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Does PIA VPN Work with Netflix? How to Fix It When It’s Not Working

Callum Tennent oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his VPN advice has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society.

Additional Research by Luke Williams

Our Verdict

Private Internet Access (PIA) currently unblocks Netflix in 6 regions, including the US, UK, and India, expanding from its previous limitations to just the USA and Italy. However, it doesn't support regions like Canada and Japan, and isn't compatible with Netflix on Apple TV, game consoles, and Smart TVs. While adequate for Netflix, there are better options available for more libraries and wider device compatibility.

Illustration showing PIA VPN being used to gain an IP address from a different country

Private Internet Access (PIA) has always been a fast and secure VPN, but in the past was disappointing at unblocking geo-restricted Netflix titles. Previously, it could only unblock Netflix USA and Italy.

Thankfully, that’s completely changed. Our latest tests found that PIA VPN unblocks Netflix in 6 regions: Australia, India, Italy, Sweden, UK, and the US.

The process to access any of these Netflix libraries is straightforward: open the PIA VPN app, connect to a server in your desired country, and then launch the Netflix website or app.

To help you unblock Netflix more reliably with PIA VPN, here’s a list of servers that currently work with Netflix:

Netflix Library Compatible PIA VPN Server
Australia Australia Streaming Optimized
India India
Italy IT Streaming Optimized
Sweden SE Streaming Optimized
UK UK Streaming Optimized
US US East Streaming Optimized

How Good Is Private Internet Access for Netflix?

Private Internet Access is a highly-rated VPN overall, and a suitable VPN for Netflix, too. But there are certainly better alternatives available.

PIA with Netflix on macOS

Private Internet Access consistently works with US Netflix

In the rest of this section, we detail the benefits and drawbacks of using PIA with Netflix in more detail.

Doesn’t Unblock as Many Netflix Libraries as Its Rivals

PIA VPN unblocks the following Netflix countries: Australia, India, Italy, Sweden, UK, and US. You can compare these results to other popular VPNs in the table below.

VPN Service Netflix Libraries Accessed Popular Netflix Libraries Accessed
PIA VPN 6 Australia, India, UK, US
ExpressVPN 18 Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, UK, US
Windscribe 32 Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, UK, US
NordVPN 17 Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, UK, US
CyberGhost 10 Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, UK, US
Surfshark 9 Canada, France, India, UK, US

As you can see, PIA VPN accesses far fewer Netflix libraries than its competitors. Unlike the very best options, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Windscribe, it doesn’t work with Netflix in Canada, France, Germany, and Japan.

Fast Global Speeds

Using any VPN will always result in a speed reduction. As you’ll be connecting to PIA servers in different countries, long-distance connection speeds are the most important.

Private Internet Access delivered fast speeds in our Netflix streaming tests. We recorded an average global download speed of 86Mbps (14% speed loss).

Therefore, wherever you’re located, you’ll be able to stream Netflix content in HD or 4K with no buffering or lag.

Here are the download speeds that Netflix requires:

  • 2Mbps for Standard Definition (SD) quality
  • 5Mbps for High Definition (HD) quality
  • 25Mbps for 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) quality

Here are the speeds we recorded with PIA on our 100Mbps connection:

  • Germany: 84Mbps
  • Japan: 85Mbps
  • UK: 90Mbps
  • US: 95Mbps

Despite its adequate speed performance, PIA cannot match the speeds of other top streaming VPNs.

If your baseline internet speed is slow, we recommend considering a faster VPN, like ExpressVPN.

Apps for Most Devices, but Smart DNS Doesn’t Work

You can use Private Internet Access to watch Netflix on your phone, tablet, computer, or TV. The VPN has native apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Fire TV, and Android TV.

PIA's VPN app for Amazon Fire TV

You can use PIA on up to unlimited of these devices at the same time, which is double the allowance of some other popular VPN services.

The VPN also provides browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. These provide a simple and convenient method to quickly change your Netflix region.

However, there are a couple of major drawbacks if you want to use PIA to unblock Netflix on your TV.

Firstly, the VPN’s Smart DNS feature does not unblock Netflix. You won’t be able to easily access geo-blocked Netflix libraries on your PS4 or Smart TV.

To get PIA to work with these devices, you’ll have to install the VPN on your internet router. However, this is a complex setup process, and we only recommend it for advanced VPN users.

Secondly, when using the VPN’s Fire TV app, we were only able to unblock Netflix on 25% of US servers. This is significantly less reliable than its desktop and mobile apps.

The Largest VPN Server Network

Server network size and server locations are important when choosing a VPN for Netflix.

PIA has more servers than any other VPN service. It has 18,651 servers in 91 countries.

Larger server networks make it harder for Netflix to ban each server’s IP address.

In addition, user bandwidth is spread out over a greater range of servers, resulting in minimized server load and faster speeds.

Recently, Private Internet Access even introduced streaming-optimized servers. These servers regularly refresh their IP address, increasing the likelihood of bypassing Netflix’s VPN blocks.

These servers are placed within the general list, and not in a separate part of the app. Just search ‘Streaming’ to find them. They are located in the US, UK, Australia, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Finland, and Sweden.

Sadly, our PIA VPN tests revealed that the Denmark and Finland streaming-optimized servers don’t work with Netflix.

List of streaming servers in the Private Internet Access app

Private Internet Access has dedicated servers for streaming.

Alternative VPNs to PIA for Netflix

Although it’s a reasonable option for streaming Netflix, PIA is not as good as ExpressVPN and some other popular streaming VPNs.

Testing 65 services, we found better VPNs that accessed a larger number of Netflix regions at faster speeds and across more devices.

Here’s a table comparing how the three top Netflix VPNs compare to PIA:

VPN Service Netflix Libaries International Download Speed Servers Cheapest Monthly Price Monthly Data Cap
Private Internet Access 6 86Mbps (14% speed loss) 18,651 $2.03 Unlimited
ExpressVPN 18 85Mbps (15% speed loss) 3,000 $6.67 Unlimited
NordVPN 17 85Mbps (14% speed loss) 5,754 $3.29 Unlimited
PrivadoVPN Free 2 92Mbps (8% speed loss) 14 Free 10GB

ExpressVPN: The Best VPN for Netflix

A computer screen shows Netflix's UK homepage, alongside an ExpressVPN window indicating a London, UK server connection.

ExpressVPN unblocks 18 Netflix libraries, which is 12 more than PIA. It’s one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested and, unlike PIA, has a functioning Smart DNS tool that unblocks Netflix on Smart TVs and games consoles.

The only notable drawbacks are its high price, but it’s worth it for the best Netflix experience.

NordVPN: Good Budget Netflix VPN

Screenshot of NordVPN's New York server unblocking US Netflix.

NordVPN is one of the cheapest VPNs for unblocking Netflix, costing $1 more than PIA.

For that extra cost, you get access to 11 more Netflix libraries, faster speeds, and a Smart DNS feature that works with US Netflix.

Visit NordVPN or read our complete NordVPN review.

PrivadoVPN Free: Free VPN for Netflix

Netflix in the US being accessed with PrivadoVPN, indicating an active VPN connection with an IP address, set to New York, USA.

PrivadoVPN’s free tier can be used without any upfront payment and doesn’t require payment details. It unblocks Netflix in the US and UK. However, download speeds are slow and there’s a monthly data limit of 10GB.

The data cap means you can stream about three hours of video in full HD quality per month, or about half that if you’re streaming in 4K.

You can, however, adjust usage settings to have Netflix stream in the lowest quality, which should give you up to 30 hours of streaming.

How to Fix Private Internet Access Not Working with Netflix

Netflix is constantly taking new steps to prevent VPN users from circumventing its regional restrictions. It does this to comply with the licensing agreements it has with copyright holders.

If Netflix detects that you’re using a VPN, it will only show you its original video content (Netflix Originals). This content is available worldwide, and free of licensing restrictions.

Private Internet Access currently works with 6 Netflix regions, however the situation can change quickly.

If one of the PIA VPN servers we recommend above suddenly stops working, try these fixes to get your VPN working again with Netflix.

1. Connect to a Different Server in the Same Country

In our experience, PIA’s streaming-optimized servers are far more reliable than its standard servers, but they still sometimes fail.

PIA Servers on iOS

The good news is that PIA VPN has the largest network of servers on the market, and we’ve always found one that works in the 6 Netflix countries the VPN can access.

2. Delete Your Browser Cache and Cookies

Many websites log various data, including geolocation, via browser cookies and cache files when you visit them. This happens even when you’re connected to a VPN server.

If you’ve connected to a PIA server that 100% works with Netflix, but you’re still seeing your local library, then deelete your cookies and cache files from your web browser settings.

Once that’s done, refresh the Netflix page or close and reopen the Netflix app. You should now see the content library of the location you’re connected to.

How to clear cookies and cache files in Google Chrome

Clearing cookies and cache files in Google Chrome.

3. Contact Customer Support

In our experience, one of the above methods gets PIA VPN working again with Netflix.

However, if you’re still having problems, it could mean that all the servers you’ve tried have been blocked by Netflix.

If that’s the case, contact PIA’s 24/7 customer support team via live chat. They typically respond quickly and know which servers work with Netflix.

How to Watch Netflix with Private Internet Access

The brief video tutorial below demonstrates how simple it is to use PIA VPN to access geo-restricted Netflix catalogs. In the video, we unblocked Netflix USA from abroad using PIA on desktop:

We’ve also detailed the unblocking process below, so you can follow it step by step

  1. Sign up to Private Internet Access and install the app on your device.
  2. In the app, connect to a server in your chosen Netflix location: for example, to watch US Netflix, connect to a US VPN server.
  3. Launch Netflix.
  4. Start streaming: you can now access previously hidden content. To change your Netflix region, connect to a different server country and refresh Netflix.