Is a free VPN good enough for the Super Bowl – and which is best?

Super Bowl 2021 free VPN - Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady
(Image credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images & Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Although it's not what we may have been expecting a year ago, Super Bowl LV is finally upon us, and for many people there are some excellent free options when it comes to getting a Super Bowl live stream. But if you're not in a country that has a broadcast (or you're abroad and still want to catch your own coverage), you'll need to use the best VPN to change your location and get access. 

However, the big question you might asking is if it's possible to get both a stream and a free VPN – if it works, why not save yourself some cash?

We'll start off by saying that while free services can be super useful tools for casual privacy, an area they really struggle with is streaming. This is down to a number of reasons: most have strict data caps, others have limited servers, and a number of providers even intentionally restrict streaming sites as an incentive to upgrade to a paid option.

The options further down the page may offer usable solutions, and seeing as they're free, there's no harm in giving them a go. However, if you want guaranteed reliability we'd always recommend going with a paid provider like ExpressVPN. And remember, all the paid options below offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you won't end up out of pocket if you don't want to stick around.

ExpressVPN | Try the best streaming VPN risk-free for 30 days3 months free

ExpressVPN | Try the best streaming VPN risk-free for 30 days
Whether you want to watch the CBS or BBC coverage of the Super Bowl, ExpressVPN has got you covered. With 3,000+ servers worldwide and a proven track record of unblocking content, it's the perfect Super Bowl VPN. Tom's Guide readers get 3 months free, and you can get a full refund within 30 days.

IPVanish | The best one-month plan on the market
 less than $5 all-in-all

IPVanish | The best one-month plan on the market
If you only need a VPN for catching the big game, IPVanish's one-month plan is quite simply the best option. With good US coverage (unfortunately no BBC, though), you'll get a month of cover for less than $5 all-in-all.

Surfshark | Super cheap two-year plan less than $2.50 a month

Surfshark | Super cheap two-year plan
If you're happy to commit for a bit longer to get a better price (and all the other bonuses a VPN brings), Surfshark is hands-down the best-value option. You can stream just about anything, stay anonymous online, and pay less than $2.50 a month. Plus, you'll still get a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The best free Super Bowl VPNs today

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Hotspot Shield free super bowl vpn

(Image credit: Hotspot Shield)

1. Hotspot Shield

Unlimited data in a Chrome extension is promising

Chrome extension offers unlimited data
Appears to be effective for CBS stream
Can't access BBC iPlayer (or anything else)

Hotspot Shield's paid-for service is seriously quick and excellent for streaming, and we highly rate its free counterpart, too. However, the free desktop version has a limited 500MB-a-day data cap, which simply won't cut it for the Super Bowl.

However, Hotspot Shield's Chrome extension has unlimited data, and it's quite possible it'll be able to unblock CBS's live stream. However, we can say for sure that it won't be able to access the BBC's coverage as the only secure server available is in the US.

Testing the efficacy of these services with CBS's stream is tricky, though. As the free broadcast of the football is a one-off, we can't guarantee that Hotspot Shield's extension will actually work. It's worth a go, but don't make it your only option.

Download now on the Hotspot Shield website

Windscribe free super bowl vpn

(Image credit: Windscribe)

2. Windscribe

Free version has been known to access streaming content

Up to 10GB monthly limit
In our testing, it unblocked iPlayer
Limited speeds

Windscribe is a bit of an outlier in terms of free services, thanks to the fact that it's actually pretty capable for unblocking streaming content. In our tests for this page, it functioned well as an iPlayer VPN. That bodes well for being able to unblock CBS, too, although we can't guarantee anything.

What lets Windscribe's free version down a little is its slow-ish speeds. When tested, it only delivered around 13Mbps on our 110Mbps line. That means you might be in for a bit of buffering, but as a free option it's a good choice.

Download now on Windscribe's website

ProtonVPN free super bowl vpn

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

3. ProtonVPN

Unlimited data and a useful 7-day free trial

Unlimited data
Short free trial of premium plan
No iPlayer
Sub-par speeds

ProtonVPN is another decent choice if you're after a free service to stream the football. When you sign up, you'll automatically get a seven-day VPN free trial – all without having to hand over as much as an email address.

However, even with that trial active we were unable to access BBC iPlayer, and speeds weren't class-leading. We suspect it may work for CBS, but we can't say for sure until it starts streaming. 

All in, though, it's an excellent, private free option, and well worth checking out.

Download now on ProtonVPN's website

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.