private internet access netflix

Private Internet Access-Netflix: Does PIA Work With Netflix in 2021?

Netflix has to compete with other distribution channels for the right to provide you with the shows and movies you love. As a result, you may not always be able to access the content you want. When you connect to a VPN (virtual private network) like Private Internet Access, Netflix can’t see the actual country you are in anymore, which allows you to access larger Netflix libraries.

Not all Netflix libraries are created equal. Some provide far more shows for you to enjoy. Someone streaming Netflix in the U.S. can enjoy thousands more shows than subscribers in Vietnam. It’s frustrating knowing Netflix has geoblocked you, while others are watching Netflix with few or no restrictions. A VPN service can open the door to U.S. Netflix and much more.

Whether you are a Netflix master or a padawan learner, there may come a day when you need a helping hand from a VPN like PIA to create a Netflix workaround. By cloaking your true location from Netflix, PIA says they can help unblock Netflix streaming content in other countries. 

This bold claim needed to be tested. Could PIA be the guardian of Netflixers around the globe? Does it have the power needed to protect the right to go Netflixing whenever, but more importantly, wherever you please? (Obviously, standards of socially acceptable behavior apply.) 

superhero kid
Is Private Internet Access the superhero VPN we’ve all been waiting for?

Can PIA fly in the face of Netflix’s anti-VPN measures, designed to prevent VPNs from working with Netflix? In this article, I explain how using a VPN service like PIA works with Netflix, and what to do when you find that PIA is not working to your satisfaction. 


Private Internet Access: Netflix Unleashed?

This test was prompted in part by the news that a new and improved version of PIA hit the market in June 2021. In the past, VPN services struggled to work with Netflix. 

First impressions were good. PIA now looks and feels like a premium VPN service. I wanted to know how the investment in more modern VPN technology and other infrastructure upgrades would impact PIA’s speed and performance, and whether or not it would help with streaming Netflix in different countries.

PIA homepage
PIA looks like a premium VPN…the question is, does it work like one?

In the world of VPNs, there are dozens of similar products to choose from, and many make the same claims. At first glance, PIA looks well-positioned for circumventing the Netflix VPN ban. Much of this success is down to its network. 

PIA users have access to over 28,000 VPN servers that could potentially allow them to unblock Netflix in more than 70 different countries. I took advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee to see if I could stream Netflix with PIA and test whether or not I could watch Netflix in different places.


Quick Guide: How to Use Private Internet Access With Netflix

1. Choose a PIA plan

Before you can use PIA, you will need to purchase a plan (if you don’t already have one). Choose from a monthly, annual and triennial (three year) contract. Select the subscription you want, choose your payment method and download the version of the app best suited to your streaming device.

PIA pricing

2. Log in and take a tour

Log in using your email credentials and take a tour if you are new to VPNs. Private Internet Access provides an uncomplicated and user-friendly interface. Central to its design is a power button and a section indicating the server connection PIA recommends. Just click the power button and you’ll be connected. 

pia new interface2

3. Choose the appropriate server

However, if you want access to different servers, click the arrow to the right of the current server to access the complete PIA server list. For example, if you want access to U.S. Netflix, type “US” into the search bar bar and you will be provided with a list of U.S. servers. Once again, the fastest servers will top the list.

PIA server list

What to Do if PIA Is Not Working With Netflix

Even the best VPNs encounter issues trying to unblock Netflix. I didn’t encounter the dreaded proxy error message during my PIA Netflix test, but it does appear from time to time when you try to access Netflix with PIA. 

Netflix Unblocker error
I think you are going to need another server.

The easiest solution to PIA not working is to disconnect the VPN and reconnect to a different server. This will switch IP addresses and (hopefully) allow you to watch Netflix.

There are other straightforward solutions if you fail to unblock Netflix. In some cases your IP address might not change. If this happens, you won’t get access to the Netflix libraries you want. Check your current IP address under “recent device streaming activity.” If this shows an IP address for your current location, disconnect and try a different server. 

Choose a different protocol
What we’ve got here is a failure to connect.

Sometimes you might need to switch between PIAs WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols to find out which works best. It’s a good idea to check these before you connect. Occasionally, you might need to check the firewall settings. Antivirus and firewall software may block PIA’s ability to access Netflix. See if switching off your firewall and antivirus software helps.


Which PIA Servers Unblock Netflix?

For the purpose of this test, I chose the 10 countries with large Netflix libraries where Private Internet Access has servers available. I picked the fastest servers in each location (lowest latency score), as speed is always a factor when streaming. 

After connecting to the first Private Internet Access Netflix server I wanted to test, I cleared the cache on my browser and logged in to Netflix. I then checked my account settings to ensure it was showing an IP address that matched my server’s location. 

shutter island terrible ending
Surely, I will get a better ending with this Private Internet Access-Netflix pairing.

Once I was happy that I was logged in to the Netflix library of my chosen country, I tested the first title that appeared on the “home,” “TV shows,” “movies” and “new & popular” pages. I left this streaming for two to three minutes to test if the connection was strong enough to work with Netflix. Here are the results of the Private Internet Access-Netflix matchup:

Country:Test ServerNetflix AccessReliability Level
U.S.Las VegasYesHigh
SingaporeSingaporeYesHigh
JapanStreaming OptimizedYesHigh
CanadaVancouverYesHigh
NetherlandsNetherlandsYesHigh
GermanyFrankfurtYesHigh
TurkeyTurkeyYesHigh
IrelandIrelandYesHigh
United KingdomLondonYesHigh
AustraliaMelbourneYesHigh

These results were a pleasant surprise. I easily unblocked Netflix with Private Internet Access in every location I tested. 

The only problem that I encountered during the testing phase was that PIA’s streaming-optimized servers in the U.S. didn’t work reliably. One day I could get a clean, fast connection, and the next I couldn’t get any connection at all. I switched to the fastest available alternative in the U.S. to resolve the problem. 

Godfather part one
Thankfully, PIA is more Godfather Part I and less Godfather Part III

Having said all that, it’s best to choose the server that is closest to your location. As I pointed out earlier, these tend to be faster and more reliable. The fact that they are labeled as streaming-optimized means users may be tempted to try them first. 


Do I Recommend PIA to Watch Netflix?

The results of my testing pretty much speak for themselves. When you factor in the near-flawless results and the value for the money, the new and improved version of PIA provides access to a wider selection of Netflix shows.

The fact that PIA offers unlimited bandwidth and its speeds are generally fast makes it even more attractive. You should be aware that most of my testing was done with PIA’s default 128-bit AES, a lighter but still secure encryption.  

I did test the higher 256-bit encryption to link to PIA in Australia and Ireland, and buffering speeds did appear to slow down slightly. For the best service, I recommend keeping it at the lower 128-bit encryption, unless you are using public WiFi, where the stronger encryption offers additional security.   

PIA is still one of the cheapest VPNs on the market. Prices start as low as $2.19 per month or $79 for a three-year term and its yearly plan costs less than $40. I chose to test it out for a month for $9.99. Knowing that the 30-day money-back guarantee offers a full refund if users are unhappy, I can’t see any reason not to recommend the service. 

PROS

  • Reliable & fast servers
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Kill switch

CONS

  • No live chat
  • Streaming servers can’t be trusted

VPN Alternatives to PIA That Access Netflix

1. ExpressVPN

Among the VPNs I have tested to this point, ExpressVPN was undoubtedly the best for Netflix. In addition to being fast, this VPN is also secure and easy to use. It has great network speeds, friendly live chat and a VPN interface that is intuitively designed. The only real downside of ExpressVPN is that it’s quite a bit more expensive than its competitors. 

Check out ExpressVPN’s pricing here or read the full ExpressVPN review.

express vpn free trial
You can rely on ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. NordVPN

If you want to access geoblocked Netflix, NordVPN is another good option. This VPN offers a lot of options, high speeds and it works with most streaming services like Netflix. Longer term subscriptions make NordVPN more affordable than ExpressVPN. This could be the best VPN for anyone looking to unblock and watch Netflix, and it also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Check out NordVPN’s pricing here or read the full NordVPN review.

nordvpn offer
NordVPN refuses to be left out in the cold.

3. Windscribe

Windscribe doesn’t deserve to be viewed like other free VPNs. It is actually a great choice for anyone looking to stream from U.S. Netflix or other services. When you look beyond the free VPN label, you’ll find a powerful VPN that lets you unblock Netflix content without any issues. It may not be the best VPN overall, but it’s safer compared to other free VPN services and it works with Netflix.

Check out Windscribe’s free plan and pricing here.

windscribe germany
Windscribe is by far the best free VPN on the market.

Conclusion: PIA Does Work With Netflix

Because Netflix offers a more comprehensive library in places like the U.S., UK and Ireland, more Netflixers are looking for a VPN that works with Netflix. VPNs like Private Internet Access allow people to unblock and watch content that is not offered in their own countries. 

VPNs like PIA come in handy, as free access to your favorite show in a different region is never guaranteed. In severely restricted regions, a VPN is the only way to attain the speed needed to stream Netflix. Testing revealed that PIA can affordably, securely and reliably provide access to Netflix in a variety of different countries.

Do you live in a country with restricted Netflix libraries? Are you interested in doing something about it? Have you ever used PIA for Netflix service? If you have comments or questions, please add them below. I would be delighted to hear of your experience with PIA and Netflix, or any other issues I highlighted in the article. 

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