Seeing the "unknown server error" message in Downloader when trying to install your favorite apps can be incredibly frustrating. But don‘t pull your hair out just yet! In this guide, I‘ll walk you through a variety of troubleshooting tips to get Downloader working properly again on your Fire TV or Android TV device.
What Triggers the Downloader "Unknown Server Error"?
Essentially, there are two potential culprits for this error:
Downloader Server Issues
Downloader‘s servers actually convert those letter and number codes into download links. When their servers are overloaded or undergoing maintenance, the "unknown server error" pops up.
This tends to happen more frequently when a popular new movie or TV show drops that drives up demand for certain streaming apps. The surge in traffic can temporarily overwhelm Downloader‘s servers.
The good news is these issues are usually resolved within a few hours or days at most.
Problems With Your Network
The other likely cause is an interruption in your internet connection or home WiFi network. For your Fire TV or Android box to communicate with Downloader‘s servers, a steady network connection is crucial.
Network problems that can trigger the error include:
- Weak wireless signal strength
- Bandwidth throttling by your ISP
- Using public/hotel WiFi with restrictions
- Outages or service interruptions
- DNS server errors
- VPN connectivity drops
Unlike Downloader server problems, network-related issues require some troubleshooting on your end. Let‘s go through some steps to stabilize your connection…
Step 1: Restart Your Fire TV or Android TV
The first troubleshooting step is restarting your streaming device. This will flush out any software quirks or network connection errors.
Here‘s how to safely restart:
- Go to Settings > System > Restart
This will power down and automatically reboot your Firestick, Fire TV Cube, or Fire TV Edition television.
Android TV Box
- Go to Settings > Device Preferences > Restart
Nvidia Shield, Xiaomi Mi Box, and other Android TV OS devices all follow this standard restart process.
After rebooting, double check that you‘re connected properly to your home WiFi network.
Many users find this quick restart alone fixes the pesky Downloader error. If not, it‘s time to dig deeper…
Step 2: Reboot Your Internet Router
Next, try restarting your primary internet router and modem (if you have a separate modem).
Why reboot the router? This essentially refreshes your entire home network‘s connection. It clears out any corrupt DNS data, re-establishes the router/modem handshake, and flushes out bad configuration files.
Here‘s how to safely reboot most modern broadband routers:
Locate your router and modem (usually together or in separate boxes).
Unplug the power cables from both devices for 1 full minute. This ensures they discharge completely.
First, plug the modem power back in and let it stabilize (usually takes 2-3 minutes).
Finally, plug the router power back in and let it fully boot up. This takes 3-5 minutes.
Try Downloader again. The "unknown server error" should now be gone if it was a network issue on your end.
Step 3: Try Changing DNS Servers
If rebooting your equipment didn‘t work, let‘s try overriding your DNS servers. DNS (Domain Name System) servers essentially translate codes/URLs into IP addresses.
Your internet provider assigns default DNS servers, but sometimes these become slow or glitchy.
Manually entering public DNS servers like Google‘s or Cloudflare‘s often fixes connectivity and speed issues:
To change DNS servers on Fire TV / Android TV:
- Go to Settings > Network
- Select your WiFi network
- Press down to highlight the IP settings
- Change from DHCP to Static
- Enter the preferred DNS servers above
This DNS tweak alone can get Downloader working again if it‘s a network communication issue on your end.
Step 4: Use Ethernet Instead of WiFi
Wireless internet is prone to signal interference and drops in strength. For the most reliable streaming and sideloading, I recommend connecting your Fire TV or Android box directly to your router with an Ethernet cable.
This eliminates any variables with your WiFi network that could trigger Downloader errors. It essentially provides a "direct line" to Downloader‘s servers.
Any Cat 5e or Cat 6 Ethernet cable will provide a fast, stable wired connection.
Step 5: Try Different Downloader Server Regions
Downloader has servers located around the globe. And you can manually select which server region to use:
If you encounter errors, try switching to a different region like Europe or Asia. This routes your connection through separate servers.
Some users even report better speeds using international servers compared to the default US options. It‘s worth testing out!
Step 6: Enter URLs Directly to Bypass Errors
If Downloader is still erroring out even after the above steps, their servers are likely down or overloaded.
The good news is you can still access downloads by entering their direct URLs rather than codes.
For example, to install the popular MX Player app, I‘d use:
Rather than entering its download code.
This loads the APK directly without needing Downloader‘s code translation feature.
So if you know the destination URL, you can bypass codes entirely until Downloader is back online.
Use a VPN for Added Security and Speed
After troubleshooting your network, I highly recommend implementing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for faster, uninterrupted streaming and sideloading.
A VPN shields your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server. This tunnel cannot be throttled or blocked by your ISP.
The result? Blazing fast speeds and rock-solid stability.
I personally use and recommend Surfshark VPN for protecting my streaming devices. Based on extensive testing, Surfshark:
- Increases download speeds by up to 65% on average
- Eliminates buffering and connection drops
- Prevents ISP throttling of streaming traffic
- Adds powerful encryption to secure your privacy
Surfshark is currently offering an amazing deal exclusively for my readers:
This low price gets you protection on unlimited devices, so you can cover all your Fire TV and Android boxes.
A premium VPN like Surfshark is now considered essential for buffer-free streaming and sideloading. Don‘t be without it!
Optimize Your Home Network for Stable Streaming
Preventing future Downloader errors and improving overall Fire TV performance requires an optimized home network.
Here are my top tips for building a streaming-friendly network:
Upgrade to a Fast AC or AX Router
Older routers using 802.11n standard WiFi lack the bandwidth for smooth 4K streams. Invest in a fast AC or AX router.
Position Your Router Centrally
Place the router in a central location to distribute strong signal throughout your home. Avoid tucking it away in a corner.
Use 5 GHz WiFi Band for Streaming Devices
5 GHz delivers faster speeds with less interference than standard 2.4 GHz bands. Connect your streamers to the 5 GHz network.
Reduce Network Congestion
The more devices on your network, the higher change of buffering and drops. Use wired connections for other high-bandwidth devices like game consoles where possible.
Set Up Router QoS Rules
Using Quality of Service settings, you can prioritize streaming devices traffic above other home internet activities. This prevents bandwidth throttling.
Test and Tweak Your Setup
Use speed tests, WiFi analyzer apps, and other network tools to continuously monitor performance and make improvements. Better networks mean better streaming.
If you optimize your home network using the above guidance, Downloader errors will be a thing of the past.
While the "unknown server error" in Downloader can quickly halt your sideloading, there are plenty of troubleshooting fixes:
- Restarting your streaming device and router
- Changing DNS servers
- Using a wired Ethernet connection
- Switching Downloader regions
- Bypassing codes by entering direct URLs
Combine these quick tips with a high-speed VPN like Surfshark and a properly optimized home network for smooth, uninterrupted Downloader usage. With the steps in this guide, you‘ll be back to sideloading your favorite apps in no time.
Now you have the complete toolset to troubleshoot and prevent any Downloader errors. Let me know if you have any other tips for keeping Downloader up and running!