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Does Private Internet Access Work with Netflix?

Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

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

Our Verdict

Yes, Private Internet Access streams US Netflix on fast, throttle-free servers. However, the VPN only unblocks six Netflix libraries, and it doesn’t work on PS4 or Smart TVs. Frankly, there are better VPNs than PIA for Netflix.

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

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a fast, secure, and safe VPN. It has a large server network and comes with apps for all major platforms, but can it stream Netflix content from other countries?

Although the VPN service claims it only works with two Netflix regions, our research found that Private Internet Access can stream six Netflix libraries. Using PIA, we were able to unblock Netflix in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Here are the Private Internet Access servers that work with Netflix:

Netflix Library PIA VPN Server
France France
Germany DE Berlin
Italy IT Streaming Optimized
Japan JP Streaming Optimized
UK UK London-Streaming
US US Washington DC

However, there are a few downsides to using PIA for Netflix. Firstly, it doesn’t unblock nearly as many Netflix libraries as some other top VPNs. For example, PrivateVPN and Surfshark work with over 25 more regions.

Private Internet Access also doesn’t have a Smart DNS feature. This means it can’t be installed on streaming devices that don’t allow VPN apps, like PS4 and Apple TV. That said, it does come with apps for Fire TV and Android TV, and can be installed on a router to work with other devices.

Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about watching Netflix with Private Internet Access.

How to Watch Netflix with Private Internet Access

Here’s how to use PIA to stream Netflix:

  1. Sign up to Private Internet Access and install the app.
  2. In the app, connect to a server in your chosen Netflix location: For example, to watch US Netflix, connect to a VPN server in the US.
  3. Launch Netflix.
  4. Start streaming: You will now be able to access previously hidden content. To change your Netflix region, simply connect to a different server and refresh Netflix.

To help you watch Netflix with PIA, we’ve also created a video tutorial:

EXPERT TIP:

Make sure to only connect to the PIA servers that we’ve verified are working with Netflix. Otherwise, you might not be able to access the streaming service.

Is Private Internet Access Good for Netflix?

Private Internet Access Netflix

Private Internet Access works with US Netflix.

Private Internet Access is a good Netflix VPN. It reliably works with Netflix in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Unfortunately though, PIA cannot access Netflix libraries in any other countries, such as the Netherlands, Canada, or Australia.

On the whole, we don’t recommend choosing Private Internet Access if streaming Netflix is your main priority. Better alternatives, like ExpressVPN and Surfshark, work with more Netflix libraries, have faster speeds, and offer a Smart DNS tool.

That said, PIA is a top VPN in other areas. It has the largest server network, a private logging policy, and unmatched encryption features. It’s sufficient if you only want to unblock the most popular Netflix libraries from abroad.

Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of using Private Internet Access with Netflix:

PROS CONS
  • Works reliably with US Netflix
  • Fast speeds for HD streaming
  • Unblocks BBC iPlayer & Prime Video
  • Apps for Fire TV & Android TV
  • Huge server network
  • 24 hour live chat support
  • Only works with 6 Netflix libraries
  • No Smart DNS
  • Unreliable Fire TV application

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

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.

We found that Private Internet Access delivers fast speeds for Netflix streaming. We recorded an average global download speed of 57Mbps. This means that wherever you’re located, you’ll be able to unblock 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 in London, UK:

  • Germany: 94Mbps
  • Japan: 59Mbps
  • UK: 93.38Mbps
  • US: 72Mbps

Despite its sufficient speed performance, PIA cannot match the speeds of other top streaming VPNs. In our most recent speed tests, we found that Private Internet Access is the sixth-fastest VPN, behind NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN.

These results are confirmed by our automated speed test tool. When connecting to the UK from the US, our results show that PIA’s speeds are slower and less reliable.

You can view these results in the graph below:

VPN Speed Performance Comparison Chart

Overall, PIA’s speeds are fast enough to reliably stream Netflix in HD and 4K. However, if your baseline internet speed is slow, we recommend considering a faster VPN, like ExpressVPN or Surfshark.

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 29,643 servers in 78 countries.

Larger server networks make it harder for Netflix to ban each server’s IP address. It also means user bandwidth is spread out over a range of servers, resulting in minimized server load and faster speeds.

Private Internet Access has also recently introduced streaming-optimized servers. These servers regularly refresh their IP address, making them more likely to bypass 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, Italy, Japan, Finland, and Sweden.

However, our tests found that the US, Sweden, and Finland servers don’t work with Netflix.

List of streaming servers in the Private Internet Access app

Private Internet Access has dedicated servers for streaming.

These servers do work more consistently with other popular streaming services, like Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

Strong Privacy & Security

Private Internet Access comes with leading privacy and security features.

The VPN encrypts traffic using the AES-256 cipher and uses Perfect Forward Secrecy. It also operates first-party DNS servers with leak prevention to ensure your ISP, as well as any other third parties, are unable to view your browsing history.

The Private Internet Access app, showing how you can customize your VPN encryption settings.

PIA’s app allows you to choose the level of encryption.

For Netflix streaming, the biggest drawback of PIA’s privacy and security features is that it has no native support for network obfuscation.

This means it’s unable to fully mask the fact that network traffic is being rerouted through the VPN. Thus, Netflix may be able to identify VPN connections and block them, as it is already doing for libraries in Canada, Australia, and other regions.

Apps for Most Devices, but No Smart DNS

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.

You can use PIA on up to ten 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.

PIA VPN's app for Fire TV.

PIA provides apps for all major platforms.

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

Firstly, the VPN does not offer any Smart DNS feature. This means you won’t be able to easily access geo-blocked Netflix libraries on your PS4 or Apple 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. We encourage PIA to issue a fix for this as soon as possible.

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.

When it detects that you’re using a VPN, Netflix will only show you its original TV shows and movies. This content is available worldwide, so it doesn’t have to abide by the same licensing restrictions.

In this section we provide some workarounds to get Private Internet Access to work with Netflix.

1. Verify the server location

When you run PIA, it will automatically connect to a server, usually the one closest to you. However, if you want to watch a foreign Netflix library, you will need to connect via a server in that country.

Make sure you’re connected to a server in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, or Japan, since these are the only Netflix libraries PIA works with.

2. Connect to a different server in the same country

We found in our tests that PIA wasn’t always able to unblock Netflix US on all of its servers. This was especially true when we were using the app for Amazon Fire TV.

To get PIA working with Netflix, try connecting to another server in the same region. PIA has thousands of servers in the US, so you will eventually find one that works.

To see which Private Internet Access’ servers are currently working with Netflix, see our table.

3. Use PIA DNS

Make sure you are using Private Internet Access’ DNS servers and not your ISP’s default ones. Otherwise, Netflix will more easily detect your true location.

To enable this, in the PIA app go to Settings > Network > Name Servers > Built-in Resolver. Then, refresh Netflix or relaunch the app.

4. Contact customer support

One of the above methods should get PIA working with Netflix. But if you’re still having problems, there may be an issue with your connection.

In this case, contact the VPN’s customer support team. Private Internet Access offers a good level of customer service via 24/7 live chat, email, and online guides.

5. Get a VPN that will Access Netflix

PIA works with Netflix, but it’s far from the best VPN we’ve tested. In the next section, we’ll tell you about alternative VPNs that work more reliably.

How Does Private Internet Access Compare to Other Netflix VPNs?

Although PIA is a reasonable option for streaming Netflix, there are far better choices. During our testing of over 68 services, we found better VPNs that were able to stream a larger number of Netflix libraries with faster speeds.

For a detailed comparison, see our list of the best VPNs for Netflix. For now, here’s a table comparing how three top Netflix VPNs compare to PIA:

VPN Service
Netflix Libaries
Speed
Servers
Cheapest Monthly Price
Monthly Data Cap
ExpressVPN
19
88Mbps
3,000
$6.67
Unlimited
Surfshark
31
85Mbps
3,200
$2.49
Unlimited
Windscribe Free
10
{{speed_local_free-dlwindscribe}}
10
Free
10GB
Private Internet Access
6
98Mbps
29,643
$2.08
Unlimited

ExpressVPN: The Best VPN for Netflix

The new ExpressVPN logo
ExpressVPN unblocks 19 Netflix libraries, including the US. It’s one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested and, unlike PIA, offers a Smart DNS to unblock Netflix on an Apple TV or PS4.

While PIA doesn’t use any server obfuscation techniques, ExpressVPN uses it to hide VPN traffic among regular HTTPS traffic.

The only notable drawbacks are its high price and the fact it doesn’t unblock the popular Netflix libraries of South Korea and India.

Visit ExpressVPN or read our full ExpressVPN Review.

Surfshark: Good Budget Netflix VPN

Surfshark
Surfshark is one of the cheapest VPNs for unblocking Netflix, and it consistently unblocks 31 Netflix libraries. It delivers fast speeds across its server network, has an impressive app for Amazon Fire TV, and even works on game consoles.

Though it does have a much smaller server network than PIA, we found that almost all the servers worked with Netflix. We were also able to stream other popular sites, like Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.

If you want a cheap way to watch a huge number of Netflix libraries, Surfshark is a great choice.

Visit Surfshark or read our full Surfshark Review.

Windscribe Free: The Best Free VPN for Netflix

Windscribe Free logo in our Windscribe Free VPN review
It is possible to stream Netflix with a free VPN, but Windscribe is the only viable option. 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.

Visit Windscribe or read our full Windscribe Review.

Bottom Line: PIA Works with Netflix

Private Internet Access is a good VPN if you’re mainly interested in accessing the US Netflix library from anywhere.

The service also unblocks other popular streaming services like BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video. Its private logging policy also makes it a great choice for those primarily concerned with online security and privacy.

However, since PIA only reliably unblocks six Netflix libraries, and it isn’t particularly fast on long-distance connections, it’s not the best choice if streaming is your main goal.

Additional research by Luke Williams

About the Author


  • Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent

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