Do I Need a VPN on Firestick?
The Amazon Firestick is a great way to stream the content you love. But should you be binge-watching without a VPN?
Today, there’s hardly anyone with a working internet connection who hasn’t experienced the joy of streaming. Many streaming fans have turned to Amazon’s Firestick, which enables them to watch everything from Hulu and Netflix to sports and thousands of niche channels on their television.
But the online traffic generated by Firestick is also visible to internet service providers, leading many to ask an obvious question: do I need a VPN on Firestick? In this short guide, we’ll help you weigh the benefits and evaluate the potential risks.
Why Use a VPN?
When trying to figure out whether to install a VPN on your Firestick, there are two key factors to consider. The first is the level of access to apps and content that can enhance your streaming experience. The second is privacy, or rather shielding your online activities from prying eyes.
Circumventing geo-blocked content is one of the primary functions of a VPN. Some VPN providers dedicate significant portions of their server network to enabling users to access the content they want from anywhere in the world.
So, if you wish to watch shows and movies available exclusively in popular streaming countries like the US, UK, and Canada, using a VPN while you are streaming on Firestick is a must.
Bear in mind that in some countries like Iran, Russia, and China, VPNs are strictly prohibited. These states employ extensive resources to block VPN use, and there are legal repercussions for those who fail to abide by the rules.
The main reason why you need a VPN for Firestick is online privacy. A Firestick needs to be connected to the internet, which makes your browsing and other online activities vulnerable to tracking by internet service providers, marketing outfits, government agencies, and hackers.
These potential threats certainly explain why many people around the world feel they lack control over their personal information.
A VPN throws an encryption curtain over your location, identity, and other personal data. Among the many reasons why Firestick users need a VPN is to prevent their ISP from throttling their connection speeds, which is especially important when trying to watch HD content.
It’s important to note that VPN users are bound to experience a slight dip in their connection speeds because sending the encrypted data through a secure VPN server takes more time.
Latency can be caused by long distances between the user and the VPN server, too many users being connected to a single server, or the quality of the encryption. This doesn’t mean that using a VPN translates into compromising connection speeds.
The decreases in speed are often barely noticeable. We’ve conducted our own set of tests to give you a better sense of when can you best use a VPN on your Fire Stick:
- This is the internet speed before connecting to the server.
- Next, we checked the internet speed on Ookla after connecting to a VPN server in France.
- This is the speed result for another VPN server in the United Kingdom.
If the speed drops significantly, you can either restart your VPN or try to connect to a different server.
How Do VPNs Work?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. As the name implies, it helps you create a safe, secure, and unmonitored pathway for your device to browse the internet. This is achieved by establishing a virtual point-to-point connection through dedicated circuits or by relying on tunneling protocols over server networks. And while you don’t need a VPN specifically for Firestick, it is still useful for keeping you safe online.
Best VPNs for Amazon Firestick
Finding a compatible VPN for your Firestick device can be challenging, which is why we’ve provided you with the best options.
Here are our top three recommended VPN services for Firestick:
PRICE RANGE: $2.29–$12.99/month
AVAILABLE ON: iOS, macOS, Linux, Android, Windows
KEY FEATURES: Strict no-logs policy || AES 256-bit encryption || Wi-Fi protection || Large server network || Quick and easy setup || Supports up to seven devices on a single subscription
Our top pick, CyberGhost, offers an extensive array of fast servers to meet your streaming needs. In addition to keeping your data private, it circumvents geoblocking. It seamlessly integrates with Firestick to deliver an exceptional streaming experience.
PRICE RANGE: $8.32–$12.95/month
AVAILABLE ON: iOS, macOS, Linux, Android, Windows
KEY FEATURES: AES 256-bit encryption || Superior connection stability || High-speed server network || Unblocks popular streaming services || No-logs policy || Unlimited bandwidth
ExpressVPN stands out thanks to its vast and high-speed server network that stretches across more than 90 countries. It’s a great tool for circumventing geoblocking by the most popular streaming platforms and is easy to use. That means you can install and run ExpressVPN on your Firestick in no time.
PRICE RANGE: $2.49–$12.95/month
AVAILABLE ON: iOS, macOS, Linux, Android, Windows, Chrome, Netflix
KEY FEATURES: Unlimited devices || Highest level of encryption || MultiHop VPN || Kill switch || Unblocks US Netflix || No-logs policy
This is the most affordable option on our list. For just $2.49, Surfshark protects an unlimited number of devices, including TVs and consoles. It delivers great speeds and employs the most advanced security features. It also comes with an ad-blocker.
* For more on VPNs, check out our comprehensive guide
Figuring out whether you should use a VPN on your Firestick comes down to your needs and concerns about privacy. If you want to stream content that isn’t available in your current location and you don’t want anyone tracking your activities, you need a VPN.
You’re bound to experience a slight reduction in internet speed when using a VPN. This is caused by multiple factors, including the distances between you and the server or the quality of the encryption. However, these dips in speed are often barely noticeable. If you’re experiencing major speed reductions, it’s likely that your VPN isn’t properly configured.
In most countries, using a VPN is perfectly legal. However, engaging in any form of criminal activity or accessing banned sites with a VPN is illegal.
Jailbreaking is necessary when you’re sideloading an app onto your Firestick or trying to access free content. And while jailbreaking a Firestick isn't illegal, using it to stream copyright content is punishable by a lengthy prison sentence and a hefty fine.
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