The 3 Best VPNs for Netflix in 2021: Global Streaming Made Easy

by
Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 2 Nov 2021

The 3 Best VPNs for Netflix in 2021

Isn’t it annoying to see that a movie is available on Netflix, but not in your country’s Netflix catalogue? If you want to make the most of your Netflix subscription, you should try to access the content available for other countries, too. How is that possible? By using the right VPN for Netflix, of course!

Finding a reliable VPN to allow you to stream shows from Netflix is not easy. Many of the VPNs that claim to be untraceable and to allow access to servers all over the world don’t even let you load 10 seconds of a show. Talk about frustrating.

Some VPNs will allow you access, but then let you down with poor speeds and unreliable servers. As Netflix rolls out higher definition streaming it is even more vital that you get fast speeds.

In this guide, we’ve summed up the three very best Netflix VPNs to let you access different versions of the service, or easily get online from geo-blocked locations.

The Top 3 VPNs for Netflix – Pros and Cons

ExpressVPN

Below you can see the pros and cons of ExpressVPN. For more information, check out our full review.

Pros

Cons

Excellent customer support with different options for contacting the company. More expensive than many competitors
Over 3,000 servers in a variety of locations with different Netflix services. Limits the number of devices you can connect
Great compatibility and a user-friendly client app for all devices. Browser extensions only work if you have the ExpressVPN client app
Good performance is maintained through their servers, with very few failing to offer high speeds in tests. Not easy to find all the information about the business background and practices.
The service is focused on privacy and can offer users a good level of browsing and streaming security.

NordVPN

Another huge name in the world of VPNs, which we have also reviewed in more detail. A summary of the pros and cons include:

Pros

Cons

High speeds across a variety of different servers.  The subscription price is quite high compared to some competitors.
Excellent privacy and security features and functions. Tutorials on the website aren’t the most beginner-friendly.
RAM-only servers and SmartDNS service. The Windows client app is not that impressive and can be tough to use.
An audited zero logs service to protect your privacy.

Surfshark

Our industry experts have named Surfshark the “best bang for your buck”. You can check out the pros and cons of this VPN here:

Pros

Cons

Great VPN speeds offered that make it easy to stream from Netflix. The available features depend on which platform you use.
Unlimited devices connecting to the VPN from one account. Split tunnelling showed some ISP and DNS leaks on ipleak.net
Over 3,000 servers including servers in areas with high censorship. No option for private DNS support.
Client apps can keep a uniform theme no matter which platform you are using.
Surf Alert and Search are available for 0.99 USD a month, allowing you to avoid being tracked in searches and ads.

Why Netflix Geoblocks Content (and Why it Isn’t Easy to Unblock)

Most of us have experienced the annoyance of knowing that a show is available in another country but not our home country. There are a number of reasons why Netflix blocks content. In fact, it is pretty common. If you’ve logged into Netflix when you are abroad you might have noticed a load of different shows. Jealous?

Geo-blocking can be for a few different reasons. Some content could be illegal or more closely censored in a certain region. Alternatively, content might be blocked to avoid price discrimination. 

The most common reason is simply due to licensing and copyright. Obtaining the rights to a show can be complex, especially on a global scale. Other companies may have exclusive deals to show something in their country, meaning Netflix can’t broadcast it in those regions. They might be able to obtain the rights to broadcast in the UK but not in the US.

There are similar licensing issues on other streaming services, especially sports broadcasting, one of the many reasons people turn to VPNs.

But getting any old free VPN isn’t going to do the job. Netflix has wised up to a lot of the methods people use to access shows. You may have started to see a message like this when you log in:Accessing Netflix using old free VPNs gives error message

Netflix has identified many servers and IP ranges used by some of the top VPN services. It set about blocking regional content for any device that appeared to be sending traffic from a VPN server or IP address. 

This is basically a game of chase. Netflix is trying to identify traffic from VPNs and block it, but some VPNs, including those listed here, are ahead of the game. Many have multiple streaming servers that they can use to work around the new Netflix blocking techniques and ensure access for customers.

ExpressVPN – The Best VPN For Netflix Overall

Our in-depth research found that ExpressVPN is the best option for those who want to access Netflix through a VPN, as well as accessing a lot of other streaming services. Express really lives up to the name. Let’s dive into the aspects of this VPN and what we found so impressive.

Servers

ExpressVPN has an impressive set of over 3,000 servers, accessible from 160 locations in almost 100 countries.

One of the reasons why we were so impressed is the fact that the service doesn’t just restrict you to a few specific “streaming servers” like some VPNs. Our team tried streaming in loads of countries including Brazil, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, the US, and Canada.

A few of the servers did start to buffer and struggle with HD streaming, but the majority did a great job of instantly unblocking Netflix and allowing smooth playback. Around 3% of the servers offer virtual server locations while the rest are physical locations.

You can check out a full list of ExpressVPN servers on their website. This is especially useful as not all of the servers support all of the features, so you can see which features are available in different locations. For example, the L2TP/IPSec protocol isn’t available in every country. Poland is a notable omission. These are minor details, and provide no inconvenience for most users, but it is still worth checking if you can access the server features you require.

ExpressVPN = Express Speeds?

The speed offered to customers is one of the areas where ExpressVPN really excels. We were able to sometimes get download speeds of up to 90 Mbps, plenty for streaming in high-quality from Netflix, and for a variety of other uses.

Upload speeds were far more variable with ExpressVPN, but servers in major cities tend to perform better for uploading.

Express does live up to the name when it comes to retaining speed. When we performed tests with a 4G WiFi connection of 20Mbps; these were the results.Screenshot of test performed with a 4G WiFi connection of 20Mbps

As noted, we did see speeds up to 90 Mbps in our tests on some of the servers. People who need the lightning-quick VPN connections for streaming may be limited to specific servers, but speeds are always pretty variable when it comes to VPNs.

Platforms and Support

You can watch Netflix from so many different devices and platforms now, so you need your VPN to keep up. ExpressVPN has support for mainstream platforms like Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS, as well as some less mainstream devices like consoles.

The VPN can be installed directly onto a router, and it can also allow work with Xbox, Playstation (no new gen support) and even Fire Sticks.

ExpressVPN has a long list of the platforms they support and how you can configure your devices. This is incredibly useful for setting up all of the devices in your home and accessing your favorite shows.

ExpressVPN Pricing – Worth The Expense?

ExpressVPN is certainly not one of the cheapest models on the market. All of those features and quick servers come at a price.

The memberships can be paid for monthly, six-monthly, or annually, and the longer you subscribe for, the cheaper it gets. This is the way most VPN providers approach things as they try and get you to subscribe for longer and ultimately get you to part with more cash.

The costs work out at the following: 

1 month – $12.95 /month
6 months – equivalent of $9.99 /month
12 months – equivalent of $8.32 /month

There are some special promotions from time to time. We’ve seen the company offer three months free if you go for their 12 month package. Not bad at all. 

It’s not the most expensive VPN we’ve seen, but it is a long way from being one of the cheapest. It’s in the upper range of prices, especially if you are going to pay monthly. 

One downside is the fact that there isn’t a free trial period as such. If you want to sign up then you have to part with your cash. Fortunately, if you aren’t satisfied with the service there is a “no questions asked” policy on refunds within 30 days. 

You can get your money back and not have to jump through loads of hoops to do so, but this is not as appealing as a free trial. There is also no option to pay for a lifetime membership. No biggie for most of us, but it is worth remembering.

How to Sign Up and Use ExpressVPN For Netflix?

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and enjoy this speedy VPN, you can head to the brand’s signup page. Do this before you download the client app, no matter what device you’re using.

The signup page can be seen below:Screenshot of ExpressVPN signup page with subscription plans and payment options

You can enter your email address and preferred payment method and get started super quickly. It’s that express speed again!

A lot of people who buy VPNs have plenty of data and privacy concerns. Sound like you? Well, the good news is that ExpressVPN offers plenty of different payment options, including Bitcoin for those who want to stay mindful of privacy. 

On top of this, you can even use a unique email address for the account to retain those levels of privacy. 

Upon payment, you are directed to a page which links you to the right VPN client for your device. 

You can access ExpressVPN on whichever device you need to. For a start, we downloaded the PC client app, as it is easier to run the account activation. Download and run the setup file and follow the steps to install.

You’ll then be met with a screen where you can sign in with the account details you created:a screenshot to sign in with the account details you created

Once you have signed in with your details, the last step before your device is ready is to enter the activation code that came with your membership. Activating ExpressVPN using activation code

If you use “Sign In with Email Sign-In Link” you won’t even need to enter the code.

You’re then met with a screen like this, showing that you are ready to connect.Screenshot of the ExpressVPN screen of smart location of a suitable server

You’re ready to go.

For Mac users, the steps are almost identical. There’s a guide to ExpressVPN for Mac to help you through the process.

Instead of getting a .exe file, you can download the .dmg file needed to install the client app on your computer. Upon creating an account, you’ll receive access to all of the client apps for Mac, Windows, Linux, and more.

There are no additional steps to prepare for logging into Netflix other than connecting to a server in the locality you want to connect.

Netflix is getting better at detecting when people are jumping around locations, so our advice is to check your speeds first. There are plenty of speed test checkers out there. This is far better than trying to use a server and finding that it doesn’t have the speed for streaming, which increases the likelihood of Netflix detecting your connection “jumping around” different locations.

How to Install ExpressVPN on Mobile?

ExpressVPN’s app is one of the easiest to find on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

You can navigate directly to the apps from your device. Below is the App store icon. You just need to follow the usual steps to install the app. Screenshot of ExpressVPN’s app store icon on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store

You’ll see that it is “Free” but “Offers In-App Purchases”. That’s because the company provides a free app version with very limited features.

To access the full version, you can sign in with your account details within the app. If you have purchased the app with an email address that is different from the email address you use for your App Store or Google Play Store account, make sure you log in with those credentials. Otherwise, the app will not detect that you have a membership.

Don’t make the mistake of buying any in-app purchases as you don’t need to if you already have a membership. Follow ExpressVPN’s guidelines to install the app if you have any concerns.

How to Use Netflix With ExpressVPN?

Using Netflix with ExpressVPN is really straightforward once you have connected to a server. Unlike some VPNs, you don’t have to connect to a specific server type to use streaming services. 

Some VPNs boast hundreds or even thousands of servers that are as much use as a chocolate fireguard if you want to stream. This is not the case with ExpressVPN, which is one of the reasons why we recommend it so highly.

So, before logging into Netflix, you just need to connect via the client app. The “click to connect” button takes care of this. The VPN will automatically use “smart location” to find a suitable server near you, but this is easy to change. Remember, the location will dictate which version of Netflix you are met with when you load, so choose a country that fits the bill.Screenshot of the ExpressVPN screen of smart location of a suitable server

After you have connected, the next task is simply to log in to Netflix and start streaming the next hit show, or that weird documentary you want to watch that is only available in Australia!

Troubleshooting Issues on Netflix

If you’ve got any trouble with streaming on Netflix with ExpressVPN, we’re about to give you some solid, but predictable advice: “Turn it off and then on again”. You may need to close Netflix and reopen the app, or log in again on a different window.

This isn’t always the case, but we found that your existing session can play a part. For instance, if you’re already logged in on the UK version, changing to a US server doesn’t automatically switch the version of Netflix. Closing the app or browser window should close the connection altogether so you’ll get the right region when you reopen.

Many issues boil down to the server. Sometimes the speeds might be causing you frustration (this is rare with ExpressVPN, which is…well, express). Also, location is vital as we’ve already discussed.

Clicking on the “Current Location” button will bring up this intuitive window. A screenshot of search for a location, by region or by country

You can search for a location, or you can select by region and then by country. It couldn’t be easier to give Netflix the slip and appear to be in a different location. If you’re not getting the speeds you wished for, many countries have multiple servers, so you can switch to try and get those 8K videos loading in no time!

NordVPN for Netflix – A Close Second-Best With Some Excellent Features

NordVPN is one of the biggest networks of any VPN in the world, and for Netflix, it is undeniably one of the best. Whether you’re looking to watch the latest British dramas, or even access Bollywood classics on the Indian version of Netflix, NordVPN can accommodate.

Servers – Spoilt For Choice

NordVPN is an amazing choice for people who don’t live in the US and want to access streaming services in the country. There are currently over 1,600 US servers in their network. Mind blown.

The VPN has over 5200 servers in 60 countries around the world, and there are even some in places with strict internet usage guidelines such as Asia and the UAE. There’s also a server in Hong Kong you can use. 

If you just want to use Netflix with your VPN then you won’t find yourself restricted at all. Our tests accessed 14 versions of Netflix and different catalogs, all using the NordVPN servers.

It’s safe to say NordVPN is leading the fight against censorship. If a person lives in a country with heavy censorship, they can ask for a free membership.

High-Speed Connections with NordVPN

We were really impressed by the speeds on offer by NordVPN. This screenshot is obtained using a connection of 20 Mbps, so you can see that connecting via the server didn’t cause any great hindrance, especially with the download speeds.Screenshot of NordVPN speedtest using a connection of 20 Mbps

Check out these impressive speeds from a UK server, too:Screenshot of NordVPN speeds from a UK server

Those kinds of speeds are more than enough to stream in the highest definition that Netflix offers. NordVPN won’t get in the way of what you’re trying to do online (unless you’re playing loads of games on the cloud while watching ultra HD videos).

Platforms

NordVPN boasts many robust client apps. In our testing, we found it really straightforward to connect on modern devices, though if you are running legacy versions of Mac, Windows, or other platforms then you might find some issues. For instance, Mac users need to be using iOS 10.0 or newer.

Other platforms include:

  • Windows 7 and higher
  • Android 5.0 and higher
  • Fire TV
  • Linux including Ubuntu and Debian OS
  • Chrome and Firefox extensions
  • iOS 11 and higher

You can also install the VPN directly onto some compatible routers. The only potential improvement would be including a version for games consoles.

Pricing

NordVPN follows a similar pricing structure to a lot of the other VPNs on the market, and it can get a little complicated.

As expected, the longer you sign up for, the more discounts you get per month. All of their plans offer the same in terms of functions and access to servers.

1-month plan: $11.95 a month, billed monthly.
1-year plan: $4.92 a month, billed at $59 upfront.
2-year plan: $3.71 a month, billed at $89 upfront.

This all sounds great, but you should keep in mind the fact that it is possible to get stung by your subscription. After your one or two year plan has expired, it will automatically revert to a one-year plan costing $119 a year. Much more pricey than the promotional pricing.

That said, signing up for two years for an incredible $3.71 per month represents exceptional value. You also get a 30-day money-back guarantee if there’s anything you don’t like about it.

How to Sign Up and Get NordVPN For Netflix?

You’ll see that wherever you access on the site, there is a “Get NordVPN” button in the top right-hand corner.Screenshot of NordVPN website with "Get NordVPN” button highlighted in the top right-hand corner

Clicking this will take you to a checkout page with the option of monthly, yearly, or two-yearly membership.

Choose your plan before clicking “Continue to Payment”.Screenshot of choose your plan page with “Continue to Payment” button highlighted

From here, you can create your account credentials, and choose from a variety of payment methods including Bitcoin for the ultimate in anonymity.Screenshot of NordVPN checkout page to create account credentials, and a variety of payment methods including Bitcoin

Installing NordVPN to Use With Netflix

Downloading and installing NordVPN is incredibly simple. You can install it and use it simultaneously on up to six devices. On the “download” page of the NordVPN website you can access all of the different client apps and download them for free.Screenshot of the “download” page of the NordVPN website with all of the different client apps for free

This downloads a .exe install file, and you can simply double-click it to install, following the on-screen instructions.

If you download the Mac version, the exact same process is required, however, instead of downloading a .exe file, you download the .dmg file to install your VPN. It’s incredibly straightforward.

Downloading NordVPN on a Mobile Device

NordVPN has compatibility with both iOS and Android. If you just want to use your VPN app on your phone or tablet, you can even pay for your membership as an in-app purchase, but we recommend taking the appropriate steps to get a membership on the NordVPN site and then logging in with your credentials.

Links to the up-to-date apps are easy to locate on the site for both iOS and for Android.

Here’s what the App Store icon looks like:Screenshot of NordVPN apple store icon for your iPhone or iOS device

You can install the app by hitting the “Get” button when visiting the app store on your iPhone or iOS device.

The app is almost identical to download and install as the Android app on the Google Play Store. Here, you can hit the “Install” button and follow the instructions to download.Screenshot of NordVPN the Android app on the Google Play Store

Once you’ve downloaded the app either on Android or iOS, simply log in with the credentials you used when signing up for your account. This means the email and password associated with your NordVPN account. It should detect your membership and you’re ready to go.

The app has some advanced functions that others don’t, including auto-connect, dark mode, and a web monitoring feature.

Using Netflix With NordVPN

Whether you’re using an iPhone, an Android Tablet, or a Laptop, the first step is to log into your NordVPN account and connect to a server in the location that will bring you the Netflix catalog you want. There’s no point in connecting from Thailand if you want to get those new US shows.

Once you’re logged in, check your speed to ensure you’ve got plenty of streaming capacity. 0.8 Mbps isn’t going to cut it. Fortunately, most NordVPN servers will give you some impressive speeds capable of bringing you HD crispness.

Now, when you log into Netflix, you should be met with the localized catalog to access the shows you want.

Troubleshooting Netflix Connection Issues With NordVPN

If you don’t get the local version you’re hoping for, it can usually be resolved by changing servers.

There is a slim chance that Netflix might detect that your connection is “jumping around” and being used in multiple locations, and prevent you from using the service, and some servers do get blocked from time-to-time, but this is a rare issue for NordVPN.

This drop down menu in the client app lets you choose a different server within the same country.Screenshot of NordVPN drop down menu highlighted in the client app to choose a different server within the same country

Switch servers, reopen Netflix, and your issues will normally be solved. As if by magic.

One further potential issue to be aware of is connecting via Microsoft Edge. Netflix often failed on this browser, probably because of Edge’s DNS over HTTPS settings. It’s no huge issue as you can connect using another browser.

Surfshark VPN – An Alternative With Bite

Surfshark is a new kid on the block, but it’s making waves. (No more shark puns, I promise).

Surfing the Servers

Surfshark has over 3,200 servers for you to choose from, with a selection of 65 countries, many of which have their own Netflix catalogs. You can access 15 Netflix catalogs including the United States, UK, Germany, and South Korea. Surfshark’s excellent support is one of the best things about the service. They offer tutorials on connecting and troubleshooting Netflix issues.

Unfortunately, we did come across issues on some of the Surfshark servers, with Netflix detecting that we were using a VPN. More on how to fix this below.

Speeds

The speeds on the network were not mind-blowing, especially not if you love quick internet speeds as much as we do. Getting 100 Mbps (as we did with NordVPN) really got our hearts racing.

However, the speeds across the servers were reliable and acceptable for streaming in the majority of locations. Though we only saw speeds of around 6 Mbps in India, most other locations gave us over 25 Mbps, which meant reliable streaming in HD whether we connected to the German or US Netflix.

These were our speeds in Berlin:Screenshot of Surfshark VPN speedtest for New York server

And the speeds in London:Screenshot of Surfshark VPN speedtest for Tokyo server

Platforms

Surfshark is really impressive when it comes to compatibility and platforms. All three of the options on this list provide you with multiple options for streaming Netflix, but Surfshark has the most.

As well as the usual platforms such as Windows 7, 8, and 10, and MacOS 10.12 and above, Linux is also supported. Of course, iOS and Android are also options with client apps for both.

If you’re running older versions of Windows, using OpenVPN can allow you to use it on Windows XP and Vista machines, in case you’re one of the three people still using them!

On top of that, there is the option to install on officially supported routers from Asus, DD-WRT and Tomato., and on Xbox, Playstation, and Smart TVs. This can be very useful for quick connection to Netflix without having to boot up your Laptop or use your phone’s battery life (they always die too quickly, right?)

Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge apps complete the set meaning you can protect virtually any device you can imagine with the Surfshark VPN.

Pricing – Don’t Get Caught Out

The pricing structure Surfshark offers means that you need to be a little bit cautious. It’s possible to end up paying over the odds.

The price if you pay monthly is the “full” price, which is $12.95 monthly, and this is pretty pricey by the standards of any VPN.

Check out the plans below to see how much you can save if you’re willing to commit to a longer membership. Remember that you get a 30-day money-back guarantee, too.

Plan duration Monthly price Discount Savings (total)
1 month $12.95 0% 0
6 months $6.49 50% $38.76

(over 6 months)

2 years $2.49 81% $251.04 

(over 24 months)

Surfshark is resold on loads of other platforms. This can actually make it more expensive. If you pay for a membership via the App Store it could cost $16.99 per month for exactly the same product. 

It makes sense to get your shark radar out and have a look around for the best price on the resellers, as there are promotions from time to time.

Capture the Shark – How to Get Surfshark

Wherever you go on the website, you can see the “Get Surfshark” button following you around. If you’ve made the decision to sign up, click the button to be met with this page:Surfshark subscription page on website, with payment options

Choose your plan, and whether you are going to sign up for Surfshark Alert & Search to help to protect your search data and personal data (this has an extra cost).

You can then choose your payment method, and opt for a credit card, or one of the more anonymous options such as crypto currencies. This shark is pretty flexible.

Next, download the client app for your platform (this is the Windows version, but the Mac version is available as a .dmg file). Follow the instructions to install the .exe or the .dmg file and your app will be ready to use.Surfshark app for window version, log in button and connect manually button highlighted

You also have the option to connect manually, which you can see at the bottom. Lurking underneath like…a shark (sorry). This lets you manually input the details of your credentials, and the hostname or IP of the VPN location you want. You can also choose your connection protocol. For beginners, we recommend skipping this.

When you’ve logged in, the “Connect” button will automatically connect you to a fast server.Screenshot of Shurfshark app with connect button and location window highlited

For Netflix users, you’re going to want to find a server in a specific location. The “Locations” tab brings up this menu. You can even save servers to your favorites. 

Mobile Users – Connecting Via iOS or Android

It’s easy to find the Surfshark apps on both the Google Play Store and on the App Store.Surfshark apps on both the Google Play Store and on the App Store

Remember the advice from our pricing section. With some VPNs it doesn’t really make much of a difference to your wallet whether you sign up directly in the app, but Surfshark is almost always more expensive that way. 

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can manually log in with the details you used to sign up via the website, and you’ll be ready to roll.Surfshark apps on phone with first screen before login

Surfshark has a detailed instructions page for iPhone and for Android. It’s foolproof. Once you’re in, you can head to the “Locations” tab to pick a server.Surfshark apps on phone with location screen after login

 

Connecting to Netflix (and Troubleshooting Issues)

Once you’ve connected to a server in the desired location, either on the desktop client app or on mobile, you can open Netflix and sign in with your usual account. 

There are some servers within Surfshark that Netflix may detect and prevent you from using. If this happens, it’s time to go back to the “Locations” tab and find another server.Screenshot of Surfshark locations server tab 

In some scenarios, you’ll have to close Netflix and reopen the site so that it loads the local version based on the VPN server you’ve connected to.

Conclusion – Which VPN Will Open Up a World of Netflix Shows?

All three of the options on this list have been chosen specifically for Netflix after some painstaking comparison and testing (well, at least we got to watch cool Netflix shows).

ExpressVPN offers some excellent speeds, as does NordVPN, and Surfshark has excellent compatibility, including with Smart TVs. It’s all about matching up the ideal VPN to your needs and for compatibility with your devices. Make the right choice and you can be watching that British drama everyone’s been talking about in a few minutes!

FAQs

My Netflix VPN is not working?

The most common reason for Netflix VPNs not working is that Netflix has detected that you are accessing it via a VPN server. Try to connect via a different server from the same location. Alternatively, your speeds could be so slow that you can’t access Netflix. Check that you are connected to a server that is quick enough to stream a show.

What is the best free VPN for Netflix?

We can’t really recommend any free VPNs for Netflix, as they tend not to be very good for streaming service. They’re normally unstable, with poor speeds, and they may be detected by Netflix.

How to watch Netflix USA in India?

To access the USA catalog from India, connect to a US server via your VPN before you load Netflix, and it should bring you the US version of the site.

How to unblock Netflix?

To unblock Netflix, connect to your VPN, and a server in the relevant location, before loading the app or connecting to the website.

What is the best VPN for Netflix?

ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN all come with high recommendation, allowing you to access from over a dozen locations with quick speeds.

Why do I need a VPN for Netflix?

A Netflix VPN lets you watch shows that are restricted and limited to certain countries due to rights issues, or connect to Netflix from countries that have strict web laws.

What do I do if my Netflix is buffering when using a VPN?

This is probably happening due to poor server speeds. Try connecting to a quicker server. If you’re really in a tough spot, you could also try watching Netflix in a lower definition, but this is less than ideal.