P2P Kodi add-ons: What are they? Should you use them?

Published by on September 13, 2017 in Kodi

We explain what Kodi P2P add-ons are, how they work and if you should install and use them.  We’ll run through some of the most popular P2P add-ons for Kodi and explain some of the  privacy and security risks associated with these and how you can avoid them.

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Kodi is one of the easiest ways to set up your own media center. It’s open source software which can be installed on a huge variety of devices whether it’s an iPhone, Apple TV, Roku,  Amazon Fire TV, Windows PC, USB Flash drive or more. Whether you’re looking to use a P2P Kodi add-on, music add-on, or any other type of Kodi media, it can all be played easily through almost any device.

Related: What is Kodi and how can you start using it?

Kodi allows its users to access content in two ways. They can view any media files which are stored locally on their computer, but most people don’t have extensive media libraries saved this way. For a wider selection, users can install extra software packages called add-ons. These provide access to vast libraries of content which is hosted online.

For the most part, add-ons that stream content work by scraping links from several different websites. However, there are some which function differently using a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing system to provide access to content.

Instead of your computer downloading data from a single source, it retrieves that data from other users who have the file that you’re looking for. The more people there are uploading the file, the quicker it will download as the different parts of the file are downloaded from a larger number of people. Essentially, these add-ons provide a way for Kodi to access torrents without the need for an external client.

Torrenting comes with a mixed bag of positives and negatives, especially over Kodi. We explore what that means in more detail below.

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. Always do you own research before accessing any Kodi add-on, stream or repository.

How to protect yourself when using P2P Kodi add-ons

Before we get into the details of P2P add-ons, a word of caution. Torrenting is not inherently illegal. However, the law in your country may make using it to view copyrighted material illegal. Because of the prevalence of P2P file sharing, distributors have begun to pay more attention to people who download their content without paying.

If you are found to have been doing this, there’s a chance you could receive a threatening letter or even have your network speeds throttled by your internet service provider (ISP). Worse, this isn’t the only risk these add-ons have.

When you’re contributing to a P2P network, whether you’re uploading or downloading, your IP address is visible for anyone to see. This makes it very easy to find out who your ISP is, and even an approximation of where you live.

With all of the additional risks P2P add-ons bring, it’s more important than ever to take steps to protect yourself. You can do this by installing and using a reputable virtual private network (VPN) service. This will not only mask your true IP address but also prevent your ISP from monitoring your activities. A VPN can even help prevent Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks from people looking to steal your private data. MitM attacks are easy to accomplish through Kodi add-ons, as even official add-ons can be hacked by third parties or used for nefarious acts by their own creators.

We favor a VPN called IPVanish. To date, we’ve yet to find a Kodi add-on it doesn’t work with. If your ISP is throttling your network speeds, it can stop this and may even improve the quality of the streams you access as a result. It’s also one of the fastest VPNs available with servers in more than 60 countries.

Best of all, the team at IPVanish cares about your privacy. Even if someone were to request your browsing activities from them, they would be unable to help as they don’t keep any traffic logs. You can even install this VPN on an Amazon Firestick so you never have to go unprotected.

Reader deal: save up to 60% on an IPVanish here.

IPVanish is our top recommednaiton but if you want to check out some other options, see our list of the best VPNs for Kodi.

What are P2P Kodi add-ons?

p2p2In short, P2P add-ons for Kodi provide a way to access content that is more resilient than a traditional link scraper.

With a link scraping add-on, if lots of users want to view the same content at the same time, there’s a chance the server hosting it will be overloaded. This causes the server to go down, which means that nobody gets to access the content until there’s less traffic.

In contrast, the hosts in a P2P network are the users themselves. Even if one host deletes the file or turns off their computer, as long as one other user has the completed file the content remains accessible. Users who continue to share the file after downloading it are known as seeders. The more seeders a file has the faster it will download.

The main problem with P2P add-ons and torrents in general is that the vast majority of the files available are unlicensed. Kodi add-ons tend to only access torrents from shady sources, and there’s often no way to add some of the more reputable torrent repositories, such as the Internet Archive.

P2P add-ons have security issues in addition to the vulnerabilities that all Kodi add-ons share. In order for them to work, you have to allow other devices to access your version of Kodi directly. This is just another opening for a malicious third party to exploit. Even if you’re using a VPN, that won’t protect you if your personal information and login credentials are compromised.

Popular unofficial P2P Kodi add-ons

There are several Kodi add-ons which use P2P networks to deliver content. While we urge our readers to find official sources of content, it’s possible other forums or users may recommend certain add-ons which offer illegitimate content. As such, we’ve found some of the most popular P2P add-ons and discussed some of the disadvantages they have.

Quasar

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What is it? Quasar is a third-party add-on which locates files from some of the world’s largest torrenting sites including The Pirate Bay and RARBG. Providers are not added manually, rather they require an additional add-on to be installed: either Quasar Burst or Magnetic.

Why should you avoid it? The fact that specific providers cannot be added makes this add-on almost useless for users looking for legitimate content. Additionally, each add-on you install increases the risk of hijacking; there’s really no reason that the list of providers couldn’t have been installed directly with Quasar.

Kodi users looking for access to films and TV shows would be better served by some of the official add-ons we’ve recommended in this article.

SportsDevil

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What is it? Kodi SportsDevil is an add-on which gathers live and on-demand sporting content. While it’s not technically a P2P add-on, it relies upon one named Plexus to provide some of its streaming features.

Why should you avoid it? First and foremost, the content SportsDevil offers is unlicensed. If nobody pays to watch athletes, the TV stations will have less incentive to show sports. Secondly, this add-on requires Plexus to function. Plexus in turn requires SopCast, meaning you’ll have to increase the risk of hijacking threefold just to watch sports.

There are far easier ways to do this. We’ve written in the past about a number of Kodi sports add-ons which provide access to a wide range of sports and which don’t require you to open your system up to external devices.

P2P-streams

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What is it? P2P-streams is a third-party add-on which finds torrent files from various websites and allows Kodi users to access them. It’s mostly focused on sports, however there are a number of other categories to choose from.

Why should you avoid it? Again, the content that this add-on provides is unlicensed. Additionally, only around half of it is in English. Even putting that issue to the side, P2P-streams has other problems. It’s not user friendly: the add-on’s home screen is full of confusing options and if you aren’t familiar with Acestream or Sopcast, it might not be clear to you what they’re for.

In short, P2P-streams offers a sub-par experience while increasing the amount of risk you face as a Kodi user. Finding a good source of sporting content is simple, and we’ve covered several of the best add-ons for sport before.

Pulsar

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What is it? Pulsar is another Kodi add-on which uses P2P protocols to find and deliver content. It searches several of the largest torrent sites and automatically picks the best torrent for the user.

Why should you avoid it? Pulsar has no legitimate providers of content, and there is no way to add any. Additionally, this add-on requires the installation of another, named Pulsar MC’s Provider Manager. P2P add-ons are already high risk, and each additional third-party add-on you install increases the risk of hijacking. Simply, why take a chance? There are plenty of legitimate sources of content that don’t require you to make your system as vulnerable.

Should you use P2P add-ons for Kodi?

If you’re looking to access licensed media using Kodi, there’s no need to use a P2P add-on. The official add-ons access sources of content which are validated by professional organizations and which can likely handle a huge amount of traffic.

Ultimately, while P2P add-ons can provide content that is resilient to the stress brought on by heavy traffic, they don’t provide enough protection for their users. The fact is that any add-on for Kodi can potentially be hijacked, leaving your confidential data and files on display to an intruder.

This is worrying enough, but it gets worse. P2P add-ons are created by third-parties and may not have had the same technical vetting processes that official add-ons go through, making them more open to being attacked in the first place.

Additionally, the fact that P2P add-ons require you to allow remote access to your installation means that you’re even less secure than with a traditional add-on. Simply, there are better, easier, more secure ways to access content than by using a P2P add-on for Kodi.

For the reasons above, we do NOT recommend that our readers use P2P add-ons to stream or share content.

Alternatives to P2P Kodi Add-ons

P2P add-ons ask you to trade security for convenience, but the fact is that the sites which traditional link scraping add-ons access are capable of handling a huge amount of traffic and come with far less risk. This means that there’s really no need to use P2P add-ons at all. Below, you’ll find some legitimate add-ons which provide similar content without using torrents.

PlayOn Browser

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The PlayOn Browser is an official Kodi add-on that allows you to view content from multiple different subscription services in one place for easier access. Some of the most popular services like Netflix and Hulu are supported. Since there’s no official Netflix add-on, PlayOn Browser prevents you from having to install potentially sketchy third-party workarounds.

It costs a few dollars per month, but it also allows you to record footage if you’re using a Windows PC. Additionally, it comes with a feature that lets you skip ads automatically.

You can find the PlayOn Browser in the official Kodi add-on repository.

Vimeo

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Vimeo is a video sharing website similar to YouTube. However, while YouTube has millions of low-quality videos, Vimeo contains content mostly created by artists, indie filmmakers, and musicians.

This makes Vimeo a far superior platform if you’re interested in award-nominated documentaries, experimental film, or the arts in general. It does have a smaller content library, but the videos Vimeo offers tend to have higher production values.

Some of the content on Vimeo does need to be paid for, but the vast majority of it does not. Generally, users only pay for content from uploaders that they really like, so you can help the creators out if you want, but it’s entirely optional.

The Kodi Vimeo add-on can be found in the official Kodi add-on repository.

Vevo

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If you’re looking for music, Vevo is one of the best places to find it. Vevo contains music videos from some of the biggest musicians in the world and best of all, it’s completely official and above board.

You will have to create a Vevo account before you can use this add-on, but this only takes a minute or so. Once you’ve done this, you can browse videos by musical genre, artist, or just view newly released videos directly. Vevo also allows you to create playlists, which is great for those time when you don’t want to select each song individually.

The Kodi Vevo add-on is available from the official Kodi add-on repository.

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