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 can help you remain anonymous while you are streaming video through Popcorn Time.
Best VPNs for Popcorn Time
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Why Should You Use a VPN with Popcorn Time?
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 stream 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 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.
What to Look for in a VPN for Popcorn Time
Not all VPNs are equal, so when you are looking for one to use with 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.
1. P2P Support
Not all VPNs permit torrenting. In fact, some block it outright. Make sure that you choose a VPN which permits P2P file sharing and provides full support for your torrenting activities.
2. Kill Switch
Suppose you are streaming and you get abruptly 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.
3. No-Logs Policy
What happens if law enforcement shows up asking a VPN company what its users have been up to? If the VPN keeps logs, suddenly 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 as you stream content on Popcorn Time.
Can You Use a Free VPN for Popcorn Time?
The short answer to this question is, “probably not.” The longer answer is that there are free VPNs, but most have highly restricted 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.
What is a Popcorn Time Fork?
Since Popcorn Time was released, updated forms of it known as “forks” have been developed and made available to the public. As you might suspect, some are better than others. The one we recommend mostly highly is Popcorn Time.sh.
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.seis another fork which may interest you, as it includes a built-in VPN. Still, we recommend going with one of the VPNs in our chart; they provide you with a more extensive selection of features and robust security.
Conclusion: Popcorn Time is an Excellent Alternative to Netflix, But You Need a VPN to Stream Safely
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 for free with Popcorn Time!