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5 Best VPNs for Popcorn Time 2016

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 all BitTorrent technologies, it’s important that you use a Popcorn Time VPN to protect yourself.

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 on even somewhat slow internet connections has gained the app a huge following.

This, of course, does not please copyright holders one little bit! It is, therefore, unsurprising that Popcorn Time’s road has been a rocky one, with the entertainment industry trying its best to suppress the technology.

Popcorn Time VPN

The situation in 2016, however, appears to have stabilized considerably. No significant legal moves against any of the leading developers have been made for months now, and the three main “forks” of the program continue to be freely available. That’s perfect news.

The bad news is that individual Popcorn Time users are still being targeted by “copyright trolls.” To protect yourself from ever having to deal with these extremely nasty legal blackmailers, you should always use a VPN for Popcorn Time. So check out our Popcorn Time VPN review!

Best VPNs for Popcorn Time

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

NordVPN Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

3

VPNArea Logo
Read Review8.4/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

4

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

5

BolehVPN Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$6.67 / monthVisit Site
Editor's Choice Award

Winner

ExpressVPN

5/5

Best VPN for Popcorn Time

  • ProsPROS
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • No usage logs
  • Servers in 78 countries
  • Three simultaneous connections
  • Excellent customer service
  • ConsCONS
  • Connection logs
  • A bit pricey

When it comes to customer-friendly VPN services, ExpressVPN is the one to beat. Not only is its 30-day quibble-free guarantee almost certainly the best on the market, but 24/7 customer support, and easy-to-use clients and apps for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android, make ExpressVPN ideal for the casual VPN user. Popcorn Time users will also appreciate servers in 78 countries, which means there should always be a location nearby. This minimizes lag issues, which in turn means a great streaming experience!

ExpressVPN keeps no usage logs but does some connection logs. This is not an issue for PT users, however, as ExpressVPN has no issue with its users P2P downloading.

Additional features: “stealth” servers in Hong Kong.

Choose the best VPN for Popcorn Time Today!

Visit ExpressVPN »

30-day Money Back Guarantee!

2nd place

NordVPN

4.4/5

NordVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs
  • Based in Panama
  • Accepts Bitcoin payment
  • Tor over VPN
  • Two simultaneous connections
  • ConsCONS
  • Can be slow

If the NSA and its implications for US based VPN providers’ security concerns you, the somewhat paradoxically named NordVPN is an excellent choice. Headquartered in Panama, NordVPN has a ‘no logs at all’ policy, uses 256-bit AES encryption, and accepts anonymous payment using Bitcoin. NordVPN is let down a little by many of its servers being somewhat slow, but with a little trial and effort it is not too hard to find a fast one. On the other hand, P2P (and therefore Popcorn Time) is allowed, and NordVPN’s service is overall excellent.

Additional features: “Double encryption”,  P2P: yes.

Visit NordVPN »


3rd place

VPNArea

4.2/5

VPNArea

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs
  • Based Bulgaria (no data retention)
  • Five simultaneous devices
  • great customer service
  • P2P: ok
  • ConsCONS
  • Minor teething issues (likely resolved by now)

This small Bulgarian company has always impressed us with its well-designed Viscosity-based client (with DNS leak protection, a per-app kill switch, auto-IP changer, and server statistics). Its customer support is great, and it has servers just about everywhere. This is fantastic for reducing lag while streaming with a Popcorn Time VPN, but from a security standpoint, you should be aware that these are virtual servers, rather than physical ones operated directly by VPNArea.

Visit VPNArea »


4th place

AirVPN

3.7/5

AirVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • Linux client (full GUI) with DNS leak protection and kill switch
  • No logs (at all)
  • VPN through Tor
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Techiness does put people off
  • Customer support could be better
  • Limited number of servers worldwide

AirVPN is not a hit with the average VPN user thanks to its rather too-heavy focus on technical detail. This is something of a shame because AirVPN is head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to super-secure privacy technology. And it really does care about your privacy! AirVPN’s open source GUI Linux client (“Eddie”) offers a firewall-based kill switch and DNS leak protection, port selection, and more. AirVPN also uses unyielding encryption, permits VPN obfuscation using SSH and SSL tunneling, supports anonymous VPN use via VPN through Tor, and allows port forwarding. It also permits P2P and is very fast, making it ideal for PT users!

Additional features: Real-time user and server statistics, VPN through SSL and SSH tunnels,  3-day free trial, three simultaneous connections.

Visit AirVPN »


5th place

BolehVPN

3.7/5

BolehVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs at all
  • VPN through Tor
  • Client with VPN kills switch and DNS leak protection
  • Port forwarding (on SOCKS5 proxy)
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Cons come here

BolehVPN reminds me of a Far East version of AirVPN. Based somewhere off the coast of Malaysia, BolehVPN prioritizes technical excellence over pesky customer relations! It has a  no logs at all policy,  now uses excellent encryption, allows P2P downloading, and has high connection speeds. The Windows and OSX client are also funky and feature a VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection.

Like AirVPN, BolehVPN allows for true anonymity via its support for VPN through Tor. BolehVPN also offers a dedicated SOCKS 5 proxy with UpnP/NAT-PMP port forwarding support. This is ideal for P2P downloaders and may, therefore, be of some benefit when used as a VPN for Popcorn Time.

Additional features: 2 simultaneous connections, “xCloak” servers, SmartDNS included, accepts Bitcoin

Visit BolehVPN »


Popcorn Time VPN Considerations

Popcorn Time forks

I refer to Popcorn Time as “an app”, but there are, in fact, many apps bearing the name “Popcorn Time”. These are almost all, however, remarkably similar in their look and feel, and in how they function. To understand this, a little history is helpful.

Popcorn Time was originally developed released in March 2014 by Argentinian coder “Sebastian” (real name Federico Abad).

Alarmed copyright owners reacted with fury, and within a week of its release Sebastian bowed down to legal threats by Warner Bros. He withdrew from the project and deleted all files from the Mega servers on which they were stored.

The thing is, though, Sebastian had released the original Popcorn Time app as free and open source software (FOSS). By the time he deleted his code from the Mega servers, it was widely available on BitTorrent websites and other servers all across the Internet.

Inevitably, other “scene” software developers picked up the Popcorn Time ball and ran with it. Each new independently developed version of the software is known as a “fork.”

Movie and music copyright holders have done their best to suppress new forks as they appear, but such “whack-a-mole” tactics are ultimately doomed to failure. The Popcorn Time cat is well and truly out of the bag!

Despite some ups and downs, two forks have survived and developed into stable, reliable, and feature-filled Popcorn Time apps. These are Popcorn Time.sh and Popcorn Time.se. An additional fork, PopcornTime.ch (PTCE), has been independently developed by the Popcorn Time community.

Other PT forks do exist, but only the ones listed above are regarded as reputable (and are also the most fully-featured and stable). I strongly recommend using only these apps, and only downloading them from their official websites!

I have heard reports of users being charged for Popcorn Time. This is a scam. All reputable versions of Popcorn Time are 100 percent free.

Warning! Popcorn Time is BitTorrent (or why you need to use a VPN to stay safe)

The innovation of Popcorn Time is that it allows you to stream video content from on torrent sites (rather than downloading it before viewing). It is vital to understand, however, that Popcorn Time works using the regular P2P BitTorrent protocol.

Watching a movie or TV show on Popcorn Time, therefore, looks identical to an observer to downloading the content, and can, therefore, get you in trouble.

This is because every other person who is sharing the same files as you (whether streaming on PT or downloading them in the more traditional way) can see exactly who you are by your IP address! As with downloading, this makes it very easy for copyright holders to track Popcorn Time users who stream their intellectual property without their consent.

Using a Popcorn Time VPN will protect you because:

  • Your ISP cannot see what you get up to on the internet, as all data that passes between your computer and the VPN server is encrypted. This means that your ISP cannot see that you are streaming, or indeed, what you are streaming.
  • Anyone watching from the internet (e.g. copyright holders who monitor the IP addresses of torrent users who download their content) will see the IP address of the VPN server, not your real IP address. In other words, using a VPN hides your real IP address.

Please be aware that not all VPN providers permit torrent downloads (this includes streaming using Popcorn Time). If you do this, then you are liable to have your service terminated.  Any VPN service that permits torrent downloads also allows the use of Popcorn Time, and undertakes to protect its customers from action by copyright holders.

PTCE Community

Those that do not, however, may well forward DMCA notices to you, ban you from their services, or hand over your details to “copyright trolls.” These specialize in monetizing the prosecution of piracy by sending victims letters. These demand a cash settlement in return for avoiding legal prosecution for copyright offenses.

If this happens to you, then consult the UK government’s official guidance and (much more useful in my opinion) TorrentFreak’s Speculative Invoicing Handbook. Both these documents relate to the UK, but the advice given in them is also broadly useful if you live in Europe or North America.

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

  1. 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.
  2. Steamed content still looks exactly like downloaded content. You might be able to successfully argue in court that you were streaming rather than downloading, but I’m pretty sure you would rather things never get this far!

Can I use a free VPN for Popcorn Time?

Running a VPN service is a major operation. And expensive. No-one, and I mean no-one, will do this for free. There are free services around, but the most reputable of these offer free plans that are severely limited in various ways and hope these will entice you into paying for a premium subscription.

Most free VPN services do not permit P2P (and therefore PT) anyway. Dealing with the hassle of DMCA notices and the like simply isn’t worth it for non-paying customers! Interestingly, popular free VPN service Hotspot Shield does now permit P2P, but bandwidth is so low that you are very unlikely to have fun Popcorn Time experience using it!

Recommended PT forks

Popcorn Time.sh

Popcorn Time.io was often regarded as the most “official” version of Popcorn Time, although what that means regarding free and open source software remains somewhat unclear. It was, however, endorsed by Federico Abad (aka “Sebastian”, PT’s original developer).

Last year, the PT.io development team split up under pressure from the MPAA. Some moved on to the Butter Project, a PT fork which aimed to stay on the right side of the law by not integrating copyrighted content. Others continued with the development of PT.io, but under the new name of Popcorn Time.sh.

PT.sh

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

The Android app works well with my Chromecast (including when running a VPN), but although the desktop app detects the Chromecast, streaming fails when using a VPN. Steaming via Airplay and DLNA is also supported.

Popcorn Time.se

Despite some in-scene bickering, Popcorn Time.se (formally Time4Popcorn (T4P) and PT.eu) is both one of the longest running and most innovative PT forks to stand the test of time.

PopcornTime.se includes a built-in VPN, courtesy of AnonymousVPN. This costs $12 per month (or $5.75 per month if billed annually).  I know nothing else about this service, however, so cannot recommend using it.

PT.se Popcorn Time VPN warning

This annoying warning in PT.se can be safely ignored if using a third party VPN service (which is what I recommend)

Popcorn Time.se is available for Windows, Mac OSX (10.7+), Linux. Most content is available in both 720p and 1080p resolutions.

PT.se

Perhaps its most impressive innovation is the ability to run PT.se on an iOS device without the need to jailbreak it. PT.se, however, also pioneered Chromecast, AirPlay and DLNA support, and was the first develop an app for Android (4.0+). I have been unable, however, to Chromecast from my Windows PC using PT.se when my VPN is connected.

PopcornTime.ch (PTCE)

This more recent fork was independently developed by the Popcorn Time community, and “created by dozens of developers from all around the world!”

When I have tested it in the past, PTCE did not seem to offer the same level of up-to-date content that is available to users of either PT.sh or PT.se. I am pleased to say, however, that this situation appears to have changed!

PTCE

PTCE now looks almost identical to PT.sh, and sports a very similar catalog of content. One innovation is an icon for donating Bitcoins

PTCE is available for Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, and Android. Chromecast, Airplay, and DLNA (these options are available from the video info/launch screen) are supported, and this is the only version of Popcorn Time that allowed me to Chromecast from my desktop with a VPN turned on.

VPN for Popcorn Time 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 remember that it uses the BitTorrent technology to work its magic. To stay safe while streaming via Popcorn Time, you must use a VPN.

Best VPN for Streaming Popcorn Time

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

NordVPN Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

3

VPNArea Logo
Read Review8.4/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

4

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

5

BolehVPN Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$6.67 / monthVisit Site





Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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6 responses to “5 Best VPNs for Popcorn Time 2016

  1. I just dumped Popcorn Time from my computer, I had only had it for a couple days and noticed a significant drag on all my other sites such as yahoo, youtube, facebook, wikipedia etc etc. Now I can’t get anything to pop up at all, I’m taking the computer to my tech who I’m sure will say it’s due to this site [Popcorn Time] I have it on my cell phone, and will leave it on there as there is nothing on it that is personal in nature. This is a bad experience and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to download this site unless they are willing to have their computer suffer after some time of using it.P

    1. Hi Patricia,

      May I ask which version of Popcorn Time you are using? I have never experienced this problem, but there are a number of “rogue” versions of this software doing the rounds, You should only download PT directly from one of the reputable sites listed above.

    1. Raminamid,

      To muse Popcorn Time you just need a version of the PT software, but I also strongly advice using a VPN to protect yourself as well.

  2. I purchased Express VPN based on the evaluation posted above and recommendation on not to use Anonymous VPN until it is reviewed but it seems that popcorn.se doesn’t allow usage of 3rd party VPN.

    1. Hi Ferit,

      1) Popcorn Time.sh has no build-in VPN anyway.
      2) Popcorn Time.se does push you to use its own VPN (Anonymous VPN), but it works justfine with a third party VPN (such as ExpressVPN), and its “security recommendations” can be safely ignored.

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