How to Stop Buffering on Firestick? Practical Solutions in 2022

by
Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 2 Jan 2022

Preface

We know how frustrating it can be when you’re suddenly interrupted while watching your favorite video. It happens due to a number of reasons. It can be your slow internet connection or a problem with your Firestick. But worry no more because, in this guide, we will introduce a few quick and easy tips for making your Firestick operate as if it were new.

When a video is downloaded into a secure memory space, known as buffering, you can stream it continuously once it fully loads. But when the video plays quicker than it buffers, it will stop a lot. You often have no choice but to wait for it to load the data further. Now, here is how you can deal with this situation.

What’s Causing Your Firestick’s Constant Buffering?

Slow Internet Speed

Slow internet speed is the number one culprit behind constant buffering. The frequency of buffering you experience depends on how slow your connection is. If you need an uninterrupted viewing experience when streaming content on your Firestick, you must have a speedy and reliable internet connection.

Slow internet interferes with your streaming session since you need to wait for the media to pre-load at irregular intervals before it plays normally. So what’s a dependable internet speed that will help you avoid buffering and interference?

Generally, you need to have a speed of around 6 Mbps to support an SD video, 12 Mbps for an HD video, and 20 Mbps or more to stream videos in 4K continuously. Most video streaming services will have a recommended internet speed for the best experience. For instance, streaming Netflix shows on TV requires about 3 Mbps or more.

Different Speed Testing Services

You can determine the speed and performance of your internet through web services such as Speedtest.net or Fast.com. These tools can help you see if your internet currently has the capacity to stream videos at different qualities without any interference.

Other Factors Related to Internet Speed

While your internet speed is something you primarily check, you should also look at other reasons that impact buffering:

  • The number of gadgets in your house sharing the internet
  • Are these devices currently downloading huge files or getting large updates? If so, then multiple devices are competing for your home internet’s bandwidth.
  • Check for obstructions between your Firestick and router. Obstacles may include the distance between the two gadgets, thick dividers, and other kinds of impediments.
  • Your internet service provider (ISP) could be deliberately restricting your bandwidth without you knowing it.
  • Check the streaming source for sufficient transfer speed. Usually, when multiple people stream the same video, it becomes hard for the app or the source to transfer files and manage the data.

The Video Quality

Buffering may occur depending on the quality of the video you’ll stream and your current internet speed. For instance, a 240p video will flawlessly run on a 4 Mbps internet. But if you attempt to stream a 4K or Full HD 1080p video at the same speed, you will have problems. Nowadays, it is very common to stream videos in Full HD, 1080p, or 4K. Consider upgrading your internet to 25 Mbps or higher.

Insufficient RAM Performance

An inadequate RAM on a device is another reason behind a video’s constant buffering. As previously mentioned, media files typically use the RAM on your device while you’re streaming on the internet. Assuming your gadget’s RAM doesn’t have adequate capacity to pre-load data, buffering is simply inevitable. Therefore, if your internet speed is enough to stream at the quality you prefer but is still buffering, then it might be the RAM that’s causing the problem.

Limited Server Capacity

Do you still encounter constant buffering even with a suitable device and internet speed for your streaming needs? Then the other reason could be the site’s server capacity.  Streamed content uses the server’s bandwidth. The server’s bandwidth might not be large enough to accommodate the demand from a number of users. Other issues may include network problems and server failure. If any of these problems are present, then you cannot solve the issue on your end.

The Location of Your WiFi Router

Where is your WiFi device? Is there a huge distance between your Firestick and router? If your router is located at the other side of your home while your Firestick is at the opposite end, the distance in between them can hinder your device from receiving the WiFi signal. As a result, your streaming speed will not be at the optimum level. Barriers such as walls interfere with the signal as well. Consider optimizing the placement of your devices or adding an extra router so your Firestick can stream without problems.

ISP Throttling

Your ISP may be deliberately throttling your internet connection without your knowledge. If you are streaming from ‘unapproved’ sources or have a gaming computer where you download tons of heavy files, then your ISP might be limiting your current speed. This, in turn, causes the buffering of your video. ISPs use this method to control the traffic in their network, decrease bandwidth congestion, and enforce data caps.

Ways to Stop Buffering Issues on Amazon Fire TV Stick

Try Rebooting Your Firestick

This may be an overused solution, but restarting devices, including the Firestick, works wonders. In fact, it can solve other issues beyond buffering. Restarting your device closes down the applications or administrations currently running, giving your device a fresh start. 

Restarting your Firestick also eliminates the operations of the apps running in the background. Remember that even if they do run in the background, they still use data. So if you don’t really need them at the moment, swiping them away with a restart can do the trick.

To restart your Amazon Fire TV Stick, follow the instructions below. 

  • Go to your Settings.Amazon Firestick Settings menu with Settings icon highlighted
  • Scroll to the left and select My Fire TV.The Amazon Firestick settings menu with My Fire TV highlighted
  • Now, hit Restart.My Fire TV menu
  • Next, click Restart again to confirm.My Fire TV menu Restart highlighted

If a restart doesn’t solve the problem, we have more solutions below.

Check the Speed of Your WiFi Signal

An increased amount of buffering could be a sign of a weak WiFi signal. It’s very easy to check the strength of your WiFi signal in the Amazon Fire TV Stick settings.

  • Go to the settings of your Firestick and click Network. Firestick settings Network highlighted
  • Use the Firestick remote to view the details of the WiFi network your Firestick is currently connected to.Firestick settings Network Connected highlighted
  • You have to press the Play/Pause button on your remote to see your Amazon Fire TV’s Signal Strength. For ideal streaming, the signal strength needs to be Excellent. A Very Good signal rating is ideal.Amazon Fire TV's Signal Strength screen

Note

If the signal isn’t great in the area where your Firestick is, it’s probably best to move your WiFi to a spot where all your devices will receive optimal signals. Otherwise, move your Firestick to a better place. Assuming these aren’t practical, check for other gadgets connected to your WiFi, as they might be eating up your bandwidth. Try disconnecting those gadgets and check if the speed improves. Other WiFi networks working on a similar channel can likewise cause obstruction. Try signing into your router and changing the channel of your WiFi network.

Use an Ethernet Cable Whenever Possible

If you can’t get a decent WiFi signal, go for an Ethernet connection, which directly hooks up your device to your router. There are various Ethernet connectors online that are compatible with your Firestick. Using an Ethernet cable might solve the problem.

Turn off All Background Processes and Applications

There might be applications running in the background. Since they still use data, they potentially slow down your stream. Maximize the speed of your internet by closing all of these applications. 

To see applications that are running on your Fire TV, do follow these steps:

  • First, go to Settings > Applications.Firestick gallery, Application menu highlighted
  • Click Manage Installed Applications.Manage Installed Application window
  • Select the application that you wish would quit running.Firestick Applications screen ExpressVPN highlighted
  • Click either Force stop or Uninstall (whichever seems the better choice for you).ExpressVPN screen Force stop, Uninstall highlighted

Download Background Apps and Process List

Closing every application is a bit time-consuming. The solution is to download a specific app that makes the whole thing easier.

Here’s how you can do this. 

  • Go to the Search tab in the Find bar.Amazon Firestick Find menu with Search highlighted 
  • Search for the app by typing the name Background Apps and Process List.Searching Background Apps and Process List on Amazon Firestick
  • Download it from the store. Downloading status of Background Apps and Process List on Amazon Firestick
  • Choose multiple apps to apply the action to the apps you want to close.Choose multiple apps to apply the action to the apps
  • Or simply choose apps to whitelist or close them altogether. Choose apps to whitelist or close on Firstick

Clear the Firestick’s App Information and Data

The Amazon Fire TV Stick offers 8 GB of space. Years ago, this storage size was already considered large. But since files are now bigger, it’s no longer enough. The apps and their content can already take a considerable amount of space.

At times, it’s necessary to clear the app’s information and data to restore it to its default state. Doing so can help the app run as smoothly as when you downloaded it for the first time. Follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings > Applications > Manage installed applications.Manage Installed Application window
  • You’ll then see the data on the right side of the screen, showing how much space is being used by the application, how much information the application stores, and its current size.Firestick Applications screen ExpressVPN highlighted
  • Now select the application that seems to be the cause of the buffering. Choose Clear Cache, then Clear data.Kodi app screen Clear data highlighted

Doing the steps above will delete your in-app settings. That’s why you need to change them once again to tailor the app to your needs. You also need to log in to your account once again.

Keep Your Fire TV's OS and Applications Updated

By default, your device will check for updates on its own. But you can also manually do it. It’s important to keep your Firestick updated to ensure that your data is secure and that you’re receiving the best, latest features. Doing so can also improve your streaming experience.

To check for updates manually, follow the steps below.

  • Go to Settings > My Fire TV > About.My Fire TV menu About highlighted
  • Choose Check for Updates.My Fire TV Check for Updates highlighted
  • Click Install Update if necessary. 
  • Your Firestick will probably require a reboot.

Keep Your Firestick Cool

Heat is the adversary of any electronic gadget, and your Android Fire TV gadget is no exception. In case you have various applications or other operations currently running, your device could heat up. Depending upon which HDMI port you have your Firestick connected to, it can take a lot of heat from your TV. Consider using an alternate HDMI port or an HDMI extender. You might need to purchase a fan specifically for your device to help cool it up. These will help prevent your gadgets from producing more heat, enabling them to run efficiently.

Adjust Your Privacy Settings

Disabling data monitoring and similar options from the settings can also speed up your streaming and boost your connection. 

  • Select Preferences > Settings Amazon Firestick Settings menu with Preferences highlighted
  • From there, open Privacy Settings.The Amazon Firestick Preferences menu with Privacy Settings highlighted 
  • Go to the Usage Data and Data Monitoring options and turn them OFF. Privacy Settings menu, showing Device Usage Data and Collect App Usage Data

View the Video at Lower Quality

Videos at 1080p and 4K are truly enjoyable to watch, but if your internet connection can’t keep up, then it’s better to lower the quality. Higher quality videos demand more data transmission and processor ability to stream easily. While numerous web-based applications will automatically change the video quality according to your internet speed, they still enable you to change the quality manually. Videos at 480p and 720p use significantly less data transmission than those at 1080p and 4K. Adjusting the quality ensures that the video streams smoothly.

Disconnect Other Devices Connected to Your Network

The more devices connected to your home WiFi network, the slower your speed will get. Since your router can only manage a specific amount of data, the devices will have to split it. Therefore, if your Firestick streams a movie while other devices are connected and using the internet, your video tends to buffer. Assuming that you have a PC using your internet or other devices downloading large files, shut them down while you enjoy watching. When the data transmission speed enhances, it will automatically increase the connection speed on your Firestick—no more buffering!

Try Resetting Your Fire TV Stick to Factory Settings

If the solutions above don’t work, perhaps it’s time to factory reset your Firestick. Read the directions to reset your Amazon Fire TV Stick to its default settings. A hard reset will restart your device to its original state. Therefore, all downloaded apps and files, as well as the settings, will be gone. 

Remember that this procedure is your last resort. Exhaust all of the steps we’ve mentioned above before you go through with a hard reset. Take note of all the apps you installed, along with their settings.

Here are the steps to reset your Firestick to factory settings.

  • Open the Settings of your Firestick. Amazon Firestick Settings menu with Settings icon highlighted
  • Click My Fire TV.The Amazon Firestick settings menu with My Fire TV highlighted
  • Scroll down and choose Reset to Factory Defaults.My Fire TV menu highlighting the option Reset to Factory Defaults with a dialogue indicating to Remove all personal data and downloaded content from your Amazon Fire TV Cube

Now hit the Reset option for confirmation, and you’re all set to start the process.

Choose a Good VPN for Improving Your Streaming

Using a VPN to improve your streaming experience may seem counterintuitive because it is not what VPN is for. However, you need to know a VPN dial helps to maintain a stable internet connection. There are specific cases wherein this tool is actually helpful in terms of speed.

For example, if your ISP has been throttling your connection when you use Netflix, a VPN can bypass this limitation. It can conceal your activities that your ISP can easily detect. In other words, they won’t be able to throttle your connection as they cannot see that you’re using a streaming service they tend to limit.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is an excellent option for your Amazon Fire TV Stick. Getting a fast VPN for Firestick, such as ExpressVPN, can turn your Amazon Fire TV into an all-around entertainment hub. It bypasses geo-blocking, allowing you to access more content from Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and numerous streaming services. If you’re looking for a reliable option, ExpressVPN is a good go-to.

The Bottom Line

Your Amazon Fire TV stick gives you access to different kinds of entertainment, news, sports, and so much more. For streams to be uninterrupted, it has to work smoothly in all aspects. Uninterrupted streaming means that you don’t have to go through buffering, freezing, and any other kind of issues.

Sometimes, a video stream buffers for a number of reasons. In this article, we have gone through the most common ones. By following our tips above, you can fix buffering issues on your Firestick and keep enjoying your favorite TV shows, sports, and movies.