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How to install a VPN on Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

Amazon Fire TV
(Image credit: Future)

Media streamers like Amazon Fire TV have exploded in popularity in just a few short years, but that’s hardly a great surprise. The gadgets make it incredibly easy to watch HD content from thousands of channels and for a reasonable price.

Amazon’s media streaming players, the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, both provide Full HD streaming capabilities and thousands of channel options. And the fact that it's so portable make it great for travelling with. But that leaves you in a situation where your domestic TV streaming catalogues are left geo-blocked - and that's where using a VPN comes in.

To circumvent this geoblock, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). It works by masking your IP address with a US IP. VPNs also encrypt your traffic, giving your browsing (and streaming) habits a layer of privacy from snooping ISPs and government bodies.

What exactly are Amazon Fire TV and TV Stick?

Both released in 2014, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are media streaming players that allow you to watch your favorite TV shows and episodes from one device.

Amazon Fire TV does a bit more heavy lifting than the Fire TV Stick: it supports 4K resolution and HDR, as well as more channels and games. The Fire TV Stick is essentially a ‘lite’ version of Fire TV, only supporting up to 1080p, and fewer channels and games - although there is now a 4K version available of the Stick, too.

If you have a TV compatible with 4K and HDR and you want more gaming power, get the Fire TV or 4K Fire TV Stick. If not, then go for the Fire TV Stick.


How to choose the best VPN for Fire TV and TV Stick

When looking for a good streaming VPN for the Fire TV and TV Stick, you essentially want two things: fast streaming speeds and a wide selection of US locations to choose from. Our favorite services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN are both eminently capable of delivering on both these fronts.

There are also other things that you should consider when choosing a VPN, such as whether it has a kill switch, a ‘no log’ policy, and support for your device. These are all areas where ExpressVPN excels in droves. It's fast, secure and has superb 24/7 live chat customer support.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

How do I install a VPN on Amazon Fire TV and TV Stick?

There are two main ways to download a VPN onto your Fire TV device: through its App Store or by directly downloading the APK file. Which method you use depends on whether the VPN you want to install is listed among Fire TV’s apps. Several VPNs such as ExpressVPN and IPVanish are available on its App Store, albeit only in certain countries; other VPNs will need you to use the second method.

Method 1: Install a VPN from Fire TV’s App Store

This method works with any VPN that has its app listed on Fire TV and TV Stick’s App Store.

  • Go to Search on your Fire TV or Fire TV Stick and type in your VPN’s name. If it doesn’t show up head to Method 2 below.
  • Click the VPN app that appears and click the Download button.
  • Once downloading has finished, click Open to launch your VPN app. 
  • Sign in to your VPN app.
  • Select a VPN location in the US and click Connect.
  • If a VPN connection request comes up, click OK.

Method 2: Install a VPN’s APK file with a direct download

This method works with any APK file that isn’t available on Fire TV’s App Store. If your VPN has an APK file available on its website, we recommend downloading it directly from the site rather than through other sites.

  • Search for “Downloader” on your Fire TV or TV Stick
  • Click the Downloader app and click the download button.
  • Once downloading has finished, click open to launch the Downloader app. 
  • Once the app is open, enter the direct download URL for the VPN’s APK file. You’ll typically find this on the VPN provider’s Android app pages. 
  • Download the APK file. You should be prompted to install the app, but if not, you can go into the downloads section in the Downloader app and click the APK file.
  • As the app was downloaded through another app, i.e. Downloader, the VPN won’t show up in the Apps menu. Instead, you’ll need to find it in Settings.
  • Go to Settings and then Applications.
  • Click Manage Installed Applications and you’ll find your VPN app. 
  • Click on the VPN app and select Launch Application.
  • Sign in to your VPN app.
  • Select a VPN location in the US and click Connect.

Asus RT-AC1900P

Bonus method: Install a VPN on a router

If your VPN does not have an APK file but has a router app, or for several good reasons you want to put your VPN on a router, downloading a VPN’s router app will also cover your Fire TV or TV Stick connection. Just make sure that your Fire TV or TV Stick is connected to the router and that you select a VPN location in the US.

Troubleshooting tips

In the rare event that your app stops working, here are some troubleshooting tips to try.

  • Uninstall the app by heading into Settings > Applications > Manage Applications. Then reinstall following the methods above. 
  • Restart your Fire TV or TV stick by unplugging it and letting it sit for a couple minutes. Then plug it back in.
  • If your stream is experiencing lag, try connecting to another US location on your VPN. 
  • You can also contact the VPN’s support center if you’re having trouble with your connection on your Fire devices. ExpressVPN, for instance, has 24/7 live chat customer support with agents who respond promptly to any questions or problems you may have.

Not sure which VPN to use with your Fire TV or Fire Stick? Check out our guide on the best VPNs for the Fire TV Stick , as well as our guide for the best VPNs overall

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology in a career spanning four decades. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.