The process of setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service on your Roku may be a bit complicated. Since it’s an external device that does not natively support VPNs.
There is a way to work around it though.
Setting up Roku With a VPN
Once you complete the following steps, your Roku will gain the benefits that VPNs have to offer. For media streaming fans, that potentially means access to a far greater number of streaming channels.
Since the greatest number of channels are available for US residents, that’s what we’ll be using for this example:
- Sign up for a US Roku account and log in to it
- VPN-enable your physical router OR VPN-enable a virtual router
- Connect your Roku to the router
1. Create and Login to a US Roku Account
Open your VPN app and connect to a US server location and create a US Roku account.
When signing up, don’t worry about the credit card requirement. There isn’t any payment necessary to create a Roku account, so you can skip that later on. Once you’re done, log in to that newly created account.
2. Set Up your VPN on Your WiFi Router
Since Roku devices are not VPN compatible, you’ll need to set up a VPN on an intermediary device, typically your WiFi router.
This can be either a physical or even virtual router. Once that’s done, all devices connected to it will share the VPN connection – including the Roku.
For this step, do be aware that not all routers will support VPN services natively. At the same time, not all VPN services can be deployed on routers. If you need a VPN on your router for Roku I recommend you consider NordVPN, Surfshark, or ExpressVPN.
On a Physical Router
Login to your router administration dashboard then go to the VPN tab. The location of this may vary depending on your router brand, but it is typically located as a subsection of the Wide Area Network (WAN) settings.
You’ll need to enter the manual VPN configuration details as provided by your VPN provider. When setting up a VPN on your router, it is usually best to opt for the OpenVPN (UDP) protocol. Configuration files for that must be obtained from your VPN service provider.
Once done and you have applied the VPN settings, you can try accessing What is My IP? via any connected device to determine if the IP has changed from your native WAN IP address. If yes, you’re good to go.
If your router does not natively support a VPN you have two options. The first is to buy a new one that does. The second is to flash a VPN-compatible third-party firmware such as DD-WRT. Be aware that the second option does need some guidance to do and may be risky.
If you decide to go with a new router, opt for one which is VPN ready. To save you time on this, some VPN brands like ExpressVPN do sell pre-configured routers that are ready to roll once you get your hands on them.
Aside from a physical router, you may also choose to:
On a Virtual Router
This method is easier and less risky as compared to configuring a physical router. However, you’ll need a laptop or other device which can serve as a WiFi hotspot. With that, you’ll get a virtual router that allows you to share your internet connection with nearby devices.
For Windows 10
This is the easiest as unlike the older Windows versions, you can set up a VPN-protected WiFi hotspot directly from the Settings App. You’ll need a device (Preferably a laptop) with a WiFi-adapter, a VPN service that supports the OpenVPN protocol and admin privilege access on your laptop.
Go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Mobile Hotspot’. Enable this and ensure that Internet connection is shared over the WiFi connection. You can then edit the network information accordingly. Then go to ‘Change Adaptor Options’.
You’ll see the network connection that you’ve created. Look for your VPN adaptor and enable sharing to the newly created network connection. Once done, you can turn on your VPN. Your hotspot is then VPN-enabled.
You can set up your Mac laptop as a VPN secured router for your whole network of WiFi-enabled devices via a single VPN connection. You’ll need to connect your Mac directly to your modem and then install a VPN on your Mac.
Configure the Mac to allow sharing of this VPN connection. Then set up the Mac’s WiFi to host a shared wireless network. To do this, you will have to use an ethernet cable to connect your Mac to the Internet. This is to free your Mac up from using WiFi for that.
3. Connect Your Roku to the Router
Once your router is VPN-enabled, just connect your Roku device to it (along with all other devices you want to). To do this, go to ‘Settings’ on your Roku and then select ‘Network’. Choose ‘Wireless’ or ‘WiFi’ as your connection type and select the VPN-enabled router.
Type in your password and click ‘Connect’. Once done, all traffic from your Roku device will be routed through the VPN connection.
Like many other streaming services, Roku can be very finicky when facing VPN connections. Because of this you need to be a little cautious when choosing a VPN for streaming services. Not all will work equally well.