How to Watch NFL Games Free and Avoid Blackouts

NFLThis is our favorite time of year as the NFL season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 6. The Falcons will meet the Eagles in Philadelphia to get the 2018 season underway. If you’re like most football fans, there are times when you might not have access to the games you want to watch. Perhaps you’re traveling outside the United States or just can’t find good coverage of your favorite team. Knowing which sites to use along with a VPN can help both of those situations. The right VPN will also help you avoid NFL blackout restrictions.

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1IPVanish$4.87IPVanish9.9CheckboxCheckboxCheckbox
2ExpressVPN$6.67ExpressVPN9.8CheckboxCheckbox
3CyberGhost$3.50PIA9.6CheckboxCheckboxCheckbox

There are a number of ways you can enjoy football throughout the season. Perhaps the most popular is watching the broadcasts on the major networks like CBS, FOX, ESPN, and the NFL Network. Let’s look at some of the other ways to stream the game live online. Some are free while others require a subscription fee.

Verizon – This may be the best way to enjoy the games for free. Verizon has partnered with the NFL to offer the aptly named NFL app to help users watch in-market coverage, primetime match ups, playoff games, and the Super Bowl. You can add NFL RedZone for $1.99 a month. Connect to a US server location with a VPN to download the NFL mobile app, and enjoy games on your phone.

Twitch – Twitch.tv is a streaming website that is normally used to stream video games. In this case, the company is broadcasting 11 of the Thursday Night Football streams for no cost. It is limited to the US and US territories so if you are outside the area, you would need to connect to a server there.

Amazon Prime – With Amazon Prime, you can watch all the mid-week match ups. Those who don’t already have a Prime membership can sign up for a 30-day free trial. Enjoy 30 days of NFL action for free during that time as long as you are in the US or connected to a VPN server there.

DAZN – If you have been around the streaming scene for a while, you may have heard of DAZN before. If you are in the US and try to view the site, you will simply get information on how to watch boxing. However, if you are outside the US or want to get around blackouts, you can access the Canadian version. There, you can watch NFL games as well as other sports for $20 a month with the first month free. Additionally, you can get an entire year for $150. We were able to verify that you need a non-us IP address to watch it so make sure to connect to a VPN server first.

Other streaming services – Hulu, Youtube TV, Sling TV, DirecTV Now, and PlayStation Vue all grant you access to NFL games. They each have at least a 7-day free trial so you can enjoy the games for a week. Keep in mind you may need to supply a valid US ZIP code (postal code) and connect to a VPN server there before you sign up.

Unblock NFL Blackout Games

In addition to saving money, signing up for one of the methods we listed above from another region will help you avoid blackouts. We’ve all been there. You get ready to cheer on your favorite team only to find out NFL blackout restrictions are in effect. That won’t happen with the above methods and a VPN. Simply connect to a VPN server in the locations we mentioned above.

How to Use a VPN to Watch NFL Games

I’ll use IPVanish for the example of how to use a VPN service to watch your favorite NFL teams. First you’ll want to download the VPN client. IPVanish offers free client software for Windows, Mac and Linux. In addition to free apps for iOS and Android.

Now that you’ve had a chance to download and install the software it’s time to connect. Launch the IPVanish client and select a server location. We’ll walk you through step by step using their Windows client.

IPVanish UK servers

  • Select a server location. We chose London but IPVanish has a large network of servers around the world.
  • We recommend you select IKEv2 or OpenVPN (UDP). For streaming football games or videos from sites like Netflix we use OpenVPN (UDP). They also support PPTP and L2TP. The IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols provides a nice mix of fast speeds and privacy protection.
  • Click connect. After a few seconds you’ll see the button at the top right turn green. That means you now have an IP address from the UK. You’ll also notice the server location and IP address show up at the top of the client.
  • We’re now located in London as far as anyone can tell online. As such we can reach any site as if sitting in London. The same would be true if we connected to a server in the US or anywhere else in the world.

That’s all there is to it. Now that you have an IP address from the IPVanish server in the zone you want, you can browse the Internet as if you were actually there.  The same is true of any country. Connect to a US server to watch the US coverage of the NFL.

Please share this post with your friends so they can enjoy the NFL season. Best of luck to your favorite team.