Introduced back in 2014, the Fire TV Stick is Amazon’s rival to Chromecast and Roku. The device plugs into an HDMI port to allow any TV to stream content over a Wi-Fi network, effectively turning the set into a very well-featured smart TV.
However, much of that content is geo-locked, meaning it’s only available from a certain country or region due to the likes of content licensing agreements and broadcast rights. Of course, one way you can get round such content blocking is by using one of the best VPNs.
- Check out the best VPN services of 2018
Top five VPNs for Amazon's Fire TV in 2018
Best all-round VPN, fastest VPN for Fire TV
Number of servers: 2000 | Server locations: 148 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 3
ExpressVPN is our top pick for the best all-round VPN, and specifically for Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. With 2000 servers in close to 100 countries, this British Virgin Islands-based provider offers a lot of connection choices. In our testing, we found speeds were fractionally lower than our normal rates on shorter hops, with little change in long-distance connections.
ExpressVPN is known for its quality apps which include a brand new Android app that works well with Android-based streaming devices (like Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick), and it can be navigated with the remote control. When you fire it up, the app immediately recommends the location that gives you the best connection speed.
ExpressVPN offers an excellent level of technical support, including lots of troubleshooting guides and 24/7 live chat support, plus you can also get in touch via email if that’s more convenient.
Price plans aren’t the cheapest, but may be worth the added cost for the best possible streaming experience on Fire TV / Fire TV Stick. The pricing is somewhat mitigated by ExpressVPN's ‘no hassle’ money-back guarantee which allows you to try the full service for up to 30 days, with no sneaky small print restrictions on bandwidth or similar. That certainly comes in handy as there’s no free plan or trial. The yearly plan offers the best bang for your buck (with three months thrown in for free). The packages available are:
- Exclusive deal [$6.66 a month] 15-months [3 free months] - $99.95
- [$9.99 a month] 6-months - $59.95
- [$12.95 a month] 1-month
Best VPN for performance
Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 10
IPVanish certainly delivers on the performance front, over both short hops and long-distance connections, with the former being up to five times quicker than some rivals, and the latter showing a commendable average increase of 15% in download speeds. There are plenty of servers to choose from, with impressive global coverage.
There’s also a dedicated Fire TV app that is easy to setup and use. It has some handy options like automatic IP switching and fastest server optimisation, although note that it doesn’t support the first-generation Fire Stick. IPVanish doesn’t log any traffic or connection data when you use the service.
One downside worth mentioning is that when we tested out the firm’s customer support, we found it sluggish to respond, which obviously isn’t ideal if you do run into a problem.
There is no free trial, but the three plans on offer do come with a 7-day money-back guarantee. Your best bet is the yearly subscription which is the most affordable option. The packages available are:
Best VPN for 4K streaming
Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 3-5
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This VPN is blazingly fast and delivered more than twice our normal download rates, which will be pure streaming heaven for users watching 4K content (or HD, for that matter). The server count is very impressive as well, with more than 700 servers in 70+ locations around the globe.
VyprVPN has its own Fire TV app, available in the APK format or directly through the Amazon Store. The app offers lots of speed optimisation options and will automatically connect to the fastest server available, also providing you with upload and download speed graphs, a ping test and so on.
OpenVPN and Chameleon protocols are used here, with the latter being VyprVPN’s proprietary solution that’s designed to avoid deep packet inspection, and your VPN connection being detected and throttled or blocked (note that this is only available on the Premium plan).
The provider also has its own DNS solution, and maintains a ‘no logs’ policy, although that said, some session logging does take place, such as connection times and IPs – which might not be ideal for everyone.
You can test the service with a free 3-day trial – and it’s a good idea to exercise that right, as VyprVPN doesn’t allow refunds after you’ve signed up. When it comes to subscription plans, the best all-round choice is the Premium plan billed annually, because this comes with all the advanced features on offer – and monthly billing is expensive (for either plan). The packages available are:
- Basic: $9.95 monthly or $5.00 per month billed annually
- Premium: $12.95 monthly or $6.67 per month billed annually
Most secure VPN
Number of servers: 4848 | Server locations: 62 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
In our testing, NordVPN delivered very good performance, with impressive speeds on short connections, and some very serviceable results with longer distances. There are plenty of servers to choose from, too. The provider offers tutorials on how to set up your router with a VPN or share the VPN connection from your PC in order to use the service with the Fire Stick. Since recently, there is also a dedicated Android TV app that you can download from Amazon Appstore and use it with your Fire TV.
NordVPN excels on the security front, offering double data encryption (where your connection gets passed through two separate VPN servers), along with support for all the major security protocols. On top of that, the firm has a ‘no logs’ policy, which is always good to see.
There’s a free trial but you’d never know about it unless you dig around on the website. Out of the four available price plans (all of which have a 30-day money-back guarantee), the monthly plan is very expensive, but the limited three-year subscription is a fantastic deal. The packages available are:
- [$11.95 a month] 1-month
- [$9.00 a month] 6-months - $54.00
- [$6.99 a month] 1-year - $83.88
- [$2.75 a month] 3-years - $99.00
5. Buffered VPN
Best VPN for desktop PCs
Number of servers: N/A | Server locations: 45 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
This Hungarian-based provider offers impressive performance levels, with five simultaneous connections supported. In our review, we encountered an issue where a website wouldn’t load due to the VPN – and this might well be a one-off, but it’s still something to note. Buffered has 45 server locations and while that number isn’t as big as some other VPNs, they are all major locations so it shouldn’t make a huge difference.
The network has a detailed tutorial on how to set up Amazon’s Fire Stick so there shouldn’t be any problems on that front. If any occur, there is an extensive FAQ and live chat support to help you troubleshoot. This VPN makes it clear that it doesn’t log any online activity, so your privacy will be well protected.
One of this provider’s strong points is a generous 30-day refund policy that’s valid for up to 10 hours of usage time, 100 sessions or 10GB of bandwidth – whichever comes first.
The refund policy is especially useful considering that Buffered VPN is far from cheap. Even the yearly subscription is pricier than many, but it’s the most affordable option here (as ever). The packages available are:
- [$12.99 a month] 1-month
- [$9.99 a month] 6-months - $59.94
- [$7.62 a month] 13-months (with 1-month free) - $99.00
How to choose the best VPN for Amazon’s Fire TV Stick
Obviously, performance is always important for streaming, so you want a VPN provider that offers fast and reliable connections. A plentiful server count is helpful for finding a swift server – the more options you have, the better – and it’s also good to have a lightweight app which won’t affect performance levels, too.
You won’t always find a dedicated app for the Fire TV Stick, though, and it’s obviously a bonus when you do, because it means you can avoid having to set things up manually. Support for Kodi add-ons is also a boon.
- We’ve rounded up the best free VPN services of 2018