Having issues with some product from Amazon not working with your VPN? You’re not alone, and more importantly: we’re here to help.
Why Amazon isn’t working with your VPN
These challenges tend to revolve around two core creations from Amazon’s workshop – e-commerce and Prime Video, so let’s jump right in to the solutions. That’s why understanding the issues Amazon services have with VPNs starts with specifying the technologies in question.
For example, Prime Video dislikes location-spoofing solutions for much the same reasons Netflix does – money, i.e. licensing stipulations.
Amazon, the e-commerce outlet, can give VPN users trouble as well, albeit due to technical difficulties that obfuscating one’s identity and traffic can cause. Such problems can manifest themselves in the form of incomplete page renders missing text, images, and other elements, as well as a complete inability to access Amazon.com or portions thereof.
Accessing Amazon’s flagship platform via a VPN can hence yield errors mentioning things like failed TLS handshakes and suspicions of bot activity. The latter is a particularly common occurrence often indicative of you cheaping out on a decent VPN, i.e. using a supposedly “free one”.
Most common VPN fixes for Amazon
You can still circumvent the geographic restrictions imposed on Prime Video content as easily as finding a VPN that doesn’t play ball with Amazon’s lawyers, of which there are many.
Like with Netflix, while doing so isn’t illegal, it does make it possible for Amazon to suspend or outright ban your account if they catch you spoofing your location – in theory.
What will most likely happen instead is you’ll receive a generic “HTTP proxy error” asking you to access the service without using a VPN. In practice, that just means you need a better VPN. And no, a free one usually isn’t worth it.
If you’re simply having trouble with Amazon.com while using a VPN, there’s always the option of going through the company’s support channels. Namely, while Prime Video blocks VPN traffic (that it can identify) by design, that’s not the intended behavior of Amazon’s shopping platform. So long as your payment details keep checking out, Amazon could not care less whether you’re accessing the Internet via a VPN or an abacus.
If you don’t feel like going through the usual motions with customer reps or doing so doesn’t prove fruitful, try changing your VPN’s regional server settings. That would be the option that lets you choose the country that you want to assign as the perceived source of your queries.
In fact, there are numerous reports that Amazon support reps themselves are suggesting that course of action as a quick fix for VPN users having trouble with accessing its main domain.
Canadian servers ostensibly often do fine in situations like these, though they’d naturally default to Amazon.ca. In other words, using them would require you to manually switch to an American variant of the website, assuming you still want your shopping delivered to a U.S. address.
With these and any other issues pertaining to using Amazon services while protecting your online anonymity or encrypting your connection, chances are that if you need additional help, you’ll have better luck contacting your VPN than Amazon itself. That’s because the former’s support staff is much more specialized and hence more likely to have experience with such matters.
Keep in mind: don’t kid yourself about Amazon’s stance on privacy
Of course, there’s always the question of balancing privacy with convenience, an inherent trait of e-commerce platforms and everything else Amazon offers. To put it bluntly, if you’re concerned about your data being harvested and used for systematic targeting of your humble self with ads, using a VPN won’t do much if you’re still using Amazon services as intended, i.e. logging into them and doing pretty much anything.
Amazon’s not really any different to Google or Facebook when it comes to reservations over using customer data and letting third parties pay for identical access. That’s according to its very own, publicly detailed policies.
Sure, selling access to your information isn’t Amazon’s main revenue generator but it’s getting there. Its ad unit growth is actually getting so aggressive that it’s been making headlines for some time now.
What that means is that if you’re already paying for a VPN, chances are, you care for digital privacy enough to consider scrapping Amazon from your life entirely.
“Amazon not working with VPN” was written by Dominik Bosnjak, a long-time VPN-user-turned-advocate who spends more time scrutinizing VPN Providers on a daily basis than he’d like to admit. When he isn’t writing VPN Guides and covering general Tech News, he’s probably spending time with his dog, video games, or both. Fun fact: the Shih Tzu in question is the only remaining creature in Dominik’s life who hasn’t told him they’re sick of him talking about Best VPN practices and government-sponsored erosion of digital privacy which made using the Internet less convenient over the years. He occasionally dabbles in video editing, Wall Street memes, and demonstrating a remarkable lack of guitar-playing ability.
If you want more tidbit-sized rants about any of those things, you can find him on Twitter @dddominikk.