Best VPNs for the Firestick 2020

Find the best VPN for streaming, torrenting, and staying anonymous on the Fire TV Stick

By
&
Aliza VigdermanGabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Oct 28, 2020

As much as we love biking and walking around Brooklyn, we have to admit: nothing beats a day hanging out on the couch and binging our favorite shows. Most of the time, we do this with the help of our trusty Fire TV Stick, which is basically a magic wand to stream content from all our favorite services like Hulu and Netflix. We want to make sure that we’re protected and that our Internet activity isn’t compromised while we’re vegging out, so we’ve rounded up the best VPNs for a Fire TV Stick in 2020. First, we’ll outline each VPN at a glance, and then get into the details.

Our Top Picks

FastestVPN

Editor's Rating
8.3
/10
FastestVPN gets this top slot because of its speed, affordability, and value. We connected 10 devices at the same time, and since they’re based in the Cayman Islands, we didn’t have to worry about international surveillance alliances.

PureVPN

Editor's Rating
8.2
/10
PureVPN has been around since 2006, so they’ve had some time to get their ducks in a row. Headquartered in Hong Kong, they’re not subject to international surveillance alliances like Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes, meaning they will never be forced to surrender our data to the government. And, with more than 2,000 servers in over 140 countries, they’ve truly got a worldwide presence.

The Best VPNs for the Firestick

Comparing Firestick VPNs

VPNFastestVPNPureVPNNordVPN (through router)ExpressVPN (through router)CyberGhost (through router)
Ranking1st2nd3rd4th5th
Rating8.38.29.59.49.2
Minimum Monthly Cost$0.83$3.33$3.49$6.67$2.75
Contract Length1 to 60 months1 to 24 months1 to 36 months1 to 12 months1 to 18 months
Split TunnelingYes, but not on their Mac or Windows appsYesNoYesNo
NetflixYesYesYesYesYes
TorrentingYesYesYesYesYes
IP AddressesAnonymous, staticDynamicDedicated, staticDynamicStatic, shared
Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes MemberNoNoNoNoNo
ReviewFastestVPN ReviewPureVPN ReviewNordVPN ReviewExpressVPN ReviewCyberGhost Review

The Best VPNs for the Firestick

  • 1. FastestVPN - Easiest to Use

    Editor's Rating
    8.3
    /10

    FastestVPN is, well, fast! But it’s also secure and affordable, making it pretty hard for us to resist.

    What We Liked:
    • Headquartered outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes jurisdictions
    • Affordable
    • Speedy on both Macs and Windows
    • Can connect 10 devices at once
    What We Didn’t Like:
    • Limited split tunnelling
    • No customer service available via phone
    • Static IP addresses
    • No multi-hop

    Easy to Set Up

    To set up FastestVPN on our Fire TV Stick, we just had to enter “fastestvpn.com/download” in our downloader app, and select “Fire Stick/Android Box” to download the FastestVPN app. The download only took a few seconds and once we clicked “open,” we were ready to roll.

    FastestVPN App
    FastestVPN App

    Cost Effective

    FastestVPN had four options for us to choose from, ranging from one month, at $10 per month, to five years, at just $0.83 per month. We look at tons of VPNs all day, and know a bargain when we see one. We also liked that no matter what option we chose, we would have access to the same features. The only thing that would change is how long we are signing onto a contract for.

    Money Saving Tip: If you sign on for a longer-term contract, you’ll get a much better deal on your month-to-month costs for VPNs.

    Won’t Bog Down Internet Speed

    We test all our VPNs on both Macs and Windows devices, so we were very happy to report that FastestVPN performed well on both…we guess they call it that for a reason!

  • 2. PureVPN - Best Torrenting

    Editor's Rating
    8.2
    /10

    This VPN covers all our most important bases: speed, security, split tunneling, torrenting, and access to Netflix. We’re also impressed that they take it upon themselves to do a third-party security audit, just to make sure nothing is falling through the cracks when dealing with our privacy.

    What We Liked:
    • Split tunneling
    • Ability to torrent
    • Minimal data logging policy
    • Kill switch
    What We Didn’t Like:
    • Can only connect five devices at the same time
    • Static IP addresses
    • Mixed customer reviews
    • Lackluster customer service

    Torrenting Permitted

    When we torrent, we can download or upload files directly from our friends and colleagues. It’s also known as peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing, and it’s our favorite way to share our top music and movies with our friends. We especially enjoyed using it on our Fire TV Stick because we were able to make our way through our friends’ list of recommendations for their favorite shows at lightning-fast speeds.

    Split Tunneling

    Split tunneling is a feature that we find quite useful. Oftentimes, we find ourselves in situations where we need to be on private and public servers at the same time, like when we’re at the coffee shop but also need to access our company’s shared drive. However, we don’t want certain information exposed on that public network.1 By split tunneling, we can choose which activity we’re comfortable with being public, and which activity remains private.

    PureVPN Kill Switch
    PureVPN Kill Switch

    Kill Switch

    A kill switch is like a backup plan. In the event that PureVPN fails (which is pretty unlikely), their kill switch will activate and close out all the browsing activity and apps we had running. Even though it’s super uncommon for this to actually happen, we’re digital security gurus, so we prefer to air on the side of caution.

  • 3. NordVPN (through router) - Best Encryption Standards

    Editor's Rating
    9.4
    /10

    A popular choice, and with good reason, NordVPN offers a wide array of features, and its headquarters in Panama means it falls outside of surveillance jurisdiction that could force them to surrender our information to the government. NordVPN also permits streaming on Netflix and a host of other services, making it especially great to use with our Fire TV Stick as well as one of the best VPNs for Netflix.

    What We Liked:
    • P2P sharing permitted
    • Strong encryption
    • Strict logging policy
    • Great app ratings
    What We Didn’t Like:
    • Faulty kill switch in iOS, according to user reviews
    • No split tunneling
    • Shared IP address
    • No customer support available via phone line

    Non Member to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes

    NordVPN’s location in Panama means that they’re not part of any surveillance alliances. This helps us sleep at night because we don’t have to worry about scenarios where the company is forced to hand over our data to government officials.

    NordVPN Customer Support
    NordVPN Customer Support

    Strong Encryption Standards

    NordVPN uses multi-hop encryption, meaning that our web traffic passes through and is encrypted by multiple servers. The standard is for VPNs to just encrypt browsing activity just once, so we view this as going above and beyond for our safety and privacy. We really appreciate it when a VPN company takes multiple measures to make sure we’re in the clear with our privacy, because it’s one less thing for us to worry about in the sometimes daunting world of digital security.

    P2P Sharing Permitted

    When we used NordVPN, we took full advantage of our ability to peer-to-peer (P2P) file share. It was an easy way for us to send materials like our favorite playlists with our friends, or work documents for group projects with our coworkers. Don’t worry, we’ll be sure to share all the movies we discover as we stream to our hearts’ desire.

  • 4. ExpressVPN (through router) - Best Rotating IPs

    Editor's Rating
    9.5
    /10

    ExpressVPN sets us up with a fast connection while only logging a minimal amount of our information. With 2,000 servers in 148 locations, their global reach is extra exciting because we can watch the UK versions of our favorite shows (like The Office) as if we were really taking a trip across the pond.

    What We Liked:
    • An expansive network of servers
    • Outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes territories
    • Rotating IP addresses
    • Split tunneling
    What We Didn’t Like:
    • Pricey
    • Slow on Macs
    • Can only connect five devices at the same time
    • No customer support over the phone

    Minimal Logging

    ExpressVPN keeps track of which app and version we use on our mobile devices, the server location we used, and how much data we transferred. They also kept tabs on information like our email address and payment information, which is pretty par for the course. They did not log IP addresses of the source or the VPN, our metadata, browsing history, or DNS queries, thankfully.

    ExpressVPN Privacy Policy
    ExpressVPN Privacy Policy

    Servers Around the World

    ExpressVPN boasts more than 2,000 servers in 148 locations all around the world, which is nothing to sneeze at. Having so many servers is a great feature because the closer we are to a server, the faster Internet speeds we will experience. So, in short, more servers equals more options for a speedy Internet experience.

    Travel from home: If you log onto a VPN server that’s located in another country, you will experience the Internet as if you were physically there. This is especially exciting to take advantage of with the Fire TV Stick, because you’ll get to watch shows from other countries.

    Rotating IP Addresses

    Another measure to ensure our anonymity, our IP address switched each time we logged onto ExpressVPN. Oftentimes, companies or other parties try to track our activity through our private IP addresses,2 so anything that defends us from that is always a win in our book.

  • 5. CyberGhost (through router) - Best Customer Service

    Editor's Rating
    9.1
    /10

    Between our Netflix and Hulu subscriptions, investing in a Fire TV Stick, and our oversized TV, having a superior streaming experience can get pricey, fast. CyberGhost offered us an expansive global reach, quality customer service, and top-notch security and privacy, all at a super affordable price. It’s one of our favorites because we didn’t have to sacrifice quality or feel guilty about the price tag.

    What We Liked:
    • Headquartered in Romania, outside of surveillance jurisdictions
    • Responsive customer service
    • Affordable
    • 5,500 servers across 90 countries
    What We Didn’t Like:
    • Logged our IP address
    • Slow on Windows
    • No split tunneling
    • Static IP addresses

    Attentive Customer Service

    Typically, to get a shout out on customer service, a VPN has to offer support via a phone line. Though CyberGhost doesn’t offer over-the-phone assistance, we felt very taken care of by their customer service representative. When we reached out to clarify their subscription options, our representative was personable and prompt in her response.

    CyberGhost App
    CyberGhost App

    Strong Encryption

    High-quality encryption is vital to a good VPN, because, without it, it would be easy to see our activity. Ideally, our activity would only be available to us, and our server. That’s why we were delighted that CyberGhost uses AES-256 encryption, the highest standard on the market.

    Won’t Break the Bank

    CyberGhost has four options, month-to-month, one year, two years, and three years. If we signed on for the three-year choice, we would only have to pay $2.75 per month, which is next to nothing for a strong VPN service.

How We Test VPNs: Methodology

It’s our top priority to test each VPN thoroughly and spend a lot of time doing so. We want you to know exactly what goes into our recommendations, so we’re laying it all out for you. The first thing we look at is functionality, so things like encryption standards, how they deal with IP addresses, and split tunneling. Then we delve into other elements of the company, like where they are located, which impacts if our information is at risk of being shared with the government, and how their customer service stacks up to competitors. Lastly, we look at cost because we know that the bottom line is important, no matter how great a service is being offered. We’ll take you step by step through our process below.

Speed

Most of the time, our VPNs will get tested from our Brooklyn office. We have a private Optimum network there, but on every now and again, we test VPNs when we’re in the Philippines, and sometimes even Poland.

NordVPN Ping Test
NordVPN Ping Test

Our Internet speed without a VPN serves as our control, and even though we can connect multiple devices when using a VPN, when we test, we only connect one device. We want to make sure that we are testing for the different experiences that come with different types of computers so we test on a Macbook Air or Pro and a Windows Vivobook or an Acer Aspire 5. We use the website SpeedTest.net.4 to test download speed, upload speed, and ping (latency).

First, we perform tests with the VPN, and then, without. Download and upload speed are measured in megabits per second, while latency is measured in milliseconds. Once we take these two measures, we identify the difference in terms of a percentage to account for any discrepancies between the greatly varied natural speeds of Macs and Windows computers.

Distance to the server, operating system, and device all impact speed, but it’s ideal that VPNs have no more than a 40 percent difference in any of our categories (ping, download speed, or upload speed).

Security

We use VPNs to be safe while using the Internet, so safety is a top priority in our testing framework. We never want our domain names (website names) or our IP address to be visible to anyone, not even the government. It’s also important for us to know that users’ IP addresses aren’t being leaked due to WebRTC, which allows browsers to communicate directly with each other and is the default on browsers like Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Opera.

ExpressVPN DNS Leak Test
ExpressVPN DNS Leak Test

We use DNSLeakTest.com to test for DNS leaks. By comparing our computer’s IP address with the IP addresses that the website shows, we can tell if there was a DNS link while using the VPN or not. Then, we test for WebRTC leaks by leveraging a tool available on ExpressVPN’s website. We use a similar tactic where we look at the local and Public IPv4 IP addresses to see if there were any WebRTC leaks.

ExpressVPN WebRTC Leak Test
ExpressVPN WebRTC Leak Test

We also get into the weeds of companies’ privacy policies so that you don’t have to worry that there’s something hidden in the fine print. We outline what is included in their data-logging policies and take note of where a company is headquartered, because it dictates if they are members of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes. Those are international surveillance alliances that have the potential to legally force companies to surrender customer data. While it’s ideal for a company to not be located in a country impacted by such agreements, we also prefer they log minimal user account information. We find things like name, email, and payment information acceptable, but are less accepting when a company logs additional data like when customers use their VPNs, how long they use it for, how much data they’ve transferred, their private IP addresses, what servers they use, and what websites they have visited.

How a company handles IP addresses impacts our likelihood of being tracked, so we pay special attention to these details. It’s best if a company offers dynamic addresses that change each time we log on, making it even harder to track what we are doing. Static IP addresses stay the same and that makes them less desirable and easier to track. Finally, we make sure that each VPN has a kill switch. This function shuts down Internet browsers in the unlikely event that a VPN fails. If a kill switch isn’t in place, our activity could become exposed, which would be the worst-case scenario for us.

Torrenting, Fire TV Stick Compatibility, and Netflix

A lot of our digital time is also spent watching movies and television, especially when using our Fire TV Stick, and we want to do that safely by using a VPN. We make sure to keep track of which VPNs offer torrenting and access to Netflix, as well as which VPNs work directly with the Fire TV Stick as opposed to with a router. The Netflix part gets tricky, as Netflix is always trying to block VPNs, so even though we test our ability to access Netflix, we can’t guarantee that it will always work.

Split Tunneling and Encryption

Split tunneling lets us use both the VPN, and a public network at the same time, so we’re always on the lookout for this feature. When it comes to encryption, we prefer double or multi-hop VPNs, because then, our data is encrypted multiple times through multiple servers.

In our unabridged reviews, we conduct full analyses of VPNs encryption methods and Internet protocols to make sure they meet the industry standards. We prefer VPNs with AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN, which are some of the highest standards of security we can get.

Subscriptions

They don’t call it the bottom line for nothing. We know that cost plays a big role in what VPN our readers ultimately choose, so we try to outline it as simply as possible. Some VPNs are super cost-effective, with monthly fees of less than a dollar if you sign on for a long-term commitment. Alternatively, certain companies offer subscriptions as expensive as $15 per month. It’s ideal when a company offers several options in their pricing structure, like the ability to pay month-to-month, or pay less monthly for a longer-term contract. If that seems overwhelming, don’t worry, we spend lots of time looking at VPNs and will make sure to call out a great deal when we see one. We also look for the option to give a VPN a test run through a free trial or money-back guarantee period. After we let you know about the cost options, we carefully lay out the features that are included so you can easily cross-compare.

CyberGhost Data Logging Policy
CyberGhost Data Logging Policy

Customer Support

After you leave our site and become a customer of one of our recommended companies, we want to make sure you remain happy with your purchase. We check what resources are available in the event that issues pop up. In most cases, companies offer a live chat option, email support, and a searchable database of past questions. Every once in a blue moon, a company will offer an over the phone support line. This is rare and shows us that they take customer service seriously.

FastestVPN Customer Support
FastestVPN Customer Support

FAQs About VPNs for Firestick

  • What is a VPN?

    A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. They allow us to use the Internet safely and privately, by encrypting our web traffic and hiding our IP address.

  • How do I get a VPN?

    You can purchase a VPN online through a VPN website. Once you subscribe to a service, you can also download the VPN app on your mobile device to make sure that your web activity is safe there, as well. Most of the time, you can use the same subscription across devices, though some services have lower caps than others on the number of devices that can be connected simultaneously.

  • Is my information safe with a VPN?

    Generally speaking, yes, your information is safe with a VPN. However, different VPNs will log different information. We prefer companies that are based in countries that are non-members to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes, which are international surveillance alliances. If a company is based in a country that is part of one of these agreements, it’s possible that they could be forced to surrender a user’s data to the government.

  • Will a VPN log my information?

    Yes, all VPNs log at least some information. Nearly every company will track basic information like your email address and payment information, and most don’t log web traffic or IP addresses.

  • Is it worth paying for a VPN?

    Yes, paying for a VPN is worth it. We’ve found that VPNs that are free limit important things like the amount of data you can use while connected, or the time that you can spend on it. Those limits tend to run out fast, and there’s plenty of cheap options available that will only cost a few bucks a month.

Citations
  1. Wall Street Journal. (2016). The Future of Public Wi-Fi: What to Do Before Using Free, Fast Hot Spots.
    wsj.com/articles/the-future-of-public-wi-fi-what-to-do-before-using-free-fast-hot-spots-1453232580

  2. Boston Globe. (2018). How to stop your smartphone from tracking your location.
    bostonglobe.com/business/2018/07/26/how-stop-your-smartphone-from-tracking-your-location/i0CmskQntby7nSl47f2lRI/story.html