The Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV offer their 34 million users an easy and portable way to view personalized streaming content. The stick connects through the HDMI port of your TV and can stream movies, shows, games, and other content from a wide range of applications.
While there is the potential to view thousands of hours of programming via the Fire Stick or the Fire TV, much of this material is blocked due to geo-restrictions. All streaming services have licensing deals in place that determine what content is available in your location. So if you want unrestricted access to TV shows or movies, you need to use a VPN with your Amazon Fire products.
Today we will look closer at how to bypass the content barriers that are put in place by streaming apps such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.
What Does a VPN Do?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) routes your IP address through a remote server and encrypts your information. During this process content providers are led to believe you’re accessing their site from the VPN server’s location. Once you have “changed” your location, you are then able to unblock geo-restricted content.
How to Set Up a VPN on Your Amazon Fire Device
Many VPN providers have apps that work directly with the Amazon Fire Stick. IP Vanish, for instance, has a native app. VPNs that do not have a native app can also work with your Fire Stick or TV, but will require you to configure some settings.
Whichever VPN you decide to use, make sure it has fast connection speeds so you don’t have to worry about buffering. Also, check for a no-logging policy to be sure your VPN provider does not collect or record any of your online activity.
VPNs That Have an Amazon Fire App
The VPNs that are compatible with Amazon Fire will be available in the Fire TV app store. Once you have a subscription, you can access the app from the home screen:
- Search for “VPN” by going to the Utility section (this is located in Apps > Categories).
- Select your VPN provider (IPVanish, ExpressVPN, Windscribe, etc) and download the app.
- Open the app after installation and enter your account name and password to log in.
- If you are using IPVanish, you will have the option to connect to the VPN server immediately, or you can select a server in a different location. On other VPNs look for the connect option and you are ready to stream.
To ensure a stable and secure connection, you should always use a VPN that’s in the Amazon Fire app store.
How to Use a VPN that Doesn’t Have a Fire Stick App
There is still a way to access geo-restricted content if your provider is unavailable in the app store. We will show you how to set up your VPN, but this method will only work if your provider has an Android Application Package (APK) file that you can download from their website. An APK file can, among other things, allow you to access content that might be blocked because of geo-restrictions.
- Open up your Fire TV and go to Device, which is located under Settings.
- Click on Developer Options and turn the Apps from Unknown Sources option ON.
- Return to the home screen and click on About. Take a note of the IP Address that is shown.
Once you have this information, return to the Amazon Fire app store.
- Search for “Downloader” and install the app.
- Open the Downloader app and enter the direct download URL for your VPN’s APK file in the address bar located at the top of the screen. Click download.
- Your VPN app should now be installed and available to use.
- To connect to your app, go to settings and click on manage installed applications. Select your VPN and enter your username and password.
- Select a location for your server and click connect.
Please note that although this method allows for the use of a VPN without an official app, the setup is more complicated and may cause problems with future updates. I always recommend using a VPN that is available in the app store.
A VPN can improve your entire streaming experience and some providers have specifically created apps to use with Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV. Although you do have to pay for these VPNs services, they make unblocking shows and movies from around the world simple and also protect your privacy.
Free VPNs have caps on data usage, will slow down your connection, and are not focused on your online security. Sign up for a VPN and download their app from the Amazon Fire store to safely unblock your favorite streaming content.