The cord-cutting craze has been around for quite some time now. If the recent statistics are anything to go by, it seems the majority of the people have been bought into the streaming service hype.
Any cord cutter that has ditched cable TV subscription knows that there are numerous streaming service options. From Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Apple TV, and Amazon TV, to mention a few. Of course, these streaming platforms charge for their services, with some increasing their subscription fees quite often. Now, this is where Kodi comes in.
From the surface, Kodi is just a typical media player that allows you to play local content from your saved files. However, once you integrate third-party add-ons, the media player transforms into a Holy Grail of free content. Yeah, you read it right; ‘free content’! This means that you can stream the latest blockbuster movies and TV shows just like any other streaming service subscriber for free. There are torrent add-ons too that can be used alongside Kodi to give you access to more content.
While the add-ons may give you access to streaming services’ online library, you may still face the geo-block restriction imposed by these services. Even when downloading torrents with Kodi, you risk being exposed to your ISP.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to circumvent geo-restriction and hide your internet traffic at the same time. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the right candidate for this job. This tool obfuscates online activates and assigns you a new IP address making it easy to browse online content anonymously. But, from the sea of VPNs in the market, how do you choose the right one?
In this review, we aim at helping you sort out your choices by listing some of the top-rated VPNs.
Best 5 VPNs for Kodi
Here is a brief look into top 5 VPNs to use on your Kodi media player:
- ExpressVPN: Best for streaming HD content on Kodi, thanks to its superfast connection speeds. The provider’s military encryption standards help ensure that your ISP doesn’t throttle your connection.
- NordVPN: This VPN is a popular choice among users seeking top-protection at a reasonable price. We can’t complain much about the VPN’s connection speed as it supports faster downloads and streaming without buffering.
- CyberGhost: CyberGhost hordes a whole load of servers. As such, users can easily find the closest server to their physical location, for better speeds. For experienced users, CyberGhost packs lots of features allowing for customization.
- IPVanish: Among the VPNs on this list, it’s only IPVanish that has the most effortless Kodi set up. The VPN is also lightweight since it only packs the essential security features.
- PrivateVPN: Although this VPN provider is still in its budding stages, its security and privacy protection match those of the big players in the industry. As far as affordability is concerned, PrivateVPN leads the way with its budget-friendly monthly and annual subscription.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the VPNs
It doesn’t help much, just knowing the best performing VPNs for Kodi. You also need to know what attributes make up a good VPN. This way, you can make an informed purchasing decision and invest in a VPN that won’t let you down.
Keep in mind that choosing a VPN for your Kodi player isn’t the same as choosing one for the usual internet browsing activities. Essential features such as privacy and security need to prioritize, especially if you will be using Kodi for torrent download and unblocking content.
A VPN’s price should also influence your purchasing decision despite being secondary to privacy and security.
Speaking of price, users tend to focus on affordability. While they aren’t entirely wrong, it should be noted that there is often a correlation between the quality of service and the price. So, if you want ultra-fast speeds and unbreakable protection, but you should be ready to spend a little more.
Further considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a VPN include:
- Server coverage
- Ease of use
- Customer support
With these factors in mind, let’s have a more in-depth look into the listed VPNs:
ExpressVPN is among the most popular VPNs in the market, offering blazing fast connection speeds. The provider has over 3,000 servers in more than 90 countries spread across 160 cities. With such an extensive server coverage, you can easily connect to the closest servers for even faster connection speed.
Unlike most VPNs, ExpressVPN allows torrenting on all of its servers. So, if you are using Kodi for P2P file sharing, you are assured of fast download speeds when connected to any of the servers. Also, by default, the VPN will suggest to you the optimal server for the best performance.
The provider operates from the British Virgin Islands, a country that respects online privacy. As such, ExpressVPN isn’t under any law that requires the provider to record users’ data.
Furthermore, the VPN doesn’t log any of your online activities. The only data they record is time-stamps, the server used, and the amount of data transferred. And yes, this information is too vague to be used to track your real location. The provider uses this information purposefully for diagnostic procedures only.
For extra security and privacy, ExpressVPN uses 256-bit keys encryption on all their protocols. This is in addition to 4096-RSA keys, which many providers lack.
What makes ExpressVPN a perfect match for Kodi is that it is compatible with the majority of operating systems and devices. These include PlayStation, Xbox, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, among others.
The only snag to using ExpressVPN is its relatively expensive pricing. For a whopping $12.95, you enjoy the service for one month only.
Six months of ExpressVPN service will set you back $9.99/month, billed $59.94. The annual plan is cheaper as it costs just $8.32/month, charged $99.84.
Nonetheless, we were pleased by the provider’s responsive live chat support available 24/7. The provider’s support library also proved to be resourceful, especially on common problems users encounter when launching a connection.
- Superfast speeds for downloading and streaming
- Top-grade privacy protection and security standards
- Unblocks all major streaming services
- Compatible with a wide range of devices
- 24/7 live chat customer support
- Pricier than several other premium VPNs
Just like most premium VPNs, NordVPN encrypts its protocols with 256-bit AES encryption. This feature is further strengthened by the VPN’s double encryption capabilities for maximum privacy protection.
NordVPN owns its DNS network, meaning it doesn’t leak any DNS or IP traffic. The VPN also hosts advanced security features such as split-tunneling and a kill-switch.
Split-tunneling allows you to encrypt specific traffic while the other traffic is routed to your ISP, unprotected. The kill-switch is essential in maintaining your privacy even when your connection drops.
One of the unique features of NordVPN is its vast collection of servers. It has over 5,200 servers in more than 60 countries. Some of these servers can be used harmoniously with Onion Router for maximum privacy.
Having such a long list of servers is a huge advantage since users will hardly connect to an overcrowded server with lousy performance.
Subscribing to the provider’s monthly plan will cost you $11.95, while the annual subscription costs $6.99/month. There two extended subscriptions, 2-year, and 3-year plans. Currently, the former costs $4.99/month while the latter costs $3.49/month, plus an extra three free months for first-time subscribers.
NordVPN might not provide the user-friendliness new clients expect. Its interface consists of several tabs that open up a long list of menus such as server settings, advanced features setting alongside account information.
But then, should you have a problem navigating the interface, you can contact live chat support any time of the day. From the provider’s website, you can also make use of the support articles and tutorials.
- Extensive server coverage
- Strong security backed by strict adherence to a no-logs policy
- Competitive connection speeds
- Relatively affordable
- A bit cumbersome for new users
CyberGhost is a Romania-based VPN owned by Kape Technologies starting 2017. Even though Romania is part of the EU, the country respects online privacy, unlike other member states.
The provider doesn’t collect user’s data despite there being allegations that they log hardware ID. CyberGhost operators confirmed these allegations by confirming that they indeed check users’ hardware ID. This is done to ensure that users don’t connect more than the allowed seven simultaneous connections.
Though, you shouldn’t find it hard trusting CyberGhost with your online Privacy. The provider secures all their protocol with the uncrackable 256-bit keys encryption. Moreover, you can use the VPN with the TOR browser for maximum anonymity. If that’s not enough, you can contact the provider’s customer support through live chat and inquire about buying a customized IP address for extra security.
While CyberGhost isn’t the fastest VPN on this list, it’s speedy enough to allow smooth streaming. According to our speed tests, the VPN reduced our internet speed by 44% when connected to its nearest servers.
Its remote server speeds were slightly faster, as they registered a 42% decrease in speed. Despite the somewhat disappointing speeds, CyberGhost has the most comprehensive server coverage in our list of VPNs. The provider has more than 5,600 spread across over 90 countries. As such, you can choose the server with less traffic for better performance.
Currently, the provider has plans to extend its server coverage further. This is one reason to sign up for the VPN’s long-term plan to enjoy the benefits of its expanding network.
You can choose the 3-year plan for 2.75/month, or the 2-year plan for $3.69/month. The one year plan is also a good option as it costs $5.99/month, which is way cheaper than paying $12.99 for the monthly subscription.
- Extensive server coverage
- Compatible with a wide range of devices
- Easy installation and setup
- Great value low-cost provider
- Slower connection speeds compared to competitors.
Despite having just above 1,300 self-owned servers in 75 locations, IPVanish displays an impressive performance. For a reason, you shouldn’t have any problems streaming HD content or downloading torrents on Kodi.
All connections to the servers are encrypted using 256-bit encryption and SHA512 for protocol authentication. Also, the company firmly assures users that it doesn’t record their online activities. This helps ease privacy concerns stemming from the fact that the VPN is based in the US, where the government is known to spy on the masses.
For users without access to any app store, you can conveniently download an APK file from the provider’s website. Afterward, install the VPN on your device.
Nonetheless, the provider has client apps for Android, iOS, Mac, Amazon Fire TV, and Windows. Linux users, however, have to configure the VPN manually for it to be compatible.
The provider claims to have a 24/7 support staff. But, it took a couple of days to get a reply for a support ticket we submitted some time back. For quick solutions, be sure to use the searchable knowledge base before contacting customer support.
As for the pricing, the provider’s monthly subscription plan costs $10.00, the quarterly subscription costs $8.99/month, while the annual plan sets you back $6.49/month.
- Strong encryption standards
- No third-party servers
- Reliable connection speeds
- Dedicated apps for almost all devices
- Unhurried customer support
The VPN provider has over 150 server locations in 60 countries. Despite this, PrivateVPN maintains fast speeds that are comparable to several competitors with thousands of servers.
Notwithstanding the said, some servers likely experience traffic overload, which might slow your connection speed.
PrivateVPN delivers top-of-class privacy protection and security. It uses the industry-standard 256-bit keys encryption, which is further enhanced by IPv6 and DNS leak-proof abilities. The service also comes with an automated kill-switch to keep you under wraps in case your connection drops.
The provider is based in Sweden, a country that is under the 14-Eyes Alliance jurisdiction. Still, users can have peace of mind in knowing that PrivateVPN doesn’t keep any logs. So, should the government demand for user’s data, the provider cannot offer any since they don’t record it in the first place.
We were disappointed to learn that PrivateVPN doesn’t have a 24/7 live chat support. But you’ll rarely encounter any problem installing or using the VPN thanks to its neat interface.
Anyway, for troubleshooting and set up, you can talk directly to one of their in-house developers. Maybe you should make use of the provider’s support library and tutorials on the official website.
PrivateVPN is the only provider in our list, offering the most affordable short and long-term plans. The monthly plan costs only $7.12, while the 3-months plan is charged $12.60. Their most extended plan is the inexpensive 2-year plan that costs just $1.89 per month, billed $45.36.
How to Use ExpressVPN with Kodi
On PCs and smartphones, the easiest way to use ExpressVPN with Kodi is to install the provider’s app. Here’s how to set up and watch Kodi with ExpressVPN on Windows:
First. Download and install ExpressVPN from the official website
Second. From your desktop, open the app and sign in with your account credentials
Third. Select a location and double-click the connect button
Fourth. Ascertain that your IP address is altered
Fifth. Once a connection is established, open Kodi, and start watching!
Why Use a VPN with Kodi?
You have the option to stream media on Kodi without necessarily using a VPN. This puts you at risk of the ever-increasing cyber-security threats. Other compelling reasons as to why you should a VPN on Kodi include:
Access Unlimited Content
Kodi has its own official add-ons that offer users a good collection of content to stream. But, it’s widely known that the unofficial add-ons give users a lot more content, including the latest TV shows and movies. If you are going to use the unofficial add-ons, you’ll need to use a VPN since most of the content is geo-blocked.
Download Torrents Anonymously
There are numerous add-ons on Kodi, including those that support torrenting. But, your ISP may throttle your connection speed if you download torrents on an unprotected connection. You may as well get into trouble with the law if you download copyrighted torrent files. To save yourself the problem, use a VPN to conceal your internet traffic.
Kodi is increasingly becoming popular. This is a recipe for security threats adding to the fact that the platform is an open-source project. Using a VPN on Kodi ensures you are protected from data breaches and perpetrated by malicious developers.
Note that any developer can tweak the platform’s functionality. Although the platform in itself is secure, malicious developers may introduce add-ons that siphon your data, especially if you’re using Kodi on your phone or laptop.
The VPNs listed above excel in unblocking content on Kodi, while at the same time protecting your privacy. Overall, they all offer consistent speeds, fast enough for streaming content with minimal buffering.
However, ExpressVPN stands out mainly for its unrivaled connection speeds. This not only guarantees zero-buffering but also the ability to stream media in HD quality.
Although there are other providers with a broader server coverage, ExpressVPN’s isn’t badly off either. Most users rarely have any problem finding a less crowded server in their nearest location.