Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

June 12, 2018

Popcorn Time is an open source app that uses BitTorrent P2P technology to stream high-quality video content to your desktop or mobile device. As with more conventional BitTorrent clients, it is vital that you use a VPN to protect yourself.

The VPNs on the following list have been picked by our team of experts, not only for their overall excellence, but because they all permit P2P downloading; and if they permit P2P, they also allow you to Popcorn Time in safety!

The 5 best VPNs for Popcorn Time: Side-by-side comparison

Check out the table below for a side-by-side view of the best VPNs for Popcorn Time. For a more in-depth analysis, keep scrolling. 

ProviderPriceOur ScoreVisit
1Visit Site »
NordVPN review »
From
$2.75
/month

10.0

Our Score
Visit Site »
NordVPN review »
Special Offer: 77% off today!
2 CyberGhost review »Visit Site »
From
$2.75
/month

9.8

Our Score
Visit Site »
CyberGhost review »
3 ExpressVPN review »Visit Site »
From
$6.67
/month

9.4

Our Score
Visit Site »
ExpressVPN review »
4 PrivateVPN review »Visit Site »
From
$2.73
/month

9.0

Our Score
Visit Site »
PrivateVPN review »
5 IPVanish review »Visit Site »
From
$3.33
/month

8.6

Our Score
Visit Site »
IPVanish review »

The best VPNs for Popcorn Time?

10.0/10.0

Editor's choice

Editor's choice

NordVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 77% off today!
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Good for P2P
  • Double-hop option
  • Allowance of six simultaneous connections
  • No logs
CONS:
  • Not much

NordVPN is a solid VPN for accessing streaming services. It's also a great pick for those who like to download with torrents. These two qualities make it a strong choice to use with Popcorn Time. The service is very cheap if you catch the three-year subscription offer. You get an allowance of six simultaneous connections with this VPN, which will enable you to share an account with friends.

Check out the best VPN for Popcorn Time!

Visit NordVPN »30-day money-back guarantee

9.8/10.0

CyberGhost Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 77% off 1-year plan!
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free version with unlimited data
  • Optimization for specific tasks
  • A system-wide kill switch, plus options to monitor specified apps
  • Strong encryption
CONS:
  • Can't get into Netflix

CyberGhost is a fun VPN, which is a joy to use. The app has a pre-screen that lets you select activity preferences. It then adjusts the VPN's settings to suit your intended connections. Two of those optimization options are "unblock streaming" and "torrent anonymously." You can play around with these settings to see which gives you the best performance.

There is a free version of CyberGhost that doesn't have any data throughput limits. This is a great free VPN and it made it onto the BestVPN list of the five best free VPNs.

9.4/10.0

ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 49% off today!
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 85+ countries worldwide
  • Up to 5 simultaneous connections
  • Good security
  • P2P: yes
CONS:
  • Bit expensive but worth it

ExpressVPN is a VPN with high security and fast speeds – two things that are ideal for a Popcorn Time VPN. In addition, ExpressVPN also uses the OpenVPN protocol implemented to pretty high standards. Even more, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re looking for a Popcorn Time client that offers high streaming and torrenting speeds, with a chance to get your money back if you're not impressed.

9.0/10.0

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 using with PopcornTime. 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?

8.6/10.0

IPVanish Homepage
PROS:
  • No logs at all
  • 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. It keeps no logs (at all), 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 for Popcorn Time FAQs

Below we take a look at the common questions and considerations that we offer encounter when looking for a Popcorntime VPN.

What is Popcorn Time?

Popcorn Time is an open source family of apps that use BitTorrent P2P technology to stream high-quality video content to your desktop or mobile devices.

This content is sourced from movie and TV torrent sites. Its slick user interface and ability to deliver smooth 720p or 1080p video streaming without buffering issues even on slower internet connections has gained the app a huge following.

Is Popcorn Time legal?

The open source app is perfectly legal; but the content available on it is most certainly not!

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.

Here at BestVPN.com we do not condone copyright infringement and strongly encourage you to find legal content instead. But we are not your parents and it is a simple fact that a VPN will minimize the risk of legal action from copyright holders when watching Popcorn Time.

Note that some countries ban the downloading of copyrighted material but permit live streaming; the legal grounds for this being that a streamer is at no point in possession of the content, and therefore cannot be said to have ‘stolen’ it. In such countries, use of Popcorn Time is probably legal.

But:

  • Some data is cached when Popcorn Time does its thing, and a lawyer could, in theory, argue that this constitutes “downloading” and/or possession of copyrighted material.
  • Streamed content still looks exactly like downloaded content. You might be able to successfully argue in court that you were streaming rather than downloading, but we’re pretty sure you would rather things never get this far!

It’s best not to take any chances, check out our 5 Most Secure VPNs.

Why do I need a VPN?

It is vital to understand that Popcorn Time is a BitTorrent client. The innovation of Popcorn Time is that it allows you to stream video content from torrent sites rather than downloading it before viewing.

There is no discernible difference between watching a movie or TV show on Popcorn Time and downloading the content via a BitTorrent client – and this can get you in trouble.

This is because every other person who is sharing the same files as you (whether streaming them on Popcorn Time or downloading them in the more traditional way) can see exactly who you are by your IP address!

As with regular P2P downloading, this makes it very easy for copyright holders to track Popcorn Time users who stream their intellectual property without consent. To prevent this, you need a VPN.

If you’re looking to download instead of streaming torrents, check out our 5 Best VPNs for Torrenting.

How does a Popcorn Time VPN protect me?

A VPN is a privacy and security technology that sits between you and the internet. To learn more about VPNs in general, please see our guide VPNs for Beginners – What You Need to Know.  The important things you need to know with regards to a Popcorn Time VPN are:

  • A VPN hides your real IP address. All the other people sharing the same torrent file as you will see is the IP address of the VPN server. As long as you choose a secure torrenting VPN provider that permits P2P, you can trust it to protect your real identity.
  • Your ISP cannot see what you are downloading because the connection between your computer and the VPN server is securely encrypted.

This means that your real online identity (IP address) is hidden from websites you visit, from torrent peers and from anyone who monitors torrent downloads.

Some VPNs have additional features that many torrenters find useful to protect themselves when downloading. For a look at the best services available, check out our 5 Best VPNs for 2018 list.

However…

Make sure the VPN allows P2P!

Please be aware that not all VPN providers permit torrent downloads. This includes using Popcorn Time.

If you do choose to use torrents anyway, you are liable to have your service terminated. The VPN might may well forward DMCA notices to you, ban you from its services, or hand over your details to “copyright trolls”.

Copyright trolls specialize in monetizing the prosecution of piracy by sending victims letters demanding a cash settlement in return for avoiding legal prosecution for copyright offenses.

Any VPN service that permits torrent downloads, on the other hand, also allows the use of Popcorn Time and undertakes to protect its customers from action by copyright holders.

Can I use a VPN when casting?

Shot answer… yes. It’s all very well being able to watch movies on our phones, laptops, and the office PC, but what most of us really want, is to enjoy them on a big screen while lounging on a comfy living room sofa!

It is therefore great news that most Popcorn Time forks (see below) allow streaming via Chromecast, Airplay, and DLNA. The key question, however, is do they work with a VPN running?

It depends a little on the VPN. Most exclude local IP addresses from the private network so that you can access resources such as your printers and LAN drives. This means that in most cases you will be able to cast Popcorn Time just fine with a VPN running.

Services that provide faster speeds can help smooth out your viewing experience when casting with Popcorn Time. For a closer look, check out the our Fastest VPNs list.

For more information about using a VPN when cast see the guides a below:

Popcorn Time forks

Popcorn Time is open source software that has been abandoned by its original creator.  Various developers have since picked up the ball and run with it, creating their own versions known as “forks.”

Unfortunately, some of the forks are deliberately malicious and will install malware on your system. Others simply demand that you pay for what should be free software. Please be aware that reputable Popcorn Time forks do not cost anything. If you find one that does, run away from it very fast!

The only Popcorn Time forks that we recommend are listed below, and you should only download the apps directly from their official websites. As always with open source software, you really should also check their hashes and/or digital signatures.

Note that different Popcorn Time forks source their libraries from different torrent sites, so available titles may vary a little depending on which version you use.

It is also worth noting that the forks listed below have undergone various name changes during the course of their often-tumultuous histories.  For ease of understanding, I simply refer to them by their current names.

Popcorn Time.sh

Popcorn Time.sh claims to be the most “official” version of Popcorn Time, although what that means with free and open source software remains open to interpretation. It was, however, endorsed by Federico Abad (aka “Sebastian,” –  Popcorn Time’s original developer).

In 2015 the PT.io development team split up under pressure from the MPAA. Some moved on to the Butter Project, a PT fork which aims to stay on the right side of the law by not integrating copyrighted content.

Others continued with the development of Popcorn Time.sh, which basically uses Butter Project source code with access to copyrighted content added back in.

PT.sh is available for Windows (7+), Mac OSX (10.7+), Linux , Android (4.03+), and Android TV (5.0+). The default catalog is enormous and up-to-date. Steaming via Chromecast, Airplay, and DLNA is also supported and works without issue in my tests.

Popcorn Time.to

Despite some in-scene bickering, Popcorn Time.to is both one of the longest-running and most innovative PT forks to stand the test of time.

PopcornTime.to includes a built-in VPN, courtesy of AnonymousVPN, which costs $12 per month (or $5.75 per month if billed annually).  This is not a service we particularly recommend, though, so it is good that the annoying VPN warnings can be safely ignored if using a third party VPN (which is what we do recommend).

Popcorn Time.to is available for Windows, Mac OSX (10.7+), Linux and Android. Very impressive is the ability to run PT.to on an iOS device without the need to jailbreak it.

PT.to supports streaming via Chromecast, AirPlay and DLNA, but although the desktop app (Windows and macOS) detects my Chromecast, streaming fails when using a VPN. Casting works fine with a VPN on my Android device, though. Many of its titles are available in 3D.

Depending on what system you intend to run Popcorn Time on, you might find it useful to check out the lists below:

Using a free VPN

Nope. Not really. Free is everyone’s favorite price, but you need to understand that setting up and running a VPN service costs a great deal of time and money. After all, even the smallest VPN is a full-time job for a team of people. No-one is doing this for free! Most free VPNs are either just a glorified trial VPN  offered in the hope you actually pay for the full service, or are scams that will sell your data and/or bandwidth to third parties.

The idea of using a “Popcorn Time free VPN” is further scuppered by the fact that we know of no reputable service that permit P2P on their free plans! So this just leaves the scammers…

For a look at the more reputable free services on the market, check out our Best 5 Free VPNs.

Conclusion

Popcorn Time is a game-changing piece of software that arguably does its job better than any commercial alternative. Before getting too carried away, however, please first remember that Popcorn Time content is not legal in most countries.

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.

If this does not concern you then remember that Popcorn Time uses BitTorrent technology to work its magic. This means that without a VPN the entire world and its cat can see what you are doing on it! You must use a Popcorn Time VPN for safe streaming through the app. By using a VPN torrenting sites can be made a lot safer, for more information about this, take a look at our best VPN for torrents guide.

Douglas Crawford
June 19th, 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.

19 responses to “5 Best Popcorn Time VPNs That Work in 2018

  1. After connecting to PrivateVPN I see that my IP address in Popcorn Time is still the same as it was before connecting to PrivateVPN. The “External IP” shown in PrivateVPN app is not what I see in Popcorn time. I ran ipconfig via cmd prompt and my IP address matches to what is in Popcorn time before or after connecting to PrivateVPN.

  2. Hi
    I am looking in getting a VPN for myself for popcorn time, but I am not sure which one. I want one that is fast, secure, safe and not too expensive. I need suggestions and recommendations.
    Out of the 5 best VPN’S listed here for popcorn time
    1 What is the fastest one?
    2 Do they all have kill switches?
    3 Are they compatible all over the world?

    1. Hi NoBody Watching,

      From the official Stremio FAQ:

      How does Stremio compare to Popcorn Time?

      Stremio and Popcorn Time are similar in user interface, because there aren’t many ways to do video entertainment catalogues right 🙂

      But while Popcorn Time is focused on streaming torrents from specific sources, Stremio is unrestricted and is merely a content aggregator – it’s not locked into a specific content source.

      Furthermore, we do not provide any torrent add-ons by default, so Stremio does not cover the Popcorn Time use-case with official functionality.

      Another notable difference is that Popcorn Time is completely open source, while Stremio is partially open source.

  3. 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).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *