How to Watch Netflix with a VPN (and Change Your Netflix Region)

Learn how to watch Netflix with a VPN if you want to access geo-restricted streaming content from another country.
Ben Walker, Author
Catherine McNally, Editor
Last updated Sep 12, 2022

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, are commonly used to bypass geo-restrictions with popular streaming services such as Netflix. So if you’re wondering how to watch Netflix with a VPN or how to change your Netflix region to access different content, you’re in the right place.

I’m a big fan of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and other streaming platforms. But I also love to travel, often internationally. I typically use a VPN while traveling so I don’t miss out on the latest TV shows and movies that might not be available in a country I’m visiting (but are still available in the U.S. or elsewhere).

Here’s how to get started with watching Netflix with a VPN. And don’t worry, it’s a simple process that requires little to no tech knowledge and is entirely legal in most countries (more on this later).

In this article
How to watch Netflix with a VPN
Which VPNs work with Netflix?
What if my VPN won’t unblock Netflix content?
Why does Netflix show different content in different regions?
Can Netflix suspend my account if I use a VPN?
How to change your Netflix region without a VPN
Watching Netflix with a VPN FAQs
Bottom line

How to watch Netflix with a VPN

If you create a Netflix account, it’s typically associated with the country where you live. This would be your Netflix region, or an area of the world that has access to a specific Netflix library. For example, U.S. residents can access Netflix content available in the U.S.

You can’t manually change your Netflix region in your account settings because there are strict guidelines in place called geo-restrictions. The only way Netflix allows you to change the country on your account is by moving to a new one.

In this case or if you’re traveling internationally, your Netflix region should automatically update as you move between countries. This would give you access to the content available to each of those countries.

But what if you want to watch Netflix content from other countries than where you’re currently located?

This is typically where you need a VPN. There are ways to change your Netflix region without a VPN (more on this below), but using a VPN is likely the easiest and most effective way to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming services.

Here are a few simple steps to follow if you want to watch Netflix with a VPN:

1. Buy a Netflix subscription if you don’t already have one

A screenshot of the Netflix website with a place for users to sign up with their email address

2. Find a VPN that works with bypassing Netflix geo-restrictions. (Popular VPN providers such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and others typically advertise their functionality with different streaming services, including Netflix.)

A screenshot of the ExpressVPN website boasting that it's the "best VPN for US Netflix" and a green button that says Get ExpressVPN

3. Buy a subscription or start a free trial with your chosen VPN service

A screenshot of the NordVPN free trial advertisement with a red button that says Start Now

4. Start your VPN and select a server

A screenshot of the CyberGhost VPN interface with a United States server that's optimized for streaming highlighted by a red box

5. Connect to the chosen server

A screenshot of the CyberGhost VPN window, with a United States server chosen and the interface power button highlighted by a red arrow

6. Boot up Netflix and watch content with a VPN

A screenshot of the UK author's Netflix library, showing the top 10 TV shows and the top 10 movies in the US

In steps 4 to 6, I used CyberGhost to connect to a U.S. server while being physically located in the U.K. As you can see from the screenshot in step 6, Netflix displayed the top trending shows in the U.S. at the time rather than what was trending in the U.K., which indicates a resounding success using a VPN to bypass Netflix geo-restrictions.

Further research found that the movie “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” (shown in step 6) was available in the U.S. content library, but not the U.K. library. So if accessing Netflix content in other countries is your goal, using a VPN is a simple way to get there.

Which VPNs work with Netflix?

It was mentioned in the previous section that you should find a VPN that works with bypassing Netflix geo-restrictions. That’s because not every VPN will do the trick.

Netflix actively tries to reduce VPN usage on its platform because each region is only supposed to have access to certain content. This has to do with licenses Netflix has to allow certain shows and movies in different countries.

But even with Netflix trying to stop its users from accessing content with VPNs, there are still plenty of VPNs that work with Netflix.

VPNs that work with Netflix

These are some of the best VPN services on the market according to our research. But are they also the best Netflix VPNs? Let’s see how they compare.

VPN U.S. to U.S. U.S. to U.K. U.S. to Canada U.S. to Australia
NordVPN Yes Yes Yes Yes
ExpressVPN Yes Yes Yes Yes
CyberGhost Yes No No No
IPVanish Yes Yes Yes Yes
Surfshark Yes Yes Yes Yes

Testing performed from a U.S. location.

Editor's note:

Many of CyberGhost’s servers gave us an “ERR_ADDRESS_UNREACHABLE” error when trying to connect to netflix.com — even the Montreal and Sydney servers CyberGhost says are optimized for Netflix Canada and Netflix Australia, respectively. 

To be fair, this is likely a network connection issue and not a Netflix issue, but it’s a frustrating situation nonetheless.

A screenshot of a Mac desktop showing NordVPN connected to an Australian server on the left and the Netflix Australia library on the right

NordVPN successfully connected us to UK, Canadian, and Australian Netflix libraries from our US location.

What if my VPN won’t unblock Netflix content?

You have a VPN and you try to use it for Netflix, but it doesn’t seem to be working. This could be the case even if the same VPN was working in the past. It’s a frustrating situation that more than a few of us have found ourselves in.

Here are a few tips to try if you find yourself in this predicament:

Switch to a different VPN server location

This is the first and easiest solution to try. Netflix is aware of users accessing content in other countries with VPNs. If it detects unusual activity with IP addresses, it could block them.

An IP address, or internet protocol address, is a unique number assigned to an internet-connected device such as a computer or phone. Each IP address typically provides certain information, which could include the country and city where the device is physically located.

Choosing a VPN server in another country changes your IP address and makes it seem like your device is located in that country. This is typically how you can bypass Netflix geo-restrictions, but Netflix can ban or block VPN IP addresses.

By trying a different server, you’re basically testing whether another IP address would work with Netflix.

Contact your VPN provider’s support team

VPN providers often have customer support teams that can walk you through possible next steps if you run into an issue. And if you specifically purchased a VPN subscription to use with Netflix and it’s not working, you’ve run into an issue.

Use a Smart DNS service

This tip could be slightly more technical than simply using a VPN to connect to a server. But it still shouldn’t be overly complicated, especially if you use a service that walks you through the steps.

Certain services, including some VPN providers, offer Smart DNS tools to change your DNS server addresses. Without diving too deeply into the details, Smart DNS is a way to potentially change your Netflix region without using a VPN.

Keep in mind that Smart DNS services aren’t the same as VPNs. They could help with unblocking Netflix content, but they likely wouldn’t provide much in terms of online safety.

Check out how Smart DNS works with NordVPN.

How to speed up your internet with a VPN

VPNs basically work by rerouting your traffic through a secure and encrypted internet connection. You could potentially experience slower connection speeds when connected to a VPN, as this is another step in the process of connecting to the internet.

If you find you have issues with Netflix buffering while connected to a VPN, consider these tips:

  • Close out other windows, tabs, and applications
  • Try a different VPN server
  • Connect to your router with an ethernet cable rather than Wi-Fi
  • Disconnect other devices in the house from the internet
  • Kindly ask your roommates to stop hogging the bandwidth so you can watch Netflix in Japan, Germany, or France

Why does Netflix show different content in different regions?

Netflix shows different content in different regions because of licensing agreements. This means it has certain licensing agreements in place for its content in different countries.

For example, the streaming service could have a license to show a movie in the U.S., but not have a license to show that same movie in the U.K or Australia.

Can Netflix suspend my account if I use a VPN?

Netflix can presumably suspend your account if you use a VPN to watch content that wouldn’t typically be available to you. But will Netflix suspend your account? Probably not.

So why can Netflix presumably suspend my account if I use a VPN?

It’s technically against the Netflix terms of service to watch any content on the platform that’s not available in the country associated with your account. For example, U.S. Netflix users shouldn’t typically be able to access all the content available to Netflix users in Mexico.

They’re different regions and Netflix has separate licenses for its content catalogs in different countries.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be banned from using Netflix if you use a VPN or other method to spoof your location. But you could receive a message from Netflix that says you’re using a VPN or similar service and prevents you from using the platform until that service is turned off.

So there’s nothing illegal with using VPNs for Netflix?

Yes and no. There’s nothing inherently illegal about using a VPN for Netflix, it’s just against the Netflix terms of service.

But another question you might ask is, are VPNs legal everywhere? And no, they’re not.

Certain countries have restrictions on how VPNs are used and their legality could fall into a bit of a gray area. Though, most countries have no laws against using VPNs. Still, it’s best to check local VPN laws and restrictions if you plan on using a VPN in another country.

How to change your Netflix region without a VPN

You might want to change your Netflix region if you’ve moved to another country or are traveling internationally. But Netflix doesn’t allow you to manually change you region whenever you want.

Rather, your region will automatically update to wherever you’re physically located. This could get frustrating if you want to watch Netflix content from another country.

Using a VPN is typically the easiest way to spoof your location and change your Netflix region. But if you want to change your Netflix region without a VPN, consider a Smart DNS service.

This type of service doesn’t often offer the same online security as a VPN, but it could help you bypass Netflix geo-restrictions. Here’s how to get started:

1. Find a Smart DNS service, MediaStreamer from ExpressVPN, Control D, and NordVPN SmartPlay are a few examples

A screenshot of the ExpressVPN website showing details about its MediaStreamer Smart DNS solution

MediaStreamer Smart DNS tool from ExpressVPN.

2. Purchase a subscription or start a free trial

A screenshot of the Control D website showing two plans for its Smart DNS service, Same Control plan and Full Control plan

Available subscription plans from Control D.

3. Follow the instructions (like these from Surfshark) to get set up and start streaming

A screenshot of a Surfshark VPN help article that covers the steps you need to follow to activate Smart DNS on Surfshark

Smart DNS activation instructions from Surfshark.

Watching Netflix with a VPN FAQs


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Can you use Netflix with a VPN?

Yes, you can use Netflix with a VPN. This is a common strategy for watching streaming content that might not be available where you live. You might use this method on any of the following devices:

  • Smart TV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • PlayStation or Xbox consoles
  • Android devices
  • Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.)

+

Can I watch Hulu with a VPN?

Yes, you can watch Hulu with a VPN. Hulu isn’t available outside the U.S., which would typically prevent you from watching Hulu content if you’re traveling or living abroad. Certain VPNs can help you bypass this restriction and use Hulu internationally.


+

Can I watch Amazon Prime Video with a VPN?

Yes, you can watch Amazon Prime Video with a VPN. Certain Prime Video content might not be available outside the U.S., which is where a VPN could be useful. Using the right VPN can help you avoid streaming restrictions so you can watch Prime Video as if you were in the U.S.


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Can I watch Disney+ with a VPN?

Yes, you can watch Disney+ with a VPN. This could be useful if you want to access content on this streaming service that’s not available in your country. For example, Disney+ offers content through the Star brand in certain international markets. The easiest way to access this content from the U.S. would likely be to use a VPN.


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Can I watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN?

Yes, you can watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN. Using BBC iPlayer to stream content is typically geo-restricted to the U.K. But you could bypass this restriction with a VPN and stream BBC iPlayer content from just about anywhere.

Bottom line

The main reason to use a VPN with Netflix is likely to bypass geo-restrictions and access content that’s not available in your country. You can typically do this in a few simple steps:

  1. Find a VPN that advertises being able to bypass Netflix restrictions
  2. Buy a subscription or start a free trial with your selected VPN service
  3. Use your VPN to connect to a recommended server for Netflix and start streaming content

Unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, & More With ExpressVPN
Learn More
On ExpressVPN's website

  • Strict no-logs policy with independent audit
  • In-house Lightway protocol for more speed and security
  • More expensive than NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost

Keep in mind that not all VPNs are the same. Some are free. Others are paid. The online security offered by each service could vary — though paid VPNs are typically safer than free VPNs. Learn more about what a VPN is to see how VPNs work and the different reasons you might use one.

Author Details
Ben Walker
Ben Walker is a writer at All About Cookies with a passion for all things internet and technology, whether it's using VPNs while away from home or organizing his life with password managers.