At this point, you’ve probably seen dozens of online articles telling you to use a VPN with Netflix to get rid of geo-blocks. You likely know they work and that they’re invaluable tools that let you get the most out of the platform.
But that doesn’t answer all questions – are VPNs safe to use? Will Netflix ban you if you use a VPN? Will VPNs improve your Netflix speeds?
In this article, we’ll focus on the last question. We’d love to answer all of them here, but the article would end up too long that way.
So then, let’s see what the deal with VPNs and Netflix speeds is!
Let’s Get One Thing Straight First – VPNs Don’t Normally Increase Your Speeds
We know some people might have told you they do that. Well, we’re sorry to say that they were wrong.
Please understand this – VPNs aren’t designed to offer faster speeds. They’re completely dependent on your original speeds, so there’s no way for them to do that. If you ever see a VPN provider saying they can increase your speeds, they’re lying to you.
We ran over 100 tests to confirm this. Every single time, our VPN speeds were slower than our original speeds.
That’s not to say we experienced huge slowdowns. On the contrary, we got very smooth speeds (80-100 Mbps). But, regardless of that, it still goes to show that a VPN can’t increase your speeds.
How to Find a Speedy Netflix VPN
There are some things to keep an eye on when picking a VPN:
- The server network – If there are over 1,000 servers, you’ll be more likely to find one that’s not overcrowded and is close to you. That way, you’ll get better speeds.
- The bandwidth – Unlimited data is a must. You don’t want bandwidth caps throttling your speeds or stopping you from watching the next episode of your favorite series.
- The protocols – If the provider only uses OpenVPN, that can be a problem. It’s a pretty slow protocol, so it helps if there are speedier alternatives (L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, and WireGuard).
Still, comparing different providers while keeping those metrics in mind can take a lot of time. Not to mention that you’ll still need to test multiple VPNs to see which one is the fastest.
If you’d like a shortcut, just use StreamCatcher. The site’s main goal is to help you find out where Netflix titles are available (which countries). But that’s not all. StreamCatcher also tells you which VPNs you can use to unblock those titles.
ProPrivacy developed this tool, and they’re a pretty big VPN review site. So, those VPN recommendations are 100% based on their tests. It’s safe to say that the providers which show up on StreamCatcher can’t just unblock Netflix, but are also very fast to boot.
We ran a few speed tests using the VPNs StreamCatcher recommends and got excellent results. Our speeds never decreased by 15-20%.
One Exception When a VPN Might Improve Your Netflix Speeds
We know we said VPNs don’t increase your Netflix speeds, but there is one exception when they might do that. It’s when your ISP throttles your Netflix connections.
Basically, that means they limiting your Netflix speeds if you use too spend too much data on the service. That can happen if you’re nearing your data limits or if the ISP has to reduce network congestion during peak hours.
Well, if you use a VPN, ISPs can’t throttle your bandwidth at all! They won’t be able to inspect your traffic to see that you’re communicating with Netflix. Also, they won’t even know you’re connecting to Netflix in the first place. On their end, they’ll just see an outbound connection to a random IP address (the VPN’s IP).
Sure, they’ll still see how much data you’re using. But since they won’t know you’re using it on Netflix, they won’t be able to selectively slow down your speeds for that site.
So in this situation, yes, a VPN can definitely increase your Netflix speeds.
How to Speed Up a Slow VPN When Using Netflix
Netflix doesn’t really need very fast Internet connection speeds. Still, if you want to binge content in 4K, you will need at least 25 Mbps (ideally more). If your ISP speeds are around 40-50 Mbps, using a VPN could cause noticeable slowdowns.
In that case, try the following tips to improve your speeds:
1. Switch from OpenVPN to Another Protocol
Like we already said, OpenVPN is pretty slow. The protocol is just very resource-intensive. Plus, it’s single-threaded, meaning it will only use one CPU (no matter how many you have).
You’ll likely get much better speeds if you use WireGuard, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2. WireGuard in particular is very fast and has quick connection times.
If you’re stuck with OpenVPN, however, you can improve your speeds a bit by using the UDP network protocol instead of TCP. It’s less stable, but much faster.
2. Try Ethernet Connections
If you use WiFi, you’re prone to get slower VPN speeds if the signal is too weak. But if you connect your device directly to the router via an ethernet cable, you get rid of that problem.
3. Use Servers That Are Close to You
If you use server locations that are too far, you’re bound to experience slower speeds because data packets travel slower.
You can use StreamCatcher to find out where a Netflix title is available to see which locations are nearer. If it’s only available in one country (like the US), try picking server locations (cities) that are closer to your country.
How Else Can You Improve VPN Speeds?
If you know other ways to boost VPN speeds (especially while watching Netflix), please let us know in the comments.
Also, we’d really appreciate it if you could comment with what VPN speeds you usually get (and mention which provider you use too). We’d love to see what the average VPN speeds are for our readers!