There are many reasons you might want to use a VPN service, from protecting your web access on a public hotspot to blocking trackers, but let’s be honest: probably the number one reason is to bypass geo-restrictions by pretending to be located in another country.
This can apply to YouTube and news websites, where you will sometimes see a message stating that the content you’re trying to access is not available in your country, but top of most people’s lists is Netflix …
Netflix announced a major clampdown on proxy servers earlier this year, and sure enough, most VPN services were soon rendered useless if you were trying to access content in your home market while travelling, or to access content limited to a country other than your own.
I’ve been on the lookout for one that still works with Netflix, and am happy to say that – so far at least – NordVPN does the trick. Only certain servers work with Netflix, and the company has asked me not to share which ones these are, in part because they change regularly (I’ve removed the server number from the screengrab above). It does, though, say that its helpline will always be able to advise the current server numbers to use.
As an aside, there’s a SmartPlay option that’s supposed to automatically select a Netflix-compatible server, but this didn’t work for me: I had to choose one manually.
The company has apps for both Mac and iOS devices. In both cases, it’s worth making the current working servers a Favorite so that you can quickly connect to them. On the Mac app, you do so by hitting the menu icon top-left, selecting Server list and then clicking the heart icon by your chosen server(s).
It’s a similar process in the iOS app, where you select menu > Servers > All servers then select the country you want before scrolling to the specific server and tapping the heart icon.
Once you’ve done this, connecting and disconnecting is extremely easy. On the Mac, you get a menubar icon from where you can instantly connect to your last-used server. To select a different one, click the menubar icon and then select Favorite Servers. On an iOS device, Settings > VPN allows you to toggle on the last server used, while opening the app and selecting menu > Servers displays your favorites.
As is usually the case with VPN services, you’ll generally find that video play starts out fuzzy as it begins buffering, but it’s usually at full quality within the first minute.
NordVPN isn’t the cheapest service out there, starting at $11.95/month for the 1-month plan, while an annual plan for $69 halves the cost to the equivalent of $5.75/month. But if you want a service that works with Netflix, from a company which seems confident it will continue to do so, there’s not a lot of choice out there. Your account allows you to connect up to six devices at any one time.
You can sign-up for a NordVPN account here, with a 30-day money-back guarantee allowing you to test it for yourself without risk.