Sometimes you need to borrow an IP address from a country like the USA, but don’t have any cash to pay for premium spoofing services. Thankfully there are several great solutions that allow you to spoof a US IP address for free. We review the most secure VPNs with American servers that won’t cost you a dime to use.
Are you a fan of U.S.-based streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go, and want to keep up with your favorite shows and movies when outside the country? You’ll quickly find that you can’t. Although you can access much wider variety of media around the globe then you used to be able to, content laws result in certain restrictions when you travel from country to country.
Fortunately, however, you can bypass these geoblocks and make it look like you’re still physically in the United States by nabbing a U.S. IP address with a VPN. Best of all, you can do it for free–today we’ll show you the most trusted VPN providers on the market with risk-free trial periods, help you get set up, then teach you a bit about IP spoofing.
When “free” is truly free (and when it isn’t)
Now typically, it’s a clear-cut choice when looking at a free service vs. a paid one – you’re generally going to choose the one advertised as free right out of the box. But with VPN providers, that choice isn’t as black and white as it looks initially. With self-professed “free” VPNs, you still wind up paying somehow–they’re businesses with infrastructure and employees to pay, after all. But rather than paying in cash, you end paying other ways: slow speeds and limited bandwidth amounts, annoying ads, and even dangerous malware and stolen data – the lattermost of which a VPN is supposed to protect you from, not do itself.
Even paid VPNs that offer free versions aren’t telling the whole story: their free trials are often watered-down versions of their paid ones, used in the hope that you’ll get tired of the constant buffering, limited servers, and inability to unblock some of your favorite content (like Netflix, for example).
Of these, even reputable VPNs that offers a free version may not be the right choice–a great free version doesn’t necessarily indicate the experience of upgrading will be worth it. Stepping up from a free version to a paid one might still mean paying for second-rate features at the same or similar cost to a higher-quality paid VPN.
All this adds up to mean can be summed up in an adage: you get what you pay for. But that said, you can “trick” your way around this and get access to the complete versions of top-tier paid VPNs – for free.
But wait, you say – there’s no such thing as a free lunch. And if “free” VPNs can’t offer full service to you, how can a top-of-the-line paid provider afford to do that? Wouldn’t everyone be doing it, then?
That’s true. But we found a workaround. With the paid providers we’re going to introduce shortly, you have two options to get a free U.S. IP:
- Use their free trials; or
- Sign up for at least a month the regular way, then request a refund within the specified time.
The problem with the first option is a matter of time, money, or device. ExpressVPN offers a free version only to iOS users, for 7 days. The others offer free versions for as little as 1 day, up to 7. We’d argue that that’s not enough time for most people – and, most of the providers require you to input payment information, which automatically begins billing at the end of the free trial. That means, that if you decide to stick with them, you’re going to pay their regular full price for the duration of your subscription.
In contrast, the latter option – signing up, then refunding later – can give you anywhere from 30 to 45 days of ultimately FREE, best-of-the-best VPN service. That’s perfect for a long trip outside the states. Of course, the catch here is that you wind up paying some money up front – at least a month’s worth of subscription – but you get it back when you cancel your account and request a refund. 7 days versus 30 or more? We know what we’d choose.
What makes a good VPN?
So if we’ve established that free VPNs aren’t the way to go, and the short-term trials of good VPNs are just that – too short – then how did we choose the VPNs on our list? Through extensive research, we came up with a set of criteria to help us – and you – make a choice. These are the qualities of a VPN for a free U.S. IP address:
- Money back guarantee – This is one of the first things we considered, as without it, you can’t get a free U.S. IP address. All the VPNs we chose have excellent customer service and it’s typically easy to get a refund from them.
- U.S. servers/large network – Obviously, your VPN needs to have reliable servers in the United States, or it’s useless for your purposes. The bigger the VPN’s network, the better and greater chance of that. All the VPNs we selected have great networks with plenty of U.S. servers to choose from.
- Strong encryption – You need encryption to keep your online data safe and private, but encryption also helps you bypass geoblocks to access your U.S.-based content. Strong encryption is a must.
- Fast speed – Lastly, your VPN needs to be fast. The encryption process naturally slows down your internet, and acknowledging this fact, good VPN providers work to mitigate this as much as possible. All the VPNs we suggest have been tested for speed and found satisfactory.
Get a FREE U.S. IP address with these VPNs
Finally – the good stuff. Here are our 4 choices for the VPNs that fulfill all the criteria above – and will get you a free U.S. IP address:
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs on the market, so you’ll get buffer-free streaming, fast downloads, and seamless browsing of U.S.-based content. With a large network of more than 2,000 servers in 94 countries, they have many available in the United States for your use. And based in the British Virgin Islands, they’re exempt from major surveillance agreements – so no worries about the NSA spying on your U.S. IP address.
Speaking of spying, ExpressVPN’s encryption is military-grade: 256-bit AES encryption, with an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection built in. Plus, they have a solid zero-logging policy, so even if anyone could request anything from their logs, there would be nothing to trace back to you anyway. Given their speed, encryption, and network size, ExpressVPN is great for streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu and is reliable at beating their VPN blocks.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
- Unblocks US Netflix
- 3,000+ super fast servers
- No DNS/IP leaks found
- Strict no-logging policy
- Live chat support available.
- Month-to-month plan has high cost.
With a huge reliable network, NordVPN gives you access to more than 5,800 servers in 59 countries, including the U.S. They’re one of the biggest in the industry, so that comes with some perks – perks like specialty servers and serious power. Some of these servers include Onion over VPN, Anti-DDoS, Double VPN, P2P, Dedicated IP addresses, and Obfuscated servers – so whatever your use-case, you can handle it with special settings.
Plus, 256-bit AES encryption wraps your data up tight – and one of the most complete zero-logging policies in the industry makes sure nothing you do can ever be called back up. And since NordVPN is based out of the neutral country of Panama, it’s not beholden to requests from bigger governments, anyway. NordVPN is also one of the most reliable providers out there for dodging VPN blocks and punching through tough censorship firewalls.
Read our full NordVPN review.
- Unblocks American Netflix
- Different IP addresses aervers
- Tor over VPN, double VPN
- No logs and encrypted connections for total privacy
- Great customer service via chat.
- Can't specify City or Province in App.
CyberGhost makes getting a U.S. IP address easy – easy to get started installing, easy to use, easy all around. Their colorful, minimalist display presents you with 6 preconfigured profiles with the best settings applied for various use-cases. If you just want to unblock a few basic websites in the U.S. – no problem, just select that profile. Want to unblock streaming? Just click that one. How about picking your server? You got it. And within these profiles, you can set simple toggles to block malicious websites, ads, or online tracking, as well as additional online security for your device and extra speed.
CyberGhost is also unique in that they offer a 45-day money-back guarantee – so you can get complete access for a month and a half for FREE, when all is said and done. And with 256-bit AES encryption, unlimited bandwidth, a network of 6,000+ servers in 87 countries, and an immaculate zero-logging policy that doesn’t even keep your email address – that’s a great deal.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
- Unblocking Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
- Special profile designed for torrenting privately
- Located in Romania (out of 14 eyes)
- No logs policy
- Money-back guarantee.
- WebRTC leak detected
- Doesn’t work well in China.
PrivateVPN, at first glance, looks small in comparison to the others listed here: they have just over 150+ servers in 60+ countries. But they have the two things you want in a VPN, compressed into a small package: speed and security. Despite its small size, PrivateVPN’s network is robust and reliable with low latency, so you get steady and fast connection speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and zero speed caps. With servers located in the U.S.
Regarding security, they give you two options: 256-bit AES, and 128-bit AES. In either case, you have multiple protocols you can play with for balancing security with speed. But with the first option, you get a nice balance and best-of-the-best encryption; the 128-bit still provides excellent encryption – enough for most casual users – and gives you a generous boost in speed. These variations make an excellent provider for the everyday user, especially if you like streaming video services like Netflix.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
How to get your FREE U.S. IP
Once you choose a VPN to go with, getting your free U.S. IP address is a simple process.
First, click through to the website of your chosen provider and sign up. If you use one of our links, you’ll get a special discount on one of the plans; if you’re only planning for the short-term, this may not apply to you, but if you have even the barest thought that you’ll stick with a VPN for the foreseeable future – your best money-for-value will be the plan with the special discount on it. And remember, if you refund later, you’ll get it all back.
Once you’ve signed up, provided payment details and created login information, it’s time to download and install the VPN app. Use the provided link (for some providers, like ExpressVPN, it’s included in a “Welcome” email) to download it. Do this especially if you’re using a mobile device – the official link will ensure that you wind up on the right download page of your software’s app store, instead of a fake – they’re out there.
Once the app is installed, launch it. If you aren’t logged in, do so. Your provider will then automatically connect you to the fastest server available; this probably won’t be one in the U.S. Visit the app’s server list and select one in the United States. A few moments after you hit connect, it should be resolved. (If you want to confirm this, just visit ipleak.net – the page runs an IP address lookup, which it displays in a box. The “Country of Origin” should say “United States” if the connection was successful. If not, try a different one or contact support.)
RELATED READING: How to Unblock American Netflix in Australia
Getting the “free” part
Once you’ve completed those steps, you can enjoy the full services of whatever VPN you selected. But if you want to get the “free” part taken care of, keep an eye on the date that you signed up, and your chosen provider’s refund policy. We included the specific number earlier, so as long as you cancel your account and request a refund within that time period, you’ll get your money back.
If/when it comes to that time, login to your VPN provider’s account in your favorite web browser. From there, cancel any automatic renewal of your subscription. Then, contact customer support. Most have a “live chat” option, or you call the listed phone number. They may ask why you’re wishing for a refund, but this is just a formality. Give them any information requested, and you should have no problem getting your refund.
The refund may take several days or a week to process, but with our recommended providers, you can be sure that it’s coming back to you without worry.
Alternatives to VPNs
While we primarily discuss VPNs as a way to get a free U.S. IP address, there are other methods to do so. Each does have their downfall, however, as you’ll see:
- Smart DNS – A Smart DNS is similar to a VPN, in that it masks your IP address and can help you access geo-blocked content. However, it lacks encryption and is not as effective at obtaining a “fake” IP address for you.
- Proxies – A proxy acts as a “middle man” between you and whatever site you want to access. Essentially, you visit a proxy website located in the U.S., which then “forwards” you to the geo-blocked site you want to visit. Again, however, you end up with zero encryption – it can easily be hijacked en route.
- Tor – Tor is an open-source, free web browser that masks your real IP address. It’s actually an excellent program when you want to be completely anonymous online, as its extremely secure. It’s downfall, however, is that it is typically very slow due to its heavy encryption process. Trying to stream video or music is a challenge.
What is an IP address and why change it?
“IP” stands for “Internet Protocol.” Your IP address functions as a sort of “mailing address” for you on the internet. It has two parts: a network ID (think: your neighborhood) and your device’s host ID (think: your street address). With your IP address, your ISP – and just about anyone else – can locate and identify you online. This means you can be found and your activity traced and recorded.
And more to our purposes, it also means that IP addresses can be identified as coming from certain locations. If a website or network can see that your IP address doesn’t originate in the U.S., for example, it may block you from seeing U.S. content, or limit or change what you can view based on your IP address’s origination. Thankfully, you can “spoof” your IP address, hiding the actual IP and pretending you have a different one – all thanks to a VPN. Here are just a few, more specific reasons to change your IP address to the U.S.:
Unblock U.S. content
This is likely the number 1 reason you want a U.S. IP address: to view blocked U.S. content. As we alluded to earlier, content laws restrict what can be viewed where. So for example, the U.S. Netflix library – much-coveted for its tremendous size and variety in comparison to other countries – filters who gets access based off your location, which is in turn based off your IP address. So change your IP address to a U.S. server, and you can bypass this. Although keep in mind, in this particular example you’ll be dealing with VPN-blocks – our choices (especially ExpresVPN and NordVPN) have been reliable about breaking these and getting access to users.
Access other blocked content
You can also access other blocked, or geo-restricted content from outside of the U.S. If you’re a citizen there, but you’re traveling or living abroad, you may want to view home accounts. Accessing your bank account from Peru might throw up red flags and lock you out to protect you from fraud – but switch to a U.S. IP address beforehand, and you can view and make transactions online with ease – and without the headache.
Get around censorship
Many countries in the world are infamous for heavy censorship and online surveillance. China, North Korea, and Russia are just a few examples. Whether you live in an oppressed country like these, or are just visiting, using a VPN to get a U.S. IP address can help you access censored content and avoid online surveillance.
Whatever your reasons for wanting a U.S. IP address – travel, expat living, etc. – it’s actually pretty easy to get a top-shelf one for free for a month. Once that month is up, it’s up to you whether you want to start paying for a subscription and all its benefits, or cancel, get the “free” part, and move on.
Have you used this method to get a “free” U.S. IP address before? Did you try a different method? What are your thoughts about this strategy? Let us know in the comments below.
If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. ExpressVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.