Smart TVs have made living rooms more entertaining, thanks to apps that open the gateway for rich, on-demand entertainment. Digital streaming services have emerged over the past years that have captivated audiences with a diverse range of content accessible through subscription-based packages.
Entertainment hungry people have loved the idea of having access to thousands of movies, music, TV shows, through just a small price. It has gained services like Netflix extreme success and immense popular. According to a report this year, there are more than 118 million subscribers enjoying Netflix around the globe.
It is almost impossible to imagine the lack of Smart functionality in TVs sold today. The smart functionality refers to a TV’s capability of supporting digital apps, usually through an operating-system.
But of the many TVs out there in world that don’t support this feature, there exist hardware that enable this functionality. And these hardwares are no bigger than a standard-sized USB thumb drive.
One such popular option is Amazon FireStick. It is a convenient way to introduce Smart apps to your TV. Netflix has established itself as the leading video-streaming service. But it’s not the only one. Amazon’s own Prime Video is competing against many others in the digital video streaming space.
Amazon FireStick has earned positive reviews, from professional reviewers and users alike. One way users are utilizing Smart apps is by pairing their entertainment experience with a VPN. It has become a widely-used method to ensure unrestricted and secure streaming.
Amazon FireStick is powered by Android. Although Android as an open-platform plays host to many VPN apps through its app store, the first-generation of FireStick does not support this method. Fortunately, the second iteration introduced in 2018 has finally brought the much-awaited feature. It’s growing evidence how popular VPNs have become for Smart devices. However, it is possible to install VPN on both first and second-generation FireStick.
A VPN allows unrestricted access to content that would otherwise sit behind the geo-restriction barrier. Each country carries its own set of regulations, and digital content goes through the same process of scrutiny. Users get around this problem by spoofing their location.
For your convenience, here are some of the best-rated VPN for FireStick that is built to perform on those fronts – and more. We have broken down each service’s pros and cons.
Best VPN for FireStick in 2018 – Detailed Review with Pros & Cons
FastestVPN for FireStick
FastestVPN emerged quite recently but has earned attention because of the features present and competitive prices. Its features range from malware protection, AES 256-bit encryption, no log policy to servers optimized for P2P, and more.
In a short amount of time, it has managed to spread more than 70+ servers in 23+ countries worldwide – although, that’s a much less than established VPN names. And because of that, speed will vary based on how close you are to the server.
- Relatively cheaper
- Supports all major devices including Kodi
- Supports up to 10 devices simultaneously
- No Kill Switch feature
- Does not offer a free trial
NordVPN for FireStick
The first on our list is NordVPN. If you were to look for the best VPNs available right now, NordVPN will be on the list.
NordVPN utilizes its growing list of 4,838 high-speed servers that span across 62 countries to mask your IP and reroute traffic. Featuring military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, it ensures internet traffic in and out of your device is protected against infiltration.
It even includes Onion Over VPN. Thus, enabling another layer of protection without your ISP knowing that you’re even using the Onion network.
Overall, NordVPN is a strong choice to consider as your VPN for FireStick.
- Very strong number of high-speed servers around the world
- Supports a wide range of devices and up to six devices with one account
- AES 256-bit encryption for traffic
- Killswitch feature prevents exposing identity to the ISP
- Offers five protocols to choose from (OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, SSTP, and IKEv2)
- SmartPlay feature unblocks a significant number of streaming services which are otherwise geo-restricted.
- Users could experience slow performance when server traffic is high
- Bitcoin users have no option to receive a refund
- Costs more than competing VPNs
IPvanish VPN for FireStick
As the name suggests, IPvanish vanishes your IP off the network. Your real IP will be masked, hidden from the prying eyes of your ISP who could throttle bandwidth.
IPvanish touts zero-logs policy that does not record user activity on the servers. That, in addition to the VPN’s capability to hide your IP, makes for a strong reason why you should consider this VPN for FireStick.
The VPN service operates more than 1000 servers across the globe, so speed won’t be much of a concern.
- Support for up to five devices
- More than a 1000 servers in over 60 countries
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Killswitch prevents exposing your real IP
- Strong AES 256-bit encryption
- 7-day money back guarantee
- Does not support TOR network
- 24/7 customer support doesn’t work as advertised. Takes long to respond to queries
- Expensive considering the features and number of servers available
CyberGhost VPN for FireStick
CyberGhost VPN allows the user to browse safely and securely over the web. It provides unrestricted access to websites, including video-streaming services.
For Netflix, the service provides Dynamic IP that changes every time Netflix cracks it down.
- Supports up to 7 devices
- Over 2700 servers worldwide
- Simple-to-use UI
- Offers a free trial
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Not the fastest VPN
- Feels expensive compared to other options who offer more features and better speed
- Customer support is tiring
Windscribe VPN for FireStick
Windscribe may be an unfamiliar name to you, but it is worth considering as a VPN for FireStick. For starters, Windscribe offers a version which is completely free. However, keep in mind that it may collect some user information if you’re using the free version.
For security, it features AES 256-bit encryption with SHA512 auth and 4096-bit RSA key. So, rest assured, you’re getting an extremely competent VPN that is well-equipped to hide your identity and activity online. For folks looking to unblock Netflix, we are glad to report that Windscribe is well-capable on that front. Its “Windflix” feature easily unblock US Netflix.
- Strong security
- Unblocks Netflix
- Free version available to everyone
- Paid version is not as fast as it should be
- Live chat support uses bots and is not very helpful.
Benefits of Using VPN for Fire TV Stick
Earlier, we talked about how Smart devices like the FireStick transforms a TV and enables access to a wide range of apps. These apps range from video-streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, to music-streaming services like Spotify.
Digital content is always subject to scrutiny from the governing bodies of a country. It is why content available on Netflix in US differs from other regions. This is called “geo-restriction”.
Since VPNs work to conceal identity over the internet by rerouting traffic from a different location, services like Netflix cannot see your real geographic location. So, use our list of best-rated VPN for FireStick and get access to your favorite movies and TV shows.
Always pay for VPN to get the best speed and security. Otherwise, you will not have access to the full list of a VPN service’s servers, and it will likely log your activity to sell to third parties. VPNs don’t cost a lot, so don’t compromise your anonymity over the internet.
How to Install VPN for FireStick
Now that you’ve understood why it’s beneficial to use a VPN for Fire TV Stick, allow us to explain how you can get VPN up and running.
Before we can begin, make sure you own the second iteration of Amazon FireStick for the first method. The second method is applicable to second-generation as well, we’ll get there in a bit.
Follow the instructions below:
- Connect FireStick to your TV
- Launch FireStick Home. Navigate to Apps section located at the top, then move to Utility.
- Type in the search box the name of whichever VPN you want to download
- Click on the VPN app and download it
- Once app has installed, click on Open which appears on the same page
That’s it! Follow the on-screen instructions which will include entering VPN credentials. You’ll be good to go from there.
But some VPNs may not be able on the app store. And because Google Play Store is not present in FireStick’s OS, we need to use other methods. But before we present the second method, we need to enable something in the settings. Here’s how to do it:
- Go into Settings and select Device
- In the Developer Options, toggle Apps from Unknown Sources to ON.
We mentioned earlier that FireStick is based on Android. It’s Android’s open-source nature that allows installation from external sources. Installing from external, unverified sources is always risky, so the option is disabled on Android devices by default.
Continue with the steps:
- Go back to the Settings menu and head into About
- Navigate to Note down the value in IP Address
From here, there shall be two ways to install. The first is easy if your VPN provider has provided the .APK file for direct download. The .APK files are Android’s version of executable files. The very nature of such files exposes you to risk of damaging your device. One wrong APK install and you may compromise your FireStick. So, as a rule of thumb, it is best practice to always download APK files from trusted sources.
For this installation method, we will rely on APKs provided by the VPN maker itself. We will pick FastestVPN here because they provide APK file, readily available on their website.
- Type in “Downloader” into the search bar located at the top of the screen
- From the product page, begin the installation and wait for it to finish
- Open Downloader. Enter this direct link (https://fastestvpn.com/download) into the URL catcher
- Install the APK file when you are prompted on the screen.
- Because the app was not downloaded through a system app, the VPN app will instead appear in Settings. From there, go into Applications then Manage Installed Applications. The VPN app should be there.
The third method requires relatively more effort, but we’ve simplified it down. You need another Android device for this one.
- Launch Play Store from your Android device and search for an app named Apps2Fire
- Download and install the app
- Launch the app. Tap on the three-dot menu icon located at the top right corner then tap on Setup
- Remember the IP address from FireStick we had you note down earlier? It’s time to enter that under IP address of your Fire TV.
- From the three-dotted menu again, tap on Upload Apps
- Navigate to the .APK file of the VPN and begin the upload
- The VPN app should now be listed in FireStick’s apps
From here on, it is simply a procedure of launching the app and following the on-screen instructions.
Best VPN For FireStick Requirements
For a VPN product to be successful, it needs to have a few key areas covered – and strongly. Let us discuss those key areas and how they contribute towards a better product.
Downloading and Streaming Speed
In a typical scenario without a VPN, any request you make, such as opening a website, goes through your ISP first and then connects to your desired location. VPN reroutes the traffic to one of its servers, giving you a different IP address. Thus, it “spoofs” your actual location.
But because your internet traffic is sent to a server residing in a different geographic location, it introduces delay. It effectively increases load times and latency.
One way a VPN works around this is by setting up servers in as many countries as they can. So, users can connect to the nearest server outside of his/her own country. The better the geographic coverage a VPN has the better the performance. But it’s not entirely dependent on geo-location, the actual product has to carry quality.
VPNs protect you against your ISP by masking your real identity. It happens when all requests go through a VPN server. But this is where things become concerning. What’s stopping a VPN service from peeking at what websites you’re visiting, or worse, keep records of your activity?
It is important that you pay for the VPN service. Free services not only restrict access to a handful of servers, they also sell user data. Third parties pay money in exchange for such information to use for their own purpose. It is money that the VPN service will use to pay for costs that occur from providing this very free service.
Remote Control Friendly
Any good app relies on easy-to-use menus and user-interface to succeed. VPNs available through FireStick’s store should be optimized and work well with the remote. But for apps downloaded externally, refer to user-reviews to see how if the UI is remote-control friendly.
Although it is a bit difficult navigating the on-screen keyboard with a remote, the responsiveness of UI will make it less frustrating.
Connection to Simultaneous Devices
A good VPN also gives value for money. Almost all popular VPNs feature simultaneous devices support. It means that when you buy a license, you can use the account on more than one device – at any given time. You can expect to use up to three to five devices.
So, you could be watching on the big screen in the living while kids leave you alone and enjoy their cartoons on a tablet/mobile device. You can also share the account with family and friends.
Support & Money-Back Guarantee
When a service offers a money-back guarantee, it is usually a sign of confidence the service has in its service. Some VPN services even offer free trials for customers who may be on the fence.
Customer support is a crucial free-of-cost service that every customer expects and something which all VPNs provide. The truth boils down to the quality of customer service provided. Some services install bots to assist to customers, who can only answer a few questions. Some offer ticket-based service where a representative gets back to customers after they leave queries through the website.
But some services fail to get back to customers in time. It is why live chat support is hailed as the best way to get the job done.
VPN Testing for Fire TV Stick, Fire TV, or Fire TV Cube
Now that you’ve done the initial setup, it’s time to test the VPN for FireStick. This method also works for Fire TV and Fire TV Cube.
- From the Settings page, go into Apps and search for Firefox Browser.
- Download and install on your FireStick
- Initiate a secure connection by turning on the VPN once installation finishes
- Launch the Firefox browser and type address https://dnsleaktest.com in the URL bar
- The page will display your geographic location and the current IP address. You will notice that location displayed is according to your VPN’s set location, so far so good.
- Now, click on either the Standard Test or Extended Test It will run a test and inform you of an IP leak.
IP leak refers to a lapse in security where the VPN basically exposes your actual IP address. You can think of it like cracks in a reservoir that leaks water. This momentary leak can be detected by the ISP. A strong VPN would not suffer from such events.
Free VPN for FireStick, Fire TV, and Fire TV Cube
Free VPNs, of course, exist. But they are not recommended. Sure they are free and get the job done but they come with major tradeoffs. For one, they don’t grant access to every region server. It leaves you with just one or a handful of servers to connect. It also leaves you with slow browsing and streaming because your desired region server is inaccessible. The experience could become frustrating.
On top of that, the primary reason why it’s not recommended to use free VPN services is privacy. The very same “zero logs” policy that VPN services advertise for their paid packages does not apply to the free version. VPN services exist to make money, they are not a charity. Keeping the servers healthy and running requires money. If they’re not getting money through paid packages then assume that you’re data is being sold somewhere.
It is contradictory to the very reason why VPN is used in the first place. Many VPNs like FastestVPN often hold sales that provide big discounts on packages. If you’re lucky, your favorite VPN provider might be holding one right now.
VPN for FireStick Troubleshoot
So, you’ve just connected a VPN with FireStick but are facing issues. Don’t worry, your problem might be simple to solve. Here are some of the common problems and how to troubleshoot them:
- VPN won’t connect:
Go into Settings and change the VPN protocol to OpenVPN (TCP) or OpenVPN (UDP)
- Slow browsing/streaming:
Usually connection to a VPN server located very far from your geographic location introduces performance slowdown. You can solve this by connecting to the nearest country’s the VPN offers. By default, the VPN app picks the best server for you, but manual selection could help improve performance.
- Restart FireStick:
Simply unplug the FireStick, wait for a minute then plug it back.
- Uninstall VPN app:
You can uninstall the VPN app by heading into Settings. Locate the option Manage Applications in Applications page. Select the VPN app and uninstall. Some problems might go away by uninstalling and reinstalling the VPN app.
- Unable to login on VPN:
Passwords are case sensitive. Make sure you don’t have Caps Lock on or accidentally give space between the passwords.
If your issue is not listed here, contact customer support. Many VPNs offer 24/7 customer support, you can also use the ticket system to register your issue and a customer representative will get back to you in due time.
1st Generation FireStick VPN
Introduced in 2014, Amazon released FireStick as a cut-down, smaller version of its Fire TV. Unlike its bigger brother, FireStick was the size of a USB thumb drive and could be easily plugged in any TV with an HDMI input port.
The stick transforms the TV and enables access to smart apps. While access to a great number of entertainment apps was now possible, it was restricted in terms of available content. Geo-restriction prevents users from enjoying the full library a content service provider has to offer. This is where VPN became popular.
By using a VPN, it is possible to gain unrestricted and secured access to all such entertainment apps.
2nd Generation FireStick VPN
Amazon followed up the success of FireStick with a second iteration that brought several new improvements.
Released in October 2016, FireStick featured Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa built in the Voice Remote. Users could issue commands at will by speaking into the remote. There were several hardware upgrades under the hood for a smoother experience. Just as the case with the first-generation, VPN became a popular option among users.
Digital content is subject to restrictions imposed by the government. Hence, some content may appear absent in a different region. To bypass this restriction, users opt for a fast and reliable VPN that unblock geo-restricted content.
Installing a VPN is quite easy with the help of FireStick’s app store. It is possible to install even when a VPN is not available in the store.
Why you need VPN for FireStick?
We all love the internet, it serves as an endless repository of information and opens the gateway for countless hours of entertainment. But the internet can be a risky place. There are people who attack the privacy of others.
It is more risky when surfing on a public Wi-Fi. Since everyone is connected to a relatively small and open wireless network, it becomes easy for hackers to intrude on your internet privacy. ISPs control your connection; they see what you do and can limit certain things like access to websites or throttle bandwidth. For example, your ISP is able to know that you are visiting this site at this hour.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) establishes a secure tunnel between you and one of its server. All traffic requests made go through with this server. Your real IP address remains hidden from the ISP. VPNs are also capable of encrypting data, with strong AES 256-bit encryption technology that makes intrusions impossible.
Encryption is a method of scrambling data so that it appears scrambled to outside infiltrators. Encryption relies on a unique key to decrypt data. Without the key, there is no way to decipher data. Another benefit of using VPN for FireStick is that it prevents activity logging. When data goes through an ISP’s server, every detail of your activity can get logged. Law enforcement agencies can request such records at the request, and ISPs are always more than ready to deliver it.
Apart from the security benefits, spoofing location enables access to geo-restricted websites. It is most helpful in unblocking content on video-streaming services like Netflix.
With zero effort, location-spoofing enables streaming content that is otherwise not available in your actual region. This is very useful for FireStick which enables access to a number of video-streaming and music-streaming apps.
However, speed takes a hit when you use a VPN. It happens because the server the VPN services connects us to may not always be near to us. Because of that, latency increases and speed suffers. A great VPN service would get around this problem by featuring as many servers as it can in as many regions as it can. This would allow the user to connect to the nearest region available.
How FireStick VPN Can Help?
A VPN for FireStick would enable access to content that is otherwise geo-restricted.
Taking Netflix as an example, some movies and TV shows available for US audience might not be available for other regions. This presents a roadblock in your viewing experience. VPNs spoof actual location of the user and fools services like Netflix.
VPNs have become a popular way of unblocking content on the internet. They have arguably gained more attention with the rise of video-streaming services. With VPN working with FireStick, you will have unrestricted and secure access to all apps without your ISP knowing.
Additionally, if the ISPs doesn’t know your IP then it can’t throttle bandwidth of your connection. You don’t want lower-quality streaming now, do you?
Best VPN for FireStick – The Wrap Up
Amazon’s FireStick is an impressive little hardware that transforms your old TV with Smart apps functionality. It provides access to a number of video-streaming and music-streaming apps. But without a VPN, the entertainment experience will feel limited.
To unblock every restricted piece of content on your favorite service, you need a VPN. For example, the BBC iPlayer does not work if you reside outside of the UK. It is an unfortunate reality for Doctor Who fans. And the only way to get around it? A VPN.
But equally important are the security benefits that a VPN provides. It effectively bypasses geo-restriction and prevents the government from knowing your activity via your ISP. VPNs mask your identity with a private IP so you may disappear from their radar.
The list of VPN for FireStick we presented here contain some of the best VPN services – based on pros and cons. Pick any one of these and get on unblocking everything!