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How to Use Chromecast with a VPN

Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio

Learn how to set up and use a VPN on Google Chromecast in this complete guide.

a VPN being used to stream content on a Chromecast device

Using a VPN with Google Chromecast enables you to stream films on your TV that are not usually available in your location. The VPN hides your IP address to open up geo-restricted content from services such as Netflix, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer.

The problem is that most Chromecasts cannot download any software on the dongle. Unless you have the newer Chromecast with Google TV, you can’t directly install a VPN app and will have to follow one of our other methods.

Quick Guide: How to Use Chromecast with a VPN

  1. Sign up for and install a VPN service. For Chromecast, we recommend ExpressVPN.
  2. Create a virtual router from your PC.
  3. Connect to a VPN server in the required country. For example, connect to an American server for US Netflix.
  4. Connect both your phone and Chromecast to the virtual router.
  5. Stream. You’ll now have access to previously blocked TV shows and movies.

In this Chromecast VPN guide, we’ll tell you what the best VPNs for Chromecast are, based on our research. We also show you all the ways that a VPN improves your Chromecast experience, how to change your Netflix region, and we answer FAQs about Chromecast VPNs.

How to Install a VPN on Your Chromecast

If you’re unsure which VPN installation method is right for you, use our helpful flowchart to help you decide:

Flow chart describing how to set up a VPN on Chromecast

How to set your VPN up with Chromecast.

We’ll talk you through all of these installation methods in the following sections.

Install a VPN on Chromecast with Google TV

The Chromecast with Google TV allows you to download apps from the Google Play Store, so it’s easy to install a VPN on the device.

To set up a VPN on Chromecast with Google TV:

  1. Hold the Google Assistant button on your remote and say “Install ExpressVPN.” If you’re using a different VPN, just say its name instead. You can see our top-rated Chromecast VPNs here.
  2. Select Install. The VPN app will now download and install, so it might take a few minutes.
  3. Select Open.
    Downloading ExpressVPN on Chromecast with Google TV
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions. The process varies between VPN services, but you’ll have to either log in to your existing account or create a new one.
  5. Confirm the connection request. Your TV will say that your VPN wants to set up a VPN connection that allows it to monitor network traffic. Click OK.
  6. Setting up VPN on Chromecast with Google TV

  7. Connect to a VPN server. If you want to watch geo-blocked content, connect to a server in the country hosting the content you want to see. For HBO Max, connect to a US server.
  8. Stream. Open your streaming app and you’ll be able to access content from the country you’ve connected to.

HBO Max app on Chromecast with Google TV

Mirror Your Screen to Chromecast

Best VPN for ChromeYou can mirror your screen from any computer using the Google Chrome browser. Then, you’re able to connect your computer to a VPN to watch streaming content on your Chromecast.

This is the easiest and quickest way to use a VPN with an older Chromecast dongle. This method works using Google Chrome on Windows, MacOS, Chrome OS, and Linux. However, the downside is that the streaming quality will be worse than the other methods we cover.

Note:
It is not possible to use Chromecast with a VPN on Android or iOS. This applies to the operating system’s built-in mirroring functionality, as well as Google Chrome’s mobile apps. To mirror your screen to Chromecast, you will have to use a PC or laptop instead.

Here’s how to use Chromecast from the Google Chrome browser:

  1. Make sure your computer is disconnected from the VPN.
  2. Open Google Chrome on your computer and click the menu button. This is the three vertical dots or ‘kebab’ button.
  3. Click ‘Cast’.Casting screen from Google Chrome to Chromecast
  4. Click the down arrow next to ‘Sources’ and ensure the ‘Cast tab’ is selected.
  5. Choose your Chromecast device as the destination.
  6. Open the VPN app on your computer. Make sure local network discovery is enabled in the app’s settings.ExpressVPN local network access
  7. Connect to a VPN server. Choose a server in the country where you want to appear to be. For example, to watch US Netflix, connect to a server in the US.
  8. Start streaming. The content will automatically show on your Chromecast.

Netflix on Google Chrome

Note:
The video quality will be noticeably worse when using this method. This is because the Google Chrome browser will transcode and compress your video when casting your entire screen. This is in contrast to regular casting, where your Chromecast streams the file directly from the source.

Set up a Virtual Router Using Your PC

You can share your VPN connection from your PC to your Chromecast. With this, when you change your PC’s location with a VPN your Chromecast will do the same.

However, to do this you need to have the computer available and switched on while you watch your movies. This means it’s not great as a long-term solution, but it’s an inexpensive and relatively simple way to unblock content on your Chromecast.

The setup method differs depending on what operating your system is running. We have instructions for both Windows and Mac devices.

Check Whether Your Windows Computer Can Share Its Connection

  1. Open the command prompt as administrator. Search for ‘cmd’, right-click the Command Prompt icon and select ‘Run as administrator’.
  2. Let the command prompt make changes to your computer. You’ll be asked to confirm this.
  3. View the drivers. At the command prompt, type in ‘netsh wlan show drivers’.
  4. Check whether you can share your connection. Look where it says ‘Hosted network supported’. If it says ‘Yes’, you’re ready to begin. If it says ‘No’, your device cannot share a WiFi connection. You may need to add a compatible card to your hardware or update your network drivers.

Set up a Virtual Router on Windows 10

A laptop running Microsoft Windows

Sharing your connection is easy in Windows 10. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Set up your virtual router. Enter the following command in the command line window: netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=NETWORKNAME key=PASSWORD. Note: NETWORKNAME and PASSWORD are placeholders you need to replace with your own network name and a strong password.
  2. Turn on the virtual router. Enter:
    netsh wlan start hostednetwork
  3. Check it’s running. It should say “The hosted network started.”
  4. Find your virtual router’s name. Press Windows key + R and enter ncpa.cpl. Find the WiFi connection you just made and make a note of its name, which is in bold.
  5. Download the VPN app. Subscribe to your preferred VPN and install it on your computer.
  6. Make sure you are disconnected from the VPN.
  7. Turn on the Mobile Hotspot. Use the Start button, then go to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile hotspot. Turn it on.Screenshot on mobile hotspot toggle on Windows 10
  8. Go to your VPN properties. You’ll find them in Settings > Network & Internet > Change adaptor options. Look for your VPN’s Tap Adapter. Right-click it and select Properties.
  9. Enable other devices to connect to your VPN. Click the Sharing tab and select the checkbox beside “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.”
  10. Choose the connection to share. Where it says ‘Home networking connection’, open the menu and choose the hotspot you created.Screenshot of network sharing panel on Windows
  11. Connect the VPN. Open the VPN app on your computer. Set it to use the OpenVPN protocol if available. Connect to a VPN server in the country that hosts the content you want to watch. Choose a US server for US Netflix.
  12. Connect both your mobile device and Chromecast to the new WiFi network. To set up a new WiFi network on Chromecast, forget the existing one in the Google Home app. Go to Settings > WiFi > Forget this network. You can then set up a new WiFi network.
  13. You’re ready to stream. You’ll now be able to watch geo-locked content on your Chromecast. If you want to change location, just reconnect to a different VPN server on your PC.

Set Up a Virtual Router on MacOS

You can also create a mobile hotspot to share your VPN-protected connection from your MacOS computer. You will also need an Ethernet cable to do this. If your Mac doesn’t have an Ethernet port, use a USB adapter.

A MacBook running Apple macOS

Other publications claim you can only share a Mac’s VPN connection via the L2TP/IPsec protocol. However, we’ve discovered that you can actually share the connection via OpenVPN (UDP).

Our method works best with Surfshark. Surfshark allows you to share its OpenVPN connection from Mac, which will give you fast speeds and strong security.

In contrast, ExpressVPN, and most of our other top Chromecast VPNs, only allow you to share a Mac connection using the L2TP/IPsec protocol. L2TP/IPsec has known security flaws. We strongly recommend you don’t encrypt any VPN connection using it.

Here’s how to share your VPN from your Mac with Chromecast:

  1. Download the Surfshark app from the Mac App Store.App Store results when searching 'Surfshark'
  2. Connect your Mac to your router with an Ethernet cable. This won’t work if you connect using WiFi.
  3. Open the Surfshark app. It’ll open in your Mac’s menu bar.
  4. Use the OpenVPN (UDP) protocol. You’ll find this in Settings > Protocol.
  5. Connect to a VPN server in the country whose content you want. For example, to watch BBC iPlayer, connect to the UK.
  6. Add VPN configuration. Two boxes will pop up, click ‘Add VPN configuration’ on the first and ‘Allow’ on the second.Adding a VPN configuration on MacOS
  7. Share your VPN connection on WiFi. Return to System Preferences, and click Sharing. Select Internet Sharing and choose ‘Surfshark OpenVPN (UDP)’ from the ‘Share your connection from’ dropdown menu
  8. Create a secure connection. Click WiFi Options and use these details:
    • Network Name: (make up your own)
    • Channel: leave as the default
    • Security: WPA2 Personal
    • Password: (make up your own)
  9. Start sharing. Return to the Sharing menu and tick the Internet Sharing checkbox. When the prompt appears, click Start. Once activated, a green light will appear next to ‘Internet Sharing’ and the WiFi symbol in your Mac’s menu bar will display an upwards facing arrow.Setting up Internet Sharing on MacOS
  10. Connect both your Chromecast and mobile device to the new shared WiFi connection. They must be on the same WiFi network. To set up a new WiFi network on Chromecast, forget the existing one in the Google Home app. Go to Settings > WiFi > Forget this network. You can then connect to your new virtual router. Use the password you created in Step 8 above.

Install a VPN On Your Router

Installing a VPN on your router protects all of the devices on your network. That includes your Chromecast and the mobile device you use to control it.

Setup is complicated, and VPN routers are less flexible than other approaches. It’s harder to switch your server location too, which might be frustrating if you need to change Netflix regions to find your favorite films.

ExpressVPN is one of the only services that provides an app for routers, making it the best Chromecast VPN to use for this method. Alternatively, you can choose NordVPN, Surfshark, or PrivateVPN, but the configuration will be more difficult.

Netflix VPN router

ExpressVPN is one of only a few VPNs that have a router app.

You have three options to get a VPN on your router:

  1. Buy a router with a VPN pre-installed. This is the simplest solution. FlashRouters provides routers with many popular VPN services pre-installed.
  2. Update your existing router with VPN firmware. Firmware is the software in your router that controls the hardware. Your VPN software will run on top of it. If your router is compatible with VPN software but does not have compatible firmware, you’ll need to update the firmware. You can read more about it in our VPN router guide.
  3. Buy a router that supports VPNs. You can remove the difficulty and the risk of setup by getting a router that already has VPN-friendly firmware installed. You simply subscribe to a VPN and follow the VPN provider’s instructions to install the VPN on the router. We recommend the Linksys WRT3200ACM and Netgear R6400 as great value options.

For more detailed instructions, read our in-depth guide to installing a VPN on your router.

Once you’ve installed the VPN, simply connect your Chromecast and other devices to your WiFi network in the usual way. All internet traffic sent through your router is now protected by the VPN.

The Best VPNs for Chromecast in 2021

We’ve ranked and rated the three best VPNs for Chromecast based on the following criteria:

  • Works with geo-restricted streaming apps, such as US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
  • Fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth to allow for HD and 4K streaming.
  • Intuitive and user-friendly app for Android TV.
  • Clear and accessible setup guides for routers and mobile hotspots.
  • Available and helpful customer support to assist with setup and finding working streaming servers.
  • Apps for Google Chrome, to allow for easy screen mirroring.

Read our full and unbiased VPN review process here.
The three best Chromecast VPNs are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark. They all have Google TV apps, so they’re easy to install on the most recent Chromecast model. They also work well for streaming and can be installed on a router.

Here’s a quick overview of how they compare:

Countries
Router App
Netflix Libraries
Prime Video
BBC iPlayer
Speed
Cheapest Price
ExpressVPN
94
Yes
19
Yes
Sometimes
88Mbps
$6.67
NordVPN
59
No
15
Yes
Yes
93Mbps
$3.30
Surfshark
66
No
31
Yes
Yes
85Mbps
$2.49

1. ExpressVPN: Best Overall VPN for Chromecast

PROS CONS
  • Works with 19 different Netflix libraries
  • Easy-to-use Google TV app
  • Fast download speeds for HD streaming
  • Dedicated app for routers
  • Huge server network
  • 24-hour live chat support
  • Doesn’t always work with BBC iPlayer
  • Expensive

ExpressVPN works with:
Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, DAZN

The best VPN for Chromecast is ExpressVPN, no matter which version of Chromecast you are using. Although it is more expensive than most other VPN services, it includes enough features to make it worth the money.

In our tests, we found that ExpressVPN works with 19 different Netflix regions, including the US and the UK.

We were also able to stream all other popular streaming services on our Chromecast, including Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.

The main screen of ExpressVPN's Google TV app

ExpressVPN’s app for Chromecast with Google TV.

It’s also the only VPN to come with a dedicated router app. If you’re using an older Chromecast model, this means you can easily change your server location and configure any settings.

The major downside to using ExpressVPN with Chromecast is that it doesn’t always unblock BBC iPlayer. If you want reliable access to the streaming app, NordVPN is a better choice.

In addition, we’d like to see the VPN update its app for Chromecast with Google TV. Although it works fine and is easy to use, it’s not optimized for a larger TV screen. It should also implement a dark mode, as the white interface is jarring for late-night TV watching.

Although ExpressVPN is fairly expensive on shorter plans, you can prepay for a longer plan to reduce the cost. When signing up through the Chromecast with Google TV, you can also take advantage of the VPN’s seven-day free trial.

ExpressVPN supports all of the connection methods for Google Chromecast:

  • Chromecast with Google TV: ExpressVPN has an app you can download.
  • Mirroring your screen from Google Chrome: you can use the ExpressVPN Windows or MacOS app, or the Chrome browser extension.
  • Sharing your connection from a PC: you can use the ExpressVPN apps for Windows or MacOS.
  • Installing a VPN on your router: ExpressVPN is compatible with more routers than most VPNs. It’s also the only VPN that comes with a router app, making connections easy.

Visit ExpressVPN or read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. NordVPN: Fastest VPN for Chromecast

PROS CONS
  • Always works with BBC iPlayer
  • Very fast speeds using NordLynx protocol
  • Huge global server network
  • Optimized app for Google TV
  • Strong encryption and security features
  • No router app

NordVPN works with:
BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Prime Video, HBO Max

We have found that NordVPN is the fastest for streaming. This means you can enjoy HD and 4K video streams without buffering. We recorded average speeds of 80Mbps when connecting to our six test server locations.

Unlike ExpressVPN, NordVPN’s Google TV app is well-optimized for a larger TV display. It’s intuitive and simple to use but still manages to show a large amount of information. The app also comes with a kill switch so that you don’t accidentally leak your true IP address if your VPN connection suddenly disconnects.

The main screen of NordVPN's Google TV app

NordVPN’s app for Chromecast with Google TV.

It’s also our top-rated VPN for BBC iPlayer. Few other VPNs work with the streaming service, but we’ve always been able to unblock it on our Chromecast while using NordVPN.

NordVPN encrypts all traffic using AES-256, so your data will be strongly secured. It also keeps no personally identifiable logs and has had its privacy policy audited by a third party, so you can be sure that your privacy is protected.

A significant drawback to using NordVPN with Chromecast is that it doesn’t come with an app for routers. This makes it much more difficult than with ExpressVPN to manually set up and configure a VPN router.

You’ll be able to take advantage of NordVPN’s free seven-day free trial when signing up through Google TV. If not, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee available.

NordVPN supports most of the connection methods for Google Chromecast:

  • Chromecast with Google TV: NordVPN has an app you can download from the Google Play Store.
  • Mirroring your screen from Google Chrome: you can use the NordVPN Windows or MacOS app, or the Chrome browser extension.
  • Sharing your connection from a PC: you can use the NordVPN apps for Windows or MacOS.
  • Installing a VPN on your router: Setup guides available for many routers, pre-configured option available from FlashRouters.

Visit NordVPN or read our full NordVPN review.

3. Surfshark: Best Budget VPN for Chromecast

PROS CONS
  • Costs just $2.49 per month
  • Works with 32 Netflix regions, including US
  • Huge global server network
  • Impressive app for Android TV
  • Helpful 24/7 customer service
  • Slow download speeds
  • No dedicated app for routers

Surfshark works with:
Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max

Surfshark is our favorite budget VPN in 2021. It costs less than half the price of ExpressVPN but still includes almost as many features.

You can purchase a Surfshark subscription for as little as $2.49 when paying for two years upfront. Alternatively, you can use its seven-day Google TV free trial or use the VPN for longer and get refunded using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Surfshark works with Netflix in over 30 regions, including the US, UK, Japan, and Germany. If you connect to a server in an unsupported region, its advanced streaming feature automatically reroutes you to the American Netflix library. This is a great feature if you’re located far away from the US, but still want fast speeds from a nearby VPN server.

The main screen of Surfshark's Google TV app

Surfshark’s app for Chromecast with Google TV.

Like NordVPN, Surfshark sells preconfigured DD-WRT routers if you don’t want to set it up yourself. However, it doesn’t come with an app for routers, which is disappointing. This means that changing server location and configuring any VPN settings will be more difficult than with ExpressVPN.

Surfshark is slower than both ExpressVPN and NordVPN. From our latest tests, we measured a 27% speed loss on international connections while using Surfshark. Depending on your internet speed, you may struggle to unblock content on your Chromecast in HD.

Surfshark supports most of the connection methods for Google Chromecast:

  • Chromecast with Google TV: Surfshark has an app you can download from the Google Play Store.
  • Mirroring your screen from Google Chrome: you can use the Surfshark Windows or MacOS app, or the Chrome browser extension.
  • Sharing your connection from a PC: you can use the Surfshark apps for Windows or MacOS.
  • Installing a VPN on your router: Setup guides available for many routers, pre-configured option available from FlashRouters.

Visit Surfshark or read our full Surfshark review.

The Benefits of Using Chromecast with a VPN

There are many advantages to using a VPN on your Chromecast. Here are the main benefits:

1Watch Geo-blocked Streaming Services

As we’ve said throughout this guide, using a VPN with Chromecast enables you to watch a wide range of movies and TV shows that are otherwise blocked in your country.

Streaming services restrict their shows to different regions, depending on the license agreements they have with copyright holders.

When you use a VPN, you can appear to be somewhere else. If you use a VPN server in the US, Netflix will think that’s where you are and grant you access to the US Netflix library. Read more on how to change your Netflix region on Chromecast in the section below.

2Bypass ISP Throttling and Restrictions

VPNs can also help to improve your download speeds. Though rare, some ISPs throttle (or slow down) your connection if they see you are streaming. When you use a VPN, your ISP can’t tell what you’re doing, and so can’t throttle your internet traffic.

This also applies to local network restrictions. With its portability, you can take the Chromecast with you on holidays or short breaks. However, many hotel WiFi networks block access to popular streaming apps. A VPN will allow you to bypass these restrictions, too.

3Stronger Privacy and Security

A VPN stops companies and government agencies from spying on your internet activities, and helps to shield you from cyberattacks that target your IP address. In 2019, hackers played unwanted videos on 65,000 Chromecasts warning that they were vulnerable to attack.

How to Watch Netflix on Chromecast

Changing Netflix region on your Chromecast is easy, but the method does depend on which model you’ve got and the installation method you used when setting up your VPN.

Here’s how to watch Netflix on every Chromecast device with a VPN:

Chromecast with Google TV:
Open the VPN app on your Chromecast. Connect to a server in the country that has the Netflix content you want.

Open the Netflix app on your Chromecast with Google TV and start streaming. If you’re still not seeing the Netflix content you want to watch, select ‘Get Help’ in settings and click ‘Reload Netflix’.

Mirroring your PC or laptop screen:
On your PC or laptop, open the VPN app or Chrome browser extension. Connect to a server in the country that has the Netflix content you want. Refresh the Netflix web page and start streaming.

Virtual router on your PC:
On your PC or laptop, open the VPN app. Connect to a server in the country that has the Netflix content you want. Connect your phone to the same VPN server.

Open the Netflix app on your mobile device and cast the content to your Chromecast.

Physical VPN router:
On your computer or phone, visit the ExpressVPN router dashboard. Click the three horizontal dots or the ‘meatballs’ menu button. Connect to a server in the country that has the Netflix content you want.

Wait a few minutes for your Chromecast to reconnect to the router. Open the Netflix app on your mobile device and cast the content to your Chromecast.

What’s the Best Free VPN for Chromecast?

After testing over 20 free VPNs on our Chromecast, we found that Windscribe is the best free VPN. It works with BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, and the US and UK Netflix libraries. It’s also safe, fast, and uses the same AES-256 encryption as premium VPNs.

That said, all free VPNs come with restrictions. Windscribe’s subscription gives you just 10GB of data per month, which isn’t enough for regular streaming on your Chromecast. You can read more in our full Windscribe review or read our list of the best overall free VPNs.

Make sure to avoid most popular free VPNs, like Hola and SkyVPN. We’ve found that many of these VPN services log user activity, don’t encrypt traffic, and leak IP or DNS data.

Can I Change My Google Play Country with a VPN?

Yes, you can easily change your Google Play region when using a Chromecast VPN. To do this:

  1. Connect to a VPN server in the country that has the app you want.
  2. Hold the Google Assistant button on your remote and say “Open Google Play Store”.
  3. Search for the app from within Google Play.

This will allow you to download Android TV apps that are only available in certain regions, such as Hulu and BBC iPlayer.

Can I Use Smart DNS with Chromecast?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to use Smart DNS with any Chromecast device. This is because the Chromecast is hardwired to only communicate with Google’s DNS servers, even if you configure your router to use your VPN’s Smart DNS tool.

Additional research by Luke Williams

About the Author


  • Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent

    Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio