Gone are the days of sneaking on to someone else’s Netflix account, or having to subscribe to Netflix at all. Comprising numerous platforms, Popcorn Time is a software app which gives you a free alternative to streaming services that require a subscription, like Netflix. It’s free and can provide a seamless streaming experience—all you have to do is to sit back and relax as you watch any movie, at any time and anywhere.
Often, however, you may find that your access to Popcorn Time is restricted or unsafe; in such cases you will need a VPN to access content.
While paying for a VPN defeats the point of not having to pay for Popcorn Time, there is a way around this problem.
In this article, you will find out about VPN service brands that can offer a free VPN for Popcorn Time, ensuring a fun, hassle-free Popcorn Time experience. We will also discuss a few VPN providers to avoid.
Why you should use a free VPN for Popcorn Time
While you can stream content on Popcorn Time without using a VPN, you could face issues pertaining to the legality of the content you download within your country, or you could have security problems on your mobile device or computer. When you select content to stream, Popcorn Time downloads it using BitTorrent protocols. Since Popcorn Time uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, content is shared with other people when it begins to download. The content is available until the TV programme or movie is deleted, or the Popcorn Time app is closed.
When a user streams content on Popcorn Time using a VPN, the traffic is safe and secure.
A VPN helps deter someone from peeping into your computer or device to see what you are doing online. Countries including the UK, Belgium, Germany and Australia, among others, have instructed internet service providers to block Popcorn Time’s streaming services because of copyright issues. So, unless you use a VPN, you could face legal problems and be punished for streaming pirated content.
Free VPNs are usually fine, but you have to keep in mind that they do not have all the features you would find with paid versions.
It’s also likely that the security and speed are not always on par with what is needed to have a seamless content streaming experience. Streaming movies and videos requires a good connection and sufficient bandwidth, but the majority of free VPN services will limit these features.
The location and number of servers are also important factors, but most free VPN services have limited servers that are used for P2P content streaming or torrenting. If that is the case, there may be issues with traffic if many people are using the servers. VPN providers that gather, store or share your personal information also need be avoided because they compromise your privacy. There are other VPNs that cap data transfer, meaning you cannot stream a reasonable amount of content. Read on for more information on some of the best free VPN services you can use with Popcorn Time.
Many free VPNs have data caps that are too low, but Windscribe has a generous 10GB per month data limit if you feed in your email; if you don’t, you can still enjoy 2GB data per month. Although the default data tunnelling protocol for Windscribe is IPsec/IKEv2, you can also choose OpenVPN, which uses AES-256 data encryption, the strongest so far. Users can also use TCP, UDS, or Stealth, which is TCP via STunnel. The STunnel feature is mostly applicable when other options do not work. For instance, if you are trying to connect to a server in China, you can use the STunnel option; however, it is also the slowest option.
Windscribe additionally has the added security of a firewall. The free version of the VPN is limited to 11 countries and will work for users on Mac, Android, iOS and Windows. Windscribe is based outside Toronto, Canada. Although it is outside U.S. law enforcement agencies, you may still have issues with data privacy.
2. ZoogVPN ‣
ZoogVPN was formerly known as ZoogTV. The VPN provider is based in Greece, a country that has excellent privacy laws and is outside the “Fourteen Eyes”, according to information on their official website. Free users are protected using 128-bit encryption, which is strong, albeit weaker than 256-bit encryption. The encryption comes along with an authentic SHA256 and RSA-2048 handshake, all of which help to support different protocols like PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv and OpenVPN.
Furthermore, the VPN service does not pry into users’ online activities. ZoogVPN also has its own DNS servers, which reinforces security and privacy. The VPN is compatible with operating systems including Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS or even routers. It has servers in Hong Kong, but this does not make it accessible in China. The free service has three servers, and users can only connect on one device. It also has limited monthly data of 2GB. Another downside is that ZoogVPN does not have a kill switch, which can leave users’ IPs exposed if the VPNs connections fail.
3. Speedify ‣
Speedify focuses, as its name suggests, on providing encryption at high speeds. While the speeds on the free tier may not be as high as on the paid version, they are still quite good, and the service will make use of all available internet connections to give you a great performance and user experience. On the free plan, you can enjoy the same number of servers as on the paid plan, with the only difference being the data on offer. As a free user, you will only get 4GB of data for the first month, and 1GB for subsequent months. That much data will only be enough for some simple surfing and not for serious content streaming.
Speedify can be used across five devices and is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android or iOS. It does offer some ChaCha – or AES-based encryption algorithms, and it can be used in China, where one of its servers is located, although caution is advised. This VPN service is optimized for BitTorrent and P2P activity.
4. ProtonVPN ‣
The free tier of the ProtonVPN service provides unlimited data, but it is slower than the paid version. ProtonVPN is serious about keeping users’ identities safe. They house some of their servers in a Swiss fallout shelter from the Cold War era that is 3,000 feet underground. The VPN works on Windows and Mac, as well as Android; however, if you are connecting to its servers using Linux and iOS, it uses a third-party service, OpenVPN. You can also tap into ProtonVPN’s network using a router that runs DD-WRT, AsusWRT or pfSense firmware. To add to its security features, ProtonVPN integrates the Tor anonymity network.
When you go to their website, there is an online tutorial which walks you through the manual set up of Android, iOS, Windows 10 and Blackberry devices using the tunnelling protocol IKEv2/IPsec, rather than OpenVPN. The VPN provider says it retains no logs and does not track or even record internet activity, but it may prove problematic for users in China.
ProtonVPN also has a kill switch, which is an important feature that helps with privacy. Some free VPNs do not have this feature, which helps protect a user’s IP address when the VPN server loses a connection, by ensuring that nobody eavesdrops on the internet connection. The traffic on ProtonVPN is encrypted using AES-256 encryption and tunneled through time-tested OpenVPN protocols. Remember that OpenVPN is provided through a third party, which is potentially questionable.
ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, so users do not have issues with law enforcement agencies from the U.S. and the European Union. Swiss privacy laws are among the strongest, giving users confidence that their internet activities are not monitored by surveillance agencies and their data is adequately protected. However, it is crucial to know that Switzerland is among the members of Interpol, and users of the free servers cannot access the Secure Core servers of ProtonVPN that are located in Sweden, Iceland and Switzerland.
A SurfEasy free account is a good option if you are looking for sound encryption as you use Popcorn Time. Users in China can try SurfEasy because it is able to bypass firewalls and other common types of internet censorship, but it is still advisable to tread cautiously. The free account does have restrictions in that you will not be able to switch server regions. You will also not get unlimited data protection in case of connectivity problems, which could leave your IP address exposed.
Free users will be given a 500MB data cap every month, which is low, but can be used to stream across five devices. More data can be earned by completing tasks such as inviting friends to join SurfEasy, which will get you a further 500MB every month. SurfEasy is available on the major operating platforms—Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. It is also available on Amazon and has extensions on the Chrome and Opera browsers.
The Hide Me VPN delivers what it promises. It has very decent connectivity, and its data limit is exciting for serious content streamers. This VPN service provider is perhaps best known for not having a bandwidth cap, even for its free users. It also does not feed users with ads, which can be annoying when streaming content on Popcorn Time and other entertainment platforms. This VPN service provider is known for security, speed and transparency.
It does not keep logs and is compatible with all the major operating platforms, including Mac, Windows, Android and iOS. The protocols used by the Hide Me free version are PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2 and IKEv2. However, free users cannot access OpenVPN. The level of data encryption is high, as Hide Me uses AES-256 to protect its network. By default, Hide Me protects users against DNS leaks and IP leaks. Users can also use the Hide Me VPN in China because it bypasses the Great Firewall.
A built-in firewall helps limit outgoing and incoming connections within the VPN servers, meaning that it is not possible for IP leaks to occur. A kill switch is a feature you do not find with many free VPNs, but Hide Me goes a step further to provide this privacy tool. The kill switch will terminate all outgoing connections when the VPN connection is interrupted. Hide Me is based in Malaysia, and it has no ties with Western governments. It is not by law forced to log information or store internet activity logs. Regardless of whether you use the free or the paid version, you get technical support 24/7. A limitation of the free Hide Me VPN service is that, while paying users have access to more than 34 servers, you have a choice of only 3 server locations: the Netherlands, Canada and Singapore. You can also only connect one device, and there is a monthly limit of 2GB of data transfer.
How to use a free VPN for Popcorn Time
Most VPN services are easy to use and follow a similar pattern. The trick is to have a VPN that offers decent speeds, allows P2P streaming and torrenting, and has solid encryption. It is also advisable to get a VPN that has a strict no log policy. To use a VPN for Popcorn Time, you need to download and install the Popcorn Time service on your device. For the installation to go well, make sure that you download the Popcorn Time version that is compatible with your operating platform. Popcorn Time runs on different platforms including Mac, Linux, Windows, Android and iOS.
You should then go to your free VPN service, which can be accessed using your login details. Once in your VPN account, you can set your preferences and select the server location. You will need to establish an internet connection, and then you are set to begin running Popcorn Time safely and enjoy the show.
The best free VPNs for Popcorn Time: top 2 picks
While it’s not recommended that you use free VPNs when streaming content that is considered illegal or infringes copyright laws as with the case of Popcorn Time, Windscribe VPN and ProtonVPN are reasonable choices.
Windscribe’s 10GB data cap per month is not bad. It also has a larger number of servers that free users can access. While regular VPN services are threatened by surveillance on the servers, ProtonVPN prevents this activity by routing traffic through a secure core network within countries that are considered privacy-friendly, like Iceland and Switzerland. This means that even when there is an endpoint server that is comprised, it cannot reveal your original IP address. Despite being a reliable VPN with unlimited bandwidth, ProtonVPN has shortcomings. For instance, a user on the free tier is only allowed to connect to servers in Japan, the U.S. and the Netherlands. The speeds have also been throttled so you will not enjoy blazing fast speeds. That said, you can still stream content on the Popcorn Time app.
Some free VPNs for Popcorn Time to avoid
Betternet VPN is also not a good choice because it has issues with logging personal information. It shows third-party ads, and has low speeds for HD video and movie streaming. This VPN provider also has no kill switch, keeps tracking libraries and is based in Canada, a country in the 5-Eyes surveillance group. VPN Gate has some of the worst privacy and security policies. Its speed is low, and it does not offer proper VPN protocols.
Before you choose a free VPN, look at what it offers. Cases of users’ data privacy being infringed by VPN services are on the rise, and even the big names in VPN services are not exempt.
Free VPN for Popcorn Time: the bottom line
Choosing a free VPN for torrenting and P2P can be tricky, because many of these services have flaws. If you are in China and want to access content on the Popcorn Time platform, you can use ZoogVPN, Hide Me VPN and Windscribe. ProtonVPN has trouble bypassing the Great Firewall. Because free VPNs have data limits, you want to see which service allows you to have a good experience with reliable bandwidth. ZoogVPN’s free tier service is ideal for simple internet activities. The 2GB bandwidth is relatively small for any meaningful Popcorn Time streaming experience, but maybe one or two movies can work out for you.
If you are considering a free VPN for Popcorn Time that will not be frustrating in terms of bandwidth and the amount of data, then consider ProtonVPN and maybe Windscribe. If you are a user who is very conscious about privacy laws, you can use Hide Me VPN, but the 2GB data limit constrains a heavy content streaming experience on Popcorn Time.