10 Best FREE Streaming Websites for Movies & TV Shows in 2020
You can stream tons of movies and shows for free with these great sites. But even the best free streaming sites pose threats to your safety and privacy. Find out how to use a VPN to stream free content without worrying about malware, adware, and other cyber threats. Share
One of the great joys of surfing the web is finding sites where you can stream movies and TV shows for FREE. There’s a wealth of material available, from vintage cinema to recent episodes of today’s hottest shows.
However, not everything you can access for free on the web is legal or safe. Unauthorized video streams and torrents come with a host of dangers, from malware to legal consequences for breach of copyright.
The good news is that it’s possible to access outstanding free movie and TV streams safely and legally with a VPN. A quality VPN encrypts your connection and blocks intrusive ads and trackers, keeping your private data safe from hackers, scammers, and phishing attacks.
I’m going to introduce you to the 10 best streaming sites to watch shows and movies for free. I’ll also show you how to stream free content safely and access geo-restricted streaming content with a VPN.
Best Free Streaming Sites:
- Crackle – great search function makes it easy to find both popular and obscure shows and movies
- Popcorn Flix – best for classic movies and old-school TV hits
- Vudu Movies on Us – well-organized catalog with high-quality free and pay-to-view content
- Tubi TV – largest catalog of free movies and shows in the US
- Pluto TV – best option for live TV, sports broadcasts, and kids TV shows
- CONtv – stream your favorite horror, sci-fi, and cult classic movies
- SnagFilms – find great cult classics and independent films
- Classic Cinema Online – for all of your forgotten movie classics
- Veoh – high-quality classic films and tons of user-uploaded content
- YouTube (USA) – best place to find short clips and scenes from your favorite movies and TV shows
- Choose a top-rated VPN provider like NordVPN, subscribe to the service, and download the app.
- Launch the app, sign in, and choose a US server to access the greatest variety of videos.
- Navigate to one of the top streaming sites listed below.
- Choose your favorite title, and start streaming!
Many of the best available streaming websites are geo-restricted, meaning that if you aren’t in the region that the content is intended for, you can’t view it. There are many reasons why content is geoblocked, but it usually comes down to broadcast rights.
A VPN hides your actual location and allows you to connect to servers across the globe. By changing your virtual location, you can access a wider range of services and content. For example, to access US-based video sites, simply connect to a server in the US.
Even more importantly, a VPN keeps you safe from the cybersecurity threats you encounter on free streaming sites.
I took a close look at some of the most popular free streaming sites. Worryingly, I discovered that many popular free streaming sites are unsecured, leaving you totally exposed to invasive trackers, shady advertisements, and even dangerous malware.
While the ten best websites I’ve found are less risky than most free streaming sites, that doesn’t make them safe to use without a VPN. Many of the sites still contain third-party pop-up ads and hidden links, which can be used as vehicles for viruses and other malware.
Many of these sites also track your activity and personal data. They may then sell this info or provide the data to government agencies. Without the protection of a VPN, all of your activity and personal information can be traced back to your IP address.
Using a VPN encrypts your traffic and hides your location, making it almost impossible for anyone to see who you are, where you’re going online, or what you’re doing there. This prevents even your ISP from collecting your data and selling it to the highest bidder or using targeted ads to pressure you to part with your hard-earned money.
Just as importantly, your VPN protects your device from hackers and cyber threats, allowing you to stream your favorite TV shows and movies without worrying about unsafe connections.
However, all of this is only possible with a high-quality VPN. Here are the most important VPN features to look for:
|Adblocker||Protect your device from dangerous pop-ups and invasive trackers||Try NordVPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee|
|Strong encryption||Secure your connection and safeguard your private data||Try Surfshark with a 30-day money-back guarantee|
|Fast and stable connections||Reduce lagging and improve your viewing experience||Try ExpressVPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee|
|No-logging policy||Ensure your data can’t be given away or sold to third parties||Try PrivateVPN with a 7-day free trial|
|Good customer service||Quickly provide help if you encounter an issue while streaming||Try CyberGhost with a 7-day free trial for mobile users|
I scoured the internet for free and legal streaming websites for movies and TV shows. The ten sites on this list have different strengths, so you’re guaranteed to find one that hosts your favorite content.
Crackle is owned by Sony, which means you get access to the entire Sony back catalog. There are hundreds of titles, including classics and original shows in every genre. The website rotates its offerings, so there’s always something new to watch.
The website is well organized, making it easy to find interesting shows and movies, both popular and obscure. You can search by title, actor, or genre.
It isn’t necessary to sign up to the service to access videos, but doing so allows you to create watch lists. Crackle is only available in the US, so a VPN with US servers is a must to reach it from anywhere else.
The only downside of the site is that it does include ads. But with a premium VPN that comes with an ad blocker, like NordVPN, this isn’t an issue.
Popcorn Flix offers movies and TV shows from a wide range of genres. While you won’t find any new releases among its titles, the catalog includes classic movies, big TV hits of the past, and some possibly best-forgotten B-movie cult favorites.
The website is organized by genre, with separate sections for movies and TV shows. There’s a basic search feature for finding specific shows or movies.
No sign up is required; however, as with most sites on this list, you do encounter some ads on Popcorn Flix. Some of the embedded ads are rather suspicious, so make sure to use a VPN with ad blocking and malware protection, like NordVPN.
I connected through US servers and was able to access every title I tried. Playback was excellent each time.
Vudu Movies on Us provides a wide range of free and pay-to-view movies and TV shows. It has hundreds of titles to choose from in its free catalog, covering every conceivable genre. Video can be streamed in up to 1080p, so quality isn’t an issue.
The website is well organized – it’s immediately clear which titles are free and which are rentals. There’s a basic search option if you’re looking for something specific.
You do need to sign up for the service, but this takes less a minute, and you only need to provide a name, email address, and password.
Advertisements are presented before each title, which is what allows the website to provide so much free content. I had to connect to a VPN server in the US to access the titles I chose.
Tubi TV is only available in the United States, which is no problem if you use a VPN with US servers. It offers a wide range of content, including releases as little as two years old.
To register, you need to provide your name, date of birth, and an email address. Use a real email account as you’ll need to verify it during registration.
The website is easy to navigate, but of course, each title is preceded by an ad. However, video playback was good for each video I selected, and the ads aren’t an issue with a premium VPN like Surfshark or CyberGhost.
Pluto TV offers movies, sports broadcasts, kids shows, and live TV. The main reason it’s this far down the list is that it’s much more difficult to navigate than the above streaming sites.
However, once you’ve managed the navigation to find the show or movie that you want, playback is excellent.
It’s possible to connect to Pluto TV from the US, the UK, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. If you’re connecting from another location, you’ll be blocked by an error message.
The content available to you and the number of compatible devices depends on your location. For ease of use, I recommend connecting through a US VPN server so that the service works directly on most devices.
If you’re a fan of horror, sci-fi, and cult films, this is the streaming service you need.
CONtv is only available in the US, so to access it, you need to connect to a US-based VPN server. The site was created by Cinedigm and Wizard World to provide content to the Comic-Con community.
While sci-fi is the core offering of this service, there’s much more that’s worth exploring, including fantasy, gaming, superheroes, and martial arts. You can even watch Comic-Con events.
The website’s easy to navigate and includes a search function. You need to sign up to stream, but you don’t need to enter any payment details.
Video playback is high quality, but it’s a good idea to choose a VPN with an ad blocker, like NordVPN, as ads play before each video.
SnagFilms offers over 2,000 titles, including cult classics and independent films. Its catalog covers most genres and includes a good range of TV shows and series, as well.
You do need to sign up to use the service, but as with the other streaming sites we include here, signing up is simple and straightforward.
The ads are short and unobtrusive, and the content is well organized and easy to navigate.
The only problem I found with this website is that some titles I chose wouldn’t play during my testing. I tried connecting to VPN servers in different countries but found that it didn’t make much of a difference.
However, with so many titles to choose from, this limitation is really only a problem if there is a specific show or movie you want to watch. Playback quality was excellent on the titles that did work.
Classic Cinema Online is a dream for lovers of vintage cinema. If you’re a fan of silent films or lost Charlie Chaplin movies, you’ll want to check out this website.
You don’t need to sign up to use the service, and I was able to access the streams using servers in both the UK and the US. However, rather than hosting the movies, the website provides links to where they can be found.
I discovered that some content is only accessible through torrents, while others require that Flash be enabled. That, in turn, means you’ll be linking through unknown third-party sites, so using a VPN is an absolute must.
You’ll need a little patience to use this site, but the hidden and forgotten gems included in its catalog are worth the effort.
Veoh gives you access to over 7,000 movies, as well as a host of TV shows and other content.
Creating an account is optional to stream videos, but it’s required if you want to upload content. Either way, no payment information is required.
In addition to a large catalog of old classic films, Veoh hosts user-uploaded content, so you need to exercise additional caution when using the site. With a VPN, you can discover new content without worrying about your safety.
The content is well organized, and the well-designed search function allows you to search by several different criteria. Playback on the videos I tested was excellent, and I found some great classic movies as well as entertaining user-uploaded hits.
Again, use a VPN to connect to US servers to access a greater variety of content. Of course, YouTube has countless free videos, but the most popular movies and TV episodes are available only on a pay-to-view basis.
You don’t need to create an account to access YouTube, but having one allows you to create playlists, upload videos, and receive notifications when your favorite channels offer new content.
Downloading hidden malware or having your viewing history sold to third parties could turn your free video streaming into a very costly experience.
Before you choose the titles you want to watch, make sure your data and device are protected.
To safely access any of the streaming websites on my list, I strongly recommend that you use a high-quality VPN. Here are my top three VPN recommendations, all of which are ideal for streaming free movies and TV shows.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Servers across 59 countries, all secured with 2048-bit AES encryption
- Adblocker, automatic kill switch, and Onion Over VPN
- Strict no-logging policy
- Works with: Netflix, HBO, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Showtime, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, and more
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and certain routers
NordVPN combines powerful security with seamless streaming, giving you everything you need to watch free movies and shows safely and effortlessly.
This VPN operates an impressive network of 5,000+ servers, including thousands in the US, so you never have to worry about crowded servers slowing you down.
NordVPN can access all the free streaming sites on this list, and I was impressed with my fast connection speeds and high streaming quality on all the servers I tested.
The SmartPlay feature makes it easy to stream geoblocked content on almost any device without worrying about the manual setup. After you connect to a server in a country with access to the content you want to watch, all you have to do is press play.
NordVPN also offers effective ad blocking, which is extremely useful for free streaming sites. By blocking data-hogging ads, NordVPN improved my loading speeds and decreased buffering during my streaming tests.
NordVPN’s ad-blocking also boosts your security by protecting you from harmful pop-ups that could contain malware. Other security features include military-grade encryption, protection from trackers, an automatic kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection.
NordVPN also has a strict no-logs policy and operates out of privacy-friendly Panama, further securing your anonymity and online privacy.
If you have trouble accessing any of your favorite free streaming sites, you can reach out to NordVPN’s 24/7 live chat support for fast and friendly assistance. NordVPN allows you to connect up to six devices at once to a single account, so your whole family can stream whenever they want without fighting over the TV.
These are just some of the reasons why NordVPN is enthusiastically recommended for streaming. Read more about what we think about the service in our in-depth review.
- 7-day free trial on iOS and Android
- 5,700+ servers in 90+ countries, secured with 256-bit AES encryption
- Unlimited traffic and bandwidth, along with dedicated streaming servers
- DNS leak protection, no-logging policy, and an automatic kill switch
- Works with: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO, Hulu, ESPN, Comedy Central, Eurosport, Sky Go, and more
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Amazon Fire Stick, and certain routers
CyberGhost offers all the features you need to safely access the free streaming sites on this list. Despite its powerful features, this VPN has a user-friendly interface that’s extremely easy to use, even if you’re new to VPNs.
CyberGhost’s specialty streaming servers, including a dedicated YouTube streaming server in the US, can help you get past the toughest geo-restrictions on streaming sites.
I was able to easily access all the sites on this list with CyberGhost, most without connecting to a specific streaming server.
You also don’t have to worry about streaming on unsecured websites with CyberGhost. The VPN’s robust encryption protects your connection from hackers and spying eyes, while its leak protection and strict no-logs policy ensure your anonymity.
CyberGhost’s automatic kill switch keeps you safe, even over unreliable internet connections. If your VPN connection suddenly drops, the automatic kill switch shuts down your connection until you reconnect to the VPN, so none of your data is leaked under any circumstances.
You’re allowed to connect up to seven devices at once to CyberGhost. With no bandwidth cap, everyone in your household can stream without limits.
Check out our thorough review to learn more about this provider’s dedication to privacy, as well as its quick connections and growing server network.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Lightning-fast speeds
- 3,000+ servers in 160 locations worldwide, secured with 256-bit AES encryption
- DNS/IPv6 leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and split tunneling
- Strict no-logging policy
- Works with: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, DAZN, and more
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and some routers
With lightning-fast speeds and the ability to bypass tough geo-restrictions, ExpressVPN is a great choice for streaming free movies and shows.
In fact, ExpressVPN offers the fastest, most reliable connections of all the VPNs I tested.
ExpressVPN’s large network includes servers in 28+ US locations, so you have plenty of options to access US-only free streaming content. During my tests, I got excellent speeds and experienced nearly no buffering while streaming.
The VPN is compatible with all major platforms, and its MediaStreamer service allows you to stream movies and shows on even more devices, including those that don’t typically support VPNs.
You can quickly get help from ExpressVPN’s 24/7 live chat support if you have trouble streaming content on any of the sites on this list.
Speed isn’t all ExpressVPN has to offer. It also secures your connection with strong encryption, an automatic kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection so your identity and private data aren’t exposed, even on unsecured websites.
Meanwhile, your anonymity is protected by its no-log policy and advanced TrustedServer technology.
Take a look at our comprehensive ExpressVPN review to learn more about the service’s advocacy of internet freedom and privacy, as well as its exceptional speeds and user-friendly features.
The Best Free Premium Streaming Sites You Need a VPN to Access
If you’re worried about streaming movies and TV safely, you’ll be happy to know that some of the biggest TV networks and studios in the world now have great free premium streaming channels of their own.
These offer access to new episodes of TV shows immediately after they’ve aired, decades of classic TV series, live streaming, and so much more. Even better, it guarantees high-quality streaming and is all completely legal and safe.
There is one catch: Many restrict access to viewers in their own countries. If you don’t live in the US, the UK, Canada, or whatever country hosts the content, you’ll need a VPN to access these free premium channels.
With a VPN, you can connect to a server in the country that you want to access a specific channel – for example, connect to a UK server to watch BBC iPlayer for free.
This is by far the safest and most convenient way to watch some of the best movies and TV in the world. Here’s just a taste of the best free premium streaming channels you can access when you use a VPN.
BBC iPlayer – The biggest broadcaster in the UK offers almost every show in its archive for free online to UK residents. This includes every epic David Attenborough nature documentary you’ve ever wanted to binge-watch.
ITV Hub – The best guilty pleasure TV the UK has to offer, from reality shows to classic soap operas, and everything in between.
All 4 – Quirky comedies, insightful documentaries, and groundbreaking dramas from both sides of the Atlantic – TV that’s not to be missed and hard to forget.
NBC – Home to some of the most popular primetime TV in the States, NBC offers free access to new episodes of its late-night chat shows, classic series, and much more on its streaming channel.
ABC Go – As well as popular TV shows, ABC also streams classic movies like the Lion King on its channel.
Disney Now – With many your kids’ favorite shows in one place, Disney Now can keep them (and maybe you) entertained for hours.
Fox – Get access to the biggest channels and shows on the Fox network. You can stream everything from news and commentary to sports and reality TV, all for free.
CBC Gem – A curated library of the best TV and movies from Canada and across the world. CBC Gem gives you access to the channel’s entire library of shows, sports, documentaries, and movies.
ABC iView – iView gives you access to every show broadcast across the network’s channels, both Australian and international. News, arts, comedy, kids shows, and more ensure the whole family is entertained, for free.
SBS OnDemand – It’s home to some of the greatest prestige TV and sporting events from around the world. SBS OnDemand offers free access to the best dramas, live sports, classic movies, and comedies from Australia, the US, the UK, and more, all in one place.
Are there any free VPNs that work for streaming TV shows?
It’s worth mentioning that all free VPNs come with a catch, and unfortunately most restrictions and limitations are on features that make streaming better. That said, there are free VPNs that work for streaming movies and TV shows online, as well as unblocking popular services like Netflix.
For unlimited lightning-fast streaming capability, plus access to multiple servers and top-notch security features, we recommend NordVPN.
Is it illegal to use VPNs to access geoblocked streaming sites and services?
Streaming any content from legitimate services that you subscribe to, while connected to a VPN, is perfectly legal.
While using a VPN is illegal in some countries, most allow the use of VPNs for a wide range of purposes. You can read our post Are VPNs legal? Where are they illegal? for more information on the subject.
What else is a VPN good for, besides accessing Netflix and other streaming services?
A VPN can do much more than unblock streaming sites and services, it’s a multi-purpose identity protection and device security tool.
Premium VPNs offer military-grade encryption to prevent hackers from accessing your sensitive data using keylogging techniques. A VPN can also stop ISPs, government agencies, and advertisers from tracking your true location or browsing habits.
There’s a wealth of free streaming content available online if you know where to look. With the great free streaming sites on this list, you can watch your classic favorites and discover new binge-worthy content.
Just remember that it’s critical to protect yourself from malware and spying with a reliable VPN.
Once you connect to your chosen streaming website using a VPN, you’ll see the host of other benefits a VPN can offer, including protection from hackers and access to content from all over the world.
Still can’t decide which VPN to choose? Visit our coupons page to check out current VPN deals and discounts.
I recommend NordVPN for watching free movies and TV shows because it doesn’t just meet the basic requirements to safely use streaming websites; it exceeds them with ease.