Roku has achieved a significant milestone of attaining 29 million active users this year in 2019. With cord-cutting streaming boxes becoming generally more popular courtesy of improving internet speeds, this market is only going to expand.
Unfortunately, many channels and streaming apps on Roku are geo-restricted and only accessible within the USA.
There is, however, a very simple solution to this problem and it is called Surfshark.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to setup Surfshark on Roku to break through geo-restrictions gain complete access to channels from anywhere in the world.
Installing Surfshark on Roku (Wi-Fi sharing method)
3 Minutes Review time
The only way for you to use a VPN on Roku is by sharing a VPN-enabled connection for your PC to Roku. This will directly connect Roku to a VPN, thus enabling you to unblock channels outside of the USA.
Follow the setup instructions below to complete Surfshark setup on Roku in just 3 minutes (these instructions are applicable if you have a Windows PC).
Step 1: Visit the official Surfshark website
Step 2: Subscribe to a Surfshark subscription that fits your needs
Step 3: Download and install Surfshark windows app
Step 4: Click on the Internet connection icon in the taskbar then click on Network & Internet Settings
Step 5: Click on Mobile hotspot on the left menu and toggle on the Share my Internet connection with other devices button
Step 8: On the Sharing tab, check the box against “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection”
Step 9: Select the connection that you just created and click Ok
Step 10: Now launch the Surfshark VPN app and connect to a US server
Note: If your Roku isn’t already configured on the US region, you will need to perform the following additional steps first. Otherwise, simply jump to step 16.
Step 11: Connect Surfshark to a US server and visit https://owner.roku.com on your PC or mobile
Step 12: Select your country as the United States
Step 13: Enter a 5 digit US ZIP Code (10123, 75842, etc.)
Step 14: Hold the Reset button on the back of your Roku device for 15 seconds to enable Factory reset
Step 15: When the device starts up again, log in with your new US region account
Step 18: All available Wi-Fi connections should now appear in a list. Select the connection you created earlier using Surfshark.
Step 19: Enter your Wi-Fi password
If you properly set it up, your Roku should now be connected to Surfshark.
Surfshark setup on Roku (SmartDNS method)
You can also access geo-restricted channels on Roku using Surfshark’s smart DNS service.
Step 1: Visit Surfshark website, login to your account and click on devices
Step 2: Scroll down and press the “Activate” button in the smart DNS section
Step 3: It will prompt you to verify your IP address. If it is a match with your real IP, click on Activate
Step 4: Wait a few seconds for smart DNS to activate. Try refreshing the page if the status stays on “Pending” for too long and it should then switch to Active state.
Step 5: When the activation process is completed, you will receive an email. The status in the account tab will then change to Active and you will see the assigned DNS addresses.
That’s it! You can now access any channel on Roku without restrictions.
However, keep in mind that smart DNS technology does not offer the security and privacy that VPNs are built with.
So, if you are looking to stay secure on the web as well, you should use a VPN rather than a smart DNS.
How Surfshark Enables Access to Geo-restricted Channels on Roku?
The reason why many streaming channels only work within the USA is the licensing agreements that Roku is legally obliged to comply with.
Channels and content distributors only allow their content to be viewable within certain countries, so you Roku has no choice but to restrict access to such channels for their customers outside of the US.
Roku detects which country you are accessing the service from using your IP address and if you are in a country where the channel is restricted, it will deny you access.
The reason why Surfshark is able to sidestep these restrictions is that it changes your IP address to that of a US location. Doing so will enable you to access all channels that you’d normally get in the US without receiving any annoying error messages.
It is simple enough to setup Surfshark on Roku and the benefits you get are quite impressive. If you are a streaming enthusiast that loves binge-watching TV shows and movies without break, Surfshark can be the most powerful tool for this job. However, if you’re looking for alternatives, here’s a list of some decent VPNs for roku.