So, there you are: you’ve finally figured out how to get past the Netflix VPN ban and are ready to watch your favorite TV show, you get into the Netflix of the region you want, you click the thumbnail and … a black screen? You’ve just walked into the dreaded Netflix proxy error.
This screen is what you get when Netflix has detected you’re using a virtual private network while accessing the service. No matter if you just had it on because you’re nervous about your ISP selling your data on to marketers or because you’d like to stay of the NSA’s radar: if Netflix detects a VPN, you’re getting blocked.
Though annoying, it is kind of understandable that Netflix has a geoblock in place: the company has made deals with distributors all around the globe, agreeing to a different package with each one. Even if it wanted to, Netflix can’t simply show all its content everywhere, it’d get sued faster than you can say “breach of contract.”
What is odd, however, is that Netflix doesn’t leave it at that: many companies would be tempted to turn a blind eye toward VPN use, claiming it’s simply out of their hands what their customers do once they have subscribed. Not Netflix: it has developed probably the world’s best VPN detection system, almost rivaling that of the People’s Republic of China.
VPNs and Proxy Errors
Which brings us back to the proxy error. Using any service randomly chosen from our VPN reviews will likely net you just that single black screen as a result, not to mention the fly-by-nights we discuss in our worst free VPN article — let alone the disguised botnet that calls itself Hola VPN.
Not that any of the best free VPN services do any better. In fact, only a handful of our best VPN providers can consistently beat the ban and even they not always. Netflix’s detection software is just that efficient at sniffing out VPNs, meaning that in most cases you’ll find yourself needing to switch servers every once so often just to make sure you can keep watching your favorite, region-locked show.
Of course, Cloudwards.net wouldn’t be doing its job if we didn’t put our considerable knowhow to work in putting together a list of the best VPN for Netflix. All the providers in that article are guaranteed to work, assuming you’re willing to switch servers. Though annoying, it’s the only way to beat Netflix at the VPN game.
A good example is ExpressVPN (read our ExpressVPN review), which consistently gets you through whichever Netflix site you need (as well as being the best VPN for BBC iPlayer). To watch U.S. Netflix from abroad, you’re going to want to use one of their servers. As most of our writers and editor are based in Europe currently, we’ve found that using an east coast location works best for our needs.
Messing with Servers
Over the summer of 2017, the U.S. – Washington DC (1) server did a great job bringing exclusive American content to our Europe-based laptop, until one evening, in the middle of the conclusion of a Burn Notice episode, the screen went to black and we got the proxy error, asking to disengage the VPN.
Well, nuts to that. The IP address of the DC server was obviously known, so off to find another. The second DC server gave much the same result, as did the one in New York. The state of New Jersey, however, proved useful for once and its lone server let us back into Netflix no problem.
This worked fine for a week or two, when once again the screen went black. A switch back to DC 1, though, showed that one worked fine until a few weeks later, when … eh, you get the picture. This anecdote just goes to show that even the best VPN isn’t perfect, meaning you always spend a few annoying minutes cycling through servers to find one that works.
VPNs that Work with Netflix
Note, though, that a few VPNs make this process easier than others. We’ve already mentioned ExpressVPN — which we rank number one because it’s the fastest VPN around, handy when you’re making transatlantic connections — but you can read about other strong contenders in our NordVPN review and VyprVPN review.
All three make switching between servers really easy, with the wait in each case being just a few seconds. All three also offer a large network of servers all over the world, meaning that you can (hopefully) access the Netflix of a large amount of countries. Though giving a full list here would be tedious, all three of these services will let you into Netflix in the U.S., UK and Canada.
The U.S. offers the largest selection of TV shows, while Canada is great for movies. The UK is useful because many shows that run exclusively on U.S. networks are easily available on British networks, so unless you’re tastes run out of the mainstream, having access to these three countries should be enough.
If, however, you’re getting proxy errors with your current VPN when trying to access Netflix locations that are a bit rarer — often because you speak more languages than just English, or are trying to learn a new language, or simply even because you have a yen for the cinema of a particular country — ExpressVPN is again your best allround bet.
Playing around with the software a little, ExpressVPN got us into the Netflix of the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Australia and Mexico.
NordVPN has a massive array of French servers, so if you’re francophone that service might hit your sweet spot a little better. It also did well on some random tests we did, especially in European countries.
VyprVPN did okay, but since its network is smaller, it allows for fewer countries. That said, when expressed in percentages its servers did best of all: if the service has a location available, chances are you can get into Netflix.
Using either ExpressVPN, NordVPN or VyprVPN as well as employing some perseverance when selecting servers should get you past the Netflix proxy error for most countries, meaning you get to watch a whole lot of shows and movies for the price of just one subscription (to further improve your viewing pleasure, check out our best Netflix hacks).
If this whole process seems like too much work, you can also check out our article on best alternative torrent sites as well as our Kodi guide, two other ways in which you can watch entertainment to your heart’s content.
Do you have any other ways to watch Netflix from abroad? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.