The FireStick represents a great way to turn a dumbTV into SmartTV via a cheap retro-fit device. And installing a VPN on your FireStick will allow you to access even more smartTV content – from different regions. The problem is that not all VPNs are equal and some won’t unlock services like BBC iPlayer or US Netflix. So what are the VPNs that actually work with a FireStick? Continue reading to find out.
Do VPNs work with Amazon FireStick?
Technically, all VPNs will work with the Amazon FireStick. But it’s not as simple as that. The Amazon FireStick runs a modified version of the mobile OS Android. Which means it can run all VPNs.
The problem is that not all Amazon FireStick apps work with VPNs. BBC iPlayer and US Netflix, for example, actively block some VPNs from accessing its content.
Why don’t all VPNs work with Amazon FireStick apps?
Some VPNs won’t work on the Amazon FireStick, because they’ve been blocked or blacklisted by the streaming site you’re you are trying to watch. Services like Netflix, block IP addresses for “abnormal usage.”
What is “abnormal usage”? Good question. The answer isn’t straightforward because sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer don’t publish their thresholds. However, broadly speaking, “abnormal usage” is where Netflix detects too many simultaneous connections coming from the same IP address and blocks that IP from viewing their content.
VPNs are susceptible to this because they are sharing a small number of IP addresses with a large number of users.
In order to get around this, you need to use a VPN that is winning the game of Cat and Mouse.
What is the game of “Cat and Mouse?” Another good question. It’s the term used to describe the back-and-forth actions of VPNs vs streaming services. In specific terms, Cat and Mouse is when a service such as Netflix, or BBC iPlayer blacklists a VPN’s IP address and the VPN responds immediately by opening a fresh (unblocked) IP address.
This Cat and Mouse tactic from the VPNs makes it impossible for streaming services to 100% protect themselves against. Which is why it’s such a widely-used tactic.
The 4 best VPNs that work with Amazon Firestick
1. Express VPN
It has incredibly quick connection speeds and consistently has the number-one rating for speed, based on our independent connection tests.
Using military-grade encryption, your internet usage is guaranteed to be private with ExpressVPN and the app is available on almost all devices.
There is always a working connection with popular streaming sites, such as Netflix.
You will have no problems connecting to any streaming site you can think of with ExpressVPN.
PureVPN is a very good VPN. It does things a little differently from its competitors. Instead of picking a server as a customer you select your ‘purpose,’ and PureVPN does the rest.
For example, if you wanted to watch US Netflix you would select your purpose as US Netflix and PureVPN would automatically connect you to a server that allows you to watch US Netflix.
This VPN has a very useful live chat support team on its website. If you run into any problems using PureVPN on your Firestick, you can contact them and they will assist you.
There is also an option to purchase a dedicated IP for an extra $1.99 per month. This stops the IP address from getting blocked for “abnormal usage.” Which is where a streaming site detects too many simultaneous connections coming from the same IP address and blacklists it.
A dedicated IP makes you the only user able to connect to that IP address.
PureVPN is also available on almost all devices.
With over 1900+ servers around the world, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market for watching streaming content on your Firestick.
They have a technical team that constantly monitors their servers making sure the connections are always functioning.
If you can think of a streaming site, NordVPN will be able to unblock it.
NordVPN also provides a list of servers that are open on their website.
If you are struggling to make a connection to a server, you can refer to this list and see what servers are open and ready for use.
Ivacy is a great VPN with an even better price tag. This VPN will unblock all the streaming sites on your Firestick and keep your internet usage private.
They provide the option of spending an extra $1.99/month to get yourself a dedicated IP. This means that you won’t be sharing that IP with any other customers and you won’t get blocked for abnormal usage.
Ivacy has a very helpful website that will show you how to setup the app on your Firestick. The app is also available on most devices.
I’ve been using ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) and PureVPN ($2.49/month) on my Firestick and have been watching US Netflix in New Zealand since May 2018.
Why use a VPN?
There are many benefits to using a VPN. With laws constantly changing in regards to online privacy, there is no better time to ensure your online usage is completely private. (See: 4 Best VPNs that work in Egypt) Using military-grade encryption software, a VPN can guarantee full online privacy, meaning your online activity cannot be tracked.
A VPN will also unblock geo-blocked content. Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have content that is geo-blocked. This means that some content is only available in certain countries or regions, due to broadcast rights. A VPN is able to fix this issue.
VPNs allow you to change your IP address to a location that has the content you are looking for. For example, if you are outside of the US and you want to watch Firestick content that is only available in the US. You would use a VPN and select a location in the US. The content would now be available to stream.