Roku with VPN: Setup and VPN List (2023)
Roku doesn't support direct VPN installation, but that's no reason to give up on unlocking geo-restricted movies and shows. We'll show you some simple alternatives to connecting this popular TV platform to a VPN.
The information in this article applies to all Roku players and Roku TVs.
Do you own a Roku player but live outside the U.S., or do you just want access to a different region? Certain videos aren't available to you? No problem!
In this review, I'll show you how to unblock streaming services for Roku in any region or country using a VPN. This method is also effective for other media platforms.
I'll describe the process in detail, but in short, you'll need to:
- Choose a VPN for Roku according to the desired server location and video quality
- Set up a VPN on your PC or Mac
- Share Wi-Fi
- Connect Roku to a new Wi-Fi hotspot (created on your PC)
- In the Roku settings, change the location to your desired location
That's it. If you follow these steps, your Roku player will automatically connect to the VPN, and all content from any Roku apps for your chosen country will be available to you.
First you need to choose a VPN service... I will offer you 5 alternatives that worked great after I configured them using the above method. They are also some of the best VPN services for just about any purpose. For instance, they are suitable for geo-unblocking Netflix and other video services on any platform.
The best VPN for Roku
- ExpressVPN: Provider with the best TV platform support. Works reliably over Wi-Fi and on routers.
- Surfshark: Cheaper provider among those that support Roku (from $2.21).
- NordVPN: Powerful service with TV and router support. High speed and a balanced price.
- ProtonVPN: Swiss VPN with dedicated plan supporting over 20 streaming services.
- CyberGhost: VPN service with dedicated servers for streaming. Not a bad alternative to the above VPNs.
Before I present the list of the best providers, I want to say a few words about free VPNs. Unfortunately, I haven't found a single fast, free and unlimited VPN provider that can unblock Netflix and be configured for use on a router or desktop with virtual router enabled.
Therefore, it is better to use a paid VPN for Roku. All the providers on my list offer risk-free money-back guarantees.
Why do I advise using a VPN service?
It's simple. A good service offers an incredibly large selection of locations that support streaming. If you set up your own VPN, it will be dozens of times more expensive, and you will be limited to just one location. In addition, VPN companies offer off-the-shelf software to manage your secure connection.
1. ExpressVPN – an ideal option for Roku
The easiest way to launch Roku through VPN is to use ExpressVPN. It accumulates everything you need to accomplish this non-routine task:
- support of TV platforms
- support of all types of routers
- detailed setup instructions
- fast speeds
- stable bypass of geo-restrictions of popular streaming services
- one of the largest tech infrastructures
- proven 30-day money-back guarantee
CoolTechZone.com regularly tests Netflix unblocking and ExpressVPN shows the best results. Also, we have proved that the provider works well with any platforms and allows using up to 5 devices within one subscription.
Reddit users reviews’ analysis has shown great efficiency of ExpressVPN for streaming unblocking. People use this service to watch Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime and others.
For those who are looking for a VPN not only for Roku, I’d like to mention that this service is suitable for any task. It supports all platforms and has passed the security tests on desktops and mobile devices.
2. Surfshark – the cheapest VPN for Roku
It is difficult to compete with the leading VPN services, but Surfshark is very good at it. The provider has been launched a little over a year ago, but it has already overtaken other VPNs. Now it is steadily in our list of the leading VPNs.It doesn’t have such a wide server park as NordVPN or ExpressVPN. However, it has the best price in the VPN industry.
It costs only $2.21 per month and there are almost no tasks Surfshark couldn’t deal with. It is even able to get past the Great Firewall of China.
What is needed to run well with Roku? - Decent speed, Netflix support, simple installation process, and reliable connection without any leaks.
Surfshark is good at all these aspects. However, some of Surfshark’s servers provide inappropriate speed for HD videos. Though they are located out the needed locations for Roku. Anyway, you will be able to find a suitable location for high-quality videos among 3200 servers in 100 countries.
Surfshark has passed the tests for Roku on a router and while Wi-Fi distribution from Mac and Windows desktops.
Surfshark is suitable not only for Roku. It is, like NordVPN, has extended functionality and its own peculiarities:
- Use small packets (it allows to enhance stability for some mobile networks);
- The choice of encryption protocols (AES-256 or Chacha20Poly1305) and tunneling protocols (IKEv2 or OpenVPN);
- The ability to switch on the VPN for certain applications and URLs;
- MultiHop (gives an extra layer of security);
- 6 simultaneous connections.
The slow servers which are not appropriate for streaming HD videos are the only drawback.
Therefore, if you need high speeds in all VPN servers, I recommend you to opt for NordVPN or ExpressVPN.
“Bulletproof” encryption and the absence of IP leaks guarantee security, whereas No logs policy ensures privacy.
Great news for users from China. Surfshark provides obfuscation. It’s immensely useful for bypassing strict censorship.
You can also get your money back within 30 days by contacting their 24/7 customer support.
Taking into consideration all the benefits of Surfshark, the provider is not worse than NordVPN. However, the price for it is lower. Therefore, if you spend more time in search of a faster server, you will be able to save your money significantly.
Read the full Surfshark review.
3. NordVPN – powerful VPN through router
NordVPN is ideal for Roku. It is an advanced VPN service based in Panama. It is one of the best multi-purpose VPN. It is suitable for Netflix and other streaming services. That is, of course, the determining factor for choosing this VPN for Roku.
NordVPN was successfully tested for Roku through a virtual router as well as on PC and Mac.
The distinctive feature of NordVPN is the widest server network. It has more than 5900 servers in 60 countries.
VPN applications for desktops are more functional and allow not only using Virtual Private Network technology but also adding extended functionality:
- Kill Switch (doesn’t allow “slipping” the real IP when reconnecting or if there are some failures);
- CyberSec (protection against attacks and malware-infected websites);
- Double VPN (routs data via two VPN servers);
- Custom DNS (the possibility to change your DNS);
- Obfuscated server (servers that are able to mask traffic for bypassing censorship in China, Egypt, Iran, and others);
- P2P servers (special servers for safe torrenting);
- Dedicated IP (static IP);
- Up to 6 simultaneous connections.
I recommend NordVPN for Roku because it has fast servers that support high-resolution video broadcasting. Of course, if your ISP (Internet Service Provider) allows such quality.
Besides, NordVPN has established itself as one of the safest VPN providers. VPN safety depends on the quality of data encryption, lack of vulnerabilities in VPN protocol, and authentication reliability.
All these characteristics are at a high level. The data is encrypted with the help of AES-256, which is imposable to break even with the help of the most powerful computers. The VPN uses the best VPN protocols: OpenVPN and IPsec. NordVPN has also successfully passed our test for IP leaks.
It’s convenient that the VPN gives a possibility to get your money back within 30 days after paying for the service. Just contact their customer support. You don’t have to mention any considerable reason for a money refund. Your desire to cancel the subscription will be enough.
Being an expert, I recommend NordVPN because I can rely on it. I regularly test it and use it myself on various devices.
Read our full NordVPN review.
4. ProtonVPN - support for more than 20 video services
You can choose ProtonVPN to not only watch Roku over VPN, but also to unblock over 20 video services.
- Support for routers
- Detailed setup instructions
- Extra fast speeds (up to 10 Gbps)
- Dedicated plan with video streaming support
- Proven 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans
It's important to note that ProtonVPN is popularly known as a free VPN. But its free plan is not suitable for unblocking streaming services. You can only use ProtonVPN for free if you don't plan to watch Netflix or other similar services.
I have analyzed the reviews of real ProtonVPN users on the Internet and have come to the conclusion that this service is often used for reliable data protection. As for TV platforms, due to its high price, ProtonVPN is used less often than, for example, NordVPN...
5. CyberGhost - the largest VPN service
One of the oldest VPNs on our list, CyberGhost seems to be specifically designed for video devices and TV platforms. We have been monitoring this VPN since 2016, and during this time it has proven its effectiveness in bypassing the geo-blocking of popular video services and channels on TV platforms, computers and smartphones.
- Special locations for streaming
- Large selection of countries
- Support for routers
- Detailed setup instructions
- Proven 45-day money-back guarantee
CyberGhost is convenient because, in addition to standard VPN locations, it has servers specially configured for specific video services and channels, broken down by country. Moreover, they are all available for Roku via Wi-Fi sharing or a router.
The provider's price strongly depends on how long you sign up for. If it is just for one month, then the price will be above average. But if you pay for the 3-year subscription, then it turns out to be the best buy of any of the Roku VPNs.
Compared to the other VPNs described above, CyberGhost has two practical advantages:
- 24 hours of free testing on a computer or smartphone
- Cheapest 3-year subscription
As for its speed and the number of countries that support streaming sites, it is somewhat inferior to ExpressVPN and the other listed VPNs.
Necessary steps for PC:
Note: Recent Intel Wireless Adapters don't support the wireless hosted network on Windows 10
- “Windows” + S
- Type “cmd” in a search bar
- Right-click “Command prompt”
- Click “Run as administrator”
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=roku key=password (“password” is your password)
netsh wlan start hostednetwork
Click “Ctrl” + R
- Launch “ncpa.cpl”
- Find active “Local Area Connection X”, where X is the largest found number
- Remember the full name
- Find the adapter with the name of your VPN. For example:
- Right-click “Properties”
- Sharing (Authentication)
- Tick “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection”
- In the drop-down menu, choose an adapter that you remembered in point 10.
- Click “OK”
Do not forget to choose a location in the application for desktop after Wi-Fi setup
To share a VPN connection on Mac, you have to connect your Mac to the network with the help of an Ethernet wire cable.
- Click Apple logo -> System Preferences… -> Network
- Create a VPN connection as shown in the screenshot below:
- You can choose between IKEv2 or L2TP depending on what your VPN service provides. For example, NordVPN supports IKEv2.
Then you have to enter a server address (here are NordVPN addresses), Remote ID (any, for example, NordVPN US).
If you have chosen L2TP, then here are your steps: Configuration – Default, Account Name – username.
The steps for the same window: Authentication Settings… -> Username and Password of your VPN account -> OK
In addition, you have to take the following steps: Advanced -> Send all traffic over VPN connection -> OK
- Click “Apply” and "Connect"
- Then: Apple logo -> System Preferences… -> Sharing -> Internet Sharing -> Wi-Fi
Now enter the appropriate values:
Network Name: [network name]
Security: WPA2 Personal
Verify: [re-enter password]
- Click “OK”
In some cases, it is impossible to share Wi-Fi. It depends on a computer model, hardware, and OS version. In this case, the only way to use a VPN with Roku – router setup.
Every good VPN service has a page on its official website which is dedicated to the setup on various router models. I won’t make this article complex and just provide you with links to the tutorials. Here are step-by-step guides on how to set up top 3 VPNs:
Roku connection to a VPN
Now you may connect to this Wi-Fi “roku” from Roku or any other device.
You may connect to Wi-Fi “roku” from your smartphone and check your IP on myip.com in order to make sure that your VPN works. If you see an IP of the country you have chosen, everything is right and your VPN works.
When reconnecting the Internet on your desktop you have to activate your Wi-Fi distribution. For this, you have to follow the 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 points.
It is also convenient to create command .bat on the desktop file with a command from the point 6 (for example, roku.bat) and launch it as an administrator through the right button.
Do not forget to change a country in the Roku settings before connecting to Wi-Fi with a VPN.
The usage of other VPN services
Presented in this review VPNs are, undoubtedly, not the only ones suitable for Roku. If for some reason they are not appropriate for you, try any other VPN. However, you have to pay attention to the following necessary features.
- You need decent speeds.
- A provider must be able to unblock Netflix (read our reviews to know what VPNs work with it).
- If you use a virtual router, then your VPN app should create a virtual adapter that you will be able to use for sharing Wi-Fi. For example, CyberGhost VPN is not appropriate for this purpose.
- A VPN should support routers.
The list of some VPNs suitable for a virtual router:
- Private Internet Access (paid provider)
- ProtonVPN (one-week free usage)
- TunnelBear (1Mb free per month)
- Avast Secure Line (very slow, 7-day free usage)
- ProXPN (low speed)
Peculiarities of the usage of VPN with Roku
In conclusion, I want to share some peculiarities that will be useful for those who use Roku through a VPN.
You cannot just set up geo-restriction for a certain channel. If you use a VPN, it is equivalent to your virtual location in the chosen country. The traffic goes through a virtual channel that is connected to a VPN server and you cannot divide it for various countries.
Surfshark is able to disconnect the VPN for certain URLs. I haven’t tested this feature. I guess it will not work because a streaming video is not passed through TCP/IP. However, this function controls exactly this feature.
You need the best Wi-Fi router for a VPN
Why do I advise you to use a desktop for Wi-Fi sharing with a VPN? Because Virtual Private Network requires appropriate process power (more information on VPNs for routers).
Such kinds of Wi-Fi routers are expensive. Their price is comparable with the price of a desktop computer. However, the majority of people use cheap routers that do not carry out complex processing under ordinary conditions.
That’s why, when setting up a VPN on a router, you have to pay attention to the fact that it just can fail to encrypt/decrypt traffic and pack/unpack it in a VPN channel. Therefore, your maximum speed is significantly reduced.
In any case, it will be rather difficult to use Roku with other devices through a VPN.
- Change your router to a powerful one
- Use a more powerful router together with yours
- Share internet connection from a desktop
In any case, for testing a VPN with Roku you have to start with the easiest solution – share internet connection from a desktop.
Connection to a turned-on desktop and constant Wi-Fi distribution
As I have already mentioned, every time you disconnect a desktop from the Internet (shutdown, reloading, replacement), you have to newly activate your Wi-Fi distribution.
There is no complete solution. In this case, it’s better to use a router that is able to keep a VPN connection active for several months. However, taking into consideration the peculiarities described in the previous section, there is no perfect solution. Anyway, you need a powerful router. Otherwise, you will have a certain inconvenience with your laptop.
Unfortunately, you can set up a VPN neither on Roku nor on Roku TV. As for other solutions, they have significant disadvantages.
An alternative way to start a VPN with Roku
Install a SmartDNS-enabled VPN on your Roku TV set-top box. SmartDNS is supported by all of the above providers. In addition, their manuals have detailed information on how to do it.For example, you can use these ExpressVPN tips.
SmartDNS has a significant advantage over VPN services. Because this app does not encrypt Internet traffic, you can enjoy better connection speeds.
To start using SmartDNS on your device, follow the instructions from the service of your choice. Don't let geographic restrictions get between you and your favourite movies and shows!
Streaming media and TV players like Roku are a convenient and easy way to access any movie, show, or TV series you want. You can use your device to stream services like Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Netflix.
Unfortunately, these services have geographical restrictions to protect their content, so it can only be accessed in certain countries. In addition, new movies are released at different times in different regions.
To get around these obstacles, all you need to do is use a quality VPN that supports streaming.
By following the steps above and trying out some of the recommended Roku and VPN services, you can enjoy your favorite content anytime, anywhere.
How to install a VPN on Roku?
Roku doesn’t have VPN settings, but you can configure a VPN on the user device or the WiFi Router.
3 simple steps to set up a VPN:
Read more in this article.
How to use a VPN on Roku?
The fastest and most efficient way is to make use of a VPN service. It offers software for your platform or configuration to customize the settings for the WiFi router.
Not all services have apps for TV platforms and support routers.
Read more in this article.
What problems can a man face with VPN?
VPN technology has three frequently occurring problems that are of importance when using Roku:
- Speed drop
- Temporary loss of connection
- No access to the streaming services
We recommend choosing the provider that is less exposed to these drawbacks (mentioned in our article).
Why does the speed drop?
There are three reasons for internet speed drop when using virtual private networks:
Use the services without such drawbacks.
Is VPN with Roku legal?
Virtual private network technologies are absolutely legal around the world. Its co-use with Roku allows getting access to the blocked resources and geo-restricted content without any risk.
With that in mind, it’s necessary to remember the in-house rules of video services and TV channels. Many of them forbid using anonymizers. However, we don’t know any cases of account blocking or other troubles concerned with the attempts to bypass restrictions.