When it comes to streaming content, Netflix stands out with its expansive content library available worldwide.
However, you may have noticed that Netflix in your country doesn’t have the same amount of content as other countries. For example, the US has the most titles on Netflix with 5,879 (4,035 movies and 1,844 TV series) while Georgia has the least titles of any country in the world: 2,116 (1,388 movies and 728 TV series.
This can be frustrating, especially if you’re in a country where Netflix has a limited amount of content. The reason this is happening is because of regional restrictions that limit access to specific shows and movies.
To get around this you may have considered a Virtual Private Network (VPN). But before you pull the plug and purchase any old VPN, it’s important to answer the question, does Netflix work with a VPN?
This article will explore the dynamics between Netflix and VPNs, so you know exactly what to expect when watching Netflix with a VPN.
Does Netflix work with a VPN?
The primary purpose of using a VPN, is to mask your internet location and encrypt your internet traffic, providing you with privacy and security. In the context of streaming, many users turn to VPNs to bypass geographical content restrictions set by services like Netflix.
But does Netflix work with a VPN? The short answer is both yes and no. Many VPNs can indeed access Netflix, allowing users to watch content from different regions than their own.
However, there’s a catch. Netflix is aware of this practice and isn’t particularly fond of it, mainly because of licensing agreements with content producers which dictate where certain content can and cannot be shown. To maintain these agreements, Netflix employs robust detection measures to identify and block VPN traffic. This means that while one VPN might work with Netflix today, it could be detected and blocked tomorrow. Some high-quality VPNs consistently find workarounds to these blocks, but many others face frequent disruptions in service.
So, while it’s possible to use Netflix with a VPN, the experience isn’t always smooth. It often depends on the VPN service you’re using and its ability to evade Netflix’s detection measures.
Which VPNs work with Netflix?
Certain VPNs are known to work effectively with Netflix, consistently bypassing its geo-restriction measures.
These VPNs invest heavily in regularly updating their server IP addresses and using advanced techniques to disguise VPN traffic, ensuring it blends with regular internet traffic.
Their success lies in a combination of factors: maintaining fast, dedicated servers for streaming, implementing cutting-edge technology to stay ahead of Netflix’s detection algorithms, and providing responsive customer support that can guide users to the right servers or offer quick solutions when access issues arise. In essence, their adaptability and commitment to ensuring seamless streaming differentiate them from others in the market.
We’ve tested a number of VPNs with Netflix and have created a list of the best VPNs for Netflix. You can a snapshot of that below:
Our Pick 🥇
- Best-in-class performance
- Super-fast dedicated servers worldwide
- Specialised Lightway protocol
Highly Recommended 🥈
- Incredibly reliable servers
- Proprietary NordLynx protocol
- Available on most devices
Private Internet Access
- Install on an unlimited amount of devices
- Independently audited no-logs policy
- A bundle of features for an affordable price
- One of the most affordable VPNs
- Advanced features like port forwarding
- Option for a personal dedicated IP address
- Reliable NoSpy servers
- Servers in over 90 countries worldwide
- Kill Switch and Split Tunneling support
What are the benefits of using a VPN with Netflix?
There are many benefits to using a VPN with Netflix:
Enhanced Content Access: One of the primary reasons people use VPNs with Netflix is to bypass geographical content restrictions. Netflix’s library varies from one country to another due to licensing agreements. With a VPN, users can virtually position themselves in a different country, thereby accessing a different content library.
Privacy and Security: Using a VPN encrypts your internet traffic, which not only hides what you’re watching but also shields you from potential surveillance and cyber threats. While streaming on Netflix is a legitimate activity, many internet users prefer keeping their viewing habits private. A VPN ensures that ISPs, marketers, or potential hackers cannot easily monitor your online activities.
Potential Quality Improvement: Some users experience throttling from their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) during peak streaming times or because they’ve exceeded certain data limits. By using a VPN, the streaming data gets encrypted, making it harder for ISPs to identify and throttle Netflix traffic. This can lead to more consistent streaming quality, free from buffering issues associated with throttling.
What are the cons of using a VPN with Netflix?
First and foremost, there’s the issue of speed and performance. VPNs route your traffic through servers that can sometimes be located in distant countries. This added routing can cause a slight decrease in streaming speed, leading to buffering, lower resolution playback, or occasional disconnections. Especially during peak times, some VPN servers can become congested, exacerbating these problems.
Secondly, Netflix’s continuous efforts to block VPN traffic can be a major hurdle. The company employs sophisticated measures to detect and prevent VPN access due to regional content licensing agreements. If detected, a user might encounter the infamous proxy error message, which denies access until the VPN is disabled. This means that even if you’ve invested in a VPN service, there’s no guaranteed, consistent access to your desired content.
Lastly, there’s a potential risk to user accounts. While Netflix primarily focuses on blocking VPN access rather than penalising individual users, there’s always a minimal risk associated with violating terms of service. Some users might be concerned about account suspensions, though such actions from Netflix have been rare in relation to VPN usage.
Is using a VPN with Netflix legal?
In most countries, using a VPN is legal. There are only a handful of countries (spot the authoritarianism link) where using a VPN is illegal; these are: China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, North Korea, Iraq, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Eritrea, Seychelles, Suriname, Namibia, Slovenia, Nicaragua and Tajikistan.
This means, Netflix can stop your subscription and ban you from the streaming service if you try to access its content with a VPN turned on.
However, given the wide-spread use of VPNs, plus the many legitimate and legal use cases for VPNs, it’s fair to suggest that banning customers for using a VPN would be a heavy-handed and financially costly policy for Netflix (and other streaming services) to enforce.
If you’re trying to watch Netflix in a region where it does not traditionally operate or you’re trying to change the location of the Netflix library, you risk having your account banned. In theory. However, as the best VPNs for Netflix use military-grade encryption it is impossible for Netflix to trace where you’re physically accessing its content from.
There’s one final thing to note on the subject: Netflix has never banned anyone for using a VPN to access its service.
For more information you can check out our article answering Is streaming with a VPN legal?