Best VPNs for OpenELEC
VPNs, or virtual private networks, are essential tools for browsing and using internet services with full anonymity, security, and privacy. They help mask your IP from the services you access, hide your activities from your ISP or government monitors, and help unlock geo-restricted content while encrypting your data to keep you safe and secure. There are many VPN service providers, offering different features, speeds, and options.
When it comes to OpenELEC and finding the best VPN for OpenELEC, we need to ensure high-speed, video-streaming compatibility over the OpenVPN protocol. Additionally, good encryption and features to keep your traffic fully secure are essential, to avoid ISP throttling. In this regard, in this article we’re going to look at some of the main VPN providers, highlighting their suitability as a VPN for OpenELEC.
What is OpenELEC?
OpenELEC is a barebones distribution, based on Linux, of the Kodi media player. This allows users to install the system on devices like Raspberry Pi and other micro-computers, and use them as portable, versatile, and cross-system streaming media players. Since streaming is often a target of throttling by ISPs, and some content is geo-restricted, it’s often desirable to use a VPN for OpenELEC.
The Best VPNs for OpenELEC
Below, we highlight seven of the top VPN providers and discuss their suitability as an OpenELEC VPN option.
ExpressVPN is one of the top VPNs by any measure. Founded in 2009, and based at the British Virgin Islands, it has over 2,000 servers in 94 countries, giving a wide variety of geographic options. ExpressVPN uses standard AES-256-bit encryption and supports the OpenVPN protocol along with others so that it will work as an OpenELEC VPN.
In line, three devices are capable of being connected at once per account, which means your OpenELEC device, computer, and phone, for example, can all share an account. The service speed is very good to excellent, with only a 10-15% decrease in total download speed, one of the lowest drops of all providers. The company keeps no logs, and there’s a built-in kill switch, so you don’t need to worry about your video streaming – legal or otherwise – getting you in trouble with your ISP.
ExpressVPN fully supports streaming, and in most tests, geo-unlocking of Netflix and popular streaming services work from most of their servers.
- A large network of servers in many countries.
- Highest speeds for streaming video.
- Very secure and private.
- Geo-unblocking of Netflix works well.
Another of the top providers is NordVPN, both for general purposes and for OpenELEC VPN services. Incorporated in the year 2008 and based in Panama, it has one of the largest server networks around; they have over 5,000 servers in 64 countries.
They keep no logs and have one of the clearest and most-respected no-logging policies of any provider. Up to 6 devices per account are protected. In addition to standard encryption, NordVPN offers a double encryption option – though this may not be ideal for OpenELEC users, as it comes at the cost of a massive speed hit.
The normal encryption should do just fine and keeps the service very fast. It’s similar to ExpressVPN on latency, and only somewhat worse (20% or so) in download speed reduction. It supports OpenVPN and other protocols, as well as has a kill switch built-in. Streaming is fully supported, and most servers work fine with Netflix geo-restricted unblocking.
- A massive network of servers.
- Pretty high-speed which is perfect for streaming on OpenELEC.
- No logging, lots of additional privacy and protection options.
- Geo-unblocking of Netflix works well.
VyprVPN is based in Switzerland, and, though small compared to our last two entries, is owned by Golden Frog, a company committed to internet privacy since 1994. Currently, VyprVPN has 700 servers in 70 countries, providing plenty of geo-unblocking opportunities as a VPN for OpenELEC. Like pretty much all VPNs, they use AES-256 encryption.
They do have some logging, though, but in most cases, for streaming purposes, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. They offer both a 3-device plan and a 5-device plan (which also has a few fringe benefits to justify the higher cost). They offer OpenVPN and other protocols in both plans, along with a kill switch. Speed is good to great, with only around a 20-25% hit to download speeds through the service.
Netflix unblocking is hit or miss, though, with the more limited number of VPN servers and consequent IP pools being more easily tracked and blocked. However, several servers at any given time in at least a few countries do seem to be working well for geo-unblocking of Netflix, just not as high a percentage as some of the other providers on our list.
- Reasonable prices, server counts, and country options.
- Speeds are good to great.
- Geo-unblocking works well, just not with every server/country combo.
PureVPN may not be near the top of most lists but deserves a closer look. It was founded in 2006 and is based in Hong Kong. Like ExpressVPN, they have a stable of over 2,000 servers. In this case, they operate in more than 140 countries, which is by far the largest geographic diversity of any provider on our list.
This can be exceptionally useful regarding VPN for OpenELEC users looking for more obscure regionally-restricted video streaming. The downside is download speeds overall tend to take a big hit with PureVPN, from 60 to 70% in many cases, which can make streaming unreliable on many servers. They do use industry-standard encryption and have a kill switch (along with many other privacy and security features).
They do have some logging, as well as leaks noted in recent years, though, so those who are super-concerned with privacy might be a bit turned off. On the plus side, you can use up to 10 devices per account, and, since you can install it on routers, in theory, you can use even more than that. Balance that against the fact that Netflix geo-unblocking rarely works.
- Large server base and one of the most expansive lists of countries available.
- Lots of add-ons and features available beyond most services.
- Generous device limit per account.
WindScribe offers a free VPN option (with bandwidth caps and other limitations), as well as an unlimited paid plan. They’re based in Canada and have about 500 servers in 51 countries, which is respectable.
What’s more, the unlimited plan is truly unlimited – there is no limit to the number of devices you can use on the service. They keep no logs, like many of the top VPN providers, and support OpenVPN along with many other protocols, using AES-256. They have additional security protocols in place as well when using the desktop client, so security nuts are sure to be satisfied.
There are some drawbacks, however, including a 50% or so hit to download speed, which might be a deal-breaker as a VPN for OpenELEC, or might be fine – it’s kind of right on that edge of being problematic with 1080p streaming, depending on your native connection speed. At the same time, they do support Netflix unblocking, with dedicated “Windflix” servers for this purpose.
- Free plan (with limits) in addition to paid plans.
- Great security and VPN features.
- Does support Netflix geo-unblocking through dedicated servers.
- Unlimited devices on the paid plan.
CyberGhost is a VPN provider based in Romania, that is competitively priced with a good base of servers, featuring over 2,700 servers in 60 countries. Like most others on this list, they have a no-logging policy, and a built-in kill switch, while supporting OpenVPN and other connection protocols.
Unlike some others, they offer a ton of advanced configurable options for more tech-savvy users. They use AES-256 standard encryption, and you can have up to 7 devices per account. They also support Netflix geo-unblocking (though not on all servers or in all countries).
As a VPN for OpenELEC, though, there are some downsides, including low speed (right on that bubble of being an issue, around a 50% speed hit), and poor customer support. But, they are also very affordable compared to some of the top-tier VPNs on the list so that they might be a viable option as an OpenELEC VPN on a budget.
- Good base of servers and countries.
- Many advanced features and options in the software.
- Works with Netflix unblocking on some servers.
- Relatively low-cost compared to other top-tier providers.
The Hide.me service was founded in 2012 and operates out of Malaysia. Unlike many other providers, they offer three different flavors of plans, including a free plan with a bandwidth cap, a paid plan with a 75 GB/month cap and one device, or an unlimited paid plan with five devices. They use AES-256, a kill switch, and a no-logging policy like most others.
They also have proactive leak-protection services. But, there are only around 150 servers in 34 countries, which is somewhat limited. While OpenVPN and other protocols are supported, meaning they can work as a VPN for OpenELEC, speed is one of the worst on our list, at 60-75% download speed reduction in many cases. Between the speed hit and the fact that the small pool of servers and IPs means they are often unable to unblock Netflix, this is probably not an ideal choice for VPN for OpenELEC.
- Variety of free and paid plan options.
- Standard base features like no-logging, kill switch, etc.
- Some added protection features for leaks and proactive security.
What Makes the Best VPN for OpenELEC?
An OpenELEC VPN needs to, first and foremost, allow the use of the OpenVPN protocol, since that’s what most of the add-ons available for OpenELEC support. Next, it needs to have high speeds of access, since the primary use of OpenELEC devices is for streaming.
The VPN OpenELEC users will find ideal should support streaming and geo-unblocking of content from popular streaming services like Netflix. Additional things to look for include a kill switch, multiple countries for servers, and the number of devices that can be utilized concurrently since obviously, most people who purchase a VPN for OpenELEC are likely to use the same VPN for other devices and activities. And like any service, reliability, price, customer service, and other business factors should be taken into consideration, too.
Given what OpenELEC devices require – speed for streaming, OpenVPN protocol, support for Netflix geo-unblocking, and reliable, secure service, our top picks have to be ExpressVPN and NordVPN. They offer the best combination of features that a VPN for OpenELEC needs, at reasonable and competitive prices. Speed and function are the names of the game here, and both ExpressVPN and NordVPN fulfill that remit admirably. While others may be slightly cheaper, the tradeoffs in speed and streaming access simply don’t justify the savings for OpenELEC VPN users.
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