Last update: 05.30.2019
Summoning popcorn can be a dangerous activity in this day and age. As streaming becomes the preferred method of watching films and TV shows, the amount of exclusive content only available on specific platforms grows. But users are smart – instead of spending lots of money on subscriptions, they turn to torrenting and piracy-based streaming services, like Popcorn Time. The issue? Basically, it’s illegal and dangerous.
Copyright owners can easily see who’s pirating their content on Popcorn Time, and they can sue your socks off! So, do you need a VPN for Popcorn Time? Most likely you do.
Why using a VPN for Popcorn Time makes sense?
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are a popular method of accessing the internet securely. When you connect to a VPN and use the internet, all your traffic is encrypted and its route changes, making it nigh on impossible to tell what you’re doing.
Since Popcorn Time is essentially a BitTorrent client, watching something through it exposes your IP address to anyone looking at the list of users connected to the torrent. There is very little standing between you and your IP address, which is usually the unique number identifying your wifi router in the wider online realm. In other words, by seeing your IP on a torrent connections list, the copyright owner (or the police) will know that someone using your router has broken the law.
The VPN is a way to solve this issue: it changes your IP to one provided by the VPN service. Now the copyright owner will only be able to trace you to the VPN server and you can eat your popcorn in peace.
How to choose the best VPN for Popcorn Time
It’s important to do your research before buying a VPN subscription – they are not all created equal. Here are the things to look out for:
- Make sure the service permits peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading. Many VPN services block P2P traffic on the network to save bandwidth and the hassle of dealing with copyright infringement notices.
- A user-friendly stance on copyright issues. Some VPNs allow P2P but will not protect you from copyright complaints.
- Nearby P2P-enabled server locations. Many VPN services will only allow torrenting on certain servers. If these are far away from your location, the connection speed will suffer.
- Good speed and performance. Nothing is more annoying than staring at the download progress on your torrent client, so find a VPN that doesn’t completely destroy your connection.
- Strong encryption and a kill switch. The first is self-explanatory, whereas the kill switch is a feature that will prevent your computer from reconnecting to the Popcorn Time video should you get cut off from the VPN server. This stops your real IP address from leaking.
- Bonus features for torrenting. Some VPN suites will offer additional features that are useful for torrenters. For example, port forwarding is necessary to maintain a download/upload ratio. A SOCKS proxy can be set up directly on the torrent app if you’re not interested in protecting any of your other traffic.
- A decent price. This one’s obvious – who likes overpaying? With that said, don’t be tempted by free VPN services. They’re usually terrible and will do you more harm than good.
For some suggestions on good service providers, check our Best VPN for Popcorn Time list.
Besides Popcorn Time, what else is a VPN good for?
Having peace of mind is great, but you may still hesitate whether the price is worth it. With that said, a VPN can be useful for a lot more than just safety on Popcorn Time or other torrent clients.
Hiding your IP and encrypting your data can be helpful in various situations.
Firstly, it will help you fight errors along the lines of “this content is not available in your area.” The internet determines your location by your IP address, so if you’d like to access Netflix US – just connect to a VPN server in the US.
If you’re someone who spends a lot of time in online cafes or airports, you can benefit from the security given by data encryption. Public hotspots are bountiful hunting grounds for hackers, who place themselves between you and the wifi router, listening in on your data in the process. Unfortunately for them, encrypted data is useless without the key.
Finally, VPNs are great for maintaining your privacy and anonymity on the internet. With each year the level of government and commercial surveillance online grows. A good VPN is an important step to take your freedom back.