NordVPN

5 Best Popcorn Time VPNs 2017

Dubbed “Netflix for pirates,” Popcorn Time uses BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to deliver smooth video streaming to your desktop or mobile device. Because it leverages the ordinary torrent community, there is always a wealth of high-quality and up-to-date TV and movie content available. Popcorn Time is also notable for the slickness of its interface.

The Best VPNs for Popcorn Time

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. IPVanish
  3. NordVPN
  4. VPNArea
  5. AirVPN

All of which is fantastic as long as you understand the full implications of using BitTorrent technology. In many ways the BitTorrent protocol is great. It is a decentralized file-sharing technology which allows users to freely distribute content without the need for it to be stored on centralized servers.

This means that it cannot be “taken down,” and that there are no server operators who can be prosecuted. But it does have a downside.

Because files are shared among users, it is trivially easy to see the IP addresses of everyone else sharing the same files as you. This makes it very easy to for copyright holders to detect and catch file-sharers who infringe their copyright.

Although Popcorn Time primarily streams content rather than downloading it, the same situation applies. Indeed, for anyone watching, streaming via Popcorn Time looks exactly the same as downloading content in the more tradition manner.

Good news is that there is an easy solution to this problem: Just use a VPN!

Best Popcorn Time VPN: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN LogoExpressVPN
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish LogoIPVanish
Read Review8.8/10
$5.19 / monthVisit Site
EXCLUSIVE: 50% OFF! Ends Today! Enter Voucher Code: WAR4WEB

3

NordVPN LogoNordVPN
Read Review8.4/10
$3.29 / monthVisit Site

4

VPNArea LogoVPNArea
Read Review8/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

5

AirVPN LogoAirVPN
Read Review7.4/10
$4.82 / monthVisit Site

*All prices shown in US dollars

* Advertiser Disclosure
Editor's Choice Award

Winner

ExpressVPN

5/5

Best VPN List

  • ProsPROS
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No usage logs
  • Servers in 78 countries
  • Great customer service
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Connection logs
  • A bit pricey

ExpressVPN has honed user-friendliness to an art form. Although its Windows, Mac, iOS and Android apps look simple (and thus are a doddle to use), they pack the most important features a VPN user (and in particular a Popcorn Time user) could hope for – full firewall-based DNS leak protection and kill switch. WebRTC protection and a superb OpenVPN encryption suite complete the picture.

And this user-focused attitude goes well beyond its software. ExpressVPN offers an industry-leading 30-day money-back guarantee, servers just about everywhere (including “stealth” servers in Hong Kong), and 24/7 customer service. It is no wonder that ExpressVPN consistently tops our five best lists!

Additional features include three simultaneous connections, WebRTC protection, free SmartDNS, and .onion web address.

Choose the best VPN for Popcorn Time today!

Visit ExpressVPN »

30-day money-back guarantee!

2nd place

IPVanish

4.4/5

IPVanish

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • Client with VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Smart DNS included
  • Accepts bitcoin
  • ConsCONS
  • Based in the US
  • So-so support

This large, US-based VPN service keeps no logs whatsoever, accepts payment in bitcoin, and permits torrenting. As with ExpressVPN, IPVanish offers a generous five simultaneous connections and throws in a Smart DNS service for free. Its apps are also streamlined, yet feature DNS leak protection and a kill switch.

Additional features: P2P allowed, mobile apps for all operating systems, seven-day money-back guarantee.

Visit IPVanish »


3rd place

NordVPN

4.2/5

NordVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • Up to six devices at once
  • Fantastic value for money
  • Servers in 47 countries worldwide
  • Excellent technology
  • ConsCONS
  • Speeds can be slow

Arguably the best thing about this privacy-focused VPN provider is that it is based in Panama. Not only does this place it firmly outside the NSA and GCHQ’s direct influence, but it should make it pretty darn resistant to legal action by copyright holders. Not that this really matters, as NordVPN keeps no logs at all.

NordVPN also uses great encryption, accepts payment in bitcoins, and offers “double-hop” VPN for those who want it. Unfortunately, many of NordVPN’s servers are rather slow. But with a little trial and error, fast ones are available.

Additional features: P2P is permitted, DNS leak protection, per-app kill switch (desktop clients).

Visit NordVPN »


4th place

VPNArea

4/5

VPNArea

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • Five simultaneous devices
  • Accepts bitcoin
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Not much

This small Bulgarian company features a seven-day free trial, fantastic connection speeds, and has among the most friendly and helpful support I have come across. Its desktop client is a custom version of Viscocity, and offers DNS leak protection, disables IPv6, and provides a per-app kill switch. The auto IP feature changes your IP every five minutes, which is interesting. VPNArea runs servers in 60 countries, which are a mixture of bare-metal and VPS instances.

Additional features include great customer service and a seven-day money-back guarantee.

Visit VPNArea »


5th place

AirVPN

3.7/5

AirVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • Open source with DNS leak protection and kill switch
  • No logs (at all)
  • VPN through Tor
  • Accepts bitcoin
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Techy-ness puts people off
  • Customer support could be better
  • Limited number of servers worldwide

When it comes to caring for customers’ privacy and for technical whizz-bang, our reviewers think AirVPN is hard to beat. This tech-heavy focus, combined with a rather brusk support style, however, makes this Italian VPN service less popular that it otherwise deserves to be. AirVPN’s open source VPN client (“Eddie”) offers a firewall-based kill switch and DNS leak protection, port selection, and more.

AirVPN also uses very strong encryption, permits VPN obfuscation using SSH and SSL tunneling, supports anonymous VPN use via VPN through Tor, and allows port forwarding. It permits P2P and is very fast, making it ideal for PT users!

Additional features include real-time user and server statistics, VPN through SSL and SSH tunnels, a three-day free trial, and three simultaneous connections.

Visit AirVPN »


Popcorn Time VPN: Considerations

Protect your Popcorn Time viewing with a VPN

As I noted in the introduction to this article, at heart Popcorn Time is basically just a very swanky BitTorrent client. This means that, not only can you get into trouble for using it, but it is very easy to get caught.

VPN for torrents

Here in Vuze I can easily see the IP address of everyone one else who is sharing the same file as me.

In Popcorn Time this process is hidden, but more traditional torrenters will still be able to see your IP address.

A VPN will protect you when streaming via Popcorn Time because:

  • It hides your IP address. Other people sharing the same file will see an IP address belonging to your VPN provider – not yours.
  • It hides everything you do online from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is because the connection between your device and the VPN server is encrypted. Your ISP will know the IP address of the VPN server you have connected to, and that’s it.

Another benefit is that using a VPN will bypass any censorship blocks placed on torrent sites. This is particularly useful here in the UK, where many such websites are blocked. If you would like to know more about how VPNs work in general, please check out my VPNs for Beginners guide.

Not all VPN services allow Popcorn Time

It is important to note that not all VPNs permit P2P (torrenting). And if they do not permit torrenting then they will not permit use of Popcorn Time. Such services may terminate your contract if they receive a complaint from a copyright holder, or even hand over your details to the copyright holder so they can take action against you.

If a VPN service permits P2P, however, then it promises to protect you from copyright holders (and believes it has the legal means to do so). You may stream Popcorn Time safely using such services.

It is a very good idea, however, to use some kind of kill switch in order to prevent inadvertently streaming or downloading without the protection of a VPN.

If I have Popcorn Time, do I need Netflix?

If you don’t mind the somewhat “grey” moral issues associated with streaming copyrighted content for free, then there is very little reason to use Netflix and similar services. Indeed, the simple elegance of the Popcorn Time interface puts many of its commercial rivals to shame.

Use of the BitTorrent protocol also ensures silky smooth streaming on even fairly low-bandwidth connections. Because content is sourced from torrent sites, it is usually available on Popcorn Time much sooner than it is on services such as Netflix.

TV shows, for example, are typically available mere hours after their TV premieres. Movies are also available as soon as they are released on DVD anywhere in the world.

Is Popcorn Time legal?

In most countries downloading copyrighted content is illegal, although it is a civil rather than a criminal offence. This means that you won’t go to jail for it, but getting caught can be very expensive.

In the EU this does not apply to watching streamed content. This means that, in theory, streaming via Popcorn Time is legal. As I have already noted, however, someone monitoring torrents will see no difference between streaming content via Popcorn Time and downloading it via P2P.

You might mean you will be able to win the argument in court, but who wants to go there? Because Popcorn Time stores some content locally to help prevent buffering issues, it might even be possible for a prosecution lawyer to argue that even though streaming, you have downloaded some content.

It is worth noting that in the UK copyright pirates who share infringing material can now be jailed for up to ten years! The government claims that only large-scale commercial pirates will be targeted, but has refused to set a threshold on how the law can be applied.

Although not very likely for now, due to the BitTorrent protocol’s filesharing aspect, small scale torrenters and Popcorn Time users could, at least in theory, be prosecuted under this new law.

Popcorn Time in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden

Popcorn Time users in Germany and Sweden have been target for legal action. Even more worryingly, two men in Denmark were arrested simply for spreading information about Popcorn Time.

Most such victims have been targeted for an odious practice known as speculative invoicing. This involves the threat of full legal action (and the associated court fees) if you do not pay a reduced cash settlement out of court.

If this happens to you, then consult TorrentFreak’s Speculative Invoicing Handbook. It deals specifically with the situation in the UK, but the advice given is also broadly useful if you live in Europe or North America.

Or even better, ensure this never happens to you by using a VPN when watching Popcorn Time!

Which Popcorn Time?

A quick search on the internet will reveal that there are many different versions (“forks”) of Popcorn Time. This is because Popcorn Time is an open source platform, a situation further fuelled by the decision of Popcorn Time’s original developer to abandon the project.

Thanks to the software’s understandable popularity, this has had the unfortunate effect of popularising the development of scammy and/or virus ridden forks.

There are only two versions of Popcorn Time that can be recommended with absolute confidence, and they are both 100 percent free. I strongly recommend that you only download Popcorn Time directly from one of the sites listed below.

Note that PT.se and PT.to encourage you to sign-up for its partner VPN service, but no reputable version of Popcorn Time requires payment of any kind.

Popcorn Time.sh

Popcorn Time.io (PT.io) was once widely regarded as the most “official” fork of the software. Internal divisions within the development team, however, resulted in it splitting up.

Some members went on to develop a version of Popcorn Time called Butter Project. This stripped out PTs copyright infringing features, but made some important technical improvements to the platform.

Other members of the team leveraged the technical improvements made in Butter, while adding the copyright infringing features back in again. The result is Popcorn Time.sh.

PT.sh promotes use of its partner VPN.ht service. Please check our full VPN.ht Review. It is not terrible, but the tl:dr version is that we recommend using a third party VPN service instead.

PT.sh is available for Windows (7+), Mac OSX (10.7+), Linux, Android (4.03+), and Android TV (5.0+). Most content is available in both 720p and 1080p resolutions, and the default catalog is enormous and up-to-date.

Streaming via Chromecast, Airplay and DLNA is supported, and works while connected to a VPN. PT.se can also integrate with TVShow Time, Track.tv, and OpenSubtitles.

Popcorn Time.to

Under a confusing variety of past names, Popcorn Time.to is the best and most long-lasting rival to PT.sh. This rivalry has not always been friendly, but everyone has now moved on. Popcorn Time.to has always been at the cutting edge of Popcorn Time development, and was the original force behind many features that have become standard on the platform.

Like PT.sh, PT.to encourages you to use a VPN provider it has partnered with. It is somewhat more aggressive about this than PT.sh, though.

The VPN company that PT.to has partnered with is Anonymous VPN. Our Anonymous VPN Review was not favorable, so I recommend using a trustworthy third-party service instead.

pt.se-vpn-warning

If using a third-party VPN, you can safely ignore any VPN “warnings” you might encounter when using the software.

Popcorn Time.to is available for Windows, Mac OSX (10.7+), Linux, and Android (4.0+). Most content is available in both 720p and 1080p resolutions. In my subjective experience PT.to has a better library than PT.sh, especially when it comes to TV shows.

VPN for Popcorn Time: Conclusion

Popcorn Time is a genuine game-changer when it comes to streaming high-quality TV shows and movies. It also boasts a catalog of content, both spanking new and old, that no commercial service can hope to rival.

Unless you live in a country that simply does not care about copyright issues, however, then you really do need to use a VPN with it.

Best VPN for Popcorn Time: Summary

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN LogoExpressVPN
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish LogoIPVanish
Read Review8.8/10
$5.19 / monthVisit Site
EXCLUSIVE: 50% OFF! Ends Today! Enter Voucher Code: WAR4WEB

3

NordVPN LogoNordVPN
Read Review8.4/10
$3.29 / monthVisit Site

4

VPNArea LogoVPNArea
Read Review8/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

5

AirVPN LogoAirVPN
Read Review7.4/10
$4.82 / monthVisit Site

*All prices shown in US dollars

* Advertiser Disclosure

Douglas Crawford 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.

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15 responses to “5 Best Popcorn Time VPNs 2017

  1. Hi,
    Will Opera’s built in VPN work with popcorn free time? Will the copyright holder be able to see my True IP or they will see only IP address that Opera broswer has it for me? I don’t watch movies all the time, but recently discovered popcorn time and it would be nice to use the app without having to worry about getting infringement notice by ISP. Please kindly let me know..

    1. Hi Sid,

      I general, a VPN will protect you while watching Popcorn Time. Thing is, though, that Opera VPN on the desktop is not a true VPN – it is an encrypted proxy that only works for the Opera browser. In other words, it does not protect your entire internet connection, so will not protect you when using Popcorn Time.

      Things are different, however, with the mobile version of Opera VPN, which is a true VPN. So if using PT on an Android or iOS device, using Opera will protect you. For more information please see my Opera VPN Review.

    1. Hi Alex,

      OpenVPN is a VPN protocol – one of the technologies used to implement a VPN connection. You still need something to connect to, however, which means that you need to sign-up for a VPN service. Please check out my VPNs for Beginners guide to learn more about VPNs. If you do already have a VPN service, then yes, the OpenVPN protocol is good for Popcorn Time (in fact it is recommended as the best VPN protocol to use generally).

  2. Hi. I have been using Popcorn Time for a couple years now and for the first time I got flagged from Comcast (company I have my internet service with)that they have been notified of Copyright Infringement. I don’t have a VPN because I am still not understanding what getting a VPN means. I am a single mother of 3 on a very limited income and watching Popcorn Time has been the best way my children and I can spend family time at home on a minimal budget. I do get the red pop-up box on Popcorn that warns I am being monitored and at risk. Is getting this VPN really worth getting or would I be better off deleting Popcorn Time program all together?

    1. Hi Geri,

      – A VPN will protect you while using Popcorn Time (as long as you choose a provider that permits P2P).
      – I have a VPNs for Beginners guide, which should help explain what a VPN is and what it can do (as well as what it can’t). If you have any questions after reading that, please ask away!
      – Is it worth getting a VPN? Well… only you can assess your needs and circumstances, but (as already noted) a VPN will protect you while using Popcorn Time and does not necessarily cost a fortune. Private Internet Access, for example, although not on this list, is an excellent VPN service that permits P2P (and therefore Popcorn Time). If purchased annually, a subscription works out at just $3.33 per month…

  3. How does Buffered handle Popcorn time? You rated it as the best for torrenting, but it doesn’t even make the list here. Thanks for the great reviews.

    1. Hi Headcase,

      Buffered handles Popcorn Time well. Our actual 5 Best picks are a team responsibility here at BestVPN.com, and it seems this dynamic has led to some confusion in this case. Sorry! The Torrent list and this list should be pretty much identical! I have flagged the issue up with the rest of our staff.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply! I’m between that and VPN Area. You and your team’s guides have been extremely helpful. Keep it up.

    1. Beatricd,

      Unfortunately, TunnelBear does not permit P2P (and therefore also Popcorn Time) using its service. In fact, it is very adamant about this. The only solution is to write off any losses as experience, and use a P2P-feindly VPN service such as those listed in this article.

    1. Hi alberto,

      All reputable versions of Popcorn Time (i.e. those discussed in this article) are 100% free. I do, however, strongly recommend paying for a decent VPN service in order to protect yourself from copyright holders while streaming with the app.

  4. I signed up for IpVanish two weeks ago, and I am happy with the service so far. I know that in US they have no data retention law for time being, and the provider is a logless vpn, but can a court order force the provider to start logging a specific user’s activity? Is it even possible to track down a user, if the provider uses shared ip-addresses? Also, a problem with PT compared to a torrent client like qbittorrent is that you cannot really see what ip-address PT hands out to other peers, including copyright holders. It’s a fact that has worried me a bit: Is my real ip-address being exposed, or the address assigned me by the vpn? How can I detect if the vpn provider really protects me as it should when I’m using PT?

    1. Hi Mona,

      1. Yes, a court order (or National security Letter) can require a VPN company to start keeping logs.

      2. Shared IPs makes it very difficult, but not impossible to uncover the identity of a VPN user. Assuming that many users share the IP address, it would take very detailed (and lengthy) end-to-end timing analysis to link a real IP address with specific internet activity. But, at least in theory, it is possible. Note that this is a highly targeted attack, and that you must be of specific interest to a a very determined adversary to become targeted in this way.

      3. If you are connected to a VPN server then the IP address your P2P peers will see is that of the VPN server. BitTorrent clients (including PT) are not susceptible to IP leaks in the way that browsers are. To check that you are connected to a VPN server, simply visit ipleak.net.

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