Today, we’ll be covering the top 4 VPNs for unblocking live IPTV anywhere in the world. You’ll learn what makes a good VPN, how to spoof your IP address to bypass geoblocks, and how to use a VPN with Kodi to access live IPTV streams.
Watching live IPTV is one of the primary uses of Kodi. Unfortunately, many sources of live IPTV content available on Kodi are geo-blocked. This means they can only be accessed from certain locations. Any access from elsewhere will be blocked. A VPN can help you circumvent these restrictions by spoofing your location.
We’ll begin our discussion with some background information on Virtual Private Networks, their benefits in general and the specific benefits when streaming live IPTV. Then, after discussing the most important features to consider when shopping for a VPN, we’ll reveal our top four VPN providers for streaming live IPTV.
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A Few Words About Virtual Private Networks
A Virtual Private Networks or VPN provides users with privacy and security while using the Internet. They encrypt all data transmitted or received using strong algorithms that make it virtually it undecipherable. They are referred to as virtual because they establish a virtual tunnel between the protected device and a remote VPN server. All data in or out of the protected device is encrypted before being forced through the tunnel. At the far end, data is decrypted and sent out on the Internet. The encryption is such that only the VPN server can decrypt data from the client and vice versa.
RELATED READING: VPN Encryption Guide
But if it the data is decrypted and then sent on the Internet ar the far end of the tunnel, how is it secure? This is a common question that we’ll try to answer. You get increased privacy because, even though the data is not encrypted between the far end of the tunnel and its destination, it is still untraceable to you or to your equipment. Once the data exits the tunnel, it is seen as originating from the VPN server, not from your computer.
But most importantly, someone (Internet Service Providers, government agencies or malicious users) trying to intercept your traffic and spy on you has to do that at your end. When using a VPN, this part of the communication is encrypted so anyone intercepting and examining your traffic would only see undecipherable data between you and a VPN server. They wouldn’t know where you’re going or what you’re doing.
Some Important Features Of Virtual Private Networks
In order to pick the top VPN providers, we have to identify some selection criteria. There are many different characteristics of Virtual Private Networks and VPN providers. Some are more important than others, though. Here’s an overview of what we believe to be the most important features of Virtual Private Networks
- Performance And Stability: Like it or not, using a VPN will add some network overhead that could slow down the communication. To minimize this, you need fast VPN servers. You also want the service to be available when you need it. For that, you need a reliable supplier, one with excellent uptime.
- Location And Number Of Servers: The main reason why you’d use a VPN with IPTV is to bypass geographical restrictions. So, you need a VPN provider that offers servers in many countries. At least, all the countries whose content you want to watch. You also want a provider with lots of servers in each country. Servers don’t have unlimited capacity and when they get too busy, they can slow down,
- Strong Encryption Parameters: This parameter is important when doing anything that requires privacy. This is what makes your data almost impossible to crack and will stop your ISP from snooping on you. The higher the encryption, the harder your data is to crack. Don’t accept anything below 128 bits but 256 bits or more is better.
- Available Software For Your Platform: We don’t always run Kodi on a Windows computer. Many Kodi set-top boxes run Android or Android TV. You need to choose a VPN provider that has client software for all the platforms you intend on using.
- Provision For Simultaneous Connections: We often have multiple devices that all need protection. Ideally, we want a single VPN account to protect all our devices. Some providers will only allow a single connection while other might permit up to five.
- Strict No-logging Policy : This is one of the most important features when it comes to safeguarding your privacy. Even if your VPN provider were hacked or were forced to reveal information about you or your online activities, you’d be protected if they didn’t keep any logs around to hand over.
Our Top Four Best VPNs For Live IPTV
After searching the market and testing many VPN providers, we’ve come up with the best four VPN for Live IPTV. Most of them meet all cour criteria and the ones that don’t have other interesting features that granted it a spot on our list.
ExpressVPN is best-known for its strong encryption protocols, the blazing speed of its servers, and the huge worldwide server network of over 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries. No matter what you want to watch and from where, chances are there is a server in the right country.
Like most other providers ExpressVPN uses the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES and perfect forward secrecy by default. It uses 4,096-bit DHE-RSA keys that are protected by a SHA-512 algorithm.
As far as logging policy goes, theirs is only a partial no-logging policy. However, the only data they keep are the servers users connect to and the dates which they do. Your privacy seems to be relatively well protected. Their Network Lock feature will block all internet traffic if the connection ever drops.
With an ExpressVPN subscription, you can connect a VPN from three devices simultaneously. There are desktop clients for Windows, MacOS, and Linux plus an Android app as well. You could also install the VPN software on a router. While they don’t offer preconfigured routers like some other providers do, they provide detailed instructions on how to set it up on over a dozen models of routers from various manufacturers
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
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- Reliable and fast connections
- Supports ALL devices
- Strict no-logs policy
- Live chat support available.
- Max 3 simultaneous connections
- Slightly more expensive than some other options.
NordVPN offers a true no-logging policy along with traffic encryption via 256-bit AES and 2,048-bit DH keys. Another feature they have on by default is DNS leak protection. Not all providers even have it. A NordVPN subscription lets you use their service from six devices, the highest among our top four providers.
Unlike other providers, NordVPN lets users pick servers based on usage preferences such as torrenting, anti-DDoS, or video streaming. They have 5,500+ servers spread across 60 countries. That’s a lot of servers. They have clients for Windows, MacOS, and Android. Although they don’t have a dedicated Linux client, they provide detailed instructions on how to set up their service on Linux. If you want to protect your whole house, they also offer four different models of preconfigured routers through a partnership with Flashrouters
Read our full NordVPN review.
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- Most VPN servers with different IP addresses
- Zero leaks: IP/DNS/WebRTC
- “Double” data protection
- Great support (24/7 chat).
- Very little
- Apps can be a bit cumbersome to use.
IPVanish primary feature is a fast service that emphasizes both security and privacy. They have a full no-logging policy and keep no data on their users. Even their employees wouldn’t be able to see what you’re doing.
By default, IPVanish uses the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit encryption. They feature SHA512 authentication and DHE-RSA 2,048-bit key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. With such parameters, you can be certain that past activity remains unavailable, even in the unlikely event that account were compromised. IPVanish also features a what they call a “kill switch” that will disconnect the network should the VPN disconnect unexpectedly.
With over 1,300 servers spread across some 75 locations worldwide, chance are you’ll find the country you need with IPVanish. A subscription allows up to five devices to connect simultaneously; the most on our list. They have client software for Windows and Macintosh computers ad they provide detailed instructions on how to set it up on Linux. They also have a pretty good Android client app. Like ExpressVPN, IPVanish provides detailed instructions for most well-known router brands and they also have partnerships with three suppliers offering routers with preinstalled IPVanish VPN software.
Read our full IPVanish review.
VyprVPN is well-known for its strong encryption protocols which are said to be the best in the business. They offer 24/7 online customer support, a free 3-day trial, and a vast server network of some 700 servers spread out all around the planet. It might not be as many servers as other providers on our list but it’s more than enough in most situations.
The biggest drawback of VyprVPN is that they don’t have a zero-logging policy. In fact, it’s one of the VPN Providers with the most logging. From what they’re saying, they store “the user’s source IP address, the VyprVPN IP address used by the user, connection start and stop time and the total number of bytes used.” However, They’re also saying that data is retained only for 30 days and is mainly used to improve the service. They also admittedly don’t log details of user activity.
VyperVPN encrypts data using the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys without perfect forward secrecy and SHA256 authentication. An internet kill switch is included.
Your VyprVPN Pro subscription grants you simultaneous access from up to three devices. They have client applications for Windows, MacOS, and Android. They also provide detailed Linux configuration instructions. VyprVPN offers a router app that installs over the Tomato OS, a customized operating system that runs on several routers from major manufacturers. They do provide some instructions but the level of detail appears to be somewhat limited.
Read our full VyprVPN review.
Benefits Of Using A VPN
There are several benefits to using a VPN in addition to increased privacy and security. Bypassing restrictions imposed by service providers, academic institutions or workplaces is one of the primary reasons why people use them. More interesting when talking about IPTV, Accessing content that is limited to certain geographic locations is another popular use for a VPN. Circumventing a country’s Internet access restrictions is also one of the most common uses of Virtual Private Networks.
Security And Privacy
The primary advantage of using a Virtual Private Network is the increase in privacy and security. A VPN offers a very strong level of encryption that typically makes your data almost impossible to crack. You’ll be free to type in passwords, enter credit card numbers, do your online banking or access any sensitive site with no worries about identity theft. Protected by a VPN, any ill-intentioned person won’t be able to see anything you’re doing and steal your personal information.
There are countless places where there are restrictions on what you can do on the Internet. They are common in academic institutions, office environment and lots of public WiFi hotspots. Even some Internet Service Providers even certain website or types of traffic. There are many reasons why it’s done. It can be a way of limiting bandwidth usage, reducing time wasted by employees and students, protecting copyright owners or just for enforcing ethics or morality.
Although there can be several reasons for the restriction, the means employed to enforce them are usually similar. Using a VPN will normally allow you to circumvent them. We say normally because it does not always work. Using a VPN has become more and more popular in recent years. In reaction, many organizations have developed ways to block VPN traffic. In reaction, VPN client software has also gotten wiser and many providers’ client software have ways to make their traffic appear to be “normal”, thereby bypassing any VPN blocking. The best ones even do it with no user intervention.
There are countries with strict Internet usage restrictions. They’re often much worse than what you’d find in any common office or school. China, for example, has been known to block access to Western social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Google searches are censored and the search results you get from China are different from what you’d get elsewhere. And China is just one example. There are other countries that impose similar restrictions. All use methods such as destination IP filtering, transparent proxying and a handful of other techniques to enforce these restrictions.
Considering that Governments and organizations use similar–if not identical means of enforcing restrictions, on can easily conclude that those same features of Virtual Private Networks that allow bypassing corporate, or institutional restrictions generally work for bypassing national ones. There’s one important difference, though. The consequences of bypassing country restrictions in some jurisdiction can be considerable. Make sure you’re aware of what the risks are before doing anything you might regret.
The Specific Case Of Streaming Live IPTV
IPTV streams–or channels–are live streams from various broadcasters that are normally meant to be watched on the web using a browser. Several Kodi add-ons enable users to watch these streams right from within Kodi. Some add-ons specialize in certain types of streams such as sports or UK channels or USA channels.
From a VPN standpoint, they all have one thing in common, they send a video stream from the source server to your computer. Unfortunately, the same type of video streams is also used to stream illegal content to Internet users. For this reason, an Internet Service Provider monitoring its clients’ activities–they’ve been known to do that–could mistakenly think that someone watching perfectly legal IPTV is downloading illegal streams. When this happens, ISPs can react by sending copyright infringement notices, throttling down your bandwidth or even interrupting your service.
A VPN’s encryption will prevent your ISP from knowing what you’re doing or where you’re going online. The will only see unidentifiable data going to the address of the VPN server you’re using.
Geographically Restricted Content
Geographic restrictions are very common with IPTV feeds. It has to do with broadcast rights and advertising revenue. Many of the live IPTV streams you can watch using Kodi are taken from its broadcaster’s website. Since broadcasters usually only have right to broadcast in a certain geographic area–which can range for a town or county to a whole country–they often block access to their live feed to users outside of their geographic area.
This way, the terms of the broadcasting contracts are respected and each broadcaster gets his share of advertising revenue, which is based on the number of viewers. So, if, for example, you’re in Canada and are watching a USA live IPTV stream, the Canadian broadcaster of the show you’re watching loses one viewer and the corresponding advertising revenue.
Many broadcasters use a technique called geo-blocking to ensure only users in a certain area can view their content. But what happens if you’re on vacation abroad and want to watch something from your home country?
Geographic restrictions are enforced based on source IP address. So, all you have to do to be able to access that geo-blocked content is to change your source IP address to one from an authorized region. A VPN does just that. All traffic reaching the destination will appear as coming from the VPN server’s IP address instead of your device’s. To access some content that’s only available, for example, in the US, all you have to do is choose a VPN server located in the US. Good VPN providers have servers in multiple countries–sometimes, over a hundred–and will allow you to pick where you want to connect.
Wrapping it up
The most important of all criteria when choosing a VPN for live IPTV is certainly the location and number of servers available. And for that, all your four suggestions are very good. Although we have a slight preference for ExpressVPN–mainly for its speed–all other three choices are very good too. Despite their ranking, all four providers got top marks. Your final choice may depend on other uses you’ll have for a VPN.
What VPN do you use when watching live IPTV on Kodi? What are your favourite features? Share your experience with the community using the comments below.
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