Since its release back in 2002, Kodi has revolutionized the way people consume digital media. It’s an open-sourced media player that can act as your central entertainment hub. Instead of having to constantly switch between devices and streaming platforms to gain access to all of your favorite movies, TV shows, and music, Kodi puts everything in one place.
Because of Kodi’s versatile nature, many people choose to use the system with a VPN, or virtual private network. VPNs can open up a world of possibilities and help you access more content without having to worry about location-based restrictions. Not only that, but the added security that VPNs provide ensures that what you watch on Kodi stays private.
Choosing the best VPN for Kodi should involve much more than just taking a quick look at the price of monthly plans. Not all VPN services are going to provide you with a great Kodi streaming experience. There are many VPN service providers out there. Your run-of-the-mill service just won’t do. If you want Kodi to be fast, reliable, and safe for you to use, there are many things to consider when you’re selecting a VPN.
What Exactly Is Kodi?
Kodi is a piece of multi-platform home theater software. It was initially called Xbox Media Player. Then, the name was changed to Xbox Media Center, which is commonly abbreviated as XBMC. The name “Kodi” was only adopted a few years ago in 2014. Regardless of what you call it, Kodi is a powerful piece of software that lets users take full control of how they watch digital content.
Kodi users can access a wide range of streaming services from a single place. You can download the dedicated apps for Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon, and so much more. There are also many add-ons available. As we mentioned earlier, Kodi is completely open-sourced. There are apps for gaming, streaming from p2p clients, and even live television. The Kodi add-ons are what makes this software so unique. It can be used for pretty much anything. Furthermore, it’s completely customizable. You can use the software how you want. Downloadable skins and unique user-interfaces are available as well, making it easy for users to create the home theater setup they’ve always wanted.
The best thing about Kodi is its accessibility. It’s available for virtually every device under the sun. You can use it on computers, mobile devices, and even set-top boxes. Kodi boxes are also available. They contain all the official Kodi apps built-in, making it very easy to start streaming.
How Can a VPN Benefit Kodi?
A solid VPN service can expand Kodi’s functionality quite a bit. The software has become incredibly popular due to its third-party add-ons. Many of these add-ons let Kodi users view torrented content without having to download it directly. Of course, using a p2p service is strictly forbidden by Internet Service Providers. Many ISPs will send out notices to paying customers if they see that they are accessing these p2p streaming platforms. As a result, many Kodi users want to hide their activity from their ISP.
A VPN can do just that. When you connect to a VPN server, your data is sent through a secure tunnel for encryption before it’s sent to the streaming platform. This effectively hides your online activity from your ISP. It can also prevent hackers, governing bodies, and surveillance programs from seeing what you do online.
Another great reason to invest in a VPN is that these secured servers make it possible to access restricted content. Even if you’re not connecting to a p2p streaming platform, you may not be able to view certain types of content because of where you are located. For example, Netflix prevents people outside of the United States from watching titles in the country’s content library, even if they hold a legitimate paid subscription. A VPN can get around these geo-restrictions by assigning you with a new IP address. You’ll be able to connect to a VPN server in many countries around the world. When you do so, you’ll have an IP address from that specific country, making Netflix think that’s where you are located. Check out our Best VPN for Netflix guide, for more information.
These are just a couple of reasons why Kodi users love to use VPNs. Truth is, a VPN is the only way to get true, unrestricted access to the Internet without having to worry about privacy concerns. Virtual private networks can keep you safe and anonymous, which can ultimately change the way you connect.
VPN Features That Matter
When you’re looking for the best Kodi VPN, there are many things to consider. Kodi is a very specific application with unique needs. While a garden-variety VPN can offer you with the protection and privacy you need for regular browsing, streaming digital content is an entirely different thing. Here are some VPN features that are going to affect Kodi’s performance and overall efficiency.
Whether you’re streaming from BBC iPlayer or a torrent service, there’s going to be a lot of data going through the VPN. High-definition movies are large in size. If the VPN can’t handle that kind of Internet traffic, it’s useless for Kodi.
While you may have fast speeds from your ISP, you still need to consider how the VPN will perform. Your data has to go through a separately secured server, so there’s always going to be a dip in performance. However, the best VPN providers have optimized servers that are engineered to make that decrease in speed as small as possible.
It’s a good idea to think about how a VPN’s speeds can affect your streaming capabilities. Not just from servers in your own country, but also those found in other countries. Oftentimes, connection speeds get slower the farther away the VPN server is. It’s worth mentioning that VPNs cannot give you more speed. They’re only capable of working with the data transfer speeds that are provided to you from the ISP.
Another thing to think about is bandwidth. Streaming a high-definition movie uses about 3 GB of data per hour. If you have the speeds to stream 4K quality, you’re looking at upwards of 7 GB per hour. Because Kodi is all about content streaming, you’re going to need a VPN that doesn’t have any data caps. Unlimited bandwidth ensures that you get the most bang for your buck in terms of VPN service.
Data Encryption and Security
The way a VPN keeps your connection secure is always important. VPN service providers typically employ a few different security protocols. Options like OpenVPN and 256-bit AES encryption are preferred. Other protocols, such as PPTP and L2PT, are also good for Android and iOS gadgets. Most VPN clients will choose the appropriate protocol for the device and what you’re doing.
In addition to the basic protocols used, leak protection is crucial. This is especially true if you’re streaming from p2p clients. Leaks often happen when your computer is trying to request data from an unsecured connection or when the VPN server goes down. A kill switch is one of the most popular forms of leak protection out there. It stops your Internet connection to prevent your ISP from discovering and logging your online activity.
Having plenty of high-quality VPN servers to choose from is great for Kodi. Not only will you have more opportunities to view restricted content from around the globe, but you’ll also have an easier time finding a fast server that offers a reliable connection. Before you commit to a provider, check out their network. See how many servers they have and where they are located.
Many VPN providers take things a step further by offering optimized servers for streaming. These are perfect for Kodi users. They’re built to handle high amounts of Internet traffic and are capable of giving you the best speeds possible.
Privacy Features and Logging
Complete privacy is not a given with VPNs. Despite the fact they’re built to help you remain anonymous online, there are still ways for your streaming activities to be known. Some VPNs collect information about your time on their network. They may keep connection logs that identify your source IP address, when you connected to the VPN, how long you stayed, and when you disconnected. Some also collect activity logs, which record how much data you use, what websites or platforms you visit, and much more.
You should also consider where the VPN is located. While service providers have servers around the world, the company itself will be based out of one location. Where that location is could ultimately affect how private the service is. VPN service providers, like all businesses, must comply with the privacy laws of their country. In the United States, for example, VPN companies are required to hand over logging data of individuals if they receive a government subpoena. This is very important if you plan on using Kodi add-ons. Kodi has been in the news recently because of lawsuits started by copyright holders. If you want to stay as private as possible, stick to VPNs located in countries with lax data retention laws.
Not all VPNs are a fan of p2p streaming. In fact, some forbid it outright. This can make it impossible to use third-party add-ons for Kodi. It’s important that you look over a VPN’s terms of service and use restrictions before you commit to a paid subscription. Luckily, there are many VPN providers that allow p2p connections. Some even have dedicated servers for this purpose. Others restrict p2p streaming to only a handful of specific servers. These servers are usually optimized for faster speeds and a more steady connection.
Of course, you’ll need to make sure that the VPN supports the platform that you plan on using Kodi on. Remember, Kodi is a piece of software. In most cases, you’re going to be using the VPN to secure all connections on your device, not just those made by Kodi.
Most providers have standalone apps for computers and mobile devices. You can get separate clients for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS. These are usually found on the platform’s respective app store or from the VPN website. Some providers also support Android-based TV boxes, such as Amazon Fire TV. If you don’t have one of those, you’ll need a VPN that’s compatible with your router or has APK files that you can sideload into your Kodi device.
Best VPN for Kodi
With the previous considerations in mind, we’ve rounded up a collection of great VPNs that work well with Kodi.
ExpressVPN is a great option for Kodi users. The company has over 160 server locations. Their network is comprised of more than 3,000 servers, ensuring that you can get fast speeds just about anywhere. What makes this service so great for Kodi is the support for p2p and torrenting. Optimized servers are available to get the best performance possible. The software can also help you choose the right server for your streaming needs.
ExpressVPN also does a great job in terms of privacy. They’re based out of the British Virgin Islands, which is known for its lack of data retention laws. As a result, ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy. The provider even accepts cryptocurrency as a form of payment, allowing you to maintain your anonymity even when you’re creating an account. Other great features of ExpressVPN include strong security protocols, military-grade encryption, and leak protection. There are standalone apps for many operating systems as well as router support.
- Supports p2p
- No activity or connection logs
- Over 3,000 global servers
- Kill switch
- DNS leak protection
- 256-bit encryption
- Supports most platforms through dedicated apps
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Great customer support
- Slightly more expensive
- Must authorize account before downloading APK files
IPVanish has a dedicated section on their website just for Kodi. This page includes detailed setup guides and plenty of information about how the VPN service can enhance the way you stream. Many platforms are supported. IPVanish is one of the few providers that have its own Fire TV app. They also have downloadable APK files for a wide range of Android-based systems.
When it comes to performance, IPVanish does a relatively good job. They have over 1,200 servers with more than 40,000 shared IP addresses for you to use. Though, the servers aren’t as fast as some other VPN options. Some of the most powerful security protocols are used. They include OpenVPN and 256-bit AES encryption. While IPVanish is based in the United States, the company does not keep any logs about your activity on their servers.
- Custom Fire TV app
- Great support for Android-based platforms
- More than 1,200 servers
- No-logs policy
- p2p allowed
- 256-bit encryption
- OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2
- Not as fast as some competitors
- Based in the U.S.
- Short money-back guarantee
NordVPN is a provider that’s dedicated to your privacy. They’re headquartered in Panama and have a no-logs policy. There’s also a number of great features that can help you stream anonymously. The first is innovative double VPN servers. When you connect to one of these, your data is sent through two separate encryption tunnels. This adds an extra layer of protection on top of the encryption techniques that are already used. NordVPN also has obfuscation technology that disguises the VPN IP address as regular traffic. This can help get around VPN blocks, helping you access restricted streaming platforms without any issues.
Many operating systems are supported. NordVPN also has its own browser extensions for added security. If you have a smart TV or Android TV box, there are also standalone apps to keep your streaming private. The website has an in-depth Kodi guide as well to get you started.
- Large network of more than 5,200 servers
- Double VPN servers
- Advanced encryption and security protocols
- No-logs policy
- Can unblock most streaming platforms
- 45-day money back guarantee
- Affordable pricing
- May experience slower speeds on distant servers
While this provider may have a smaller network of servers compared to other options out there, Ivacy’s servers are capable of providing pretty solid speeds. Not only that, but they have a collection of optimized servers that are designed for p2p and torrenting. The downloadable clients also have a smart server selection tool, which can pair you up with the right server for your needs.
Ivacy supports mobile and computer platforms from Apple, Windows, and Linux. There’s also browser extensions and Xbox support. However, the most useful feature for Kodi users is the official Ivacy add-on. This helps you take control of your VPN connection directly on the Kodi platform. Ivacy offers plenty of support for Kodi. Not only are there installation guides, but you can also get personalized help through the 24-hour live chat support system.
- Over 1,000 optimized servers
- Kodi add-on
- Fast speeds and unlimited data
- No-logs policy
- Multiple security protocols
- Kill switch and DNS leak protection
- 30-day money back guarantee
- 7-day free trial
- Not all servers allow p2p
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access, also referred to as PIA, is a versatile provider that can be used on a wide range of Kodi devices. There’s a standalone Linux app, which is quite rare in the industry. It can also be used with Android, Apple, and Windows devices. PIA works especially well with the OpenELEC distro. This Linux-based system is commonly used for low-power Kodi machines. You can even use it to create your own device out of a cheap Raspberry Pi.
As for protection, PIA offers PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPSec protocols. They also have both 256-bit and 128-bit encryption. The 128-bit encryption technology is great for low-powered machines that aren’t capable of handling military-grade techniques. Private Internet Access also has built-in malware protection and support for p2p streaming.
- Dedicated Linux app
- Available APK files
- Keeps no logs
- One of the fastest VPN providers
- Multiple security protocols and two forms of encryption
- Built-in ad blocker
- 10 simultaneous connections
CyberGhost has a pretty large network of servers. Their 3,700-plus servers are located in more than 60 countries. The provider makes it very easy to choose the server that’s right for you. They’re organized by country and ping times. You can also sort the server list based on the specific streaming platform you want to view. CyberGhost does a pretty good job at unblocking most of the popular services.
CyberGhost is based in Romania and doesn’t keep any logs about your connection times or activity. OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec, and PPTP protocols are used alongside 256-bit AES encryption. Many standalone apps are available, including options for Amazon Fire sticks and smart TVs. However, there is no official support for Linux computers or Android-based Kodi boxes that don’t have an app store. As a result, you’ll have to configure those manually.
- Well-organized servers
- Apps for Fire stick and Android-based smart TVs
- Keeps no logs
- Military-grade encryption
- Over 3,700 servers
- Affordable pricing with flexible plans
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- May not provide the fastest speeds
- p2p not available for all servers
PrivateVPN is the little brother of some of the bigger providers. The company has a very small network of roughly 100 servers. However, those servers are very well-optimized, allowing you to experience very fast speeds for streaming. Furthermore, the VPN servers do a great job at getting around location-based restrictions. Torrenting and p2p streaming are allowed, but only on UK servers. Security features include most of the major security protocols, strong encryption techniques. PrivateVPN has a no-logs policy for peace of mind as well.
User-friendly applications are available for computers, iPhones, and Android-based mobile devices. Currently, Linux is not officially supported. PrivateVPN also has its own Kodi add-on. Despite only allowing standard p2p activities on UK servers, the Kodi add-on can be used to connect to a much larger selection of servers.
- Effective for unblocking popular streaming sites
- Very fast speeds
- Keeps no logs
- Military-grade encryption
- Kill switch and port-forwarding
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Fewer servers
- No live chat support
How to Set Up a VPN Connection for Kodi
Once you’ve found a VPN that’s right for your needs, you’ll need to set up service. The way you establish the VPN connection will depend entirely on the device you’re using to stream on Kodi. For computers and mobile devices, it’s as simple as downloading the VPN client. This can be done through the VPN’s website or on the device’s app store. From there, you can log into your VPN account, choose a server, and connect. Then, you simply start up Kodi and start streaming like you normally would.
If you have an Android-based device that doesn’t have an app store, you may need to sideload an APK. This is often required with Amazon Fire TV boxes and Fire sticks. VPNs will have step-by-step guides to help you do this efficiently. It’s important that you only download APK files from your VPN. If you download third-party APK files, you run the risk of bricking your device or putting your online security at risk.
If all else fails, you can also configure your Wi-Fi router to connect to a VPN automatically. This is a great option is Kodi is installed on a smart TV, gaming console, or set-top box that’s not officially supported by the VPN. By configuring your router, all of your devices will be able to take advantage of the secure connection. Use the VPN’s router guide to get the job done right. Setting up a router VPN connection can be quite tricky, as it involves messing with the firmware.
Are Free VPNs Good for Kodi?
Free VPN services are a dime a dozen. There are good reasons why most people choose to pay for their VPN service. The biggest is poor performance capabilities and a lack of true privacy. Most free VPN options don’t have the features you need to stream from Kodi efficiently. They don’t utilize the best security protocols and the servers are poorly optimized. Because the service doesn’t cost anything to the end user, most also have strict limitations on how the VPN can be used. They may not allow p2p streaming and more than likely have bandwidth caps that will severely limit your ability to watch longer titles.
As for privacy, free VPNs have a pretty bad reputation for their lack of transparent policies. These options typically keep detailed logs about your connection times, activity, and IP address. This information is then sold to third parties for advertisements and marketing. You’re essentially trading your anonymity for free service.
Needless to say, it’s recommended that you avoid free VPN services altogether. It’s much better to pay a few bucks for private service that you can rely on.
Kodi’s open-sourced nature lets you create the digital media experience that you want. A solid Kodi VPN will expand the possibilities while giving you the privacy and protection you need to stay safe as you stream.