Globally, adoption of virtual private networks is growing massively. One of the things that makes these applications so popular is that they enable users to improve the online streaming experience vastly. In particular, a lot of people use some of the best VPNs for unblocking Netflix. But what are the pros and cons of doing this? We find out.
1. Surfshark VPN: Best affordable paid VPN option
With plans starting out at about 8 cents per day, it's really hard to skip over Surfshark because it's a paid service. It offers a ton of great features that you'd expect from a VPN provider, and is super simple to use.
2. ExpressVPN: Best overall VPN for most people
This is our top pick for anyone looking to get started with a VPN. It offers a great mix of speed, reliability, outstanding customer service, and affordability. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, so give it a shot today.
3. NordVPN: Top VPN with most server options
NordVPN offers an insane amount of server locations that you can pick from and is one of the best services for unblocking streaming services. It's definitely the most well-known brand in the VPN space right now.
Dodging geo restrictions
While Netflix is available in more than 190 countries across the world, there are many places where it can't be accessed or where certain content is blocked as a result of strict geo restriction laws. In fact, the streaming platform is currently banned in China, Crimea, North Korea and Syria, and due to US government restrictions, it's unlikely it'll launch in these countries anytime soon.
If you live in or are travelling to a country where there are geo restrictions in place and want to access Netflix, downloading a VPN is an excellent idea. By connecting to a VPN server in a country where Netflix is available, you'll be able to dodge geo restrictions and use the service without any issues.
Accessing more TV shows and movies
Even in countries where Netflix can be accessed, you can still be affected by geo restrictions. New movie and TV show releases aren't always available worldwide; sometimes they can only be watched in a select few countries.
However, you can easily solve this problem with a VPN - all you need to do is connect to a server in a country where the movie or TV show you want to watch has been released. Effectively, these services will give you an even bigger election of movies and TV shows that you can watch on Netflix.
Putting a stop bandwidth throttling
Another issue you may encounter when streaming movies and TV shows on Netflix is bandwidth throttling. In other words, if you spend a lot of time streaming, your internet service provider may decide to slow down your connection.
Obviously, slow internet speeds and Netflix aren't a good combination; at the end of the day, no one likes it when streams decide to buffer due to poor connection. But when you install a VPN, your IP address and internet traffic are concealed. And as a result, ISPs won't be able to tell how much bandwidth you're consuming and subsequently throttle your connection.
What's more, many VPN providers offer unlimited bandwidth, unlimited data and high-speed servers to further improve streaming quality. Of course, you'll also benefit from increased privacy and security. A wide variety of providers enable their users to unblock Netflix, including ExpressVPN, Cyberghost, NordVPN, Surfshark and IPVanish.
Although VPNs are capable of improving the streaming experience on Netflix, there are caveats. It's actually against the company's terms of service to use VPNs for accessing content that isn't available in your region.
And with media companies voicing concerns about the use of VPNs, Netflix is increasingly clamping down on them. In a worst case scenario, Netflix could impose a block on your IP address if it finds out that you use a VPN.
But the best providers will prevent companies like Netflix from detecting that you use a VPN service. So while you would be taking a risk, you should be fine in the long run. Either way, it's entirely a personal decision. If you still want to use a VPN with your service, we've rounded up all the best streaming VPNs for your consideration.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.