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.
We recommend that you sign up with some type of VPN service before you enjoy Kodi’s 3rd party addons. If you always switch on your VPN before you stream, you’ll never have to worry. Also, nobody will be able to monitor the sites you visit. Additionally, VPNs allow you to access more video content with Kodi– especially if you live in the UK.
Read on to find out more about how VPNs work and why all Kodi users should consider signing up for one before they stream.
- 1 What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
- 2 3 VPN benefits for Kodi users
- 2.1 1. Keep your streaming habits private
- 2.2 2. ISPs can’t see what you stream
- 2.3 3. Access whatever website you want
- 3 What is the best VPN you can use with Kodi?
- 4 What kind of info can my ISP collect?
- 5 Screenshots of VPN software in action
- 6 How much do VPNs cost?
- 7 More info about IPVanish
What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
A Virtual Private Networks is a secure, private environment that you can use to access the web.
In order to use a VPN, you have to first connect to the internet. After you’re online, you can use VPN software to log on to your own private network.
The internet is a public place, like a park or a bus station. A Virtual Private Network, on the other hand, is like private property.
After you connect
Once you’re behind a VPN, all your online data (emails, instant messaging, data transfers, online banking and all online browsing) gets sent out to the web via an encrypted tunnel. This makes it so that everyone else on the internet (your government, your Internet Service Provider, etc.) can no longer monitor what you do or stop you from visiting whatever site you please.
How does it work?
Basically, a VPN service works just 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. However, 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. Encryption makes it so that anyone who tries to monitor online will run into a wall of gibberish.
Encryption powered VPN technology is so unstoppable and secure that even people living in authoritarian countries like North Korea can use it to communicate with the outside world.
Inside the tunnel
The VPN server and the VPN user are connected through a kind of “tunnel.” Once the tunnel is established, all the data you send and recieve gets sent through it.
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 nonsense.
3 VPN benefits for Kodi users
If you use a VPN to access the web, you’ll be able to enjoy safety and privacy while you stream. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) won’t be able to monitor you or discriminate against you for streaming. Additionally, if you live in the UK, Australia or the United States you’ll be able to gain access to a wider range of streaming sources if you use Kodi with a VPN.
1. Keep your streaming habits private
Large cable companies like Comcast are becoming aggressive about copyright issues. In 2013 alone, Comcast sent out over 625,000 copyright infringement alerts.
Why is Comcast sending out notices?
Comcast and other big 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.
If you’ve ever watched a TV show episode on YouTube, there’s a big chance that the stream you viewed wasn’t licensed. Unlicensed streams are pretty hard to avoid, which is one reason why copyright experts say that you can’t get in trouble for viewing streams at home.
The potential copyright problem for Kodi users is that some some addons actually download files to your computer. P2P (Peer-to-Peer) addons mimic the capabilities of torrent downloaders. P2P file sharing sites like Pirate Bay are illegal in most countries.
What is Comcast’s Kodi policy, exactly?
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 and may in fact be actively going after its customers that use it.
As Kodi’s user base continues to grow, Comcast and other ISPs may take even more forceful stances against the popular app.
To avoid any potential problems with your ISP, it’s a good idea to protect yourself with a VPN service that’s built specifically for video streamers.
To learn more info about how Comcast’s Kodi policies, read: P2P Kodi Addons – 2017 Updates for Kodi Users
2. ISPs can’t see what you stream
If you do a lot of video streaming on YouTube, Netflix or Kodi, your internet provider may have already labeled you as a streamer.
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, track and intentionally slow down users that use the web more than others.
Some ISPs don’t treat streamers fairly
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.
Some ISPs don’t even 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.
VPNs help streamers avoid discrimination
To avoid having your ISP categorize you as a pesky bandwidth hog, always use a VPN service before you use Kodi or do any type of highly intensive activity on the web.
3. Access whatever website you want
If you live in the United Kingdom, your ability to use Kodi’s 3rd party addons is extremely limited. But if you turn your VPN on, you’ll be able to do a whole lot more.
Spoof your location
Fortunately, VPNs make it very easy to “geo-hop.” If you log into a VPN server located in a foreign country, it will look like you’re using the internet from that location. Once you’re logged into a VPN service, it’s very easy to switch your server.
Banned in the UK
Here is an abbreviated list of streaming video / torrent sites that you can’t access without a VPN if you live in the United Kingdom:
- Pirate Bay
- Download For All
- First Row Sports
For a full list of sites that you can’t access in the UK, read: List of websites blocked in the United Kingdom.
Banned in Australia
Australia’s Federal Court recently ordered several major internet service providers to start blocking access to a handful of popular streaming/torrenting sites. ISPs affected include Telstra, Optus, TPG, M2, Dodo and iiNet.
- The Pirate Bay
For more information about copyright law in Australia, read: Here Are All The URLs Foxtel Is Blocking In Australia (So Far)
What is the best VPN you can use with Kodi?
We recently took 5 competing VPN services for a spin to see which one is the best for Kodi. IPVanish came out on top with an overall score of 9.7. NordVPN came in close with a final score of 9.1.
The three other services we reviewed had good security features. However, we had to take off points for speed issues, high monthly fees and other problems.
For more information, read: Best Kodi VPN 2017 – What is the Best VPN for Kodi?
Here are 8 reasons why we prefer IPVanish over other VPN services.
- Flexible, fast software. IPVanish software is lightweight and quick, an it works with almost any type of computer, smartphone or tablet.
- ID and data protection. When you use IPVanish to access the web in a coffee shop, your chance of getting hacked drops to zero.
- Direct access to the fastest VPN Network. IPVanish has one of the fastest, biggest VPN networks in the world.
- Unlimited VPN usage. “Freemium” VPNs force you to pay a big fee once you reach the usage limit, but with VPN you can stream as much as you want at no extra charge.
- Switch servers whenever you want. If you need access to blocked video content, all you have to do is click a VPN server that’s based in a licensed zone.
- Advanced settings for power users. IPVanish software allows you to choose whichever protocol you want to use to connect. Options include OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP.
- Share your account with 1 additional person. IPVanish allows two people to use one VPN connection simultaneously.
- 24-7 customer support. IPVanish’s support team is quick to respond when their customers open a help ticket.
What kind of info can my ISP collect?
According to technology journalist Lincoln Spector, your internet provider can easily harvest your internet history, emails and SMS 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, however, your privacy is absolutely secure.
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.
How much do VPNs cost?
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.
More info about IPVanish
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.