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Is Popcorn Time Safe without a VPN? (Updated: February 2024)

Last updated: August 25, 2021

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Popcorn Time is great!

…and not just the kind that involves popping kernels of corn in a pot of oil.

If you are looking for a free, open-source, streaming option that gives you the same quality movies and TV shows as popular paid services, like Netflix, Popcorn Time is the way to go.

Popcorn Time is a free-of-charge BitTorrent torrent client that works on multiple platforms. Aside from being free of charge, this platform is actually free of the crazy pop-up ads that you will find on many other torrenting sites.

Popcorn Time logo

Ads or no ads, it is important to take heed when using any torrent site, as torrent sites have a lot of risks associated with them.

If you want to watch your TV show and movie content on Popcorn Time while maintaining your online safety and security, a reputable VPN is a must.

By connecting to a VPN server, not only is your activity and data encrypted, but your actual IP address is masked, and you are given an IP address instead that corresponds to the location of your VPN server. This way, you are undetectable on the Internet — out of the grasp of any Internet hackers or third parties, and safe from any authorities who may be looking to catch you if you accidentally cross the line of the law.

As an aside — we do not condone any illegal activity, and we are not encouraging you to play a game of cat and mouse with law enforcement. Downloading any copyrighted content is a violation of the law.

We do recognize, however, that there is a grey area when it comes to torrenting, and that everyone has the right to privacy, anonymity, and digital freedom.

How to Watch Popcorn Time Safely with a VPN

Why You Need a VPN to Stream Popcorn Time Safely

While torrenting is not innately illegal, its legality can become iffy if users are constantly skirting the copyright infringement laws. If users are caught sharing or downloading content that breaks copyright laws, they can get in trouble — fined, punished, or even jailed.

Using Popcorn Time without a VPN, Popcorn Time users are constantly playing a game of cat and mouse with authorities. Using Popcorn Time with a VPN, however, can put torrent users at ease knowing that they are always hidden from authorities, third parties, or prying eyes, and that none of their activity can be traced back to them.

Using a VPN, users’ connections are routed through VPN tunnels, encrypting activity and masking the actual IP addresses (that reveals the user location). Instead, only an IP address from the VPN server network is visible. Because user activity is indecipherable with military-grade encryption, authorities, any Internet Provider, and prying eyes are kept completely in the dark — unable to track users or their online footprint.

How to Choose the Best VPN for Popcorn Time

There are many VPNs on the market today — all of which will claim to be the best VPN to help you stay safe online, so it is important to be discerning when choosing one to protect your online torrents and streaming.

Here are the criteria we used when choosing our recommended VPNs for Popcorn Time:

☑️ Security — Are there adequate security features? Does the VPN offer AES 256-bit military-grade encryption to protect your data? Is it open source and safe to use?

☑️ Privacy — Does the VPN keep any logs? Is it based in a region that is out of the 5-Eyes surveillance territory? Does it keep you hidden from your ISP and third parties?

☑️ Speed — Are the VPN server connection speeds fast enough to stream video content in HD with no buffering?

☑️ Protection — Does the VPN offer DNS and IP leak protection? What about a Kill Switch to protect you in case your Internet connection drops?

☑️ Servers — Are there adequate servers in countries around the world that will help circumvent geo-blocks for streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime Video? Does the VPN have dedicated servers for P2P traffic, or allow file sharing on all of its servers?

☑️ Customer Support — Does it offer live-chat customer service? How about a money-back guarantee if you find that the VPN does not stream content effectively?

All of the VPNs that we recommend meet all of the criteria listed above, and more.

Can I Use Popcorn Time without a VPN

While you can certainly choose to, I would seriously advise against using Popcorn Time without a VPN.

Though you may feel safe and protected browsing the Internet and torrenting content from the privacy of your home, what you have to remember is that your Internet Service Provider can detect everything that you do online. Your ISP, and anyone else prying into your business, can see if you have accessed online pornography, visited illegal sites, or downloaded copyrighted movies or shows without the permission of the copyright holder.

If you are not using a VPN while committing a crime, you may simply be given a warning or have your online service revoked by your ISP. But, if you are not one of the lucky ones, you could be sued by copyright holders, or even wind up with a large fine, or jail time.

The VPNs listed in this article are all reputable, reliable VPN services that have no-log policies, encrypted servers, and have a Kill Switch to protect your activity in case your Internet cuts out. These VPNs have affordable subscription fees, but the damage from which they can save you is priceless.

Does Popcorn Time Have a Built-In VPN?

While some versions of Popcorn Time have a built-in VPN, I would not rely on this built-in VPN as your main source of protection and privacy while torrenting. There is a big difference between these built-in VPNs and the reputable, private VPNs. The built-in options are often akin to using free VPNs, which leave users vulnerable and unprotected online.

When you are watching movies and TV shows and downloading torrents with Popcorn Time, I would highly recommend that you subscribe to a reliable, paid VPN service.

5 Best VPNs for Popcorn Time

Check out these best VPNs for Popcorn Time:

  1. ExpressVPN: Known for its rocket-fast speeds and top-notch security and privacy features.
  2. NordVPN: DoubleVPN and obfuscated servers for an extra layer of encryption, and access to the web from anywhere.
  3. Surfshark: An affordable VPN that allows for unlimited simultaneous device connections.
  4. CyberGhost: No-logs policy, and good security and privacy features for torrenting.
  5. UltraVPN: Unlimited bandwidth, military-grade encryption for safe for online torrenting.
No Provider Review Price/Month Visit Site
1 ExpressVPN Review $6.67 Visit Site
2 NordVPN Review $3.71 Visit Site
3 Surfshark Review $2.49 Visit Site
4 CyberGhost Review $2.25 Visit Site
5 UltraVPN Review $2.99 Visit Site

All five of these VPNS have live-chat customer support, money-back guarantees, military-grade encryption, and top security and privacy features. With any of these five VPNs, you can rest easy knowing your data and torrents are completely private and secure.


Is Popcorn Time safe in 2022?
One of the most popular questions that people ask is whether the Popcorn Time software is safe for streaming use. As with any torrent software, with Popcorn Time, legal concerns are very real. It is important to realize that, if you are not careful, you could be prompted to download a knockoff version of the Popcorn Time application that can put you at serious risk for hackers and malware. So, as long as you download Popcorn Time from a verified site location, and use a reputable VPN, you will be safe.

I cannot stress enough that the only way to truly be safe when using this streaming software is to torrent using one of the reputable VPNs listed above, as they adequately protect your data and do not log or track any of your activity.

How do I get Popcorn Time for free?
Since Popcorn Time is an open source platform, there are many different app versions (or “forks”) of it. The important thing to realize is that, when you go to use Popcorn Time, it should always be free. If you come across an app for Popcorn Time that makes you pay for streaming, it is a scam, and will likely corrupt your device.

While Popcorn time should always be free, the only way to use it with a reputable virtual private network is to take advantage of the VPNs’ 30-day money-back guarantees, which would give you a month of service, risk free.

Can I use a VPN to stream with Popcorn Time on my mobile device?
Absolutely. All you have to do to stream Popcorn Time on your mobile device is download your VPN’s designated mobile app. The VPNs, above all, have apps that are compatible with iOS and Android mobile platforms. After you download the app, connect to the server in the location you choose, and you can begin to stream Popcorn Time in no time!
Is it legal to use a VPN for torrenting with Popcorn Time?
Yes. It is completely legal to use a VPN service when torrenting with Popcorn time. Not only can the use of a VPN increase your speeds, but it can also keep you safe and free from hackers and unwelcome eyes.

It is important to note that, while the Popcorn Time platform and software is not illegal, content sharing from Popcorn Time is illegal, since almost 100% of the content on the streaming service is copyrighted.


If you plan to use Popcorn Time to stream your favorite video titles, using a VPN to do so can be the difference between streaming enjoyably and safely and putting yourself at risk for attack or punishment. While we always recommend using a virtual private network when you stream content — even on paid sites like Netflix, with Popcorn Time, legal risks are much more dire.

I hope this guide to using Popcorn Time has been helpful!

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