Nothing is more annoying than having your favorite show pause to buffer. This is especially true when it happens on Kodi, since you’ve likely spent a good amount of time tweaking and optimizing your installation specifically to prevent issues like this. However, while those using streaming addons aren’t immune to buffering problems, there are a few things that you can do to minimize or stop Kodi buffering.
Why is my Kodi buffering?
There are a few reasons why you might experience find your Kodi lagging. 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
Buffering is not limited to any specific addon or stream either. While you’re more likely to experience buffering while using third-party addons, even official addons will buffer under certain conditions.
Related: Our favorite Kodi movie add-ons.
How to fix Kodi buffering
Kodi buffering is a big problem, but if you want to fix Kodi buffering quickly and effectively, investigate the following steps/issues:
- Check your internet speed (bandwidth) using a speed test
- Ensure your internet speed are high enough for the site you’re using
- Choose a lower streaming quality if speed issues exist
- Verify the streaming source is up and running properly
- Check to see if the streaming source has reported server issues
- Check your Kodi installation for issues
- Clear your Kodi streaming cache or expand your cache
- Install a newer version of Kodi
- Use a different streaming addon that uses different sources
- Check to verify your ISP is not throttling your speed
- Use a VPN if throttling is detected, IPVanish is the most effective IPVanish is the most effective.
Let’s explore some of these topics in more detail.
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
- Minimum speed needed 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 Mbps 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 (for instance, if someone else in your home is using the internet at the same time).
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.
Most common Kodi buffering cause: video cache
You may find that most Kodi buffering is a result of either a full video cache or a video cache that’s too small. You can fix buffering issues through video cache by doing the following:
- Use a maintenance tool to adjust cache settings
- Use a wizard to clear our your old cache files
- Test your new settings by streaming videos from the same site
- Clear and adjust your cache until buffering goes away
- Explore other buffering causes if cache fixes don’t work
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 having too large of a buffer file may put a strain on your device resources. In contrast, a buffer that is too small may make it difficult to load enough video for smooth playback, especially with slower or unstable internet connections.
Below, we’ll explore how you can optimize your cache settings with an add-on called Supreme Builds Wizard.
Optimize cache settings with Supreme Builds Wizard
To install the Supreme Builds Wizard, follow these instructions:
- First off, you’ll have to find out where to download the Supreme Builds repo.
- Go to Kodi’s settings menu, then click File Manager. Add your source and name it “Supreme Builds”.
- Return to your Kodi home screen go to Addons
- From there, click on the box/package symbol on the top left of the screen
- Go to Install from zip
- Locate your Supreme Builds HTTP connection and click on it
- Click on the repository.supremebuilds zip file
- Return to the screen where you found Install from zip and click on Install from repository
- Locate and click on Supreme Builds Repository
- Click on Program Addons
- Click on Supreme Builds Wizard, then click on Install
With Supreme Builds installed, do the following:
- Open Supreme Builds Wizard
- Ignore the popups by hitting Esc on your computer or canceling out of them
- Click on Supreme Builds Maintenance
- From there, click on System Tweaks/Fixes
- Next, click on Advanced Settings
- Then, click on Quick Configure AdvancedSettings.xml
- Accept all of the recommendations and click on Write File
- If you already have an AdvancedSettings.xml file, it will ask if you want to overwrite it. Otherwise, the file will be automatically created for you
Fix 2: Adjust your HQ scaler
This is a fix, not so much for buffering, but for something that can appear to be buffering: video stuttering and frame dropping.
In Kodi, you may experience video stuttering and frame dropping due to the way Kodi automatically scales up lower quality video streams into higher-quality video. This is done through a process known as video scaling.
To change your HQ scaling, do the following:
- In the main Kodi menu, click on the Settings gear symbol (top left)
- Click on Player Settings
- At the bottom gear symbol, make sure your settings option is set to Expert
- On the right, under Processing, find “Enable HQ scalers for scaling above”. By default, this is set to 20%. However, you can lower this down to reduce the amount of scaling that occurs. We recommend reducing to 10% first and checking for how that impacts stuttering and frame dropping. If you notice no fix, reduce it lower to 0%.
It’s important to remember that video upscaling improves video quality for lower quality streams. If you want your 720p or lower video streams to appear in higher quality, you’ll need to have the HQ scaler set to a certain percentage, with 20% being the optimal setting.
You may also want to try to turn off Hardware Acceleration, which you’ll find just below the HQ scalers option in the settings screen. The Direct X accelerator will push some of the video decoding process from the CPU to the GPU. Toggling this on and off may make a positive impact on your stuttering or frame rate drops.
Note also that adjusting this downward is only important for those with lower-powered systems. Those with higher-powered systems may not need to worry about this adjustment, as you may not notice any stuttering or frame rate drops at all.
Fix 3: 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!
You can prevent this by using a VPN with Kodi. 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 shield your true location from hackers and stream safely while on public wifi.
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 NordVPN. It boasts powerful security tools, extremely high speeds, and its own Amazon Fire Stick app. With a network spanning 60+ countries, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a suitable server. Best of all, you can try NordVPN risk-free with the 30-day money back guarantee.
Related: What’s the best VPN for Fire Stick and Fire TV users?
Additional Option: Kodi lagging issues may require new equipment
If you’re seeing significant buffering and generally slow speeds when using Kodi, you might be dealing with hardware issues. If you’re running Kodi on some devices with a build or a load of addons, all of those could be slowing down your experience running Kodi and even causing your Kodi streams to load up and play slower.
One solution is to invest in new and/or better equipment that you use solely for Kodi streaming. Additionally, you may want to consider Kodi forks, such as OpenELEC or LibreELEC, which often work better on certain devices.
For example, a Raspberry Pi running OSMC is often said to offer the best streaming experience for Kodi, with less lagging and buffering issues. Others point to the Nvidia Shield as the best Kodi streaming device, as it runs solidly on the Android operating system and has a massive amount of processing power as its built to handle hardcore online gaming and graphics rendering.
Related: Kodi not working on your Firestick? Try these easy fixes
Kodi v19.4 “Matrix” is the latest stable version of Kodi available for download
I have followed all your instructions and i subscribed for recommended VPN and paid money. The speed was 30mb and it went to less than 10mb after using the VPN because of thr encryption process. Now, i had to unsubscribe and get my money back.. All of this happened because i followed you!!
I’m sorry to hear that things didn’t work out for you.
I am having trouble when I search for movies in some of my apps. Nothing comes up. Do you have any suggestions. Also when I stream live tv I have buffering and freezing. Startec Mobdro isn’t working at all but Swiftstream will. It just buffers and freezes.
Check to see if you are on the latest version of Kodi. Also it might just be an error with the addon itself. If there are any addon updates, install those as well.
I have tried them all (Ares wizard, Fusion, video cache, etc) nothing will stop the buffering, or I get streams/links but they won’t play just kicks me back to the links or the show/movie I’m trying to watch.
Make sure you are on the latest version of Kodi, and that the addon is updated to the latest version. There is a possibility that there is an issue with the addon itself as well.
This issue is mainly generated by your ISP. Having a VPN helps, but it won’t eliminate throttling entirely. Your first line of defense will be to have your bill paid in full. With Comcast your balance has to be zero. For a company that is an internet service provider, they seem to spend more resources trying to do just the opposite. Having a VPN, your own modem, and most importantly having a zero balance should help.
ares wizard is back but thr are many wizards that work the same way …..get a wizard get things optomized …..now for the real fix….dont get me wrong you need the wizard to optomize your system ……you must go into each addon settings and first clear the cache then clear the providers in tht order….reason is the links can become dead and then your left with these prbloms that appeear to be buffering but really the link is shot …..trust me you will see a big difference with these addons that use google links … google preforms sweeps and the the links become no good ….if you preform these easy steps on neptune and uranus you will not need any other addon for movies n tv shows….
Can’t load curser onto Amazon firestick
I’m not sure what you mean John.
Using Amazon firestorm but can’t load a curser onto it?
Can’t seem to load a curser on my Amazon firestorm. A message saying “Not installedd” appears.
Well I followed your advice and it doesn’t show up in add-one at all?
This did absolutely nothing for me
This article states that VPN avoids issues with ISP throttling but I am using VPN and when ever I do connect to it (NordVPN) I have major buffering/loading issues. I am not sure how to resolve this.
I have used AresWizard and tweaked the cache settings. I have cleared cache and restarted. Please help. I want to use VPN
You might try a different NordVPN server. I find NordVPN’s automatic server selection isn’t very good at times and can pick slow ones. Look through the list instead of using a map to find an uncongested server near you.
I use Kodi on a firestick. Amazon video’s, hulu, netflex and others play well. Kodi buffers, would this be the type of streaming video somehow or is there something I can fix with kodi?
It could be a lot of things. Check out this article for more tips that might help specifically with Kodi on Firestick: https://www.comparitech.com/kodi/kodi-not-working-on-firestick-fix/
Have plenty of bandwidth and memory. I’m also using a VPN and Real-Debrid and I followed every step above but was still having problems with buffering. I’m using Chrome as my default browser which doesn’t have Adobe Flash already installed like Microsoft Edge so I thought it couldn’t hurt……..after installing Flash I have no problems whatsoever. Kodi works like a dream and i can even see where the movie has loaded further ahead than what is currently playing.
I did the recommended Ares tweak but my box won’t download past a certain point. What I mean is in the progress bar, it shows how ahead the stream is before it starts buffering. It starts out pretty far ahead and doesn’t move and the video catches up. Every time
Try increasing the buffer size.
I watch shows in 30 second intervals. It buffers , I pause for a minute the play and it plays for 29-30 seconds. My stick is about six months old. I have updated , increased my internet , and it still buffers. Netflix Hulu off the stick never buffer. It’s kodi. What to do, get Roku.??
Try increasing the buffer size.
William I have local time warner cable/Internet in North Carolina. I also have modem and a older asus 3 antenna router with a Sony Viao all in one computer system. I have about 5 tv’s and they all have sometype of kodi box connected. I also have the Apple iPads etc., I get the buffering all the time even in the same room as router. I was wondering if I used the eero router mesh system would that help or make a difference. And if so would you recommend connecting the router to the modem and the eero to the router or the eero to the modem and the router to the eero. Will this even help with the buffering. The problem a lot of people have is which build is the best kodi build with less problems.
You mention that you have an older router. If it’s using an older WI-Fi standard then yes the Eero router mesh system should make a difference.
Ares is down for the count – all the links are dead …
worked for me but i DL the .zip from chrome to c:\ subfolder then ran install from zip on it
We have been using Exodus with Kodi and all of a sudden, the options of streaming providers has dropped to nearly nothing. Is there something we an do to correct this? (I apologize for not using the correct verbiage, or using the incorrect terms in the above question. I have gleaned the limited knowledge that I have from YouTube videos and Google.) I was also wondering if I can download a program to an external drive and then watch it from the drive without any buffering. There were certain providers that we could search for, knowing that they were very reliable and would very seldom buffer, but the providers names that we see have changed and are very, very limited now. We have also noticed that there are certain programs (TV shows) that will not stream at all.
Many of these providers provide content through unlicensed sources. They are increasingly being targeted and removed. You can download programs to an external drive and watch them from there with Kodi. It’s a fully fledged media player and this won’t be a problem.
We’re very rural and have 0.7 mbps so that’s probably our issue. Constant buffering and a source too slow error on absolutely everything within kodi 17.4! Would a vpn help this or a different provider? Not much to choose from out here.
No, VPN slows your connection!
Dont be fooled, it has to encrypt & decrypt every packet. Slow as heck
Based on your description, I think searching for a provide which offers faster download speeds might be the answer to your problem.
Trying to add file source. Keep getting “Unable to connect”. I am strictly on ISP no VPN. Any ideas on this issue
That probably means the source is either offline, or it’s been entered incorrectly. Kodi sources need exact spelling, even down to capitalization
domain names are NOT case sensitive , so APPLE.COM == apple.com (try for yourself:) BUT the path (directory/folder structure) and filename CAN BE case sensitive. The path starts with the first slash AFTER the domain name, for example .com/
With Ares now not working, how can you increase the cache size without it?
Mod the advance.xml file yourself
Hi Mark, the Team ZT Wizard in the Zero Tolerance Repository also has that functionality.
Ares is gone now. Any suggestions on how to change those settings?
Hi Cal, Try to the ZT Wizard from the Zero Tolerance Repository
We will try to find a solution as soon as possible.
For some reason, I can not get Ares to work. The error is “couldn’t retrieve directory information. This could be due to the network not being connected. Would you like to add it anyway?”. I am connected. I have even started from the beginning erasing everything and starting over. Any suggestions. Thanks
We will try to find a solution as soon as possible.
Trying to add Ares. I get to the install from zip file and I’m able to choose the Ares repository, but then i get an error in the bottom right that just says add on unable to install. Ideas?
My stick buffers and I use Ares wizard with the pulse build how else Can I fix it so it don’t do that
You’re probably better off not using Pulse build or any build. They tend to slow things down a lot by eating up Firestick resources.
Finally a simple precise answer to an issue. I was pulling out my hair! You rock man! I just went a little above the recommended settings in the Ares Wizard and all my buffering issues vanished.
If IP Vanish keeps no logs then what was it they gave to the FBI?
Who cares about FBI? Rhey are corrupted with leftists
Another useless troll
I’m not sure what you mean.
2 fixes that actually don’t work.
Better find a video player that doesn’t force you to rely on plugins to do a basic job of… playing videos. I have 1000mbit internet and I still get buffering every 10-20 seconds. No such problem with other players.
Thanks for your input.
One episode is streamed fast and nice and the next one just gets very slow and it crashes sometimes.
What is the main problem with that?
Thanks in advance!
This sounds like the server you are streaming that second episode is the source of your problems. It is possible that there is a lot of traffic accessing the episode, slowing down access speeds.
Dead link 404 for http://repo.ares-project.com/magic/
We will try to find a solution as soon as possible.
Is there any explanation as to why I do not buffer when using Kodi through Windows, yet buffers when using an Android box and Android phone?
I use a paid sub.
This might have something to do with your Windows computer having more RAM. RAM is the preferred location of buffered content. A windows computer will typically have more RAM than Android devices.
I keep having issues on exudos where i search for movies, it says it is working then goes away and nothing happens, when i do get a list off movies majority that i ick on will so say working then nothing happens. Iam running kodi on a Nexbox.
I had same problem. Though I a. Connect Ted it would take let me download a source
http://repo.ares-project.com/magic/ is broken. 404
Unfortunately the ares repo is down at the moment.
I have the tx95….it has 2 g of Ram ….i do the the Ares wizard and it only gives me max of 80 mb’s….can way to increase this to avoid buffering….i have 65 mbps download speed not sure why it buffers in Kodi….thanks in advance
I cannot find file manager in Kodi?
You can find this under Settings.
Thank you so much!! Tried several sites and could not get ares back!!! You are the Kodiak hero tiday
i have a amazon tv box using spmc with an iptv supply, in the daytime it does not buffer but at night it buffers a lot, i check my internet speed and it never goes below 8 megs, i am also hard wired into the router, any advice
Your Internet Service Provide may be throttling your connection. Try using a VPN and see if that helps.
I have 200 mb/sec nternet package and A IPVanish account and Im still having buffering issues any Ideas would be great. Thank you and fantastic job.
In that case, it could simply be an issue with the particular add-on.
When adding source, it keeps saying that I don’t have a network connection but my Android Box is connected to the internet.
If you’re using a VPN, try a different server location. Sometimes that helps.
i us viper vpn seems ok what do you think
Feel free to check out our list of recommended VPN services.
Do I need a VPN? My friend said I fidnt
This is recommended, yes. A VPN generally gives you more security.