Boasting 80 million subscribers and counting, Amazon Prime is available in many countries. But its Prime Video service is only accessible to users in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Still, the best of Amazon Prime’s uber-popular video streaming service mostly remains a privilege of U.S.-based subscribers.
The problem with Amazon Prime is its U.S. repositories are different from its libraries available from elsewhere due to copyright regulations. Copyright laws are country-specific, you see. Even if you subscribe to Amazon Prime in the U.S., you lose the right to stream Prime’s videos when you are on a foreign soil.
Prime’s geo-blocked libraries are a real turn-off to many U.S. expats and tourists because, being honest paying subscribers, they get locked out of their service.
How to Stream Amazon Prime Video from Outside the U.S.
Your goal here is to trick Amazon into thinking you are in the U.S. and here is where a Virtual Private Network comes in.
A VPN routes your Internet traffic through its server – in this case a U.S.-based one – granting you a U.S. IP address. That way, you appear as if coming from the U.S. to Amazon and can stream your favorite videos.
Using a VPN is completely legal. It is not going to get you in trouble with authorities or Amazon. In the worst case scenario Amazon recognizes your VPN and kicks you out displaying Error 4601 or Error 1042. It’s no big deal since your account doesn’t get suspended.
How to Choose a VPN for Amazon Prime
In the past, pretty much any VPN with servers in the U.S. could unblock Amazon Prime. Those days are gone. Today, Amazon Prime is cracking down on VPNs, following in the Netflix footsteps. Since Amazon keeps blacklisting VPN after VPN, providers that unblocked Prime last year may not be working today.
So when you research VPNs that unblock Amazon Prime, your results will be changing from time to time. As of this writing, a handful of VPNs are known to unblock Amazon Prime Video on a consistent basis. Others are lesser-known providers that manage to navigate below Amazon’s radar.
To give you some guidance on how to choose a VPN, though, I’ve made a short list of VPN features you want to scrutinize:
- Ability to bypass Amazon Prime’s VPN firewall
- Plenty of US-based servers
- DNS leak protection
- Stable speeds apt for streaming
Since Prime’s crackdown on VPNs is an evolving story, you may want to test a VPN before subscribing to a long-term plan. If you lack the skills to set up a VPN or tweak the DNS service, you need a company providing timely tech support. Therefore, check:
- Provider’s money-back guarantee
- Availability of live customer support
ExpressVPN is one of the big players with select U.S. servers working great for streaming Amazon Prime Video. These servers occasionally change, so I would recommend pinging ExpressVPN’s support for a list of servers that work with Amazon Prime.
Other highlights include consistently good speeds, robust security, intuitive cross-platform client, and 24/7 support. You can have up to three simultaneous connections per license while the company’s generous 30-day money-back guarantee lets you test its service risk-free.
Its monthly subscription is on the expensive side priced at $12.95 but its yearly plan is more wallet-friendly at $99.95, and you can pay with Bitcoin.
BulletVPN may not be a big player, but this Estonian VPN unblocks Amazon Primer Video with ease. The company offers an ample selection of servers in 22 countries, multiple VPN protocols, Smart DNS, as well as a cross-platform client supporting a laundry list of devices.
The broad selection of U.S. servers is what you need to unblock Amazon Prime, and BulletVPN delivers. Better yet, you can stream and torrent via its VPN, but its performance varies greatly for servers located in the same country. Even though it doesn’t unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime is one of the numerous streaming services it unblocks successfully.
Priced at $10.98 a month, $54.98 per six months, or $89.98 a year, BulletVPN protects first-time subscribers with a generous 30-day money-back guarantee. On the side note, BulletVPN might not be an ideal option if you are looking for a zero-logs privacy-minded provider.
3. Keenow VPN
Keenow is an Israeli Smart DNS and VPN service provider slated to unblock geo-restricted streaming services, including Amazon Prime. It may not be the best in terms of privacy, but when it comes to streaming, Keenow gets the job done.
Available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV, Keenow lets you configure its Smart DNS on an even larger number of devices. The company provides a sleek desktop app that combines the SmartDNS and VPN so you don’t have to mingle with the manual setup.
P2P is allowed while Keenow’s Virtual Router lets you share your VPN connection with all your devices.
Keenow has a Lite free plan with SmartDNS only, 512MB bandwidth per day, and a handful of US servers. Its Premium bundles a fully-fledged VPN on top of the Smart DNS, unlimited bandwidth, and P2P-optimized servers.
Its $9.95-worth monthly plan comes with a 7-day refund protection but it goes down to $69.5 in a yearly plan covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Support is ticket-based but prompt and professional.
4. CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost VPN primarily focuses on privacy and security. But as of late, this Romania-based company has ramped up its unblocking capabilities adding a slew of popular streaming giants to the roster of geo-blocks it can bypass, Amazon Prime Video included.
The good news is CyberGhost VPN’s app tags servers that unblock Amazon Prime, so you don’t need to contact their support or do the guesswork. The company runs 1,250 servers across 60 countries and counting while its no-logs policy and robust security specs make it an overall excellent VPN for all your streaming, browsing, and secure communication needs.
One month kicks in at $11.99 while the annual subscription is priced at $71.88, allowing up to five simultaneous connections. There is a generous 30-day refund policy, too.
5. Nord VPN
Nord VPN is a big fish whose whopping 3350 servers are difficult to ignore, and it just happens to unblock Amazon Prime. There is always a handful of servers at Nord VPN that are geared toward unblocking streaming giants. If you are having difficulty, just check the knowledge base for an update on servers that work with Amazon Prime, or contact their support directly.
Aside from unblocking your streaming sites, this Panama-based provider also bundles watertight security and zero-logs privacy complete with fast speeds apt for HD streaming and P2P. You can connect up to six devices simultaneously while apps are available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.
Their monthly subscription will set you off $11.95, which goes down to $69 if you buy a yearly plan, and $79 if you buy two years. All first-time purchases are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
6. Strong VPN
Strong VPN is a US-based provider popular among expats because it consistently unblocks popular U.S. streaming services. Running servers across 47 locations in 26 countries, Strong VPN offers multiple VPN protocols, cross-platform software, zero-logs policy, and five simultaneous connections per license.
Its downside is in over-complicated setup, but there is a 24/7 live chat support that can set up Strong VPN on your device remotely via TeamViewer at no extra cost.
Strong VPN provides great speeds apt for streaming. Even though I wasn’t overly happy with its usability, when it comes to geo-blocked streaming, Strong VPN delivers.
One month of Strong VPN costs $10; three months are priced at $24 while a year will set you off $70. All plans are backed by a 7-day money-back guarantee.
TorGuard is a solid US-based VPN geared toward streaming and P2P file-sharing, offering a slew of speedy U.S. servers. Since TorGuard is a U.S. provider, you may not be using it for leaking state secrets, but streaming, torrenting and gaming activities go well with its super-speedy servers and five simultaneous connections allowed.
TorGuard works as advertised unblocking Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and many other streaming services. If you want a VPN for streaming only, you need to subscribe to TorGuard’s VPN and buy an add-on IP in one of the countries to which you wish to spoof (for example, a U.S. Streaming IP).
One streaming IP adds $4/mo to your bill. TorGuard’s monthly plan is priced at $9.99, quarterly at $19.99, semi-annual at $29.99, and annual at $59.99. Do note that torrenting is not allowed on Streaming IPs.
I feel it’s unfair to make a roundup of the top-of-the-crop companies leaving out lesser-known mid-sized or small providers that score equally high in streaming. Below are my bonus picks of lesser-known – and sometimes significantly cheaper – VPNs that work just fine with Amazon Prime:
- SaferVPN features 700+ servers in 34 countries, extremely easy-to-use software supporting multiple protocols, a kill switch, a free trial, and a live chat support. All you need to do is connect to a US streaming server and you’re ready to stream Amazon Prime Video.
- VPN Area is extremely user-friendly and privacy-minded. Even though it only has a couple of US and UK servers that work with Amazon Prime, it gets the job done and it’s also affordable in its long-term subscriptions backed by a 7-day money-back guarantee.
- Invisible Browsing VPN, aka ibVPN, is another Romanian company that successfully bypasses Prime’s firewall. It offers a 24-hour free trial and some of the most flexible and affordable subscriptions on the market.
- Iron Socket VPN is a Hong Kong-based company offering Smart DNS services, VPN, streaming and P2P-optimized servers, neat software, three simultaneous connections per account, and a 7-day money-back guarantee. It’s wallet-friendly and ideal for novice users.
- SurfEasy VPN is a Canadian provider with 1000+ servers across 28 countries and robust security features. Ultra-fast servers configured specifically for streaming and unlimited bandwidth will do the job while a free trial will help clear your doubts. No credit card is required to test the service. Five simultaneous connections are allowed per account.
- Trust.zone VPN is an excellent Seychelles-based provider that runs 130+ servers in 80 zones, many of them are streaming- and P2P-optimized and unblock Netflix and Amazon Prime, among other streaming services. A free trial and a 10-day money-back guarantee are available.
- Unblock.us VPN is a US-based provider offering some of the most affordable Smart DNS and Smart VPN servers that work with Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Starz, Crackle, HBO, you name it. The company also offers excellent customer service always ready to help you with the setup.
- PrivateVPN is a well-established Swedish company with a broad network coverage and speedy streaming-optimized servers that work with Netflix and Amazon Prime. P2P is allowed while privacy and security are airtight.
When zeroing in on VPNs that bypass Prime’s firewall, you may end up with a choice between quality and consistency of streaming on the one hand, and privacy and security on the other. Sometimes, you can have both and not necessarily in a high-end subscription.
If privacy and security are important to you, consider choosing a VPN that bundles OpenVPN with strong encryption for cases when you need security, and weaker protocols or SmartDNS for streaming.
Always read providers’ privacy policies and terms of service scrutinizing their logging and data sharing policies. For a more in-depth guidance on VPN privacy and security specs, read this brief VPN Guide.
Also, I wouldn’t recommend free VPNs for unblocking Amazon Prime. The majority of free VPNs don’t offer consistent speed or performance and log your activity top to bottom.
How to Set Up a VPN to Stream Amazon Prime from Outside the U.S.
It’s not rocket science. If you already have a Prime subscription, you need to choose a VPN provider first and get a free trial or a subscription. I wouldn’t recommend starting out with a long-term subscription without verifying if the service unblocks Amazon Prime.
Once you have your subscription details and login information for the VPN, you need to install VPN software on your device. Setup instructions always differ, so you may need to check with your provider’s support or knowledge base.
When your VPN is installed and a connection to its US server is enabled, you can launch your Amazon Prime.
Perhaps, your chances of succeeding are higher on a desktop computer than on a mobile platform. On mobile, Amazon Prime Video comes as a standalone app that tends to override VPN settings and expose your DNS.
Amazon Prime Video vs Amazon Instant Video
Amazon Prime Video is a part of Amazon Prime subscription and an unlimited streaming service with the coveted U.S. libraries that are chock-full of movies and TV shows.
Amazon Instant Video is a pay-per-view service that doesn’t require a Prime subscription. Here, you can simply rent or buy videos and you don’t need a VPN to use it.