Although Roku does not directly support VPNs, this guide will teach you how to connect to it indirectly and get all the benefits of a VPN. We will also cover top VPNs for Roku that give you the best performance and ability to unblocking streaming channels from anywhere in the world.
Roku is a media player developed exclusively for streaming content from services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. These devices are affordable and convenient, which is why Roku has over 65 million users. Unfortunately, much of its content is geo-locked, since many services are unavailable worldwide. To bypass these restrictions, you’ll need to use a VPN.
The problem is, Roku doesn’t support VPNs, so you will need to install it on another device first, such as a router. This can be quite challenging to do on your own. It is also tricky to find the best VPN for Roku, as not all of them can be installed on a router. To save you the hassle, we’ve decided to test many premium providers to find the best VPN for Roku. Here are our 4 best options:
- NordVPN – Best Roku VPN with blazing speeds, airtight security, cross-platform support, and a vast global server network (use our 69% off coupon)
- Surfshark – Affordable and reliable Roku VPN with unlimited connections
- ExpressVPN – Intuitive, though expensive, VPN for Roku
- IPVanish – Quick and consistent VPN app available on most modern devices
We will cover each one in greater detail a bit later. To start, we will show you how you can easily install a VPN on your Roku device.
How to connect Roku with VPN [Quick method]
VPNs conceal your identity through encryption and route your internet traffic through a VPN server in another location. This will trick streaming services into thinking you’re accessing the service from a different country, which will unlock additional content.
- Choose a premium VPN that works with your router
ExpressVPN, NordVPN, IPVanish, and Surfshark have extensive lists of supported models
- Subscribe to a VPN
We recommend NordVPN as the best VPN for Roku, plus you can use this 69% off coupon.
- Install a VPN on your router
Follow the guide on your VPNs website, since the process will be different for every router model.
- Connect Roku to your router
- Stream shows with Roku
This is usually the most convenient method, but there are other options that we will cover in depth later in the article.
Picking a VPN for Roku
Before covering each premium VPN, we’ve made a list of the most important factors a Roku VPN needs.
- Router support – As mentioned, Roku devices don’t support VPNs, which excludes most of the apps on the market. Each service on this list can be easily installed on a router, while ExpressVPN even has its own firmware.
- Unlocks streaming – NordVPN, Surfshark, ExpressVPN, and IPVanish easily unblock geo-restricted content on popular streaming sites such as Hulu, Netflix, and HBO Max.
- Quality server network – With hundreds of server locations worldwide, you will never have a problem with connecting to a VPN server.
- High speed – All services on this list use advanced VPN protocols, such as NordLynx, WireGuard, and Lightway.
- Security and Privacy – Every VPN has servers that operate in RAM mode and high-level AES encryption.
- Customer support – Make sure to get the provider that has 24/7 live chat customer service, so that you can quickly resolve your problems at any time of the day.
- Affordability – VPNs on this list offer the best price/quality ratio.
NordVPN – Top VPN for Roku
|Logs||No logs (audited)|
|Support||24/7 live chat|
NordVPN is at the top of our list of best VPNs for Roku. Overall, it is the fastest and safest service that can easily unblock all popular streaming sites. NordVPN has 5,800+ servers in 60 countries, so you can easily find a location that suits your needs. Its servers are powered by NordLynx – a unique implementation of the advanced VPN protocol WireGuard.
NordLynx offers the fastest connection, which was immediately noticeable during our NordVPN vs ExpressVPN speed tests. We’ve done a dozen speed tests and managed to hit just over 750Mbps. In short, you will be able to easily stream shows on the highest video quality available.
User privacy and security are other aspects in which NordVPN excels. It offers secure AES-256-GCM encryption that will prevent sensitive info from leaking in real time. This is a no-logs VPN that utilizes RAM mode servers, meaning that it doesn’t store any user data, ever. This is the gold standard in the world of VPNs, and we recommend that you don’t settle for anything less.
NordVPN successfully went through multiple independent audits. Most important was a pen test done by VerSprite which challenged NordVPN’s security measures. You can read more about it here. Additionally, PwC combed through its privacy policies and found that they were rigorously implemented.
NordVPN premium features
While some of these tools won’t work directly on Roku, we decided to list them in case you want to use the VPN on multiple devices.
- SmartPlay – A DNS proxy that lets you bypass geo-restrictions and access a full library of popular streaming services. It is designed for devices that don’t directly support VPN apps, like gaming consoles and Roku.
- Kill Switch – A fail-safe switch that will protect your identity in case you lose your connection. Kill Switch can work in one of two ways: it can disable your Wi-Fi, or instantly exit NordVPN.
- Exclusive IP address – This makes sure that you consistently get the best speeds.
- VPN proxy – NordVPN’s lightweight browser extensions that work on Firefox, Chrome, and Edge.
- Threat Protection – Scans your device in real-time to block ads and trackers, and prevent malware infestation. It also checks all downloaded files.
- Split Tunneling – This feature lets you strengthen your security by managing which apps can connect to NordVPN.
- Double VPN – Get even stronger encryption bypassing your internet traffic through two servers. While safer, this will have some effect on your download speed.
- Obfuscated servers – Camouflage your traffic, so that your ISP isn’t aware that you have NordVPN. Basically, Obfuscation gives you anonymity on top of your privacy. This is crucial if you are living under an oppressive regime, like China and UAE.
- Onion Over VPN – Combines the advantages of Tor network and NordVPN, giving you an impenetrable defense. These types of servers are really sluggish and shouldn’t be used for streaming.
Solid cross-platform support
NordVPN is available on all modern devices and can easily unblock known streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus. You can also set it up on a router, which is a must for Roku VPN. With all of these features, the app is still easy to use and fairly priced. With only one subscription, you can use NordVPN on six devices simultaneously. This is on par with ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.
If you encounter any problems, they should easily be solved by contacting their 24/7 live chat support. In case you find NordVPN isn’t for you, you can easily refund it during the first 30 days.
- User-friendly and reliable apps
- Double-VPN and Tor-over-VPN servers
- Passed numerous 3rd-party audits
- Strong encryption standards with full support for WireGuard
- Works with Netflix and many streaming sites
- Threat Protection feature to block ads, trackers, and malware
- Professional 24/7 live chat support
- Consistently fast speeds
- Dedicated RAM-servers with 10 Gbps bandwidth channels
- Big discounts only available with 2-year plans
For additional technical information, check out our NordVPN review.
Surfshark – A budget Roku VPN
|Based in||The Netherlands|
|Logs||No logs (audited)|
|Support||24/7 live chat|
If you’re working with a limited budget, Surfshark is the best option. It lets you choose from over 3,200 servers worldwide, all of which operate on WireGuard VPN protocol.
WireGuard is very fast and can go toe-to-toe with NordLynx. In our NordVPN vs Surfshark comparison, we’ve achieved 750+ Mbps on a Seattle server. This is more than enough for streaming shows on Roku, but you might get worse results depending on your download speed. In practice, Surfshark can reduce your speed between 20 to 30%. However, your speed could also improve if your ISP is throttling your connection.
Surfshark is a no-logs VPN and each of its servers operates in RAM mode. It uses 256-bit AES encryption to scramble your outgoing data, so third parties will be unable to access your information. This would all be just words if Surfshark wasn’t audited by Cure53. They were hired to do a pen test on Surfshark’s browser extensions and rated them favorably.
They’ve also decided to be fully transparent to the public by posting a warrant canary on their website.
Surfshark advanced tools
- Split Tunneling
- Kill Switch
- Multi-Hop (Double VPN)
- Camouflage Mode (Obfuscation)
- Trust DNS (browser extension)
- Clean Web – Protects your device from trackers, malware, and ads in real time.
Surfshark’s app is user-friendly and minimalistic, so new users will have no trouble navigating it. It is available across multiple platforms and is among the best VPNs for Android. It can unblock many popular streaming sites, like Netflix, Peacock TV, and HBO Max.
One of Surfshark’s main selling points is the ability to hold unlimited simultaneous connections. This feature is usually reserved for more expensive services, with prices much higher than Surfshark’s $2.30/month. This makes it one of the best cheap VPNs around.
Customer support is always available 24/7 through their live chat service. Lastly, there’s a refund policy in place for the first 30 days, so you won’t have any trouble trying it out.
- Unlimited connections
- User-friendly apps for all devices and operating systems
- CleanWeb feature to block ads, trackers, and malware
- Works great with Netflix and many other streaming services
- 24/7 live chat support
- Strong encryption and security features (audited)
- Limited support for VPN routers
- Above average monthly prices
There is always more to learn, and this Surfshark review will provide you with an even bigger picture.
ExpressVPN – A reliable Roku alternative
|Based in||British Virgin Islands|
|Logs||No logs (audited)|
|Support||24/7 live chat|
ExpressVPN has been on the market since 2009. This reliable Roku VPN has come a long way and now has 3,000+ high-speed servers in 105 countries. Its servers rely on TrustedServer technology that lets them operate in RAM mode.
ExpressVPN has its own custom protocol called Lightway. While its security is up to the task, its speed is pretty disappointing. In our ExpressVPN vs Surfshark comparison, we barely hit 330 Mbps on a Seattle server. Although slower than the competing protocols, it is much faster than the standard OpenVPN protocol.
ExpressVPN went through 11 external audits, all of which went well. Most important was Cure53’s pentest that concluded Lightway’s 256-bit AES encryption has airtight security. In short, this is one of the safest premium VPNs on the market.
ExpressVPN premium features
- Split Tunneling
- Network Lock (Kill Switch)
- Threat Manager – Protects your Roku against trackers, malware, phishing attacks, and ads.
- Device Groups – This lets you connect every device to a different server location simultaneously.
- Smart DNS – Unblock and stream geo-restricted content on devices that don’t support VPNs.
- Browser Extensions – Use ExpressVPN directly from Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
ExpressVPN is a solid choice for Roku since it easily unlocks streaming sites like Hulu, HBO Max, and Netflix. Its app is available on every device that supports VPNs, and there is also custom firmware for routers. Unfortunately, ExpressVPN is quite expensive and will cost you $6.67/month. For that price, you will be able to connect eight devices simultaneously, which is more than NordVPN and PIA.
If you are having technical difficulties, you can always contact their professional customer service or follow one of a dozen in-depth guides on their website. ExpressVPN has a 30-day refund policy, meaning that you effectively get a free trial.
- User-friendly and secure apps
- Split tunneling feature (for macOS, Windows, and routers)
- Works with Netflix and most streaming services
- 24/7 live chat support
- Passed independent third-party audits for security and no-logs
- Very large server network
- Above average prices
- Fewer features than other leading VPNs
We also did a comprehensive ExpressVPN overview that’s worth exploring.
IPVanish – Very fast VPN for Roku
IPVanish is a reliable and fast VPN with 2,000+ servers in 50+ countries around the world. This is a no-logs service that has also passed a third-party audit, like we saw with NordVPN and ProtonVPN. IPVanish is also based in the US, and while this is not the best privacy jurisdiction, it is also an audited, no-logs VPN. That gives us confidence in recommending the service, plus it does an amazing job with streaming services.
First, this VPN has many advanced protocols, including WireGuard and OpenVPN. When we connected to the Seattle server, we nearly hit 830 Mbps. While NordVPN still outperformed it in the IPVanish vs NordVPN comparison, IPVanish is definitely a fast VPN.
WireGuard is great for speed but has some weak points when it comes to security. This is why IPVanish also offers Scramble protocol, with which you can connect to obfuscated servers and gain complete anonymity. For additional protection, there is AES-256 encryption and a solid kill switch.
IPVanish successfully passed many independent audits, confirming its status in the industry. Among the most important was the one done by Leviathan Security Group, as it tested VPN’s no-logs policy.
IPVanish Advanced Features
- SOCKS5 proxy – Lets you improve your torrenting speed, but doesn’t provide encryption. You can learn more about it in our Proxy vs VPN article.
- Split tunneling
- Kill Switch
- DNS and IPv6 leak protection
This VPN provides an intuitive interface ideal for casual users. It is available on most modern platforms, from computers and smartphones to tablets. IPVanish even offers pre-configured routers, in case your router isn’t supported by the service. Aside from being fast, this VPN reliably unblocks restricted platforms and websites, letting you stream shows on Disney+ and Hulu without any inconvenience.
IPVanish is affordable and lets you hold unlimited simultaneous connections. Due to this, it is a top VPN for multiple devices. By subscribing, you’ll get access to live chat customer support, and a 30-day refund guarantee (in case you use an annual or 2-year plan).
- Strong security features, multiple VPN protocols, and a kill switch
Extremely fast and reliable connection speeds
Wide range of reliable apps
Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Audited, no-logs policy
Ability to unblock popular streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer
- No cryptocurrency payment options
- Based in the United States
Our in-depth IPVanish review will give you more details about the service.
How to set up a Roku VPN [Detailed Guides]
There are five generations of Roku devices, and none of them support VPNs. This means that you will need to create a VPN connection on another device. There are a few ways to do this:
1. Create a virtual router
This is a straightforward and safe method, making it perfect for casual tech users. For this to work, you will need to have a laptop.
- Enable mobile hotspot
Right-click on the Windows icon and search for mobile hotspot.
- Turn it on …
… and select share your internet connection over Wi-Fi.
- Create a new network
Type in your preferred name and password, and make sure that the network band is set to 5GHz. Click save and exit.
- Locate the VPN tap adapter
Scroll down and open Related Settings > Change Adapter Options. Find your new connection, right-click, and open Properties.
- Share your connection
Visit sharing tab and tick the first box you see. For a home networking connection, pick the one that you have just created. Depending on your preferences, you can also tick the box below.
- Start your VPN app
Connect to a server you prefer.
- Connect Roku to your mobile Wi-Fi
- Use your VPN on Roku
2. Creating a Hotspot on MacOS
!Note: For this to work, you will have to get a VPN that supports IPSec or L2TP protocol, like ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
Since Mac can’t create a Hotspot on your regular Wi-Fi, we will need to do this in a roundabout way.
- Connect your Mac with your router using the ethernet cable
Make sure to disable your Wi-Fi before continuing.
- Subscribe to a VPN of your choice
- Follow the steps in ExpressVPN or NordVPN guides
- Connect Roku to Mac’s mobile hotspot
- Stream shows anonymously on Roku
3. Installing a VPN on a router
This process is more complex, and we advise you to only try it if you are tech-savvy. If you manage to set it up, you will be able to quickly connect multiple devices to a VPN network, without tedious installations. Here’s how to do it:
- Figure out your router model
This is crucial because every router doesn’t support VPNs and those that do work only with a specific type of firmware. You can find this info on the sticker at the back of your router.
- Find a VPN that is compatible
Luckily, ExpressVPN, IPVanish, Surfshark, and NordVPN have extensive lists of routers that are supported.
Note: If your router doesn’t support VPNs, the most convenient and safest way to solve this is to buy a pre-flashed router. You can also try manually installing a VPN-compatible version of firmware, such as Tomato or DD-WRT. However, doing this incorrectly will damage your router, so you should try this only if you are very confident in your skills.
- Get a VPN subscription
- Follow the instruction on the provider’s website
Since installation varies wildly depending on your router model, it is best to just follow the guide from their website. Each service we’ve covered has step-by-step instructions for various models.
- Connect your Roku device to your router
- Use your Roku VPN to safely stream shows
4. Create a Roku DNS proxy
While it is not encrypted, SmartDNS will let you unlock geo-restricted content. The positives are that this is easy to set up and doesn’t affect your download speed. All VPNs we’ve mentioned will do this automatically, so this guide is just in case you decide to use a different service.
To enable it, you will need to change your router’s default DNS address.
- Open your router’s admin panel
You can access it directly from your browser. One of these three IP addresses should work:
If none of them worked, consult your modem/router manual.
- Enter your Username and Password
By default, the username is usually “root” or “admin”, and the password is set to “admin” or “password”. Again, you should read your manual.
- Change your DNS setting
First, open DNS Settings and note if it is set to Automatic or shows the DNS IP. If it’s the latter, write it down before proceeding in case you want to revert changes.
Next, you will need to put in a primary and a secondary DNS address. Keep in mind to use the servers that are in the country from which you want to unblock content.
- Connect Roku to your WiFi
- Enjoy streaming shows!
Streaming alternatives to Roku
In case you are unable to set up a Roku VPN, we have prepared a few alternatives that work perfectly with VPNs.
- Chromecast – Is a popular media player developed by Google. It lets you easily connect your devices to a TV and start watching Hulu or Netflix originals in a much higher resolution. See our guide on the best VPNs for Chromecast.
- Kodi – A powerful media app that lets you stream shows, movies, and podcasts, and even play games. Check out our guide on the best VPNs for Kodi.
- Amazon Fire Stick – This streaming device will turn your regular television into a Smart TV. It works similarly to Chromecast and gives you the ability to purchase a subscription to popular streaming platforms. In some aspects, it is even superior, as it lets you directly install VPNs and 3rd party apps, and unblock geo-restricted content. See our guide on the best VPNs for Firestick.
- Apple TV – Another great option that is compatible with VPNs and offers a ton of content. Our Apple TV VPN guide has more details.
Using free VPNs for Roku
Although there are hundreds of free VPN apps on the market, we can’t recommend any of them for Roku or any other device. We have many reasons to back up this statement, as free VPNs …
1. Have Limited Support
A vast majority of free VPNs can’t be installed on a WiFi router, as their firmware usually isn’t supported. This is an immediate deal breaker if you are using it for Roku.
2. Impose Strict Data Cap
If you manage to find an app that works, you will have to keep in mind to use it sparingly. This is because almost all free VPNs have a monthly limit, which is generally set between 1 to 10 GB. You can easily spend this amount in a week or two, in which case you will be unable to use your free VPN until the month is up. Not to mention the frustration if you get cut off right in the middle of a tense episode.
On the other hand, every premium VPN we’ve mentioned offers unlimited monthly traffic.
3. Have an Undeveloped Server Network
Server maintenance is notoriously expensive, so free services naturally have fewer servers you can connect to. If you can’t find any that’s close to your location, you will experience diminished speed, which can diminish your streaming experience.
On top of that, streaming services are actively trying to block out users that are using VPNs. Premium services are powerful enough to bypass these algorithms, but free VPN servers frequently get flagged as suspicious. Basically, you can find yourself suddenly unable to access Netflix or Hulu with Roku, which would lead you back to square one.
4. Can Compromise Your Privacy and Security
A 2021 study done on 270+ free mobile VPNs revealed that most of them have glaring problems. To keep it short, here are the most shocking numbers.
- About 38% of free VPNs were infected with malware
- ~75% of apps contained trackers that follow user’s online activity
- More than 84% of free mobile VPNs have terrible (or non-existent) encryption
Granted, this analysis covered Smartphones, but we don’t have any reason to believe that the situation isn’t the same on other platforms, like Roku. What’s even more troubling, is the fact that the majority of users were unaware of these problems. As it turns out, free VPNs usually make money by selling our sensitive data to advertising agencies, turning the idea of privacy and security on its head.
The situation is grim, but we’ve managed to find 7 free VPNs that actually work as you would expect. We still wouldn’t recommend using them as Roku VPNs, but you won’t find anything better.
Best VPN or Roku Conclusion
Although Roku devices don’t directly support VPNs, you can install one on your router and reap the benefits. With it, you can reliably and quickly unlock streaming sites to watch popular shows and movies, no matter your location. On top of that, a top BPN will improve your security and provide you with privacy.
We found that NordVPN is the best Roku VPN on the market. It is compatible with multiple routers and has a huge global network of servers. All of them are fast and use advanced protocols with impressive unblocking capabilities.
Best VPNs for Roku FAQ
Can I set up a Roku on a WiFi hotspot?
Yes, you can create a mobile hotspot on your phone, Mac, or laptop. Once you set it up, you will simply have to connect to it with your Roku device. We’ve done a detailed guide on how to do this above.
Is it illegal to set up a VPN for Roku?
Not at all, unless you are from a country where VPNs are prohibited. Although streaming services are trying to suppress VPNs, the worst they can do is flag your domain. In that case, you can just hop on to another server.
What is the best VPN for Roku?
We would highly recommend NordVPN, as it is currently the fastest and has a very high-security standard. Alternatively, you can also use Surfshark or ExpressVPN.
The “Best VPNs for Roku” article was last edited on November 18, 2023.