Netflix buffering with VPN

Are you watching Netflix with a VPN and are coming across lag, slowdowns or the dreaded buffering circle? There could be something wrong with the VPN you’re using.

Don’t panic though, there’s a number of ways you can fix this issue.

In this article we’ll explain how to fix Netflix buffering with VPN so you can get back to watching all your favourite Netflix content without interruptions.

Netflix buffering with VPN: Fixes

Before you attempt any of these fixes, the very first thing you should do is make sure it isn’t your internet speed that’s causing issues with Netflix.

Netflix recommends a range of different internet speeds depending on the quality of the content you’re trying to watch: High definition (HD), 720p, 3 Mbps or higher, Full high definition (FHD), 1080p, 5 Mbps or higher, Ultra high definition (UHD), 4K, 15 Mbps or higher.

To check your internet speed turn off your VPN and visit Speedtest by Ookla – The Global Broadband Speed Test. This will show you your current internet speed. If it’s below the Netflix’s recommendations, call your internet service provider.

If your internet speed is fine, follow these fixes below:

  1. Change to a different server

    Netflix buffering with VPN

    Switching to a different VPN server can often resolve Netflix buffering issues experienced while using a VPN. This is because some VPN servers may be overcrowded or may have slower connection speeds, which can lead to buffering.

    When you connect to a different server, especially one that is geographically closer to you or less congested, you’re likely to experience a more stable and faster connection.

  2. Change to a different protocol

    Netflix buffering with VPN

    Switching to a different VPN protocol can significantly improve your Netflix streaming experience, especially if you’re encountering buffering issues.

    Different VPN protocols offer varying balances of speed and security. For instance, protocols like OpenVPN might provide robust security but can sometimes be slower, potentially leading to buffering. On the other hand, newer protocols like WireGuard are designed for faster performance and may enhance streaming quality.

  3. Update/Restart your VPN

    Netflix buffering with VPN

    Updating your VPN can be an effective way to fix Netflix buffering issues. This simple action clears the apps memory and can resolve minor glitches that may be affecting the streaming quality.

    Restarting also allows the VPN connection to reset, potentially resolving any IP address conflicts or connectivity issues that might be causing the buffering.

  4. Restart your router

    Netflix buffering with VPN

    Restarting your router can be an effective way to fix Netflix buffering issues when using a VPN. This process, commonly known as “power cycling,” helps by clearing any existing glitches in your router’s memory that might be causing connectivity problems.
    When you restart the router, it re-establishes a fresh connection with your ISP, which can lead to a more stable and faster internet connection.

  5. Upgrade to a faster VPN

    Netflix buffering with VPN

    Upgrading to a faster VPN can significantly enhance your Netflix streaming experience, especially if you’re encountering buffering issues while using a VPN.

    From out tests we’ve found ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Netflix as its renowned for its fast connection speeds, which is crucial for streaming high-quality content without interruptions.

    By providing higher bandwidth and more stable connections, ExpressVPN ensures that the video streams smoothly, reducing the likelihood of buffering.

    Additionally, it has a wide range of servers across different locations, allowing for a better and faster connection regardless of your geographic location. This improvement in speed and stability makes ExpressVPN an excellent choice for an uninterrupted and high-quality Netflix viewing experience.

Why is Netflix buffering when using a VPN?

Netflix buffering when using a VPN can often be attributed to the VPN’s slow connection speeds. Here are some key reasons why this happens:

  1. Bandwidth Throttling: VPNs route your internet traffic through their servers, which can sometimes lead to a reduction in bandwidth. This is especially true if the VPN server is congested or not optimized for high-speed data transfer.
  2. Server Distance: The physical distance between you and the VPN server can significantly impact speed. If the server is located far away, data takes longer to travel back and forth, leading to slower connection speeds and hence, more buffering.
  3. VPN Quality: Not all VPNs are created equal. Some may not have the infrastructure to support high-speed data transfer, which is essential for streaming services like Netflix. Lower quality VPNs might struggle to provide the necessary speed, resulting in longer buffering times.
  4. Encryption Overhead: While encryption is crucial for security, it can also slow down your connection because it adds extra steps in the data transmission process. Higher levels of encryption usually mean slower speeds, which can affect streaming quality.

To mitigate these issues, choosing a VPN known for its fast speeds, like ExpressVPN or NordVPN, is advisable. These services often have optimised server networks and technology geared towards minimizing speed loss, ensuring a smoother streaming experience.

Are all VPNs the same speed?

No, all VPNs are not the same speed, and there are several reasons for this variability. The speed of a VPN depends on the size and distribution of its server network.

VPNs with more servers spread around the world generally offer better speeds, as users are more likely to find a server close to them, reducing latency. Additionally, the server load plays a crucial role; if a VPN server is crowded with users, its speed can drop.

Premium VPNs often manage their server loads more effectively to maintain higher speeds. Other factors, such as the quality of the VPN’s infrastructure, the level of encryption used, and the VPN’s ability to bypass ISP throttling, also significantly impact the speed of a VPN service.

Which VPNs work with Netflix?

ExpressVPNNordVPNPIAIvacyCyberGhost
Netflix
Download Speed79 Mbps71 Mbps27 Mbps31 Mbps41 Mbps
Throttling79%71%27%31%41%
Stream quality⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Price per month$6.66$3.79$2.03$1.00$2.19

The VPN services we recommend for Netflix

1. ExpressVPN 🥇 $6.66/month

The fastest and most reliable streaming VPN

  • Optimized for HD streaming speed
  • Wide network with 160 locations across 94 countries
  • Split tunneling feature to select apps using VPN
  • TrustedServer technology for enhanced security
  • Limited to 5 simultaneous device connections
ExpressVPN review

ExpressVPN stands as a top choice for Netflix due to its exceptional speed and reliability. It offers a vast network of servers across the globe, ensuring users can easily access different Netflix libraries.

The high-speed servers are ideal for streaming HD and 4K content, minimizing buffering. Additionally, ExpressVPN excels in bypassing geo-restrictions, allowing users to unlock a wide range of content on Netflix. Its strong encryption and no-logs policy also ensure user privacy and security.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN $3.19/month

An incredibly fast and trustworthy VPN

  • Extra encryption with Double VPN
  • Over 5,500 servers in 59 countries
  • SmartPlay technology to unblock 400+ geo-restricted streaming services
  • CyberSec feature for ad and malware blocking
  • The interface can be complex for new users
NordVPN Best VPN image

NordVPN follows closely, known for its impressive combination of speed and security. It provides a large number of servers worldwide, which are optimized for streaming, making it easy to access various Netflix regions.

NordVPN’s SmartPlay technology specifically enhances the streaming experience. It also maintains a strict no-logs policy and uses strong encryption, ensuring user data is safe and secure while streaming.

Read our full NordVPN review.

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3. Private Internet Access $2.03/month

An affordable, reliable VPN

  • Strong encryption for secure connections
  • Extensive server network enhancing connectivity
  • Built-in ad and malware blocking
  • Supports up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Can have slower speeds
Best VPN list - PIA

Private Internet Access (PIA) offers a good balance of speed and accessibility for Netflix users. With a substantial server network, PIA provides reliable access to different Netflix libraries.

Though it might not match the speeds of ExpressVPN or NordVPN, it still offers decent performance for streaming. Its strong commitment to privacy, with robust encryption and a no-logs policy, makes it a secure choice for Netflix users.

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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4. Ivacy $1.00/month

A trustworthy and affordable VPN

  • Cost-effective pricing
  • Servers optimized for P2P activities
  • Strict no browsing logs policy
  • Allows up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Smaller server network compared to others
Ivacy Best VPN image

Ivacy is another viable option for Netflix, particularly for those focusing on affordability. It provides decent speeds suitable for streaming and has dedicated servers for unblocking Netflix.

Ivacy is known for its ease of use and offers a range of customizable features. However, its server network and speeds are not as impressive as the top contenders, which may affect streaming quality in some regions.

Read our full Ivacy review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

5. CyberGhost $2.19/month

A solid VPN package

  • Large server network with streaming-optimized servers
  • Strong encryption standards for security
  • Specialized servers for streaming, torrenting, and gaming
  • Generous 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Speed performance can be mixed
CyberGhost Best VPN image

CyberGhost, while a good VPN, ranks lower for Netflix primarily due to its inconsistency in speed and server performance. It does offer dedicated streaming servers and can unblock various Netflix libraries.

CyberGhost also maintains a strong emphasis on privacy and security. However, users might experience variable speeds and some buffering, especially when connecting to servers farther away or during peak hours.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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