For those not familiar with Kodi, it’s one of the most popular media players around thanks to its excellent interface, not to mention the fact that it’s free and open source – and boasts some impressive capabilities when it comes to add-ons which support various streaming services.
Some of those add-ons are perfectly legal, and others – not so much. Naturally, here at TechRadar, we don’t endorse any form of piracy or illegally viewing copyrighted material.
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How to choose the best VPN service for Kodi
As ever when it comes to streaming content – particularly if it’s HD – you want a VPN which gives you fast download speeds to avoid those dreaded pauses while the ‘buffering’ icon hogs the screen. A large web of server locations also helps as you’ll have more options to find the fastest connection possible.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at our five top VPN services for Kodi.
Best all-round VPN for Kodi
Number of servers: 750+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5
IPVanish provides superb performance levels complemented with a wide range of server locations. In testing, our download speeds improved by around 15% compared to our normal rates.
The service offers native clients for Windows and Mac, along with Android and iOS, plus it has setup instructions for other platforms. The native Windows client, in particular, is a sterling effort with an intuitive interface and a bundle of advanced features. IPVanish has a strict no logs policy and all the necessary security in place for a smooth and carefree VPN experience.
If there’s one thing that somewhat spoils the fun, it’s the cost of the service as it’s a bit on the pricey side. There is no free trial available, but the three plans include a 7-day money-back guarantee. The 1-year subscription is the best and most affordable option. The packages available are:
Best for HD streaming
Number of servers: 750+ | Server locations: 180 | IP addresses: 80,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5
PureVPN offers global server coverage across 180 locations, and high-speed performance which significantly increased our download speeds during testing. The service shines in other areas too. It has dedicated apps for all major platforms – Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android – along with a no logs policy and a lengthy extra features list. The latter includes split tunnelling (the option to choose which traffic goes through the VPN and which through your ISP), a ‘stealth’ VPN browser and more.
PureVPN supports OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, and IKEv2 security protocols. On the downside, the provider has a Secure DNS feature which is supposed to stop DNS leaks, but this didn’t work for us (and appears to be a known issue). Your mileage may of course vary.
If you want to test out the service, sadly there is no free trial, but you do get a 7-day money-back guarantee. There are three price plans with the longest one offering the best value for money, as is usually the case. The packages available are:
Best balance of performance and price
Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is the go-to provider for a great mix of above-average performance and cheap pricing. During our testing, we found performance was pretty good, with only a slight decrease in download speeds compared to our regular rates. There are more than enough servers to choose from, and there’s wide OS support, with native clients for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and Windows 10 Mobile.
One slight sticking point is that while five devices are supported for simultaneous connections, you can only delete one device per week (to make room for another). So those who like to switch about between a considerable number of computers, tablets or phones may find this particular aspect irritating.
On the security front, there are additional features available such as a personal server or a personal static IP, and the company’s own KeepSolid Wise ‘stealth’ mode helps you avoid being detected and targeted by those attempting to block VPN users. It’s also worth mentioning that the company may impose certain limits on usage such as throttling P2P traffic to reduce network load.
As for pricing, the selection of plans is scarce but cheap. There are only three plans at your disposal, including a weekly and a permanent subscription. The 1-year plan is great value for money if a permanent subscription is too much of a commitment. As a bonus, KeepSolid provides a free 7-day no-autocharge trial for each new customer. The packages available are:
Best VPN for desktops
Number of servers: 200+ | Server locations: 100+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
This Singapore-based VPN proved to be consistent in our testing. The service delivered fast and reliable connections even over long distances with almost no difference compared to our regular download speeds. Ivacy's desktop clients are novice-friendly, but also offer more than enough settings to tweak for more advanced users. Unfortunately, the mobile apps are a different story, being overly basic and rarely updated.
There are no logs kept here, and the service handles privacy and security quite well. Still, you may want to pay attention to the 7-day refund policy as there are some conditions attached to it. Namely, it doesn't apply if you've used Bitcoin or Paymentwall to pay for the service, or if you have used more than 7GB of bandwidth, or connected more than 30 times.
Ivacy offers three subscriptions that could use a bit more variety, although they all have a 7-day money-back guarantee. The 2-year plan is really cheap, and the packages available are:
- [$6.75 a month] 1-month
- [$5.75 a month] 6-months - $34.50
- [$2.04 a month] 2-years - $49.95
- Download Ivacy here
Best VPN for novices
Number of servers: N/A | Server locations: 33 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
Hide.me has the smallest server selection of any VPN on this list, but makes up for it with great performance – in our tests, it actually increased download speeds by just a touch compared to our normal rates.
The service provides clients for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, and there are setup instructions for other platforms. The Windows client is compact and quite simple to use, and with just one click you can connect to the fastest server currently available. There is a strict no logging policy in place, too.
The service offers a 2GB per month free plan which is more than enough to properly test things out. If you want unlimited data, then you’ll need the Premium plan, but it’s rather expensive. Otherwise, the only other option is the Plus package which has certain restrictions (75GB data allowance, no port forwarding, a miserly one simultaneous connection, and other limitations). The packages available are: