How To Watch U.S. Netflix From Anywhere In The World

Collecting all your favourite snacks and drinks, surrounding yourself with comfortable cushions and blankets, and then spending hours in front of a screen can be a truly therapeutic experience. Unfortunately, there is one big problem with this hobby: There is a limited amount of content out there to keep you entertained.

We are a greedy bunch, and regular streamers can quickly get to a point when it feels like there’s nothing left to watch. What are you supposed to do then? Don’t panic, because there is a simple solution to this frustrating issue.

If you’ve reached this point of streaming shortage, you should consider investing in a VPN.

What is a VPN?VPNs are security tools that provide protection for your information by creating a private network that hides your real IP address (digital location). All of your activity is untraceable and secure, because all of your online traffic passes through an encrypted tunnel. Nobody can see into the tunnel, and everything inside the tunnel is protected against online threats like hackers, viruses, and malware.

The act of hiding your real IP address is what can trick leading streaming sites into thinking you are based in another country.

Do you need a VPN?VPNs are used to provide protection for your sensitive information, which is obviously super important. This isn’t the only reason VPNs are so popular though, because these tools can be also be used to watch content that is normally blocked in your location.

By hiding your real IP address and connecting you to a server in another country, you can watch all your favourite content from that location. For example, you could watch all the extra films and shows on American Netflix that are not usually accessible outside of the U.S. There is so much content out there that can be accessed with the help of a VPN.

Everyone is in need of something that can bypass geo-restrictions to access all of this blocked entertainment, and that something is a VPN. These services are keys to the online world, granting you access to more of the shows and films you love.

How to unblock U.S. NetflixIf you think accessing American Netflix is going to be difficult with a VPN, think again. It’s actually a really simple process that absolutely everyone can understand:

Sign up to a streaming-friendly VPN (like ExpressVPN)

Download the app to your device of choice (the best VPNs have apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more)

Open up the app and connect to a server in the U.S.

Visit Netflix to watch movies and shows from the U.S. content library

If you’re worried that this whole thing sounds a bit illegal, then maybe we can reassure you. It’s currently legal to watch Netflix while using a VPN, although we should point out that Netflix states in its terms of service that it may restrict your account without compensation or notice if you are engaged in “improper” use. We’re not entirely sure what that means, but consider yourself warned.

We should make it very clear that you still need to be subscribed to Netflix for this trick to work. A VPN is not going to grant access to the streaming site for free. A VPN provides access to more libraries from around the world, once you’re subscribed.

Should you use free VPNs?There are plenty of free versions and free trials of VPNs, so why would you ever consider paying for a service? As with most things in life, you get what you pay for with VPNs.

There is always a catch with free versions, and it’s normally in the form of limited data usage. These plans will be just fine if you’re just an occasional user, but if you’re going to be streaming or downloading anything, this isn’t going to work. Free trials are different as come with everything you get in a paid plan, but obviously they don’t tend to last very long. Trials are great for testing out a service before committing, but this isn’t a long-term solution.

To gain access to advanced security features without limitations on usage, you generally need to pay up. That being said, services like ProtonVPN offer an impressive set of features for free. However, you might have trouble streaming Netflix with this free version.

What is the best VPN for Netflix?There are a lot of VPN services out there that can effectively unblock American Netflix, but which is the best? There are plenty of strong options for you to consider, but we wouldn’t want you wasting your time checking everything out. To save you time, we’ve handpicked your best options. Each service has a different set of features that will suit some users better than others, and it’s all about finding something that works for you.

ExpressVPN is at the top of this list because it combines essential features with impressive results, but it isn’t the only option available to you. We have lined up all the best VPNs for unblocking Netflix, with something for everyone on this list. We’ve highlighted the best deals on the likes of Surfshark, PureVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and NordVPN.

These are the best VPNs for Netflix in 2023.

Read our full review of Express VPN.

ExpressVPN has a formidable number of servers, with more than 3,000 spread out across 94 countries worldwide. It also promises great security, offers unlimited bandwidth, and abides by a zero-logs policy. (The company is actually based in the British Virgin Islands, a country without mandatory data retention laws.)

But we know why you’re here: You want to know whether ExpressVPN plays well with Netflix. We’re happy to inform you that the answer is an enthusiastic “yes.” What’s more, ExpressVPN can be set up at the router level so you can stream your favourite shows and movies on all sorts of different devices without having to install separate apps.

As far as user-friendliness go, ExpressVPN is quite easy to setup: You just boot up the app and choose a location — that’s it. (The app will also recommend a location depending on your actual geolocation, ideally providing you with better speed.)

Read our full review of CyberGhost VPN.

CyberGhost VPN has over 6,200 servers worldwide, offers unlimited bandwidth, and features AES 256-bit encryption, DNS and IP leak protection, and an automatic kill switch (among other stellar security tools).

This provider is of particular interest as it maintains dedicated streaming servers that are specially optimised for speed, reliability, and location — i.e., they play really nice with Netflix. 

These servers are also capable of unblocking other services like Disney+, Prime Video, and BBC One, in case you’ve depleted your Netflix queue.

Private Internet Access keeps things simple with powerful encryption, strong connection speeds, and an absolutely massive network of servers. It’s the server network that really helps with streaming.

Private Internet Access is also a great option for large households, as you can connect 10 devices simultaneously with the same plan. This means you can all stream at the same time, without compromising your security.

The interface is a little clunky and outdated, but it really doesn’t matter when you consider everything that Private Internet Access offers.

Read our full review of NordVPN.

One of the most reliable VPN services out there, NordVPN lays claim to over 5,200 servers in nearly 60 countries around the globe. But more importantly, watching Netflix with NordVPN works without a hitch. Using it to access content on U.S. Netflix was as simple as firing up the NordVPN app, clicking on a dot on its server map, and voilà — all of Netflix’s 5,000-plus TV shows and movies instantly became available upon login.

Even more importantly, streaming through NordVPN was fast and easy. (If you do run into trouble, the service has a dedicated help page for dealing with Netflix-related issues.)

Other NordVPN highlights include top-notch encryption, protection from dangerous websites and malware, and a guarantee to not log or retain your data. 

ProtonVPN is Switzerland-based, meaning your data is shielded by Swiss privacy laws, which are some of the strongest in the world. ProtonVPN also has a strict no logging policy that means none of your data can be revealed to third parties. 

This is all great news for protecting your privacy, but what about streaming? ProtonVPN doesn’t offer the best connection speeds, but it still has a large and geographically diverse network of servers, with some that are dedicated to streaming. It’s worth noting that you will need to upgrade to a Plus plan to access these servers.

ProtonVPN also offers nice and intuitive apps for watching Netflix when you’re on the move.

Surfshark offers a wide range of impressive features including split tunnelling and enterprise-grade infrastructure, and can reliably unblock Netflix.

Surfshark is also a great option if you have a lot of streaming devices in your home, or a lot of people who are likely to be streaming at the same time. You can connect an unlimited number of devices under the same plan with Surfshark, which is really useful.

Surfshark does not have the cheapest monthly rate, but if you’re willing to commit to a two-year deal, you can get access to everything for under £2 a month.

PureVPN is not the very best service for connecting to Netflix, but it is one of the cheapest, with an excellect reputation for customer service. This popular provider offers around the clock assistance via live chat, support ticket, and email, which is great news for beginners. 

PureVPN has a very healthy network of more than 2,000 servers in over 140 countries, including more than 650 in the U.S. These servers provide split tunneling, 256-bit encryption, built-in ad blockers, kill switches, and much more.

PureVPN does have one of the best interfaces with a separate tab for Netflix. It’s also compatible with Amazon Prime Video, so if you’ve run out of content on Netflix, you can always look elsewhere for your fix.

TunnelBear offers a truly free service, with a few limitations. The free version does restrict users to only 500MB of data per month and you won’t get the best connection speeds. This might be all you need if you’ll only need to stream from time to time.

Upgrading to a paid plan removes the restrictions associated with the free plan. You won’t get download limits, and you’ll be able to connect to a greater number of servers and connect more devices simultaneously. 

There are better VPNs available for accessing Netflix, but if your budget is tight and you’re not a regular streamer, TunnelBear should be something to consider.

There are a number of VPN providers that claim to be able to unlock streaming services, but few can unlock seven major Netflix regions like Ivacy VPN. All Ivacy VPN plans can also unblock BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and Hulu.

Ivacy VPN is one of the best services for streaming and torrenting, with P2P optimised servers for high speeds and an intuitive experience. Plus, if you’re willing to commit, you can subscribe for less than one of the other best services for streaming — ExpressVPN. 

Subscribers can also connect up to 10 devices simultaneously with Ivacy VPN, so you can securely stream and torrent with all of your devices at the same time.

Joseph joined Mashable as the UK Shopping Editor in 2018. He worked for a number of print publications before making the switch to the glittery world of digital media, and now writes about everything from coffee machines to VPNs.

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