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Best VPN for Amazon Fire TV Stick in 2023: Top Picks From Our VPN Experts

A virtual private network can stop your ISP from throttling your streaming. Here are the best VPNs for Amazon Fire TV Sticks.

Just because Amazon can view all your streaming data while you're using your Fire TV Stick, that doesn't mean that your internet service provider needs to know what you're watching too. Using a quality VPN will keep your Amazon Fire TV viewing activity hidden from your ISP and will prevent your speeds from being throttled. The best VPN for Fire Stick devices not only will improve your privacy and security, but will also help you unblock geo-restricted content, opening up even more streaming options. 

The days of viewer anonymity we once enjoyed with boxy, fuzzy-pictured TVs are long gone. Thanks to the rise of the smart TV, we're now in the age of smart surveillance. And as with any internet-connected device in your home, your media habits are subject to monitoring by your ISP, malicious snoops and your government (where applicable). But with the help of our top VPN recommendations for Amazon Fire Stick users, you can draw the encryption curtains on would-be peepers. A Fire TV Stick VPN can protect your online identity, help you avoid online surveillance by your ISP, and offer you total privacy. 

Amazon Fire TV Stick and remote

You can use a VPN with your Amazon Fire TV Stick to protect your privacy and get past streaming geoblocking.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Two key callouts for this list: First, each of these is available as an app on current versions of the Fire Stick. Simply search the store for the VPN app as you would for any other streaming app, such as Hulu or Showtime. Second, you'll see that all our recommendations are drawn from the top three performers in CNET's directory of the best overall VPNs to use in 2023. That's thanks to the obstacle course CNET puts VPN services through during our testing and evaluation process. One of the primary factors in securing a top spot on our best VPN list is a VPN's platform compatibility, so it's little surprise that our top three recommendations are VPN services that work on a wide range of systems and devices. 

When we evaluate VPNs for Fire TV Stick use, our priorities are straightforward. We're looking for the fastest , most streaming-friendly services with strong-enough security to keep your service provider blind to your whereabouts and your ISP blind to your content choices. As always, we strongly recommend that you avoid free VPNs and instead use a tried-and-true paid VPN that offers the cheapest deals. Check out our picks for the best Amazon Fire Stick VPN.

ExpressVPN
  • Latest tests: No leaks detected, 2% speed loss in spring 2022 tests
  • Network: 3,000-plus servers in 160 locations across 94 countries
  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • Price: 5 simultaneous connections for $13 per month, $60 for six months or $100 for a year (current discount: 3 months free). 2-year subscriptions available.

When it comes to speed, security and unblocking capabilities, ExpressVPN is tough to beat. After a set-back in 2020, ExpressVPN is again currently in first place as the fastest VPN we've tested. ExpressVPN caused us to lose just 2% of speeds in our 2022 speed tests, so you shouldn't have any issues achieving enough speeds for a smooth streaming experience whether you're streaming in 720p or 4K UHD. 

Normally, if you're using ExpressVPN on a smart TV or gaming console, you're going to need to install the VPN's router app and set up your connection to cover multiple devices. But if you have a Fire TV or a Google TV, you can bypass ExpressVPN's custom router setup altogether and install the ExpressVPN app right onto your smart TV

The VPN also unblocks Netflix and other streaming services more reliably than most other VPNs, has servers in 94 countries around the world -- so basically any geographic region you'd want access to is available in its extensive global network of VPN servers. ExpressVPN's collection of setup guides, detailed FAQs and troubleshooting articles give it a clear advantage for Smart TV users, even if you're connecting your TV to several other consoles and devices. That's also where ExpressVPN's 24/7 customer support, and its no-questions-asked, 30-day money back guarantee come in handy. 

ExpressVPN's included Media Streamer smart DNS feature is also simple to set up on any smart TV. Just keep in mind that while smart DNS can help you unblock geo-restricted content, your connection won't be encrypted, so you won't have the same privacy protections as you would via your VPN connection. But if you're a casual user and streaming is your only objective here, then Media Streamer could be a good option for you. 

All this comes at a price, however. ExpressVPN may be the best VPN for smart TVs, but it is also one of the most expensive. ExpressVPN's best plan offers five simultaneous connections for $100 a year (which includes three extra months, for a limited-time deal totaling 15 months of service). You can also opt for a $13 per-month plan, or pay $60 for six months. While you can get a better month-to-dollar bargain with ExpressVPN's two-year subscription, we don't recommend anyone purchase any two-year VPN subscriptions at this time due to overall market volatility.

Read our ExpressVPN review.

 

ExpressVPN
  • Current fastest VPN we've tested
  • Unblocks Netflix, great for gaming and P2P
  • Solid security and transparency, zero leaks
  • Excellent customer support, easy refunds
49% off with 12-mo plan (+3 free months)
Surfshark
  • Latest tests: Zero data leaks and 19% internet speed loss in fall 2022 tests
  • Network: 3,200-plus in 99 countries
  • Jurisdiction: Netherlands
  • Price: Unlimited connections for $48 for the first year (then $60 annually) or $13 per month. 2-year subscriptions available. 

Surfshark boasts an impressive suite of privacy and security features, unlimited simultaneous connections, easy-to-use interface and expansive global network. And it's still significantly cheaper than most of its competitors. That's what helped Surfshark earn CNET's Editors' Choice for Best Value VPN in 2022.

Along with standard VPN features such as a kill switch and DNS leak protection, some of the more notable Surfshark features include camouflage mode (which hides the fact you're using a VPN), split-tunneling, NoBorders mode (which lets you use Surfshark in regions where VPNs are restricted) and multihop VPN connections. You'll also get access to Surfshark's CleanWeb technology, which blocks ads and malware and helps you avoid phishing attacks. 

One innovation we're excited to see Surfshark roll out over the next year is its Nexus network, which connects the VPN's entire network of servers together and allows you to choose multiple servers to route your connection through. The functionality is somewhat similar to Tor, but Surfshark says it's faster. With its Dynamic MultiHop, IP Randomizer and IP Rotator functions, the Nexus network can give you a few extra layers of protection while you use the VPN -- which can be particularly beneficial to users with critical privacy needs

Surfshark says it doesn't log any user activity. And although no-logging claims are virtually impossible to prove with 100% certainty, German cybersecurity firm Cure53 declared Surfshark's security to be "solid" in its 2021 security audit of the VPN. Surfshark says a new audit is forthcoming by the end of this year. 

As of February 2022, both Surfshark and NordVPN have the same corporate parent (Tesonet), but Surfshark said it is legally bound not to share any information between the entities that would go against its privacy policy or terms of service. We didn't find any language in either document that would indicate Surfshark has any obligation to share user data with its parent company or any sibling companies, which include NordVPN. 

Surfshark rates consistently as one of the fastest VPNs available. Which is why we were surprised that one of the only issues we had with Surfshark came in our speed test. While it still ranks as one of the fastest VPNs we've tested -- with an internet speed loss of just 19% -- we were disappointed with the inconsistent speed results we got to certain locations. Speeds to Europe and Singapore were erratic (dipping as low as 9Mbps to Singapore), while speeds to New York were slower than speeds to the UK and even Australia. Surfhark is in the process of significantly expanding its server network, now offering more than 3,200 servers in 99 countries. The continued expansion of its server network could potentially help bring some more consistency to the VPN's speeds. 

In our tests, Surfshark had no problems unblocking Netflix and Amazon Prime Video content, but we did run into a fair bit of trouble accessing Disney Plus. After testing various servers in the US and other countries where Disney Plus is available, we were finally able to access the content when we connected to a server in Boston. You may need to test a few servers yourself before gaining access to Disney Plus content with Surfshark.

Surfshark offers cheaper introductory prices that jump after the first billing cycle. Even so, Surfshark manages to keep its prices lower than most other VPNs -- helping it earn CNET's Editors' Choice for Best Value. The yearly plan starts out at $48 for the first year, then jumps to $60 for any additional years of service. If you opt for the two-year plan, you'll pay $60 up front for the initial two years combined, then $60 per year for any additional years. Surfshark's monthly plan stays constant at $13 a month. If you're not satisfied with the service for any reason, Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our Surfshark review.

 

Surfshark VPN
  • Best value VPN in 2022
  • Lots of unique security features
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • RAM-only server network
84% off with 24-mo plan (+2 free months)
NordVPN
  • Latest tests: No leaks detected, 13% speed loss in summer 2022 tests
  • Network: 5,600-plus servers in 84 locations across 59 countries
  • Jurisdiction: Panama
  • Price: 6 simultaneous connections for $12 per month or $60 for a year (current discount: 3 months free). 2-year subscriptions available. 

NordVPN is like the final boss you have to fight if you're a VPN industry newcomer. Why? Because it's got an answer to every advantage you might bring to the table. Your VPN is faster this year? Watch how fast Nord can get when it expands its fleet again. You've beefed up your VPN's security? That's great, but Nord's gone 100% RAM-disk and offers co-located and bare metal servers after its 2019 scare. Even if you're an established contender like ExpressVPN, you've still got to constantly deal with NordVPN's advertising war chest and willingness to slash prices at the drop of a hat to dominate the market. 

In CNET's list of overall best VPNs, ExpressVPN currently outranks NordVPN. The key here that puts NordVPN ahead of ExpressVPN for Fire TV Stick is Nord's consistency. I found NordVPN's speeds were reliable. There were never any sudden dips or service interruptions, and where I expected the VPN to underperform, it proved itself up to the task. That reliability is what you're going to need most when it comes to streaming data-heavy media content from providers like HBO Max.

NordVPN offers a generous simultaneous connection count, with six simultaneous connections through its network, where nearly all other providers offer five or fewer. It also offers a dedicated IP option, for those looking for a different level of VPN connection. NordVPN offers a kill switch feature and the ability to VPN into Tor. I detected no privacy leaks during my tests.

In my most recent speed tests, NordVPN's performance was on par with many of its competitors, reducing my speeds by 53% on average (which is slower than the 32% loss measured in previous speed tests). Like ExpressVPN however, NordVPN has been prepping for its next round of races and aiming for the trophy. 

The company's two-year VPN subscription plan costs $3.29 a month ($78.96 billed at once). That price is lower than most contenders, but creeps up for the one-year plan ($4.99 a month or $59.88 total) and the monthly plan ($12 a month). But it does have a full 30-day refund policy. 

Read our NordVPN review.

 

NordVPN
  • Among the fastest VPNs
  • Tons of features
  • Diskless RAM-only server infrastructure
  • Solid encryption
68% off with 24-mo plan (+3 free months)

Other VPNs available on Fire TV Stick

The three services above are my favorites, whether you're using an Amazon Fire TV device or some other device. But note that these other services are also available as downloadable apps on the Fire TV platform:

More VPN recommendations