In the past, we’ve covered several places to watch documentaries for free, whether by streaming them on websites or dedicated apps for non-fiction content. Well, that’s not the end of the list, though. These sites find documentaries by going to sources that others don’t dare or redefine what a documentary is.
Many websites collect the best documentaries available for online streaming. But that doesn’t mean they list every one of them. As the sites on this list prove, you can always find more (and possibly better) documentaries through random Redditors and by finding YouTube videos that wouldn’t be called “documentaries” by conventional standards.
1. Documentary Tube (Web): Huge collection of free-to-stream documentaries
As mentioned above, there are many sites that aggregate documentaries from different places. However, several of them have become inactive or update their collections irregularly. Documentary Tube is one of the few still active and adds new videos to watch every day.
Much of the collection comes from YouTube, Vimeo, and self-hosted videos on Documentary Tube. You’ll know which of the three it is by the thumbnail displaying a small icon for one of them. Each documentary has a short description, a thumbnail, the category it belongs to, how many people have watched it, and a rating by the audience.
In the right sidebar, you can browse categories like Crime, Conspiracy, History, Music, War, Nature, Sports, Tech, and more. Documentary Tube also offers a list of the top 100 most-watched documentaries on its website, so you can find great content quickly.
2. Veely (Web, Android, iOS): Live documentaries on online channels
If you enjoyed flipping through channels like NatGeo and Discovery on TV, Veely is the next best thing you’ll get on the internet. It is a collection of 7-10 different channels that broadcast documentaries live over the internet, which you can watch in a browser or the mobile app.
Currently, the channels streaming on Veely are Don’t Tell the Bride, Real Crime, Real Drama, Real Life, Real Royalty, Real Stories, Real Wild, Spark, Timeline, and Wonder. Between all these channels, Veely covers all popular types of documentary genres such as nature, crime, reality series, history, science and technology, and human interest. Most of them are from the Little Dot Studios network, one of the best educational alternatives to Netflix.
You don’t need to sign up with Veely to start streaming documentary channels. But if you want to watch on-demand shows from the catalog of already aired episodes, you will need to sign up for it. Veely also provides a handy TV guide for its streaming program.
3. Indocus (Web): selection of the best independent documentaries on YouTube
Indocus exclusively lists independent documentaries that you can stream for free on YouTube. These range from award-winning titles made on shoestring budgets to longer videos from popular YouTube creators that could ostensibly be called documentaries.
The main page lists the highest rated documentaries currently on the website and the latest to be added to the directory. The Discover section is a better way to explore the repertoire. You can filter by categories such as money, self-help, psychology, crime, math and science, design and art, creation, personal stories and vlogs, and history. You can also sort by short, medium or long video duration. All entries are listed by their upvote rank.
We’re thrilled that Indocus has chosen to expand the definition of “documentary” and include educational, binge-worthy YouTube creators like CGP Gray and Kurzgesagt. After all, several YouTube creators make the kind of videos that amateur documentary filmmakers make, but put them out on a free streaming platform. As long as you get good non-fiction content that expands your mind on reality, consumers shouldn’t worry about whether that content can technically be called documentaries.
4. Free Documentaries and Others (YouTube): YouTube’s Largest Documentary Channel Series
Since 2013, Free Documentary has added some of the best full-length documentaries to YouTube that anyone can watch for free. The channel is created by Germany-based Quintus Studios, which regularly strikes new deals to acquire non-fiction video content from leading independent producers and distributors around the world.
It has become so big and popular that Free Documentary now has several spin-off channels on YouTube. The list includes:
- FD Real for real stories of ordinary people
- FD History for historical human documentaries
- FD Survive for how to survive in the wild
- FD Nature for wildlife and tree documentaries
- FD Paranormal for videos about ghosts, UFOs and other unexplained phenomena
- Pet Docs for our furry, feathered or reptile friends
- ENDEVR for explainers on all types of topics
Of course, the main Free Documentary channel remains the flagship of the franchise. It covers various genres, including those already covered by other channels. You will find a new documentary video on this channel every two days, and on another day one of the other channels is updated.
5. r/Documentaries (Web): Check out documentaries submitted by Redditors
Reddit’s r/documentaries is a thriving community that actively shares links to documentaries you can stream online. The rules clearly state that these must all be streamable videos and no FileLocker or torrent links. Most documentaries come from YouTube or Vimeo, so you’re ready to start streaming with a click.
Each publication has a clear format that facilitates navigation. The title of the post contains the name of the documentary, the year it was released, a one-line description by the author, and the total duration of the documentary. Finally, most posts are tagged with a flair that defines genres like crime, society, history, film/TV, science, nature/animals, technology/internet, war, music and trailers. You can always filter the subreddit by these genres to quickly find something to watch.
Of all the places to find free documentaries to stream online, r/Documentaries is unique because of the power of community. With nearly 20 million members, users have various resources to find new videos to watch. For example, a user unearthed a new FIFA documentary, streaming on its official website. This is a perfect example of how you are likely to find rare documentaries on this subreddit that you won’t come across on other popular documentary aggregator websites.
Don’t Forget Popular Streaming Services
With this massive collection of free streaming documentaries, you’ll have enough material to watch for months. But also don’t forget to check popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney+ for more documentaries if you’re already a subscriber.