It’s no secret that the American version of Netflix has a more extensive content library than many of the other Netflix countries – that’s why many use VPN services, like AtlasVPN, to unblock Netflix US (and other American streaming services).
- Note: This sponsored post was written in collaboration with AtlasVPN.
But over the years, VPN services have gotten more and more expensive, and the streaming services’ GeoBlocks have become more complex – so finding a cheap VPN that can STILL unblock Netflix US and similar streaming apps, has become hard.
Which is precisely where AtlasVPN comes in: it’s one of the few VPN services with servers that are optimised for streaming (so you can stream 4K/HDR video from halfway across the world), it manages to beat those annoying GeoBlocks almost every time, and it has dedicated apps for smartphones, desktop computers – and the Amazon Fire TV sticks.
But best of all – and somewhat surprisingly, considering what you get – it’s cheaper than most other major VPN providers.
Is it the right VPN for you, even at such a low price point? Let’s review.
Unblocking Netflix US With A VPN
First, let’s go over what a VPN does – and why you need it for opening up American streaming services like Netflix.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. In short, a VPN creates a secure connection between your device (Computer/smartphone/tablet/etc.) and another computer sitting somewhere in the world.
Then, you use the OTHER computer/server that you’re now connected to, to browse the internet – so it’s as if you’re sitting next to that other computer – wherever in the world it may be – using it for your internet browsing (or, in our case, video streaming).
And while behind the scenes, complicated processes are going on – the mark of a good VPN is that you just pick a country from a list on a menu – and that’s it, you’re connected “through” that country.
This is where streaming services come in – if you connect to a VPN server in New York, for example, it’s as if you’re actually in New York at that moment – so you get that streamer’s US catalogue – and the same goes for every other supported country.
It’s also worth noting that VPN services are excellent for additional use cases – first and foremost, they protect your privacy when you surf the web, so websites can’t trace and track your browsing.
When you’re browsing the internet without a VPN, websites (and apps) can see and save your IP, which they can then use to get information about you – such as where you are in the world.
Advertisers can also use that data to learn more about you, and create a more accurate profile about you and your wants/needs. A VPN can help block all that.
How Can I Watch More Content With A VPN?
Netflix, and many other streaming services, show you content based on the country you’re in right now, regardless of where you live or which country you registered initially from.
So, let’s say you’re subscribed to Netflix in the UK, and you normally watch the UK library of content. When you go on holiday in the US, and load up your Netflix app on your smartphone, you will see the American library while you’re there.
And that library is different. Some shows are identical (Netflix Originals, for example), but some shows – like Grey’s Anatomy, The Blacklist, The Walking Dead and many others – are only available on Netflix US, while in the UK those shows stream on OTHER services (if at all).
And then there are some streaming services – like HBO Now, Hulu, Tubi and many others – that ONLY work in the US, so normally you can’t watch them at all if you’re not physically located in the US.
But then… remember how a VPN can make other computers think you’re in a different country? That’s how the magic happens.
Why is Netflix Blocking VPNs?
It’s likely that if it were entirely up to Netflix, their library of titles would look the same everywhere in the world (which is the case with all the Netflix Originals they produce themselves). But since they buy a lot of content from other companies – they rely on these companies’ terms and restrictions.
During Netflix’s early years, bypassing Geo-Restrictions was pretty easy, and many services out there offered this service.
Then, in 2016, with growing pressure from North American content companies, Netflix upped their game and started a cat-and-mouse fight against Geo-Bypassing services and VPNs.
Many services that promised to bypass Netflix restrictions became obsolete overnight, and some either stopped offering that service – or worse, continued to mention it, even though it was no longer working most of the time.
Netflix’s ban on VPNs is so broad, that even people who continue to use VPNs for other purposes – such as protecting their privacy – are often unable to watch Netflix (even in their “real” country) while their VPN is on.
And the same goes for many other American streaming services – most of them now actively geo-block their content.
These days, only a select few VPN services still manage to unblock all the major streaming services – but at a steep cost.
That is, except for the one that really managed to surprise us with their prices…
How Is Atlas VPN Different?
AtlasVPN has been around since 2019, operating from the United States. It has a strict no-logs policy (so it doesn’t keep a history of your connections and what you were doing), and in 2021 it became a part of Nord Security, one of the world’s most respected digital security providers.
I’ve used quite a few VPN services over the years, and most of them have a single issue that comes back every time you try to stream video – they’re slow.
Even if they DO manage to unblock Netflix US and other services – there’s little point to it, when the stream keeps buffering every time you try to watch something. And then if you try to stream something in 4K/HDR – well, good luck with that…
AtlasVPN, however, offers servers that are optimised for streaming. Other providers just throw a long list of servers and countries at you – and you have to connect and disconnect until you find one that actually offers decent speeds for streaming.
AtlasVPN’s apps, however, have a dedicated “Streaming” tab, with worldwide servers that offer high-speed streaming, via the VPN, of course.
Those special servers are located in several US cities (New York, Los Angeles, Miami and more) as well as in other countries – Canada, France, Australia, Japan and many others.
I tested the New York and Los Angeles streaming servers with Netflix’s own speed testing website, “FAST”, and got surprising results – speeds of 150 and 160Mbps, when my broadband speed WITHOUT a VPN is 200Mbps.
I also tested with the popular Speedtest service – and got similar results.
Why was I so surprised? Because usually, when I test VPNs, I get speeds of 20-30Mbps at best.
When I tested this in “the real world”, with actual streaming videos – the speed was just as impressive, with videos loading up almost instantly, and swiftly switching to the highest video quality available (including 4K).
As for the geo-unblocking, AtlasVPN can unblock most of the major streaming services, including Netflix US, Disney+ US, Hulu, HBO max, Crunchyroll, Peacock, and HBO Now.
Furthermore, unlike some VPNs that limit the number of devices you can use the service on – an AtlasVPN subscription lets you run the app on an unlimited number of devices.
For privacy-focused VPN usage, AtlasVPN has many other pluses – such as their SafeSwap technology (that keeps changing your IP automatically when you’re connected), malware and tracker blocking, AES-256 data encryption and more. To learn more about their features, check out this page.
Crucially, AtlasVPN has dedicated apps for all the devices you might want to stream content on: Windows / macOS computers, Android/iOS smartphones and TV streaming sticks – Android TV and Amazon Fire TV apps.
If you already have an Amazon Firestick, things couldn’t be easier – you install the AtlasVPN app from the official Amazon Fire TV app store, sign in (no need to key in your password! As they use e-mail based log-on…), choose a country, and… that’s about it.
You can then run the supported streaming app of your choice on the Firestick – and you’re in a different country.
It’s important to remember that you also need to be subscribed to the streaming service itself in addition to the VPN. So you still need to pay Netflix for a subscription – but your library can get bigger.
AtlasVPN Pricing – Breaking The VPN Market
VPNs have always been expensive, but unfortunately, their prices have increased even further in recent years. That’s where AtlasVPN comes in.
To try things out, there’s a free – yes, free – tier. It doesn’t include support for streaming, but you can use it to test the apps, the speed and the service.
But even once you pay for the full service – there’s a 30-days moneyback, so if something doesn’t work for you as it should, and their 24/7 support can’t sort it out – you can request a refund for any reason.
As is always the case with VPN providers, the price goes down the more months you’re willing to subscribe in advance.
Currently, the best deal is the 2 years offer, since there’s a Spring Deal running at the moment, with the Coupon Code SPRINGTIME, which will take the prices even lower than usual:
You pay $49.19 (£36.21) for 24 months in advance, which comes down to just $2.05/month (£1.51/month).
Among the VPN services that still manage to unblock Netflix US and the other major streaming services – that’s one of the lowest prices I’ve seen.
So if you want to easily open up your streaming library, while also getting a top-notch privacy and security service – AtlasVPN is an excellent choice.