VPNs are popular for a variety of reasons, but one is to unblock video content that’s not available in your country. And with the Amazon Fire TV Stick being so popular for watching Netflix, Amazon, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services, VPN companies are starting to make apps available in the on-board app store.
Here we’ll explain how to install one of these VPN apps and configure it on your Fire Stick or Fire TV.
Netflix is one of the main reasons to use a VPN, but Amazon’s Prime Video content also varies from country to country. There are also other video players besides such as BBC iPlayer, Hulu and Crunchyroll, and you'll be able to access region-blocked versions of these using the instructions in this article.
Note: You should be aware that watching content from a country in which you do not live is technically against Netflix and Prime Video's terms and conditions. We don’t condone this, and are merely providing the information explaining how to do it. Also, using your Fire TV Stick to access copyrighted content for free is against the law.
There are legitimate uses for VPNs of course. You might take your Fire TV Stick on holiday to another country and want to access services you've paid for in your home country. However, the Fire TV has no built-in VPN settings. We recommend choosing from our roundup of the best VPN services for the Fire TV.
How do I install a VPN on a Fire Stick?
The easiest way to get a VPN is to install an app from the Apps section on the Fire TV. There are more choices than ever and you'll find IPVanish, VyprVPN and ExpressVPN apps among others on the 2nd-generation Fire TV Stick. Check out our roundup of the best VPN services for Fire TV for more options.
If you have a 1st-gen Fire Stick you will find a smaller selection as some apps aren't compatible with the older hardware. You can easily tell if you have an original Fire Stick by its remote control:
We recommend using the links above to sign up for an account at one of these three services if you don't already have an account. Do this on your laptop, PC or even phone as it's a hassle to use the on-screen keyboard with the Fire TV remote. And some services don't let you create an account via the Fire TV app: you can only log into an account that is already set up.
Then, use the search facility in the main Fire TV menu and enter 'VPN' in the search box.
Press the select button on the remote to choose an app.
Installing the app of your chosen service is as simple as clicking the 'Get' button and waiting for it to change to Open.
When you launch the VPN app, enter your login details. Select the country or server you want to use and look for a button to enable the VPN. Once the connection is established you should get visual confirmation. At that point you can go back to the main menu and launch Netflix or another app and begin streaming video.
As far as that service is concerned, you're now located in whichever country you chose in your VPN app.
How can I use a VPN service that doesn't have an app?
If you're willing to do some extra legwork, it's possible to use other VPN services with the Fire TV, such as NordVPN.
One way is to find the Android .apk file for the app you want and side-load it onto the Fire TV Stick. Often you'll find this made available direct from the VPN provider's website, which is the safest place to get it.
The snag is that you might have to create a short link to save having to key in the full URL of the .apk file using the Fire TV's remote control. We recommend tinyurl.com for this. It's free and doesn't ask you to create an account. You'll need to do this on a PC or laptop first.
On your Fire Stick, use the search function and search for 'Downloader'. You can install the Downloader app which is necessary to download the .apk file to the Fire Stick.
Run Downloader and enter the tiny URL you created earlier. The VPN APK file will download and you should see a prompt to install it. After that, it's the same process as before: launch the app, sign in with your details (create an account with the VPN service on your PC or laptop if you haven't already done so).
Just bear in mind that the app is likely to have been designed for a phone screen, not your TV.
Pick a server in the country in which you want to stream video, and enable the VPN connection.
With any VPN running, your IP address will show you as being located in the country you’ve selected and you should be able to access all content that’s available there.
Use a VPN router or a virtual router
You may have to use this method if you already subscribe to a VPN service that doesn’t have an Android app.
Essentially it involves using a router which supports a VPN (not all do) and you should follow the instructions given by your particular VPN service to set this up.
Obviously there is a downside to this method: all of the other devices connecting to the internet via your router will also be using this VPN connection unless your router allows you to specify particular devices (IP addresses) which will use a VPN. That will depend on your router model.
If your router doesn’t support a VPN, you can use a PC or laptop to run a virtual router. There are many free and paid-for applications which will do the job. One free one is the appropriately named Virtual Router which supports Windows 10 as well as older versions.
When you install it, you’ll have to follow the on-screen instructions to enter your VPN details. Once that’s done, you need to make sure your new virtual router is shared so that your new Wi-Fi network can be seen by your Fire TV Stick. Well, we did warn you at the top that this wasn’t exactly simple.
To check, search the Start menu for “View network connections” or right-click on the network icon in the Notification area. Find your new network that you’ve setup with the virtual router, and right-click it and choose Properties. Then tick the box for “Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection” if it isn’t already.
Finally, head to the Settings > System > Network menu on your Fire TV Stick and connect to the new network rather than directly to your router.
Do I need to change the country on my Fire TV Stick?
This will depend on the method you're using. If you've installed an app, you shouldn't need to change the country. However, if you want to check out Amazon Prime Video's offering in, say, the US and you're in the UK, here's how to do it.
First, make sure that the Amazon account via which you watch Prime Video is set to the country in which the content is available (or that you want to browse). So, if you live in the UK and want to watch US content, change your account to US.
Use a web browser to go to www.amazon.co.uk, sign in and then click on the Your Account link at the top-right.
Now scroll down to the Digital Content section and click the first link: Manage your Content and Devices.
Click on the Settings tab (to the right near the top) and then on the Change button next to Current country.
You can’t simply change the country setting to United States and click Update, though. You’ll need to enter a valid address and zip code.