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ULTIMATE VPN Guide for Streaming in 2021

Learn how to setup a VPN on your streaming device, and understand why it is important to use a VPN with this VPN Guide 2021.

Now what exactly is a VPN in the first place?  To put it simply a VPN creates a tunnel between you and the VPN provider. 

Once the tunnel is established all your internet traffic will flow first to the VPN server, and from there out to the internet. 

This means that the destination you are trying to reach does not know your true identity or location, as the traffic it will be getting will be from the VPN server.

What is the point of this you may be asking?  Well there are a number of advantages to using a VPN, and it will become more apparent further down, why it is very advantageous to be using one with Kodi.

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Accessing Geo-blocked or Restricted Content

Many services on the internet are either completely blocked or only allow you to access a limited part of their content, depending on your location.  Some examples of these are BBC iPlayer, Fox, ESPN, ITV, NBC Sports Extra, and hundreds of others.  By using a VPN server, you are able to imitate being at a different location from where you really are, meaning that you will now be able to access those services.

Bypass ISP Blocks

You ISP (Internet Service Provider) is totally aware of the recent trend in streaming, and a lot of them are putting restrictions in place, to block your access to these streaming services.  A good example of this would be those of 1Channel / Primewire, and IceFilms, which are blocked in the UK.  The VPN server will allow you to bypass this restriction by choosing to connect to one of the servers located in a different country.

Bypass ISP Throttling

Another tactic IPSs are now using is to ‘throttle’ your speed, when they notice that you are accessing certain streaming services.  This can be a contributing factor, although not limited to, the dreaded ‘buffering’ message that I’m sure we have all experienced.  The VPN prohibits their ability to perform this type of packet inspection, and so speed throttling can then be eliminated as a cause of the buffering.

Anonymous Encrypted Traffic with NO Logs

Some of the content available on Kodi, especially many live streams, make use of AceStream links.  These are in essence P2P type links, (think of torrents if you know what they are) meaning that while you are watching one of those links, at the same time in the background, you are also sharing the content to other users.  By doing so you have now, unwittingly perhaps, also become a distributor of that content!  You had better hope that the content is legal, otherwise you may be in for some trouble. 

Overall, by using a VPN your internet traffic usage is encrypted and also anonymous.  The only log that your ISP will have of your activities is that you connected to a VPN service.  Your ISP will not know, or have any logs in their system, of what activity you performed via the VPN.


What is the best VPN Provider For Amazon Firestick (Streaming)?

Well to answer that question there are a number of factors to consider.  I’ve personally tried out a fair few of them, and for quite a while now my go-to VPN provider is IPVanish VPN.

Below are some of their features which makes them the best VPN for Firestick :

  • User-friendly apps for all of your devices
  • 5 simultaneous connections on multiple devices
  • Access to the world’s fastest VPN
  • Zero traffic logs
  • 40,000+ shared IPs, 500+ VPN servers in 60+ countries
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Anonymous torrenting
  • Unlimited P2P traffic
  • Access to censored apps & websites
  • OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPsec VPN protocols
  • Unlimited server switching
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 7-day money-back guarantee

I cannot recommend them enough and you really need to try them to understand what I’m talking about. 

To be fair though, everyone has different needs, so do feel free to look around at what other VPN providers have to offer.  All I can say to you though is ‘Save yourself the hassle’ and instead just get started with IPVanish VPN today!

Ultimate VPN guide 2021

IPVanish VPN will encrypt your connection to the Internet making it impossible for your Internet Service Provider (ISP), government, hackers, app developers, and others from logging what you are accessing online.

It will also mask your IP address and location, making you 100% anonymous.

Last but certainly not least, IPVanish VPN will allow you to access streams and sites that are being blocked or shall we say “censored” by your ISP.  Your Internet provider doesn’t like these free apps because it interferes with them selling cable services to you.

You can use IPVanish on up to 10 devices simultaneously and they provide applications for all popular platforms.

How to Install IPVanish VPN

You must first register for an IPVanish account prior to taking advantage of the VPN tips and tricks outlined below.

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How to install a VPN on Amazon Firestick or Nvidia Shield 2021

Installing the IPVanish VPN app on your Fire TV Stick, Fire TV, NVIDIA SHIELD, Android TV Box, phone or tablet is easy.

Simply search your respective app store for “IPVanish” and install the application.

Fire TV/Stick users can install directly through the Amazon App Store.  Android TV Box/phone/tablet & NVIDIA SHIELD owners can install through Google Play Store.

1. Install IPVanish VPN Application

2.  Input the username and password that you set when registering for your IPVanish account and then click Login.  Your username is the email address that you used to register.

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3.  Most of us will usually click the CONNECT button without configuring anything else in the settings panel.  But, not so fast!

Let me summarize what the various settings do and I will explain how I configure each of them myself for the best possible IPVanish experience.

IPVanish VPN Settings

The following screenshots are taken from a Fire TV Stick 4K but the same settings will also appear on other Android-powered devices as well.  The appearance of the screen may vary depending on device.

To access the settings section, click the gear icon in top-right corner.

Start IPVanish will automatically launch the application when your device (Fire TV Stick/Android TV Box, etc.) is turned on.  I leave this off because there are some applications that I don’t use the VPN with.

Auto Reconnect will automatically re-connect the VPN if it is terminated for some reason unexpectedly.  I keep this option turned on to allow for maximum protection in case the VPN disconnects for some reason.

Allow LAN access when turned on will not route local are network traffic through the VPN.  I keep this turned on so that I can connect to the Firestick or Fire TV through the network with various apps such as Plex Media Server or Amazon Fire TV Remote control app.

Split Tunneling

Split Tunneling allows the user to choose applications that can connect to the Internet without being routed through the VPN.  This is handy when using applications that don’t allow for VPN use such as Netflix.  This feature is still in its infancy and may not work properly on all Fire TV models yet.

Some paid service such as Netflix and Amazon Prime don’t play well with VPNs and they will block your access if you are using one.

If the above split tunneling feature doesn’t work, simply disconnect your VPN and use the application with it off.

Once inside the Split Tunneling settings, you can check which apps don’t require VPN protection.  Click the three vertical dots in top-right corner will allow you to show system apps such as Prime Video so you can activate this feature for those as well.

Show system apps button.

System apps are displayed after enabling “Show system apps”.

Scramble adds obfuscation to Open VPN which may allow it to bypass Websites or services that block VPNs.  I keep this off unless there is a site or service that is blocking my VPN where this setting circumvents the action.

VPN Protocol is the connection protocol used by the application.

OpenVPN (TCP) and OpenVPN (UDP) are the available settings for VPN Protocol.  UDP usually provides much faster download speeds when using a VPN so I recommend that option.  If your VPN app is not connecting, it may help switching your connection protocol in this section.

Port is the tunnel through which your Internet traffic moves.

Port 443 is optimal since this is usually used for HTTPS traffic and may help get around various blocks.  I suggest leaving this setting on 443 unless directly by IPVanish support staff to change it.

Contact Support will direct you to the IPVanish support information.

Terms of Service provides their most recent document.

Licenses provides a document with the licenses used within the application/service.

Increase Download Speed When Using A VPN

Screenshot Guide

Running a VPN decreases download speed because we are encrypting our connection and then tunneling our traffic through an outside server.

Use the following steps to ensure you are connecting to the fastest IPVanish Server.

1. Start off connecting to the Best Available Country, City, and Server

2. With your VPN active, open an Internet Browser on your streaming device.  On the Fire TV/Stick, I recommend Silk Browser as it is a free download through the Amazon App Store.

Once you have opened the browser, go to streamdroid.org/speedtest

3. Click Start Test.

4. You will be presented with your results.  You want to note your Download speed, which in this example is 20.2 Mbps.

Download Speeds Explained

People get too hung up on download speeds and don’t understand that there is such a thing as overkill.

Yes, just because you can download 80Mbps, this doesn’t mean that you are actually downloading that fast.  It all depends on the server that you are streaming from.

If the server that you are streaming from isn’t capable of sending your stream that fast, your high download speeds won’t help one bit.

Here are the recommended download speeds for each respective video format.

Recommended Download Speeds

  • Standard Definition: 2.5 Mbps
  • 720p HD: 6 Mbps
  • 1080p HD: 8 Mbps
  • 4K Ultra HD: 25 Mbps

So, if you look at the chart above, anything over 30 Mbps probably won’t add any benefit to your streaming experience.

Also, you only need approximately 8 Mbps to stream 1080p content, which is great for most cord-cutters.

After completing the test above, if you aren’t happy with your download speed, you can try changing IPVanish servers.

5. Click Disconnect button in IPVanish

6. Change City to closest City of your physical location.

7. Click Server.

You will notice that the ping rate is indicated behind each server.  In theory, the lower the number, the faster the connection but I haven’t always found this to be the case.  Test out different servers until you find one with good download speed.

8. Connect again

9.  Now test your Internet speed again with this server via steps 2-6 above.

10.  Repeat these steps until you find a server that provides the fastest download speed.

Streaming Tip: Enable ‘Start IP Vanish at startup’ to ALWAYS be connected to a VPN whilst your device is on.

Thanks for reading the StreamDroid Ultimate VPN Guide 2019

Hopefully, the setting tweaks and download speed alterations will help improve your streaming experience!

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VPN Troubleshooting Tips

Most of you will never need these, but just in case I have you covered.

  • If your IPVanish VPN application is not connecting, go into Settings / VPN Protocol and change to OpenVPN (TCP) or OpenVPN (UDP), whichever one isn’t currently active
  • Restart both your streaming device and router by unplugging from power, let sit for a minute and then plug back in.
  • If your download speed seems slow or you are experiencing buffering, choose a different server, close to where you are located within the VPN application.  Keep in mind that there are multiple servers available for each location and you can try each of them to see which provides better results.
  • If you are having problems logging into IPVanish VPN, double check that there are no spaces within the email address that you use as your login.  Sometimes a space is automatically added following the @ symbol.
  • Uninstall the IPVanish VPN App.  After you have removed the VPN, reinstall with the guide above.
  • If the IPVanish application doesn’t appear in Amazon App Store on your device, follow the screenshot guide above for installing through Downloader app.
  • If you forgot or lost your IPVanish password, you can reset it by clicking the “Forgot Password” link within the login area on the IPVanish Website.
  • If you need help with something, send IPVanish an email at [email protected]

IPVanish VPN Support

IPVanish provides 24/7 live support through their Website if you have questions about your account, pricing, or technical support.

You will see a Help button in the bottom right corner of the IPVanish VPN Website.  Click that.

Type in a search term that references the help that you desire.  In this example, I have a question about the discount that is being offered on this page.  Click the search icon or hit enter on your keyboard after typing in your term.

If the results listed on the screen don’t help you, proceed to Live chat by clicking the button in the lower-right corner.

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