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Will a free VPN work for my Fire Stick?

Will a free VPN work for my Fire Stick?
(Image credit: Picturesque Japan/Shutterstock)

if you've splashed out on a Fire Stick then you may be tempted to save a buck and go for a free VPN. But is that going to be the best Fire Stick VPN for your needs? Sure there are plenty of options right here on our best free VPN list, but then how do they compare to the best VPN options overall?

To cut a long story short, like with most things in life, you get what you pay for. A free VPN might get you access when you need it but then you're going to have imitations like speed, server location or data.

A paid for VPN will offer you more options, sure. But do you personally need it? If you can get away with a free VPN then that's best, right? If you just want to watch US Netflix while abroad then you might find a free service that works.

That said, our favourite is ExpressVPN because it does everything you could want, does it well, and works especially well on Fire Stick. It's technically free for 30 days thanks to a money-back guarantee. So is this your best bet or do you need to find a great free VPN for your Fire Stick?

Accessing streaming services

If you want to unblock streaming services to view from any location, as if you were in any location, then a free VPN may struggle. In fact, many of the best streaming services actively block VPNs, so as you might imagine a free version will struggle to keep up with the paid for options.

From BBC iPlayer to Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, many free VPNs simply can't get around the top-end geo restrictions without being detected by the service. That means being shut down without access to the services if you're outside the country you want to view them from, unless you're using a paid for VPN.

Fire stick optimized apps

Venture onto the VPN apps section of your Fire Stick and you'll be inundated with options. From never-heard-of names to the big brands, all are free to download so don't be taken in at that point, you'll have to pay within the app when you sign up, in most cases.

Hotspot Shield is our favorite free VPN and that's available as a Fire Stick app, so could be worth keeping in mind since it means this works very well on the hardware. The downside? You're capped at 500MB of data daily. But more on caps below.

Speed limits

One of the big downsides to a free VPN is speed restrictions. As you might imagine it's usually the policy of VPN services to restrict server access to free users, saving the bandwidth for paying customers. For this reason, and the fact that free VPNs often have fewer server options, you may experience some speed throttling.

Since a VPN will automatically restrict your speed, in most cases, since your signal is bouncing through another server, this can mean even slower speeds when using one with limited server numbers. 

If you're using your Fire Stick to stream shows, especially if it's 4K, then you may find you struggle with some free VPNs. If you're in a more remote location this will impact that even further. 

Data caps

The other way VPN services can give you a free experience is to cap data. Most cap data and speed but nearly all cap data. The standout exception to the rule is ProtonVPN which has no data limit at all, but this suffers on the speed side of things.

Essentially, unless you pay, you'll need to make a choice on where you compromise. 

What's the best VPN for a Fire Stick?

ExpressVPN is the best Fire Stick VPN available.
ExpressVPN offers a huge number of servers in more than 90 countries and boasts lightning-quick connection speeds, top-notch security, and split tunneling. So you can watch anything on your Fire Stick while browsing the web through your regular connection.

ExpressVPN can also be installed on a wide range of devices beyond the Fire Stick including Smart TVs, PlayStation or Xbox, PC, phone, or tablet. ExpressVPN can even be installed directly on your router, making it even easier to watch shows and movies on all your devices.

And now, Tom's Guide readers can claim three free months of ExpressVPN, plus you'll also get a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can make sure it's the right service for you.View Deal