51

How to Successfully Install VPN on Fire TV

How to Install VPN on Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV is now one of the hottest media streaming gadgets on the market. This tiny, slick TV set-top-box offers impressive specs that easily blow other similar products away. It boasts 2 GB of RAM – 4x that of Apple TV, Roku, or Chromecast – and is powered by a quad-core CPU that delivers 3x the processing power of ATV or Roku. It also provides optical sound output and is (so far) the only streaming device of its kind that supports Dolby Digital Plus (up to 7.1). That’s some pretty kick-ass hardware, but the fun doesn’t stop there.

Fire TV also delivers Amazon’s “Prime Instant Video” service, which grants exclusive access to highly rated HBO programs like “The Sopranos”, “The Wire” and much more. Unfortunately, due to restrictive copyright laws, audiences outside the US can’t access Prime Instant Video, Pandora, Hulu Plus, or many other streaming services. Unless you know how to bypass the geo-fences of these services, you’ll find the Fire TV isn’t that useful to you after all. However, there are ways to unlock the full potential of your Fire TV and gain access to lots of very cool content.

A VPN service can assign an American IP address to your Fire TV, which you can use to access any streaming service without getting blocked. However, by default this device doesn’t support VPN, so you have to manually install it. In the following steps, we’ll show you how to install and run any VPN service on Amazon Fire TV.

Prerequisites

Before moving ahead, I recommend you connect a keyboard/mouse set to your Fire TV using the USB port at the back. This will make typing and navigating on Fire TV a lot easier. If you don’t already have a wireless keyboard/mouse set, I recommend either Mele F10-PRO or iPazzPort Wireless Keyboard and Touchpad with IR Remote Control. These TV box remotes allow you to control your device with minimum effort.

  1. Setting up the Fire TV development environment

    To begin you first need to set up the development environment where you can connect to your Fire TV and install apps on it (often referred to as “sideload”). Fire TV’s operating system, Fire OS, is based on Android which is fairly easy to work with if you’re familiar with Android. On this page you will find information on how to set up a development environment for Fire TV, how to connect, and how to install apps on it.

  2. Root (Jailbreak) Fire TV

    Before you can install VPN on Fire TV, you first need to “root” or jailbreak it. To learn how to root your Fire TV, follow the instructions here. Next install/sideload “Busybox” application. Don’t forget to disable the “Fire TV updater” at the end of the “rooting” procedure.

Install OpenVPN Binary

You can’t use VPN on Fire TV out of the box because it doesn’t have the library files that support VPN functionality; to add VPN support to your Fire TV we’ll next install two apps: OpenVPN Installer and OpenVPN Settings. OpenVPN Installer adds the necessary VPN binary files to your Fire TV, and OpenVPN Settings makes configuring your VPN easier.

  • Download Apps

    Go to APK Downloader website to find and download the following apps: “de.schaeuffelhut.android.openvpn.installer”, and “de.schaeuffelhut.android.openvpn”. Make sure you remember where the files are saved!

  • Sideload the Apps

    1. Open a command prompt or terminal window.
    2. Change directory (CD) to your Android SDK platform-tools directory.
    3. Connect to Fire TV using the following commands:
      # Terminates the adb server process if it's running
      adb kill-server
      # Starts the adb server process if it's not running
      adb start-server
      # Connects to the Fire TV whose IP address is: x.x.x.x
      adb connect x.x.x.x
    4. Install the Apps
      # Installs "OpenVPN Installer" package file
      adb install -r <path-to-openvpn-installer-apk>
      # Installs "OpenVPN Settings" package file
      adb install -r <path-to-openvpn-settings-apk> 
      

      Alternatively, you can install the above apps directly from Google play onto your Fire TV. Simply login to Google play search for and install “OpenVPN Installer”, and “OpenVPN Settings”. By default, Fire TV doesn’t support Google play, so you need to manually install and enable it.

  • Run the “OpenVPN Installer”

    On Fire TV, go to Settings ➡ Applications ➡ Manage All Installed Applications; scroll down to find “OpenVPN Installer” and launch it. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the OpenVPN binary files.

    firetv-settings-openvpn-installerpenvpn-installer-3openvpn-installer-4 openvpn-installer-6

Configure VPN

With the OpenVPN binary files successfully installed, we’ll next configure our VPN using the following steps:

  • First download the OpenVPN configuration files from your VPN provider’s website. I use IPVanish; their OpenVPN configuration files can be downloaded here.
  • Make sure you’re connected to the Fire TV.
  • Upload (push) the downloaded configuration files to Fire TV using the following commands:
    # Make a folder: "openvpn" on Fire TV to hold the VPN config files
    adb shell mkdir /sdcard/openvpn
    # Push the config files in current folder to Fire TV 
    adb push -p . /sdcard/openvpn
  • Configure Your VPN Using “OpenVPN Settings”
    On Fire TV go to Settings ➡ Applications ➡ Manage All Installed Applications; scroll down to find “OpenVPN Settings” and launch it. First, make sure you turn the OpenVPN on; then select a VPN by location from the list; finally, enter the username and password credentials of your VPN account and click “OK”.firetv-settings-openvpn-settings firetv-openvpn-settings-turn-onfiretv-openvpn-settings-connectedfiretv-openvpn-settings-login

Voila!

Congratulations! Your VPN should now be running. To test it, try loading Pandora or watching HBO shows.

firetv-openvpn-settings-pandora firetv-openvpn-settings-hbo

Now you can enjoy all the content available on your Fire TV without being blocked by geo-fencing.

This method works, but you do have to know how to jailbreak your Fire TV and install apps using command line tool, which requires some computer knowledge. If you’re not comfortable using this approach there are two alternative solutions which require less computer knowledge. You can use a DNS redirection service, or you can run the VPN on a router that supports it. In either case, we will show you exactly how to do it in an upcoming post.

If you would like to subscribe to the IPVanish VPN service click here.

Update
The method introduced here currently doesn’t work with Private Internet Access and Cyberghost VPN but has been tested to work with Hidemyass and IPVanish; and it should also work with most VPN services that support the OpenVPN protocol.

March 15, 2015
I have just finished the article that shows you a new, improved method for using VPN to unblock your Fire TV. The new approach doesn’t require you to jailbreak your device, works with any VPN service, and is effective for most digital media players.

If you have questions, post them in the comment section below or on our Facebook page.

Happy hacking!

Got a question? Post it in our forums. We’ll work it out.

Leave a Reply Here

Comments 51

  1. I sucessfully rooted my Fire Stick (5.2.0.1) yesterday with Kingo Root.
    Then installed openvpn-debug-installer.apk because the normal one wont get any writing rights.
    I t installed the openvpn binarys. Then i installed openvpn-settings.
    Then i created ./opbenvpn on sdcard and moved my opvn config files there . My VPN Provider is AirVpn.
    In openvpn settings i choose the opvn file but nothing happens. The green check goes away after one second.
    Everything is installed correctly as I checked in openvpn-setting.apk.
    Can anybody help me out ?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi,
      I am in the same boat as you are. Did you manage to get a solution for this yet?

      Thanks in advance.

  2. Or you could simply sideload HMA Pro VPN.
    I tested it on the Fire TV works fine.
    Even though the screen handling isn’t perfect.
    No need to root / jailbreak ect…

  3. Thank you for the tutorial, but I face an issue with installing OpenVPN, when I try to download it via APK Downloader, I get the following error:
    Ops, we have run out of device to fetch your apk, please try again later
    Please try download another apps or post the package ID below

    I tried to download the Open VPN Installer from another source and could sideload it onto my FireTV, but get an error when I try to install it. Can someone tell me how I can acces the Installation log?

  4. I have successfully installed Openvpn on my FireTV stick using adb without having to root my device and imported the .ovpn config file from my provider who is Purevpn.
    When I try to connect I get the following message:
    ‘Sorry, due to a known bug in this version of Android, it is not possible to gain permission to open a VPN tunnel.’
    Have others successfully used Openvpn on a FireTV stick?

  5. I have a Amazon Fire stick which I installed Kodi on and I was wondering if you can put a VPN onto that. I have a VPN on my notebook but it is easier to fire stick connected to TV
    Any help would be grateful. I live in the uk if that makes a difference

    1. William C. Post
      Author
  6. Has anyone been successful with services other than HideMyAss and IPVanish? TorGuard has promotion ending in a few days, 1 year of VPN access for $30.

    I’m already paying for PIA, which obviously doesn’t work (a damn shame).

    1. William C. Post
      Author
  7. Hi,
    Do you know if there is a set top box app that you can sideload onto Fire TV for watching sports channels? I’m based in the UK. If so, would I need to go down the VPN route to do this?

    Thanks

    1. William C. Post
      Author
  8. I have a Cisco VPN client and TP link router that you mention. There is no VPN option, but an option for forwarding using PPTP. Could you walk me through the details?

  9. is this still working? Or did it ever work stable? I need to set up a fire tv with openvpn and send it to my brother so I need it to be rock solid and stable. Am I better off using a dd-wrt router as a vpn client?
    What is your experiences so far?

    1. William C. Post
      Author

      Hi

      I suggest you go with the two-router setup, which doesn’t require you to jailbreak your Fire TV, and works with all VPN services. This method offers a range of advantages compared to installing VPN on a Fire TV. Your brother will love it.

      1. ok, thanks for the advise.
        The Fire TV is already rooted for other reasons and I would like to try it directly on the fire tv first. But I am unsure whether it actually works after all the comments?

    1. William C. Davis Post
      Author
  10. Sorry, didn’t see your question until now. No, I contacted PIA support, and they basically punted and said “check our support forums, we know a couple people there have got it to work”, but they didn’t know how. And when I looked at their support forum, I couldn’t find anyone who had. And no one answered the question I posted there asking how it might have been done. So….I don’t know at this point where else to go with that.

  11. I would really like to try to get to the bottom of why Private Internet Access doesn’t work with this method, while other VPN services do. PIA is $30 cheaper than these other services.

    Would it be worthwhile pursuing this issue with PIA support, and see if they can tweak something on their end to make this method work, do you think?

  12. William C. Davis Post
    Author

    You can enable the logging so you see what happened. In “Openvpn Settings”, select your .ovpn file first. Then press and hold the “select” button. Choose “Preferences->Enable Logging”. After you’ve tried the connection again, you will be able to see the logs.

    1. Enabled logging and all looks ok until the end of the log – there is a problem with the auth:

      Mon Jan 12 21:49:23 2015 SENT CONTROL [Remote vpn.server.hostname]: ‘PUSH_REQUEST’ (status=1)
      Mon Jan 12 21:49:23 2015 AUTH: Received AUTH_FAILED control message
      Mon Jan 12 21:49:23 2015 TCP/UDP: Closing socket
      Mon Jan 12 21:49:23 2015 SIGTERM[soft,auth-failure] received, process exiting
      Mon Jan 12 21:49:23 2015 MANAGEMENT: >STATE:1421128163,EXITING,auth-failure,,

      I have tried many changes in the config file but nothing seems to help.

      I am out of ideas for this.

      I really would like to have the vpn client in the AFTV because it obviates the need to use a super-fast router to get adequate speed for streaming and also, it is much easier to change vpn servers on the AFTV.

      Any additional suggestions are welcome.

  13. Installed both apks, all went well, su enabled. ovpn files all look good. No DHCP or unusual statements.
    All 4 dependencies are green.

    Server connects with:
    auth
    get config zz.zz.zz.zz
    assign IP
    connected to xx.xx.xx.xx as zz.zz.zz.zz

    But still have same IP. Tunnel not working.

    Any ideas?

    1. William C. Davis Post
      Author
      1. I have browsers installed, and when I check my IP that way it still reads the same (local). To save time to check the IP, now I have installed “What’s my IP address” from google store and of course it shows the same as the browser. IP never changes.

        I am using UK 0vpn config. When I click on Google search, it does not show Google UK as it does when I use the VPN in Windows; also the UK sites won’t let me connect.

        I think it is almost working, but something is wrong.

  14. Hi,

    I tried to connect using openVPN and ipvanish on my amazon fire tv. when i try to connect i get the following message:

    “fetal linux ifconfig faild: could not execute external program”

    Please advise.

    Thanks.

    1. William C. Davis Post
      Author
      1. Ok, i installed busybox and openvpn looks connected to a server (US) but i still can’t access blocked content like netflix. any ideas?

        Thanks.

        1. Ok, i installed busybox and openvpn looks connected to a server (US) but i still can’t access blocked content like netflix. any ideas?

          edit: it’s working when i installed netflix with adb.

          Thanks.

      2. Hi. I have followed all the steps as outlined above and have Busy Box installed. I am getting the fetal linus iconfig failed could not execute external program. Can you please advise?? Many thanks!

  15. William C. Davis Post
    Author
  16. Hi with the update at rhe end re changing config files, will this now work with private internet access?

    1. William C. Davis Post
      Author
      1. please mate would you, i was on a forum that stated with more recent firmware updates this no longer works and may actually brick FTV, be greatful if u can shed some light, realky eager to get working, i have an openelec device also that i use PIA for so dont want to have use to seperate vpns

  17. If you can’t connect to your VPN provider try this:

    – download from your VPN provider’s website the configs files to openvpn.

    – open the *.ovpn or *.conf in a text editor.

    – look for 2 lines like:
    up /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-config
    down /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-config

    – change to:
    #up /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-config
    #down /etc/openvpn/update-resolv-config

    Now it will work. (;

  18. mad212 slpyyz I tested it for you and found out that this method doesn’t work with PIA. It does work with IPVanish. I will test and see whether it works with Hidemyass.

  19. mad212 Have you uploaded the “ca.crt” and “crl.pem” to the same directory where your .openvpn files are?

  20. I am not able to connect. It keeps trying to reconnect with message (caused by tls-error) I’m using private internet access with the openvpn config files from their site. Any idea what’s wrong?

  21. piezalms Make sure the ca.ipvanish.com.crt (secure certificate) is in the same folder as .ovpn files. Make sure you’ve the openvpn turned on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *