Streaming content is fast becoming the number one way to consume television, sports, and movies. Old-style cable and satellite systems are being rapidly supplanted by technologies like the Amazon Firestick. This sleek little device takes streaming content from the web and beams it to Smart TVs. With a simple remote control interface, it lets users choose programs, set schedules, install apps, and even play games. So you can see why older forms of broadcasting are struggling.
In 2019, Amazon’s Fire TV streaming service has accumulated 30 million users, and it’s closely followed by competitors like Roku, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast. At the same time, official content libraries have been expanded via unofficial services such as Kodi – making Firesticks even more appealing for people who want maximum choice for their evening entertainment.
However, there may be security concerns for Firestick users to take into consideration, especially if they rely on Kodi or similar services. This blog will look at one security solution that many Firestick users turn to: Ultrasurf VPN. Could using Ultrasurf VPN for Firestick make sense? Let’s find out.
Why would you want to use a VPN with Amazon Firestick?
Before we dig into Ultrasurf’s security bona fides, it probably helps to lay out why Virtual Private Networks have a major role to play for Firestick users.
There’s no doubt that Amazon’s Firestick allows owners to access a vast library of streaming content. That includes plenty of completely legal sources, such as the Crackle, Netflix, HBO Now, ESPN, and the BBC iPlayer. With a simple remote that syncs seamlessly with most Smart TVs, you can stream all kinds of TV, movie, and sports content with ease.
But there are limitations. For instance, Firestick owners can’t always access the full variety of Netflix content. Different countries have different libraries, depending on local demand and copyright issues. So, when you travel abroad, you might find that crucial shows aren’t available. And some streaming services might be totally off-limits. By routing your traffic back through American servers, VPNs can help to solve that problem.
Then there are less legitimate streaming services. Firestick can be used to access streaming libraries such as those available via Kodi (which aren’t always 100% legal). By installing a VPN on your Firestick, you can shield your streaming activities from outsiders, minimizing the risk that copyright holders and law enforcement will be able to scrutinize your habits. We don’t encourage illegal streaming, but if you want to, a VPN isn’t an optional extra.
How do VPNs manage to solve these problems? Well, connecting to a VPN server accomplishes two related things:
- It changes your IP address to one given by the VPN. This obscures your real IP and consequently your location/identity from whichever online service you’re accessing.
- On the other side of the equation, your ISP can only see you connecting to the VPN server, rather than your actual online destination.
This combination allows you to bypass geo-blocking imposed by content platforms and surveillance by your ISP.
Introducing Ultrasurf: one of the oldest privacy tools in the online world
There are many VPNs on the market right now – some are good, some are lousy. Ultrasurf isn’t the most famous VPN around, but could it be a decent option for Firestick users?
The company has been operating since 2001, so it’s positively geriatric by contemporary standards. Starting out as a tool to beat censorship in mainland China, Ultrasurf offered encryption and IP anonymization, much like any good VPN. And it still does.
At present, Ultrasurf is completely free to use, but it isn’t a classic VPN, so don’t be fooled. Instead of using a stand-alone client, Ultrasurf operates as a kind of browser add-on, creating secure tunnels as users navigate the web. Data still passes from user computers to central servers, and it’s still encrypted, but it’s really more akin to a proxy than a full-blown Virtual Private Network.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it with Amazon Firestick. After all, it’s free to use, has a long track record of beating censorship, and has a worldwide user base.
What does count against Ultrasurf slightly is the lack of a dedicated Firestick client. Amazon operates a library of VPNs that have been approved to work with its OS, and Ultrasurf isn’t included. But don’t assume that’s the end of the story.
A quick and easy guide on how to install Ultrasurf VPN on Firestick
Normally, you would just be able to navigate to the Firestick browser and choose a VPN download, but that’s not available here. Instead, you’ll need to configure a tool called the Firestick Downloader before you can get Ultrasurf working. This isn’t too complex and having Downloader could be useful for other purposes, so it’s a good idea in any case.
Here’s how to install Ultrasurf VPN on Firestick:
- Load up your Firestick and open the main menu. Now click on the search feature, and search for “Downloader.”
- Once you’ve found the Downloader tool, choose the “Get” option, and the Downloader app will be added to your Firestick.
- Now, you’ll need to open the Downloader as you would with any Firestick app. This gives you the opportunity to download third-party applications that aren’t available via the Amazon Store.
- The next step is to download the Ultrasurf APK. To do so, you’ll need to type in the link “https://apkpure.com/ultrasurf-beta-unlimited-free-vpn-proxy/us.ultrasurf.mobile.ultrasurf”
- When you’ve typed the link into the address field, the Firestick web browser will load up. You should be taken to an APK download site for Ultrasurf.
- Use the browser to click the Download button on this page. Downloader should detect the file and download it automatically to your Firestick.
- When the Ultrasurf APK has been download, its installation will begin immediately. Follow the prompts, and the Proxy will be added to your Firestick tools.
- Ultrasurf should now be available, just like any other app on your device, so go ahead and open it. When you connect, your streaming will be encrypted.
Is Ultrasurf VPN for Firestick a good option?
Now that you’ve gone to the trouble of installing Ultrasurf, feel free to give it a try. If the speeds are super-fast, you may have found a free Firestick privacy tool which meets your needs. But it’s important to be aware of some potential drawbacks associated with this provider.
For starters, Ultrasurf is a free VPN. That sounds great, but it’s often a warning sign. In the digital world. free products are rightly notorious for acting as gateways for data sharing and commodification. The idea is usually that users are the product, leading developers to find creative ways to extract value.
Since Ultrasurf started up, the incentives to collect data and sell it to third parties has increased exponentially, so the company may not be a cuddly group of anti-censorship crusaders any longer.
For example, the Ultrasurf website admits that the company collects 30 days worth of user data, which isn’t always the case with VPNs. The service is also based in the USA, and states that it will comply with all legal requests. This might make illicit streaming a tiny bit riskier. And with VPNs available in safe jurisdictions like Panama (such as NordVPN), why take that risk?
Install a VPN to make Firestick streaming safer than ever
While Ultrasurf might not be the perfect tool for the job (although it could work for some people), having a VPN is not something you can pass by as a Firestick user. With huge amounts of content being rendered off-limits via geo-blocking, and serious privacy concerns for those using services like Kodi, it’s just a no-brainer to install a high-quality VPN.
Nadin has been tinkering with computers and gadgets for as long as she can remember. She has extensive knowledge about various topics, including IoT, Linux, digital security, and more. Nowadays, she works as an IT network professional and writes helpful guides in her free time.