The Amazon Fire Stick is quickly gaining popularity because of the variety of content available (or “added on”) to the small USB stick. But unless you live in the U.S., services like Amazon Prime Instant Video are not available to you. In order to bypass this geo-restriction, you must use VPN or Smart DNS services. Smart DNS will work, but only a VPN will fully prevent your Internet Service Provider (ISP) from seeing what you’re doing. In this article we explain in detail how to use a VPN with all Amazon services and devices, and why it’s the safest choice.
Installing A VPN on the Fire Stick
Most people using Amazon Fire TV services need a VPN to protect privacy. If you already have a VPN-configured router, simply access Settings>System>Network and click on your router to connect. If you don’t have a pre-configured router, follow these instructions to get VPN protection on your device so you can watch all content risk securely. These will not work for first generation Fire Stick users. They only work with the second generation device (or an Amazon Fire TV box). We used an IPVanish tutorial to write this article, but the process may vary. Contact customer support for your service before taking these steps.
The first step of installing a VPN on any device is to make sure you have signed up for a paid VPN service, of course. Some good services for Fire Stick include: IPVanish, VyperVPN and ExpressVPN. When sign up is complete, access ‘Settings’ on your Fire Stick and choose the ‘Device’ menu. In this menu, choose ‘Developer Options.’ Make sure the ‘Apps from Unknown Services’ feature is turned on. ‘ADB Debugging’ is also a helpful feature to keep on in case you ever need to connect a computer to the device.
Back at the home screen, click to search and type in ‘Downloader.’ Once you have successfully installed the Downloader application, open it on the device. You should see a box to type in an internet address. Contact customer support or the help database of your VPN service to get the direct link to the Android version of the VPN software. The address should lead you to a link to download the application; click it to download.
You will see a sign-in screen for your VPN service. Enter your username and password. You then have the option to watch a tutorial (watch it if you need to.) On the main screen, access settings and choose the option to have the service auto-start. In the ‘Connection’ settings tab, ‘auto-reconnect’ is also a useful feature to enable.
Back on the main screen, click ‘connect’ to access the most optimal server. You can change this location later when accessing location-specific content. For the IPVanish service, you will be asked to confirm your action the first time you connect. You should be all set, but you can take extra steps like checking that the software works via the Chrome browser (by visiting ipleak.net) and moving the VPN Icon to your home screen. Remember, any service that requires your IP address for sign-up will detect your VPN, so there may be times you need to disconnect.
Why You Need A VPN with Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Instant Video is only available in the U.S. To access the service in other countries, you need access to a remote server to change how the service reads your location. It is possible to do this through a SmartDNS proxy, which may not sacrifice speed. However, the more secure choice is to set up an Amazon Prime VPN.
A VPN will securely encrypt your device, making sure your location is truly masked and undetectable. Speed is a small sacrifice to make in return for true anonymity. If your internet service provider or Amazon detects that you are viewing content that is geo-restricted in your area, there could be consequences as severe as cancelation of service. It is always better to be safe than sorry. VPN services we recommend using with Amazon Prime Video are: ExpressVPN, IPVanish or VyprVPN.