The free and open source media center software, Kodi, is the best thing that’s happened to movies since the video camera. It makes it extremely easy to stream content to a variety of devices, everything from Macs to PCs to smartphones and Fire TV. To use it, all you have to do is choose what you want to watch and Kodi takes care of the rest. Now the only hard part is deciding which TV shows you want to binge watch.
Kodi works almost perfectly right out of the box. Some users occasionally encounter speed issues related to ISP throttling, however, as Kodi is widely seen as software used by pirates. This couldn’t be further from the truth, of course, but that’s not stopping companies from trying to prevent users from watching content via Kodi.
Fortunately, you can put a stop to Kodi throttling with a good VPN. Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered with our complete guide below!
Overview of Kodi throttling
Throttling is a process where an external source, usually an internet service provider, artificially slows down traffic. This happens to Kodi users more often than you might think. Below is our quick guide on Kodi throttling, complete with causes and potential solutions.
Throttling vs buffering
Not sure if you’re being throttled or if you’re having generic buffering issues? Don’t worry, the two are easy to tell apart once you know what to look for. Just remember that throttling usually causes buffering, but buffering doesn’t have to be caused by throttling.
Buffering is a normal process everyone encounters from time to time. Whenever you stream media, your player will download a chunk of the file and store it in the cache. This allows you to start watching a video while more is being downloaded in the background.
When buffering works properly your stream will always be a few seconds ahead of the download. But if something happens to your connection, such as a sluggish server or congested internet stream, the download won’t be able to keep up with your viewing. This causes the video to pause and display that frustrating “Buffering…” message.
Buffering can be caused by completely ordinary circumstances. If it happens habitually and for extended periods of time, though, you might be a victim of ISP throttling. If you spend more then 20-30 seconds staring at the screen once or twice per TV show, you should investigate potential throttling using the guide below.
How to tell if Kodi is being throttled
Does every movie or TV show you stream through Kodi feel a little sluggish? Are you having trouble getting HD movies to look, well, HD? If this is the case, no matter which streaming source you access, you might be a victim of ISP throttling. See how many of the issues below apply to your connection while using Kodi:
- Buffering screens appear every 30-60 seconds.
- Slowdown happens more often in the evenings, when ISPs usually implement throttling rules.
- Videos frequently start and stop, or stream in slow motion.
- Videos load but often have no audio.
- You lose connection to the streaming source a little too often.
If you nodded your head to many of these issues and only experience them while using Kodi, you’re probably the victim of ISP throttling.
Fix Kodi buffering not caused by throttling
Think your slowdown issues are caused by something other than ISP throttling? We have a full guide that shows you how to fix Kodi buffering on any device. Below are some of the most common causes of general buffering issues on Kodi.
- Bad internet connection – Your home connection may simply be too slow to handle certain streams, even if it’s not being throttled.
- Cache settings – Kodi needs to use device resources to store buffered videos. If your cache is too small or being mismanaged, Kodi won’t be able to keep enough data on reserve.
- Hardware limitations – If Kodi consistently buffers for long periods of time, it may be an issue with your device, or even your router.
- Remote server issues – The stream you’re watching is hosted on a server, which may be experiencing hardware slowdowns due to heavy loads or a poor connection to the internet.
Stop Kodi throttling with a VPN
Virtual private networks act as a private tunnel between your home device and the world wide web. Normal internet traffic is sent in a raw format that anyone can monitor, including your ISP. They use this information to determine what kind of traffic you’re sending through their servers. If it looks like Kodi streams, they can immediately throttle your connection, or even block it altogether.
A VPN neatly defeats this problem by encrypting every piece of data that leaves your device. This makes data unreadable to third parties, including your ISP. If they can’t track your activity, they can’t tell if you’re using Kodi, and they can’t throttle your connection.
VPNs are tops at preventing Kodi throttling. Not all services are created equal, however. It’s important to make sure your service keeps privacy as a high priority, otherwise your data could fall into the wrong hands. Some VPNs also impose speed and bandwidth limits, which is no good if you’re trying to avoid slowdown issues!
Here’s our recommendation for the fastest and most private service to use to stop Kodi throttling.
The Best VPN for Kodi – IPVanish
IPVanish has all the best privacy and security features around, making it perfect for protecting Kodi users from outside threats. Its fast network of 1,100+ servers in 60 different countries is perfect for delivering high quality videos, and the lightweight apps run like a dream on everything from Amazon Fire TV to iOS and Android. As soon as you sign up with IPVanish, you’ll have full and anonymous access to all of Kodi’s amazing add-ons and can use them without having to worry about ISP throttling.
Security extras built into the IPVanish experience include DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch, two features that help keep your identity and real location hidden. Data sent from your device is secured with 256-bit AES encryption to make it unreadable to third parties, and IPVanish’s zero-logging policy on all traffic ensures no one can get their hands on that data once it leaves their servers.
IPVanish offers a 7-day money back guarantee which means you have a week to test it risk-free. Please note that Addictive Tips readers can save a massive 60% here on the IPVanish annual plan, taking the monthly price down to only $4.87/mo.
How to stop Kodi throttling with a VPN
You’ve got your VPN ready to go, but how do you use it to stop Kodi throttling? By following the steps below, of course!
- First, go to your PC and open up a web browser. It doesn’t matter if you will be using Kodi on a smartphone or TV box device, this is the best way to start. Visit your VPN’s main website and sign in using your account details.
- Next, download the VPN app for your hardware (Windows, Mac, iOS, Fire TV, etc.). You may be redirected to a mobile apps marketplace if you’re installing the VPN on an Android or iPhone. As long as you follow the VPN’s instructions, you can’t go wrong.
- Install the app and then launch the VPN software. Sign in using your account credentials. Most apps will automatically connect to the fastest server as soon as you launch, which should be fine for most people. The only reason you would want to change this is if you need an IP address from a specific country. Stopping Kodi throttling has nothing to do with IPs, so just let the VPN do its thing.
Most people will want to test their connection to make sure it’s performing as expected. DNS leaks often indicate a flaw in the VPN’s security, often caused by improper installation or other temporary issues. Running a quick test can put your mind at ease and ensure you’re safe and sound.
- While your VPN is active and connected to a fast server, open your web browser and visit ipleak.net. The page will automatically run an IP address lookup. When it’s done, you will see a box near the top that says Your IP addresses. Just below it should show a country that isn’t your current physical location, meaning everything is connected and works fine.
- Now you should open up Kodi and try streaming a video. It doesn’t matter which source you use, just try watching a high quality video and see how it works. Do you encounter any buffering issues, slowdown, or other problems? You shouldn’t, as a VPN defeats ISP throttling instantly. Go forth and enjoy your speedy movie streams!
Staying safe on Kodi can prevent throttling
Kodi is more than just a media streaming app, it’s an entire ecosystem of add-ons and extensions, most of which are made by fans in the community. This is a tremendous boon for Kodi in general, but it has led to some issues regarding piracy and copyright infringement.
While Kodi itself is completely safe and legal to use, some of the third party add-ons (unofficial add-ons) are able to access video streams that may not be legal in your area. Worst of all, you won’t necessarily know the content is illegal while streaming it. We highly recommend you do your due diligence in researching which add-ons might be illegal in your country, and we in no way advocate or condone piracy.
Some ISPs unilaterally throttle Kodi connections regardless of what users are doing on them. Others are more selective and only stop suspicious activities. You can avoid some of these issues by sticking with the Kodi safety tips below.
- Use official Kodi add-ons – Kodi add-ons aren’t all sketchy. The software comes with a repository of full, free, and 100% legal add-ons you can install at your leisure. Not sure where to start? Try these official Kodi add-ons for kids, or just browse the repo on your Kodi installation!
- Keep your VPN active no matter what – VPNs are by far the best way to keep your data and identity safe. Make sure yours is running in the background and connected to a secure server even if you don’t have Kodi open or actively streaming.
- Always run firewall and anti-virus programs – Anti-virus software and firewalls both stop malicious programs from attacking your device. Both of these can compromise your security.
- Use secure browser extensions – Searching for Kodi add-ons means using a web browser, a prime target for cyber criminals and throttling ISPs. You can keep your data safe here by adding HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger, extensions that force an encrypted connection and disable tracking scripts respectively.
- Never use free VPNs – Free VPNs often throttle or restrict Kodi traffic, and they’re inherently insecure. Never use a no-charge VPN. Ever.
- Use only high-quality third party repositories – You can’t always stick to official Kodi add-ons or repos. When you do delve into unofficial content, do your best to stick with reliable sources that other people insist are safe. We verify every add-on featured on our site, so feel free to start your journey with our Kodi add-on suggestions.
Putting a stop to Kodi throttling isn’t as complicated or involved as you might think. With the right VPN, all you need to do is install, sign in, and let the software run quietly in the background. You’re then free to stream anything you want through Kodi, all without fear of running into buffering or throttling issues.
Which Kodi add-on do you plan on using now that throttling is a thing of the past? Share your thoughts in the comments below!