UPDATED For 2020!
People always ask me: Do I need a VPN for my Kodi TV Box? The answer is 100 percent YES!
A VPN protects your privacy online. It prevents the government, hackers, and everybody else from seeing what you are doing or accessing your personal data.
And don’t lie to yourself and say, “I don’t have personal data on my TV box.” What about your Netflix password, your Google identity, and your streaming service payment details?
Moreover, if you choose to use your Kodi box to torrent content or access copyrighted material, a VPN protects your privacy. If you want to access streaming services that are not available in your region, a VPN makes that possible.
While I don’t support illegal activity, it is up to you what you do. But, whatever you are using Kodi for, a VPN makes your activity more secure.
For a refresher on what a VPN is and what it does, check out my article: Why Use a VPN for Android TV Boxes.
Yes, Even A Basic Kodi Setup Requires A VPN
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “It’s only a streaming device. I don’t care if it gets hacked. There’s nothing on there that I care about.”
Maybe you don’t care about what’s on your streaming device, but hackers do.
There’s a whole industry out there that will sell your personal information. You’ve probably heard about credit companies like Equifax, cell phone companies like Verizon, or retailers like Home Depot getting hacked. Millions of customer’s email addresses and credit card information were stolen and sold on the dark web. Chances are, you know someone who was affected.
But hackers are after more than your email address and credit cards. They’re after you in more subtle ways.
They’re after your Netflix account.
Trend Micro, a well-known internet security firm, warns that stealing Netflix accounts has turned into a big business. With access to your Netflix login, suddenly thieves have access to not only your email address, but your address, phone number, and some basic payment information as well.
What’s worse, you’re probably using that Netflix password for something else, right? Maybe something you do care about.
Even if you don’t use Netflix, Kodi itself is at risk – especially if you’re streaming from unknown sources.
You never know who created those free streams and what they may have hidden inside.
I’ve already done an article on the security risks of bad Kodi add-ons, and another article about premium Kodi add-ons and IPTV services that may not be all they’re cracked up to be. But there’s more you should know.
If you care about protecting your personal information, you need to secure your streaming device with a Kodi VPN.
You’ve got usernames and passwords on every device you own. You need to protect them, just like you’d protect the front door of your house.
3 Great Reasons Why You Need A Kodi VPN
Is Kodi legal? Yes..but the way you’re using it probably isn’t.
Team Kodi, the organization of programmers that actually created the popular media player software, insists they do not provide any movies or music content themselves. “Users must provide their own content or manually point Kodi to third party online services. The Kodi project does not provide any support for bootleg video content.”
That’s all well and good, but according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Kodi “taps into an ‘infringing ecosystem’ of content add-ons and portals, with more than 750 websites offering such infringing devices or software.” They estimate that two out of every three active Kodi users access pirate sites like TV Addons.
The most popular use for Kodi is to let its users stream movies and television for free. Are you really surprised that the movie studios want to shut it down?
If you want to do any of these things with Kodi, you will need a VPN, both to protect your privacy and enable your access to certain content.
Here are the three main reasons you need a VPN for this kind of activity on Kodi.
Reason #1: Keep Your Stuff Private
There’s a difference between privacy and anonymity. And both are important reasons to use a VPN for 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).
And 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 with Kodi 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 have 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 for 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.
Best VPN To Use With Kodi
I’ve been using a VPN for a few years and gotten to test several of them. NordVPN and Le VPN were two of my favorites, but I’ve recently switched to CyberGhost VPN.
Testing a VPN isn’t like testing a TV box. It’s more like being in a relationship. You need time to live with it and find out all of the good stuff and all of the bad stuff too. A VPN may be right for someone else, but not right for you. Does that make sense?
Over time, I found a couple of warts with both NordVPN and Le VPN that soured those relationships. In this industry, you hear a lot about CyberGhost, so I thought I’d check them out.
I love CyberGhost as a VPN in general because it has an amazing network of servers, with more than 6,500 servers in 90 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 speeds. I don’t pay for a premium internet package to have all my speed throttled by a poor VPN service.
When it comes to 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. So, you may sign up to a VPN service to access your favorite streaming. CyberGhost maintains access to these servers by having a few dedicated servers that are constantly being updated to ensure availability.
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 UP addresses, browsing history length of session, or any information at all regarding your online activity.
Why I Love CyberGhost VPN For Kodi TV Box:
- Apps for all of your devices: Specific 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: 6,500+ 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 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.
While I love CyberGhost and won’t be changing any time soon, there are a number of other great VPNs out there that offer the kind of protection and functionality you need when using Kodi. So, here are my top three runners up:
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 double VPN, which means they encrypt your data twice. There is also a no-logs policy, which helps protect your anonymity under all circumstances.
NordVPN also comes with a lot of options if you are looking to do something more sophisticated, such as protecting all of the devices in a business network. They offer personal support packages you won’t see in many other places.
- $84 per year for six devices
- 5,500 servers in 60 locations
- Special packages and support services
IPVanish costs just $77.99 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 of torrenting, which makes it the ideal service for heavy streamers.
IPVanish has 1,400 servers in 75 countries. If that number seems low, don’t worry; they have fewer users than big services like NordVPN, so less traffic to compete with, and their servers are designed for speed.
They use 256-bit AES encryption backed up by a high-tech security team, and there is both a kill switch and no-logs policy to keep your data private no matter what.
- $77.99 per year for ten devices
- 1,400 servers in 75 locations
- Fastest VPN speeds available
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 choice.
Of course, you can expect top-end encryption, no logs, a 24-hour help desk, and 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 VPN. This can help you get faster speeds and 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
FAQs About VPN For Kodi
Do You Really Need A VPN For Firestick?
The short answer to this question is yes, you need VPN with Firestick. If you have chosen Firestick as your preferred TV box system, then 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 Jailbroken Firestick?
If you are using a jailbroken Firestick, then yes, you need a VPN. Firstly, the whole point of a jailbroken firestick 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 Firestick 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 with a VPN is that it inhibits your internet speeds. Your internet connection speed can drip 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 onto 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 You Should 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. So, while you don’t pay with money, 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 pay off that is worth making.
Can 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.
So, 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. And 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.
VPN For Kodi: The Verdict
Let me be very clear: If you use Kodi for anything but streaming your own stuff from your own hard drive, then 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 of value on your TV box, but it stores more of your personal data than you imagine. Also, if your ISP sees that you stream frequently, they are likely to start increasing your internet prices.
Have you found a VPN that you love? What VPN do you use with Kodi? Let us know in the comments below.