Popcorn time is a streaming service that uses Torrents to stream you the latest movies and TV shows for free.
Sound too good to be true?
Well, that’s because it comes with a major downside; the fact that streaming copyrighted movies on this site is not only potentially illegal depending on where you live but that it is also fairly easy for people checking the service to find your IP address.
Top VPN Picks
As such, if you choose to use Popcorn Time, using a VPN is one way to protect your privacy. This article will take a look at what exactly Popcorn Time is, as well as try to find the best VPN to use when streaming movies on this service.
So, What Exactly Is Popcorn Time?
Popcorn Time is an app that allows you to stream TV shows and movies in high quality to your computer. It is open source, fast, and has a nice layout which makes finding shows and movies a breeze.
Unlike some paid for streaming services that restrict content depending on your location, it will usually have the latest releases available as well as a large selection of older movies.
The problem is that despite its slick design, using Popcorn Time to watch copyrighted shows is, in many countries, illegal. This is because it uses BitTorrent to stream the shows. Unlike traditional BitTorrent software that downloads the movie or show to your computer, Popcorn Time is able to stream it straight to your computer.
However, just because you aren’t actually downloading the content doesn’t mean it is ok. In fact, copyright holders who decide to check who is downloading their content will easily be able to see the IP addresses of those using Popcorn Time.
Popcorn Time itself has had a lot of legal trouble over the years. It has been taken down numerous times since its inception and has had to change its domains a number of times as it tries to avoid these legal issues.
There have even been high profile court cases involving people who use Popcorn Time to distribute and watch movies.
These issues bring us nicely onto our next section.
Popcorn Time Review & Tutorial
Why Would I Use A VPN With Popcorn Time?
You Download At Your Own Risk!
In theory, this means that you can use torrents and services such as Popcorn Time without either your ISP or people checking torrents knowing.
However, it is imperative to note that using a VPN by no means guarantees that you will not get caught when torrenting (check out this Reddit thread). If for example, your VPN goes down while you are torrenting, your real IP address will be revealed to anyone watching.
While some VPNs offer a ‘kill switch’ that stops the internet when the VPN goes down, not all services offer this and even if they do it is often a setting that you will have to turn on manually.
A VPN Helps Protect You
When you visit a website, the website owner can see your IP address. Furthermore, your ISP can see all the websites you browse when you use the internet. This means that when you torrent, your ISP can see that you are torrenting and anyone checking torrents can see your IP address.
When you use a VPN, your traffic is directed through a secure tunnel to a VPN server before continuing on to the website you chose to visit. This means that in theory websites will only be able to see the IP address used by the VPN server and your ISP will only be able to see that you have visited the VPN server.
Can I Use A Free VPN?
Using a free VPN may well allow you to watch movies using Popcorn Time. However, in reality, it is almost always better to use a paid for service. Let’s take a look at the two main options you will have for a free VPN.
‘Taster’ VPNs (Free Trials)
Many VPN providers offer a taster of their VPNs for people who want to try them for free. These VPNs will likely work fine and you may even be able to do a small amount of streaming using them.
However, the problem is that as these VPNs are designed to be a small taste of a full VPN service, there will often be restrictions. You will usually have a very limited amount of data that you can download. This may be ok for a bit of general web browsing but streaming movies requires a significant amount of bandwidth and you will likely burn through your allocation very quickly.
What these VPNs are useful for is checking out the service you will receive if you sign up to the full VPN service.
While a Free VPN undoubtedly seems like a great idea on paper, you should be aware that you will most likely be paying for the VPN in another way.
Hola VPN was one of the most popular VPNs due to its free service, ease of use and decent speeds. However, Hola made their money by selling the bandwidth of people who had the free VPN installed on their computer and a fast internet connection to people on their premium plan.
This means that while you were not paying for the service in terms of money, you were paying for the service by giving up your internet bandwidth. As well as this, most people will likely be unwilling to allow someone else to use their internet connection, especially as you would have no idea what they were doing with it.
Of course, even if the free VPN you use doesn’t sell off your bandwidth, when it comes to using a free one you will likely have a ton of other problems. Free VPNs don’t generally offer the same speeds as paid for ones and the very fact that it is free means that there are likely to be a lot of people competing for limited bandwidth.
Again this will depend on the free VPN you use, but free VPNs are unlikely to offer the same amount of security or dependability as paid for VPNs. When security is likely to be one of the main reasons for using a VPN it really does not make sense to use a free VPN.
A final reason to avoid using a free VPN is that many free VPNs have been found to contain viruses, spyware, and other nasty malware. In fact, the same report found some free VPNs don’t even encrypt your data as they should.
This means that not only are you not protecting your data as you expected but you are in fact putting yourself more at risk.
Best VPNs For Popcorn Time
AES 256-bit encryption. In fact, this is the only encryption option 😉
There’s also the ‘Double encryption’ feature, should you really love security!
Nord offers a Kill Switch, which will disconnect you from the internet should the VPN disconnect for some reason. This will stop you unknowingly downloading or streaming without a VPN. That would not be cool!
NordVPN offers a 3 day trial, and also a 30 day money back guarantee.
Features worldwide VPN servers with zero logging, a Kill Switch, and 256-bit encryption to help keep you private.
IPVanish has a 7 day money back guarantee and sadly no free trial.
This very popular VPN provider has 256-bit encryption on servers globally (in over 100 countries).
Has the very useful Speed Test tool to help you pick the fastest server to use at any one time. Just remember to factor in that you also need to hop onto whatever country you’re streaming from (if you know).
No free trial unfortunately, but there is a 30 day money back guarantee.
VyprVPN is brought to you by Golden Frog.
Has full encryption and NAT firewall, so you retain the level of protection that your router gives you (but you lose when the VPN ‘tunnels through’ the router).
Supports OpenVPN (as do the others) and the premium ‘Chameleon’ protocols, for those that want to get a little hardcore…A free 3 day trial offered by Golden Frog.
PIA (Private Internet Access)
PIA utilizes OpenVPN along with the Blowfish CBC algorithm. There’s also the Kill Switch option as mentioned before.
Much like the VyprVPN NAT firewall, PIA offer firewall capabilities via the Netfilter Project. Something to consider for optimum security.
Private Internet Access only provide a 7 day money back guarantee.
If you choose to watch movies using Popcorn Time, then a VPN is an excellent way to protect your privacy and reduce the chances of you getting caught.
While a free VPN may be tempting, we pointed out many reasons why using a free service may not be the best idea.
When looking for a VPN to use with Popcorn Time ideally you will want to make sure that it will work with torrents, that it was unlimited bandwidth, and that it has an internet kill switch to cut your connection if the VPN goes down.
However! Always remember that there are loads of paid for services out there that you can use that will not get you in any kind of trouble and that by paying for one of these services you will be contributing to the next movie or TV show that is made.