveillance-free. More than 50,000 signatures have already been collected!
A Word About Copyright
To be clear, VPN.com does not endorse violating Netflix’s Terms of Service or infringement of copyright laws. As a private company, Netflix has every right to protect their content as they see fit, including the practice of banning VPNs outright.
That said, we believe that paying customers have rights, too. These include the right to ensure your digital privacy and the right to watch the content you pay for no matter where you are in the world.
VPN.com believes fully in the rights of the digital consumer, and we will always stand up for what we believe in. We are pro-privacy and pro-content access for every Internet user in the world.
Thank you for being a safe, responsible member of the Internet community.