NordVPN is one of the most popular VPNs in the world, and it now makes an app specifically for Fire TV users. In this article, we’ll show you how to install NordVPN on a Firestick in just a couple of minutes.
Once up and running, you can use the app to unblock region-locked videos and prevent third-party snoopers from spying on your online activity.
How to install NordVPN on Firestick
NordVPN recently launched a Fire TV-compatible version of its app that you can get directly from Amazon. Here’s how to install NordVPN on a Fire Stick:
- Sign up for NordVPN on its website. Every subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.
- Turn on your Fire TV and load up the home screen.
- Navigate to the magnifying glass icon at the top and select it. Enter “NordVPN” into the search bar.
- Select the NordVPN app. It should be the first result.
- Click the Get button and wait for the app to be downloaded and installed.
- The Get button should now be an Open button. Click it. You can also open NordVPN from your Apps page.
- The NordVPN app will run. If prompted for an update, select Download and install, then Install the updates.
- When prompted, enter the username and password that you used to sign up in step #1.
- You may now choose a server and connect to the VPN.
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How to manually install NordVPN on Firestick (old method)
Prior to NordVPN releasing a Fire TV version of its app, installing NordVPN on a Firestick required downloading the Android phone version of the app along with a special app that allows touchscreen navigation on Fire TV. There’s not much call to use this method for NordVPN anymore, though it should still be viable for other VPNs without Firestick-specific apps.
In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to install and use a VPN app on an Amazon Fire TV Stick. While the instructions feature NordVPN, you can use this to install pretty much any Android app not available on the Fire TV app store. To get started, you’ll need a second-generation Firestick or later. You’ll also need access to the APK file of your VPN app. This can be downloaded directly from NordVPN’s website.
Because of how NordVPN’s Android app interface is designed, it’s impossible to actually control the app using the default remote that comes with the Fire Stick. To get around this, you can either purchase a Bluetooth mouse or we’ll show you how you can control input with a smartphone or tablet in the next section
From the home screen, go to the top and choose Settings, then Device. Go to Developer options, and toggle both of these settings—ADB debugging and Apps from unknown sources—on.
Go back to the home screen and select the magnifying glass icon to search for an app called Downloader. Select “Get” and let the app install, then open it.
Type in the download URL to the APK file. This can take a while to do with the remote. The actual download link for NordVPN is super long and contains tons of symbols, so instead, I’m going to go to a page that contains that link on NordVPN’s site, that way I can type in a much simpler URL. This will open up a rudimentary browser inside the Downloader app. Then I just find the download link using the directional controls on the remote and click on the center button to begin the download.
When the download finishes, you’ll be prompted to install the app. Select Install, then Open. Once you’ve installed it you can exit Downloader.
Because NordVPN is seen as a third-party app, it doesn’t show up on our home page or even our Apps page. Instead, you’ll have to go to Settings > Applications > Manage installed applications and select your VPN app from the list. Then click Launch application.
Now for some of you, that’s it. Depending on the design of the app and how it’s laid out, you might be able to sign in and connect right away.
With NordVPN and many other VPN apps, however, that’s not the case. Trying to force the limited buttons on the remote to interact with a touch screen app is pretty much impossible. We’re going to need a mouse.
How to control NordVPN on Firestick with a mouse app (old method)
You can use a Bluetooth mouse and connect it to your Fire TV if you have one. The other option is to use a smartphone or tablet to remotely control the Fire TV. We’re going to show you how to do the latter.
Amazon has a TV remote app for Fire sticks, but it doesn’t give you mouse control. Instead, it just replicates the basic functions of the physical remote. I tried a few different solutions for this and found the best option to be an app called Remote for Fire TV. The app costs $2 but was well worth the money spent. If you want a free option, you can try CetusPlay, which more or less does the same thing and is also available on the Fire TV app store. However, while I could control mouse movements with CetusPlay, I couldn’t get clicks to go through. Your mileage may vary, so I encourage you to try CetusPlay first if you want a free option. In this tutorial, though, I’m just going to use Remote for Fire TV. Both Android and iOS versions are available.
So, you’ll need to get this app on both the Fire TV Stick and on your Android phone or tablet. The Android version is only available from the Amazon app store and not Google Play. Note that the developer does make a similar app for Android TV devices and it has the same icon on Google Play. This is not the correct app. You’ll have to install the Amazon App Store app on your Android device to get the one specifically for Fire TV. So long as you’re only using one Amazon account, you only need to purchase it once.
I didn’t test the iOS version, and it has a 1-star review as of the time of writing, so proceed at your own risk. To its credit, some of the reviews say it works. Unfortunately, it looks like you’ll have to purchase it both on your Fire TV and on the Apple App Store, which seems to be a cause for frustration among reviewers.
Once you’ve installed the app on your Fire TV, open it and make sure the first item is toggled on, and the second to start the app on boot is optional. You should see a status indicator near the bottom that says “Started”. No other action needed here, the app just runs in the background.
Make sure the Fire TV Stick and the second Android device are both connected to the same wifi network. You can then find your Fire TV Stick in the phone or tablet app to connect to it. Then you can click the Mouse option and use the screen of your phone like a touchpad on a laptop. Just tap the screen to click. To scroll use the s-up and s-down buttons.
Now we can open NordVPN back up and use it from the remote app. For Nord, we just click the person icon to get to the sign-in page and enter our credentials. Then we can select a location and connect to it. The first time you do this, you’ll be prompted to allow the app to connect. The connection should remain active until you power down the device or manually disconnect.
And that’s it! Your Firestick is now using a VPN.
Alternative VPNs that make Fire TV apps
I’d like to point out a couple of other excellent providers that have Fire TV-optimized apps on Amazon’s Fire TV app store. Those are ExpressVPN and IPVanish. These don’t require any workarounds or special tweaks to get working, and they’re fully functional with just the Fire TV remote, so they’ll save you a lot of trouble. They’ll also get updates automatically.
ExpressVPN, our top recommendation for Fire TV users, is offering Comparitech readers 3 months free here when you sign up for the annual plan, including a 30-day money-back guarantee. Or you can save 65% on an IPVanish annual plan with a 30-day guarantee.
Using VPNs on a Firestick: Your questions answered
Are third-party APKs safe?
There's no way to know, which is why we recommend you only download NordVPN's APK file from the official website. As with most Android apps, you can find APK files from third-party app stores and APK websites. We advise against downloading APK files from these websites because they were not put there, in most cases, by the official developer. There is often little vetting done in order to ensure APKs from third-party sites are secure.
As such, unofficial APKs can be modified to carry malware or perform malicious tasks once installed on your device. To play it safe, only download APKs from the developer's website.
How do I update NordVPN on Firestick?
The NordVPN app for Firestick should automatically update just like the rest of your apps.
If you manually installed the app, updating is much more tedious. Because it was installed from an "unknown" source, it won't receive automatic updates. You'll have to monitor updates yourself and run through the installation process again with the new APK when you want to update. The only difference is that instead of an "install" button, you'll see an "update" button. The rest is pretty much identical.
Can I install a VPN on a 1st-gen Firestick?
If you use a first-generation Fire TV Stick, VPN apps will not work. You might be able to install them, but they won't stay connected in the background once you leave them. You must either upgrade your Firestick or employ a VPN-compatible router. If you're not sure, check the FCC ID number located on the Firestick itself. First-gen sticks have the number 2ABDU-0509.
By configuring a VPN on your wifi router, all the devices that connect to it will have their traffic tunneled through the VPN server. But most routers don't support VPNs by default.
You'll need a router firmware that's compatible with VPNs, and a router that's compatible with that firmware. Check if your router model is compatible with Tomato or DD-WRT firmware, both of which support VPNs. Other possible alternatives include OpenWRT and AsusWRT.
Why use NordVPN with Kodi on a Firestick?
If you've installed Kodi on your Firestick, you can enhance your privacy, prevent ISP throttling, and access geo-blocked streams using a VPN. Notably, NordVPN works with all of the Kodi addons we've tested to date. The NordVPN app is lightweight so it won't hog the Fire TV Stick's limited resources. This VPN boasts top-tier security and speeds that are consistently fast enough to stream in HD.
Can I use a free VPN for Firestick?
You might come across a couple of free VPN options on the Fire TV app store, but we don't recommend them. Free VPNs generally can't unblock streaming services, for starters. Even if you find one that can, free VPNs also tend to be too slow to stream without buffering or quality issues. Lastly, free VPNs are not good for privacy. They often collect users' personal data and place trackers on your device. Some even carry malware payloads to drop on your device.
In short, stick to paid VPNs. It's worth mentioning that all of the VPNs we recommend, including NordVPN, come with risk-free money-back guarantees. You can always sign up for a premium VPN for a month and cancel before the term is up.