Netflix is by far one of the most popular movie streaming platforms out there, with millions of users all over the world. Video quality is important for cinephiles, which is why the platform employs excellent compression algorithms in order to preserve as much detail as possible. With that being said, streaming a movie still requires a decent Internet connection, especially for 1080p or 4K content.
That makes it a bit more difficult to watch Netflix while having a VPN active in the background. Not only that, but that’s also the reason why free VPNs are not exactly the best choice for this situation. Most of them have data caps that prevent you from watching more than a few episodes of your favorite TV shows.
Why Free VPNs Are Inferior to Paid VPNs When It Comes to Netflix
While there are plenty of use cases for free VPNs, relying on them for Netflix binges is not all an attractive prospect. Besides the aforementioned data caps, many of them also impose speed restrictions, which are sometimes gruesome enough to cause excessive buffering issues while watching movies.
Furthermore, free VPNs are usually not sneaky enough to bypass Netflix’s VPN detection algorithms, which means you are out of luck if you want to access geo-restricted content. If that’s what you’re after, paid VPNs are a far better solution.
To make matters worse, free VPNs that feature in-app ads also come with security flaws that more often than not defeat the purpose of having a VPN in the first place. The companies behind them are quite keen on selling your data, which is yet another good reason to stick with a premium service instead.
It’s also very difficult to gauge the quality of a free VPN service by looking at user reviews and ratings. Many developers inflate their ratings using fake reviews as a way to cover up their shortcomings or make it seem like their products are more popular on the App Store.
At this point, we wouldn’t blame you if you decided to give up on free VPNs as a whole and go for a premium service instead. One of the best paid VPNs out there is ExpressVPN, and you can read all about its features in our detailed review.
Alternatively, you can research a few other great VPNs for Netflix. There’s also the possibility to check out some free trials before making a decision. Some of these trials don’t require a credit card in order to create an account, which means you don’t risk starting a subscription by mistake if you forget to cancel your trial before it expires.
How to Use a Free Netflix VPN
- Visit the homepage of one of the VPNs we recommend in this article and create an account if necessary. Our top pick this time around is ProtonVPN.
- Download the app to your device and install it.
- Run the app and connect to a server of your choosing.
- Fire up Netflix and start watching your favorite shows.
The 3 Best Free VPNs for Netflix
Now that we established the pros and cons of a free VPN, it’s time to present you with our picks for the best free VPNs for Netflix. None of these services feature in-app ads, but they do have other limitations you need to be wary of. Without further ado, here are our recommendations:
1. ProtonVPN – Best for Streaming Unlimited Content on Netflix
Data allowances are clearly the biggest inconvenience in the case of Netflix, which is exactly why ProtonVPN steals the top spot on our list. There are no data caps to worry about in this case, regardless of how many movies you want to watch. Unfortunately, there are other hurdles you need to overcome, although some are less important than others.
Even if there are no data caps, the free version does have speed limitations. For Netflix, this means you may have to watch your movies at a lower resolution. Otherwise, you might have to put up with constant buffering, and maybe some dropped frames. Granted, this also depends on how far from the chosen server you are, but that doesn’t make a huge difference most of the time.
Speaking of servers, ProtonVPN is quite stingy in this regard. There are only three locations to choose from, which heavily restricts your options. The good news is that these locations are evenly spread around the world, with servers available in Europe, North America, and Asia. That should make it possible for everyone to have a decent experience.
If watching Netflix is your primary goal, then having access to advanced settings is probably not very important. On the other hand, the app does provide you with a plethora of configuration options, which may come in handy if you have other uses in mind for the VPN. Keep in mind that a lot of premium features are missing from the free version, so the premium membership is even more alluring.
Read more about ProtonVPN and what it has to offer in our in-depth review.
- No data caps means you can watch as much Netflix as you wish
- Plenty of settings to play with
- Servers on three continents
- The software is open source
- Speed throttling can lead to choppy video playback
- Very few locations to choose from
2. Windscribe – Best Choice If You Need a Lot of Servers
From this point on, unlimited data usage is no longer an option. Windscribe is more generous than ProtonVPN in terms of servers and speed, but they make sure to balance this generosity with a hard data cap. As such, you are limited to 10GB per month in terms of traffic, which is frankly not ideal for Netflix users.
One solution is to watch your movies at the lowest possible resolution, which is 480p in the case of Netflix. As it turns out, that comes out at around 800MB per hour of content, meaning you can probably squeeze in a bit over twelve hours of movies or maybe an entire season of your favorite show. That’s not too bad, but it won’t satisfy everyone.
Windscribe’s biggest advantage is the fact that the app does not require an account or login credentials, making it incredibly easy for anyone to start using it. The interface is also incredibly intuitive and lightweight, with barely any annoying buttons to distract you. Granted, this comes at the cost of advanced features, which are pretty sparse.
Another bonus comes in the form of multiple locations to choose from – a lot more than what ProtonVPN offers. This should make it a lot easier to find a nearby server, which also helps with speed and latency. Furthermore, you can install the app on every device you own and take advantage of the 10GB/month available on each one.
Find out what the premium version of Windscribe has to offer by reading our review.
- A decent number of servers and locations
- Great speeds, which is paramount for streaming media
- Simple and intuitive interface
- No account needed and can be installed on multiple devices
- 10GB/month traffic limit
3. Hide.me – Best for Casual Netflix Fans
Even though Hide.me seems very similar to Windscribe at first – mainly due to the fact that both services impose a 10GB/month data allowance – there are significant differences between the two services. However, at the very least, you get to watch the same amount of content, which is all that matters at the end of the day.
One of the first drawbacks is the number of available servers and locations, which is pretty low, even for a free VPN. Granted, you are not encumbered by speed restrictions, so Netflix should run fairly smoothly. Hide.me is also available on pretty much any popular platform, so you are not restricted to Windows or macOS.
Unlike Windscribe, Hide.me requires an account in order to start using the service. While not a major inconvenience, this also means you can only have one active device at any given moment. Obviously, those 10GB would be spread pretty thin otherwise, so perhaps it’s for the best that you are limited to a single connection per account.
In terms of features, the app itself is pretty versatile, and there are quite a few knobs and pulls to manage if you are into that sort of thing. However, these advanced configuration options are tucked away in the Settings menu to not overwhelm beginners. If watching Netflix is your main concern, then you probably won’t have much use for those extras anyway.
We go into more detail about Hide.me in our dedicated review.
- No speed throttling
- Easy-to-use, thanks to the simple interface
- Some advanced features for enthusiasts
- Allows torrenting
- 10GB/month data cap
- Few servers to choose from
Which Free VPN Works With Netflix?
Technically, most VPNs will work with Netflix. However, not many are able to unblock restricted content, especially when it comes to free VPNs. If that’s what you are after, you are better off looking into a paid service. You can find out which work best by checking out our article.
Are There Any Totally Free VPNs?
Yes, there are. All of the VPNs we recommend in this article are entirely free, with no ads or hidden charges. Obviously, they have limitations in terms of bandwidth, traffic, and servers.
Does Netflix Block VPNs?
Netflix has some of the most advanced VPN-detection algorithms in the world – that much is true. Even so, new obfuscation methods are created all the time, which is why there are still plenty of VPNs that work with Netflix in spite of their security measures.
Does Netflix Know I’m Using a VPN?
This entirely depends on the VPN in question, as well as their servers. When Netflix detects the same IP being used by too many users from all over the world, that IP is blocked. Switching to a new server usually circumvents this issue.