The Best VPNs for Popcorn Time and Do You Really Need one?

Popcorn Time is a free BitTorrent client that includes an integrated media player, which allows viewing of video content from torrents, working much like Netflix and other streaming services.

Popcorn Time’s legal status is similar to that of other BitTorrent clients due to its distribution of copyrighted content. Popcorn Time use could be viewed especially harshly, as while the software itself is legal, users can use it to access and view copyrighted television episodes and movies.

If you use the Popcorn Time app, make sure the content you view using the app isn’t copyrighted and is legally available for viewing.

Using the app to view copyrighted materials could lead to cease and desist orders from content providers, possible lawsuits, criminal charges and possibly being banned from using your local Internet Service Provider (ISP).

As always, I would never advocate the use of an app like Popcorn Time to illegally view copyrighted films, shows and other video materials. Before using the app, or any similar apps, do some research on your own. Pixel Privacy is by no means the end-all authority on the legal use of applications.

Many Popcorn Time users like to use a VPN to keep their activities private. A VPN encrypts your internet connection, preventing your online activities from detection and monitoring.

While your ISP can tell you’re connected to the internet, they can’t tell what services or sites you’re connecting to. If the ISP can’t detect your online activities, they won’t throttle your connection speeds or block your movie file sharing activity.

In this article, I share with you the top 5 VPNs to protect your Popcorn Time sessions.

Disclaimer: We here at Pixel Privacy would never condone or encourage accessing copyrighted materials by using Popcorn Time or any other torrenting-based application. Keep in mind that the hard-working folks who created that content deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. 

There are plenty of reasonably-priced and legal ways to stream films and shows. Please consider those options before using an app like Popcorn Time.

How to Use Your VPN With Popcorn Time

To protect your movie sharing and viewing sessions with a VPN, do the following:

  1. Subscribe to a VPN provider. (I recommend ExpressVPN.)
  2. Install the app(s) for your device(s).
  3. Log into the VPN provider.
  4. Connect to a VPN server.
  5. Start the Popcorn Time app.
  6. Enjoy the show!

Best VPNs for Popcorn Time

After putting a large number of VPN services through rounds of strenuous testing, the 5 providers listed below gained top billing when used with Popcorn Time. For those short on time, here’s a quick summary:

    1. ExpressVPN: This is the best choice for protecting your Popcorn Time viewing sessions. In addition to offering the fastest connections in this roundup and excellent security, ExpressVPN allows P2P action on all of its servers, making it an optimal choice for viewing movies via Popcorn Time.
    2. NordVPN: This provider delivers excellent connection protection and top-notch privacy protection. While they don’t allow P2P action on all of their servers, they do allow it on servers in 45 different countries, offering plenty of options. Their subscription price is the lowest in this roundup.
    3. CyberGhost: Provides excellent download speeds that are well-protected. A no-logs policy on their server network (which provides plenty of P2P options) and easy-to-use apps make CyberGhost an excellent option for Popcorn Time users who are first-time VPN users.
    4. IPVanish: This provider delivers the 2nd-fastest connections speeds on the list and allows P2P activity on all of their servers. Top-notch encryption and kill switch protection, as well as a strict no-logs policy, keep your online viewing habits totally incognito.
    5. PrivateVPN: The 3rd-fastest speeds on this list, military-grade encryption, and allowing torrenting on all of its no-logs servers make this rather recent addition to the VPN scene an above-average choice for movie lovers.

I ranked the top Popcorn Time VPNs according to the following criteria:

  • Allows torrenting (Popcorn Time uses torrenting technology)
  • Fast connections, with no bandwidth throttling or data caps
  • Top-notch security and privacy protections
  • Excellent customer support
  • Uses shared IP addresses

What Are Shared IP Addresses, and Why Are They Important?

As you may already know, an IP address identifies your device while connected to a network. That network can be your local network, or the internet. But when it comes to the internet, that IP address can also reveal your physical location.

When you connect to a VPN server, it temporarily assigns a new IP address to your device, making it appear as if you’re located in another part of the world, hiding your true location.

Many VPN providers use shared IPs on their servers, meaning multiple devices use the same IP address. Since multiple users are connected via the same address, activity through that address can’t be readily traced back to a single user. This adds an additional layer of anonymity to your internet usage.

Here are my top 5 picks for the best VPNs for viewing video through Popcorn Time.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN logo

ExpressVPN is your best option for protecting your Popcorn Time movie binges. The provider does the best job of delivering smooth movie playback while keeping prying eyes from monitoring your movie viewing.

ExpressVPN allows torrenting activity on all 3,000+ of the servers in its global server network. The provider uses shared IPs on all of their servers.

ExpressVPN can easily handle HD and 4K streaming, making it an excellent choice. Thanks to its lack of daily or monthly data caps, the provider never cuts you off in mid-movie.

The provider’s connections are not only fast, they’re well-protected, thanks to military-level encryption and kill switch protection.

Plus, privacy isn’t a worry thanks to the British Virgin Islands-based VPN’s no-logs policy, as well as a Bitcoin payment option, which can be used in conjunction with a disposable email address to keep your subscription info completely incognito.

Customer support is there whenever you need it thanks to 24/7 live chat support, email support, a trouble ticket tracking system and a searchable support library.

Popcorn Time is available on most of the major device platforms, and so is ExpressVPN, with native apps for the macOS, Linux, Windows, Android and iOS platforms, and others.

You can connect up to 5 devices at once using the same login. If you need to protect more devices than that, or if you have devices that ExpressVPN’s native app support doesn’t cover, you can use the provider’s comprehensive router support.

Pros:

  • All servers work with Popcorn Time
  • Excellent security and privacy protections
  • Customer support available 24/7
  • Shared IPs for additional anonymity
  • Blazing connection speeds

Cons:

  • More expensive than many other VPNs

BEST VPN FOR POPCORN TIME:ExpressVPN is the best VPN available to protect and enhance your Popcorn Time viewing sessions. No logs, kill switch protection and well-encrypted connections all add up to a great way to keep your Popcorn Time viewing undercover. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available and there is 3 months free with this ExpressVPN Coupon code.

Read my full review of ExpressVPN.


2. NordVPN

NordVPN logo

Thanks to its bargain pricing, NordVPN is the best VPN option for Popcorn Time viewers on a budget.

NordVPN has over 5,200 servers located in 60 countries. While not all of those servers allow P2P activity, it’s no big deal. If you’re connected to their network and begin to use a P2P-type app (like Popcorn Time), the network will immediately route you to a VPN server in either Canada or the Netherlands. All of their servers provide shared IP addresses.

NordVPN doesn’t slow your internet connection to the point that you can’t enjoy movies, delivering fast, well-protected connections.

Government-grade encryption and a kill switch option protect your streaming habits from becoming public knowledge, and there are no records of your online activities thanks to the provider’s comprehensive no-logs policy and a Bitcoin payment option.

The provider’s customer support is available 24/7 thanks to always-available live support chat, email support and a searchable support knowledge base.

NordVPN app support includes apps for the macOS, iOS, Windows, Android, Android TV and Linux platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available.

You can use up to 6 devices at once on the provider’s servers. You can also access the service’s excellent router protection to protect all of your connected devices via a single access point.

Pros:

  • Allows P2P traffic on select servers
  • Top-notch privacy and security protections
  • Priced lower than most VPNs
  • Shared IPs

Cons:

BUDGET-FRIENDLY POPCORN TIME VPN:NordVPN’s low price for a high level of service will make for an attractive option for movie lovers on a budget. Users will love their comprehensive security and privacy protections. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read my full review of NordVPN.


3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost logo

CyberGhost provides fast speeds via a simple-to-use app interface, making it the best option for first-time VPN users.

CyberGhost has 3,700+ servers, stationed in 60 countries around the globe. The provider allows P2P (and Popcorn Time) activity on its servers, but limits it to those stationed in around 25 countries. Shared IPs are used on all of their servers.

The provider’s download speeds can easily provide smooth streaming, even for 4K content. (It should be noted that 4K content isn’t yet available through Popcorn Time.) No data caps or connection throttling will hamper your viewing enjoyment.

Bank-grade encryption and kill switch protection have your connections covered, while a no-logs policy and Bitcoin payment option mean your privacy is well served.

CyberGhost offers comprehensive customer support in the form of live support chat, a searchable support library and a trouble ticket tracking system.

Easy-to-use apps are available for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Linux devices. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions also made the cut.

If you need to protect devices not on this list, or if you need more than 7 simultaneous connections, the VPN offers comprehensive router functionality.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use apps
  • High-speed, encrypted connections
  • Excellent privacy protections
  • P2P traffic on select servers

Cons:

  • Missing advanced options present in some other providers’ apps

BEST VPN FOR BEGINNERS:CyberGhost’s easy-to-use apps make it an optimal choice for users looking for an easy way to protect their movie-viewing sessions. The provider proves that you don’t need to sacrifice performance at the altar of simplicity. 45-day money-back guarantee.

Read my full review of CyberGhost.


4. IPVanish

IPVanish logo

IPVanish provides an additional level of security to its users that many other VPNs can’t provide, making it an excellent option for Popcorn Time viewers concerned about their online privacy.

The provider allows P2P file sharing on all of its 1,300+ servers, located in over 50 countries. The provider owns and operates all of its servers, meaning third-party operators have no access to your personal information. (Most VPN providers lease their servers and outsource the operation of those servers.)

IPVanish’s download speeds are the 2nd-fastest in this list of 5, providing connections that are easily up to the highest-definition streams that Popcorn Time provides. No data caps or bandwidth limitations to be found here.

Those super-speedy connections are made secure by the provider’s use of military-grade encryption and kill switch protection.

Privacy is well served, if not completely served. While the provider follows a total no-logs policy, it doesn’t accept Bitcoin as payment for a subscription.

Around-the-clock customer support is available, with 24/7 live support chat, a searchable support knowledge base and email support.

App support from IPVanish includes apps for the Amazon Fire TV, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Windows and Windows Phone platforms. You can use IPVanish with a large number of routers, just in case you need more than 10 simultaneous connections.

Pros:

  • Excellent download speeds
  • 10 concurrent connections allowance
  • P2P file sharing allowed on all of its self-owned and -operated servers

Cons:

  • Only 7 days to try it out
  • No Bitcoin payment option

PROVIDES EXTRA SECURITY:IPVanish offers movie lovers an additional layer of privacy protection thanks to its self-owned and -operated server network. The provider’s fast connection speeds provide fast downloading of even the longest Hollywood epic. Offers a somewhat short 7-day money-back guarantee.

Read my full review of IPVanish.


5. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN logo

PrivateVPN’s reliable and speedy connections, as well as its willingness to allow torrenting on all of its servers, make it a great option for users on one of the big 4 device platforms who are looking for a bit of extra protection.

While PrivateVPN’s server network is admittedly lacking a bit (150+ servers in 60 countries), it allows P2P activity on all of those servers. Shared IPs are used on all servers.

PrivateVPN’s connection speeds are high def-ready, and will easily be able to handle 4K content when it becomes available. No data caps or bandwidth limitations will spoil the fun.

Government-quality encryption, a kill switch option, an auto-reconnect option and a custom Stealth VPN option all team up to provide comprehensive security for your online travels.

Privacy is also well served here thanks to a strict no-logs policy and a Bitcoin payment option.

PrivateVPN offers a live support option, but the availability of the feature is hit-or-miss. A contact form is available to ask questions all hours of the day, and an FAQ section is available, although it is not searchable.

The provider does offer something that other VPN providers do not, namely help with installation and troubleshooting via remote control.

App support is limited to the iOS, Android, macOS and Windows platforms. The service’s router support can protect all of your other devices. Up to 6 devices can access the service at once.

Pros:

  • Popcorn Time-friendly connection speeds
  • Up to 6 simultaneous connections
  • Allows P2P file sharing on all of its servers

Cons:

  • Server numbers need some serious expansion
  • Customer support isn’t 24/7

NO LENGTHY COMMITMENT REQUIRED:PrivateVPN is an attractive option for experienced VPN users looking for a well-performing, yet reasonably-priced VPN provider that doesn’t require you to commit for 2 or 3 years to grab a deal. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.

Read my full review of PrivateVPN.


Why Should I Use a VPN to View Movies Via Popcorn Time?

Popcorn Time uses peer-to-peer file-sharing technology, which is not in itself illegal, but can be used for illegal purposes, such as sharing copyrighted materials like apps, music, and yes, movies.

Most of the content found on the Popcorn Time app is copyrighted, making the viewing of the files illegal. Many Internet Service Providers block peer-to-peer file sharing-based apps like Popcorn Time out-of-hand due to legal concerns about the sharing of copyrighted files.

This is why users who insist on viewing movies with Popcorn Time will always use a VPN to keep their activities from being detected by their ISPs or movie studio legal types. (Again, be sure to research all content you view to find out if it’s legal.)

Please take note that even if you’re using a VPN to keep your Popcorn Time app activity undercover, the app will warn you that you’re being monitored and need a VPN, and even provides a handy button labeled “TURN ON VPN.”

Popcorn "Turn on VPN" Warning

However, if you click the button, it doesn’t turn on a built-in VPN, but instead forwards you to a signup form for the Anonymous VPN service.

Be advised that there are better VPNs available, such as any of the 5 providers in this roundup.

Can I Use a Free VPN With Popcorn Time?

Regular visitors to this site will know that I’m not a big fan of using a VPN to protect any of your online activities, and using a VPN to keep your Popcorn Time viewing sessions private is no exception to that rule.

“Free” VPNs simply do not do an acceptable job of protecting your online privacy, nor do they provide a satisfactory video streaming experience.

Free VPN providers are a business, and as such, they need to make income to keep their servers humming. Many of them make a buck by tracking and logging your online activities and selling the information to the highest bidder.

Still other freebie VPNs have been caught injecting unwanted tracking cookies into their users’ browsing sessions. (And those tracking cookies stick around, even after you’ve disconnected from their VPN servers.)

As for your streaming satisfaction, many gratis VPNs don’t provide “streaming-friendly” connections.

Some free providers will herd their users into a waiting queue, where they sit until they’re allowed to connect. Then, when they’re given the go ahead, they either find their connection options are limited to a select few servers, or they’re not allowed to choose their own server at all.

Free VPNs are also known for throttling their users’ connection speeds, and even imposing daily or monthly data caps on their users’ VPN usage. And as you may already know, streaming high-definition video uses up plenty of data.

None of the above sounds like it contributes to a safe and enjoyable movie viewing experience, does it?

Conclusion

Movie fans who are looking for the best way to keep their online viewing sessions undercover will find that a reliable Virtual Private Network provider is the best tool to protect and enhance their online activities.

A VPN protects you from being monitored while online, no matter what your activities consist of. A VPN can also open access to films and other types of entertainment around the world.

ExpressVPN logo

I strongly recommend that Popcorn Time users take a closer look at ExpressVPN. The provider has an excellent reputation for providing years of comprehensive online protection. In addition to protecting your online travels from prying eyes, the service allows P2P-related activities on all of its servers, which are well-positioned around the globe.

For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.

 

Popcorn Time” by Fabián Alexis licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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