How to stop Kodi Buffering – 2 fixes that actually work
Published by on August 5, 2017 in VPN & Privacy

This guide will show you how to stop and fix Kodi buffering issues and problems. When Kodi keeps buffering it is one of the most annoying things that you can encounter when trying to enjoy your favorite shows. Unfortunately, Kodi users, especially those using streaming add-ons, are not spared from this pain. Luckily, there are things that you can do to minimize buffering while watching streaming videos on Kodi.

Why is my Kodi buffering?

There are a few reasons why you might experience buffering issues in Kodi. The main ones are:

  • Slow connection speed
  • Network connectivity problems
  • Limited bandwidth from the streaming source
  • Network congestion at the source
  • Unsuitable Kodi cache settings
  • Internet service provider (ISP) throttling connection speeds

Related: Our favorite Kodi movie add-ons.

Slow connection speed

Streaming content requires a sturdy internet connection. Netflix makes the following recommendations for streaming their content:

  • Minimum required speed – 0.5 Megabits per second
  • Recommended broadband connection speed – 1.5 Megabits per second
  • Speed recommended for SD quality content – 3.0 Megabits per second
  • Speed recommended for HD quality content – 5.0 Megabits per second
  • Speed recommended for Ultra HD quality content – 25 Megabits per second

This can be used as a general guideline for streaming content from other sources as well. Please note that if large numbers of people are accessing a single streaming source at the same time, this will create a bottleneck. This will result in increased buffering regardless of what you do.

With that being said, it’s probably a good idea to have at least a 5.0Mb/s connection to stream content through Kodi. Going a little higher wouldn’t hurt either, as this would give you a little leeway in case of any fluctuations in connection speed.

If you have a connection speed lower than this, then it is fair to expect some interruptions when streaming HD content.

Network connectivity problems

If your connection speed matches or exceeds 5.0Mbps second and you are still experiencing issues, then your first step should be running an internet speed test to see what your numbers look like. If the speed reported by the linked testing service above reports a value lower than what is expected, then consider these solutions:

  • You may need to move your device closer to your wireless router if you are using a wireless internet connection. The further away you are, the more likely you are to lose signal integrity.
  • You might also want to consider using a wired connection instead. A wired connection will eliminate any issues with low signal integrity due to being too far away from your router. The connection will also be faster. However, your setup will be tethered to one location with this option.
  • Verify that you don’t have any other devices connected to your network that are eating up your bandwidth. If this is the case, disconnect these so that Kodi isn’t hindered.

Assuming that your buffering issues aren’t simply because of shoddy service from your internet provider, the information below might help.

Fix 1: How to change Kodi cache settings

Instead of downloading an entire video file, when streaming, a portion of the video you want to watch is stored in an intermediate storage location called a cache. If your internet connection were to drop out for some reason, a streaming video will only freeze after the portion of video stored in the cache is played from beginning to end. If you’ve ever paused a video to let it buffer, only to realize that only a few seconds of video will load at a time, then your cache might be too small.

In order to play a video from beginning to end without buffering, the portion of video stored in the cache must always stay ahead of the portion of video played back already. By increasing the size of the cache, the maximum size of which is determined by your device’s RAM, you can buffer more video ahead of time.

Luckily, with Kodi, you can optimize your cache settings in an effort to rectify any buffering issues.

However, it should be noted that:

  • Too large of a buffer file may put a strain on your device resources.
  • Too small of a buffer file may make it difficult to load enough video for smooth playback, especially with slower or unstable internet connections.

We will explore how you can optimize your cache settings with an add-on called Ares Wizard.

Optimize cache settings with Ares wizard

Ares wizard installation

Before getting started, Ares Wizard needs to be installed. To install:

  • Add “http://repo.ares-project.com/magic/” to sources in File Manager. Name the source whatever you want.
  • Navigate to Add-ons>Add-on browser>Install from zip file and open the folder named after the source.
  • Open repository.aresproject.
  • Select repository.aresproject.zip and wait for the “Add-on installed” notification before continuing.
  • Now, in Add-ons>Install from repository, select Ares Project, followed by Program add-ons.
  • Select Ares Wizard and then Install. Wait for the “Add-on installed” notification before continuing.
  • In Add-ons>Program add-ons, open Ares Wizard to get started.
How to Optimize Settings

kodi_stop_buffering_ares_wizard_cache_advice_arrows

In order to tweak your cache settings with Ares Wizard, within the program select Tweaks, followed by Advanced Settings Wizard and follow the prompts and advice provided. The Ares Wizard informs users of the following points:

  • Ideal cache settings depend on the device Kodi is running on.
  • Most of the time, the ideal cache location is your device’s RAM.
  • Kodi uses 60MB of RAM by default.
  • If your device has a lot more RAM available than this, the size can be increased. Increase the setpoint too high, however, and you run the risk of making Kodi crash.

Clicking Next in Advanced Settings Wizard will guide you through the generation of custom settings for your device.

kodi_stop_buffering_ares_wizard_cache_generate_custom_settings

In my case, the recommended cache size is 500MB. This will of course vary depending on the amount of available RAM your device has. Hit Generate Settings in order to review the recommended settings.

kodi_stop_buffering_ares_wizard_cache_custom_settings

Select Apply these settings and restart Kodi in order to implement the changes.

Fix 2: Use a VPN to prevent ISP throttling

VPNs encrypt your internet traffic and reroute it through a server in a location of your choice. Streaming sources from Kodi add-ons may not be sanctioned by your internet service provider. If this is the case, your ISP might try to throttle your connection when you stream through an application such as Kodi. They may even go as far as disabling your connection or may send a threatening legal letter!

In order to prevent this, most Kodi users will use a suitable VPN service. Tunneling traffic through a VPN will only allow your ISP to see that some amount of data is being downloaded from a server, but not the contents of that data or source of that traffic. Note that VPNs also allow you to access geo-restricted content and protect your online privacy.

Unfortunately, many VPNs don’t meet all of the requirements Kodi users will be looking for so choose carefully. Streaming requires a large amount of bandwidth in most cases, so a reliable, fast and secure VPN provider is essential. Free VPNs have data caps or insufficient speeds as do a number of paid services. Some VPNs keep logs of user activity and should be avoided, others don’t allow torrenting. We recommend IPVanish, which provides the necessary sturdy connection, plentiful capacity, and a high level of privacy protection. It keeps no logs, is one of the fastest VPNs we have tested and works with all Kodi add-ons. It is also a relatively easy VPN to install on streaming devices like the Fire Stick and is very popular with the Kodi community.

Deal alert: You can save 60% on an IPVanish annual plan here, there is a 7 day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk free and cancel if you don’t want to keep it or if it doesn’t fix your buffering nightmare. We’ve rounded up a wider selection of recommend Kodi VPNs here if you want to try a different option.

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Related: Using a Fire Stick with Kodi? What’s the best VPN for Fire Stick and Fire TV users?

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.

Kodi v17.3 “Krypton” is the latest stable version of Kodi available for download

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