Kodi is a revolutionary open-source entertainment hub that allows you to stream online content such as podcasts, movies, television shows, and sporting events directly from the internet or a home network storage device to your television or streaming device.
The best VPN for Kodi will also allow you to unblock geo-restricted content, download torrent files, and share files across P2P networks. While the legality of some of these activities is murky, the bottom line is that if you plan to use Kodi, you’ll need a VPN service that’s compatible with Kodi and its various add-ons to keep your activity private and conceal it from malicious third parties.
Our Verdict: The Best VPN For Kodi
We did in-depth reviews of eight different VPN services. With a total of six subscription-based VPN services and two free ones, all of the VPN services that we reviewed here are legitimate and reliable, even if they each have their own distinct strengths and weaknesses.
If you’ve decided to give Kodi a try and you need to decide which VPN service to use, IPVanish is your best bet. We chose IPVanish because it demonstrated the broadest and most reliable compatibility with Kodi and its various add-ons across several different platforms. When paired with Kodi, IPVanish was easy to install and kept our streaming activities private without slowing down our connection speeds.
The other factor in our decision to name IPVanish as the best VPN for Kodi is Kodi’s Amazon Firestick app. Since more and more Kodi users choose to access Kodi via the Amazon Firestick, we looked for a VPN service compatible with both the Amazon Firestick and Kodi, and IPVanish won hands down.
When we tried to use Kodi via the Amazon Firestick and then attempted to conceal our streaming activities with IPVanish, all we had to do was simply download both Kodi and IPVanish from the Amazon App Store. We installed both apps and were streaming quickly and privately in minutes.
What Makes A Good VPN For Kodi
When we were putting together our list of the best VPN services to use with Kodi, we relied on a fairly predictable set of criteria:
- Fast and stable speeds
- Kill Switch
- Server network
- No user logs
- No IP/DNS leakage
- Allowing P2P traffic
- Unblock geo-restricted content
Fast And Stable Speeds
After the VPN has been installed and activated, it should conceal streaming and data without slowing down your connection speed to an excessive degree. If you’re new to the VPN game, you need to know that routing your web traffic through a different server than the local ones maintained by your ISP will slow down your internet connection just slightly.
The key here is how much. If you live in Portland, Oregon, and you set up a VPN server and route your web traffic through a server in Seattle, Washington, you’ll probably be able to surf the web privately under the protection of your VPN network without seeing your internet speeds go down too much.
However, let’s say one morning you sit down in front of your computer in Portland, and you decide to point your VPN at a server in Miami, Florida. In this case, your web traffic’s protected, and your VPN is making it look like you’re actually at a computer in Miami even though you’re in Portland. The potential problem is that since the Miami server is roughly 2000 miles away, it will take your web traffic a lot longer to reach the Miami server, which slows down your connection speed.
As you look for the right VPN for Kodi, make sure that for whatever VPN you choose, you get into the habit of running speed tests on all of your devices when they’re in protected mode to make sure that your VPN isn’t dragging down your connection speeds.
At the time of this writing, the vast majority of reputable VPN’s come equipped with a kill switch feature that automatically disconnects your computer or device from the internet if your VPN goes down for any reason and leaves you with an unprotected connection.
Active Kill Switches Vs. Passive Kill Switches
Even though a kill switch has become a standard feature for any reputable VPN, there’s another important distinction to be drawn here because there are two kinds of VPN kill switches, active kill switches, and passive kill switches. An active kill switch will know when your computer has been disconnected from the VPN; it will prevent your computer or device from connecting to unsecured or unsafe networks.
A passive kill switch is actually the safer and more secure type of kill switch. A passive kill switch operates a little bit differently. The second your VPN stops receiving a signal from a given server, it automatically stops that server from sending your unprotected traffic.
When you’re looking for the right VPN provider for Kodi, another factor that you’ll want to take into consideration is the size and scope of a given VPN provider’s server network. Whatever your reasons for wanting a VPN are, ideally, you’ll want to pick a VPN provider that has as many servers spread out in as many geographical locations as possible.
The reason you’ll want a well-developed and geographically-dispersed server network is simple; more server locations give you more options in terms of sharing torrent files and unblocking geo-restricted content. It’s important to note, though, that not all VPN server networks are created equal.
As VPN services have become more mainstream, unscrupulous VPN’s have gotten into the habit of exaggerating the size of their server networks. Others have gotten into the habit of maintaining their own server networks while renting servers from other VPN providers or third parties.
When you’re looking for a VPN provider, you’ll want to look for a large server network. Still, more importantly, you’ll want to look for a VPN provider that owns and physically manages all of its own servers without renting servers from other VPN providers.
No User Logs
A reputable VPN service should not maintain user logs to track user data, streaming, or browsing activities. Outside of basic subscription information, a reputable VPN should not keep any data whatsoever on its users’ activity.
This means that you should look for a VPN that collects absolutely no identifying information about its users. Identifying information could include the personal information you provided to set up your VPN subscription, websites you visit, content you might download, and your search history.
As VPN’s have become a more mainstream security measure for many people, unfortunately, many less-than-honest VPN providers claim to have no-log policies even though they’ve been caught turning over users’ personal information to 3rd parties or, in some cases, selling users’ personal information.
If you want to be sure that a particular VPN is adhering to its own no-log policy, it’s a good idea to check sites such as Reddit or Quora to hear what other users have to say. It’s also helpful to look for VPN’s that carry out regular internal audits of their own security procedures. Don’t worry; none of this is as complicated as it sounds, and most of this information can be found with quick web searches.
No IP/DNS Leakage
If you’re looking for the best VPN for Kodi, you need to choose a VPN service that will transmit all of your data with a secure, encrypted connection that will not leak your IP address and DNS records.
DNS is an acronym that stands for Domain Name Service. When you type a URL into your web browser, your computer reaches out to your internet provider’s DNS servers and “asks” them to translate the URL you just typed into an IP address that marks the website’s online location.
What Is A DNS Leak?
Assuming that you’ve typed in a valid URL to your web browser, the DNS servers “answer” your computer by directing it to the right IP address (i.e., the right website) so that you can start browsing it. This is a standard transaction that none of us really think about; the problem is that if you’re using a subpar VPN that can’t maintain a stable connection, they might “leak” your home computer’s IP address and DNS information and leave your online browsing activities exposed.
How Do I Prevent DNS Leaks From My VPN Service?
Again, all of this sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. If you want to know about a particular VPN provider’s record regarding DNS leakage, do a few quick web searches or check out Reddit or Quora. Alternatively, you can check for DNS leakage yourself by performing a DNS leak test on your own computer, in much the same way that you can run a speed test to check your internet connection speed.
Here are links to the most popular DNS leak tests available online. Don’t worry; they’re all free:
Allowing P2P Traffic
The term “P2P” means “Peer-to-Peer.” In a nutshell, file-sharing over a peer-to-peer network is often synonymous with “torrenting,” the practice of sharing media files between different devices (or peers) that are on the same P2P network. To download or upload torrent files, your computer will need to have a specific application installed that allows torrent files to be uploaded or downloaded.
These P2P torrent applications are usually free, and they’re easy to find. Some well-known torrenting applications include Vuze, uTorrent, BitTorrent, and eMule. If you want a VPN to share torrent files over P2P networks, you’ll want one that will give you a fast, stable, and secure connection, preferably with the AES 256-bit encryption protocol.
The Legality Of Torrenting
If you want to download bit torrent files or share data over peer-to-peer networks, you’ll need a VPN service that allows you to do so. Be aware that some reputable VPN’s are blocking torrent files and P2P networks due to legality issues.
If you intend to use a VPN service to conceal torrenting activities, be aware that you could be subject to bandwidth throttling, denial of service from your ISP, or even prosecution.
If you want a detailed resource on VPN’s and torrenting, click here.
Unblock Geo-Restricted Content
Another common use for VPN’s is to unblock geo-restricted content such as foreign sporting events or TV shows and movies from foreign streaming services. Alas, most of the major streaming services have been wise to VPN’s for a while now, so even though unlocking geo-restricted content isn’t impossible, it’s somewhat more difficult than it used to be.
Last but certainly not least, a good VPN should keep your internet connection, as well as the data and media transmitted over it, completely private.
Why Would I Need A VPN For Kodi
Putting all of the various legal questions aside, you’ll need a VPN service that’s compatible with Kodi if you want to unlock geo-restricted content and download or upload files from peer-to-peer networks.
Remember that besides keeping your transmitted data and content encrypted and private, a VPN service conceals your true online identity by making it appear as if your computer is in a different location than it actually is.
If you want to use Kodi to watch German soccer or unlock Netflix’s Japanese website, you’ll need a VPN server that can make it look like you’re in Germany or Japan.
The Best VPN Services For Kodi
Even though IPVanish won our roundup as the best VPN for Kodi users overall, we found several reputable and secure VPN servers that should help keep Kodi users surfing quickly and anonymously.
While these sites all have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, it’s important to note that these VPN providers have not been ranked from best to worst. Whichever VPN service you choose from this list to protect your Kodi’s internet connection, rest assured that they will help keep your internet traffic private with minimal reduction in bandwidth.
If you’re still on the fence about the best VPN for Kodi, read on, and gain some clarity with the detailed roundup we’ve put together.
Kill Switch: Yes | No-Log policy: Yes | Dedicated IP: Yes | P2P: Yes | Unlock Geo-Restricted Content: Yes | Malware & Ad-Blocker: Yes | Browser Extension: Chrome and Firefox
Features In Detail
NordVPN is one of the most established and popular brands in the VPN marketplace today. Besides an imposing array of standard features to keep your internet traffic private and your browsing experience free of ads and malware, you’ll get uninterrupted streaming and protection for up to 6 devices on a single account.
At the time of this writing, NordVPN boasts over 5500 servers in 59 countries, and they were the only VPN in our roundup that offered a dedicated IP as a standard feature. If you want to use NordVPN with Kodi, check out this handy reference.
NordVPN stands out for its server network size, its cutting-edge Wiregaurd VPN technology, and its rigorous company policy regarding subscriber privacy. There’s a multihop function that allows users to send traffic over multiple servers for an extra level of security and another feature that allows users to connect NordVPN with the ultra-secure Tor web browser.
Unlike many other VPN services currently in operation, NordVPN has servers in locations such as Vietnam, Turkey, and Hong Kong, all of which are restrictive regarding internet freedom.
IPVanish (Best Overall For Kodi)
Kill Switch: Yes | No-Log policy: Yes* | Dedicated IP: No | P2P: Yes | Unlock Geo-Restricted Content: Yes | Malware & Ad-Blocker: No | Browser Extension: Chrome
Features In Detail
IPVanish is the VPN that gets the consistently highest ratings among Kodi users, who like it could be configured to work with Kodi’s add-ons. IPVanish is particularly popular with Kodi users who are downloading the Kodi app from the Amazon App Store.
This IP offers industry-standard encryption, 24/7 customer service, split tunneling, and connectivity for up to ten devices.
IPVanish gets consistently high marks for packing quite a few features into a modestly-priced subscription package. The company also prides itself that its server network is 100% company-owned, without a single server or servers being rented from another entity.
There’s 24/7 live chat support, with phone support available between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Another bonus is the Sugarsync package, which gives users the option of purchasing 250 GB of secure cloud storage for a small additional charge.
Kill Switch: Yes | No-Log policy: Yes* | Dedicated IP: No, but Static IPs are available by default | P2P: Yes | Unlock Geo-Restricted Content: Yes | Malware & Ad-Blocker: Yes | Browser Extension: Chrome and Firefox
Features In Detail
Surfshark VPN gets high marks for its multihop feature that allows users to route traffic through several different servers for an extra protection level. There’s also a split-tunneling feature that allows users to divert non-sensitive traffic to a public IP while sensitive traffic is still sent through the protected IP.
Surfshark is a relatively new VPN that stands out for its ease-of-use and low prices. Besides all the features listed above, Surfshark provides HackLock, a password protection feature that lets you know if any of your login information has been found online. It offers a Blind Search feature that allows users to surf the web privately and with no ads.
Surfshark also sports a “Camouflage” feature that disguises encrypted traffic to look like regular traffic, which is especially handy if you’re in a country that doesn’t allow VPN’s. If you’re traveling in a country that restricts internet usage, Surfshark’s No borders mode will identify a list of servers you can connect to.
Surfshark’s other notable features include 24/7 customer service and connectivity across an unlimited number of devices per single account.
Kill Switch: Yes | No-Log policy: Yes | Dedicated IP: No | P2P: Yes | Unlock Geo-Restricted Content: Yes | Malware & Ad-Blocker: Yes | Browser Extension: Chrome, Firefox, Edge
Features In Detail
With industry-standard, 256-bit AES encryption and 3000 servers in 94 countries, ExpressVPN is a lightning-fast VPN service that earns consistently high marks for torrenting and unlocking geo-restricted content.
ExpressVPN has 24/7 customer service and allows five simultaneous connections per user. However, as a bonus, if you take the slightly more complicated route and install ExpressVPN directly to your router, you’ll get VPN protection for an unlimited number of devices.
Other standout features include virtual servers, where your IP address is located in your country of choice. In contrast, the actual server is located elsewhere; this enables ExpressVPN to maIntain higher, more stable speeds. ExpressVPN also uses TrustedServer Technology, which runs all of its servers entirely on RAM. The upshot of all of this is that your data is completely wiped from the server every time you reboot.
Finally, ExpressVPN offers an imposing array of apps and browser extensions. If you need a resource dealing with how to install ExpressVPN with Kodi, click here.
Kill Switch: Windows only | No-Log policy: Yes | Dedicated IP: No | P2P: Yes | Unlock Geo-Restricted Content: Yes | Malware & Ad-Blocker: Yes | Browser Extension: No
Features In Detail
On the one hand, PrivateVPN is an affordable VPN service that is easy to install and easy to use. PrivateVPN gets consistently high marks for being able to unblock geo-restricted content from across its server network consistently. PrivateVPN even has specially designated servers for ABC, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.
Although some users have complained in the past that PrivateVPN’s server network is too small, the company is adding new servers all the time. At the time of this writing, Private VPN currently has 150 servers in 60 countries.
Private VPN features industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption, unlimited P2P sharing, and unlimited bandwidth. PrivateVPN checks most of the boxes when it comes to being a respectable VPN, but its no-frills approach makes it look a little thin compared to other VPN providers when it comes to special features; there really aren’t that many.
Even though PrivateVPN had respectable speed test scores, even from servers that were further away, and even though it passed leak tests, the lack of any browser extensions and the fact that its kill switch feature is only available for Windows is a bit of a disappointment.
Kill Switch: Yes | No-Log policy: Yes | Dedicated IP: Yes, in the Business version only | P2P: Yes | Unlock Geo-Restricted Content: Yes | Malware & Ad-Blocker: No | Browser Extension: No
Features In Detail
VyprVPN is a swiss-run VPN service from the same corporate entity as Usenet owner Giganews. VyprVPN has a moderately-sized server network with over 700 servers spread across 64 countries. Notably, VyprVPN is another company on our roundup that exclusively owns and maintains its own server network, meaning that none of its servers are rented from other entities.
The other notable feature about VyprVPN’s server network is that it is more geographically dispersed than has been the norm for most VPN providers. VyprVPN has multiple servers in Europe and North America and the Middle East, South America, Asia, and Oceania.
For users who are novices when it comes to installing and using VPN’s, VyprVPN has further distinguished itself by maintaining an imposing knowledge base that covers setting up and using VyprVPN on just about every platform you could imagine. There are over 30 tutorials covering installation on everything from Linux to Chromebook to Apple TV.
In terms of other special features, VyprVPN supports both the OpenVPN and Chameleon protocols, as well as Wiregaurd. Recent tests have shown that VyperVPN can unblock Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, and more. The only drawback is that configuring VyprVPN to work with Kodi requires a manual set-up.
The Best Free VPN For Kodi
If you’re on a budget, we’ve gone ahead and included a couple of free VPN’s that will work to keep your Kodi traffic private and out of the hands of malicious third parties. There’s certainly nothing wrong with using a free VPN, but you should be aware that if you’re not careful, a free VPN server can be a lot more trouble than it’s worth. Read on to find the best free VPN for Kodi.
Kill Switch: Yes | No-Log policy: Yes | Dedicated IP: No | P2P: Yes | Unlock Geo-Restricted Content: Yes | Malware & Ad-Blocker: Yes | Browser Extension: Chrome
Features In Detail
Hotspot Shield is a VPN service that operates on a “freemium” pricing model, meaning that some of its basic features are free, but if you want more features, you’ll have to pay. If you opt to just stick with the basic free membership, you’re limited to certain servers while others are restricted. You’ll be limited to a single simultaneous connection, with a daily limit of 500 MB of data and throttled download speeds of 2MB per second.
Admittedly, this is a bit underhanded, but what makes Hotspot Shield really stand out are the features you get access to once you’ve upgraded to one of the paid packages. Hotspot Shield’s premium package gets you simultaneous connectivity on up to five devices, with unrestricted access to Hotspot’s server network and no limit on data.
But what truly gets lost in Hotspot Shield’s confusing membership packages are the impressive free memberships to several other security and privacy applications along with all of the other standard features that come with any other VPN. With a paid subscription, you’ll get a free membership to 1Password Password Manager, Identity Gaurd Identity Monitoring Service, and Roboshield Call Blocker.
There’s a little bit of bait-and-switch at work in Hotspot’s pricing, but once you look past that, this is a VPN with consistent speed and stability and quite a bit of value on the premium end of things. However, Hotspot Shield has been criticized for using ads in its free version, its lack of transparency, and its limited support for the OpenVPN protocol. For info on how to configure Kodi to work with Hotspot Shield, click here.
Kill Switch: Yes | No-Log policy: Yes | Dedicated IP: Yes, paid-addon | P2P: Yes | Unlock Geo-Restricted Content: Yes | Malware & Ad-Blocker: Yes | Browser Extension: Chrome, Firefox, Opera
Features In Detail
Windscribe is another “freemium” VPN that packs an imposing list of features into modestly priced packages. Windscribe gives its users 10GB of free data, with relatively high-speed test scores. They have servers in 110 cities spread across 63 countries. It’s important to note here, though, that the same “freemium” logic still applies here; if you stick with the free membership, you’re restricted to access on just a few servers.
Windscribe adheres to a strict no-log policy. The company doesn’t maintain any information about its users, meaning they can’t even be identified by timestamp or IP address. For more technically savvy VPN users, there’s a config generator that allows you to build configs for any device in any protocol–OpenVPN. IKEv2, Wiregaurd, or SOCKS.
Windscribe boasts industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption with a 4096-bit RSA key and SHA512 authorization. If you’re concerned about blocking inappropriate content from your family’s devices, the ROBERT system gives you users the ability to block certain domains and IP addresses across all of your devices.
Windscribe also features intuitive, easy-to-navigate user interfaces across all devices and platforms, as well as static IP addresses, port forwarding, and split tunneling. Desktop users get access to a firewall, secure hotspot capability, and the ability to set up a proxy server. Its browser extension includes a multihop feature, ad blocking, and a cookie tracker that allows you to delete cookies automatically every time you shut down your browser. For info on configuring Windscribe with Kodi, click here.
A Word Of Caution About Free VPN’s
We wouldn’t have recommended Hotspot Shield or Windscribe if they didn’t do a good job of keeping your Kodi connection safe and private, but even so, we feel that it’s necessary to advise caution when it comes to picking a free VPN. While it is possible to find a decent VPN service that doesn’t cost anything, many free VPN services come with their own unique challenges and pitfalls.
Even in a better case scenario, you should know that using a free VPN server means advertisements, download restrictions, strict caps on transmitted data, throttled bandwidth, and smaller server footprints, meaning that many free VPN services maintain server networks in far fewer countries than many of the more established subscription-based VPN providers.
Less-than-reputable free VPN providers (such as Hola) may exaggerate their server networks; they may claim to have servers in countries when they actually don’t, or, in some cases, might secretly rent servers from other VPN providers. Some free VPN providers have also been caught selling “protected” subscriber data to third parties.
Finally, if you choose to use a free VPN service, you should be aware that many of them just simply don’t work as well as the larger, more established VPN providers. Free VPN’s often struggle to unlock geo-restricted content and may have recurrent issues with DNS leakage.
How To Install A VPN For Kodi
Once you’ve decided on the best VPN for Kodi, the next logical step is to install your chosen VPN. While installation methods are going to vary widely depending on several factors, such as the platform you’re running Kodi on and how exactly you go about purchasing your VPN, in most cases, installing and running a VPN is a relatively simple process that can be completed in just a few minutes.
When you’ve got Kodi up and running and it’s time to install your chosen VPN server, you’ll most likely end up choosing between one of the three different installation methods we’ve outlined below:
Installation From An App
If you’re running Kodi on a mobile platform such as iOS or Android, you’ll most likely end up going to your platform’s respective app store and downloading and installing the app from there. This is the simplest and most straightforward way to obtain VPN protection.
Of course, you’ll have to provide payment info, create a username and password, and choose a subscription package in most cases, but all of this is handled during the download process. Installing a VPN from an app usually takes no more than a few minutes.
Installation From VPN Provider Website
Suppose you want to install a VPN on your router, desktop, or laptop computer. The installation will most likely occur by going directly to your chosen VPN service website and handling the installation from there. This is usually just a little more involved than installing and downloading from an app, but the difference is negligible.
After you’ve gone to your chosen VPN provider’s website, you’ll choose a subscription package, set up a username and password, and then click through a simple installation.
Installation As Kodi Add-On
This installation method is a bit more involved, but if you want to control your VPN from Kodi’s own user interface directly, it’s best to install and run it as a Kodi add-on. This method is definitely for more advanced users, but if you’d like to give it a shot, check out the next section, where we’ll cover installing a VPN server as a Kodi add-on in greater detail.
Using A VPN With Kodi Add-Ons
If you’re new to Kodi, or you’re considering giving Kodi a try, but you’ve never used it, you’re going to hear a lot about “add-ons.” Add-ons are basically apps for your Kodi user interface, although some of them function as something between a mobile app and a browser extension.
Although it’s not exactly an ideal set-up, some more advanced Kodi users prefer to set up a VPN as a native application within their Kodi interface. It’s not as easy or straightforward as protecting your Kodi interface from your VPN’s native client interface. Still, if you absolutely have to install a VPN as a native app within your Kodi interface, you’ve got several options.
OpenVPN for Kodi is one of the more popular options for Kodi users who want to go this route; it’s also available from Github and is compatible with macOS and Linux. The other popular option is Zomboided VPN Manager. It’s only compatible with Windows or Linux Kodi installations, but it will support over 30 different VPN providers natively within your Kodi interface once it’s installed.
When trying to choose the best VPN for Kodi, you’ll need to consider several factors. You’ll want to pick a VPN server that’s easy to install and configure. You may want a VPN that lets you quickly configure basic settings, such as defaulting to a particular server on activation or setting your VPN to switch on automatically once your computer or mobile device is powered on.
Beyond that, when you’re trying to choose the best VPN for Kodi, you’ll want to pick a reputable VPN provider that adheres to a strict no-log policy, maintains strong and stable connections, and prevents DNS and IP leakage.