When you first run Popcorn Time, you may think for a moment that you are looking at Netflix. This is by design. Popcorn Time is a free program which was designed specifically to imitate the Netflix experience. The difference is that with Netflix, you need to pay for a subscription. Watching your favorite movies and TV shows on Popcorn Time is free.
What’s the catch? Well, Popcorn Time is a BitTorrent client. That means the program serves up content using a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. When you use the program, you are watching copyrighted content without paying for it.
Naturally that means you are taking a risk. If you do not take steps to protect yourself, it is possible that copyright holders could find out that you are viewing their content without their permission.
Please note that we in no way condone piracy or any other illegal activity. This guide is made available for informational purposes only. We highly suggest that you choose legal avenues for viewing TV shows and movies. If you decide to use Popcorn Time or other torrenting programs, you do so at your own risk.
What Are the Best VPNs for Popcorn Time in 2018?
If you do choose to use Popcorn Time, with a VPN you can protect your privacy. A VPN allows you to hide your IP address and access the internet anonymously. That way neither your Internet Service Provider (ISP) nor any other parties can spy on your online activities.
At this time, there are three VPNs we are recommending 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 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, they are currently our #1 recommendation.
ExpressVPN is another powerful VPN for Popcorn Time, with 1500+ servers in 94 countries and unlimited streaming, downloading and server switches. As the company is based in the British Virgin Islands, they can follow through on their promises to take your privacy seriously. They maintain no activity logs and no connection logs.
Supported devices include not just computers, smartphones and tablets, but also Apple TV, Fire TV, 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.
Why You need a VPN for 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.
The first thing you need to understand about Popcorn Time is this:
Popcorn Time is a torrenting client. Period.
Yes, it looks like Netflix. That does not mean it is Netflix, or that it in any way is a legitimate, legal streaming service. It isn’t.
The second thing you need to know is this:
You are downloading content when you “stream” on Popcorn Time.
This is an important legal distinction because streaming copyrighted content is actually legal in certain countries, even though downloading it is not.
The reason your viewing experience is so smooth and faultless on Popcorn Time is because the program uses a cache to keep it that way. That means that you do temporarily download the files you watch.
That is all it takes for a copyright holder to contact you and demand payment for their content—even though you are not keeping the files (indeed, this has actually happened to some Popcorn Time users).
So yes, you do need a VPN for Popcorn Time, regardless of your geographic location. You are torrenting and downloading files, and that means that it is imperative that your activities remain anonymous.
Free VPN for Popcorn Time
“Okay, you’ve convinced me,” you might say. “I’ll get a free VPN to use with Popcorn Time, because I don’t want to pay for one. I’m watching movies for free, so why should I pay for an additional service?”
Let’s put it this way. Do you want to pay a few dollars a month for a VPN—or do you want to pay the heavy price of torrenting without protection?
Yes, there are free VPNs for torrenting and streaming. You can use them, but we highly suggest you don’t.
Here are the problems with free VPNs:
- Many do not support P2P.
- Their features tend to be pretty basic.
- They may throttle your bandwidth.
- They do not have the resources to protect your privacy at the highest level. If someone wants to pry into your personal business, a lot of free VPN providers won’t hesitate to sell you out.
So take our advice and don’t take the risk. Stick with a high-quality, anonymous, reputable paid VPN for Popcorn Time.
Features to Look for in the Best VPN for Popcorn Time
Wondering how we vetted our list of VPN providers for Popcorn Time? First of all, they are companies that meet our general criteria for recommended VPNs. We have years of positive experience with each of them.
Secondly, they provide the important features which you should look for in any VPN you plan to use with Popcorn Time:
- Support for P2P: This is crucial. Choose a VPN which allows P2P, not one which blocks it.
- Compatibility with your devices: Popcorn Time is compatible with quite a few devices, like Apple TV. You need a VPN which likewise is going to be compatible with the device you plan to stream on.
- Unlimited bandwidth and data: You don’t want some VPN throttling your traffic because you’ve exceeded some data cap or bandwidth restriction. You need a lot of both for torrenting.
- A kill switch: Sometimes you may get disconnected from your VPN while your internet connection is still online. A VPN which includes a kill switch will boot you offline automatically until the VPN gets reconnected. That way your IP address will not exposed.
- A strict zero-log policy: This is vital for maintaining your privacy while you are using Popcorn Time. Look for a VPN that won’t compromise on this score.
Here’s How To Use And Watch Popcorn Time with a VPN
Getting started with Popcorn Time using a VPN is fast and easy. You can be all set and running in three easy steps:
- 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!
Popcorn Time FAQ
Have questions about Popcorn Time and VPNs? We’ve got answers.
Q: Is Popcorn Time safe?
A: 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 a VPN, you should not need to worry about this, as your privacy will be protected.
Q: Is Popcorn Time legal?
A: No. You are downloading copyrighted files for free when you use Popcorn Time, and that constitutes copyright infringement. Again, we do not condone copyright infringement, and urge you to use legal alternatives.
Q: Which Popcorn Time should I download?
A: The original Popcorn Time actually no longer exists. Since then, a number of closed and open source “forks” have been developed. Some are high in 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.
Q: Popcorn Time keeps saying I need a VPN, but I have one. What gives?
A: 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 pricier than the ones we recommend. Feel free to disregard it if you are already connected using your own anonymous VPN for popcorn time.
Q: I downloaded Popcorn Time, but it isn’t working. What’s going on?
A: You might be using an old version of Popcorn Time. Make sure you have downloaded the latest version of the software. You will need to do this manually, as automatic updates are not available.
Q: What are the Popcorn Time alternatives?
A: Well, you can look for movies in the public domain to download (a very limited selection), or you can stream content on stations you may have access to (like the BBC using the iPlayer—a VPN is great for this if you happen to be located outside of the UK). If you want to expand the catalog of content available to you, you can pay for a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, or so on.
Conclusion: A Popcorn Time VPN Is Your Key to Staying Safe While You Are Streaming
Now you know why a VPN is so important while you are torrenting TV shows and movies. Scroll back up to our recommendations at the top of this page to find the best VPNs for Popcorn Time. Enjoy!