While Kodi was intended for legally listening to or viewing owned content, the open-source nature of the app has led to third-party developers creating plug-ins for use in the app, many of which allow access to copyrighted media content.
Also, some legal content may not be available in your region of the world, as it is geo-blocked, meaning the content is reserved for viewing in only certain areas of the world.
Plus, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will throttle or block your connection if they detect that you’re streaming from “unauthorized” streaming services, such as those that the third-party plug-ins offer.
Happily, by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can keep your Kodi activities undercover from the prying eyes of your ISP (and movie and music industry representatives, but we don’t recommend using Kodi for illegal activities, such as streaming copyrighted music and movies).
While outsiders may be able to see that you’re connected to a VPN, they can’t tell that you’re streaming content or other Kodi-based activities. A VPN can also hide all of the other online activities you might enjoy on your Kodi-compatible device.
A VPN also opens up access to legal streaming content that you might normally not have access to in your area of the globe. This is due to a VPN’s ability to temporarily assign a new IP address (based in another country) to your device. This makes it appear to the rest of the internet that you are connecting from the other country.
Most VPN services are compatible with Kodi, and there are numerous “free” VPNs that will work with the app.
Did you notice that I put “free” in quotes? That’s because “free” VPNs aren’t really free. They have hidden costs and other “gotchas.” A bit later I’ll lay out all of these gotchas. But for now, please take my word that free VPNs are not a good option.
In this article, I’ll tell you about the 6 best VPNs for Kodi. I’ll also explain how you can score free VPN service from those reliable VPN services, which will come in handy if you only need VPN service short-term.
How to Use a VPN With Kodi
To protect your Kodi-based activities with a VPN, do the following:
- Subscribe to your VPN provider of choice (NordVPN is my #1 pick).
- Install the provider’s app(s) on your favorite Kodi device(s).
- Log in to the VPN.
- Select a VPN server and connect to it.
- Enjoy your newly protected viewing.
WANT TO TRY A RELIABLE VPN RISK-FREE?
Each of the 6 VPNs on the following list offer a no-risk, money-back way to try their services with no restrictions. (You will have to pay for at least a month’s worth of service upfront.) You will then have 30 days or so to give the VPN a good try before the money-back guarantee period expires.
Best “Free” VPNs for Kodi
The 6 providers listed below offer the best risk-free VPN service for Kodi users.
Here is the TL;DR version. (Full reviews can be found after this section.)
- NordVPN: My #1 VPN provider gives you 30 risk-free days to try out its considerable services. The provider’s fast, well-protected connections are perfect for Kodi streaming. The provider offers app support for most popular Kodi-compatible devices. A large global server network provides reliable access to geo-blocked content.
- Surfshark: This provider’s fast-growing global server network provides reliable access to online content around the globe. The provider’s fast connections are also streaming copacetic, and its online security and app support add up to a great deal, especially at the low price the provider charges. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
- ExpressVPN: This admittedly expensive VPN provider provides blazingly-fast and well-protected connections, making it an excellent way to stream via Kodi. Comprehensive app support for popular devices and a large server network provide an excellent return on investment. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
- CyberGhost: Rookie Kodi or VPN users will appreciate this provider’s easy-to-use services. The provider’s apps provide one-click access to streaming-optimized servers around the globe, delivering fast connections for most popular Kodi-capable devices. Offers an extensive 45-day money-back guarantee.
- IPVanish: This provider’s services compare fairly well with the other VPNs on this list. Other than a rather small global server network, that is. However, that network is totally proprietary, providing an extra layer of privacy by keeping third-party contractors away from customers’ personal information. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
- Hotspot Shield: This provider offers an actually free but severely limited VPN service. While its pay-for-play version offers no-data-cap, fast connections, comprehensive app support and online protection, its free service is limited to one U.S.-based server, offers throttled connection speeds and imposes a 500MB per day data cap.
I evaluated and ranked the VPNs on this list using the following criteria:
- Risk-free money-back guarantee
- Supports Kodi-compatible devices
- Security and privacy protections
- Fast, no-data-cap connections
- Global server network
- Customer support offerings
Here are the top 6 “free” VPNs to use with Kodi.
NordVPN is the top VPN provider for Kodi thanks to its fast and well-protected connections, as well as its comprehensive app support for Kodi-compatible devices. The provider offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The provider offers support for most popular Kodi-compatible device platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire, Linux, iOS and others. Browser extensions are available for the Chrome and Firefox platforms, and router support is also available.
A SmartDNS feature allows set-top boxes, game consoles and other streaming-capable devices to access geo-blocked content, albeit without the encrypted connections that the full-blown VPN service affords.
Up to 6 devices can concurrently connect to the provider’s servers on a single set of login credentials.
NordVPN protects its customers’ online security by using military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection. Malware and ad blocking options are also available, as is an obfuscated server option to disguise your VPN activity as normal browser traffic.
A strict no-server-logs-ever policy and Bitcoin payment option help protect your privacy.
The provider’s well-above-average connection speeds deliver more than enough bandwidth for all of your favorite online activities, including Kodi streaming. No bandwidth throttling or data caps to worry about with this provider.
NordVPN’s global server coverage boasts 5,400+ servers in nearly 60 countries.
24-hour customer support includes email support, always-available live support chat and a searchable support database.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Apps for Kodi-compatible device platforms
- Reliable unblocking of geo-blocked content
- Large global server network
- Super fast connections
- No designated streaming servers in app
BEST “FREE” KODI VPN:NordVPN’s top-notch VPN services protect and enhance all of your Kodi viewing sessions. The VPN service provider offers speedy connections that also do an excellent job of protecting your online security and privacy. Comprehensive app offerings and customer support make this VPN a winner. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
The provider’s app selection includes options for the Amazon Fire TV, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows platforms. Depending on the Chromebook you own, the provider’s Android app may also work. Surfshark offers Chrome and Firefox extensions and is also compatible with numerous router makes and models.
Plus, the provider offers a smart DNS service that provides access to geo-blocked content for devices like gaming consoles, streaming boxes and smart TVs. Please note, there is no encrypted connection protection like the VPN offering provides.
An unlimited simultaneous connections allowance means you’ll never run out of VPN protection on all of your connected devices.
Surfshark’s connection protection includes government-grade AES 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection. Its MultiHop option allows you to route your internet connection through a duo of VPN servers to provide additional encryption and anonymity.
A no-server-logs-ever policy and cryptocurrency payment option keep you covered in the privacy arena.
Kodi streamers will appreciate the provider’s fast connection speeds. No data cap or bandwidth limitations will ever spoil the show.
Surfshark’s large and growing server network currently boasts over 3,200 servers in 65 countries around the world.
Customer support is always available thanks to 24/7 live support chat, a searchable support library, an FAQ section and a contact form.
- Reliable budget-priced option
- Unlimited concurrent connections
- Comprehensive online security and privacy
- Apps for most Kodi-capable device platforms
- No streaming-optimized servers labeled in the app
BEST FOR BUDGET-MINDED KODI’ERS:Surfshark’s bargain-basement pricing makes it an excellent VPN option for Kodi users on a budget. Fast download speeds, comprehensive online security and privacy protections, a large global server network and an unlimited simultaneous connections allowance add up to a great value. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
Chromebook, Android, Android TV, macOS, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire and Windows apps are all present and accounted for on the ExpressVPN app compatibility list. Chrome, Edge and Firefox extensions are also available, as is extensive router compatibility. A somewhat limiting 5 concurrent connections allowance is the provider’s policy.
The provider’s MediaStreamer smart DNS service enables access to geo-blocked content for streaming boxes, smart TVs, game consoles and other streaming-capable devices. However, MediaStreamer does not encrypt your device’s connection like a VPN would.
All ExpressVPN connections are protected by government-grade AES 256-bit encryption, IP/DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch to keep your streaming activities incognito. A strict no-logs policy and a Bitcoin subscription payment option help protect your privacy.
For added security and privacy, the provider uses a proprietary “TrustedServer” technology that runs all VPN server operations directly from RAM, never writing data to a physical hard drive. So, all information is wiped from the server whenever it is rebooted.
ExpressVPN-provided connections are blazingly fast, scoring the fastest download speeds in my most recent rounds of testing. Unlimited bandwidth and no data caps mean there are no limits on your streaming.
ExpressVPN’s large global server network boasts 3,000+ servers located in 94 countries.
Customer support is available around the clock thanks to the provider’s always-available live support chat option, email support, trouble ticket tracking system and searchable support knowledgebase.
- Excellent device support
- Blazing download speeds
- Comprehensive online security and privacy
- Large global server network
- More expensive than other providers
- Only 5 simultaneous connections allowed
VERSATILE KODI VPN PROTECTION:ExpressVPN offers somewhat high-priced, but reliable VPN protection and enhancement for your Kodi-related activities. The provider’s comprehensive app support, blazingly fast connections, strong encryption and top-notch privacy protections make it worth a try. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
If you’re a VPN newbie or if you just like keeping things simple, CyberGhost may be the provider for you. CyberGhost’s apps are easy to use and are available for the Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux and Windows device platforms.
Free Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available. However, they only provide access to 8 servers in 4 countries. None of those are streaming-optimized.
The provider allows up to 7 devices to simultaneously connect to its servers on a single username, and also offers comprehensive router support if you need more connections than 7.
CyberGhost connections are protected using military-grade AES 256-bit encryption and IP/DNS leak prevention. In addition, ad and malware blocking are also available, plus the service can force websites to serve up HTTPS versions of their pages if they’re available.
A strict no-server-logs-ever policy, as well as a Bitcoin payment option for subscription payments, provide privacy protections.
CyberGhost connections are fast and can easily handle all of your streaming activity, as well as other popular online pastimes. No data caps or bandwidth restrictions to worry about here.
CyberGhost’s massive global server network boasts more than 6,800 servers located in 90+ countries around the globe. Many of those servers are streaming-optimized.
Around-the-clock support options include always-available live support chat, a searchable support repository and a trouble ticket tracking system.
- Streaming-optimized VPN servers
- FREE Chrome and Firefox browser extensions
- Reliable online security and privacy
- Impressive global server network
- Limited to 14-day money-back guarantee on monthly subscriptions
- Browser extensions provide access to only 4 countries
BEST VPN FOR FIRST-TIME VPN USERS:CyberGhost’s easy-to-use app offerings make it a valid option for Kodi users looking for easy yet comprehensive VPN service. Fast, well-protected connections provide smooth video streams, and there are free browser extensions. A no-risk, 45-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
The provider offers app support for the Amazon Fire, Android, iOS, Windows and Chromebook platforms. Manual setup is required for Linux. While IPVanish does support various router platforms, it lacks any browser extensions.
The provider offers an unlimited simultaneous connections allowance, meaning all of your compatible connected devices can be protected at once.
Military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, automatic kill switch protection with auto reconnect, access to third-party DNS servers, and more add up to excellent online security.
IPVanish follows a strict no-server-logs policy, but unfortunately doesn’t offer a cryptocurrency payment option. However, the provider offers an extra layer of privacy, as it owns and operates its entire global server network, meaning third-party contractors don’t have access to customers’ personal info.
IPVanish connection speeds, while not the fastest on this list, can easily handle Kodi streaming, as well as gaming and file sharing. No data caps or bandwidth throttling to be found here.
IPVanish’s global server network includes 1,600+ servers in nearly 55 countries.
24/7 customer support includes live support chat, email support and support knowledgebase options.
- Third-party contractors kept away
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Kodi-capable connection speeds
- No money-back guarantee on monthly subs
- Lacks cryptocurrency payment option
EXTRA PRIVACY FOR KODI STREAMING:IPVanish’s self-owned and -operated server network keeps your personal information away from third parties. Fast connections offer reliable Kodi streaming. Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee (but only on 1 year and longer subscription plans).
Read my full review of IPVanish.
In addition, the provider offers a totally free, but severely limited, VPN service level. The free version offers a single U.S. server location, limited app support, and heavily throttled connections with a 500MB daily data cap.
The provider offers apps for most popular devices. Apps are available for the Android, iOS, macOS, Windows and Linux platforms. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions and support for routers (only on paid) are also available.
Premium subscribers can simultaneously connect up to 5 devices at once, while family plan subscribers can connect up to 25 devices at once (5 devices per user).
Hotspot Shield connection protection offers AES 256-bit military-grade encryption, an automatic kill switch, and IP/DNS leak prevention. Users can also enable VPN protection to automatically turn on when their device connects to a public WiFi hotspot.
While Hotspot Shield lacks a Bitcoin payment option, it claims to never save any server logs related to your online activities.
Hotspot Shield has in the past logged its customers’ activities. However, new owners claim the provider no longer saves any logs that include information tied to individual users.
This means Hotspot Shield could be persuaded to turn over any information they have about you and your usage, so privacy-minded individuals should look elsewhere.
The provider’s connection speeds supply more than enough bandwidth to handle streaming and other online activities, with no data caps or bandwidth throttling. (The provider throttles free connection speeds and caps daily data usage to 500MB of data.)
The Hotspot Shield global server network boasts 1,800+ servers in over 80 countries. (The free version only allows connecting to a single U.S. location.)
Customer support is available any time and includes 24/7 live chat support, email and searchable support center options. Free users only have access to the support center.
- Offers free, if very limited, VPN service
- Apps for most popular Kodi-capable devices
- Fast connections
- No cryptocurrency payment option
Read my full review of Hotspot Shield.
Is a Truly Free VPN a Good Option for Use With Kodi?
You’ll find that “free” VPNs have hidden costs (not necessarily financial) and drawbacks.
Plus, while a free VPN can work with Kodi, you’ll soon find that a free VPN isn’t exactly Kodi-friendly, thanks to the free VPN’s tracking, super-slow connection speeds, and daily or monthly data caps. (Even Hotspot Shield’s free offering only allows 500MB of data use per day, allowing for only an hour or so of streaming each day.)
Drawback one is actually one of the hidden costs. You see, free VPNs aren’t really private. Some free VPNs make payroll by tracking and logging their customers’ online travels, then selling that info to advertisers and other Nosy Nellies.
Plus, some free providers will insert unwanted ads and tracking cookies into their users’ browser sessions. (And those cookies keep tracking your online activities, even when you’re not connected to the VPN’s network.)
Drawback two is that free VPNs are also quite inconvenient to use.
You may find you’ll be forced to wait before being allowed to connect to a free provider’s server network. Once you’re given the green light to connect, you’ll find that you have a miniscule selection of servers to connect to or that you’re automatically connected to a server of the provider’s choice.
Once you’ve connected, you’ll likely find that the free VPN throttles your connection speeds greatly, and you’ll be faced with daily or monthly data caps.
As you can see, “free” VPNs have plenty of hidden costs and drawbacks. Isn’t it worth it to pay a few bucks a month for quality VPN service? I think so.
Kodi users who are considering trusting their Kodi streaming sessions to a “free” VPN provider are strongly advised to reconsider.
All 6 of the VPNs on this list offer a risk-free money-back guarantee, allowing plenty of time for users to try all of these VPNs.
A quality paid VPN provider protects your streaming and other online activities from being monitored by outsiders, never saves any types of logs, and never tracks your usage. A quality VPN also offers a large global server network that provides fast, streaming-ready download speeds.
Kodi users are urged to consider all that NordVPN has to offer. The provider delivers fast and well-protected connections from its global server network. The provider offers app support for most popular device platforms, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.