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How to Use Netflix for Free or Cheap – The Ultimate Guide

Netflix is one of the most popular on-demand video streaming services, offering an extensive library of movies, TV shows, documentaries, and more. However, a Netflix subscription isn‘t free – access starts at $6.99 per month for their basic plan.

While Netflix no longer offers an extended free trial, there are still a few legitimate ways to access Netflix content for free or at reduced cost if you know where to look. This comprehensive guide covers creative tips and tricks for getting Netflix for free or cheap.

Can You Get Netflix For Free?

Let‘s start by clearly setting expectations – there is currently no way to get an entirely free Netflix subscription. Since Netflix is an ad-free subscription service, you have to pay to access their content.

However, here are some possible options to access Netflix free in certain limited circumstances:

  • New member free trial – Netflix offers new users a free 30-day trial before billing starts. Sign up with a new account and cancel before the month is up to avoid being charged.

  • Netflix app on new Smart TVs – Some new Smart TVs come with the Netflix app pre-installed, allowing you to watch some free Netflix content even without an account. Content availability is limited.

  • Free with cell phone plans – Occasionally cell carriers like T-Mobile have offered free Netflix with certain unlimited data plans. Only specific plans qualify, and terms can change.

  • Gift cards – You can redeem Netflix gift cards to pay for a subscription without spending your own money. Receiving cards as gifts or earned rewards can mean free Netflix access for a period.

  • Account sharing – Borrowing a friend or family member‘s login info means you can access Netflix for free. But this violates Netflix‘s terms of use.

The options above offer free access in specific situations, but come with significant limitations. An entirely free Netflix subscription without restrictions is not possible under their current policies.

How to Get Netflix Cheaper

While Netflix no longer has an extended free trial period, they offer all new members a free 30-day trial when signing up for the first time.

You can take advantage of this by:

  1. Creating a new Netflix account at
  2. Selecting a subscription plan – Basic, Standard or Premium
  3. Entering payment details – a credit/debit card or Paypal
  4. Using Netflix free for 30 days before your card is billed
  5. Canceling your membership online before the 30 days is up

By signing up for the free trial and then canceling before it ends, you can effectively access Netflix free for 1 month.

Just be sure to cancel at least 1 day before the end of your free trial to avoid being charged. Their system will automatically bill your payment method once the 30 days is up, so you need to cancel your membership through your account before that happens.

Downgrade Your Netflix Plan

Downgrading your Netflix plan is one of the easiest ways to pay less for Netflix each month. Here are the current monthly prices for Netflix‘s plans in the US:

  • Basic with Ads – $6.99/month
  • Basic – $9.99/month
  • Standard – $15.49/month
  • Premium – $19.99/month

If you are currently paying for Standard or Premium, dropping down to the Basic or other lower-tier plan can potentially save you $3-10 every month.

The Basic plan limits you to single stream SD quality and no downloads, but still unlocks the full Netflix content library. For many users, the cheapest Basic plan may provide enough value at a lower price.

It only takes a few clicks to change plans through the Netflix website. Just log into your account, go to your Plan Details under the Membership & Billing section, and select "Change Plan". Then choose your new lower-priced plan option and confirm the changes.

Pay Annually Instead of Monthly

When signing up for Netflix, another option to pay less is to select an annual subscription plan rather than the default monthly billing.

Paying for an entire year upfront comes at a discount of around 15-20% compared to paying month-to-month. For the Standard plan, that could mean around $170/year vs. $180 if paying $15 monthly.

The downside is having to pay the entire amount at once rather than smaller monthly installments. But if you can afford it, going annual can save you a nice chunk of change over the course of a year.

Use Promo Codes and Coupons

Occasionally Netflix provides promo codes and coupons offering discounts like 1 month free or 15-20% off your first year.

These can sometimes be found through:

  • Netflix login page
  • Official Netflix social media accounts
  • Retail sites like Rakuten
  • Deal websites like

Promo codes are not always available, but can offer a nice saving when they pop up. Follow deal sites or browse retail/coupon sites periodically to find the latest Netflix codes.

Share an Account

Sharing a Netflix login with family or friends is a common way for multiple households to split the cost of a subscription.

This can provide free or cheap access, but does technically violate Netflix‘s Terms of Use. Their policy is that an account should only be used by people living in your household.

In recent years Netflix has talked about cracking down on shared logins outside of a household. So while account sharing may provide cheaper access for now, it could be risky long-term if Netflix enforced their policy more strictly. Proceed with caution.

Use a VPN for Cheaper Regional Pricing

Netflix costs can vary widely across different countries and regions. In some markets Netflix is priced 50% or more cheaper than the US!

Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to access international versions of Netflix with lower pricing. Connect to a server in a lower-cost country, and when you log into Netflix it will show you that regional library and pricing.

Some popular budget VPN options include:

  • NordVPN – $3.29/month for accessing cheaper regions like Argentina or Turkey
  • Surfshark – $2.30/month and allows unlimited device connections
  • PrivateVPN – $2.08/month specifically optimized for streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu

The process works like:

  1. Sign up for a top-rated VPN like those above
  2. Install the VPN app on your device(s) and connect to a server in a lower-cost Netflix region
  3. Launch Netflix – it will now show you the library and pricing for that country
  4. Sign up and enjoy Netflix at a large discount!

Using a VPN to change your virtual location is completely legal. Just make sure to select a reputable VPN provider that keeps your identity secure.

Watch Netflix Free With Limited Ads

In late 2022 Netflix launched a new Basic with Ads plan in select countries for $6.99/month in the US. This represents their first ad-supported subscription option.

The plan provides full access to Netflix‘s library but includes an average of 4-5 minutes of ads per hour. Movies and kids content are ad-free.

This is Netflix‘s most affordable subscription, allowing you to stream an extensive catalog of shows and movies with some ads at no cost. If you don‘t mind the occasional commercial, it can be a nice option for budget-focused streamers.

Just keep in mind that content is limited to 720p resolution and you can only watch on one device at a time. For multi-device households the pricier ad-free plans may still be preferable.

Get Netflix Free Through T-Mobile

Cell carrier T-Mobile has partnered with Netflix to offer some of their wireless subscribers free Netflix access through their "Netflix On Us" promotion.

Specific details can vary, but in general:

  • You need a qualifying T-Mobile ONE or Magenta unlimited data plan
  • 1-line subscribers get Basic Netflix
  • 2+ line subscribers get Standard Netflix
  • T-Mobile pays your monthly Netflix cost directly

It‘s a nice perk if you happen to have the right wireless plan. Other carriers like Sprint have offered similar Netflix promos for subscribers in the past as well.

Watch Select Netflix Content For Free

Believe it or not, you can actually watch some Netflix content entirely free without any subscription through Netflix‘s limited partnerships.

A few examples:

  • Stranger Things – Some episodes are available free on Netflix‘s YouTube Channel
  • Murder Mystery – The full Adam Sandler movie is free with ads on The Roku Channel
  • Bird Box – View the Sandra Bullock thriller for free (with ads) through IMDb TV
  • Netflix Original stand-up comedy – Select full-length comedy specials are free on YouTube

These free offerings are fairly limited, but allow sampling some Netflix content without paying at all. Netflix sometimes provides this access to promote new releases or give non-subscribers a free taste.

Alternatives for Free Streaming

If you‘re looking for free on-demand video streaming, Netflix may not be the best solution since it requires a paid subscription.

But there are many alternative apps and sites that offer ad-supported movies/shows entirely free, though with less premium content than Netflix.

Top free streaming options include:

  • Tubi – 100% free on-demand streaming with a huge content library. Supported by ads.

  • Pluto TV – Access over 100 free live TV channels plus on-demand movies/shows. Ad-supported.

  • The Roku Channel – Huge selection of free movies and shows. Available even without a Roku device.

  • IMDb TV – Free films and videos from Amazon‘s IMDb catalog. Watch with ads.

  • YouTube – Massive selection of free movies and shows, though requiring patience to find quality content

These free services offer a more limited library than paid options like Netflix/Hulu, but allow full access without any subscription. Great for casual viewers looking to stream on a budget.

Is Netflix Worth Paying For?

Despite clever tricks to avoid paying, most people will be better off biting the bullet and paying the standard Netflix subscription cost for full unlimited access.

Some key advantages to a paid Netflix membership:

  • Access their entire catalog of shows/movies without restrictions
  • Stream on multiple devices simultaneously
  • Download titles to watch offline
  • View content in best-quality 1080p/4K resolution
  • Avoid frustrations from inconsistent free options

Netflix is reasonably priced for an on-demand streaming service, with plans starting at just $6.99/month. Splitting the cost by sharing an account can further reduce the price.

While limited free access is nice, for most viewers the paid Netflix experience will prove far superior in the long run. But the tips in this guide can help reduce the cost through smart tricks like downgrading plans, taking advantage of deals and using a VPN.

At the end of the day Netflix offers exceptional value on a vast digital library you can access anytime, anywhere, commercial-free. For unrestricted binge watching, a paid subscription is the way to go for most.

  • Netflix no longer has an extended free trial but new users can access a free 1-month trial
  • Downgrading your subscription plan is the easiest way to pay less each month
  • Annual subscriptions, promo codes, and account sharing can also save on cost
  • Use a VPN to access Netflix pricing from lower-cost countries and regions
  • Netflix‘s new ad-supported plan offers full access for just $6.99 monthly
  • Free (but limited) access is possible in some cases without a paid subscription
  • But a paid Netflix membership will provide the best unlimited streaming experience for most


Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.