Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

June 11, 2018

Kodi is a free and open source media player that allows you to play content from a wide range of sources. On its own, Kodi offers no actual content, but it has gained notoriety, popularity and criticism because it can be used to stream content for free from “unofficial” sources thanks to third-party add-ons.

Using a VPN for Kodi will protect you when streaming using the platform. It will also allow you to access legal services such as BBC iPlayer via Kodi that might be blocked where you are.

Over the last 5 years, our experts have tested over 150 VPNs – and when it comes to Kodi, this is our top 5 picks for a VPN. For more information on the services featured in the table below, keep scrolling…

The best Kodi VPN: Side-by-side summary

The best VPNs for Kodi?

9.9/10.0

Editor's choice

Editor's choice

ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 49% off today!
  • Kodi-Covered: servers in almost 100 countries
  • User-friendly apps
  • Excellent streaming speeds- Great for streaming!
  • Excellent customer service
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • ExpressVPN routers available- cover your whole house!
CONS:
  • A bit pricey - but worth it!

ExpressVPN comes in as one of the best VPNs for Kodi, as they have carefully assembled a service that is easy to learn and performs remarkably well. Kodi users will be happy to learn that streaming speeds and server availability with ExpressVPN are excellent. There are also server locations in almost every major country, as well as impressive apps for Mac, Windows, and Linux, with iOS and Android devices also covered. ExpressVPN even offers unique VPN apps for routers, including Linksys WRT models and a wide range of ASUS RT series routers.

Up to 23 different payment options (including Bitcoin), and subject to British Virgin Islands laws (no jurisdiction here for the NSA!) mean they are an excellent choice for privacy-conscious Kodi users24/7 live chat and e-mail, coupled with an extensive knowledgebase are also great reasons to choose ExpressVPN to for your Kodi device!

Streaming without a VPN on Kodi is like leaving your front door unlocked while you are watching TV upstairs. Protect yourself using ExpressVPN using the link below!

ExpressVPN subscription options:
12 month plan (plus 3 months free) - $6.67 per month ($99.95 total cost)
6 month plan - $9.99 per month ($59.95 total cost)
1 month plan - $12.95 per month ($12.95 total cost)


Try out the best VPN for Kodi today!

Visit ExpressVPN »30-day money back guarantee

9.4/10.0

PrivateVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Loved by consumers
  • Super fast for streaming
  • Zero logs
  • Fully featured for security and privacy
  • Fantastic customer care
CONS:
  • Not much

PrivateVPN is an amazing service from Sweden that users praise regularly. It is a superb choice for Kodi. It is fast, efficient, easy to use, and extremely reliable. It also provides lightning fast speeds for streaming in HD. PrivateVPN truly is a pleasure to use and has all the important security features you might need. It also has servers in over 50 countries.

Encryption is military grade OpenVPN and this VPN keeps zero logs. Amazingly, this fantastic VPN is also super cheap. Why not try the 30-day money-back guarantee to see why this VPN is proving so popular?

PrivateVPN subscription options:
19 month plan (save 75%) - $2.73 per month ($51.84 total cost)
3 month plan - $4.50 per month ($13.50 total cost)
1 month plan - $6.57 per month ($6.57 total cost)


8.8/10.0

NordVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 77% off today!
  • No logs
  • Based in Panama (great for privacy)
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Great customer service
  • Servers in 62 countries
  • P2P: yes
CONS:
  • Not much

NordVPN is undoubtedly a very fully-featured service. The fact that it is based in Panama and keeps no logs at all is also a big draw for those who care about privacy. Its software looks good, and works well. Speed performance is now very impressive.

And a three-day free trial, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee give you plenty of opportunity to ensure that everything works for you as it should.

NordVPN permits torrenting, works with all major streaming services (including US Netflix and BBC iPlayer), and has servers in 58 countries. It even throws in a full smart DNS service for free! What you get with NordVPN is a very fully featured, privacy-friendly VPN service that is also very fast.

NordVPN subscription options:
36 month plan (77% off 3-year plans) - $2.75 per month ($99.00 total cost)
12 month plan - $5.75 per month ($69.00 total cost)
1 month plan - $11.95 per month ($11.95 total cost)


8.2/10.0

CyberGhost Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 77% off 1-year plan!
  • Five simultaneous connections- Great for families!
  • Based in Romania
  • Impressive streaming speeds- Stream away on Kodi!
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Excellent customer service
CONS:
  • Some concerns over user privacy

CyberGhost Pro is an excellent choice for Kodi. There is no bandwidth limit, encryption is similar to that on a premium VPN, and setting up the service is simple. Its software is very easy-to-use while also being fully featured, and 5 simultaneous connections is good. Being based in Romania and keeping (almost) no logs is also a big draw, as is the superb connection speed results to nearby servers. CyberGhost Pro undoubtedly has its flaws, but it also has enough cool features to make it a compelling choice for many.

Check out CyberGhost Pro for Kodi and make use of a 30-day money back guarantee!

CyberghostVPN subscription options:
24 month plan (77% off 2-year plans) - $2.75 per month ($99.00 total cost)
6 month plan - $4.99 per month ($59.88 total cost)
1 month plan - $11.99 per month ($11.99 total cost)


7.8/10.0

IPVanish Homepage
PROS:
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Smart DNS included
  • Runs own CDN so very fast
  • P2P allowed
CONS:
  • Based in the US
  • So-so support

Although based in the US (so not for the more NSA-phobic out there), this high-profile VPN company has good privacy credentials, accepts payment in bitcoin, and permits torrenting. IPVanish also throws in a free Smart DNS service for all customers.

Its software is a littles basic, but is easy to use and works well . Importantly, IPVanish owns and runs its own network infrastructure, which ensures it is a very fast service.

Additional features include apps for Android and iOS, and servers in 61 countries

VPN Kodi | FAQs

Over the years, we have encountered a whole host of questions and misconceptions when it comes to using Kodi with a VPN. Below we take a look at the more common questions we get asked.

What is Kodi?

Kodi is open source home cinema software available for almost all platforms including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux and Raspberry Pi. On its own, it offers no content – although it can play a wide selection of files stored locally or on a local network (LAN).

Most Kodi users expand this functionality using third-party add-ons, the most infamous of which provide access to illegal IPTV streams. Please check out our 50 Best Kodi Add-ons list for lots of great Kodi add-ons.

What is a VPN for Kodi?

A VPN is a way to stay secure and private on the internet. You run a VPN on your device, which routes all your internet traffic to a VPN server before it reaches the internet. The connection between your device and the VPN server is encrypted.

This may sound like a very simple setup, but it is good for lots of funky things. If you are not sure what a VPN is and what one can do to improve your internet experience in general, please check out our VPNs for Beginners guide NOW!

With specific reference to Kodi, the key things you need to know are:

A Kodi VPN hides what you get up to on the internet from your Internet provider (ISP)

It does this in two ways:

  • It encrypts all internet traffic between your Kodi device and the VPN server so your ISP can’t see it
  • It hides which websites you visit and which content services you stream from it because the VPN server acts as a middleman between you and the internet. Your ISP might know that you have connected to a VPN server, but all connections after that are hidden from it.

All of which means that when you stream content using Kodi, your ISP can’t know anything about it.

Anyone watching on the internet can’t see who you are

A big advantage of Kodi over BitTorrent-based streaming platforms such as Popcorn Time is that it is much safer.

BitTorrent exposes your unique internet address (IP address) to everyone else who is watching (or downloading) the same content.  Most Kodi streaming add-ons, on the other hand, source their content from unofficial IPTV services.

This makes it much harder for copyright holders to monitor who watches their stuff, but not impossible. There is no way to know if the IPTV service is monitoring users’ IPs, and if it is, then it can be legally forced to hand the logs over.

If you’re looking for more information on using BitTorrent in safety, find out how a VPN can help with our best torrent VPNs guide.

It is also not outside the bounds of possibility that a “pirate” IPTV service is actually a honeypot run by copyright holders in order to catch infringers!

So using a Kodi VPN to hide your real IP address from streaming services is still a very good idea!

With Popcorn Time also being a popular method for streaming content online, we have a whole page dedicated to using the service with a VPN. For more information, take a look at our Popcorn Time VPN guide.

A VPN will unblock Kodi streaming sources

It is becoming increasingly common for ISPs to block the IPTV portals used by most Kodi streaming add-ons. The Premier League recently secured a high court order to block the illegal streaming of football games and a growing number of distributors are taking increasingly aggressive action to prevent their content from reaching Kodi devices.

Using a VPN solves this problem – just connect to a VPN server located somewhere that does not block IPTV streams, and you’re good to go!

Most VPN services run servers in many locations around the world. Find more information on using a VPN to unblock streams online with our guide to geo-spoofing with aVPN.

BestVPN.com does not condone copyright infringement. While we are aware that VPNs can be used to spoof your location to another country, and thus overcome geo-restrictions, their primary purpose is to provide you with online security and privacy. First and foremost, this is why we recommend using a VPN.

Install a VPN on Kodi

Most platforms

On most platforms, Kodi is simply an app like any other. To use a VPN with it, simply install a VPN as usual and make sure it is running when you fire up Kodi. Easy!

We have dedicated guides on how to setup a VPN in:

Android TV is simply a version of Android that has been optimized to work well on big screen TV sets. Users can therefore download and run regular VPN apps from the Google Play Store, and an increasingly large number of VPN providers offer dedicated Android TV apps that are optimized for the big screen.

Amazon Fire TV Stick (includes Amazon Fire TV and upcoming Fire TV Cube)

The Amazon Fire Stick is just basically just a heavily skinned Android TV device with most of the Google bits stripped out. Crucially, the Google Play Store is replaced by a custom version of the Amazon App store.

This is something of a pain, as the Play Store has far more apps available on it than the Amazon one does (and this includes VPN apps). Unlike regular Android, the Fire Stick is also missing a built-in VPN client, so you can’t manually configure it to use a Kodi VPN.

But never fear! You can still use a VPN on a Fire Stick!

Use a dedicated Fire Stick app

This considerably limits your choice of VPNs, but is undoubtedly the easiest option. Just search from Fire TV homepage. Note that most VPN providers who offer Android TV apps also offer Fire Stick apps.

Sideload a regular VPN app using its .apk file

Most VPN providers will be happy to send you an .apk version of their software if you ask, or the .apk may be available through online repositories. Alternatively, you can download the latest .apk pg the excellent OpenVPN for Android app from F-Droid.

There are various ways to do sideload apps onto a Fire Stick, but we find using the Apps2Fire app to be the easiest. In fact, this rather funky app can install any app already installed on your regular Android device onto your Fire Stick without even the need for an .apk of the app!

Before sideloading an app onto your Fire Stick you must first enable third-party apps. To do this, simply go to the Fire TV homepage -> Settings -> Device -> Developer Options -> turn ON Apps from Unknown Sources.

Raspberry Pi with Kodi VPN Addon

The default Raspberry Pi operating system, Raspbian, is at heart a fairly standard Debian Linux distro. This means you can run Kodi as a regular Linux Kodi app with a VPN installed in one of the usual ways.

A popular option, however, is to turn the Pi into a dedicated Kodi machine using OpenELEC or LibreELEC. This, in effect, makes Kodi the operating system!

Please check out the official HOW-To Install Kodi on Raspberry Pi documentation for more install details.

If running Kodi as OpenELEC or LibreELEC, there is no underlying OS for you to install and run a VPN on in the regular way. Luckily, someone has thought of this and created an OpenVPN Kodi add-on that runs within Kodi itself. Yay!

VPN Manager for OpenVPN is open source and comes pre-configured for a long list of VPN services. Once installed, just select your service, enter your login details and go. It can also be manually configured (“user defined VPNs”) to work with any VPN that provides regular OpenVPN configuration files (which is basically all of them).

Want to make the most out of the versatility of a VPN? Why not check out which services we have ranked the best VPN services of 2018.

Kodi Boxes

One of the most popular ways to use Kodi is on a “Kodi box.” These are Android TV devices that are sold “pre-loaded” with the Kodi app and a selection of Kodi add-ons (which typically stream content from non-legal sources).

It is therefore very important to use a VPN when watching stuff on a Kodi box. As with any Android TV device, you can download and run any regular VPN app from the Google Play Store (including OpenVPN for Android). Many providers now also offer dedicated Android TV VPN apps that have been optimized for the big screen.

Using a free VPN for Kodi

Not really. Free VPNs do exist, but running a VPN service costs time and money. This is simply not something anyone will do for free!  Many “free” VPN services are simple scams designed to steal your data and/or bandwidth.

The others are limited plans offered by reputable VPN providers in the hope that you will upgrade to a more useful premium plan.

These might suffice as free VPNs if all you want to do is write the odd email or do some light web surfing, but will not provide the necessary bandwidth and speeds necessary to watch stuff on Kodi.

If you are looking to simply try out a VPN service with Kodi, but not sure about committing, why not take advantage of a VPN free trial to try before you buy!

Conclusion

Streaming with Kodi is safer than downloading or streaming via BitTorrent, but that’s no reason to be complacent. You can still get into trouble when using Kodi! A VPN lets you enjoy your home cinema with peace of mind. It also lets you bypass geographic restrictions placed on otherwise legal content.

Douglas Crawford
June 22nd, 2018

I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

4 responses to “5 Best VPNs For Kodi in 2018

  1. I’m still a little lost – does it make a difference what streaming app you use? I use an app called ShowBox on an Android TV-Box and Android phone? My location is outside the US and Europe and I’m trying to choose a VPN that will give true privacy as well as suitable streaming speed.

    1. Hi Ornaj,

      Kodi is popular because it supports a huge range of plugins (and therefore content), and has an interface that works well with large-screen TVs. Other apps such as Showbox do pretty much the same thing, though. All the general comments and recommended providers above will apply just as well to ShowBox as Kodi. If you are after a VPN that offers true privacy please check out 5 Best No Logs VPNs, which also includes a lengthy discussion on the subject of VPNs and privacy.

  2. I use a VPN and yet when I switch on Kodi I realized that it sees my real ISP. So what is the point of having a VPN with it? I use NordVPN.

    1. Hi Spoonman,

      Assuming that Kodi is running on the same computer as the VPN is running, then you should not be seeing your real ISP. Please see my Complete Guide to IP Leaks for reasons this could be happening to you. I am currently in the process of reviewing NordVPN, and one thing I have come across is that NordVPN leaks IPv6 addresses. Visit ipleak.com and see what results you get, paying particular attention to IPv6 results (the really long addresses).

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