We’ve all been there. You get ready to kick back and enjoy some Kodi and within minutes (sometimes seconds) the video starts buffering. There are several possible causes and ways to stop Kodi from buffering. We’re going to review five steps you can take to reduce and in many cases fully eliminate buffering in Kodi. Let’s jump right in and get started.
Stop Buffering in Kodi
There are several factors that can cause streams to buffer in Kodi. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there as well. You will hear people complain of having buffering issues with popular add-ons like Phoenix or Exodus. While add-ons can break, the video buffering has nothing to do with the specific add-on you are using. They all stream content from the same outside sources. The best way to solve the issue is to objectively look for the cause and determine the solution. Here are some good ways to put buffering behind you.
Five easy steps to stop buffering in Kodi:
- Test your Internet connection speed
- Adjust Kodi cache settings and clear temp files
- Reduce Kodi buffering with a VPN
- Purchase a new Kodi box
- Build your own content library
Step 1 – Test your Internet connection speed
The first step you will want to take to stop the buffering is to test your Internet connection. Make sure your ISP isn’t having any issues. Then ensure the device you are using to access Kodi is getting an acceptable download speed. We recommend using speedtest.net to test your Internet from a system directly connected to your modem or router if possible. This will give you a good baseline for the download speed being offered by your ISP.
In order to stream HD videos without buffering you will want the connection speed to be at least 10 Mbps. The key is to make sure the device you are using to stream Kodi has a fast Internet connection. One of the most common causes of buffering is using a wireless connection with Kodi. This is especially true for those who are trying to watch from a Kodi box that is not close to the router providing wifi access.
The solution is to ensure your laptop, Raspberry Pi, or Kodi box is able to sustain a download speed of at least 10 Mbps. If not you can expect some buffering when you try to stream HD content. If you realize that download speed is an issue on a wireless connection then you have a few options. The first is to run an Ethernet cable to your router if it’s nearby. Otherwise you could add a mesh network or WiFi extender to improve the performance.
Step 2 – Adjust Kodi cache settings and clear temp files
You can adjust the the video cache settings for Kodi by editing a few settings in the advancedsettings.xml file. Rather than walk you through the process in this post, we recommend using this guide on the Kodi Wiki site. It will show you exactly which settings to edit in order to modify the cache settings for Kodi.
In addition to modifying the cache settings, you may also want to clear the cache and temporary files. This can help speed up your Kodi box and reduce lag. We recommend using a tool called Addon Installer Maintenance Tool from TVaddons to take care of this task. Once you have the Maintenance Tool installed go ahead and launch it. From there you will want to select General Maintenance and then Clear Cache. That’s all there is to it.
Step 3 – Reduce Kodi buffering with a VPN
The next step to reduce and hopefully eliminate your buffering issues in Kodi is to use a VPN. We always recommend connecting to a VPN for privacy purposes, but it can also reduce lag. How does it stop buffering when VPN adds a layer of encryption? The answer is two fold. First, using a VPN will stop your ISP from throttling your Kodi traffic. The second reason comes down to the routes the VPN takes versus your Internet provider. It’s quite possible the VPN will take a more direct route to stream the video, thus reducing lag.
- Read our guide: How to Install VPN Manager for Kodi
The key to finding the right VPN for Kodi is to look for a VPN with fast servers in your region. We use IPVanish and highly recommend the service. IPVanish is the fastest VPN we’ve tested in both North America and Europe. We come close to maxing our Internet connection while using the VPN. There is no noticeable difference for the encryption. You get the privacy protection of the VPN and the ability to block ISP’s from slowing down your Kodi streams.
Step 4 – Purchase a new Kodi box
Perhaps the device you are using to stream Kodi isn’t powerful enough to meet your needs. Our team ran into this problem last year while on vacation. We quickly realized that our Kodi streams were constantly buffering, regardless of the source. The hotel WiFi was our first point of interest. Running a speed test on a laptop showed the hotel network to be just fine. Next we eliminated the Matricom box that we were running Kodi through. We replaced it with a laptop and the buffering stopped immediately.
We’re not encouraging you to run Kodi through a laptop. That’s overkill for most users. You likely want to watch streams through a box directly connected to your TV. In this case you may want to look at some of the more powerful devices. Here are a few suggestions.
- NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server – $299 on Amazon
- NVIDIA SHIELD TV Streaming Media Player – $199 on Amazon
- DroidBOX T8-S Plus with IR Remote – $99 on Amazon
You will notice that we recommended two NVIDIA Shield boxes. The difference between the two is mainly file storage. The Pro Home Media Server box includes 500GB of storage. If you plan to store your own media and download from other sources, then this version is worth is difference. Otherwise we recommend going with the other NVIDIA streaming box.
Step 5 – Build your own content library
There is only one fool proof way to stop buffering in Kodi 100% of the time. The solution is to build your own media library so you don’t have to rely on streams all the time. You can start with the media you currently have on hand. That includes movies, music CDs, cassettes, vinyl, and more. From there we recommend using Usenet to build up your media library. Usenet will give you access to millions of binary files across 100k+ newsgroups.
Building your own content library ensures that you have instant access to your favorite media. Why rely on Kodi or any other streaming source all the time when you can store the content locally to watch anytime. That’s where the NVIDIA Shield TV Home Media Server comes in since it includes 500GB of storage. You can also set up Plex Media Server on Raspberry Pi to manage your content library and connect to it through Kodi.