- What a Kodi Add-on Is and How to Install One
- Enable Unknown Sources
- Installing from a .Zip File
- Installing from a URL
Kodi is a free, open-source media center that allows you to import and categorize your digital content. In this guide to the best Kodi add-ons, we’re going to help you expand Kodi’s functionality with the best official and unofficial add-ons. We’re going to show you how to install an add-on, run through why we like each pick and give you a few suggestions on staying safe when using them.
At the time of writing, the add-ons on this list are confirmed to be working. That said, the unofficial add-on crowd is a fast-moving bunch, so there’s a chance that not everything will be available when you read this. Official add-ons, on the other hand, come from the Kodi team and should always be available.
What a Kodi Add-on Is and How to Install One
Kodi is a front-end interface for a media center. If that’s too vague a definition for you, make sure to read our full Kodi guide for a more thorough one. Kodi’s intended use is to connect to some sort of media storage and act as a user interface to organize it. If you’re interested in that type of setup, check out our guide to the best cloud storage on Kodi.
That said, the real Kodi experience comes through add-ons. They are, as the name implies, additions to Kodi that lets you stream new content, change the UI and much, much more.
Kodi’s open source nature allows all sorts of add-ons, too. It has official add-ons, which focus on organizing particular types of content, but third-parties can add their own, as well.
Official or unofficial, Kodi add-ons come through repositories (repos if you want some Reddit cred). Repos are like different stores that hold add-ons. One may specialize in anime, while another focuses on sports. Some, like the Walmarts of the Kodi world, have a little of everything.
If you’re looking for somewhere to get started, make sure to read our guide to the best Kodi repositories.
Installing add-ons is simple. If you’re just looking for official add-ons, you can find them in your Kodi installation. Unofficial add-ons come through third-party repos, though, so you’ll need to connect your Kodi build to that repo to install add-ons from it.
There are two ways to do that: connecting through Kodi or installing the repo through a .zip file. The latter is more consistent and less vulnerable to a repo shutdown, so we recommend trying that, if possible.
Enable Unknown Sources
Before you can install and look through a repo, you need to allow Kodi to access it. By default, it doesn’t allow connections from unknown sources, but you’ll need to connect to one to browse the repo and install add-ons. If you’re just concerned with official add-ons, feel free to skip this step.
From the Kodi home screen, do the following:
- Click “settings” (the cog icon).
- Go to “system settings.”
- Click “add-ons.”
- Tick the “unknown sources” slider to the right.
Depending on the version of Kodi you’re using, the setting may already be enabled. Even so, it’s a good check when you’re getting started. After you change it once, you shouldn’t have to again until the next update.
Installing from a .Zip File
Installing from a .zip file is the best way to go about acquiring add-ons from a repo, as long as you have the storage space to accommodate it or an unlimited cloud storage plan (see our comparison of cloud storage services). You can download the full repo wherever it’s being hosted, so you’ll always have access to the add-ons inside , but they may not work if the add-on has gone offline.
First, you need to find the .zip file for the repo. Go to the website where the repo is hosted and download the file locally. For example, the One Nation repo is found at http://www.onenation.info/Repo/. Click on the file there and it will start downloading.
Once it’s done, open Kodi and do the following:
- Click “add-ons.”
- Go to the “add-on browser” (open box icon).
- Click “install from zip.”
- Navigate and select the saved .zip file.
After a moment, you’ll get an add-on enabled notification. That means the repo is ready to use and you can browse its add-ons by choosing the “install from repository” option on the same screen.
Installing from a URL
You aren’t always given the luxury of installing from a .zip file. If you’re using Kodi on a Raspberry Pi, for example, attempting to install from a .zip file with little to no local storage can be problematic. In those cases, it’s better to install from a URL.
It does the same thing as installing from a .zip file, but instead of pointing Kodi to the .zip file saved locally, you’re pointing it toward the URL where the .zip file is hosted. From the Kodi home screen, do the following:
- Click “settings.”
- Go to “file manager.”
- Select “add source” from the left column.
- Click “<none>.”
- Enter the URL for the repository you want.
- Give it a name.
- Complete the “install from a .zip file” steps.
As with installing from a .zip, you’ll receive an add-on enabled notification after a few moments. Because you’ve essentially done the same thing, you can install add-ons the same way, by clicking “install from repository” on the screen.
The Best Official Kodi Add-Ons
“Official” Kodi add-ons come from its default repository. You won’t need to add a new repo, but you’ll still need to use the “install from repository” option to access the add-ons.
There are a lot of familiar faces available, including YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify. For this guide, we’re focusing on the less obvious options, even though YouTube and Spotify are useful add-ons. You’re a competent internet user, so we’re not going to go over the obvious.
Keymap Editor is a must-have utility add-on for Kodi. It provides a graphical user interface for changing input mappings for the controller you’re using, whether it be a keyboard, universal remote or something else.
It’s tempting to drag a keyboard and mouse into the living room and call it a day, though you’ll probably trip over wires for the next few months. Keymap Editor makes it easy to grab a remote of any kind and configure it how you want. Even if your remote is working fine out of the box, the add-on should still be in your arsenal in case you want to add shortcuts or change navigation.
Kodi struggles with live TV because it’s difficult to find reliable streams online. Thankfully, BBC iPlayer is a free way to watch high-quality TV. Since it comes from the source, it’s reliable, too.
The only problem is that BBC iPlayer only works in the UK, just like the website that it’s tied to. Even if you’re not in the UK, though, you can trick the add-on into thinking you are by using the best VPN for BBC iPlayer.
We’ll dive into more big streaming platforms in the next section, but FilmRise is a good place to start on the official end of things. It’s a free, legal streaming platform that offers access to lesser-known films unlikely to show up elsewhere.
A good way to think about it is like the “free” on-demand section of a cable provider. While you can’t watch anything you want, there’s a good assortment of movies and TV shows in a wide range of genres.
Installing Plex on Kodi is weird because you’re laying a media center UI on top of another one. Still, it is a good add-on to consider, as it’s much more out-of-the-box than Kodi and comes with access to metadata databases, to boot.
Even if you’re content with Kodi’s interface, Plex has value. If you upgrade to the Plex Pass subscription, you can access the media on your server across all your devices. Your Kodi build may be on a small computer, tablet or phone, and Plex gives you a way to stream the content of your larger media server across those devices.
Kodi includes some familiar add-ons, such as YouTube, but not all of them. If you want a Roku-like experience on Kodi, you’ll need the PlayOn Browser. Make sure to check out our how to use Kodi on Roku guide if you want to go the other way around.
PlayOn opens the floodgates to applications. You can find almost any streaming platform there, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and more. They transform Kodi from a simple media center into a dedicated streaming box.
Plus, you can record the content you’re streaming. If you’ve experienced the woes of trying to find a movie or TV show that’s been taken down on Netflix, you’ll understand how invaluable that feature is. Even without a media library, PlayOn allows you to build one from scratch.
There’s a downside, though, as is the case with most good things. PlayOn costs money, which is uncommon among Kodi add-ons. Even so, the $5 per month fee is justified, considering how functional the add-on is.
The Movie Database
If you don’t want Plex, but still want access to metadata to fill out the details of your content, be sure to download The Movie Database. It has everything from actors to box art for your movies. There are databases for music and TV shows in the official repo, too, so this entry will serve as a placeholder for them.
While it makes your library more attractive with official box art, fan art and more, it also makes your library easier to search. The Movie Database automatically scans your library to find metadata, meaning you can search by year, genre and much more.
The Movie Database is great, but it doesn’t fetch subtitles. If you’re a fan of torrenting (you should use one of our best VPN for torrenting picks), you already know that finding a file with the proper subtitles can be difficult. Open Subtitles solves the issue, with subtitles for over 4 million TV shows and movies in 75 languages.
Plus, it is updated daily, so you’ll always have access to the subtitles you need, no matter how new the content is that you’re streaming. For watching your content at low volume, or just figuring out what the hell the actors are whispering, Open Subtitles is a must.
Modern streaming platforms offer a lot of convenience that some may take for granted, including curated content and auto-play. When moving from the more user-friendly platforms to Kodi, the experience can easily fall flat. LazyTV offers a solution: auto-playing your content, so you never have to lift a finger.
LazyTV is like an intelligent playlist maker for Kodi. You can get it to play the first unwatched episode of a TV show, but it’s more sophisticated than that. You can, for example, randomize the episodes for sketch comedy shows or even add movies to your TV show playlist. Just as throwing on a workout playlist is mindless, LazyTV takes the indecision out of streaming.
LazyTV asks you to be hands-off while Trakt asks you to be hands-on. It takes the manual aspects of modern streaming platforms and adds them to Kodi. Its main function, for which it gets its name, is tracking what you’ve watched and what you haven’t. After finishing content, you can give it a rating and put it to rest as you make your way through the rest of your library.
Plus, you can create watchlists. Trakt integrates with a desktop application that scans your media library and allows you to create lists. You can sync them across devices, so if you make a list on desktop, you’ll find it in Kodi.
We’ve focused mainly on movies and TV shows because most add-ons focus on those, too. SHOUTcast, on the other hand, doesn’t. It’s an online streaming platform dedicated to internet radio, with over 50,000 stations to listen to in its catalog, all for free.
The range of stations is excellent. SHOUTcast serves everything from talk radio to reggae. Finding what you want is simple, too. It has many filtering features that allow you to sort by bitrate, number of listeners and more.
Mimic isn’t a necessary add-on, but most beginners should download it. It’s a skin for Kodi that changes navigation, layout and more. While there are plenty of other skins available, Mimic is deeply customizable, showcasing the power of Kodi when it’s paired with smart community members.
It takes inspiration from two popular Kodi themes: Aeon Nox and reFocus. It offers a deeper level of customization, though. Your homepage, for example, can be changed to display a wall of movie and TV show art or a gallery of content that you can scroll through.
Mimic works especially well with metadata add-ons, such as The Movie Database. It allows you to show off fan art, for instance, instead of the official posters for movies and TV shows. With the right metadata add-on, you can find fan art and add it to your homepage without extra work.
The Best Unofficial Kodi Add-Ons
Kodi is open source, so anyone can download the source code and change it. The team behind Kodi supports developers with a development kit that allows programmers to jump on and create their own add-ons, as well.
While skins and the like are fair game, any streaming add-on, which is what we’ll be focusing on, gets into a legal gray area. We’ll be talking more about the legality of Kodi and unofficial add-ons after this section, but feel free to read our is Kodi legal guide if you want the details.
NaN Tutorials is the dedicated Kodi channel you’ve been looking for that has decent screen capture, good audio and a competent narrator. Noobs and Nerds is one of the best repos and its Tutorials add-on should be an essential for anyone using Kodi.
It includes everything from installing Kodi on Windows to configuring it on special platforms. You can learn how to do basic tasks, such as installing unofficial add-ons, or dive into the guts of Kodi with the “DaButcher Digs Deeper” series. NaN Tutorials doesn’t seem essential at first, but when questions pop up, it’s nice to have a single source for answers.
The add-on comes from the Noobs and Nerds repository, which you can find at http://nan.aftermathwizard.net/nanrepo/.
Exodus has been a mainstay on Kodi for years, but after the platform was shut down and there was radio silence on the developer’s end, it seemed like the fan favorite had finally bit the dust. It has come back to life, though, in the form of Exodus Redux, the epitome of streaming on Kodi.
It has almost every movie and TV show you could want to stream, many of which have just aired or entered theaters. Exodus accomplishes such a massive library by using “scrapers,” bots designed to go around the internet and find video sources for the content you want to stream.
It’s no different than going to one of those websites and finding the stream yourself, though it may have fewer advertisements. Since they violate all kinds of laws, and so do you by extension, it’s important that you only use Exodus with a virtual private network.
We’ll talk more about the importance of VPNs at the end of this section, but make sure you wait to boot up Exodus until you’ve configured one. You can find Exodus at https://i-a-c.github.io/repo.
Nemesis AIO is a sexist, but useful, add-on for Kodi. Like Exodus, it scrubs online sources for content and allows you to choose a stream. That said, it feels more curated than Exodus, with specific sections named “for him” and “for her.”
Depending on what you’re into, Nemesis will be an answer to your streaming needs or just another junk add-on. The “for him” section has topics such as bodybuilding and gangster movies, while the “for her” section offers makeup tutorials and rom-coms (told you it was sexist). There’s a “for kids” section, too, with Disney movies and educational films.
Even with its somewhat narrow categories, Nemesis AIO has a lot of content. It has fluid navigation, quick fetching and a variety of content, including anime, music and audiobooks. You just need to dig to find what you want. With Nemesis AIO you also get Nemesis, which is a more traditional version of the add-on.
You can find it in the Stream Army repository, which is located at http://streamarmy.co.uk/repo/.
Exodus Redux has changed the experience and, while most of it is still intact, die-hard Exodus fans may be yearning for the old friend. Incursion is an Exodus fork that’s near identical to the old add-on.
It brings together movies and TV shows by scrubbing online sources to find streams. You’ll find similar categories to Exodus’s and plenty of filtering and navigation features. Plus, it comes with an extensive maintenance toolset for integrating third-party services and managing your stream sources.
Incursion comes from the TVAddons repo, which you can find at http://fusion.tvaddons.co.
9Anime is a popular streaming website for anime that has a wide range of subbed and dubbed content. 9Anime.tv, the website for which the plug-in is named, is still going strong, and the Kodi add-on uses it as a source for streaming shows from Cowboy Bebop to Evangelion.
Unlike a lot of unofficial add-ons, it comes from 9Anime. There are other versions, such as the one that comes from Cypher’s Locker, that don’t work, so make sure you only download the add-on from the source.
You can install it directly as an add-on with Kodi without going through a repository. Download the .zip file from https://github.com/DxCx/plugin.video.9anime and use the “install from .zip” method above to get set up.
While not the best unofficial add-on for everyone, XXX-O-DUS is the best adult add-on for Kodi. We’ve already covered the best porn VPN, so using one of those services with XXX-O-DUS seems like a match made in heaven (the pervy type of heaven).
It’s easy to have a western mindset that the biggest thing to worry about with porn is having a significant other or internet service provider find out about your preferred method of manual entertainment. In many parts of the world, though, including parts of Africa and Asia, streaming porn is illegal and finding access to it is difficult, at best.
An add-on like XXX-O-DUS opens the floodgates. If you’re in China, where streaming porn can land you a jail sentence, make sure you only stream it with the best VPN services for China.
It comes from the Stream Army repository, at the time of writing, which we linked in the Nemesis AIO entry above.
cCloud TV falls short of options like Exodus, though it attempts to accomplish a similar task. However, unlike Exodus, cCloud TV can stream live TV, including sports. There’s a channel for almost everything, including streams for the NFL.
Our testing with the add-on was spotty, though, as is common with Kodi add-ons. Some streams would redirect to other channels — Fox Sports 1 was actually an A&E stream, for example — but we were able to find streams occasionally.
Outside of sports, cCloud has a lot to offer. There are, for instance, 24/7 streams of random documentaries, live international news streams and more. While you’ll have to hunt for an active stream, cCloud delivers on the promise of live TV for free.
You can find it in a few repos, but we had success with the Kodi Bae repo, which you can find at https://github.com/kodibae?tab=repositories.
SkyNet is a repo that acts like an add-on. You can install it just like you would any other add-on, but it’s really a collection of other add-ons. Even so, it’s one of the best all-in-one solutions for Kodi, covering movies, sports, TV shows and more.
One of the standout offerings in SkyNet is The Magic Dragon, a video add-on that has a unique advantage over other Kodi streaming platforms in that it has reliable sources for 4K content. We were able to get newer movies, such as A Quiet Place and Annihilation, running without any hiccups.
SkyNet needs the Maverick and Supremacy repos installed in order to work because it pulls add-ons from them. We weren’t able to track down SkyNet in either of those, though. If you want it, your best bet is to use Kodil, which you can download at http://bit.ly/kodilrepo.
Staying Safe with Kodi
Now, you should be bursting at the seams with new content to stream, but before you press “play,” you should connect to a VPN. Long story short, Kodi is legal, but piracy is not.
Just as you would use the best VPN for torrenting when torrenting, you should use the best VPN for Kodi when using Kodi. A VPN will encrypt the traffic flowing out of your Kodi box, so no one, including your ISP, the government or network snoopers, will know what you’re doing, regardless of whether it violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Plus, a lot of content you’ll encounter on Kodi is geoblocked, meaning it’s restricted to being streamed only in certain parts of the world. A VPN can make you appear as though you’re in another location, so BBC iPlayer will think you’re in the UK when you want to watch Graham Norton and Netflix will think you’re in the U.S. when you want to binge watch House of Cards.
ExpressVPN is our first pick, and not just for for Kodi. It’s our choice for the best VPN for streaming and the best VPN overall. It has a knack for bypassing harsh censorship, great speeds and impressive security practices, to boot. You can learn more about it in our ExpressVPN review.
Kodi, even with all of its quirks, remains a treasure trove of media. Official add-ons focus on organizing your content, configuring your peripherals and improving the user experience. Unofficial add-ons, on the other hand, offer a wealth of movies, TV shows, music and more that even the top streaming platforms can’t contend with.
While exciting, you need to handle the business end of things before diving in. A VPN is critical when using Kodi because it will allow you to access region-locked content and stay protected from prosecution. Plus, it’s nice knowing that whatever weird add-ons you decide to access won’t be logged by a creep.
What add-ons are you going to install? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.