You are living in tough times if you enjoy streaming with Kodi.
In the past few years governments around the world have enacted laws allowing internet service providers to monitor and record your online activities. This is happening in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and much of Europe. Your online activity – including your Kodi streaming history – is now under scrutiny.
Why is that bad?
Aside from the general loss of online privacy, many regulators and industry lawyers are now cracking down on copyright infringement. Copyright regulations were previously focused on torrenting and direct downloads. But now industry and governments are also going after people streaming content through unofficial channels.
The other growing problem is that internet providers are now blocking access to websites and Kodi streams. This is a huge problem in the United Kingdom and a growing issue in Australia and parts of Europe. Police in the UK are now arresting people and raiding homes over Kodi boxes that access third-party streams.
If you aren’t protecting yourself with a good VPN, then everything you do online can be recorded and used against you. This basic rule applies wherever you live.
Using Kodi with a VPN is now essential for two main reasons:
- To protect your privacy and identity online (anonymity through encryption)
- Unlocking geo-restricted (blocked) addons (also known as geo-spoofing a different location)
A good VPN service will allow you to achieve both objectives in a matter of seconds. Simply turn on your VPN and enjoy your Kodi streams.
The purpose of this Kodi VPN guide is to give you everything you need to stream Kodi with more privacy and anonymity, while also unlocking any streams or websites that may be blocked.
Best VPNs for Kodi
Based on extensive testing and research, these are the VPNs that work great with Kodi and will keep you safe:
Note – There is a lot of misinformation when it comes to finding the best VPN for Kodi. Many VPN providers do not offer secure applications and will leak your IP address and DNS requests – essentially making the VPN worthless. (For examples, see the different reviews for PureVPN, VPN Unlimited, or Betternet.)
Is Kodi legal?
With all of the recent changes in copyright laws, people are wondering if Kodi is safe and legal to use in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Germany, and other countries.
While Kodi itself is safe and legal to use, streaming copyrighted movies or TV shows using unofficial Kodi addons may be illegal in your country. Some countries are really stepping up enforcement, with draconian fines and prison sentences for illegal streaming.
Making matters worse, internet service providers (ISPs) are now monitoring and recording online activity.
United States – In the US, internet service providers can legally record your online activities and pass this information on to third parties. The US is also home to some of the most extreme copyright laws in the world (DMCA laws). Large media companies and content distributors (such as Netflix and Amazon) are pushing hard to crack down on people using third-party streaming services. There are also armies of lawyers who go after alleged copyright infringers with threatening letters (DMCA notices) and massive fines.
United Kingdom – The UK is just as bad as the US, with similar copyright violation laws (jail time and fines). Under the UK’s Digital Economy Act, Kodi streamers could face up to 10 years in jail for copyright violations. The UK government has already begun cracking down on people distributing pre-configured Kodi boxes. There is also a growing initiative to block all unauthorized addons and streams. (UK internet service providers are also forced to record all online activities of their customers.)
Europe – The European Court of Justice has recently ruled that streaming copyrighted material is an illegal act and fully punishable under European copyright laws. Therefore streaming content through unofficial channels is now just as bad as illegally downloading it.
Bottom line: Given these developments, it is now crucial to use a VPN with Kodi to protect yourself whenever you stream media.
VPN for Kodi
Luckily there is a simple and effective solution for all of these problems. Enter the virtual private network – or VPN for short. A VPN is a versatile privacy tool that offers Kodi users the following benefits:
- Encrypts and anonymizes your online activity – A good VPN service will encrypt and secure all your internet traffic. This means your internet service provider, authorities, and various third parties will not be able to spy on your activities (thanks to encryption). Everything you do online will be basically be hidden (anonymized), and you will appear to be in the location of the VPN server you’re connected to.
- Unlocks blocked addons – Governments are increasingly blocking content, websites, and streams – especially access to Kodi addons. To get around this problem, you can just connect to a VPN server in a country where the content is accessible. This is called geo-spoofing and it allows you to easily and safely get around geo-restrictions.
- Stay safe online – Using a good VPN protects both your privacy and security online. Since Kodi is a grey area, it is essential to protect yourself from various threats and risks when you use the service. Additionally, you can also use your VPN for all other activities, whether browsing websites or sending emails. You’ll benefit from a higher level of security.
How to use a VPN with Kodi
Setting up a VPN to use with Kodi is not a difficult process. The three VPNs recommended on this page all provide apps you can use on different operating systems and devices. This makes it easy to download and setup a VPN in just a few minutes.
To use a VPN with Kodi you basically have two different options:
- Use your VPN with Kodi separately (most common)
- Use your VPN inside Kodi via add-ons/apps
Option 1 – Using a VPN with Kodi separately just means your VPN is running in the background, encrypting all your internet traffic, while you stream with Kodi. This is the most common option that will work well on many different platforms and devices. We will go over setup instructions in the Kodi VPN Setup section below.
Option 2 – Using a VPN within Kodi via addons or apps is not an option for most devices (as of now). This VPN Kodi setup is limited to Linux-based platforms (OpenELEC and LibreELEC), Mac OS, and Raspberry Pi 3. We will cover setup steps in the Kodi VPN Addon section below.
Now we will go into detailed step-by-step instructions for installing a VPN with Kodi, starting with option 1.
Kodi VPN setup
The steps below will show you how to install a VPN for Kodi. With this setup, your VPN will be running in the background and encrypting all internet traffic while you stream with Kodi. This setup works well with:
- Laptops and PCs (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux)
- Tablets and phones (Android and iOS)
- Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick (except for first generation Fire Sticks)
- Android-based Kodi Boxes
Step 1: Subscribe to a good VPN service
Based on my research and testing, the providers listed below are the best VPNs for Kodi, with great overall performance and strong privacy and security features. Currently the top recommendation is ExpressVPN because they offer excellent applications with great performance and overall security (see the ExpressVPN review).
Note: These VPNs have passed all privacy/security tests and will work well with Kodi.
Step 2: Install the VPN app for Kodi
The next step is to simply install the VPN application on the device you will be using to stream Kodi.
If you go with ExpressVPN, setup will be quick and easy because their website includes numerous guides, how-to videos, and 24/7 live chat support to help you with installation.
Note – If you are using one of the many Android-based Kodi boxes, you can simply install the Android VPN app on the device.
Your VPN provider will have specific setup instructions and program files for these different platforms. Simply follow the setup instructions provided by your VPN service for the operating system you want to use.
Step 3: Connect to a VPN server
After installing the VPN on your Kodi device, the next step is to connect to a VPN server.
Tip – Connecting to the nearest server possible will maximize performance in terms of speed and reliability. If streams or websites are blocked in your country, connecting to a server in a nearby country should get around these restrictions.
With your VPN connection activated, you are now ready to stream with Kodi.
Step 4: Open Kodi and enjoy your streaming
Now that you have your Kodi VPN connected, you can stream anything you want with full privacy protection. Everything you stream on Kodi will be encrypted and secured by your VPN, which is running in the background.
As you can see, running this Kodi VPN setup is quite simple. Anybody can get protected with a good VPN in just a few minutes.
Kodi VPN Addons
Another way to use a VPN with Kodi is through addons. With this option, you can control your VPN from within Kodi. Unfortunately, however, this setup is limited to only a few platforms (listed below).
Another major drawback is that this method is generally less secure than using a dedicated VPN app outside of Kodi. That’s because dedicated VPN apps offer many privacy and security features, which will not be accessible when used within Kodi. And one last issue is that setup will be more complex.
OpenVPN for Kodi
The OpenVPN for Kodi addon from Brian Hornsby is one great option. This open-source VPN add-on seems to work well and also does not require you to download any repositories.
Unfortunately, the OpenVPN for Kodi add-on is limited to the following platforms:
- Mac OS
- Raspberry Pi 3 (Linux)
Zomboided VPN Manager
The Zomboided VPN Manager is another option for controlling your VPN directly from within Kodi.
This VPN addon supports many different services (include all VPNs recommended on this page). The Zomboided VPN Manger works with OpenVPN and can be used on the following operating systems:
- LibreELEC (7.x onwards)
- OpenELEC (5 onwards)
- Other Linux based installs (e.g. OSMC)
- Windows (Windows 7 tested)
Unfortunately, the Zomboided VPN manager is limited to only these platforms. Consequently, you won’t be able to use it with most Kodi boxes, which run on Android. The GitHub page also lists all of the VPNs that have been tested and found to work with this VPN addon.
Below are the basic steps for installing up Zomboided VPN Manager on Kodi. (Note: these are general instructions – the exact steps may be different for your situation and setup. See the Zomboided GitHub page for more info.)
- Download the Zomboided repository and transfer it to your device for uploading to Kodi.
- On Kodi, open SYSTEM > Add-ons > Install from zip file
- Navigate to where you downloaded the Zomboided repository, and then select it.
- Wait for the add-on enabled notification, then select Install from repository > Zomboided Add-on Repository > Services > Install. Now wait for the add-on enabled notification (it make take some time).
- In the VPN Configuration Window select your VPN provider, then enter your VPN username and password for authentication.
- Select the VPN Connection tab, select First VPN connection (optionally used to auto connect during boot).
- A pop-up window should appear and you will be able to select the location to connect to.
- The option Second VPN connection should appear. This will allow you to add different VPN server locations. The same applies for more connections, with up to 10 different VPN locations.
Kodi VPN Addons conclusion – Installing VPN addons inside Kodi can sometimes be tricky – but it all depends on your setup. If you are having trouble installing one of these Kodi VPN addons, you may just want to use Kodi and your VPN service separately (option 1 above).
VPN for Kodi box
Using a VPN for your Kodi box is a great idea to get the best streaming experience possible.
This allows you to unlock any blocked or restricted add-on, while protecting your privacy at the same time.
There are two basic categories for Kodi boxes: Linux and Android. Both have their pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at each type.
Android Kodi Boxes
When it comes to using a Kodi box with a VPN, Android-based boxes are a great choice. First, there is a very large selection of high-quality, high-performance Android Kodi boxes on the market. Second, using a VPN directly on your Android box is usually pretty simple. That’s because all of the VPNs on this page provide Android VPN files (APK) that you can easily configure onto your Kodi box.
Based on my research and testing, here are some of the best Android-based Kodi boxes that can be used with a VPN:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Amazon Fire Stick (First generation will not work with a VPN)
- Nvidia Shield TV Pro (see also the non-Pro version here)
Here is a quick setup video for installing ExpressVPN with Nvidia Shield:
ExpressVPN Setup for Nvidia Shield.
There are also setup videos for Fire Stick and other devices on the ExpressVPN website.
Linux Kodi Boxes – Some people prefer Linux-based Kodi boxes over Android. With this option, you will be able to load the Zomboided VPN Manager app within Kodi, because Linux is a supported platform. Two popular options that seem to work well are:
Another alternative for using a VPN and Kodi at the same time is to use a VPN on a router.
Kodi VPN router
Using a VPN on a router is another smart option for Kodi streamers. A good VPN router setup allows you to:
- Secure your entire network and all devices with the VPN (everything that connects to your router).
- Use any Kodi box or other streaming option without having to install any VPN software on the device.
- Have more flexibility with your home network by having one regular (unencrypted) router and one VPN router for Kodi streaming (with the two router VPN setup explained here).
I have put together a few different VPN router guides, which explain various setup options. Overall, the simplest option is to use a compatible Asus router with the built-in VPN functionality.
All three of the Kodi VPNs I recommend on this page work well with routers.
Setting up a VPN on a router can vary in difficulty. For a complete roadmap and all the different options, see this VPN routers guide.
Kodi VPN Router TIP: One of the biggest considerations when selecting a VPN router is CPU, or processing power. Because your VPN router will be processing lots of encrypted data, it will need the extra CPU – at least 800 Mhz or more. Unfortunately most lower-end routers do not perform well when running a VPN. For this reason I recommend getting a higher CPU model, especially if you will also be streaming Kodi (see here for realistic speed expectations corresponding to CPU).
Kodi VPN tips
Use a good VPN. There are a lot of dangerous VPNs on the market right now, along with various VPN scams and even “free VPNs” that will steal your data and sell it to third parties. At the end of the day, you typically get what you pay for with VPNs. Choose wisely.
Test your VPN. It’s good to periodically test your VPN to make sure it’s protecting your identity and keeping you safe online. See this VPN test guide.
Connect to the closest server. Connecting to the closest possible server will give you the best speed and reliability. If you are in the UK, for example, and need to connect to a US server for a Kodi addon, it would be better to choose a VPN server in New York than one in Los Angeles.
Always use a VPN. If you have been streaming unofficial Kodi channels without a VPN, you are probably already on some watch list. Lawyers love to target people suspected of copyright infringement – because it makes them lots of money. Your internet service provider is most likely recording your activities (US, UK, and Australia), so be smart and always use a VPN to conceal your identity and activities online.
Be careful with Kodi addons. Downloading third party software always comes with risks. Before downloading unofficial Kodi addons, do your research. Some addons may contain malware or other security problems. (Tip: you can upload files to VirusTotal to test for malware and other threats before installing anything.) Also remember that Kodi addons are a grey area with the law – protect yourself accordingly.
Consider your encryption protocol. VPN services usually offer a variety of encryption protocols to choose from. Typically, the stronger the encryption the slower the speeds. OpenVPN provides a good mix of speed and security. PPTP is considered insecure, but will be faster.
Free VPN for Kodi
Many people are looking for a free VPN to use with Kodi.
But are free VPNs safe for Kodi users?
Will a free VPN really keep you safe online and protect your data?
In general, the answer is no. Free VPNs have proven to be very dangerous and insecure. And if you think about it, it all makes perfect sense. If a VPN service is expensive to operate and maintain, how does the company stay in business and cover its costs with a free VPN?
Answer: Free VPNs steal your data and sell it to third parties.
While there may be a few minor exceptions, free VPNs are typically considered to be dangerous for the reasons below. Here are just a few of the hidden risks that are explained more in the free VPNs guide:
- Embedded malware – One study found that nearly 40% of free Android VPN apps contain malware.
- Hidden tracking – Many of the largest and most popular free VPNs have been busted for including hidden tracking in their source code. Betternet, which is highly promoted in the tech media, was busted for including 14 different tracking libraries in their Android VPN app (see the Betternet review).
- Third party access to your data – Free VPNs are no different from Google or Facebook. Their business model depends on you using their free product, and then they collect and sell your data to third parties.
- Stolen bandwidth – Some free VPNs will even steal bandwidth and then resell it to third parties (see Hola VPN).
- Browser hijacking – Another way for free VPNs to make money off you is to hijack your browser and redirect it to their partner websites.
- Traffic leaks – Over 80% of free VPNs were found to leak the user’s IP address. Unfortunately IP address leaks and DNS leaks affect both free and paid VPNs. (See this guide for how to test your VPN.)
- Fraud – Because the basic business model of free VPNs involves partnering with third parties, you are at risk for fraudulent activity. Third party access to your private data creates many opportunities for fraud and other illicit activities.
Most of the people who fall for the free VPN scam do not realize the consequences or see the big picture. Do not let your private data fall into the wrong hands by using a free VPN.
Free VPN for Kodi alternatives
While I do not recommend using a free VPN for Kodi due to the risks, there are lower-cost paid VPNs worth considering. Here are two options that are cheap and also work well with Kodi:
- VyprVPN – $3.75 per month; based in Switzerland; great apps with live chat support
- VPN.ac – $4.80 per month; based in Romania; excellent privacy and security features, but support only via email
From the two VPNs above, VyprVPN gives you a 3 day free trial, which allows you to test it out with Kodi to see if it works well. However, you do need to enter in payment details, which will activate your paid subscription unless you cancel before the three days.
Best Kodi VPNs
As a quick word of caution, be careful when researching VPNs online. Many VPNs can be highly recommended and look perfect on the surface, but be a dangerous and insecure product when you test the features.
The best VPNs for Kodi listed below passed the tests and will do a good job protecting your privacy while streaming. There are also a few VPNs that did not quite make the cut to be recommended. For your convenience, I also included these alternative VPNs below and explained why they did not earn my recommendation.
Without further delay, here are the best VPNs for Kodi streaming.
ExpressVPN easily earns the top spot as the best VPN for Kodi. ExpressVPN offers Kodi streamers the largest selection of high-quality apps that can be used on all devices (Android Kodi boxes, Linux boxes, Windows, Mac OS, iOS, routers, and more). All plans come with a 30 day money-back guarantee as well as premium 24/7 live chat support.
Aside from just streaming, ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN service that can be used for other purposes. Whether you want more privacy and security online, or want access to blocked websites, ExpressVPN is a solid choice. ExpressVPN’s applications come with a great lineup of privacy and security features. These features include advanced DNS and IP leak protection, a good kill switch, and secure servers to keep your data safe.
If you enjoy streaming Netflix, Amazon, or BBC iPlayer, ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that still works with these services.
Exclusive 49% discount – ExpressVPN is offering an exclusive 49% discount, which reduces the price down to $6.67 per month. You can get this discount through this link here >>
British Virgin Islands
Passed all tests
*Works well in restricted networks (such as China).
Another great VPN to use with Kodi is VPNArea. Just like with ExpressVPN, VPNArea offers a nice variety of apps and has a server network that is optimized for streaming. They provide you with a 7 day money-back guarantee as well as live chat support (available daily, although not 24/7).
VPNArea provides a good selection of servers throughout the world. I also found their apps to be quite secure and reliable when testing everything out for the VPNArea review.
VPNArea is slightly cheaper than ExpressVPN at $4.92 per month with the annual subscription. However, it does not offer as much support as ExpressVPN for different devices and platforms. Overall, however, it is still a solid option for Kodi streaming and other purposes.
6 (can be shared with others)
Passed all tests.
2 server configs
IPVanish is often recommended for Kodi streaming and overall it is a decent choice. However, it has one major drawback: it is based in the United States. This means that IPVanish falls under the laws and jurisdiction of the US, which strictly prohibit copyright violations (see DMCA laws). There are also concerns about corporate and government surveillance (see Five Eyes).
On a positive note, IPVanish is a strict no logs provider and it has a good track record. They also are a great service when it comes to Kodi for the following reasons:
- Huge selection of servers that offer excellent bandwidth and performance
- Great apps for different devices, including all major platforms for streaming Kodi
- Good customer support (although only available via email)
Overall, IPVanish is still a solid provider, which is why it remains one of the top VPN recommendations for Kodi. You can also pick up a 20% discount on any plan through this coupon link >>
(with 20% discount)
Passed all tests
*With 20% discount coupon
Enjoy Kodi with a good VPN service
The overall trends with online privacy and streaming freedom are clearly getting worse throughout the world. This is especially true if you live in the US, UK, Australia, or Europe.
But don’t let these trends discourage you.
A good VPN service is your key to restoring your privacy and unlocking the freedom to access any website or Kodi stream.
And even if you are not streaming Kodi, using a good VPN is essential for protecting your privacy and securing your connection whenever you go online.
Enjoy your Kodi streaming and stay safe!
Final RECAP: VPNs for Kodi Streaming
(with 49% Discount)
(with 20% discount)
(with 25% Discount)
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