Popcorn Time is a free streaming program that lets you easily access the latest movies and TV shows. That includes programming often not available with subscription-based services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, and even occasionally movies still in theaters.
While its clean look and ease of use give it the air of a legitimate service, Popcorn Time works based on torrent (peer-to-peer file sharing) technology, meaning copyright issues could be in play depending on where you’re located. Bittorrent is also rife with potential privacy and security concerns, which is why it’s probably in your best interest read up on torrenting and its risks before you start downloading content.
In a nutshell, though, the easiest way to stay protected while using Popcorn Time is to keep outsiders from monitoring your binge watching by spoofing your IP address and physical location. Luckily, that’s easier than it sounds: all you need is a reliable VPN service.
We’ve written about the VPN field at large, with several VPN reviews to our name. During this roundup, we’ll consider the best VPN services for Popcorn Time to help you get your movie fix safely. While ExpressVPN easily ranks as our favorite, the other four VPNs we suggest each have merits of their own.
The Best VPN for Popcorn Time
- Payment methods PayPal, Credit card, AliPay
- Simultaneous connections 3
- Bandwidth cap
- Allows torrenting
- Payment methods PayPal, Credit card, AliPay
- Simultaneous connections 6
- Bandwidth cap
- Allows torrenting
What Makes a VPN Service Best for Popcorn Time?
In order to enjoy Popcorn Time, you’ll want a VPN service that only minimally impacts your Internet speed and reliably maintains connection. You want to be engrossed in your show, not falling asleep while your movie buffers or, worse, left screaming when the connection cuts off during a critical moment in the plot.
In addition to speed and reliability, you’ll also want to use a VPN that takes privacy seriously. While there are many great, free VPN options, those services aren’t opposed to selling your Internet-usage data to make a buck.
Our top five Popcorn Time VPNs offer different features like OpenVPN, AES encryption and kill switches to make make sure nobody can track your activity. On top of that, these services guarantee that no logs of your data are kept that could later be sold for profit or turned over to copyright lawyers.
Finally, if you’re looking to stream content from different regions of the world (and circumvent geoblocks), you want a VPN that has servers in many different countries. ExpressVPN, for example, has VPN servers in 94 countries, the most of any VPN service we’ve reviewed and one of the reasons it’s our top choice for using with Popcorn Time.
Let’s look at each of our top five providers, how they perform on the key criteria of speed, reliability and security, in addition to other features important to the selection process.
One of the largest players in the market, ExpressVPN is great for any kind of streaming media. That’s why it ranks as the best VPN for Netflix and best VPN for BBC iPlayer, in addition to being our pick for Popcorn Time.
With thousands of servers in 94 countries and 140 cities, users can watch content regardless of their physical location. Having servers in many locations also means there’s more likely to be a server near you, so you’re not left having to route traffic halfway around the world, plus fewer users on each server, which also impacts performance.
Because of ExpressVPN’s speed and reliability, Popcorn Time routes smoothly through its servers so that you can watch your programs uninterrupted. Cloudwards.net’s internal tests, in fact, found ExpressVPN to be the fastest VPN on the market today.
Another plus for Bittorrent users who don’t want to be punished by their ISP for their peer-to-peer playtime is the fact that ExpressVPN has a killswitch that cuts off Internet activity in the event the VPN connection fails. This prevents your data from suddenly being exposed to unwanted eyes.
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which has stronger laws regarding privacy than the U.S. On top of that, ExpressVPN has a strong no-logging policy, so your online activity won’t end up in somebody’s database.
Other Reasons Why We Like ExpressVPN
For those with multiple devices, ExpressVPN allows you to connect three at a time, so you can watch your show, pay your bills and log into your work server on different devices using the same subscription. Mobile apps for Android and iOS let you protect your smartphones, too.
Both desktop and mobile clients include a speedtest feature so you can find the fastest server connection near you, and ExpressVPN promises to never limit your bandwidth.
- Very fast speeds
- 1500 servers in 94 countries
- Great security & no logs
- Only 3 simultaneous connections
- Slow initial server connection
- Pricer than other options
With servers in 68 countries and support for six simultaneous connections, VPNArea is a strong second choice for Popcorn Time. Accounts come with unlimited bandwidth to access reliable servers, making it an excellent choice for stream video. The price is a little higher than other VPNs, but its other features make it a worthwhile investment for many.
VPNArea uses AES-256 bit encryption to secure its OpenVPN tunnels and a private DNS server, so you can be comfortable knowing that your data is secure. This means that not only your Popcorn Time stream, but any other personal information sent over the Internet.
VPNArea implements additional security features to protect users, too, like DNS-leak protection and anti-WebRTC protection. Logs of your activity aren’t kept, either.
Other Reasons Why We Like VPNArea
VPNArea also has apps that work on many different operating systems and devices, including Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android and iOS. However, it should be noted that desktop client could use some refinement.
The inclusion of six simultaneous device connections better than most services, including ExpressVPN. Read our VPNArea review to learn more about how this service can keep your data safe.
- Servers in 68 countries & growing
- Unlimited bandwidth & reliable connection
- Hosted in Switzerland
- Higher pricing
- No 24/7 support
- Desktop app needs improvement
Third on our list is NordVPN, another strong contender for streaming Popcorn Time since it supports P2P traffic and allows up to six simultaneous connections. With so many connections allowed, NordVPN is a great choice for families who want to be able to watch Stranger Things and Game of Thrones at the same time.
NordVPN has hosts in 57 countries, fewer than our first two options, and doesn’t have quite the same speed. However, if bandwidth is less of an issue for your home setup, NordVPN is a great option. It’s fairly easy to set up unless you’re a Linux user (there’s no Linux client) and will let you stream Popcorn Time with total security.
Another company focused on user privacy, NordVPN has a number of security features that ensure user information isn’t compromised. That includes a double encryption system. This means that data is encrypted and then encrypted again, making it almost impossible to decrypt. This is great for the most privacy-conscious consumers.
Other Reasons Why We Like NordVPN
Cheaper than the first two options, though not the cheapest on the market, NordVPN brings a combination of positive, privacy-focused features that make it an excellent choice for streaming the latest blockbuster movies or binge-watching TV shows.
Read our complete NordVPN review for more details.
- Six simultaneous connections
- Servers in 57 countries
- Smart DNS
- Not as fast as other options
- Requires manual setup for routers
- No native option for Linux
Our fourth VPN contender for using Popcorn Time is IPVanish, a reliable, secure VPN that makes it easy to choose a fast server by listing ping times. When you’re streaming video peer-to-peer, those microsecond differences can make a big difference. 850 servers in over 60 countries doesn’t hurt, either.
IPVanish supports Bittorrent, but as a U.S.-based provider, some users may be scared off from using it for Popcorn Time since its location makes it somewhat more subject to U.S. laws and oversight than VPNs headquartered outside the U.S.
However, with access to 40,000 shared IPs, automated IP-switching and a strong no-logging policy, chances are your tracks are going to be pretty well covered. A kill switch will also ensure that if the VPN connection drops, you won’t be inadvertently unmasked.
Other Reasons Why We Like IPVanish
In addition to its many servers, IPVanish also includes a SOCKS5 proxy, which masks your IP address like a VPN but doesn’t encrypt your data. The advantage is that by sacrificing a little security, you can get much faster data speeds (encryption takes time).
- 40,000+ shared IPs
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Transparent server times
- U.S.-based service
- Slower service
- Higher price
Last on our list, but still a great option for streaming Popcorn Time, is Private Internet Access (PIA). This VPN is cost effective, especially when you purchase an annual subscription instead of a monthly one, while still providing users a good quality of service.
PIA has significantly less country representation than other top VPNs, with only 24 locations. However, testing still found that the VPN service delivers consistent and reliable speeds.
Like IPVanish, it’s important to note that PIA VPN is headquartered in the U.S., making it more easily subject to U.S. copyright oversight. Also like IPVanish, though, that should be an issue thanks to a no-logging policy and strong security features.
PIA includes DNS-leak protection in the software client and a kill switch to keep your Popcorn Time use safe from being accidentally revealed to your ISP.
Other Reasons Why We Like Private Internet Access
Allowing up to five simultaneous connections, PIA is another great option for users who want to be able to stream on multiple devices. PIA also offers a built-in blocker for adware and malware, adding another layer of safety to your browsing experience.
With consistent speeds, thousands of servers across the globe, and support for all major devices, PIA is a great choice for protecting your browsing, banking, streaming and playing. We discuss all of the advantages of VPNs over on our detailed PIA review.
- Low cost
- Excellent Linux support
- Five simultaneous connections
- U.S.-based business
- Servers in 24 countries
- Mediocre customer service
If you’re looking to watch the latest major dramas and comedies in your bathrobe and you want regional content only available in other countries, Popcorn Time provides a user-friendly means of access. Using a VPN that is fast, reliable and secure ensures that you can stream in comfort.
It is important to note that, while the technology behind Popcorn Time is itself legal, some of the content available may run afoul of local copyright laws. While we wouldn’t advocate doing anything illegal, if you were to stream copyrighted content (accidentally), a strong VPN service would (hypothetically) prevent anybody from finding out about your mistake.
Moreover, VPNs offer a measure of protection against those who would do you harm. While Bittorrent technology may seem like a great idea, without a VPN your activity in the P2P network is easily monitored by anyone, not just ISPs and copyright lawyers.
Most of the best VPN services offer money-back guarantees, so take advantage of the trial period to ensure that the VPN meets your needs not only for streaming content, but also for protecting your personal information and browsing history. It’s a great way to give yourself some privacy in a world with increasing oversight and tracking.
If you have any questions about these services, or want to mention one we missed, let us know in the comments, below. We love hearing new thoughts on VPN services and want to make sure you’re finding our reviews informative and on point.