If you just picked up a shiny new Android TV box, your next step should be to setup a VPN. VPNs, or virtual private networks, are software solutions that help you secure your identity while you stream your favorite content through Kodi. Whether you’re using an Amazon Fire Stick or Fire TV, Matricom G-Box Q2 or a Nvidia Shield, the good news is you can setup a VPN on Android TV boxes (with very few exceptions) quickly and easily. In most cases, the process is as simple as a Google Play Store app download.
Our guide will help walk you through the process so that you’ll easily have a VPN on your Android TV box in minutes.
Your new Kodi TV box will give you access to some of the most popular third-party streaming addons around. However, some Kodi users who stream through those addons have received copyright infringement notifications from their ISPs. This does not happen to everyone, but it’s impossible to predict when or if it could occur. For that reason, most Kodi users opt for a VPN. Through testing different VPN services, our best recommendation is IPVanish.
IPVanish offers users several layers of protection that help guarantee anonymity while streaming. The service offers a no-logs policy that won’t record your information, share IP addresses so that multiple users have the same IP, and several technologies in place to help avoid data leaks. Additionally, IPVanish has servers across the globe, allowing you to access geographically locked content.
How to Setup a VPN on Android TV Boxes
When you really start digging into your Android TV Box VPN options, you’ll find that there are a large number of options available. However, not all of the VPN services you’ll see on the Google Play Store have user-friendly apps. Furthermore, many VPN services have fairly pared-down applications that don’t give you all of the same core features that you get with the base Windows or Mac version.
We at AddonHQ tend to favor and use IPVanish. This recommendation comes from our experience using Kodi as well as testing different VPN programs for speed, reliability, and features. As such, our walkthrough for installing a VPN on an Android TV box will use IPVanish as the model. You can use other services, but we do recommend that you avoid free VPNs. We’ll explain more about that in detail at the bottom.
Other potential VPN services include ExpressVPN, VyprVPN, and NordVPN. However, the IPVanish addon is among the closest you’ll get to having the same experience on an Android TV as with as the desktop application. IPVanish offers a 7-Day money back guarantee, which should give you ample time to play around with the service to see if it’s a good fit for your Android TV box.
Step 1: Locate the VPN on Google Play
To start, you’ll want to load up your Android TV box and head over to your Google Play Store.
- Once in the Google Play Store, type in “IPVanish” or “IPV”. The IPVanish VPN name should pop up as one of the more common search terms.
- Click on the “IPVanish VPN” search term that pops up. This will bring up some options, one of which is the IPVanish VPN application. Click on it to go directly to the app’s main page.
Step 2: Create Your IPVanish Account
Next, you’ll want to create your IPVanish account once you have certified that IPVanish works on your device. As stated earlier, some Android-based TV boxes don’t work with IPVanish or any other VPN for that matter. If you typed in your Google Play Store or app store for your device and did not find IPVanish, chances are you have one such device. (We talk more about that later).
IPVanish will email you your required account information so that you can log right into your account. We suggest changing your password as soon as your account is successfully created. However, it’s best to avoid using a password you use for other services or accounts. Instead, try using a random password generator (such as this one) that will create a strong password for you, and copy down the password and username somewhere safe.
Once your account is created, return to your IPVanish app, which will now take you to the log-in screen immediately. Enter in your account information.
Step 3: Choose a VPN Server
Once you’ve gained access to your account through the IPVanish app, you’ll probably note that the interface looks different than on a normal Android mobile device or the Windows PC or a Mac. (We suggest also downloading and installing the IPVanish app on other devices to get a good idea of what we mean). Still, you’ll be able to adjust your settings and choose your locations. All of the same features are there, just laid out slightly differently with a simpler user interface.
A Few Notes on Kodi for Android TV Boxes
One of the benefits of using Kodi on your Android TV box is the fact that Android is one of the most secure platforms out there. Hacking attacks on Android operating systems are somewhat uncommon, as Android sandboxes every application. This means that your Kodi application will get to sit around in its own sandbox and not interact with any other applications or their files. Even Man in the Middle attacks, which are a known security concern for Kodi users, are more difficult on Android due to this sandboxing.
However, we mentioned that you should avoid using free VPNs with your Android TV box because these apps have been shown to carry viruses. A 2016 report found that a large number of free VPNs were not only carrying malware and malvertising software, but were also tracking user activity in order to sell that information to third parties. It’s important to remember that free VPNs are not free. The makers need to make money somehow, and they often do so surreptitiously by collecting and selling user data without consent. Paid VPN services usually have higher standards and don’t do engage in that practice.
Why Install a VPN?
The main reason you’ll want to install a VPN for Kodi on Android TV is to help avoid snooping from ISPs and for getting past geographic content blocks. IPVanish provides ready access to this, which is a huge benefit to the VPN. Even the security professionals at Kaspersky Labs recommend a VPN for pretty much everyone.
You’ll also want to avoid the draw of a free VPN. Free VPNs are known to have significant bandwidth limitations and security flaws, as well as lacking privacy features such as no-logging policies. Your best bet will always be with a more reputable VPN service, both to avoid the frustratingly slow free VPNs and the chance that your data may get leaked or even sold by the free VPN provider.
Android TV Boxes with VPN Installation Problems
We stated earlier that there are a few Android TV boxes that don’t play well with VPNs. In particular, the Roku and Chromecast are two devices where you’ll find the normal process just does not work. You will not be able to install a VPN on those devices, instead requiring you to install the VPN directly onto your home router. This process can be somewhat complicated, but you can also purchase a router with the VPN software already installed.
For the Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, you can still download and run IPVanish. However, you’ll have to use a slightly different process. For Amazon’s devices, you will have to sideload the IPVanish application (and Kodi) in order to get it working.
Below, you can access our guides for how to install VPNs on the Amazon Fire TV Stick or TV Box, Google Chromecast, and Roku Streaming Stick:
- How to Install a VPN on the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Box
- How to Install a VPN on Google Chromecast and Chromecast 2
- How to Install a VPN on the Roku Streaming Stick
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.