If you are using Kodi, you should also be using a VPN. Otherwise, you risk having to contend with multiple issues which may have a negative impact on your streaming experience. For example, you’re likely to encounter some geo-restricted content, particularly when traveling abroad. You may also suffer from slow speeds due to bandwidth throttling from your ISP. Data is also more vulnerable to hackers and snoopers alike.
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, encrypts your internet traffic, securing it from external threats. Another advantage is that by connecting to a server, you receive a different IP address which lets you spoof your location. This allows you to bypass geographic restrictions on your favorite websites and services. However, not all VPNs are suitable. In this post, we take a look at the best VPNs for Kodi in 2022.
We go into more details on the VPNs that have made this list below, but if you want to skip ahead to the best VPNs for Kodi, here’s a summary of our top picks.
Best VPNs for Kodi
- NordVPN: The best VPN for Kodi. 5,000+ servers, very fast speeds, and reliable unblocking. No-logs service with P2P and Double VPN servers. 24/7 support available.
- Surfshark: Best value VPN. Growing network of 3,000+ servers. Unlimited simultaneous connections. High-speed connections and works with over 30 Netflix libraries.
- ExpressVPN: Servers in 94 countries including the US. Fast, unthrottled speeds for streaming. User-friendly apps and 24/7 support. Strong security.
- CyberGhost: Over 7,000 servers in 90 countries. No bandwidth throttling. Use it on 7 devices at once. No-logs policy, an ad blocker, and password manager.
- PrivateVPN: Very fast for streaming. Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more. Easy to use apps and protects privacy with a strict no-logs policy.
- Private Internet Access: Good, consistent speeds coupled with a generous server network. No-logs VPN that allows 10 simultaneous connections.
- Atlas VPN: Particularly fast server speeds and strong unblocking. Security features include encryption and an ad, tracker, and malware blocker.
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We evaluate VPNs on a number of criteria to give readers a comprehensive and up-to-date impression of what to expect:
- Kodi add-on compatibility
- Fast, unthrottled speeds for streaming
- Servers covering dozens of countries
- High level of security with encryption
- No-logs policy for online anonymity
- Allows at least five simultaneous connections
Best VPNs for Kodi
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN offers a network of more than 5,000 servers in 60 countries. Many of those work with streaming services like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Netflix. Android users without Google Play can get the APK file directly from the NordVPN website. NordVPN can be manually configured using a range of different protocols.
The company uses 256-bit encryption and adheres to a strict zero-logs policy. Speeds are very fast and connections are reliable thanks to unlimited bandwidth. The default map interface might not be suitable for users who operate Kodi with a remote control, but you can switch to view the available servers in list form as well.
Apps are available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. Browser extensions can be found for Chrome and Firefox while routers require manual configuration.
- Works well with Kodi and unblocks most popular streaming sites
- Exceptional speeds
- No logs kept
- Offers secure, encrypted connections at all times
- Strict no-logs policy ideal for privacy-conscious users
- The desktop app is a little cumbersome
BEST VPN FOR KODI:NordVPN is our top choice for use with Kodi. It has a generous network of servers, fast speeds, and strong privacy features such as a no-logs policy and the option to pay in Bitcoin. You can even try it risk-free because it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark offers access to over 3,200 servers in 60+ countries and is fast enough for lag-free HD live streaming. This is ideal since it also works with some of the most stubborn streaming platforms abroad including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. Better still, while many other VPNs allow six connections at most, Surfshark has no problem with you connecting every single device you own simultaneously.
This service uses a list-based country selector, so remote control users shouldn’t have any issues getting connected. It protects your privacy using 256-bit encryption, protection against WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks, and a strict no-logs policy. Additionally, users can pay in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple for another layer of anonymity. This VPN offers 24/7 live chat just in case you need it.
Surfshark apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions can also be downloaded. This service can even be manually installed on supported internet routers.
- Works with some of the most stubborn streaming platforms
- Solid speeds
- Strong security credentials
- No-logs policy
- No connection limit
- Can be slow to connect to servers
Read our full Surfshark review.
BEST VALUE VPN:Surfshark is a low-cost VPN that has above-average unblocking capabilities, as well as a strong security focus, and no connection limit. This lets you use Kodi safely, from anywhere, on any device. It also includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is a great all-around choice for Kodi users, promising fast speeds a vast server network covering 94 countries. This is a reliable choice for streaming services, including Netflix and HBO Max. It boasts best-in-class security standards, 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy among them.
A Linux version of the app with a command-line interface is available. A Fire TV-optimized version is available on Amazon’s app store. One downside for users with Android-based Kodi devices is they can’t easily download the APK from the website without first authorizing their account. That means devices that lack Google Play and a traditional web browser will have to sideload the app from a second Android device. ExpressVPN also has a tutorial for getting set up with Nvidia Shield on its website.
Apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. Browser extensions are offered for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Furthermore, custom firmware is available for use with wireless routers.
- A good all-rounder for Kodi users with dedicated apps
- Fantastic speeds for downloading and streaming
- Top-class security and privacy protection features
- No issues with most major streaming services
- Slightly higher cost than others
FAST AND RELIABLE:ExpressVPN is fast, secure, and able to securely access a huge range of streaming services. Works well with Kodi. Privacy features are hard to beat. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost categorizes its servers not just by location, but by which video streaming service the user wants to access. This is useful for users who use Kodi to stream from official sources like BBC iPlayer. Unfortunately, the Android version is only available from Google Play. That means devices that run on OpenELEC or a version of Android that doesn’t have Google Play will have to manually configure CyberGhost servers.
On the plus side, CyberGhost has gotten pretty good at unblocking streaming channels as of late, and it’s added a whole slew of servers to its ever-expanding network. Speeds are solid and security is tight with 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. The no-logs service has even introduced its own password manager which is currently undergoing beta testing.
Apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux as well as Amazon Fire TV and Android TV. You can also find Chrome and Firefox browser extensions although you’ll need to follow manual setup instructions for use with routers.
- Works well with Kodi, can select servers based on site you want to unblock
- Great value low-cost provider
- Fast, reliable service
- No issues unblocking most popular streaming sites
- No direct APK download
- Torrenting and P2P won’t work on all servers
LOW COST:CyberGhost is ideal for those new to VPNs. Comprehensive protection and one-click unblocking enabled by default. Good speeds for a low-cost option. Works well with Kodi and securely accesses Netflix US. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN is a small provider making a big splash thanks to its ability to securely access pretty much everything you can throw at it, including BBC iPlayer and Netflix. It doesn’t have a huge amount of servers, but those it does have are spread over a good range of countries and offer blazing fast speeds.
With 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch, security is what you would expect from a much larger provider, so you can rest easy knowing your ISP and hackers won’t be able to snoop on your activity. Note that PrivateVPN is a solid choice for online anonymity thanks to its no-logs policy and option to pay in Bitcoin.
Android users can get the APK file directly from PrivateVPN’s website. Apps are available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android while Linux and routers can be set up manually.
- No issues getting it working with Kodi devices
- Strong security features and solid privacy protections
- Great for Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Doesn’t have 24/7 live chat
- Fewer servers to choose from than other providers higher on this list
Great Speeds:PrivateVPN is a great choice for streaming. Works well with Kodi. Supports up to ten devices on the same account. Achieves fast connection speeds and works with many popular streaming services. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Private Internet Access is a solid option for both Android and Linux-based Kodi devices. The Linux version is tested and proven to work on OpenELEC, a popular Linux distro for low-power Kodi devices like Raspberry Pi. The apps are lightweight and the price is cheap, so this is a good overall choice for Kodi users on a budget. The APK file is available for direct download from the PIA website if your Android device doesn’t have Google Play.
Despite its small footprint, PIA doesn’t compromise on security or performance. Speeds are decent and you get a decent range of server locations. Encryption standards are adjustable with 256-bit and 128-bit encryption available; the latter might be preferable lower-end Kodi devices. PIA sticks to a strict no-logs policy.
Apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. This VPN can also be manually configured to work with select compatible routers. PIA supports up to 10 simultaneous connections per account.
- Favored by Kodi users with Linux for dedicated app and support
- Large network of servers for accessing a wide range of content
- Operates a no-logs policy so you can stay anonymous online
- Secure 10 devices at the same time
- Less capable when it comes to major streaming services
- Not as fast as some of the other VPNs listed
10 CONNECTIONS:Private Internet Access has top security and privacy. Generally works well with Kodi and is able to unblock a good range of streaming content. A large user community offers plenty of support. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Private Internet Access review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Atlas VPN is a great choice for streaming on Kodi thanks to its fast server speeds and offer of unlimited bandwidth. With servers available in dozens of countries including the US, you’ll be able to securely access the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video with ease. Better still, this VPN allows you to connect all of your devices at the same time.
With Atlas VPN, you can stream securely because it routes your internet traffic through a 256-bit AES encrypted tunnel. Aside from DNS leak protection and a kill switch feature, it even offers MultiHop servers (for an extra layer of encryption) and an ad, tracker, and malware blocker. Of course, this VPN doesn’t keep any identifying logs of its users either.
Atlas VPN apps can be found for the following: Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Linux and compatible wifi routers require manual setup.
- Very fast for streaming
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Works with Netflix, Disney+, and more
- Plenty of security features
- Not the largest server network
LAG-FREE STREAMING:Atlas VPN is one of the fastest VPNs tested with the ability to unblock a wide range of online content. Can be used on as many devices as you like simultaneously. No shortage of security features. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Atlas VPN review.
How to use a VPN with Kodi
On smartphones, PCs, and streaming devices like Amazon Firesticks, the easiest way to use a VPN with Kodi is to install the VPN provider’s app. To do so, you will need to minimize Kodi and install it on the underlying operating system.
Here’s how to set up a VPN for Kodi:
- Download and install the VPN app from your provider’s website (we recommend NordVPN) or an official app store (Apple, Amazon, or Google Play).
- Open the app and log in with your account credentials
- Select a location and hit the Connect button.
- Once the VPN connection is established, launch Kodi again and use it as you normally would. All your device’s internet traffic will be tunneled through the VPN.
How we found the best VPNs for Kodi: our methodology
Kodi users should consider a number of factors when choosing a VPN. They include:
- Device compatibility. Make sure the VPN you choose supports whatever device you have installed Kodi on. If your device is Android-based, such as an Amazon Fire TV Stick, for example, then you’ll have plenty of choices. OpenELEC, users on the other hand, have far fewer options.
- Speed: Fast connections to VPN servers make for smooth, uninterrupted streaming. A slow VPN will cause frequent buffering and long load times. Higher speeds allow better quality video to be streamed.
- Privacy: Strong encryption and a no-logs policy prevent your ISP, government agencies, and hackers from snooping on your connection. A VPN prevents anyone from seeing what and where you’re watching. To find those that best protect your privacy, we analyzed 140 VPN logging policies.
- Ability to unblock region-locked video: Many official video sources are region-locked so that only users from certain countries can watch them. A VPN routes your internet connection through another location, thereby bypassing these restrictions. Some streaming providers have caught onto this tactic and have measures in place to prevent VPN users from watching, but the best VPNs can unblock them, anyway.
- Customer support: 24/7 live chat support is ideal but not offered by all providers. This can be really useful for setup and troubleshooting.
- Ease of use: There’s no point in buying a VPN subscription if you can’t figure out how to use it. All of the VPNs we recommend offer money-back guarantees so you can test them out before making a commitment.
Each VPN must also meet our standards of quality when it comes to logging policy, encryption strength, and app design. For more details, read our VPN testing methodology.
Don’t use APK files from third parties
If your Kodi device runs on Android but doesn’t have Google Play, getting the VPN app you want onto it can be a challenge. The next best option is often downloading the APK file and allowing your device to install apps from unknown sources. However, we caution against downloading APK files from anyone other than the VPN service provider itself.
A bit of Googling will no doubt turn up several third party APK hosting websites. These are best avoided. Those APKs were not put there by the people who made them, so there’s a substantial risk that the app could have been modified to contain malware. Even if it’s safe, these APKs are often out of date, which means they could be missing key features or contain unpatched security vulnerabilities.
Whenever possible, download APKs directly from the VPN provider’s website. Another option is to “sideload” the app from a second Android device that does have Google Play.
VPN router setup for Kodi on Roku, Chromecast, FireTV, etc
If you’re using Kodi XBMC on a device that doesn’t support VPNs, you can still take advantage of a VPN subscription by setting it up manually on your wifi router. This process differs based on the particular router’s firmware, so we recommend you Google a setup tutorial to learn how. Once set up, all the internet traffic coming and going from the router will travel through the VPN server.
You may need to replace the router’s firmware if the stock version does not support VPN connections. This process is called “flashing”, and it should be done with great care. If you do not flash the new firmware properly or flash the incorrect firmware version for your router model, it can permanently damage, or “brick”, the router. Some of the most popular router firmware that supports VPNs include:
If you have a PC or Mac laptop available, a safer and easier solution is to install the VPN on that and create a wifi hotspot. This is called a virtual router, and most modern laptops are capable of creating one. By connecting to the VPN on your laptop and broadcasting a wifi network from it, you can connect your Kodi device so that all streams go through the VPN. You can find PC instructions on how to create a VPN-enabled virtual router and Mac instructions here. We’ve also got our Fire TV Stick VPN setup instructions for 2nd generation Amazon Fire TV Sticks and later.
See also: Best VPNs for Fire Stick
Is Kodi legal?
Kodi is a perfectly legal open-source software created by a nonprofit organization. You are fully within your rights to download and install Kodi from the official website and use any of the officially sanctioned add-ons.
It is not illegal to buy or sell devices with Kodi pre-installed, so long as they do not contain third-party add-ons that stream from illegal sources. We recommend the boxes sold by WeTek, which come with a clean install of Kodi without any third-party add-ons and run on the OpenELEC Linux distro.
Kodi users run into legal issues when they extend Kodi’s range of streaming sources using unsanctioned, third-party add-ons, or when they buy “Kodi boxes” from third-party retailers that come with these add-ons pre-installed. These sources can include pirated IPTV streams, torrents, and websites hosting content without the copyright owner’s permission.
It might not be completely clear to users which add-ons stream from legal sources and which don’t. This is especially true for pre-configured Kodi boxes. In one case, a UK man was fined £250,000 for selling Kodi devices loaded with several add-ons that streamed content from illegal sources, despite his claim that the boxes were “100 percent legal.”
So how do you stay on the right side of the law?
First off, know that the XBMC Foundation, which created and maintains the Kodi software, is not involved in any way with the sale of Kodi boxes. In fact, Team Kodi has said the boxes commonly sold on eBay and by Youtubers, which come loaded with third-party add-ons, are “killing Kodi”. But because Kodi is open source, XBMC cannot control who installs it on what.
We discourage purchasing any device with Kodi and third-party add-ons pre-installed. Not only could doing so get you in trouble for copyright infringement, but it could also infect your device with malware installed on the system before purchase. If you bought an Amazon Fire Stick or other devices with a “fully loaded” Kodi installation, we recommend a clean wipe of the entire system and starting from scratch.
Secondly, the legality of streaming from third-party sources varies by country. Some might be legal but require you to watch from a specific country or region. Others might exist in a legal grey area. For these reasons, we always recommend checking your local laws and regulations and using a VPN to hide your activity from your ISP and other entities.
Comparitech does not condone or encourage any violation of copyright restrictions, including illegal streaming through Kodi. Kodi can be used for many excellent, legal online streaming purposes. Please consider the law, victims, and risks of piracy before downloading or streaming copyrighted material without permission.
Read more: How safe is Kodi?
Choosing a Kodi box
While you can install and run Kodi on a desktop operating system like Windows or MacOS, most Kodi users prefer to use a separate device to use as a home media center. These are often referred to as Kodi “boxes”, and they come in two main flavors: Android and Linux.
Most of the VPNs listed here make Android apps with downloadable APK files that you can install directly onto your device without the need for Google Play. While not all versions of Android are the same, most should run these VPN apps just fine.
Popular Android-based Kodi boxes include:
- Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
- Nvidia Shield
- Gem Box
- Razer Forge TV
- Matricom G-Box
Many Linux distributions can run Kodi, but the most popular for small, low-powered devices like these is OpenELEC. OpenELEC is a Linux distro tailor-made for Kodi boxes. Some VPNs make Linux apps that might run on OpenELEC, but a more universal option is to configure the VPN manually. OpenELEC Kodi users can even connect to a VPN from within a Kodi add-on like VPN Manager for OpenVPN or OpenVPN for Kodi. Ask your VPN provider for the necessary configuration files to get up and running.
Popular devices that run Kodi with OpenELEC include:
- Wetek Play, Play 2, and Core
- Raspberry Pi
There are many more but beware of devices that are sold with non-stock editions of Kodi. Many vendors will sell pre-configured “piracy boxes” with special builds that come with tons of add-ons already installed. This is especially prevalent among third-party vendors selling Amazon Fire TV sticks with Kodi. While these can seem like a good deal at first because they don’t require you to install Kodi on your own, they often come with malware, botnets, and other nasty stuff that risks your security and internet bandwidth.
If a device doesn’t come with the stock version of Kodi, just install it yourself. You can find a tutorial on how to install Kodi on Fire TV here, and how to install a VPN on Fire TV here. These instructions should work similarly for other Android-based devices as well.
VPNs for Kodi FAQ
What are the best Kodi add-ons for sports streaming?
Some of the best Kodi add-ons for sports streaming include DAZN, Fox Sports Go, and Sportsnet Now. Check out our full, updated list of the best Kodi sports add-ons for 2022.
Does Kodi have a built-in VPN?
No, Kodi does not have a built-in VPN. You need to install and run the VPN app outside of Kodi. The VPN will stay connected in the background while you use Kodi.
Does ExpressVPN have an app inside Kodi?
No, ExpressVPN doesn’t have an app or add-on that runs inside Kodi. Like any other VPN, you need to install the ExpressVPN app for your operating system outside of Kodi.
A couple of VPNs claim to have VPN add-ons that run inside of Kodi, but the ones we tested were unreliable and not something we would recommend.
Do I need a VPN for Kodi?
Kodi, the multi-platform home theater software formerly called XBMC, can be customized with a range of content repositories, tools, and programs for a tailored entertainment experience. It overlays any computer, Android device, and even Raspberry Pis with an easy-to-use interface compatible with remote controls and gamepads.
The real allure of Kodi lies in addons that extend Kodi's capabilities. Namely, video addons allow Kodi users to stream video from a wide range of sources. These include popular streaming services like BBC iPlayer and third-party addons that primarily offer pirated content. Many Kodi users employ a VPN to hide their activity from their ISP when viewing unofficial streams; however, there are many legitimate reasons everyone should use one.
Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts all of your Kodi device's internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of your choosing. This allows you to unblock geographically restricted content, such as BBC iPlayer from outside the UK. It also protects users from certain types of attacks and vulnerabilities common in third-party addons while keeping your activity private.
Can I use a free VPN with Kodi?
Free VPNs are common but are generally not suitable for Kodi. Assuming you're using Kodi to stream video, free VPNs don't offer the necessary bandwidth or data to reliably stream video. You'll likely get low image quality and a lot of buffering. Free VPNs often cap the amount of data you can use or throttle bandwidth.
Most free VPNs don't make apps for Amazon Fire TV or other Kodi devices. Their customer support is practically nonexistent, so don't expect any help in finding a workaround.
Online privacy is also a concern with free VPNs. They have to make money somehow, and many resort to collecting personal data, injecting ads into websites on your browser, and other shifty tactics. A few have even been caught distributing malware to users.
Security can also be lackluster. Many VPNs use obsolete encryption or even no encryption at all. They can leak data outside of the VPN tunnel, exposing your activity to third parties.
In short, stick to a paid VPN provider to get the performance, security, and support needed for Kodi.