How to use a free VPN to access Netflix

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The selection of movies and TV shows available on services like Netflix varies from region to region, and if your favorite show becomes no longer available in your region, or there’s a new show added that is unavailable from the start, you can use a VPN service to access the library from across different regions.

VPNs route your internet connection through a different region, to make it appear to websites and services you are connecting to that you are in a different region to your device’s physical location, this results in you getting access to the library of services like Netflix that offer in regions other than your own.

This technique can also be used to access Netflix from some of the regions that it is not officially available at all.

To check the availability of different content across the different regions that Netflix is available, you can scroll to the bottom of JustWatch homepage, pick a region, and search for the content you’re interested in. Or you can simply log in to a different region with your VPN active to browse the library across each region.

There are a couple of free VPNs available that can let you bypass Netflix’s region restrictions.

Hola VPN

One of the most popular free VPNs services is Hola VPN. This is a somewhat controversial service. It has very positive reviews from a large number of users on the Chrome web store and on Google Play, so clearly there are plenty of happy users.

The controversy stems from how the service works, and possible security risks it opens up. A report from Internet Security firm Trend Micro stated the following:

“The study revealed that more than 85 percent of the traffic in the dataset was directed to mobile advertisements and other mobile-related domains and programs — an indication that cybercriminals could use the service for large-scale click fraud schemes.”

Hola responded to this report with the following statement:

“The Hola premium VPN is a full VPN whose users pay a subscription and are not part of the peer network. However, most consumers choose to opt for the Free VPN version that provides the ability to unblock sites (not to hide the IP or encrypt), and in return, they provide their idle resources to Hola’s monetization partner Luminati.

Luminati is a valuable service used by fortune 500 customers and thousands of enterprises for price comparison, travel, and other legitimate uses which ultimately are the foundations of a free market. We are appalled that Trend Micro would publish such a tarnishing report without fact-checking with its subjects first”

Perhaps if you do intend on using Hola for the purpose of watching out of region Netflix content, ensure that you do nothing else whilst your connection is being routed through Hola, and deactivate it as soon as you’re finished.

You can grab Hola VPN for many supported browsers and platforms here.

Wachee VPN

Wachee, as the name suggests, is a VPN service specially targeted towards using in conjunction with a streaming service. It’s available as a Chrome extension, or as an Android app on Google Play.

With Wachee, there is either a free service, which will limit you to watching videos in low quality or the paid service which puts no restrictions on video quality. The paid premium service is available for either $1.99 for a week, $4.99 a month, or $36 for a full year of service.

In addition to their Chrome browser extension for Netflix, they have an extension to access youtube and one for BBC iPlayer, available on their homepage.Being built specifically for streaming makes this VPN somewhat more of a reliable option, and if you have a good experience with the free tier, you have the option of upgrading to the paid tier if you want to access higher quality video streaming. You can find out more about how their VPN service works over on the official FAQ page.

Should I do it?

The question of the legality of this process is not one with a straightforward answer, and different countries across the world will have different laws governing it. Broadly speaking, VPN usage is legal in most countries. We recommend consulting with your own legal advice if you want to ensure that this is within the law in your region.

Netflix themselves might take objection to this, and certainly could see users bypassing these region restrictions as justification for terminating accounts. Your mileage may vary, and if you don’t want to risk a slap on the wrist from Netflix, then you may want to reconsider engaging in this kind of region hopping with a VPN.

Let us know how you get on with using a VPN for Netflix, and if you watched any interesting movies or TV shows using this technique.

Paul is a contributor to PC Guide, having covered news coverage, Raspberry Pi, Windows releases and peripherals - among other things - across the site.