Popcorn Time is a great app for watching free movies and TV shows online. But under its butter-smooth interface, Popcorn Time is essentially just a BitTorrent client, so a VPN is essential. In this guide, we'll show you the best VPNs to use with Popcorn Time and why.
The Best VPNs for Popcorn Time at a glance
Here's a quick look at the top 5 VPNs our experts recommend using with Popcorn Time. For more information on these providers or some alternative choices, click here.
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[[post-object type="gotolink" class="btn btn-md btn-primary" provider="expressvpn"]]Get ExpressVPN the best VPN for Popcorn Time[[/post-object]]
Due to the enormous amount of copyrighted material available for streaming with Popcorn Time, content producers know the site is basically a constant hive of people infringing on their copyrights. Because of this, the streaming platform has garnered a lot of attention, which can sometimes result in users receiving cease and desist orders if they are unlucky enough to get found out.
For this reason alone, we here at ProPrivacy.com and Popcorn Time itself as well strongly recommend that users first connect to a VPN before streaming movies and TV shows on the platform.
Because Popcorn Time is essentially a BitTorrent client, there are some important features to look out for when choosing a VPN to use with the service. Make sure the VPN service you choose from this guide offers:
- Robust encryption
- P2P torrenting
- A functional kill-switch
- Fast data speeds to stream in HD
Ideally, you should only subscribe to a VPN that can meet all the above criteria – as it represents the minimum acceptable standard for streaming with such a service. A no-logs VPN (or zero-logs policy) will provide an additional layer of security, and won't monitor your internet usage. Instead, it'll keep your Popcorn Time usage entirely private. On top of this, it's crucial to make sure your VPN doesn't have any leaks! You can test your VPN for leaks with our VPN leak testing tool.
With these criteria in mind, let's take a deep dive into the best available VPNs for Popcorn Time.
The Best VPNs for Popcorn Time | In-depth analysis
The list below takes an in-depth look at our top 10 Popcorn Time VPN services – recommended by our experts who have reviewed 100+ VPNs.
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The ultimate guide to Popcorn Time VPNs: Everything you need to know
If you've already tried accessing Popcorn Time, you'll know that the site recommends that you use a VPN. However, you might wonder if you really need a VPN to stream content on Popcorn Time.
As it is, you definitely do. We're here to tell you why, so let's start with the basics!
Why do I need a VPN for Popcorn Time?
A VPN will hide what you get up to online from your internet service provider (ISP) and will prevent anybody else on the web from knowing who you are. These are the two most important reasons why you'll need a VPN for Popcorn Time.
At the heart of it, Popcorn Time is basically a polished BitTorrent client. This means that instead of streaming a movie from a centralized server (as you do with KODI, for example), the movie is hosted by everyone who is watching or downloading it.
This lack of centralization means that there are no servers that can get raided or operators that can be arrested. However, it also means that everyone watching or downloading the same movie or TV show knows exactly who you are. This is because their BitTorrent client needs to know (and can therefore see) your real IP address. This is exactly why you shouldn't use Popcorn Time without a VPN. When you connect to a VPN, you will be using the IP address of the VPN server you are connecting through instead of your actual IP address. This will effectively shield your true IP address from other Popcorn Time users.
If you're new to the world of VPNs or torrenting, we can help you get up to speed with our handy guides:
- What is a VPN? A non-technical guide for beginners
- The ultimate guide to safe torrenting
- Are VPNs legal?
- Ultimate online privacy guide
How does a Popcorn Time VPN work?
A VPN service works like this: the VPN provider operates a network of secure servers, and these servers are typically located all over the globe. You connect to the VPN's servers via a secure encrypted connection. As a result, the people sharing the same torrent file as you will see the IP address of the VPN server you're connected through, and not your real IP address.
This is a deceptively simple process, but it protects you when you use Popcorn Time because:
- Copyright holders (and anyone else on the internet) cannot see your actual IP address or who your ISP is because the VPN server blocks their "view.” All they can see is the IP address of the VPN server. This IP address is shared among many (sometimes hundreds) of other VPN users, making it virtually impossible to tell who did what.
- Your ISP cannot see either your data (because it is securely encrypted between your device and the VPN server) or what you get up to on the internet because the VPN server acts as a proxy, beyond which your ISP cannot see.
Popcorn Time still says I need a VPN?
When you access Popcorn Time and pick a movie to stream, you will see the following message regardless of whether you are connected to a VPN or not:
[[post-object type="blockquote" author=""]]You're being monitored! Streaming without a secure VPN connection will expose your identity and can get you in trouble. Please take 1 minute to activate the built-in unlimited VPN connection before streaming.[[/post-object]]
You should be aware that this is more of an advert for [[post-object type="gotolink" provider="anonymousvpn"]]Anonymous VPN[[/post-object]] than a warning.
Provided you are connected to one of the recommended VPNs in this guide and you have confirmed it is working with our leak test tool, you should be all set to go.
If you are concerned about your safety when using Popcorn Time or other BitTorrent-based sites, there are some helpful tips to be found in our guide to torrenting safely.
Using Anonymous VPN with Popcorn Time
Whereas Popcorn Time may recommend [[post-object type="gotolink" provider="anonymousvpn"]]Anonymous VPN[[/post-object]] for Popcorn Time, we do not.
There are many other cheaper, faster, and more secure VPNs available on our list, and we would recommend that you use one of these services over Anonymous VPN.
Can you use a free VPN with Popcorn Time?
Simply put, no. There are no free VPNs that offer the combination of privacy, security, data speed, and the lack of restrictions required for a seamless and truly secure Popcorn Time experience.
Free VPNs that offer "unlimited" speeds and data invariably come with a catch: if the product is free, then you're the product, as the saying goes. Free VPN services have been known to monitor and sell user data and information to third parties for marketing purposes. This completely defeats the entire point of a VPN, since you need your VPN to protect your privacy, especially when accessing a service like Popcorn Time. We've reviewed many free VPNs over the years, and unfortunately, the vast majority almost never meet our standards.
The free VPNs that are worth using are designed to give users a taste of the providers' premium services with the hope that users will upgrade to a paid subscription plan. Because of this, they're often limited in terms of speed, server locations, and data capacity. This means that you may be stuck with sluggish internet speeds that cut out entirely after a set amount of usage.
A good VPN doesn't have to be expensive, and there are plenty of cheap VPN services that offer great online privacy and security. If money is an issue, then can always check out our free VPN hack for Popcorn Time guide to see how you can get the most out of a VPN service without having to spend your money.
Using a VPN with the Popcorn Time App on Android & iOS
All the VPNs we recommend in our guide all offer the same superb service for both iOS and Android. You simply need to check out and download the appropriate app through the Google Play Store or Apple's App Store, depending on what kind of device you have.
Then, just run the VPN app, load up Popcorn Time and you're ready to start streaming!
Can I use a VPN when casting Popcorn Time?
The short answer is… yes.
Popcorn Time allows you to stream from your device to a big screen via Chromecast, Airplay, and DLNA. Most VPN apps exempt local network addresses from the VPN so you can access stuff like WiFi printers and LAN drives when the VPN is running.
Assuming this is the case with your provider, then you can cast Popcorn Time content over your local WiFi network with no problems.
If for some reason your provider’s software routes local network connections through the VPN, then you may not be able to connect to your cast-enabled devices. The good news, however, is that most generic VPN software will allow you to bypass the VPN for local networks.
Above, we've demonstrated the settings in OpenVPN for Android edit VPN connection -> Routing.
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Can I get a virus from Popcorn Time?" answer="The Popcorn Time software itself is generally considered safe and free of malware, as long as you download it from the developer's official website. Downloading the program from an unofficial third-party site can easily put you at a much greater risk of infecting your machine with malware. We would recommend pairing a robust antivirus program with your Popcorn Time VPN to stay on the safe side and properly protect yourself from potentially exposing your device to malware." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Will a VPN keep me safe when streaming Popcorn Time on mobile?" answer="Each VPN provider listed in this guide offers excellent mobile apps that will include all the essential features and functionality needed to keep you secure while streaming Popcorn Time on the go. When you use one of the VPNs listed in this guide, you'll be provided with the same top-notch security on your mobile device as you would on your laptop or desktop computer." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Will using a VPN for Popcorn Time slow me down?" answer="Yes, a slowdown in connection speeds is, unfortunately, an unavoidable byproduct of using a VPN. But with a quality Popcorn Time VPN that provides fast connection speeds, you'll hardly even notice a difference in your speeds and will still have the ability to stream content in full HD without experiencing any buffering. By the nature of how VPNs work, they will slow your internet connection somewhat since they will encrypt your data and route it through a remote server location. There's not really anything you can do to get around the slight loss of speeds, but all the VPNs listed in this guide are plenty fast enough for a smooth streaming experience with Popcorn Time, so it's not something you would need to worry about anyway if you go with one of our recommended VPNs." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Can I watch popcorn time without VPN?" answer="You technically can, though we wouldn't recommend it. Popcorn Time hosts an awful lot of copyrighted material, and streaming any of it could land you in hot water with the copyright holder, your ISP, or even the authorities. We look at what penalties you would face if you are caught infringing on copyright in various countries around the world in our <a href='/vpn/guides/torrenting-illegal'>is torrenting legal guide</a>." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="How do I get free VPN for Popcorn Time?" answer="Free VPNs are readily available, but because of the limits they impose on your data and speed, they're not ideal for use with Popcorn Time. If you would like to know more, check out our guide to <a href='/vpn/comparison/free-vpn-services'>free VPNs</a>" /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Is Popcorn Time safe?" answer="In theory, Popcorn Time is safe, seeing as it's an open-source piece of software. You'll need to make sure that you use a safe version, however. To find out more, take a look at our <a href='/vpn/guides/popcorn-time-vpn-safe'>Is Popcorn Time Safe?</a> guide where we look at this topic in-depth." /]]
[[post-object type="accordion" question="Is using a VPN illegal?" answer="No. VPNs are not illegal in most countries. If you'd like to learn more about VPNs in your territory, check out our <a href='/guides/are-vpns-legal'>are VPNs legal? guide</a>." /]]
Due to Popcorn Time's lack of centralized servers, it's a necessity that you invest in a VPN before checking out any new TV shows or movies. With a VPN, you can mask your online activity and conceal your true IP address, and thereby gain real privacy. Luckily, there are plenty of VPN providers out there.
So, now that you have all the information you need to stream Popcorn Time with a VPN safely, let's review our top picks:
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