The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are great portable, plug-and-play devices that make it easy to stream your favorite media on your television. It gives you on-demand access to thousands of hours of video from Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and more. The Android-based Fire TV operating system is also a favorite among Kodi users.
Unfortunately, much of that content is geo-locked, meaning you can only access it from a certain country or region. Video libraries are limited due to content licensing agreements, and local sporting events are blacked out due to exclusive broadcast rights. Kodi users streaming from popular add-ons might need a way to hide their activity from their internet service provider.
The solution to all of these issues is a VPN, or virtual private network. A VPN encrypts all of the Fire TV’s internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of the user’s choosing. This can change your IP address, and thus your perceived location, to access geo-locked content. The encryption vastly improves your privacy and masks your activity from snooping ISPs.
Installing a VPN app on a Fire TV stick isn’t hard, but it is a bit trickier than installing one on a desktop, laptop, or smartphone. Because Fire TV doesn’t have access to Google Play, you’ll have to manually download the Android app APK file or sideload the app from another Google Play-connected Android device. We’ve got detailed instructions for several different solutions in our Amazon Fire TV VPN setup guide, as well as a Fire TV Kodi setup tutorial.
Note that the first-edition Fire TV Stick is not compatible with VPN apps. If you’re using this older version, the VPN will have to configured on your wifi router instead of on the device itself. Alternatively, you can connect to the VPN on your Android smartphone and cast streaming video to your Fire Stick. Fire TV and 2nd generation Fire TV Sticks and later should all support VPN apps.
To help choose a VPN, we’ve narrowed down our 2017 list of the best VPNs for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick based on the following criteria:
- Android APK available for direct download (makes installing much easier)
- Lightweight app that won’t drag down performance
- Fast streaming speed and reliable performance
- Compatible with all Kodi add-ons
IPVanish is a favorite among Kodi users, and for good reason. It offers unlimited bandwidth and data for HD video streaming. Strong encryption and a no-logging policy hide your activity from your internet service provider. IPVanish has a huge network of servers around the world, so unblocking content shouldn’t be a problem as long as VPN connections aren’t blocked. Subscribers can connect up to five simultaneous devices. The app interface is particularly well-suited for Fire TV and can be used with the Fire TV remote.
IPVanish has created an app specifically for Fire TV, which is now available directly from Amazon’s official app store on your Fire TV. Just search for IPVanish and it will pop up. The app is fully compatible with your remote control and very easy to use.
Read our full IPVanish review.
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ExpressVPN boasts the highest standards when it comes to speed and security. It has servers in over 90 countries and is one of the few VPNs capable of unblocking American Netflix and Hulu from outside the US. Recently, ExpressVPN created a version of its app specifically for Fire TV, which is now available through the official app store on your Firestick. You can easily install it and control the VPN with your stock remote control.
If you have a first-generation Fire TV Stick and want to set up ExpressVPN on your wifi router, ExpressVPN makes custom router firmware you can flash to certain router models, or you can purchase a pre-configured router directly from the company. ExpressVPN subscriptions also come with a smart DNS proxy solution called MediaStreamer, which you can also use to unblock geo-locked content. MediaStreamer can be set up in the Fire TV’s settings without the need to install an app.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
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NordVPN has servers optimized for ultra-fast streaming and can unblock US Netflix and Hulu from the Android app. The Panama-based provider holds to a true zero-logs policy and maintains strong security standards. A single subscription nets you six simultaneous connections. Tutorials for a wide range of router firmware are available on its website as well. The app automatically opens to a map view, which might be a bit wonky to use with a Fire TV remote, but a list view is available. You may need to use a Bluetooth mouse. The NordVPN Android APK is available here (direct download link).
Read our full NordVPN review.
PrivateVPN recently launched a Fire TV version of its app, which you can download and install directly from the official Amazon app store on your Firestick with no workarounds or hacks. PrivateVPN, not to be confused with Private Internet Access, is a fresh up-and-comer in the VPN industry. While it has a smaller server network than the other options on this list, it performs just as well when it comes to unblocking geo-locked content like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
PrivateVPN also uses encryption standards on par with its veteran counterparts. It boasts a no-logging policy and allows up to six simultaneous connections.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
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Private Internet Access’ basic and simple interface makes using it with the Fire TV remote much easier. If you’re using a Fire Stick without much processing power, the app allows you to lower the encryption level from 256-bit to 128-bit, which will save resources and boost speed. A PIA subscription allows you to connect five simultaneous devices. PIA keeps no logs of user activity. The PIA Android APK is available here (direct download link).
Read our full PIA review.
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PureVPN reportedly works with Fire TV Stick, but you may need a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard in order to operate it. The provider offers a huge range of servers to choose from. The Android APK is available here (direct download link).
Read our full PureVPN review.
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Navigating VPN apps without a mouse
Some VPN apps don’t work well with the Fire TV remote and require at least a mouse to use. The obvious solution is to connect a Bluetooth mouse, which is supported by newer versions of the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.
Another option is to use Mouse Toggle, an app available for iOS and Android. Mouse toggle turns your smartphone into a mouse that can be used to control your Fire TV. It costs $2.99, which is cheaper than buying a physical mouse. You will need to enable ADB Debugging in your Fire TV settings. Instructions are included with the app, and you can be up and running in about five minutes.
Other tips for geo-unblocking on Fire TV
Once you have a VPN enabled on your Fire TV, your newly assigned IP address should allow you to unblock most geographically restricted content. However, certain apps and streaming sources might require a few more steps.
Change DNS settings on Fire TV
Some users, particularly those using their Fire TV devices with a VPN set up on a virtual or physical router, have had issues with changing their location to unblocked geo-locked content. This is possibly due to the Fire TV sending DNS requests outside of the VPN tunnel.
The solution is to change your Fire TV’s DNS settings. Check with your VPN provider to see if they have a DNS address you can use. If not, we recommend finding a DNS address for your desired country from OpenNIC.
You will need the IP address of your wifi router. This is usually 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1.
With the DNS address and router IP in hand, do the following:
- When you connect to your wifi network for the first time (use the Forget Network function if you’ve connected previously), on the menu where you enter your wifi password, click on Advanced.
- Enter your router IP address, but change the last digit. It can be anything that isn’t already assigned between 2 and 255. An example would be 192.168.1.100
- Under Gateway, enter your router IP address.
- Under Network Prefix Length, enter 24
- Under DNS1 and DNS2, enter your primary and alternative DNS addresses
- Click Connect
Change your time zone on Fire TV
To access some geo-locked content, your device’s time zone might need to align with the country from which you’re streaming video. To change your time zone on a Fire TV, do the following:
- From the Home menu, scroll down and select Settings
- Select System > Time Zone
- Select Time Zone and choose the time zone for your desired country
Change your Amazon account to desired country
For some content, such as Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Instant Video, you may need to change your Amazon account to the US or another country. To do this, log into your Amazon account in a web browser and do the following:
- Click Your Account > Manage your content and devices
- Click the Settings tab
- Under Country settings, click the Change button
- Enter your US address. If you don’t have one, just Google the address of a hotel or something
- Click Update