Whether you need to access your company intranet from afar or you want to watch Netflix while on vacation in a foreign country, setting up a VPN on your Amazon Fire tablet makes accessing remote networks a snap.
What You Need
To follow along with today’s tutorial, you only need a few things. Obviously you need a Fire tablet but you also need a VPN of some sort—if you’ve heard about VPNs (and that they’re good for privacy) but you’re not really sure about them, be sure to check out our guide to what a VPN is and why you might want to use one. While you’re at it, we also have some great recommendations for VPN providers with tips on how to pick one that best fits your needs.
Because each VPN provider has its own settings (server addresses, etc.) it’s important that you take a moment to review the help files for your VPN provider of course (or the information your workplace sent you on the matter) as you’ll need the specific information for your specific VPN later in the tutorial.
Additionally, it’s important to know that we’ll be using the built-in VPN functionality in the Fire OS which, because Fire OS is an Android derivative, has the same limitations of Android’s VPN support—that means it supports the IPSec, L2TP, and PPTP protocols right out of the box but does not support OpenVPN. In addition to the inherent limitation of using Android, there is also the limitation of the Amazon Appstore: there is a very paltry selection of third party VPN apps and no official OpenVPN app to speak of.
If you wish to use OpenVPN on your Fire tablet, we recommend checking to see if your VPN provider has a companion application that would make the process easy for you (but unfortunately the chances of this are very low). Instead, if you want to use beefier VPN protocols on your Fire tablet, you’ll most likely need to either sideload a VPN app’s APK or insntall the Google Play Store on your Fire tablet (which is so much better than relying on the Amazon App Store that you should do it anyway). Once you’ve done that, you can easily follow along with our guide to using VPNs on Android, where we talk in more detail about using official and third-party OpenVPN apps.
If you’re sticking with Amazon’s built-in VPN settings, however, read on.
Configuring and Activating the VPN
Armed with your VPN’s info, entering the VPN is a straightforward affair. On your Fire tablet, swipe down from the notification bar and click on the “Settings” icon.
Within the Settings menu, select “Wireless & VPN”.
In turn, select “VPN”.
Within the VPN menu, click on the plus sign “+” located in the upper right corner to create a new VPN entry.
Here is where the information from your VPN provider, workplace, or school is critical. Give your VPN connection a name (e.g. University Network or StrongVPN) and then select the appropriate type from the dropdown menu. Enter the information provided by your VPN and click “Save”.
After you save the entry, you’ll see the new VPN listed. Click on the link icon, seen below.
You’ll be prompted for your username and password credentials. Enter them and click “Connect”.
If the setup is correct, you’ll immediately see a key icon in the notification bar.
At this point, you’re connected to the VPN. Let’s look at how to test the connection (to ensure your data is actually routing through the VPN) and how to disconnect from it.
Testing (and Disconnecting from) the VPN
After connecting to the VPN, fire up the web browser on your Fire and simply search for “what is my ip” at google.com. You should see the IP address of your VPN, as seen below.
Now let’s disconnect from the VPN to confirm that the IP address changes to our local IP address (and not the IP address of the VPN exit node). Swipe down on the notification bar and select the entry “VPN Activated” to jump right to the VPN interface.
Click on “Disconnect” to terminate the VPN session.
Return to the web browser and refresh the “what is my IP” query. It should immediately return your local IP address, as seen below.
That’s all there is to it! At this point we’ve set up the VPN, tested that it is properly routing our traffic to the remote address, and then turned it off to confirm the change was effective. We can now use our Fire tablet anywhere in the world and it will route all our on-tablet traffic so that it appears to be coming from the VPN node and not the local connection.