Streaming, interrupted …
If you’re using a VPN to access streaming content in an area where that content is blocked (for whatever reason), imagine your frustration if you hop online and see that the content is blocked again. Luckily after we’ve investigated multiple VPNs for their streaming service, the clear winner is ExpressVPN. We can say with a resounding “yes” that ExpressVPN does work with Netflix, and better than almost every other VPN provider.
How Does a VPN Work with Streaming Services like Netflix?
While Netflix is arguably the biggest streaming media provider, there are tons of others and they all operate in a field that is governed by copyright law and governmental media policies. Because of this, Netflix charges that studio more money to stream their programs in less-than-optimal regions for that media.
This is why you might not be able to get certain British comedies in America; Americans have different tastes in media. That show you want to watch might cost the studio more money in licensing fees for Netflix US, so they simply don’t offer it.
A VPN allows you to access Netflix UK as if you were living there instead of say Kansas by connecting you to a server in the UK. You connect to your VPN from your IP and the VPN scrambles your information, routing your connection through a remote server. This makes it appear that you’re connecting to the internet from someplace other than where you are and grants you the ability to do things like accessing region-specific versions of Netflix.
This is also a workaround for countries like China where something like Netflix simply is banned. By using a VPN to connect through a server in the US, a person in China can watch their favorite shows despite governmental blocks or illegalities.
How Does Netflix Know to Block My VPN?
The problem with all of this rerouting is that your VPN is providing this service for thousands of other people as well. When Netflix’s servers see thousands of connected devices from the exact same IPthey are set up to block that IP outright.
It wasn’t always like this – for a long time you could get great streaming access through many VPNs, but only ExpressVPN has really stepped up to the arms race of blocking-and-workarounds. Netflix in 2019 has completely overhauled how aggressively they police VPN access to their service, and this left a lot of other VPNs in the dust.
So now that we’ve established that ExpressVPN works with Netflix where other companies fail, let’s look more at Express as a whole and what it provides as a VPN.
Aside from Streaming, What Does ExpressVPN Offer?
The primary use of most VPNs is protecting your privacy. While there are plenty of people out there using a VPN almost exclusively to access blocked streaming services, a VPN provides so much more value and protection that pretty much anyone who uses the internet should be using one.
Protecting Your Privacy
When you connect to the internet through your raw ISP, you expose so much information about yourself that you might not even consider:
- Your actual geographic location
- Your online activity, including searches, emails, and downloads
- Your streaming activity
- Purchases you’ve made and businesses you’ve visited
- Personally identifiable information, like social security number, birth date, address, phone number, and primary email address
There are a lot of people who want that information, ranging from businesses who want to sell to you to criminals who want to prey on you. In addition, if you live in a country that is not internet-privacy friendly, the you have to be worried about police and the government spying on you as well. Even your ISP will gather and sell your data to companies, and you have every right to stop that practice.
ExpressVPN has ultra-secure data encryption software, ensuring that none of your information leaks when you connect to their IPs. They are also highly committed to your personally identifiable information, collecting only the most basic client information. They also do not log client activity, something that some VPNs do and which leaves you vulnerable to identification in case the company is ever subpoenaed by a government or law enforcement agency.
Accessing Blocked Content
Naturally this article is about accessing Netflix through a VPN; blocked content is the name of the game. Besides Netflix and streaming services in general, however, there are plenty of other examples of blocked content that ExpressVPN can help you access:
- P2P sharing – though not optimized for it, ExpressVPN can definitely protect you if you aim to torrent
- Gaming – there are some countries that block video games based on the same reasons they block Netflix. Gaming is big business so if your region blocks your favorite game, that can be a big problem and a VPN is a way around that
- Sampling a different region’s streaming services – maybe you’d like to see what kind of shows they have on Japanese Netflix; a VPN will help you use that region’s specific streaming services
- You live in a country where basic things are censored by the government – this one is self-explanatory but there are still many countries that do not let their citizens view raw media without it passing through a governmental lens. A VPN circumvents this unreasonable censorship.
How Does ExpressVPN Match up to Their Competitors?
All VPNs provide similar services:
- Customer service
- App support
And all VPNs share similar potential shortcomings:
- Server coverage
- Added value
We’ve tested ExpressVPN across all of these parameters to ensure that it’s good not only for Netflix but as an all-around VPN provider.
We’ve already touched on this, but Express retains no logs and is based in the British Virgin Islands, which gives it more power to resist governmental inquiries for client information. They accept Bitcoin as well, which further helps protect your privacy if you’d prefer to not pay with a credit card.
This is the cornerstone of why ExpressVPN works with Netflix; they have optimized their IPs to change in response to blocking efforts of streaming companies. This means your streaming should very rarely be interrupted and if it is, it won’t be for very long. In addition, ExpressVPN’s service is optimized to be consistent even when you have multiple devices connected.
ExpressVPN offers top-notch customer service, rivaled only really by NordVPN in terms of scope and turnaround time. Express offers:
- A searchable database of DIY troubleshooting information
- A 24/7 live chat feature for targeted help
- An email-based, ticketed support program
Some VPNs only offer apps for the major devices – iPhone, Android, Windows, and iOS. Express hits these and far more, offering coverage on a wide variety of devices including RaspberryPi, Windows phone, Linux, some routers, and modern versions of smart TV devices like Firestick.
Like all things, pricing on a VPN service can vary. There are free services which will help you get around Netflix’s blocking but will log all of your data and sell it. Others offer a great, low price but they’re unreliable and block P2P sharing, or censored content, or even still log your data.
ExpressVPN doesn’t log any data and blocks nothing, and coupled with their exceptional app coverage and customer support commands a price you might expect for this level of service. While it’s not overly expensive at allfor the service ExpressVPN provides, it is more expensive than most other VPNs.
With that said, however, their pricing is more than fair, at around $99.95/year if paid annually, or $12.95/month if billed monthly. They also have a 30-day money back guarantee which is especially beneficial if this is your first rodeo with a VPN and you’re not sure what to think.
The main downside to ExpressVPN’s pricing structure is the inability to sign up for more than 1 year at a time, something a lot of competitive VPNs offer. It’s far from a dealbreaker though, considering all of the other ways in which Express excels.
Part of the reason why ExpressVPN is more expensive than other VPNs is their dedication to both server coverage and staying ahead of blocking tactics. They have over 2,000 servers in 150+ locations in over 95 countries. Though the bulk of their servers are in the UK and the US, they still have exceptional global coverage that will mean a more reliable connection no matter where you are.
More servers means it’s less likely your VPN will drop suddenly or you’ll experience slowdowns, and that’s a very good thing, particularly when using Netflix.
The reason that speed matters when using a VPN is that routing your connecting through one of these virtual servers will always reduce your upload and download speeds. The key is ensuring that this slowdown is as insignificant as possible. ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN providers that we’ve tested, surpassing their competitors in nearly every location.
Speed matters not just when browsing the internet, but if you’re gaming through a VPN, even a slight reduction in connection speed can make it incredibly aggravating if not impossible to play. Even more pertinent to this article is the fact that if Netflix detects speeds under 1mbps, they will disconnect you.
In fact, if you cannot maintain 1.5mbps connection speed, you won’t be able to reliably use Netflix regardless of the IP-blocking workarounds present. Thankfully ExpressVPN maintains connection speeds of up to 80% of the raw ISP speed, which is blistering in most cases compared to the slowdown with other IPs. Again, you get what you pay for.
This might come as a surprise but many VPNs offer the remote connection and very little else. we already know that ExpressVPN has great customer service, speed, coverage, etc, but they offer other features that absolutely should factor into your choice.
Some of these features include:
- Programmable kill switch – this feature of their app will terminate any or all programs (you set it up) if your connection to the VPN ever drops. This protects your vital, private data from a leak
- Malware blocking – this is becoming more standard, but ExpressVPN offers solid browsing protection from malware, adware, and tracking cookies
- How-to privacy guides – to help you shore up your privacy protection in other aspects of your internet forays
- VPN split tunneling – this allows you to choose which of your device’s traffic goes through the VPN and what is allow to connect directly with the internet
- The ability to speed-test available VPN servers before you connect, so you always get the one you want and which will provide the best service
ExpressVPN Works with Netflix – and All of Your Internet Activity
At this point, you needa VPN to browse the internet just based on the fact that there are countless prying eyes trying to get your data. ExpressVPN will protect your privacy AND allow you to catch up on your favorite shows on your preferred streaming service.
With exceptional customer support, usability on virtually any device, extreme dedication to privacy and protection, and constantly improving infrastructure, ExpressVPN is definitely the king of the proverbial VPN mountain.
Whether you came to ExpressVPN simply to watch Netflix or you started at privacy and ended up at streaming concerns, know that ExpressVPN has your internet VPN needs covered.
What Is the Difference Between a Static IP and a Dynamic IP?
If you’re looking into routing your actualthrough a VPN, you might see the terms “static” and “dynamic” come up.
A static IP is one that is assigned to your device and it never changes. A dynamic IP is the opposite, being assigned by the network you connect to and changing at varying intervals. Dynamic IPs are also the most common type used by devices.
A static IP address is useful in particular with VPNs who have certain IPs that are “whitelisted” to always be considered safe or secure. This runs the risk of also adding more identifiable variables, however. ExpressVPN only uses dynamic IPs, rotating them around their client base in order to further add a layer of complexity to their privacy protection.
Is Installing and Activating a VPN Service Complicated?
Fortunately the days of complicated, cumbersome activation are past us. Most VPNs – including ExpressVPN – will open like any other program and run as soon as they’re downloaded. You won’t need to do anything, as Express will warn you if you’re not connected to a VPN.
Because of their built-in protections, once you’ve downloaded and launched ExpressVPN, you won’t be able to “accidentally” access the internet without routing through the VPN. If the connection to the VPN isn’t available or something is wrong, you’ll get a notification, so there’s very little room for “user error” anymore with VPN applications.