Best VPNs for Netflix

NetflixNetflix is the world’s leading Internet streaming media provider. They have over 69 million members in 60 different countries and account for 30% of all the primetime streaming media downloads.  Although they have content libraries in many countries, their largest library is located in the US.  It includes feature movies, rebooted series like Arrested Development and Longmire, previous full seasons of TV shows like Castle, Bones, and Dr. Who.  This library also contains an ever growing library of Netflix original series, feature films, and documentaries.  Members can watch all their favorite shows without limit, anytime, anywhere, on almost any Internet connected screen.  Members can play, pause and resume watching without commercials.  Using a VPN will let you take advantage of Netflix’s full library of content by allowing you to switch between regions.  Below is out list of the best VPNs for accessing Netflix libraries everywhere.

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A Brief History of Netflix

Now, let us look at a brief history of how Netflix came to be the preeminent streaming media provider in the world.  Reed Hastings and fellow software executive Marc Randolph co-founded Netflix to offer online movie rentals on DVD in 1997.  In 2007 they introduced their streaming media service which allowed members to instantly watch television shows and movies on their home computers.  Between 2007-2010, Netflix expanded the base of devices that it could stream on to include Xbox 360, Blu-ray disc players, TV set-top boxes, PS3, Internet connected TVs, iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, the Nintendo Wii, and other Internet connected devices.  They have continued to maintain compatibility with newer devices like Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U and more.  Also in 2010, Netflix opened its services to Canada and began expanding into other countries.  They are currently in 26 different countries with plans to expand into many more in 2016.

New Original Programming from Netflix

In 2012 Netflix produced their first original series Lilyhammer.  Lilyhammer was a Norwegian-American television series, which starred Steven Van Zandt.  The plot developed around a fictional New York gangster, Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano, who was relocated by witness protection to Lilyhammer, Norway after testifying against his new mafia boss.  They have three seasons of it available now on Netflix.

In 2013 they adapted a BBC mini-series into the critically acclaimed and Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe winning House of Cards staring Kevin Spacey, a Democratic congressman from South Carolina, and Robin Wright, his wife.  House of Cards is a series about political intrigue, manipulation, and abuse of power as the congressman schemes to rise to the presidency.  It is about to start its fourth season on Netflix in 2016.

In July 2013, Netflix introduced one of its most popular original series to date, Orange Is the New Black. Orange Is the New Black is a dramatic comedy that revolves about inmates and guards at a fictional minimum security federal prison.  This is just a small part of the new series, movies, documentaries, and other original programming being introduced by Netflix.  This series will be starting season four in 2016.

Encouraged by the success of some of their original content, Netflix recently decided not to renew its contract with the Epix cable network and recently lost some of its feature movies like Hunger Games: Catching Fire, World War Z, and Transformers: Age of Extinction. They inferred that due to some studio licensing practices it was often as long as a year before its users could watch some new theatrical releases.  They have instead decided to focus more on original content and contracts where its members can watch premiers on Netflix globally and sometimes simultaneous to theatrical release.  They currently have over 80 original works which includes new comedic and dramatic series, comedy specials, documentaries, and feature films with many others in the production pipeline.

They still have contracts with Sony Pictures Animation, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation for new family films like Minions, Hotel Transylvania 2, and Home.  Additionally, beginning in 2016, they will be the sole US pay home distributor of the latest movies from the Walt Disney Company.  This means that Pixar, Lucasfilm, and new Marvel titles will be coming to Netflix.  What is more, these films will be seen on Netflix faster that previous contracts have allowed.

They recently obtained the rights to show the previous two seasons of the UK series from Channel 4, Black Mirror, a critically acclaimed series which takes a satirical look at consequences of technologies on modern society.  The series has been described as a cross between The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected with a techno-paranoia theme. Each episode is a separate story with new actors and plot.  Netflix has also ordered a third season of the series with twelve more episodes planned.

An arrangement between Marvel and Netflix has Marvel spinning up to create a mini-series super-hero group, the Defenders.  As part of this deal, the four members of the group are being spun up on Netflix with the first, Daredevil already being aired with its new season set to start in 2016.  Daredevil’s character is a blind lawyer by day and a vengeful crime fighter at night.  The defenders second member, Jessica Jones, was released in the latter psart of 2015.  Jessica Jones’s character is a former superhero suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who opens her own detective agency after an end to her superhero career.  Next up for the team, Luke Cage will appear with Jessica Jones sometime in 2016.  His character has unbreakable skin and superhuman strength.  The final member of the group is scheduled to be Iron Fist, a martial arts expert with the mystical power of the iron fist has yet to make an appearance for marvel with no time set for his arrival.  So if you are a Marvel fan and you live in a country without the Netflix service, you can use your chosen VPN to watch all of the Marvel action as the Defenders are being formed on Netflix.

What Is a VPN and How Can You Use It To Access Netflix?

A VPN is a group of network computers that are connected securely to each other using various tunneling protocols and encryption algorithms.  This allows confidential information to be transmitted between computers in the group across a public network.  This is generally how a personal VPN service functions.  First a securely encrypted tunnel is established between your device and the VPN server.  Once this tunnel is created, all traffic between the server and your device is encrypted before being transmitted.  The VPN server then masks your IP address and replaces it with its own so that its location is now seen as your current location.  This way it not only makes you more anonymous but also allows you to appear to reside almost anywhere.

So you want to watch Netflix content but they do not offer the service in your country.  They have Netflix in your country but the content is limited and you want more.  You can use a VPN to mask your location and gain access to Netflix content libraries in different countries because it will let you appear to be from almost anywhere.  Therefore, you will be able to binge watch all of your favorite syndicated TV series, feature films, comedy specials, and everything else that Netflix has to offer.  What is more you can access all this Netflix content from almost anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet from there.  The Netflix library in the US has over 7200 titles but the complete Netflix library is estimated to be over 13,000 titles.  So, as you can see, even those in the US can increase the Netflix titles they have access to by using a VPN.

How to Choose the Best VPN to Watch Netflix

  • One question to ask when choosing a VPN to stream movies from your Netflix is whether or not it has servers in the regions that you want to access the Netflix in.  More Netflix regions is better because you will have access to more content.
  • How easy does the service make it to switch Netflix regions?  For example, the JetSwitch feature offered by Overplay will let you select your region for Netflix from a simple dropdown box and still let you watch content from other regions at the same time.  You can also do this with many other popular services as well.
  • Speed is also key as the encryption used by the VPN can slow your connection.  This effect is more pronounced with some VPN providers than others.  Be sure to test the VPN service to see that the speed is acceptable with all of the devices that you plan to stream video or audio with.
  • Reliability is another key metric to look for when choosing a VPN for Netflix.  It can be annoying to have the VPN drop connection while you are watching your favorite movie.
  • Another thing to look at is does it support the devices that you want to watch content on. Can it be setup on desktops, mobile devices, set top boxes, smart TVs, or other devices that you need it to support?  Does it have custom clients to ease its installation, configuration, and use?  Does it support routers?  Remember, once you set up the router to use the VPN, all the devices attached to it can easily stream content from Netflix.
  • The last thing to look at is the extra features that the VPN offers.  Does it have a kill switch to auto-disconnect it from the Internet if the VPN drops like Ipvanish an VyprVPN and others.  Does it have a NAT firewall to protect you against malware, malicious ads, and bots while you are connected to the service?  Do they have more specialized protocols like stealth to help scale firewalls like VyprVPN and StongVPN.  Does it support port forwarding and multiple encryption strengths to help to optimize it like IPVanish and others in our list?  Does it have a separate SmartDNS so you can bypass encryption if your want to like Overplay does?

Final Thoughts

Netflix is hands-down the largest streaming media provider in the world.  Much of its content is geo-resticted to certain countries due to various copyright agreements with its distributors.  We have looked at some of the strengths of the best VPN services for streaming Netflix.  For instance, Overplay’s JetSwitch tops our list because it allows you to easily switch between over 25 Netflix regions and still watch content from other countries.   It supports SmartDNS so you can stream Netflix content with out encryption enabled.  IPVanish supports multiple encryption strengths and port forwarding to help anonymize your traffic from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to facilitate P2P traffic and avoid them throttling your Internet connection and has a NAT firewall.  StrongVPN and VyprVPN have features to help bypass firewalls more easily.  In addition VyprVPN has a kill switch and and Network Address Translation firewall to protect you from malware and malicious bots.  One thing that all of our chosen VPNs have in common is  good reputation in the industry, excellent performance, support for many platforms, and a commitment to customer satisfaction.

We have learned that performance and reliability are key metrics for choosing a VPN for streaming Netflix feature films, documentaries, syndicated TV series, and original content.  No one wants to be bothered with stop and go video problems while trying to watch their favorite show.  Additionally, if your primary reason for using a VPN is streaming Netflix then you should probably use lesser encryption strength to speed up performance.  Also you should choose a VPN with support for many devices including routers so that you will be able to stream Netflix from all your devices connected to your router once it is tied to the VPN.  As we have seen, all of the VPNs in our list satisfy most if not all of these criteria plus include extra useful features not included in many VPN services.  Additionally, all have guarantees which will let you test them without risk.  Sign up for the one that fits your requirements and test it for yourself.