The Amazon Fire TV opens up a world of opportunity for eager cord cutters. But if you plan on doing a little hacking on your device to further open up its potential, you may want to install a VPN onto the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Box. We’ll walk you through the process for how to do this for any generic VPN, as well as how to do it for a few popular VPN services.
Why Would Do I Need a VPN for My Amazon Fire TV?
For general watching purposes, you don’t need a VPN service on your Amazon Fire TV stick or box. However, if you plan to:
- Access geographically-locked content…
- Sideload some applications onto your device
- Sideload Kodi or a Kodi build onto your device (please read our disclaimer if you intend to do this)
- Torrent through your Amazon Fire TV device
If you plan to do any of those activities, a VPN service will either make them possible or be a good addition to help keep your online activities private.
We’ve found that many users favor turning to a VPN in order to access geographically-locked streaming content. For many users, a good VPN will allow you to access any geographically locked content, such as that available from different Netflix regions, or content available through the BBC iPlayer (for UK residents traveling outside of the UK).
When it comes to sideloading and streaming content through web browsers or Kodi, a VPN will help secure your identity online while using these additional, non-standard applications. It will not prevent you from downloading viruses, however, so ensure you are taking extra precautions on that end. Nevertheless, the distinct privacy features available on a VPN will help keep your browsing and streaming habits private.
For those intending to sideload Kodi, we’d also like to note that Kodi users occasionally receive copyright infringement notifications from their ISPs. Most will turn to VPNs to secure their privacy while using Kodi on any device.
Our suggestion for these purposes is IPVanish, a fully-functional, high-quality VPN service. We also recommend IPVanish for anyone using a VPN on Amazon Fire TV, even without Kodi. IPVanish delivers a high-quality service for all types of users. We’ve thoroughly reviewed IPVanish, giving it the highest ranking among other major VPN services.
*IMPORTANT USAGE NOTE: In order to use IPVanish with your Fire TV, you will need FireOS 5.2.2 or later. If your device is running an older version of FireOS, you may lose your network connectivity immediately after connecting to an IPVanish VPN server. You can check your FireOS version by going to Settings > System > About.
How to Install IPVanish on Android Fire TV Stick or Box
Prior to 2017, the only method available to install IPVanish on a Fire TV Stick or Box was to sideload the application. However, IPVanish has recently updated their offerings. You can now download the IPVanish app directly from your Amazon Appstore onto your Fire TV device!
To find the IPVanish app through your Amazon Appstore, do the following:
- Go to you Fire TV home screen
- Click on the Amazon Appstore icon
- Type in IPVanish in the search box
- Download and install your IPVanish app
It’s as simple as that. You’ll be greeted with the IPVanish login screen once you open up the app:
You will need to sign up in order to use the service.
Is IPVanish the Only VPN That Works on the Fire TV Stick or Box?
Nope! In fact, you can also install almost any VPN app that has an APK file. We recommend IPVanish as our top choice because it is the best VPN service out there to get the job done and one of the few VPN services with an app specifically designed for the Amazon Fire TV. However, for the sake of transparency, we believe you may also be able to install the following VPN service Android applications using the sideloading method:
If you’re interested in sideloading any of these programs onto your Amazon Fire TV device, you can learn how using our Ultimate Fire TV Sideloading Guide.
We do not have any information on how to install these VPN services onto a Fire TV Stick or Box. However, each of these VPN services offers an Android APK file available for download from different websites. We cannot guarantee that those files work in general, nor can we make any assurances that they work with FireOS specifically. As such, if you plan to use one of these VPN services as a potential alternative for your FireTV OS, we cannot guarantee success with your device. Utilize any of these alternatives at your own risk.
Additional Benefits of a VPN on Amazon Fire TV or Stick
Although you may be trying to use your Amazon Fire TV to access geographically-locked content from different regions, you’ll also find significant benefits for other purposes.
For example, if you decide that you want to install and utilize a torrent streaming application on your Amazon Fire TV, you’ll be best served with a VPN. While torrenting itself is legal, there’s a chance that your ISP will attempt to block your torrenting, or significantly reduce your internet speeds when torrent networks activity is detected. For many torrenting and torrent streaming Kodi addons, the use of a VPN is essential if you want to ensure complete privacy while on the P2P network.
A VPN will mask your torrent streaming from your ISP, ensuring that your bandwidth is not reduced.
Additionally, a VPN on your Fire TV Stick or any other Amazon Fire device will help prevent your ISP from spying on your activity or even gathering and selling data on your browsing habits. Particularly in the US, where ISP spying is a growing concern after recent legislation was signed into law, there is a concern that ISPs may engage in consumer-unfriendly practices with data. While you may not be able to always opt-out of this type of activity, you can prevent your ISP from gathering and selling your data by anonymizing your activity through a VPN.
Kodi on Amazon Fire TV
One of the most popular Amazon Fire TV apps to get is the Kodi app. However, if you search through the Amazon Appstore, you’ll find that the Kodi app is mysteriously absent. Although Kodi works perfectly well on Android devices, the Amazon FireOS, which is based on Android, is not the same thing.
Amazon strictly controls which programs will work with their Fire TV devices. The company disallows the Kodi app on its Appstore. The only way to get Kodi onto your Amazon Fire TV device is to use the sideloading method.
Click here to read our guide on how to sideload Kodi onto the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Box.
What Are Fully Loaded Kodi Amazon Fire TV Sticks
There’s a chance you may have seen some individuals selling “fully-loaded” Kodi boxes. At times, this can include the selling of fully-loaded Amazon Fire TV devices as well.
When it comes to these devices, the term “fully-loaded,” means that the device has been pre-loaded with a large number of third-party Kodi addons. While many third party addons are completely free and legal to use, a number of these addons have been known to deliver illegal, copyrighted content.
There have been recent crackdowns on the selling of modified devices, especially in the UK. Some sellers have faced jail time and significant fines for selling these types of devices.
At present, it is not illegal to buy a fully loaded Amazon Fire TV stick from a third-party dealer. However, the selling of these devices has been linked to criminal gang activity. Police and news outlets report that some criminal gangs have turned to selling modified Kodi boxes, including Amazon Fire TV devices, as a cheap, easy, and low-risk way to make money.
If you do plan to install Kodi addons onto your device, we recommend completing this process yourself. We recommend this manual installation method, as it allows you to pick and choose which addons you install. This ensures that you will be able to get the latest version of those addons.
Far too often, individuals buying modified Kodi boxes find that many of the addons pre-installed on the device are broken. These sellers of modified Amazon Fire TV devices are usually not concerned with whether the pre-loaded addons work, or whether they are updated to the latest working version. Because of this, you may end up spending a fair amount of time sifting through and trying to delete broken addons.
Best Kodi Addons for Amazon Fire TV
Thinking of adding Kodi and Kodi addons to your Amazon Fire TV device? Check out the following installation guides:
Best Live Sports Addons for Kodi 2017 – Watch Live Sports on Kodi
Best Kodi Repositories of 2017 – These 5 Kodi Repositories are Still Working
Best Kodi Addons for Movies 2017 – Watch Movies on Kodi
Best Live TV Addons for Kodi 2017 – Watch Live TV on Kodi
Sam Cook is a full-time content strategist by day, a part-time freelance content writer since 2015. In another life, he was a high school English teacher for nearly a decade. Based in sunny New Orleans, he writes long-form educational content on technology, including Insurtech, Fintech, HRtech, and content streaming. He loves whittling down complex ideas within these areas that make decisions easier for buyers. When he’s not reading books with his son Miles and playing video games with the family, you can find him immersed in his growing collection of Euro-style board games.