Kodi has emerged from nowhere to become an essential entertainment tool for millions of people around the world. Based on open source software, this app makes it easy to stream music, films, TV, sports, social media content, and even video games via computers, TVs, or consoles. So its success isn’t a mystery.
But as Kodi has become more popular, it has become less safe to use. Spurred by rising copyright violations, some rights holders have taken legal action against Kodi add-ons which allow illicit streaming.
As a result, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have become a popular way to protect Kodi users. Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the best of the bunch, but it’s not perfect. This review will explain why it’s useful for Kodi users, and offer some tips to help you decide whether PIA is the privacy tool you need.
Why is it so important to use VPNs with Kodi?
Before getting into the details of whether PIA is the right VPN for Kodi, it’s probably useful to summarize why all Kodi users should invest in a reliable Virtual Private Network.
Fundamentally, it’s all about privacy. In recent years, the legal environment has become more hostile to illegal streaming, and Kodi is one of the biggest platforms for streaming movies, TV and sports. As a result, it (or Kodi add-on developers) has been the target of law enforcement actions across the world.
VPNs provide an extra layer of protection for Kodi users, allowing them to neutralize this new scrutiny from law enforcement agencies.
By scrambling your IP address, VPNs make it very hard to detect your identity and location.
By encrypting your traffic, they make it almost impossible for outsider to know which services you are using, and what you are downloading.
Another reason to use a VPN with Kodi is to work around georestrictions. Many legitimate Kodi add-ons impose geo-blockers on users, limiting access for those in certain jurisdictions. This can drastically reduce your entertainment options, and nobody needs that. By changing your IP and location, VPNs can render these barriers inoperative – freeing users to enjoy any content.
We mentioned the word “reliable” earlier, and there’s a reason for that. If you’re worried about your ISP or the state detecting your IP address, you can’t afford any IP leaks. Free and low-quality VPNs are notorious for disclosing IP details, but industry leaders like PIA are far less prone to these problems.
Is Private Internet Access Kodi friendly?
PIA has a very strong reputation in the P2P and streaming community, and that extends to Kodi.
Since Kodi became mainstream in 2016/2017, PIA has been one of the most commonly used VPNs on the platform, and it offers a variety of features which make it an appealing option.
When you use PIA on Kodi, you’ll benefit from 256-bit AES encryption, which is the industry gold standard. The VPN also uses OpenVPN protocols, which are ideal for working with the Kodi app.
The chances are, you won’t just need your VPN to run Kodi, and you may want to have a VPN for a Kodi box, a smartphone and a desktop. PIA caters for 5 simultaneous devices, so it’s a good all-round security package.
When you use the PIA VPN Kodi won’t struggle to deliver the content you love. With no bandwidth restrictions, it should be just like watching a cable TV connection.
Failsafe DNS and IP protection
PIA has a very good record when it comes to minimizing IP and DNS leaks. But if there is a problem, the VPN comes with a kill switch, which shuts off your internet connection until any issues are resolved.
Have there been any problems associated with using PIA on Kodi?
No software is foolproof, and users have encountered a few problems when using Private Internet Access for Kodi.
- Firstly, while Private Internet Access Kodi speeds are quick, they aren’t ultra-fast. If you shop around, you should be able to find services that are a little faster.
- What about unblocking sites like Netflix? PIA promises to “unblock censorship filters”, but this isn’t exactly the same as combating commercial geoblocks.
Many users have reported difficulties accessing Netflix when PIA is running, and this has been happening for a few years.
So if you’re hoping to use Kodi to access major corporate streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, think again. It’s just not an option right now.
However, the team at PIA stated in mid-2018 that they “[did] currently have a project that’s in development on how to unblock Netflix (and other geoblocked content streamers), but there is no definitive timescale on release on that.” So watch this space.
Additionally, if they are thinking of using the PIA VPN Kodi firestick users might want to reconsider. Amazon Firesticks are a popular way to run Kodi, and they can be protected with VPNs like any device. However, setting up PIA on a firestick is a complicated process, and other VPNs such as IPVanish or ExpressVPN will probably be better options.
Setting up PIA on Kodi with the Kodi VPN Manager
If you’re a user of the PIA VPN Kodi setups are fairly easy to configure. The first way to do so is via the Kodi VPN Manager. This tool is designed purely for Kodi’s interface, and should give the best results. Here’s how to ensure that it is configured properly.
- The first thing to do is download the Zomboided Kodi repository, which includes the VPN manager. You can find them via Kodi’s repo library.
- When Zomboided has been downloaded as a zip file, fire up Kodi. Now choose the “Add On” option.
- Click the installer icon in the top left hand corner of the next screen.
- On the next screen, choose the “Install from zip file” option.
- Now, search for the Zomboided repo zip file you downloaded earlier.
- When you’ve found the Zomboided Repository zip file, open it up. Now choose the “Install from repository” option.
- On the next screen, choose “Zomboided add-on repository”, followed by “Services”, then “VPN Manager for OpenVPN”.
- Choose the “Install” option.
- You’re almost there, but not quite done. Head back to the Kodi main menu.
- Navigate to “Program Add-Ons” then “Settings”. You’ll now have a chance to add information about Private Internet Access. Enter your login details, choose a protocol, and you’re almost good to go.
How to use PIA on Kodi
Now that you’ve created a PIA VPN Kodi configuration, you’re not quite done. You still need to know how to use PIA with the streaming platform, and there’s a bit more to this than meets the eye.
- Firstly, head to the VPN manager for OpenVPN. On the left, you’ll see a menu marked “VPN Connections.”
- Now choose the “First VPN connection” option on the menu to the right.
- The VPN Manager will try to authenticate your Private Internet Access account, which shouldn’t be a problem.
- When the authentication is done, you’ll see a list of available Private Internet Access Kodi servers. Choose a server you’d like to use and press “OK”
- Changing servers or disconnecting from PIA on Kodi
- Now you’re logged onto the PIA network, and everything you download or stream via Kodi will be encrypted. But there are some other things you can do if you want to configure your setup.
- For instance, you might want to change servers if the one you’ve chosen isn’t performing. Doing so is simple.
- To change servers, just head back to the VPN Manager for OpenVPN. Now, choose the “Change of disconnect VPN connection” option. This will call up the master list of Private Internet Access Kodi servers, and you can give any of them a try.
- If they want to disconnect entirely from the PIA VPN Kodi users can use the same menu. Just use the “Disconnect” button and your encryption and IP protection will instantly drop.
Conclusion: Should you use Private Internet Access for Kodi?
Having weighed up the strengths and weaknesses of PIA, and discussed how to use the VPN with Kodi, it’s clear that there are many good reasons to use PIA for your streaming activities.
PIA is happy to host P2P traffic, offers unlimited bandwidth, installs easily with Kodi, and has excellent security features. These features make it particularly good if you intend to use third party Kodi add-ons to access movie and TV libraries or live sports broadcasts.
But there’s an important catch. When you use Private Internet Access Kodi services like Netflix may not be accessible. The VPN cannot work around many geoblockers, and can’t access Netflix at all. This limits its effectiveness for accessing commercial add-ons for the Kodi platform.
It all depends on what you intend to use Kodi for. In any case, finding a good VPN is essential. PIA may or may not be ideal, but it’s certainly one of the best available.