Streaming consoles are becoming more and more popular as Internet speeds improve. Roku is one such device that can convert your TV into a massive streaming powerhouse, bringing dozens of quality channels from all over the world.
Unfortunately, many of these channels are American, and these are only accessible from within the country. However, the solution to this problem is quite easy. A Roku VPN can offer you access to all geo-restricted channels, no matter your location in the world. For all other streaming devices apart from Roku, you can visit our best VPN guide for detailed information.
I will list down the best VPN services for Roku and how you can set up these on your streaming device.
How to Unblock Streaming Channels on Roku?
Roku is an amazing streaming device that has one small problem: in order to access its wide range of features and streaming channels, you are often required to first unblock these channels before you can deploy your Roku for this purpose.
The most effective way to unblock Roku and bypass geo-restrictions on its various channels is through the use of a VPN service configured on your router. Since many streaming channels are unavailable outside of their native country, a user needs to access said channel through a server located in the country.
This can be easily done via a VPN connected to the appropriate server location. All you need to do is get a trusted VPN service that is proven to be a strong unblocker of restricted streaming services.
Read on below to learn which VPNs are top-rated when it comes to use with Roku.
Best Roku VPN 2019
Here are a few reliable VPNs that you can use to run your Roku when travelling takes you beyond borders:
Note: No provider offers Roku VPN app and it has to be set up manually. This is because Roku OS does not support VPN services, unfortunately.
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PureVPN is a Hong-Kong based VPN service provider that offers the most advanced VPN features for users around the world. Its servers cover more than 140 locations in the world.
The large number of servers and variety of server locations means that PureVPN is particularly suited for Roku devices. With over 19 servers located within the US, streaming is a breeze through this VPN as we discussed in our PureVPN review. Thus, in terms of subscription rates and quality offered, PureVPN is the best Roku VPN.
- Over 2,000 Servers located in more than 140 Countries
- Supports OpenVPN, PPTP, and IPSec Protocols
- Offers Automatic Kill Switch Feature
- Delivers Fast Server Speeds
- Does not Offer a Free Trial Service
NordVPN is a highly trusted VPN provider that has proven its excellence through consistent performance.
In the United States alone, it has more than 1,738 servers. This is more than the whole number of servers provided by many other VPN providers. Since you need fast and reliable servers in the US to stream content through Roku, NordVPN is the best VPN for Roku 3.
In addition, the service uses double VPN, which provides strong encryption to the user traffic flowing through the VPN server. It offers a generous 30-day money-back guarantee as well, which we applauded in our NordVPN review. Therefore, NordVPN is a superb VPN provider in all important respects.
- Offers the Strongest Server Network of 5,000+ Servers distributed in 60+ Countries
- Supports OpenVPN, IPSec, IKEv2, and PPTP Protocols
- Does not Store or Record User Activity or Connection Data
- Users can avail 30-Day Money-back Guarantee
- The Double VPN Feature can cause a reduction in Server Speeds
Surfshark, the new provider in the VPN industry is offering a comprehensive set of features. It has the great ability to unblock almost any streaming channel that you want to see through your Roku. Among the innovative features it offers is the multihop feature which provides twice the security and privacy, something we noted in our review of Surfshark.
Currently, Surfshark can be availed for $1.99/month if you subscribe to the two-year plan. With its strong encryption and privacy, you can use this Roku OpenVPN or IKEv2 to safely stream content on the device.
The cheap rates and amazing features make Surfshark a great choice as a Roku VPN.
- Offers 500+ Servers in 50 Countries
- Multi-hop Feature
- Allows Simultaneous Connection to Unlimited Devices
- No-Logging Policy
- Speeds need to be Improved
CyberGhost is a Romanian VPN provider. The server infrastructure it boasts is quite impressive, with over 3,000 severs operating in 60+ countries so you can access streaming channels via Roku from anywhere in the world. In fact, this is one of the main attractions pointed out in our CyberGhost review.
- Provides 3,000+ Servers in over 60 Countries
- Up to 7 Devices Supported at the same time
- 45-Day Money-back Guarantee
- Good user Interface
- Occasional Connectivity Issues
ExpressVPN is one of the leading VPN providers in the market. It has a large customer base from all over the world. The service provides servers in more than 90 countries with over 2,000 servers in total, so ExpressVPN for Roku is always full of options when it comes to servers.
All servers operate with exceptionally high speeds and provide stable connection. Security-wise, it uses robust encryption techniques of military-grade standards which is why we rated it so highly in our review of ExpressVPN.
So, if you want to stream content through Roku anonymously and keep your activities safely guarded, ExpressVPN is the best Roku VPN available.
- Provides 2,000 Servers in 90+ Countries
- Uses AES 256-bit Encryption
- Offers 30-Day Money-back Guarantee
- Fast Servers with Unlimited Bandwidth
- Slightly more Expensive than other VPN Providers
Different Methods for Setting up VPN for Roku
Roku devices do not have native support for VPN services. As a result, if you want to connect your Roku to a VPN, you will have to install it on your router. You can do this through two methods:
- via a Virtual Router
- via a Physical Router
I will explain the process for each method below.
Virtual Router Method
You can turn your PC and Mac into virtual routers that your Roku can share a VPN connection with. I will explain the step-by-step methods for configuring your PC and Mac to work as a virtual router below:
Setting up VPN for Roku via Shared PC Internet Connection
Follow the steps below to setup a VPN through your PC (Windows 10):
- Install a VPN software on your system
- Click on the monitor icon on the taskbar and click “Open Network Internet Settings“
- In the new windows that opens, select Change adapter settings“
- Find your VPN connection in the list (PureVPN in this case) and right click it to open “Properties”
- On the Sharing tab click check mark for “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection“
- Click “OK”
- Now you can use your PC as a virtual router
- Connect your Roku device to your PC’s Wi-Fi hotspot
- That’s it!
Setting up VPN for Roku via Shared Mac Internet Connection
Note: This setup shows the sharing of ExpressVPN through Mac acting as a virtual router. All the major steps will be the same for any provider, except the minor details involving server addresses, protocols, and login credentials.
- Click the Apple logo on the top and open System Preferences…
- Select Network in the System Preferences menu
- Click the + sign on the bottom left when the new window opens to add a new VPN connection
- When the pop-up opens, choose these options:
- Interface: VPN
- VPN Type: L2TP over IPSec
- Service name: [Enter any name]
- Press Create
- Now enter the following details
- Configuration: Default
- Server Address: [Depending on your choice]
- Account Name: [you VPN username]
- Check “Show VPN status in menu bar” box
- Now open Authentication Settings to enter your VPN account password and “12345678” as Shared Secret. Click OK.
- Click on Advanced… and check “Send all traffic over VPN connection” before pressing OK.
- Select Apply to save settings
- Now back on the Network screen, press Connect to start the VPN on your Mac
- Navigate back to System Preferences and click “Sharing”
- Click on Internet sharing in the list of options on the left
- Next, use the following settings:
- Share your connection from: [The connection you just created]
- To computers using: Wi-Fi
- Choose Wi-Fi Options and enter the following information
- Network Name: [Pick any name]
- Channel: [Leave as default]
- Security: WPA2 Personal
- Password: [Set a Password]
- Verify: [Re-type the Password]
(You will need to enter this password when you connect your Roku to your Mac as a virtual router)
- Now go back to the Sharing screen and check the “Internet Sharing” box.
- This should turn on the green light which says “Internet Sharing: On”
- Connect your Roku to the VPN configuration you have just created via your Mac (It should appear with the network name you chose)
- Congratulations! You have successfully shared a VPN connection from your Mac to Roku.
Physical Router Method
In order to install a VPN on physical router, you will need a custom firmware that supports VPN installation. The most popular firmware available for routers is DD-WRT. This firmware supports most VPN providers out there and it also allows users to configure their routers with greater control and flexibility.
The process of installing VPN on a DDWRT, however, is quite technically involved. I wouldn’t recommend this method if you are totally clueless about manually setting up routers.
For those of you that are still interested, here goes:
Note: This VPN setup on a physical DDWRT router uses NordVPN for demonstration purposes. The method almost the same for all other VPNs, but the specific values and commands used in the process will differ from VPN to VPN.
- Open DD-WRT Administrative Interface and visit Setup > Basic Setup.
- Enter the following DNS addresses under Network Address Server Settings (DHCP):
- Static DNS 1 = 18.104.22.168
- Static DNS 2 = 22.214.171.124
- Static DNS 3 = 0.0.0.0 (default)
- Use DNSMasq for DHCP = Checked
- Use DNSMasq for DNS = Checked
- DHCP-Authoritative = Checked
- Now Save and Apply settings
- Open Setup > IPv6 and Disable it before pressing Save & Apply.
(This step is needed to prevent IP leaks)
- Navigate to Service > VPN and set Start OpenVPN Client = Enable under OpenVPN Client
This will open the options you need to access to configure the router. Enter the values as shown in the image below:
Note: Enter your username and password associated with your VPN account and enter a server IP/Name depending on your choice (you can get the server address from official website of your provider)
- Copy/paste the following commands in the Additional Config field:
- Now download TLS and CA certificates from your provider’s official website. You can find NordVPN’s here.
- Unzip the downloaded file and open servers folder
- Open the CA.crt file of the server address you entered (which is us936_nordvpn_com_ca.crt for the present example), using Notepad
- Copy Paste the entirety of this text (from —-BEGIN CERTIFICATE—– to —–END CERTIFICATE—–) in the CA Cert field
- Open the TLS.key file of the server you selected (which is us936_nordvpn_com_tls.key for this example) with Notepad.
- Now paste all of its test in the TLS Auth Key field box.
- Click Save and Apply Settings to finalize the setup
- To confirm that the VPN has been setup on your router navigate to Status > OpenVPN
- If it displays Client: CONNECTED SUCCESS, under State, then you should congratulate yourself for setting up a VPN for Roku through your router.
Best Free VPN for Roku
If you are looking for a free VPN service, you might find it difficult to choose a reliable provider. Free VPN service providers often lack proper privacy-protecting mechanisms and policies. In addition, they usually impose bandwidth caps.
However, there are some free VPN services that are worth trying out:
DNS Proxy for Roku
You can also bypass geo-restrictions on Roku through using custom DNS proxies setup on router. A DNS proxy pales in comparison to VPNs when it comes to security and encryption, but they can allow you to access blocked content with the same efficiency
Follow the steps below to setup a DNS proxy for Roku:
- Open your router’s interface
- Find DHCP menu and enter primary and secondary DNS addresses as provided by our SmartDNS service provider
- Save settings
- Restart your router
You should now be able to bypass content from the location which your selected DNS represents once you connect Roku to your router.
Benefit of Using a Roku VPN
A VPN unlocks the full potential of your Roku device by unblocking any streaming service not available in your country.
You see, Roku uses Geo-IP tracking to identify which country you are located in. This is done by reading of the country code off your IP address.
Your IP address is your virtual identity card and is shared with every server you connect to. While every IP address is usually unique, the first few digits represent the country you are sitting in – much like a country code at the start of the phone number.
Coming back to the subject…
When you use a VPN, your internet traffic is encrypted and routed through a super-secure third-party server that takes responsibility for protecting your data when it is transit while making your intended website believe that you sitting in the same country as the VPN server.
This means that you can be sitting in Korea but make it look like you are sitting in the US and watch Roku with ease.
How to Create a US Roku Account?
If you want to run American streaming apps on your Roku such as HBO, US Netflix, Hulu, NBC etc. you will need to have an American Roku account. The steps below outline how you can achieve this goal:
- First of all, use your VPN to connect to a US server
- Visit https://my.roku.com/index and click “Create account”
- Enter the required information and press “Continue”
- Select a PIN and press “Continue” again
- Select a payment option of your choice
- Enter a valid American address with zip code I you chose PayPal
- You must enter your address associated with your credit card if you chose this option
- Now convert your postal code into a valid zip code by taking the digits from your postcode and adding zero to the end if there are less than 5 digits. For instance, postal code N3K5F7 would mean zip code is 35700
- Note down the city associated with this zip code as you would need to enter this when setting up US Roku account
- Now open Roku home screen>Settings>Factory Reset and follow the instructions to reset it
- Your US account is now created
Check out the blog of Netflix on Roku, if you want to know more information about.
How to Create a British (UK) Roku Account?
If you are a fan of UK streaming apps like BBC iPlayer, iTV, Now TV etc. then you must have a UK account setup on your Roku. These are the requisite steps to get a UK Roku account:
- Start your VPN and connect to a UK VPN server
- Open https://my.roku.com/index and select “Create account”
- Enter the information asked and press “Continue”
- Make a PIN and press “Continue”
- Choose a payment option (preferably PayPal since the PayPal country has no effect on Roku account)
- You can use a false UK address and use the postcode M2 4WU
- Reset your Roku device to factory settings
- Now you can access Roku with a UK account
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the most popular free channels on Roku are:
- PBS Kids
- The Weather Network
- The Roku Channel
There are various channels available on Roku that offer live TV coverage such as Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV NOW. So yes you can actually watch live TON on a Roku, which is great news for cord-cutters.
Your Roku device itself will face no problem functioning outside of the US and display channels. However, there are geo-restrictions imposed on most US-based channels so it is these specific channels that won’t work outside the US. You will need to use a VPN with US servers to access America-only channels on your Roku.
Roku is a pioneer in entertainment and it doesn’t get better than this if you want to watch US TV shows and movies. It is a shame that only US-based subscribers can get the best out of their Roku devices. Fortunately, using the best Roku VPN, you can watch all channels irrespective of your location. Entertainment shouldn’t be discriminatory!
I hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to share your feedback in the comment section below.