‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no
When I’m watchin’ my TV and a man comes on and tells me
How white my shirts can be
Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
It’s hard to argue weather it was harder to get satisfaction back when Keith and Mick wrote this song, but it sure is easier now to avoid some man interrupting your TV experience to offer whitening tips when your shirt is painted black, although you still have to pay that man not to enter your screen. To be frank, paying for TV is no longer enough. You have to be in a certain location to enjoy it, even though the official slogan says otherwise.
Yes, we’re talking about Netflix and its geo-location restrictions.
Netflix is the long-planned child of TV and Torrenting and it was born in 2007. Soon everybody wanted to have one, so in 2010 it spread to Canada and currently is available worldwide, save for some countries like China or North Korea. But that doesn’t mean that all countries get to see what the firstborn has to show – the Netflix US library is not available to everyone.
So is there a way to solve this? There is, and you probably know the answer – it’s virtual private networking (VPN), which enables to hide your true location and stream the content as if you were in the US.
But if it was so simple, we wouldn’t be writing this article, would we? There’s nothing strange about Netflix taking measures to detect users with a VPN and block them, meaning there’s a constant battle between each VPN and The Great Content Provider. And even if the VPN states you should be able to watch your favorite Netflix shows, that doesn’t always turn out to be true. That’s why we’re here to test Astrill VPN and see if it’s good for Netflix or not.
General overview of Astrill VPN
Astrill VPN is based in Seychelles, meaning it is not subject to data retention laws of 5-9-14-eyes countries. Also, Seychelles do not require companies to store or report any customer data or personally identifiable information. Their 5 main USPs are:
- Military grade encryption
- Excellent & easy to use client
- Good speeds for streaming & torrenting
- Good support (dependable on US working hours)
- 7 day free trial
Astrill VPN has apps for all the main desktop and mobile platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android), as well as Linux and routers. You can also buy their pre-configured VPN routers to avoid the hassle. An important thing for Apple users before buying – do it from Astrill’s website to get a version with 5 simultaneous connections. Apple Store purchases only work on one device at a time.
Astrill VPN Android for Netflix
Although the vast majority of Netflix users use TV as their primary device, sometimes the smallest screen is the biggest screen available. We have some pointers for mobile users who may want to use Astrill VPN Android for Netflix.
First, Astrill Android offers the OpenWeb protocol by default (which sounds like ‘OpenVPN’ and might get some users confused). Not much is known about the home-brewn OpenWeb, but for security purposes we would recommend sticking to StealthVPN, unless you experience severe speed drop-downs.
Second is battery optimization. Free users will have it as an option and Paid users will get a pop-up, informing them that not allowing Astrill VPN to drain their battery will result in a decrease in efficiency. While our test in the Astrill Android VPN review didn’t find any clear advantage of using the non-optimized mode, you should try this for yourself, since the results may depend on a plethora of factors, such as your location, ISP, OS, and smartphone model.
Astrill VPN for Netflix – field testing the speed and content unblocking abilities
As in previous Netflix tests for VPNpro, before connecting to the streaming service we used Netflix’s own free speed test at fast.com to see the nominal Netflix connection speed.
According to the Netflix website, the recommended download speeds are:
- 3 Mbps – for SD quality
- 5 Mbps – for HD quality
- 25 Mbps – for Ultra HD quality
We did our test from Europe (Playback setting “High”, which is either HD or Ultra HD, depending on your connection speed) with 5 random US servers, also checking Canada, Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan.
After getting the nominal speed on fast.com, we were testing whether we can access the Netflix US library, whether the streaming is smooth and with no buffering, and how long it takes for a show to load initially or after skipping some minutes forward/backward.
Be aware that you should count the speeds below as a percentage of the original speed, which should give you an idea on what can you expect when connecting from Asia, other continents, or on a sub-par connection.
Speaking of Asia, Astrill VPN is a well-known player in this region and has a significant part of their servers located around China, meaning you can expect decent connectivity on both sides of the Great FireWall. What is more, there’s an option to buy a VIP server for +$10, giving you extra speed, which might be just what you need to upgrade from HD to Ultra HD quality streaming on Netflix.
A minor issue we noticed when testing Astrill VPN and Netflix was the process for changing servers. You have to disconnect from the VPN to do so. This might not be an issue if you’re just here for Netflix but if you’re also working with some sensitive info in the background, it means you lose the secure connection every time you decide to check for a better speed elsewhere.
Speed is 62 Mbps
We’ve got the error of “seems to be using proxy or VPN” when we weren’t, so this sure was an preemptive strike on our test. But it didn’t hold us back.
Astrill VPN servers in the USA
Astrill has 136 USA-based servers in total. We chose one in New York, one in Los Angeles (for that maximum distance from Europe) and three random ones.
US 1 New York 1
31 Mbs looks promising on paper. The service started successfully in a couple of seconds – 5 minutes of BoJack Horseman on Standard HD went well and it should be enough for UHD too. Skipping was fast with almost no animated “Loading…” circles. If we saw one, it was already at 100% before disappearing.
US 2 Chicago 2
This server blew us away with 65 Mbps, contrary to the Chicago wind, which is, unlike the saying goes, one of the least windy cities in the US. Needless to say, streaming went fine and we had only a few seconds of loading time when randomly clicking on the chrono-slider to skip parts of the show. Streaming was smooth like a criminal.
US 3 Washington
55 Mbps is good enough even for the President. Loading random parts did not take much longer compared to Chicago. The stream was as smooth as your vegan cocktail.
US 4 Phoenix 1
Going West may drain your fuel tank but it didn’t drain the connection speed – a solid 56 Mbps. Here the initial loading time was a bit longer for the first time, and we saw that arrow-less circle-clock spinning for a few seconds before resuming the show. When skipping, it would always appear, sometimes lingering a little at 99%.
Anyway, the stream was as smooth as a baby’s skin after applying Johnson & Johnson’s baby lotion.
US 5 Los Angeles 2
Reaching the Pacific, we thought we would reach the minimum speed Astrill had to offer. Boy were we wrong.
The speed surpassed both Phoenix and Washington with 59 Mbps. It loaded faster than Phoenix, and rarely displayed the loading circle. As you can guess, streaming was smooth as freshly whipped cream.
To conclude our Coast-to-coast trip across the USA, we got an average speed of 53 Mbps, which is more than enough for UHD streaming. No stuttering, minor loading times. Strangely, the New York server was significantly slower than the rest, meaning you shouldn’t always settle for the one that is closest to you, at least not in the server context. Scan the horizon and you may find the stream that will take you from the Island of Stutter to the Land of Smoothstream.
Astrill VPN servers outside the USA
Astrill VPN servers in Canada
We tested one of 3 servers named Canada 2, which happened to be in Toronto and gave us a solid 43 Mbps speed, even though fast.com decided to test the speed using their Los Angeles server.
Unfortunately, Netflix detected us using a VPN, no matter which server we tried.
Astrill VPN servers in Australia
Australia O1 server offers 30 Mbps as per fast.com, enough to stream UHD. But will we be able to access Netflix Australia library, the 6th largest one as per unogs.com, from the other side of the globe? No.
Astrill VPN servers in the United Kingdom (UK)
United Kingdom 1
Astrill has shown a royal 84 Mbps speed with this server, but will blue blood privilege allow us to peek inside the UK library, which is almost as big as the US version? It does, with almost no waiting time for loading and skipping, with the streaming and second-by-second thumbnail generation as smooth as the non-crunchy peanut butter.
Astrill VPN servers in the Netherlands
Netherlands 3 (the last of the triplet) also shows king-size 81 Mbps, but does it show Netflix? It does, and it runs smooth as an engine with its oil changed. So if you’re into rewatching a decade-spanning 2 seasons of Puppy Patrol – get ready for the dog days!
Astrill VPN servers in Germany
90 Mbps – are we even allowed on die Autobahn?! Nein! Are we allowed on Netflix? Also nein!
Astrill VPN servers in Japan
Japan M1 – now this sounds like some fast metro line helping us avoid traffic jams. And while 37 Mbps looks pedestrian compared to the die Autobahn, it sure allows to enjoy UHD on Netflix Japan – the biggest movie library, which is always on the heels of the original US version. Loading and skipping times are a couple of seconds most of the time and streaming is as smooth as silk, which is produced more heavily in Romania than in Japan.
Speed test results – is Astrill VPN fast enough for Netflix?
Our test has shown that Astrill VPN is fast enough to stream Netflix from all across the globe, when connecting from Europe initially. It sure needs to be check by each of you, as the results may vary, but we already know that this is one of the fastest VPNs available. And it can be even faster with the aforementioned VIP servers.
How does Astrill VPN fare compared to NordVPN and ExpressVPN?
We have already covered in detail these two top dogs and using them for Netflix. So is there any reason to believe Astrill should give you better speed or connectivity compared to these two VPN hegemons?
Our Number 1 VPN, Express, was tested with 5 US servers – 4 worked fine while 1 blocked Netflix. As you’ve seen, Astrill VPN was working on all 5 we’ve tested. Overall speeds were much faster compared to ExpressVPN, the latter giving less than 25 Mbps needed for UHD in Canada and Australia. But while only Netflix Japan showed issues with giving away the content for Express, Astrill VPN was blocked on all 3 Canada servers, Germany, and Australia. So with ExpressVPN you may not have such good speeds, but at least you will be able to watch the next episode of your favorite show most of the time, while Astrill VPN is much more likely to leave you cliff-hanging. Check our our full review of ExpressVPN for Netflix for more details.
When it comes to NordVPN, of all the servers in all the world, we couldn’t find one that wouldn’t load Netflix. Again, in some locations like Australia or Japan, the speed was around 5 Mbps which is the recommended minimum for HD streaming. But a bird in your grasp is better than a moose in the woods. To learn more about the bird, check our ornitologist’s article on NordVPN for Netflix.
All in all, if you’re based in Europe or North America, feel free to choose Astrill VPN and enjoy UHD playback. But if you will want your Netflix follow you wherever you go, NordVPN is your weapon of choice.
How to use Astrill VPN for Netflix?
It’s very easy to use Astrill VPN for Netflix. First you create an account on Netflix, if you haven’t done that already. The last step is selecting the library you want to access, which will probably be the US. So you will need to choose Astrill VPN servers in… the US!
Astrill VPN has a very lightweight interface where you just enter your user name and password, pick a protocol, and log onto their servers. In certain cases you might want to choose another US server if you can’t get no satisfaction from the one Astrill auto-selected for you.
Setting up a router should also be fairly easy as Astrill offers apps for them instead of some lengthy tutorials for manual configuration. It will prove to be very convenient when you want to watch Netflix from different devices.
Should you encounter any issues like your favorite server no longer working, be sure to contact Astrill’s support, just be aware they’re not 24/7, working US hours.
Conclusion – should you choose Astrill VPN for Netflix?
Astrill VPN is really good for Netflix, especially for its blistering speeds that even top VPNs envy.
Yet, when we talk about unblocking, NordVPN or ExpressVPN does a better job – we were unable to run Netflix on any of Astrill’s Canadian servers, with Australia and Germany also denying our request to have some Netflix’n’Chill. But we are optimistic and have a feeling that in the future Astrill will not make your popcorn go cold.
Yet even if Netflix is your sole reason to have a VPN, you should consider other features, such as pricing and trial period. “7 days for free” is pretty nice, but consider that quite a few competitors offer a whole month of “no strings attached testing”, which can be a deal maker or breaker if you will not have enough time to test Astrill properly in one week before committing. And if you do commit, you will be paying one of the highest prices on the VPN market, way above the industry average.
The cheapest plan is $8.33/month if you pay for one year. Taking a monthly option is very costly – $15.90/month. This is more expensive than ExpressVPN’s or NordVPN’s, which are considered the top products and worth every penny they charge.
If you are in Asia, you might need that extra speed. +$10/month gives you a VIP-server service that increases speed – something important for those connecting from distant locations and wanting to watch Netflix on the best possible quality.
To learn more about the pricing plans and how Astrill fares as an overall VPN for browsing, torrenting, streaming, gaming, see our comprehensive review.
Alternatively, you can check the Top 5 VPNs for Netflix we recommend, although chances are you will see Astrill VPN here in the near future.