It’s unsurprising that people look up whether it’s illegal to use a VPN for Netflix. After all, why shouldn’t you be able to watch their entire catalog if you’re a paying customer? It’s even worse if you’re from the US. Headed outside the country? Well, a lot of shows you could watch back home are suddenly unavailable.
The US Netflix library is the largest in the world, numbering over 5900 shows and movies total. Now get this: people around the world are paying more on all Netflix plans for nearly half the amount of content.
Just a quick comparison: with the May 2019 price hike, a Standard Netflix US plan is now $12.99. Compare that to a country like Italy, where subscribers pay the equivalent of $13.42 for a library of just above 3500 shows and movies.
- Is It Legal to Watch Netflix with a VPN?
- Is It Legal to Use a VPN?
- What’s a Good VPN for Netflix?
Is It Legal to Watch Netflix with a VPN?
Look, you won’t get in trouble for using a VPN to watch The Office before it moves over to NBC’s streaming platform. That being said, this whole situation is in a legal grey area. Obviously, Netflix doesn’t approve of the practice, but we’ve found no reports of anyone getting into legal issues over it.
For one, a VPN protects your online identity by hiding your IP address and encrypting your data. If your provider uses VPN obfuscation, then nobody snooping in on your network activity would even know you’re using a VPN, to begin with.
That’s actually one way some VPNs get around Netflix filters. And yes, most streaming platforms block VPNs, whether it’s by outright banning VPN IPs or through other methods (such as deep packet inspection).
Let’s not get sidetracked, though. The main idea is that they can’t really tell whether you’ve been bypassing their geo-restrictions. Provided you’re using a quality VPN for Netflix, that is.
Even if they could, it simply wouldn’t be worth it to pursue legal action for something so trivial. Keep in mind that they would basically have to sue millions of people watching Netflix with a VPN. Since they’d be going after paying customers, that would immensely increase their losses.
It’s the same situation with the BBC’s own streaming platform. They had at least 60 million international viewers in 2015, even though BBC iPlayer is exclusive to the UK. Once again, we haven’t seen any reports of legal action from the BBC.
Now, there are some special cases where it might be illegal to use a VPN for Netflix. But for those, you need to ask a different question entirely.
Is It Legal to Use a VPN?
99% of the time, yes. It’s perfectly legal to use VPNs in most countries. Even restrictive countries like China see a lot of VPN usage, though obviously it’s going to be highly regulated and kept under close watch by the government.
However, there are several countries where VPNs are illegal. And to be fair, watching Netflix with a VPN would be the least of your concerns in these places. To give you a basic idea, one of the countries on this shortlist is North Korea.
A good rule of thumb for countries that strictly regulate VPN usage is to research what content is permitted and what isn’t. It might not be illegal to use a VPN, but the content you access might be forbidden in the area. Getting fined or imprisoned for a few hours of entertainment is definitely not worth it.
What’s a Good VPN for Netflix?
Now that all the legalese is out of the way, we bet you’re eager to watch your favorite shows. Any of these five VPNs should help you get what you want:
- CyberGhost – has servers specifically made for streaming Netflix and other websites, as well as a split tunneling feature if you don’t want all your traffic to go through the VPN.
- ExpressVPN – a bit more expensive than the competition, but makes up for it in terms of speed and extra features.
- NordVPN – excellent speeds, making the provider ideal for streaming. However, they only support split tunneling on their Android app, or through their Firefox or Chrome browser extensions.
- IVPN – not as many servers as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, but are just as good as unblocking Netflix, with decent speeds to boot. Once again, only Android users have access to split tunneling.
- Surfshark – highly flexible VPN, especially for places with restricted Internet access. Naturally, it’s decent for Netflix too – even though they don’t have dedicated servers for streaming.
Here’s your quick answer: it’s not illegal to use a VPN for Netflix. You won’t see them or anyone else encourages it, but it already costs them enough trying to filter VPN traffic without going into unnecessary legal battles. Just make sure your VPN actually works with Netflix and you have nothing to worry about.
Try out our recommendations! We’ve thoroughly tested them and they all worked with Netflix on our end. Moreover, they all have 30-day money-back guarantees (or 45 days in CyberGhost’s case). If things don’t work out for you, hey – it’s a risk-free investment.