Popcorn Time is an amazing way to watch movies online, but it is blocked in many regions worldwide unless you use a VPN. But not just any VPN provider will do; you need an app that will unblock Popcorn Time while preserving your connection speeds for fast, buffer-free streams. We review the top VPNs for HD movie streaming below.
When it comes to ease of use and movie availability, it’s tough to beat Popcorn Time. The free, open source, multi-platform software leverages the power of torrents to provide fast access to all the streaming content you can imagine. TV shows and movies are at your fingertips, packaged in a slick Netflix-like interface that’s extremely easy to browse through.
Popcorn Time’s reputation has attracted plenty of negative attention. The legality of the software is constantly under dispute, and some countries have gone so far as to block the service entirely. Using Popcorn Time has become risky or even impossible in many countries, forcing users to turn to VPNs to regain access and reclaim their privacy. No matter your location or the local laws, using a VPN while you stream through Popcorn Time is a simple and easy way to unblock movies while staying anonymous.
We’ve done the research and came up with the best VPNs for Popcorn Time that are super fast and protect your privacy while watching your favourite TV shows or movies. And if you needed any, we also included reasons why you should use a VPN with Popcorn time.
DISCLOSURE: AddictiveTips does not condone or encourage any violation of copyright restrictions. Please consider the law, victims, and risks of piracy before using an app like Popcorn Time.
What makes a good streaming VPN?
Finding a good VPN for Popcorn Time can be a tricky task. Speed is important, as streaming videos uses up a lot of bandwidth and even the slightest drop can cause stuttering. Some VPNs provide speed boosts by skimping on encryption and privacy measures, a practice that just won’t work for Popcorn Time. We weighed privacy practices against speed tests to find the VPN providers best suited for video streaming, hands down.
- Download speeds. You can’t watch a movie if you can’t download it. Popcorn Time leverages the power of torrents to pull data from a cloud of users across the web, but if your VPN can’t handle the traffic, you’re out of luck. Speed results will vary depending on your location as well as the location of the VPN server you’re connected to. We found the providers with the best overall speed scores so you won’t have to wait to start the stream.
- Bandwidth limitations. Some VPN providers put caps on the amount you can download each month, often throttling speeds once you reach a certain point. Unlimited transfers are a must for using Popcorn Time, and all of the VPNs below are free from traffic limitations of any kind.
- File restrictions. Many VPNs forbid certain types of files from passing through their network, with P2P connections and torrent files sitting at the top of the list. Without torrent traffic Popcorn Time is practically useless, so we made sure our VPN selections never restrict what you can download, especially when it comes to torrents.
- Simultaneous connection. Popcorn Time is available for a number of operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Using the software on these devices along with a VPN normally wouldn’t be a problem, but if you use too many at once, issues could arise, as VPNs restrict the number of devices that can connect at any given time. To make sure everyone can watch movies when they want, we favored VPNs with high simultaneous connection numbers or alternative options to extend the default range.
- Privacy features and logging policy. Privacy is extremely important in a VPN, especially when it comes to logging. VPNs cater to this by adopting a zero-logging policy, making it nearly impossible for third parties to access collected data since none of it exists. Having features like an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection to cut off accidental unsecured connections are also must-haves for Popcorn Time users.
- Platform availability. If you can install Popcorn Time on an operating system, you should be able to install your VPN on the same device, plain and simple.
Best overall VPNs for smooth, secure Popcorn Time streams
We did the research for you and below you have the best VPNs for Popcorn Time:
Speed is something ExpressVPN specializes in. The provider has some of the fastest speed test results around, scoring high for servers located in large cities as well as many mid-sized towns. In all, there are over 3,000 global servers in 94 countries, so even if you do get a sluggish connection it’s highly likely you can find a faster one with a little experimentation. ExpressVPN also doesn’t limit bandwidth, doesn’t block torrent or P2P traffic, and has a strict zero-logging policy to keep your privacy a top priority.
A definite standout feature for ExpressVPN is built-in speed tests for the Windows, Mac, and Android versions of the software. If your Popcorn Time downloads are on the slow side, simply access the menu and run a quick speed test to see if it’s the VPN or the file you’re streaming. If it’s the former, switch servers, run the test again, then resume once you’ve found a fast connection.
Device limitations end up being a slight drawback with ExpressVPN. Only three simultaneous connections are allowed at any time, a number that can be expanded by upgrading your plan. The provider offers software for all the same platforms that Popcorn Time covers, but connecting them simultaneously could be an issue.
Zero-logging is a high priority for ExpressVPN. The provider also delivers DNS leak protection built into its custom software along with the Network Lock Kill Switch to ensure data never leaves your Windows or Mac device unencrypted.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
- Unblocks US Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services
- Fastest servers we have tested
- Torrenting/P2P allowed
- No logs for personal data
- 24/7 Chat Support.
- Expensive month-to-month plan.
NordVPN does something interesting with its servers to deliver fast speeds. Instead of distributing general purpose machines that handle all of the network’s traffic, servers are tuned to handle certain types of transfers more efficiently. There are servers for torrent downloads, for example, which makes using Popcorn Time surprisingly fast on the NordVPN network.
Alongside server specialization, NordVPN also features unlimited bandwidth, no traffic caps, a zero-logging policy, and no restrictions on torrent or P2P traffic. The network is over 5,500 servers, which covers 58 countries and thousands of proxies. There’s also NordVPN’s signature double encryption to ensure data remains safe.
Safety features in NordVPN’s software include DNS leak protection as well as an automatic kill switch. Most providers reserve these extras for Mac and Windows users, but NordVPN adds support for iOS devices as well, making it one of the more secure mobile VPNs around.
Read our full NordVPN review.
- Unblocks American Netflix
- Mind-boggling number of servers
- Up to 6 simultaneous connections
- No logs and encrypted connections for total privacy
- 24/7 Customer Service.
- Not much
- Apps can sometime be slow to connect.
Known for its lightweight software and impressive region lock dodging capabilities, IPVanish stands as a strong candidate for Popcorn Time use thanks to high speed test scores and uncompromised security. The service offers 1,300 servers in over 60 countries, all with 256-bit AES encryption and a no-exceptions zero-logging policy. Unlimited bandwidth and no restrictions on torrent or P2P traffic make it a great choice for movie streams, as does the default five simultaneous device connections available on all plans.
As with all VPNs, speed tests for IPVanish vary depending on location, but some of the results are simply amazing. Cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto consistently score in the 55-60 Mbps range, numbers even local service providers would be proud of. Many other cities average at around half that, which still hits slightly higher than most VPN services.
Privacy features with IPVanish include a zero-logging policy and secondary DNS IPs assigned to prevent leaks. There’s also an automatic kill switch built into the Mac and Windows version of the IPVanish client, providing even more privacy protection.
Read our full IPVanish review.
PureVPN aims for extensibility with its network of servers. 180 locations are represented, spanning 141 countries with over 2,000 servers to choose from. While most VPN users think of this level of variety as censorship workarounds, Popcorn Time users looking for boosts in speed can use it to find a fast connection any time of day. PureVPN also lets you test those speed scores directly from the website.
PureVPN pairs this large network with unlimited data, ISP throttling workarounds, simultaneous connections for up to five devices, and a great zero-logging policy. The company also encrypts traffic with 256-bit AES and comes with a kill switch for Windows and Mac to prevent data leaks.
PureVPN plans come with a 7-day money back guarantee. Try it out, see if the speed scores keep your streams smooth and uninterrupted.
Read our full PureVPN review.
VyprVPN ranks in the top fastest VPN services on a regular basis, delivering connections above the 50 Mbps benchmark to a number of major cities and beyond. They achieve this by owning and operating their entire network, all 700 servers in 70+ locations. Both the hardware and the software is optimized for speed, and the results are clear from the first time you connect.
Rounding out its Popcorn Time friendly offerings, VyprVPN features unlimited bandwidth, no blocked file types or restrictions on torrent traffic, a no logging policy, and clever routing technology that helps bypass sluggish networks for a consistently snappy connection.
VyprVPN’s built-in kill switch has a few more customizable features than most VPN providers, giving it a slight edge on the competition. And even though the feature isn’t advertised, there’s also DNS leak protection included in both the Windows and Mac versions of the software.
Read our full VyprVPN review.
Which version of Popcorn Time to use
Popcorn Time had a rocky start, but its initial release caught everyone’s attention. Users flocked to the software for easy and fast video streams, giving it an enormous boost in popularity shortly after launch. Corporations and governments eventually caught wind of this and stepped in to shut down or block the software in many countries. To avoid any legal battles, the original Popcorn Time developers quietly disappeared.
Fortunately for the community, Popcorn Time was free and open source software. Other developers forked the code and made their own versions, releasing a swarm of clones in the following months and years. Some of those forks became safe and feature-rich alternatives, but others were as dangerous as a virus or malware.
The original Popcorn Time developers eventually resurfaced and gave their seal of approval to one of the more popular clones. That fork is now known as the official version of Popcorn Time. It’s available for a variety of devices, it has arguably the best features, and most important of all, it’s safe to download.
It can be confusing which website or which version of Popcorn Time is the real deal, especially since many of the clones use the same website layout and name. The endorsed and official version of Popcorn Time currently resides at popcorntime.sh, which is the only place you should download it from.
FURTHER READING: How to Prevent Netflix from Blocking Your VPN
Doesn’t Popcorn Time include a VPN?
One fork of the original Popcorn Time software announced a partnership with a virtual private network provider to bundle free VPN service with every download. Whoever used this version of Popcorn Time would automatically be protected from censorship and geo-blocking, all without downloading separate software or signing up for a VPN service. This sounded like a smart leap forward, but in reality, it was a step back.
The company behind the free Popcorn Time VPN states quite clearly that it keeps logs of all user activity, one of the most immediate signs of an unsafe VPN service. Information is encrypted, but because it’s stored it can lead to third-party seizure, especially since Popcorn Time traffic is under higher scrutiny. The thought of a free built-in VPN service is nice, and it does help step around geo-blocking in most countries, but in practice, you actually give up some of your privacy. Stick with a reliable, paid VPN service and the official version of Popcorn Time.
Avoid free VPNs
Picking an affordable, safe VPN provider that suits all of your browsing and streaming needs can take some time. It’s tempting to use one of the many free VPN solutions advertised on banners and websites around the web, but as many VPN users are aware, this is a dangerous idea.
It costs money to operate a virtual private network. A business that offers free service has to recuperate costs some other way. The most common methods of doing this involves injecting ads into user’s connections, skimping on encryption, or even selling the very user data they promised to protect. Free VPNs tend to be sluggish and aren’t guaranteed to offer any privacy or anonymity, making them extremely poor choices for use with Popcorn Time.
How to fix VPN slowdown
VPNs provide a vital service to modern internet users, but that added encryption and anonymity comes at the cost of speed. VPN services are notoriously slower than local ISPs, often dropping by 10-20% for the top tier providers or double that for bad connections. It’s a frustration every user has to deal with, but there are some workarounds that can help.
VPN connection speed is directly related to the distance between your location and the server you’re connected to. The farther your data has to travel, the longer it takes, it’s that simple. If you aren’t getting a fast enough stream from that VPN server on the other side of the globe, switch to one closer by, see if that improves the numbers.
Set new encryption levels
Encrypting data takes time, and it also increases the size of the packets that travel through your connection. Most encryption processes add 20-50% to the overall size of each packet, serious numbers that add up for basic web browsing tasks, let alone streaming movies. To combat this, some VPN providers allow you to decrease the level of encryption active on your connection. If your stream is sluggish, try lowering the encryption.
Check your own connection
The VPN might not be at fault for your slow speeds. ISPs often throttle certain ports, resulting in narrower bandwidth whenever your VPN software is active. Most good VPN apps let you change ports and protocols to work around this. Security software such as firewalls and antivirus programs can also cause a slow connection speed, as will using Wi-Fi instead of a wired connection.
There you have it: our definitive list of the best VPNs to unblock and stream securely with Popcorn Time. We’ve discussed the risks of watching videos online without encryption, plus how to compensate for the inevitable slowdown that comes with VPN protection.
What will you watch with Popcorn Time? Let us know in the comments below.
If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. ExpressVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.