The bottom line is that if you're keen on exploring the world of Netflix regional exclusives, you're going to need a paid VPN for Netflix. However, if you're a casual viewer just looking to see what else is out there, a free Netflix VPN may very well work for you.
Before you get too excited, though, it's worth noting that free VPNs have some significant restrictions compared to the very best VPNs. Most have some kind of data cap, almost all have very limited server choices, and key features – like Netflix streaming – may be reduced. Some, though, are fairly generous, and these are the choices we've rounded up here.
If you want to see the best free Netflix VPNs right away, click the 'Jump To' tab on the left of the page. If you want to learn a little more about how they work and what your options are, just keep scrolling.
PrivadoVPN – the only reliable free Netflix VPN
PrivadoVPN is the only free service that we've had consistent results with, and as such we rate it as the best free Netflix VPN today. Although we've only been able to unblock the US library, you may as well download it and try it out for others – after all, it's totally free and requires no credit card details to sign up!
NordVPN – the very best Netflix VPN today
If you want comprehensive unblocking, NordVPN is your best choice. It is a paid provider, but It's able to unblock US, UK, Canadian, Japanese and Australian libraries (as well as many more). Plus you can trial the service risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.
How does a free Netflix VPN work?
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A VPN – or virtual private network – encrypts and anonymizes your internet connection by sending it through its own servers. You can use them to browse anonymously and even make yourself appear to be in different countries.
Netflix delivers different shows and movies to people living in certain countries, and you may find that what you want to watch isn’t available – even if you pay for a subscription. Using a VPN can help you access this content, whether you're traveling abroad or just want to explore the world's TV.
The downsides of free Netflix VPNs
There’s a magical combination of speed, server variety, and a large data limit that you need in order to make a great free Netflix VPN – and that’s not to mention actually being able to unblock the streaming site to begin with. Sadly, there’s not really a free service available that can cover all the bases.
Every free service is limited in some way, but many fall at the first hurdle because they simply can't access Netflix. Even the best free security-focused VPN has drawbacks that make watching Netflix for free difficult or even impossible.
However, there are ways to access geo-locked Netflix content with a VPN without paying a penny...
How can you watch Netflix with a VPN for free?
You’ve got three options. Firstly, you can take a chance with a free Netflix VPN. While Netflix is always updating and blocking more IP addresses associated with VPNs (and free services aren’t kept as up to date as paid ones), some have been known to work. It’s worth a try, as if it doesn’t work you still haven’t lost out. Then, if you’ve used up your data allowance or want a better service, you can upgrade to a paid plan or move on.
Secondly, you can go with a service that offers a VPN free trial. These will give you full access for a short time – and that usually means thousands of servers and unthrottled speeds. You may have to input payment details, but you won’t be charged for the duration, which is usually a matter of days. That’s perfect if you just want to watch a couple of exclusive films over the course of a weekend, or if you want to access what you’re used to when you’re on a short trip abroad.
Thirdly, you can take advantage of the money-back guarantees many providers offer. Ranging from 14 to 45 days, these do require you to make a payment, but you’re guaranteed a full refund for any reason within the time period – and with these you can get the very best services without worrying about spending too much cash.
Out of the three, a money-back guarantee provides you with the most flexibility and will allow you to stream overseas Netflix for a month before canceling or choosing to pay – plenty of time to trial the service, or give you cover for a mid-length holiday.
FREE NETFLIX VPNS
The best free Netflix VPNs
As our top-rated free service after our hands-on review, PrivadoVPN Free is an excellent choice for just about anyone looking to stay private online without spending a penny.
However, its standout feature is the fact that it can reliably access Netflix just as well as the paid version. While Netflix access can't be guaranteed for any VPN – least of a free one – this is a huge reason to give PrivadoVPN a shot. After all, if it doesn't work, you're not out of pocket.
Windscribe's free service is one of the best, and it combines a number of premium features not often seen given away for nothing – a firewall, 10 servers, a choice between IPsec/IKEv2 and OpenVPN, and 10GB of data available every month.
However, what free users aren't privy to is Windscribe's 'Windflix' servers – connections that are dedicated to giving access to blocked Netflix locations.
That doesn't mean you'll won't be able to access Netflix though, and in our testing we had some successes with UK Netflix – you'll just need to do some trial and error. Also, seeing as it's totally free to sign up, even if Windscribe can't get you access to Netflix you won't lose out on any money – and it's super-quick to install, too, so it's worth a go.
The best free trial VPNs for Netflix
An excellent option for accessing Netflix for free is security giant NordVPN. Known for its powerful encryption, strong stance on privacy and great usability, it also offers a 7-day free trial..
When signing up on mobile you'll be able to nab a free trial which you can then use over all your devices.
Again, though, it's probably easier and more user-friendly to make the most of the 30-day money-back guarantee. While you will have to pay upfront (you could just go for the shortest plan if you want), you'll have a full month to trial Nord's full VPN service. You might even find that you use it enough to justify the cost.
Surfshark is one of our favourite services on the market, not only because it's the best cheap VPN, but also thanks to its genuinely free 7-day trial. It's fast, easy to use and affordable – what more could you want?
It can be a little complex to access Surfshark's free trial, though, so we'll outline what you need to do.
The free trial is only available on mobile, so you'll have to sign up with your phone. Once you've done that, you should be offered a 7-day free trial. Accept that, and then you'll be able to use your account on any device.
However, a better option is taking advantage of Surfshark's 30-day money-back guarantee. While you'll have a pay a small amount upfront, you'll have a full month to get to know the service and work out if it's for you. If it's not, you'll be able to get a full refund no questions asked.
If you want the cheapest way to access over 15 Netflix libraries around the world plus a free trial to boot, Surfshark is the answer.
The best free Netflix VPN money-back guarantees
We're going to say it – ExpressVPN is the best provider on the market today. Excellent unblocking power, class-leading security, great support and excellent apps all come together to make a VPN package that's yet to be beaten.
Express also offers a generous 30-day money-back guarantee that means you can take advantage of all its features for a month with no risk (although we wouldn't blame you if you stuck with them afterwards).
During those 30 days you'll have full access to the whole ExpressVPN experience, and be able to unblock pretty much any Netflix library you can find – it features on both our Netflix VPN and our streaming VPN lists for a reason. However, you'll also be able to stay secure online and cover up to five of your devices simultaneously. Be aware, though, that you may have to contact support if you find a server isn't performing as expected with Netflix.
CyberGhost rounds off this free Netflix VPN guide with its mega 45-day money-back guarantee – if you think 30 days is too measly, you'll get another 50% here.
As a specialised streaming and torrenting VPN, you're in safe hands if you want to access Netflix libraries from around the world. Also, a CyberGhost feature we really love is its filtering system – when exploring servers, you can choose to see which are best for streaming Netflix or other providers, or even best for torrenting.
However, while you'll have a great selection of servers, the CyberGhost experience isn't quite up to scratch with the rest. It is fairly cheap, though, so if you're willing to make a few sacrifices and want 45 days before having to give over your cash for good, it could be an excellent choice.
Free Netflix VPN FAQ
What can I do with a free Netflix VPN?
No matter whether you've found either a truly free Netflix VPN or gone with a free trial, the biggest thing is that you'll be able to access Netflix libraries from around the world wherever you are.
For example, if you're on holiday or on a business trip, you might want to stay up to date with a show. However, that show might not be available on Netflix in the country you're currently in.
If you head to your VPN and connect to a server in your home country, you'll be able to watch the shows you usually can back home.
A free Netflix VPN can also be used to explore overseas Netflix libraries. For example, Netflix Japan has tons of anime not available on US Netflix, so if you connect to a Japanese server you'll be able to watch it where ever you are.
Is a free Netflix VPN worth it?
The answer to this depends on what your expectations of a free Netflix VPN are.
If you've found that ProtonVPN or Windscribe work for you, you'll need to be aware of their limitations. Both free services have a limited server selection, so you won't be able to access tons of Netflix libraries.
Also, connection speeds aren't as fast as paid-for services, so streaming in HD probably won't be an option – even if you have got the data limit to do that.
That's why a truly free Netflix VPN isn't really a realistic proposition – although if you can get it to work for you then by all means make the most of it. However, if you take out a free trial or make the most of a money-back guarantee from a provider who can definitely access Netflix, you'll be able to watch without worry.
Are free Netflix VPNs legal?
While not a criminal act, using a VPN to access geo-blocked content does violate Netflix's terms of service. In turn, that means the provider is well within its rights to terminate your account should you use a VPN.
Also, Netflix tries to identify and block VPN servers, with mixed results – that's why many VPNs can't get you watching. The company didn't always do this, but it's now under pressure from Hollywood studios and other content creators to block cross-border streaming.
We contacted Netflix for further clarification, and were directed to a company blog post from early 2016:
"We have a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere...In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location. ...We look forward to offering all of our content everywhere and to consumers being able to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy."
Make of that what you will, and use a VPN to access Netflix at your own risk.