If you're looking to add a VPN to your Kodi box, you've come to the right place! For those not familiar with Kodi, it’s one of the most, if not 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, we, at TechRadar, we don’t endorse any form of piracy or illegally viewing copyrighted material.
The best Kodi VPN in 2018
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Best all-round VPN for Kodi
Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 10
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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 (although on the downside, we found it could potentially be susceptible to more network issues than rival VPN software).
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 VPN for mobile
Number of servers: 2000 | Server locations: 148 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 3
This British Virgin Islands provider has an impressive collection of servers spread across 94 countries with some great performance. In our tests, we recorded good speed consistency with no fluctuations of any kind.
ExpressVPN offers quality clients for every major platform with setup instructions for various other devices. iOS and Android (which you can also install on Android TV) clients are especially well made and are very user-friendly.
The service is a bit pricier than most and there is no free trial, but you do get a 30-day money back guarantee. There are three plans available, with the yearly plan being the most affordable (you also get extra three months). The packages available are:
- [$12.95 a month] 1-month
- [$9.99 a month] 6-months - $59.95
- [$6.67 a month] 12-months (plus 3 free months) - $99.95
Best VPN for HD streaming
Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 3-5
Streaming content requires a fast connection and it doesn’t get much better than VyprVPN in this respect. Our performance tests revealed that this provider offers superb download speeds – twice as fast as the rates we get with the VPN turned off, in fact. Add the firm’s widespread server coverage and you have a service tailored for HD and 4K content.
There are easy-to-use clients for all relevant platforms and devices, supported by strong security aspects. Along with the expected range of protocols and encryption, the provider’s own Chameleon technology aims to defeat VPN blocking and throttling for a faster connection. A kill switch, NAT Firewall, and VyprVPN’s own DNS solution complete the efforts on the security front. On top of that, there is no logging of traffic or online activities, but there is some logging occurring in the form of recording connection times and IP addresses.
Would-be users have a free 3-day trial at their disposal, which is particularly useful as VyprVPN doesn’t allow refunds. Commercial plans are based on monthly and annual billing, with the monthly plans carrying an expensive price tag. Your best bet is the Premium plan with annual billing as it includes all the bells and whistles (like the Chameleon protocol) for a reasonable price. The packages available are:
Most secure VPN
Number of servers: 5047 | Server locations: 62 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
NordVPN offers an impressive level of overall server coverage, being one of the largest VPN networks around. Its performance is far from shabby, too, providing consistently fast connections throughout much of that expansive network.
This provider also has user-friendly applications for all major operating systems (there is also a dedicated app for Android TV). These are packed with useful features, along with plenty of beef on the security front. There’s Double VPN (double encryption) for maximum privacy, Onion over VPN, a CyberSec feature for blocking intrusive adverts and malicious online threats, an automatic kill switch, and more besides. NordVPN has a clear ‘no logs’ policy, too.
There is a free 3-day trial to take this VPN for a test spin, but it’s rather hidden away on the website. With the monthly billing being rather pricey, the cheap 2-year subscription provides the best value for your money. The packages available are:
Best free VPN for Kodi
Number of servers: 1000 | Server locations: 20+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
TunnelBear is first and foremost a user-friendly service. You get a wide array of desktop and mobile software that focuses on keeping things simple. As such, more advanced users may be somewhat dismayed at the lack of low-level options, but bear in mind that these clients aren’t barebones – there are a few settings that you can tweak.
Performance-wise, the Canadian-based provider - now owned by McAfee - was speedy with local connections during our testing, although long-distance connections were slower, as is usually the case. Still, TunnelBear's free plan delivered solid enough performance levels, and indeed it’s faster than some paid products.
The only restriction with the free plan is a cap on data usage, and the good news is you get full server coverage at your disposal. As for data, TunnelBear allows for 500MB of traffic each month, but you can tweet about the service to get an extra 1GB (plus TechRadar’s special offer ups the limit to an impressive 5GB).
Aside from the free offering, there’s not much variety when it comes to commercial plans: there’s one subscription on a monthly or annual basis. If you’re happy to pay, the yearly plan offers the best value as it gets you unlimited data for a very reasonable price. The packages available are:
Best for families with lots of devices
Number of servers: 530+ | Server locations: 10 (free) | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Windscribe offers a generous free plan that allows you 10GB of traffic on a monthly basis (if you register your email address, 2GB if not). As is the case with some other providers, tweeting about the service will earn you an extra 5GB of data, and you’ll get an additional 1GB each time you invite a friend to join.
You’re restricted to 10 server locations, although a major benefit is that you aren’t limited on the device front – you can connect as many devices as you wish. Performance isn’t anything to write home about, with this VPN offering average but acceptable speeds. There are clients for all major platforms, and some great browser extensions, too.
For a free service, Windscribe is certainly a good option, but if you want more, the paid subscriptions don’t offer much choice. Your only option is the Pro plan billed monthly, yearly or biennially - it comes with unlimited data usage, and you get more locations to choose from (100+). The packages available are:
Best VPN for low-spec devices
Number of servers: 170+ | Server locations: 50+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
Speedify’s channel bonding feature uses multiple connections – Ethernet, Wi-Fi, a tethered mobile, and so forth – to boost overall performance. Assuming you have more than one internet connection, you’ll likely see the benefit, and we certainly did in our testing when the aforementioned turbocharging tech help speed things up nicely.
The free plan allows full access to over a hundreds servers in more than 20 countries, with the only restriction being the amount of data you can download: you get 5GB per month. You can get Speedify for all major platforms, and the native clients are pretty simple, with only a few available settings for tweaking the service.
Should you like the free service enough to want to upgrade, there are only two commercial plans available: you can subscribe and get unlimited data on a monthly or annual basis, with the latter offering the best value, as ever. The packages available are:
8. ProtonVPN Free
Best VPN with unlimited data
Number of servers: 140+ | Server locations: 24 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 1-10
Coming from the people behind ProtonMail, the popular Switzerland-based encrypted email service, ProtonVPN Free’s main draw is unlimited bandwidth – you can use this freebie as much as you like. However, there are a few catches. You get just three locations to choose from (US, Japan, Netherlands), there's support for only one device, and free users are bottom of the performance priority list, so speeds could be variable.
And our performance tests bore that out, as we saw some relatively speedy results at times (better than some commercial providers, in fact), but we also experienced low speeds in other instances. It’s a mixed bag, in other words, so prepare yourself for some inconsistency.
Native software is provided for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. Security shouldn’t be a problem, either, given that this VPN is delivered by a respected team with a lengthy track record in maintaining tight security. The company states its logging policy very clearly on the website: there is no tracking or recording of your internet activity.
With its unlimited data allowance, this is one free VPN that’s certainly worth considering. Although if you feel the need to upgrade, there are three paid plans, including a very pricey top-end product (Visionary) which boasts ProtonMail encrypted email with all features as part of the package.
Overall, this isn’t a cheap provider, although the Plus plan isn’t too expensive on an annual subscription, and will give you full access to the service. The packages available are:
- Free Plan - Unlimited Data
- Basic [$5.00 a month] 1 month or [$4.00 a month] 12 months - $48.00 per year
- Plus [$10.00 a month] 1 month or [$8.00 a month] 12 months - $96.00 per year
- Visionary [$30.00 a month] 1 month or [$24.00 a month] 12 months - $288.00 per year
Best VPN for desktops
Number of servers: 450+ | 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 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.
Ivacy offers three subscriptions that could use a bit more variety, although they all have a 30-day money-back guarantee (except the monthly plan, which has a 7-day guarantee). The monthly plan aside, the subscriptions are quite affordable, especially the 2-year plan which is really cheap. The packages available are:
- [$8.95 a month] 1-month
- [$5.00 a month] 6-months - $30.00
- [$4.08 a month] 1-year +1-year free - $48.95
- Download Ivacy here
Best VPN for novices
Number of servers: 150+ | Server locations: 45+ | 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, Android and Windows Phone, 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:
How to choose the best Kodi VPN
As ever when it comes to streaming content – particularly if it’s HD – you want one of the best VPNs 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.
- We’ve rounded up the best free VPN