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Kodi is well-known among cordcutters. It’s one of the best ways to manage, access, and cast your locally-saved media.
But despite its popularity, the user experience arguably isn’t as enjoyable as its great rival, Plex. It requires more maintenance, more knowledge, and, most importantly, is prone to buffering.
If you’ve spent hours setting up your Kodi app only to discover buffering issues are ruining everything you want to watch, don’t despair. It’s often possible to fix the problems.
In this article, we’re going to show you three simple tips to fix buffering on Kodi.
Kodi Streams Aren’t All Created Equal
Broadly speaking, there are three different types of streams you can watch on Kodi. They are:
- Locally-Saved Content: Anything you have saved on your computer that you watch through the Kodi app.
- On-Demand Content: Kodi offers a wealth of on-demand video through add-ons available in its official repository.
- Live TV: Some add-ons in the official Kodi repository also broadcast free live TV channels.
Sadly, live TV buffering issues are out of your control. No number of tips and tricks will be able to fix it. Buffering issues on live TV are caused by server overload, not your system. However, for locally-saved content and on-demand video, the tips in this article should help.
Warning: A lot of the illegal add-ons for Kodi focus on the second and third type of stream. MakeUseOf does not condone using the tips in this guide to help you unlawfully watch copyrighted material.
1. Edit the Advanced Settings File
The first step on your journey towards fixing buffering issues on Kodi should be the advancedsettings.xml file. The file allows you to change settings and options that do not have native GUI controls within the main Kodi app. You can use it to change everything from episode naming patterns to special behaviors.
The file does not exist by default, meaning you will need to create it yourself and put it in the right place in your Kodi installation folder. But don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Let’s take a closer look.
Before proceeding, please remember these two golden rules:
- The content of the advancedsettings.xml file must be in lowercase.
- If you make changes while Kodi is running, you will need to restart the app for the changes to take effect.
To begin, open your text editor of choice and a blank file as advancedsettings.xml. Make sure you don’t call it advancedsettings.xml.txt or something similar.
Next, you need to move the newly created folder to the correct location. The location varies between operating systems. Here are some of the most common:
- Windows: %APPDATA%\kodi\userdata
- Mac: /Users/<USERNAME>/Library/Application Support/Kodi/userdata/
- Linux: ~/.kodi/userdata/
- Android: Android/data/org.xbmc.kodi/files/.kodi/userdata/
- iOS: /private/var/mobile/Library/Preferences/Kodi/userdata/
Note: Windows users, make sure you do not put it in the Kodi folder in Program Files.
Now, open the text file you created and paste the following text:
<advancedsettings> <cache> <buffermode>[INSERT NUMBER]</buffermode> <memorysize>[INSERT NUMBER]</memorysize> <readfactor>[INSERT NUMBER]</readfactor> </cache> </advancedsettings>
Choose the Values
For the three instances of [INSERT NUMBER], you need to make a decision based on your system resources.
The exception is buffermode. You can enter 0, 1, 2, or 3. 0 buffers all internet filesystems, 1 buffers local and internet filesystems, 2 only buffers true internet filesystems, and 3 disables buffering completely. If you’re trying to fix buffering, the recommended value is 1.
The memorysize tag increases the size of the cache. You need to enter a value in bytes. Kodi will require three times the value you set to be available in RAM. For example, if you enter 20971520, it will translate to 20MB, and thus, Kodi will require 60MB of free RAM. Setting the value too high could cause Kodi to crash, so some experimentation may be required.
Alternatively, you can set memorysize to 0. This forces Kodi to use your local disk memory for the cache; the only restriction is the size of your hard drive.
Finally, you need to set the readfactor. This tells how much Kodi should fill the cache beyond what’s necessary. The higher the value, the less likely you are to experience buffering, but the more likely you are to all the available network bandwidth. A readfactor value of 8 should be sufficient.
2. Use a VPN
Using a VPN with Kodi is a smart move regardless of what you’re doing online. Obviously, a VPN stops your ISP and the government from seeing what you’re watching, but more importantly, it prevents your ISP from throttling your speed if you’re watching videos. The throttling is responsible for more buffering issues than people realize.
Technically, ISP speed throttling is illegal, but with the end of net neutrality for people living in the United States, it could be about to get a whole lot worse.
If you’re going to use a VPN, don’t waste your time with a free one. They’re often no better than not using one at all. Instead, use a premium option. It’s well worth splashing out a few bucks per month.
3. Try New Hardware
Admittedly, this is not a “quick fix,” but it could be a necessary one.
Kodi runs on a vast number of devices and operating systems, but some are much more suitable than others. One only needs to look at the wide variety of different Kodi boxes to understand the scope of what’s available.
Laptops and top-end streaming devices like the Nvidia Shield will have no problem running the app, but low-end Android phones, cheaply manufactured Kodi boxes, and even low-powered dongles like Amazon Fire might struggle.
If you’re running a VPN and you’ve tried altering the advancedsettings.xml file, your hardware could be to blame.
How Do You Solve Buffering on Kodi?
These three simple fixes should solve most buffering issues on Kodi, but there will always be instances that we haven’t managed to help you solve with this article.
Have you managed to fix your buffering issues using a trick that we haven’t mentioned here? Or did one of the solutions we outline above fix your problem? If you’re still running into issues, perhaps you may need to configure your Kodi setup again.