On the surface, Kodi looks like an ordinary media player. However, with the right addons you can easily transform it into the Holy Grail of free content. Live sports streams, brand new movies, HD quality TV shows and even video games are all readily available via various 3rd party Kodi addons.
Why do I need a VPN for Kodi?
There’s a hidden price Kodi users pay for using 3rd party addons. Using some types of Kodi addons without protection– like P2P addons, for example– could get you sued. Also, some Internet Service Providers intentionally slow down their users’ internet connections if they observe that they are streaming a large quantity of video content.
To avoid lawsuits and bandwidth throttling, all Kodi users should consider signing up with a VPN service that’s specifically designed for streamers. AddonHQ recommends that you sign up with IPVanish before trying out any of the addons that we’ve reviewed on this site.
Read on to find out more about how VPNs work and why all Kodi users should consider signing up for one.
How does a VPN work?
Without a VPN, anyone with the right tools can easily track everything you do. For example, your internet service provider collects logs that contain information that can be used to find out all the websites you’ve ever visited. They can even read your emails and text messages.
“Your Internet service provider tracks what IP addresses you contact, which effectively means they know the web sites you’re visiting. They can also read anything you send over the Internet that isn’t encrypted.” Lincoln Spector, PCWorld
With a VPN, your privacy is absolutely secure. Basically, a VPN service works like a two-way mirror. When you’re connected, you can use the web however you want to use it– but nobody else on the network can see what you’re doing.
The detectives depicted above can watch everything the suspect in the interrogation room does, but the suspect can’t see the detectives. In much the same way, when you’re logged in to a VPN server all your data is protected by encryption– which functions a lot like a two-way mirror.
Encryption does not prevent you from accessing anything on the web. However, it does keep your ISP and the government from monitoring your activities.
Some people describe the connection between a VPN server and a VPN user as a kind of “tunnel.” Once the connection between your computer and the VPN server is established, all the data you send and recieve gets sent through the tunnel.
In order to create the tunnel, your computer and the server must exchange private keys. Next, the keys are verified against X.509 certificates on both ends of the tunnel. When viewed from outside the tunnel, the stream of information exchanged between your computer and other computers on the web looks like absolute gibberish.
Screenshots of VPN software in action
VPNs use complex technologies to keep your information safe. However, IPVanish’s software couldn’t be any simpler to use. Connecting to an IPVanish VPN server is an easy two-step process.
The first step involves picking out a VPN server. IPVanish has servers in over 60 different countries. All you have to do is choose one from the list, as shown in the screenshot below.
After you decide on a server, just hit the “go” button on the top of the screen or the “connect” button at the bottom to log on. It takes about 2 or 3 seconds to make a connection. The red and green upload/download graph begins to run once you’re in.
While you’re connected, you can load up Kodi and use your addons to find free streaming content without having to worry about getting categorized as a streamer or targeted as an illegal downloader.
Exodus and all my other addons work just fine when I have IPVanish running in the background. I never experience any lagging or delays. In fact, the internet seems just a bit faster when I’m connected. That’s because IPVanish’s servers use proprietary compression technology to encrypt and optimize the web.
Aren’t VPNs pricey?
A decade ago, VPN servers were quite expensive. Only corporate and government employees were using them. But in the past few years, the price of VPN servers has dropped– and the demand for VPNs has skyrocketed. As a result of these factors, today’s consumers don’t have to pay nearly as much to use VPNs.
Today, VPNs are downright cheap. Plus, AddonHQ readers can enjoy a 25% discount when they sign up for IPVanish. With the savings you will get with our coupon, your monthly service fee will be less than the price of a hamburger.
Why should I use a VPN with Kodi?
Here are two very real potential consequences of using Kodi without a VPN service:
Your ISP might decide to slow down your internet connection
People who do bandwidth intensive activities online (like play games and stream videos, for example) cost ISPs money. That’s why some service providers identify and intentionally slow down users that use the web more than others.
For example, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have all announced their plans to throttle mobile users that stream video on their phones. In order to get better quality video, you have to pay extra.
Of course, many ISPs don’t publicly reveal their throttling practices. In October of 2016, T-Mobile had to pay a 48 million dollar fine for lying to its users about throttling. Some people who had paid for T-Mobile’s so-called “unlimited” data plan were experiencing unexplained slowdowns.
To avoid having your ISP categorize you as a bandwidth hog, it’s a good idea to always use a VPN service before you use Kodi or do any type of highly intensive activity on the web.
You could get sued
As mentioned above, the “grey area” nature of some of Kodi’s addons can land you in legal hot water. Most Kodi addons rely on legal streams, but some actually download files to your computer.
In most countries it’s okay to watch any type of stream, even if it’s copyrighted– but in most cases it’s definitely not okay to download a copyrighted file. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell for sure if a Kodi is using legal or illegal technology to deliver streams of popular TV shows and movies.
Some ISPs are reacting to the growing popularity of Kodi by sending out copyright infringement warning notices to all Kodi users, regardless of how they use the application. A few months ago, we reached out to a Comcast customer support representative to find out if the emails that some Kodi users have received were real.
The conversation below indicates that Comcast administrators are fully aware of Kodi may in fact be actively going after customers that use it.
As Kodi’s user base continues to grow, Comcast and other ISPs may take even more aggressive stances against the popular app. To avoid getting sued, categorized or throttled, it’s a good idea to protect yourself now with a VPN service that’s built specifically for video streamers.
The best VPN service for Kodi
Out of all the VPN services we’ve tried out so far, we think IPVanish is the best. The 3 main reasons why we like it is that it’s fast, cheap and easy to use.
Here are a few more features that helped IPVanish earn our official recommendation:
- Access Every Kodi AddonGet past any geo-restrictions, firewalls or ISP blocks to unlock access to every Kodi addon.
- Multi-Device SupportIPVanish has apps for your android box, computer and mobile devices.
- Complete PrivacyNo one (including your ISP) can see what you’re watching. End to end encryption.
- No LogsIPVanish does not collect or log any traffic or use of its VPN service.
- 7-Day Money-Back GuaranteeTest it out! See the difference or get your money back.
Bonus: AddonHQ readers will also receive 25% off their first month’s payment on any plan.