Popcorn Time is a free software which has become a favorite alternative to subscription-based streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu. It gained popularity mostly due to the word “free,” and also because it’s easy to use. Its thumbnail-type presentation of movies and shows looks a lot like Netflix, and you can search titles based on categories and genres.
When you select a movie, Popcorn Time downloads it using the BitTorrent protocol. At the same time, Popcorn Time seeds the movie to other users. In effect, Popcorn Time users are downloading and uploading the movies they watch. In most countries, doing this with copyrighted material is illegal. Popcorn Time had faced pressures from copyright owners, which eventually led to its shutdown in 2015.
— Techworm (@Techworm_in) November 5, 2015
After it was taken down, many Popcorn Time imitators showed up, confusing BitTorrent users, but the real Popcorn Time did come back a few months later. Check out this tweet from Popcorn Time’s official Twitter account so you won’t get fooled:
When you’re using the legit Popcorn Time, the nature of the used protocol (BitTorrent) requires you to protect your privacy. There is currently no better privacy solution than a VPN.
How to use VPN with Popcorn Time
Popcorn Time is best used with a VPN, especially ones that allow for torrenting. Some Popcorn Time imitators claim to have a free, built-in VPN, but free VPNs are problematic—they may contain malware, show invasive ads, or log your activities and data that can be sold to data brokers.
Knowing these issues, you can still use a VPN with Popcorn Time by following these instructions:
- Select a provider from our list of the top VPN 10 providers we have reviewed for you. We tested these providers and found them to be reliable, heavily secured, and priced reasonably. We also tested their customer support and connection speeds. You can read the test results in our reviews.
- Download and install the VPN app on your device. VPNs have different installation instructions, so check their website, most are able to self install with directions anyone can follow.
- Select a server near you, and connect to it. You will be prompted to do this after the first run of the software. You can choose a different server later.
- Open Popcorn Time, select a movie, and enjoy!
What you have done is encrypt your connection so that your download/upload activity is hidden from those looking to hand out DMCA notices.
— Rocky (@RockyBoyBB2004) September 23, 2017
Why you need a Popcorn Time VPN
As mentioned earlier, Popcorn Time uses BitTorrent, a protocol for P2P file sharing. Torrenting though is questionable in terms of legality. In 2015, 11 people who watched The Cobbler (which was a terrible movie) on Popcorn Time were sued over copyright infringement by the film’s producers (probably trying to make back ANY money off this flop). That same year, another 16 users were sued for watching the movie Survivor using the Popcorn Time app.
We could go on and on about other instances of copyright owners suing people who downloaded movies, but you get the picture.
— Redmond Pie (@RedmondPie) August 22, 2015
Media corporations behind these lawsuits say that they are doing this to warn people about illegally downloading movies. What these companies do:
- They hire someone to go to BitTorrent sites and download the movies.
- After downloading, they can see the IP addresses of everyone who already made the downloads.
- They trace the ISP of these users.
- The ISP then notify these users, saying they infringed on copyright.
- The media company, when they file a lawsuit, hands over to a court the list of IP addresses.
This is how any media company can find you. Yes, you. Look, even our website can pinpoint your location using a simple tool. Our tool is just for fun, and to show you how easy it is to discover things about people via their IP address, which is a piece of information EVERY website on earth has access to!
It will serve you well to use a VPN and not to worry about your ISP or media corporations tracing your IP address. A VPN protects you from such situations because it masks your IP address. When you connect to a VPN server, it will request the connection to Popcorn Time using its own IP address. The VPN’s IP address will be the one shown on BitTorrent as the downloader. Your identity will remain hidden so that you can watch anything on Popcorn Time. The encryption protects you from your own ISP, and anyone else tapping into your connection.
Criteria in choosing a Popcorn Time VPN
When you search for VPN providers online, you will be bombarded with hundreds of options. Most, if not all, of these providers claim to be the best and that they work with Popcorn Time and other streaming platforms. With all these choices, how should you choose a Popcorn Time VPN? Our reviews make many suggestions, read them and look for those which:
- Allows P2P traffic.
- Use heavy encryption.
- Doesn’t cause significant latency.
- Has multiple servers around the globe to bypass geo-blocking.
If the VPN provider has these characteristics, you will be able to use Popcorn Time with no worries and to the fullest extent as you can now access geo-restricted content as well.
Why you need a VPN in general
VPNs do more than protect you while on Popcorn Time. Their built-in encryption protects your network traffic from hackers, advertisers, your ISP, and the government. A VPN is becoming a necessity nowadays, especially with browser fingerprinting where going on private mode is no longer private.
🎵 Private mode is not private 🎵 pic.twitter.com/0bNZhl4Jye
— Konrad Dzwinel (@kdzwinel) September 19, 2018
Thanks to a VPN, your privacy will be better secured.
Another benefit of a VPN is anonymity. The fact that your real IP address is hidden in every connection request (not just in Popcorn Time) is impressive. Servers who check IP addresses of people who access their websites will see the VPN’s IP address and not yours. This works well in circumventing geographical restrictions on certain websites and media servers. If you want to access another country’s sites that aren’t available in your home country (America-only YouTube, anyone?), simply connect to a VPN server located in that country. You’ll have all kinds of time for popcorn eating while watching content from all over the world… and from Popcorn Time!