Amazon Fire TV with VPN
So why would you want to use Amazon Fire TV with VPN?
There are a few reasons:
- you want to watch geo restricted or geo blocked content
- you want to access websites blocked by your ISP whilst using the Fire TV
- you want to ensure any streaming you do is hidden from your ISP
- you want to bypass ISP traffic management
To use a VPN with Amazon Fire TV we need to work within a few restrictions. Firstly there is currently no ‘soft’ root method. This means unless you want to use a solder iron, you may want to swerve this method completely.
The second restriction is that the Google API required to run Open VPN and other VPN protocols is disabled in Fire OS (which is a custom modified Android based OS). This means you cannot just download and install a VPN apk and expect it to work.
So where does this leave the Amazon Fire TV and VPN usage?
Thankfully the workarounds are really simple. There are principally two workarounds depending on exactly what you want to achieve. If all you are interested in is streaming geo restricted content such as Netflix, Hulu, ABC, BBC and others then you can simply get a DNS service provider and alter the DNS settings on your Fire TV device. This is simple, effective for 90% of case uses and practically 100% reliable. If you want to know how to change the DNS settings of your Fire TV then check out this post here.
If you still need a VPN though then there is an easy way to get it working.
If you can’t install the VPN on the Fire TV directly, then use the VPN indirectly by installing it on your router! Simple. This is much easier when using a DD-wrt router. Almost all VPN providers give instructions for DD-wrt (or Tomato / Open Wrt) configuration. However, both Astrill and Hide My Ass! (HMA) offer applets to help with this.
The applets are installed by copy and pasting a line of code into the router and processing it. Its really that easy.
In addition, you don’t have to change your main router for this, you can simply use a DDwrt enabled client.
The applets offer you the opportunity to filter your network traffic by device, website or simply have all connected clients go via secure VPN connection. This means there is no need to affect other users on your network if you want minimal disruption
Still too much hard work for you? Try a Soft router to share your VPN connection locally
Although a DD-wrt is the way to go for most, some of you might think there must be a simpler (and quicker) way right? In that case you may want to consider a ‘software router’. The one I have used with great success is Connectify (www.connectify.me).
With this you simply log into your VPN on your laptop or PC/Mac to secure your regular internet connection. And then create a wireless hotspot of your already secured VPN connection.
Once you are broadcasting your VPN secured local hotspot you can simply connect your Fire TV Stick to it wirelessly as you normally would.
Below is a video from the connectify website that might make this a little clearer
Good luck and let me know how you get on in the comments!
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