If you’re a reader of this site, you’ll know that I always recommend utilizing a VPN when streaming content through Kodi. Now I hasten to point out that the protection is not because you’re using Kodi. Rather, it’s required when using some add-ons on Kodi.
Kodi you see is completely legitimate software. It works across a host of different devices and allows you to stream video files, music, photos and even information like news and weather. In its basic form Kodi is limited though so add-ons were created to expand Kodi’s capabilities.
Add-ons is where Kodi gets really interesting as they come in two flavors. The first are the official add-ons. These are provided by companies to give you specific access to their programming. YouTube for example is available from Kodi’s official directory along with a bunch of other add-ons. Where things really start to rock though is the unofficial add-ons.
Unofficial Kodi Add-ons
Unofficial Kodi add-ons are user provided. As the name states they are not sanctioned by a specific authority. However, they are simply amazing. With some of these add-ons for instance you can access the best fights in the world in the UFC. Others give you access to the Superbowl and all of the other NFL games. You can even get one add-on that has all of the sports in one single place if you’re interested!
Unofficial add-ons are not just restricted to sports though. If you’re interested in cutting the cord, you probably want access to live TV and news – well there’s an add-on for that! Perhaps you’re more of a movie buff? Relax, we’ve got you covered too!
You see, Kodi has something for pretty much everyone with the unofficial add-ons but sadly there is a price to pay. Unofficial add-ons often obtain this content without paying all of the licensing rights. This means that you – the user – can get in trouble if you’re caught viewing the content. Luckily for you though, VPNs exist.
How Does a VPN Help Keep You Safe?
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) were initially created as a way to allow business people to access their work networks in a secure manner. This security is the key to how VPNs benefit you and I. You see when you obtain access to a commercial VPN like Shellfire, you get access to all of their servers around the world.
This means that if you’re trying to access American content while in Europe, you simply have to access a US server and click connect. Once you’re connected to the server, it appears as if you’re browsing from the USA. This is great when you’re trying to watch the Superbowl for example and want to watch the US ads instead of whatever is being broadcast in your country.
The second and perhaps most important reason for thinking about a commercial VPN like Shellfire though is the security that it provides to you. You see when you connect to a VPN server, all of your Internet traffic is encrypted and secured. It’s like you’re in a tunnel and no-one from outside can see what you’re doing. This is super important with Kodi and unofficial add-ons as you do not want to worry about your activities online being monitored.
Setting Up OpenVPN for Kodi on Windows
Now, you can manually setup and launch your VPN from your Windows PC and then launch Kodi and then watch whatever stream you want. That’s option one and it will work. However, if you forget to do it and just start watching Kodi without a VPN in place you’re leaving yourself open and at risk.
A better option is using the Zomboided plugin with OpenVPN and Shellfire. While it sounds like something from the Walking Dead, this automates things considerably helping keep you safe and protected. Follow these instructions to get started.
Download The Plugin & OpenVPN
- You will first need to download the plugin. Save this to a location on your hard drive that you can easily find.
- You will also need to download the OpenVPN client. Select the windows installer from the list provided and install it onto your system after you have downloaded it.
Install the Plugin
- Launch Kodi and then navigate to Add-ons section. Select the open box icon at the top left of your screen and then click install from zip.
- Select the plugin from your downloaded folder and click OK.
Configure the Plugin
- Once you’ve installed the plugin, you will be presented with the screens to help configure the plugin. If this is the first time you are doing this, you just need to click on the Wizard and it will ask you specific questions.
- This will ask you to select the VPN provider, your userid and password.
- You will also be asked if you want the VPN provider to launch automatically when you launch Kodi. I would strongly recommend that you do this. Finally after all the configuration is completed, OpenVPN will connect to the VPN server of your choice.
- Once this is complete you just need to click on OK. You will then see the VPN Manager for Open VPN in your list of available add-ons.
- That’s it! You’re now protected and can safely use any Kodi addon without having to worry going forward!
Troubleshooting OpenVPN issues
If you receive an error when you’re trying to setup the plugin that OpenVPN isn’t working, don’t stress. Fixing the problem is really simple and painless. Simply follow the instructions below:
- If you are still in Kodi, exit that now and go back to Windows. On your Windows desktop, select search and then System (Control Panel). For a Windows 10 computer, it should look something like.
- Select the Advanced System Settings link and then choose Environment Variables. This is just above the OK, Cancel and Apply options.
- In the System Variables section, scroll down the list provided until you come to one called Path and then click edit. If the Path option is not there, simply click on New and then input the correct location to the OpenVPN bin folder on your system.
- The default for this is C:/Program Files/OpenVPN/bin however if you have changed this when you installed it, input the correct location.
- You are done! All you need to do now is hit OK to back out of all the open windows and save your work.
- To doublecheck that everything is working perfectly, once you are back in Windows, open a command prompt window. To do this simply type cmd in the search bar. Once that window opens up type in openvpn –version and you should get something similar to this.
OpenVPN makes protection simple and while you might have to go through a couple of steps to set it up the first time, this is a one-time exercise and not something you need to worry about afterwards! Now that you have a VPN in place that will protect you from any issues, you can surf the web and stream content without any worry. Let us know how you get on with OpenVPN and of course if you have any questions about how to set it up, simply let us know!