I have to admit that I am a little surprised when people still ask me if they need to use a VPN when using Kodi on their Android TV box.
The answer is yes, yes, yes!!!!
A VPN is the most effective way to protect your privacy online. It prevents people looking at your IP address from seeing what you are doing, and it lets you use websites and services anonymously without leaving your digital fingerprints behind. It also encrypts your personal data to protect it from hackers.
Don’t delude yourself; you are sharing personal data every time you turn on your Android TV box. What’s your Netflix login? How do you pay for subscription services?
Plus, if you are using Kodi add-ons to gain access to premium content for free, you are engaging in an activity that is legally dubious. Of course, you should want to protect your identity!
So, yes, I think that you should always use a VPN with an Android TV box even if your activity is 100 percent legal. If you are also using Kodi, a VPN is even more important.
Why You Need VPN On Kodi
I personally believe you should be using a VPN wherever you go online to protect your privacy and encrypt your data.
This also applies when you are using an Android TV box. Not only are you transmitting your personal data every time you log in to one of your subscription services, including payment details, but if your streaming device is hackable, then it can become a gateway into the rest of your network.
My in-depth opinion on why you always need a VPN when you use an Android TV box is at this link, but in this article, we are speaking specifically about VPN on Kodi.
In theory, if you are just using Kodi as a media center to manage your own library of content, using Kodi doesn’t pose any additional risk on top of a standard Android TV box without Kodi. It is just a piece of software you choose to use.
To be honest, though, the majority of Kodi users are using add-ons to gain free access to copyrighted materials. There are many Kodi add-ons that basically scour the internet for streams of whatever you are searching for and allow you to access them without paying.
First and foremost, this activity is legally dubious. We all know that downloading copyrighted materials without paying for them is illegal. The people who set up these Kodi add-ons get around this by connecting you to a stream of content. Copyrighted material is technically not being downloaded; it’s only being streamed, so technically, nothing illegal is being done.
The fact is, though, that the law is constantly evolving and it may only be a matter of time before the authorities decide to crack down on this behavior. If you are identified as participating in this activity, the potential consequences for you are yet to be determined.
Secondly, big streaming companies like Netflix and Prime Video have to maintain their reputations. For this reason, you can be pretty sure they are keeping their streams safe and free of malware. Any problem could cause significant fallout and damage their customer base.
The Kodi add-ons you are likely to use to find content are mostly written by anonymous people for whom there is no significant consequence if things don’t go right. Would you even know if they just changed their name and started making the same add-on?
Because of this, there is no guarantee the add-ons you are using are safe, and they aren’t leaking your data or exposing your system to malware.
A VPN protects your anonymity and encrypts your data, protecting you while you are using Kodi add-ons. You should also be using antivirus software to protect against malware.
Best VPNs To Use With Kodi
Once you decide to use a VPN, it is all about choosing the right one, as not all VPNs are created equal.
As a word of warning, steer clear of free VPNs. It is expensive to maintain a network of remote servers. If they aren’t making money from subscription fees, they are making it elsewhere, potentially from selling your data.
There are two other major things to consider when choosing a VPN for Kodi.
The first is speed. When you use a VPN, you slow down your internet speed as you bounce your connection across different servers, perhaps on the other side of the world. When you are streaming, especially in 4K, you need decent speeds. We recommend at least 25Mbps for 4K streaming.
The other thing to worry about is leakage. As long as your VPN is working, you are protected, but if your VPN connection drops for some reason, which happens, what you are doing online may be exposed. To protect against this, you want to use a VPN provider that promises minimal leakage and has features such as a kill switch, which cuts your internet connection if your VPN drops out.
When choosing a VPN, many streamers consider the server locations available. If they want to watch U.S. Netflix, they will choose a VPN with a good range of servers in the U.S.; if you want to watch the BBC, you’ll want servers in the UK. Content delivered via Kodi add-ons doesn’t tend to be geofenced, but this is still worth considering.
Aside from this, it is just the basics: up-to-date security protocols, a no-logs policy, and apps designed to work seamlessly on your chosen devices.
With all this in mind, here are our top picks for the best VPN services to use with Kodi.
I love CyberGhost as a VPN in general because it has an amazing network of servers, with more than 8,000 servers in around 100 different countries. This means options for location and also speed as servers do not tend to be overburdened with traffic.
That is the second thing I love about CyberGhost: while it has a great level of encryption that protects my data, it still lets me have good internet speed. I don’t pay for a premium internet package just to have all my speed throttled by a poor VPN service.
When it comes to VPN on Kodi specifically, I like how CyberGhost supports streaming and torrenting activities. Streaming services, such as Netflix and the BBC, are always trying to identify VPN servers and block their access. CyberGhost maintains access to these servers by having a few dedicated servers that are constantly being updated to ensure availability.
Cyberghost has servers not only optimized for Netflix, but the most popular versions, including US, DE, and FR. There are also servers for BBC iPlayer, Hulu, YouTube, and Crunchyroll.
Similarly, some VPN services do not support the kind of P2P activity involved in torrenting. CyberGhost not only supports it but has a few servers optimized to make torrenting faster and more secure.
Finally, CyberGhost also has a no-logs policy, which means it does not record IP addresses, browsing history length of session, or any information at all regarding your online activity.
Cyberghost has a variety of VPN apps for smart TVs, including Android TV and Amazon Fire TV. The TV apps are intuitive and easy to use with just a few clicks, which is what you want when you only have a remote control to navigate.
- $72 for a one-year plan for six devices
- 8,000 servers in 100 locations
- Servers supporting streaming and torrenting
NordVPN is a bit more expensive than CyberGhost, but that covers up to six devices and gives you fantastic protection and coverage.
NordVPN has 5,500 servers in 60 locations, offering a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing your IP location, and a lot of bandwidth, so speeds remain fast, though are inevitably reduced as is the case with all VPNs.
They use 256-bit AES encryption, which is more than enough to keep your data safe, but they also offer a double VPN which means they encrypt your data twice. There is also a no-logs policy, which helps protect your anonymity under all circumstances.
One of the other things that we really like about Nord is that they now include free anti-malware protection as part of their VPN package. When you are using Android TV this is ideal, rather than having to manage that with a separate application.
- $84 per year for six devices
- 5,500 servers in 60 locations
- Free anti-malware package included
Atlas VPN is one of the newer players on the market but they are making waves, providing an excellent service for just $1.99 per month for an unlimited number of devices.
The service offers VPN apps specifically for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV, so it is simple to set up and use this VPN on your streaming device. Speeds are optimized to ensure you have enough bandwidth for 4K streaming.
Today Atlas only has about 750+ servers in 30 international locations, but this is enough for their current user base and they are expanding rapidly. Servers are optimized for various activities, such as streaming and torrenting.
There are several advanced features included in your subscription, including a malware blocker and tracking blocker, SafeSwap and MultiHop to let you use multiple addresses at the same time, and split tunneling that lets you control what passes via your VPN and what doesn’t.
- $1.99 per month for unlimited devices
- Small service with personal attention
- Advanced features
IPVanish costs just $44.99 for a one-year subscription, and in return, you will get some of the fastest VPN internet speeds available on the market. There are also no limits on streaming or torrenting, which makes it the ideal service for heavy streamers.
IPVanish has 2,000 servers in 75 countries with more than 40,000 IP addresses. If that number seems low, don’t worry; they have fewer users than big services like NordVPN, so there is less traffic to compete with and their servers are designed for speed thanks to their WireGuard technology.
They use 256-bit AES encryption backed up by a high-tech security team, and there are both a kill switch and a no-logs policy to keep your data private no matter what.
In addition to this, your VPN subscription with IPVanish includes ransomware and malware protection so you don’t need a separate subscription for those kinds of protection.
- $44.99 per year for 10 devices
- 2,000 servers in 75 locations with 40,000+ IP addresses
- Fastest VPN speeds available with WireGuard
- Ransomware and malware protection included
While ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive options on the market at $99.95 per year, you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck. With 3,000 servers in 160 locations in 94 countries, no one offers more choices.
Of course, you can expect top-end encryption, no logs, a 24-hour help desk, and a kill switch as standard. There are also no limits on streaming or torrenting.
A standout feature of ExpressVPN is that it allows for split tunneling, which means you can choose which apps you run through your VPN. This can help you get faster speeds since you don’t need to have your secure background apps passing through your VPN eating up bandwidth while streaming.
- $99.95 per year for five devices
- 3,000 servers in 160 locations
- Split tunneling available
Kodi VPN Add-Ons
The VPNs that we talk about above are all mainstream VPN services that you install on your hardware and can be used on most internet-connected devices. We recommend these as you can use them to mask all of your online activity.
Some people prefer to use a VPN just with Kodi, though, in which case you can use one of the VPN add-ons that exist within the Kodi library. It is important to remember that this VPN will only work when you are running Kodi and leaves the rest of your machine vulnerable.
You install a VPN add-on just like any other Kodi add-on. Go to Settings, File Manager, and choose to add a source. You will then enter the URL of a Kodi VPN add-on, such as www.ivacy.com/kodi-addon. You will then need to give this source a name, such as VPN, and click OK.
You can now return to the Kodi home screen and enter the add-ons menu. Choose the add-on browser (the package in the top left corner) and choose to “install from zip,” and then choose the zip file that you just saved. This will trigger Kodi to install the add-on.
Now you can head back to the add-ons menu again and choose Program add-ons where you will be able to access the VPN that you installed.
This is not my recommended method for protecting yourself, but it is another option that you have on the table.
For a refresher on what a VPN is and what it does, check out my article: Why Use a VPN for Android TV Boxes.
3 Reasons Why You Need A VPN For An Android TV Box
We’ve already been pretty clear about why you need a VPN if you are using Kodi to access copyrighted materials, but even if you aren’t, there are good reasons why you should be using a VPN anyway.
Here are our top three reasons.
Reason #1: Keep Your Stuff Private
There’s a difference between privacy and anonymity, and both are important reasons to use a VPN on Kodi TV boxes.
Think of privacy as not letting anyone stand over your shoulder and watch what you do.
In this case, the most common “person” standing over your shoulder is actually your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Make no mistake, they are very interested in your streaming habits.
If you’re a cord-cutter, they want to know. Once they know you’re a cord-cutter, your ISP is going to charge you insanely high fees.
Why? Because they can.
It costs money to run an ISP. The more data their customers use, the more costs they have. They’d much rather have customers who scroll through their Facebook feed rather than download movies from torrents because they use much less data.
Unless you like higher fees, using a VPN on your Kodi boxes can help keep your ISP in the dark about your streaming habits.
Reason #2: Be A Ghost In The System
Anonymity is something different. If privacy is about keeping your stuff to yourself, anonymity is about concealing who you are.
Companies will pay a ton of money for your personal info.
ISPs will sell your browsing history to advertisers, which is nothing new, but in 2017, the rules changed and they don’t need your permission to do it anymore.
The more you’re online, the more data your ISP will have about you, and the more they can sell to the highest bidder. If you want to protect your streaming habits (as well as your internet browsing), it’s a good reason to use a Kodi VPN.
Reason #3: Watch Without Limits
Do you like being told what you can and can’t watch?
I hate it. That’s the biggest reason why I use a VPN on Kodi and my other streaming services. It’s called geo-blocking and it’s how they limit what you can watch based on where you live.
The big companies like Netflix and Amazon are getting better about figuring out where you really live, even if you’re using a VPN, but I still find a lot of international websites I can access simply by using a VPN to log into a server in their country.
Depending on where you live, your government could also be limiting what websites you can access. We’ve all heard that China censors certain websites, but did you know the same thing happens in the United Kingdom and Australia too? In case you’re wondering, the United States is a little different. Instead of merely blocking the sites, they seize the domains and shut them down.
Some of the more popular blocked websites include:
- The Pirate Bay
- Kickass Torrents
So far, over 400,000 subscribers in the UK alone have been subject to these bans. If you live somewhere where the government is trying to decide what you can and can’t watch, using a Kodi VPN can help you get around their limitations.
Why I Love CyberGhost VPN On Kodi TV Box:
- Apps for all of your devices: Specific VPN apps for Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Windows, Mac OS-X, iOS, and many routers.
- Multiple streams at once: 7 simultaneous connections on multiple devices.
- Tons of servers: 8,000+ VPN servers in 90+ countries.
- Top-notch security: CyberGhost has 256-bit AES encryption, which would literally take decades to crack using a brute force attack.
- Unlimited server switching: Change servers at any time to get content from different countries instantly.
- Streaming supported: It is a constant battle for VPN services to keep their servers off the radar of the likes of Netflix and the BBC, but CyberGhost has dedicated servers on which these streaming services should always be available.
- Torrenting supported: Not all VPN servers support torrenting, but CyberGhost supports torrenting on all its servers and it also has servers earmarked for the best torrenting performance.
- Guarantee: CyberGhost offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, so you can sign up for a discounted long-term package risk-free.
FAQs About VPN For Kodi
Do You Really Need A VPN For Fire Stick?
The short answer to this question is yes, you need a VPN with Fire Stick. If you have chosen Fire Stick as your preferred TV system, you are probably accessing legal materials, such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, rather than illegally streaming, so why do you need to mask your activity?
Two reasons. First, a VPN offers an extra layer of protection for your personal data, such as your Amazon and Netflix passwords and payment details. Secondly, it prevents your ISP provider from monitoring your streaming activity and potentially hiking your bandwidth fees accordingly.
Do You Need A VPN For A Jailbroken Fire Stick?
If you are using a jailbroken Fire Stick, then yes, you need a VPN. Firstly, the whole point of a jailbroken Fire Stick is to allow you to access applications that are not available via the Amazon store and often to access copyrighted content. If you are going to do that, you need to protect your anonymity.
Secondly, while many of the apps you can sideload onto a jailbroken Fire Stick are excellent, there are some dodgy ones out there too. The alternative streaming services you access may not have the same strict security measures as the likes of Netflix, so when you are accessing these services it pays to invest in the additional protection of a VPN.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A VPN?
The primary drawback of a VPN is that it inhibits your internet speeds. Your internet connection speed can drop by 50 to 90 percent depending on the VPN you use. This is because the data packages you are sending and receiving are traveling further and are paused to be encrypted.
Take, for example, streaming from ESPN. Data is not simply bouncing between you and the ESPN server. Your data packages are being sent to your VPN, where they are being encrypted before being passed on to ESPN. Plus, if you are using a server in Europe or Asia, the distance traveled will add a delay as well. Then you have the exact same thing happening on the way back.
Why Should You Not Use A VPN?
In case you haven’t read this article, you should use a VPN. Yes, it can reduce your internet speeds, but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
It ensures your security and anonymity, making it difficult for others to steal your personal data; it stops your ISP, the government, and anybody else from monitoring your activity; and it helps unlock certain activities.
Why Are Free VPNs Bad?
There is nothing wrong with a free VPN service per se, and there are some good ones out there, but you need to be careful which you choose because if you aren’t paying with dollars, you are paying with something else. As a result, sometimes paying for a reasonably priced VPN service can be better.
Most free VPNs are able to offer a limited, free version of their VPN by making their service ad-supported. In these cases, you don’t pay with money but you do pay with your time. Other VPNs have monthly data caps for their free services. These are usually very low and certainly won’t be enough to stream a movie.
Finally, some less respectable free VPN services make their money by selling your data. The whole point of a VPN service is to protect your data, so this is not a payoff that is worth making.
Can A VPN Be Hacked?
Yes, VPN services can be hacked, but it is hard to do and your data is safer from hackers with a VPN than without one. The VPN virtual tunnel and encryption make it more difficult for hackers to crack VPN data.
Unless you are a high-value target, there are not a lot of reasons for hackers to try and take the time to crack your VPN. When it comes to credit card details and passwords, they’re better off going for the low-hanging fruit, which is not protected by VPN.
How Do I Install A VPN On My Android TV Box?
Once you have chosen a VPN service, you need to sign up for the service online and set up your account. Then switch on your Android TV box and go to the Google Play Store and search for the VPN app for your service. When you download and open the app you will be asked to log in or provide an activation code that you can get from your online account.
Does Kodi Box Have A VPN?
If you get a TV box that already has Kodi installed, sometimes called a fully loaded box, it probably does not have a VPN already installed. You will need to download and install a VPN separately.
How Much Does A VPN Slow Down Your Internet Connection?
Using a VPN will slow down your internet connection as it bounces your data around its servers. On average, most VPNs will eat between 10-20% of your internet speeds. If you have a decent internet connection of around 100MB, you probably won’t even notice that, but if you have a slower connection, say around 25MB, you will certainly notice the drag.
VPN On Kodi: The Verdict
Let me be very clear: If you use Kodi for anything but streaming your own content from your own hard drive, you need to use a VPN.
Personally, I think that CyberGhost is the best VPN to use with Kodi. Is it right for you? Maybe. Maybe not. I recommend trying it out for yourself.
The important thing to take away from this article is that you need to use a VPN to keep yourself safe while streaming. You may think you have little value on your TV box, but it stores more of your personal data than you imagine.
If you are using Kodi to access copyrighted content, then protecting yourself with a VPN is even more important. You need to protect yourself from the eyes of the authorities, and potentially dodgy streaming services.
Have you found a VPN you love? What VPN do you use with Kodi? Let us know in the comments below.