It’s been over three years since Amazon launched Fire TV, a digital media player and micro-console designed to stream media content from different countries to high-definition televisions. A couple months later (in November 2014 to be more precisely) the so-called Fire Stick was debuted, bringing pretty much the same service all compacted into a flash drive. On October 2016 Amazon updated the service to its second generation, integrating Alexa Voice Remote in it.
There are a lot of apps for Fire TV designed to either provide more entertainment or to increase your privacy, and some of the most in-demand of these are VPNs. In fact, regardless of the update, there continues to be some dust in the air surrounding the infamous geo-restrictions that still apply to some content if you happen to be located outside of the territory that they originally belong to, just as is the case with most media streaming devices or services. This is a huge bump in the road for those that simply cannot live without the prime entertainment provided by Netflix or Amazon Instant Video’s U.S. libraries. So the only option is to turn to VPNs, but even here they may face trouble, since not all providers have dedicated apps for it. However, VPN companies are well aware of this situation and have already started investing more into providing better support for Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick, either via sideloaded APK apps or by upgrading their services with native apps.
The APK App Approach With ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is one of those providers that rely on a sideloaded APK app. This will take a bit more effort and additional devices, but in the end the practical results will be pretty much the same for your Amazon Fire TV as they may be as if running ExpressVPN on a PC. First things first: to use this provider you must enable to option to install apps from unknown sources onto your Fire TV, which can be done in the developer options section of the settings menu. You’ll also need to install a file managing app, which can be found by searching the device’s menus. Then you’ll start sideloading the Android app of ExpressVPN and to do so you’ll be using a computer. Keep in mind that the app was configured for Android mobile devices, so it may look a bit distorted on the TV, but it’ll still work as intended.
After downloading the file, copy it from your computer to a FAT32 format flash drive (it has to be in this format or it won’t work) and plug it to your Fire TV. The file managing app you installed earlier should pop up, and from there all you need to do is choose and launch the ExpressVPN APK app. Then it’s simply a case of logging in with your credentials, choosing your preferred VPN server and connecting to it. You can also set the same country for your VPN server address and for the Fire TV in the Amazon country settings in case you want to stream content from a specific country.
Setting Up Native Apps With IPVanish
For quite some time fans of IPVanish have been using this same APK app sideloading method. But that’s in the past now, since our number one provider has recently debuted their own native app for Amazon Fire TV, thus making its use much simpler and quicker. However, there are a couple important details that should be taken into consideration: not only does the app only work in second generation Fire Sticks, but if you were previously running a sideloaded APK app then you’ll first need to uninstall that. Setting it up is easy and won’t require a tutorial, since all you need is to search the native IPVanish app in the Utilities category of the Amazon Appstore. After downloading and installing, all you need to do is enter your IPVanish credentials, pick a location and connect.