Ranking the best VPNs for Netflix of 2018

One of the biggest frustrations when using Netflix is its region-locking system, which prohibits access to various TV shows and movies depending on which country you happen to be in.

In many countries, large sections of the Netflix library are closed off to paying subscribers.

VPNs have become increasingly popular among Netflix users because they allow users to circumvent region locking and access content that they ordinarily wouldn’t be able to in their country. If you’re looking to defeat region-locking and expand the amount of content you can enjoy on Netflix, a VPN is a good investment.

We researched a wide variety of VPNs on the market and present the five best VPNs for Netflix below.

1. NordVPN

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Our testing and research consistently showed that NordVPN is the best all-around VPN for Netflix use due to its fast speed and security-centric approach. While more of a luxury option than the other VPNs on this list, NordVPN’s suite of features and functionality make it worth every penny.

NordVPN boasts some of the fastest bandwidth speeds on the market, with speeds only slightly slower than non-VPN connections, making it ideal for streaming HD and 4K video (1).

When it comes to security, NordVPN boasts a no-logs policy, 2048-bit encryption, kill switch functionality, DNS leak protection, and a large number of servers available worldwide. In addition to this, NordVPN supports Netflix for the U.S., France, Canada, the Netherlands, and Hong Kong.

NordVPN’s primary downside is its high price: it is by far the most expensive VPN on this list. However, NordVPN also offers a three-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you want the best combination of speed and security for your Netflix watching and aren’t too concerned with cost, NordVPN is your best bet, though more budget-conscious users may shy away from it due to pricing.

2. ExpressVPN

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ExpressVPN is a good jack-of-all-trades VPN for Netflix use, boasting a good mix of security features and speed in conjunction with a reasonable price. For those put off by the high price of NordVPN but still in need of a VPN with similar speeds, it’s a good alternative.

Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN has fast speeds that enable smooth HD streaming, as well as support for Netflix in the U.S., Canada, and U.K. and a large number of servers across the globe. Not only that, ExpressVPN boasts the MediaStreamer DNS, which allows you to unblock Netflix on Apple TVs, video game consoles, and other devices that ordinarily don’t support VPNs. They also boast strong mobile support and solid security features, including a no-logs policy and 256-bit encryption.

The biggest downside of ExpressVPN is that it only supports three simultaneous connections, which is considerably lower than most of the other VPNs we tested. However, its pricing is more affordable compared to NordVPN (2).

While ExpressVPN does not have a free trial, it does feature a 30-day money-back guarantee. For users looking for speed and security on a budget, ExpressVPN is a good choice, though if you have a large number of devices, you may find the simultaneous connection limit to be too restrictive.

3. StrongVPN

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Much like NordVPN, StrongVPN is a security-focused VPN, boasting 2048-bit encryption, a wide variety of supported protocols, and a proprietary system called StrongDNS that insulates users from DNS leaks. It also has a no-logs policy, making StrongVPN a good choice for privacy-conscious customers.

StrongVPN’s speeds are some of the fastest we’ve found, and in some tests were actually better than non-VPN connections. In addition to the U.S., StrongVPN also currently boasts support for Netflix in the U.K., Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and France. It doesn’t have as many servers as the other VPNs on this list, however.

StrongVPN’s major Achilles heel is that it only allows two simultaneous connections, which is lower than even ExpressVPN. Additionally, the company does not offer much in the way of pricing plans: just a monthly and yearly plan. However, StrongVPN does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. For security-conscious users on a budget, StrongVPN is a good choice if you need Netflix functionality. Money-concerned users should opt for the yearly plan due to the cost savings.

4. VyprVPN

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VyprVPN is a speed-focused VPN with adequate security and reasonable pricing. It notably boasts a very fast bandwidth speed, making it perfect for HD and 4K streaming. While only officially compatible with Netflix in the U.S., it is possible to use it worldwide, giving it great flexibility and versatility. VyprVPN also allows up to five simultaneous connections per user, making it a good choice for those with a large number of devices.

VyprVPN also offers some good security options, including a kill switch, a NAT firewall, and strong support for different protocols. Unlike the other VPNs on this list, however, VyprVPN does engage in logging, recording users’ connection times and IP addresses (3).

If you are concerned with privacy, this may be a deal-breaker for you.

VyprVPN’s other major problem is that it does not have a money-back guarantee. However, it does offer a three-day trial, allowing you to test out their services and see if they’re right for you. Its pricing is on the low-end of the Netflix VPNs we tested, so VyprVPN is a good choice for money-conscious users who are more concerned with bandwidth speed than security.

5. Hotspot Shield

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Hotspot Shield is a VPN that is distinguished by its free plan and its fast streaming speeds. Bandwidth speeds are comparable to other VPNs listed here, making it perfect for HD and 4K streaming. Indeed, bandwidth speeds were actually slightly faster than non-VPN connections. Hotspot Shield also offers strong privacy protection, with a guarantee that all recorded data is deleted when the user in question disconnects from the VPN.

Hotspot Shield’s biggest downside is its lack of configurability, which may be a deal-breaker for more advanced users. Additionally, at the moment, it only supports Netflix within the U.S., limiting its usefulness for many customers.

Unlike the other VPNs on this list, Hotspot Shield offers a free version that has lower speeds and fewer features than the premium version, allowing you to sample the VPN to your heart’s content. However, Netflix functionality is not available with the free version, meaning that you will need to pay for a premium subscription to stream with the VPN (4).

While pricing overall is lower than competitors such as NordVPN, Hotspot Shield’s monthly plan is one of the pricier of the VPNs we tested.

Overall, Hotspot Shield is a good choice for Netflix users who want a simple, reliable VPN that is easy to set up and use. While more advanced users will likely prefer a VPN with more customizability, casual Netflix users will find Hotspot Shield to be adequate.

Netflix VPN FAQ

1. What is a VPN? A VPN, or virtual private network, is a server that allows you to connect to the Internet anonymously. Instead of exposing your IP address (and location) to websites you visit and services you use, VPNs allow you to surf the Web without your data being collected or gathered. With remote VPN servers, you can even obscure which country you are in.

2. Why do I need a VPN for streaming Netflix? Because Netflix’s region-locking system restricts the number and types of TV shows, movies, and other content available to you depending on your country. In some countries such as China, Netflix is banned outright. Using a VPN can allow you to circumvent these region locks and access content that would ordinarily be blocked to you, letting you make the most of your Netflix subscription.

3. Why does Netflix region-lock its content? Because rights to movies and TV shows are determined on a country-by-country basis, Netflix may not have the rights to broadcast a particular series or movie in your country. As a result, what Netflix is legally allowed to offer in each country varies wildly.

4. Does Netflix allow users to use VPNs? Using a VPN to access Netflix is technically a violation of the terms of service. Because of this, Netflix has actively sought to block users from being able to access the service from behind a VPN. Many VPNs have complied with Netflix’s demands and attempting to access Netflix while connected to them will not work; however, other VPNs still allow their users to use Netflix. You use a VPN with Netflix at your own risk.

5. What kind of VPN do I need in order to stream Netflix? You need a VPN that allows you to access Netflix—obviously—but you also need a VPN with fast bandwidth speeds, strong security features, and a money-back guarantee. Mobile device support and a large number of simultaneous connections are also good features to look out for, though depending on what kinds of devices you own, you may not need them.

6. How can I find a VPN that is compatible with Netflix? Many VPNs that allow Netflix streaming will explicitly advertise this fact, making it easy to find one that suits your needs. Many VPNs will even specify which countries they support Netflix in, giving you greater flexibility depending on your needs and location.

7. Will using a VPN slow down my streaming speed? Many high-quality VPNs, such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN, feature bandwidth speeds that are as fast as or faster than non-VPN connections. You can use these VPNs to not only stream Netflix in general, but to stream in HD or 4K specifically. Cheaper VPNs generally have slower speeds and are thus unsuited for Netflix use; free VPNs also generally lack the speed necessary to handle Netflix.

8. What kinds of security features do I need in a Netflix VPN? Ideally, you want a VPN that does not log users’ activity. In addition to this, any VPN you select should have strong encryption, a kill switch feature, support for different protocols, and DNS leak protection. VPNs that boast of their compatibility with Netflix generally are zealous when it comes to protecting their users’ privacy, in order to keep Netflix from interfering with their service.

9. How many simultaneous connections should a Netflix VPN offer? Ideally, as many as possible. This will allow you to have your computer, tablet, smartphone, or other online devices connected to the VPN simultaneously. If you don’t own that many devices, you likely won’t need as many simultaneous connections. Additionally, VPNs should offer support for various devices and operating systems, from Windows to iOS to Android and more.

10. What happens if my VPN stops supporting Netflix? You’ll have to switch to another one. This is why you should seek out a VPN with a free trial and/or a strong money-back guarantee. If for whatever reason your chosen VPN stops supporting Netflix streaming, you’ll at least be able to get a refund, especially considering that streaming-capable VPNs are generally more expensive than most VPNs. You don’t want to waste money on a VPN that you can’t use. Free trials are also helpful because they allow you to take a VPN out on a test run before you spend a dime.

Summary

Finding a streaming-capable Netflix VPN can seem like a daunting task. There are a number of variables you need to take into consideration, from bandwidth speed to privacy protection to refund policies. To make things even more complicated, Netflix’s opposition to VPN use means that finding a VPN that is compatible with the service can be difficult.

However, if you know what to look for in a VPN and what features you need specifically, you can make an informed choice as to which VPN you use. While the VPNs in this article are by no means the only VPNs you can use with Netflix, they are the best for streaming Netflix according to our testing and research.

Whether you’re a power user, a casual browser, you own one device or several, there is a VPN out there that can meet your needs.