If you are looking for a free, open-source program which you can use to stream a massive library of popular movies and TV shows, you are going to be hard-pressed to beat Popcorn Time for convenience and ease-of-use. Popcorn Time functions much like a standard streaming platform (not so different from Netflix or Hulu), but it is actually a BitTorrent client, streaming content to all major devices through P2P technology. This means that you can use it to download new and classic releases from top torrent sites.
The downside of this is that the content is copyrighted, and copyright holders may use the BitTorrent protocol to identify users. In fact, Popcorn Time has been referred to as “Netflix for pirated movies.”
That is why it is important to take steps to protect yourself by using Popcorn Time with a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN allows you to hide your IP address and to remain anonymous while you are streaming video through Popcorn Time. That way neither your Internet Service Provider (ISP) nor any other parties can spy on your online activities.
Please note that we in no way condone piracy or any other illegal activity. This guide is made available for informational purposes only.
Here are the Best VPNs for Popcorn Time
At this time, there are three VPNs that we recommend for Popcorn Time. You can read a little bit about each below, or scroll down to our full Popcorn Time guide.
Since 2012, NordVPN has been at the forefront of internet privacy. The company takes its name from the “Nordic ideals of confidence, trust and innovation.” All of NordVPN’s affordable plans include over 5.000 servers in 62 countries, unlimited bandwidth, a kill switch, and double VPN encryption.
The company has a no logs policy, accepts bitcoin, and allows P2P (which is critical if you want to use Popcorn Time). For these reasons, NordVPN is currently our #1 recommendation for Popcorn Time.
ExpressVPN is another powerful VPN for Popcorn Time, with 2000+ servers in 94 countries and blazing fast connection speed. It is the fastest VPN on the market. As the company is based in the British Virgin Islands, they can follow through on their promises to take your privacy seriously. They maintain zero logs policy.
Supported devices include not just computers, smartphones and tablets, but also Apple TV, Firestick, Smart TVs, and other entertainment technology.
One more affordable, reliable and fast VPN to consider for Popcorn Time is IPVanish. This company provides you with more than 40,000 IP addresses in over 60 countries, unlimited bandwidth, and zero logging.
Additionally, IPVanish permits anonymous torrenting and supports unlimited P2P traffic, making it an excellent option for streaming your shows.
How To Use a VPN with Popcorn Time
It is easy and fast to use a VPN with Popcorn Time. Follow the steps below to get started:
- Subscribe to one of our recommended VPNs.
- Download and install the Popcorn Time software.
- Select the movies or TV shows you want to watch, kick back, and enjoy!
Why do You Need a VPN with Popcorn Time?
Hopefully you already understand why you need a VPN to use Popcorn Time safely. But if you are new to Popcorn Time, you may wonder if taking that extra step is really necessary.
It is easy to be fooled by Popcorn Time’s slick user interface into thinking you are dealing with a mainstream streaming service like Netflix. Underneath it all, however, Popcorn Time is just another BitTorrent client. Make no mistake—you are streaming copyrighted material, and you are doing it for free.
“But wait,” you might protest, “I’m not actually downloading content, so I’m safe, right?”
Downloading copyrighted material without paying for it is illegal everywhere. Streaming it is actually legal in some countries, but Popcorn Time uses a cache to ensure smooth streaming. That means that on a technical level, you are downloading copyrighted files, even if you are not keeping them. That puts Popcorn Time well within the legal definitions of piracy. In fact, Popcorn Time users have even been sent invoices by copyright holders.
When you watching Popcorn Time through a VPN, you are protecting your activities with layers of ironclad encryption. Choose a VPN which does not keep logs, and your anonymity will be protected. So if the authorities come snooping, they will not be able to identify you. A VPN lets you get back to enjoying your movies in safety, rather than worrying about the feds.
Popcorn Time vs. Netflix
Is it really worth it to go to the effort of signing up for a VPN to use with Popcorn Time, or should you just stick with Netflix?
Popcorn Time’s interface is actually so close to that of Netflix as to be almost indistinguishable, so from a user experience level, it is hard to tell the difference between the two. But Popcorn Time is free, and Netflix requires a subscription, so you save a lot of money with Popcorn Time. Plus, Popcorn Time has a much broader selection of movies and shows available than Netflix, including movies that have just been released in theatres.
So is Popcorn Time worth it? If you want to cut your entertainment costs down to zero and stream all the hottest content, definitely.
Features to Look for in a VPN for Popcorn Time
Not all VPNs are equal, so when you are looking for the best VPN for Popcorn Time, you need to make sure you are choosing a quality service which provides the kind of privacy and security features you need to stream content safely.
This is crucial. Not all VPNs permit torrenting. In fact, some block it outright. Make sure that you choose a VPN which allows P2P file sharing.
Fast Speed and Unlimited Bandwidth
A fast connection speed is required when you stream videos in high resolution. Plus make sure there are no data caps preventing you from watching as many shows as you want. The best VPNs supply unlimited bandwidth as well as blazing fast speed.
Suppose you are streaming and you get suddenly disconnected from the VPN? If your internet connection is still active, your IP address would be out in plain view. If you are still streaming, that could mean trouble.
A kill switch is a feature which will switch off your internet connection automatically should the VPN get disconnected. Once it gets reconnected, your net connection will be restored.
What happens if law enforcement shows up asking a VPN company what its users have been up to? If the VPN keeps logs, then all of your streaming activities will be exposed, and you could be liable for piracy.
A VPN with a strict no-logs policy will keep your activities fully confidential, protecting you now and in the future while you are using Popcorn Time.
Popcorn Time FAQ
Have questions about Popcorn Time and VPNs? We’ve got answers.
Is it Safe to use Popcorn Time without a VPN?
That’s a matter of perspective. Remember, Popcorn Time is a service which you use at your own legal risk. From that perspective, no, it is not “safe.” That being said, the program itself is considered to be clean and reputable, so long as you do not download an unsafe version (see “Which Popcorn Time should I download?”).
There are rumors that Popcorn Time is a honeypot. There is no evidence as of right now that this is true. Regardless, if you use one of the recommended VPNs above, you should not need to worry about this, as your privacy will be protected.
Is Using a Free VPN for Popcorn Time Good Idea?
The short answer to this question is, “probably not.” The longer answer is that there are free VPNs that you can use for Popcorn Time, but most have basic features and do not allow P2P at all. In some cases, they are also run by dubious companies that will not protect your privacy under pressure from authorities.
Thankfully, there are a few excellent VPN providers who charge very reasonable rates for their services, still less than you are likely paying for Netflix.
So take our advice and don’t take the risk. Stick with a high-quality, anonymous, reputable VPN for Popcorn Time.
Which Popcorn Time should I download?
The original Popcorn Time actually no longer exists. Since then, a number of closed and open source “forks” have been developed. Some are better quality. Others are not, and may even be infected with malware. Currently, we recommend Popcorntime.sh, which seems to be the most reliable and clean Popcorn Time version.
Popcorn Time.sh is an upgraded version of the official Popcorn Time.io release. It displays in 720 and 1080 resolution, and can be used on Windows, OSX, Android and Linux.
Popcorn Time keeps saying I need a VPN, but I’m already using one. What gives?
When you click on “Watch It Now” in Popcorn Time, you may see a message warning you that you are being monitored and need to activate a built-in VPN. This is not a security message. It is an ad for a service which is not recommended to use, because the company behind this service states that they keep user logs. Feel free to disregard it if you are already connected using your own anonymous VPN for popcorn time.
If you love Netflix but you don’t love the high price tag for a monthly subscription, consider switching over to Popcorn Time. Popcorn Time costs nothing on its own, and provides you with access to all your favorite shows and movies, including hot new releases which are still in the cinemas. Just remember that Popcorn Time is a torrenting client, and that means you need to stream your content through a VPN to stay safe. Scroll back up to the top of the page to check out our recommended VPNs for Popcorn Time. Enjoy streaming movies and TV shows for free with Popcorn Time!