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The Best VPNs for Roku & How to Install Them

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

Fact-checked by Simon MiglianoAdditional Research by Harry Ferrigno

Our Verdict

Roku devices do not natively support VPN applications. The easiest way to use a VPN on Roku is to stream content from your iPhone via AirPlay. Otherwise, you can connect your Roku device to a VPN-enabled router. We recommend ExpressVPN for Roku as it’s fast, easy to use, and works with all five possible installation methods.

Best VPN for Roku

You can’t directly install a virtual private network (VPN) on a Roku device because Roku does not natively support VPN apps.

To use a VPN on Roku, you need to either install a VPN on your WiFi router, create a virtual router on your desktop, share content from AirPlay, or screen mirror via Android.

Using the methods above, you can connect your Roku to a VPN. This is the case for all 10th generation Roku devices, including: Roku Streaming Stick 4K & 4K+, Roku Ultra LT, Roku Streambar Pro, and Roku TV.

Quick Guide: How to Use a VPN on Roku

  1. Sign up to a trustworthy VPN. We recommend using ExpressVPN for its 4K streaming speeds and 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Install a VPN on your iPhone and connect to a server.
  3. Activate AirPlay and select your Roku device.
  4. Start streaming on Roku.

For more detailed Roku setup information, skip to our section on how to install a VPN on Roku.

You can use a VPN on your Roku to unblock geo-restricted streaming libraries and change your location on the Roku channel store.

What Is the Best VPN for Roku In 2024?

  1. ExpressVPN: Best Roku VPN & Easiest to Install
  2. NordVPN: Best Alternative VPN for Roku
  3. PrivadoVPN Free: Best Free VPN for Roku

The best Roku VPN is ExpressVPN due to its excellent streaming performance, bespoke router app, and fast download speeds. You can use ExpressVPN to reliably stream geo-restricted content in 4K quality on all Roku devices.

Comparison of the Best Roku VPNs

The table below compares the best premium and free VPNs for Roku based on their router compatibility, average download speed, streaming performance, price, and more:

Why Trust Top10VPN.com?

We’re completely independent and focused on VPN software. We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing Roku VPNs using our Roku VPN testing methodology.

Here is an overview of our testing statistics for router VPNs:

Total Hours of Testing30,000+
Weekly Speed Tests3,000+
Roku Devices TestedRoku Streaming Stick 4K & 4K+, Roku Ultra LT, Roku Streambar Pro
Router Test DeviceLinksys WRT3200ACM
VPN Services Reviewed 65
Streaming Platforms Tested Daily12

The Best VPNs for Roku: Detailed Analysis

Since Roku doesn’t support native VPN apps, the best VPNs for Roku offer versatile setup options.

You can use the table below to see how each of our recommended VPNs compare for Roku VPN installation methods:

VPN Service Dedicated Router App Manual Router Installation Virtual Router (Desktop) AirPlay (iOS) Screen Mirroring (Android)
ExpressVPN Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NordVPN No Yes Yes Yes Yes
PrivadoVPN Free No No Yes Yes Yes

As you can see, ExpressVPN is easy to set up on Roku as it works with all five installation methods. The free VPNs are more difficult to set up on Roku as they can’t be installed on routers.

You can find out more about each Roku VPN, including which setup methods they work with, in the following section:

1. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for Roku Overall

Works with every channel on Roku, with fast speeds & the best router app.

ExpressVPN's app for iOS

Pros Cons
Dedicated router app for easy Roku setup More expensive than competitors
Unblocks 18 Netflix libraries, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more
Works with AirPlay & screen mirroring
Fast download speeds with no buffering
Servers in 106 countries for global streaming
Helpful 24/7 customer support
Overall VPN for Roku Rating: 9.8/10

This overall score is based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our Roku VPN testing methodology.

Router Compatibility: 9.8/109.8

Streaming: 9.9/109.9

Speed: 9.7/109.7

Server Locations: 9.9/109.9

Ease of Use: 9.9/109.9

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Roku. Its dedicated router app, easy-to-use mobile apps, and fast connection speeds make it a great choice for all four Roku VPN setup methods.

It’s also the best VPN for streaming, unblocking every Roku channel in 4K quality with no buffering.

Here are the ExpressVPN servers that work best for streaming on Roku:

  • For unblocking US Streaming Services: New Jersey 1
  • For unblocking UK Streaming Services: London

Quick & Simple Setup on Roku

With its dedicated router app, ExpressVPN is the easiest VPN to set up on Roku. You just need to purchase an ExpressVPN subscription, upload its firmware to your router, and connect your Roku device to your router’s network.

You can also use ExpressVPN’s iOS app to share geo-blocked content via AirPlay to LG Smart TVs and Roku devices, while its Android app works well for screen mirroring to these platforms.

In fact, ExpressVPN is our leading VPN for iPhone and our best Android VPN, too.

As shown in the table above, ExpressVPN is the only VPN that works with every Roku setup method. You can refer to our flowchart to see which method best suits your needs.

Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, & More on Roku

ExpressVPN unblocked the vast majority of streaming services on our Roku streaming stick.

Unblocking US Netflix on Roku with ExpressVPN

We used ExpressVPN’s dedicated router app to unblock US Netflix.

By connecting to ExpressVPN’s New Jersey server, we were able to consistently unblock the Hulu, Max, and DAZN channels from outside the US.

We also accessed 18 different Netflix libraries on our Roku stick by using ExpressVPN’s device grouping feature.

With an average download speed of 97Mbps, our Roku maintained its 4K video quality without any buffering while connected to a local US ExpressVPN server.

2. NordVPN: Best Alternative VPN for Roku

Unblocks the majority of streaming services with excellent speeds & easy-to-use apps.

NordVPN's app for iOS

Pros Cons
Available pre-flashed on a router for easy Roku setup No dedicated router app
Works with BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, the Roku Channel & more Renews at a much higher subscription price
Unblocks US Netflix and 16 other libraries
Compatible with AirPlay & screen mirroring
Fast connection speeds with no buffering
Servers in 60 countries for international streaming
Overall VPN for Roku Rating: 9.4/10

This overall score is based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our Roku VPN testing methodology.

Router Compatibility: 8.7/108.7

Streaming: 9.8/109.8

Speed: 9.7/109.7

Server Locations: 9.6/109.6

Ease of Use: 9.5/109.5

NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for Roku due to its fast download speeds allowing for 4K streaming without any buffering.

Its apps are also easy-to-use and work to unblock the most popular streaming services, including US Netflix, Max, and BBC iPlayer.

Here are the NordVPN servers that work best for streaming on Roku:

  • For unblocking US Streaming Services: United States #8660
  • For unblocking UK Streaming Services: United Kingdom #2010

4K Streaming on All Roku Channels

NordVPN reliably unblocks every channel on Roku, including Peacock, Hulu, NBC news, and Netflix.

Unblocking Peacock on Roku with NordVPN

NordVPN unblocked Peacock without any difficulties.

Using its NordLynx protocol, our video quality never dropped below 4K on our Roku and we experienced no buffering.

Even when connecting to a distant UK server to unblock BBC iPlayer, we recorded an impressive average download speed loss of just 90Mbps.

Easy Setup but No Custom Router App

NordVPN is one of the easiest VPNs to set up on Roku due to its well-designed and intuitive apps.

We were able to create a virtual router without any issues and NordVPN’s mobile apps didn’t affect AirPlay or screen mirroring to the Roku.

However, unlike ExpressVPN, NordVPN does not come with a dedicated router app. You can buy a pre-flashed router equipped with the FlashRouters app instead, but it’s expensive.

3. PrivadoVPN Free: Best Free VPN for Roku

Accesses every Roku channel in 4K quality with no subscription fee.

PrivadoVPN Free's app for iOS

Pros Cons
Free to use with no payment details required Restrictive 10GB data cap
Exceptional download speeds Free version can’t be installed on routers
Works with Hulu, US Netflix, Max & Disney+ Only permits one simultaneous connection
Compatible with AirPlay & screen mirroring Streaming servers have to be enabled by the user
All-physical server network in 11 countries Monthly data has to be manually refreshed
Overall VPN for Roku Rating: 4.7/10

This overall score is based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our Roku VPN testing methodology.

Router Compatibility: 0.0/100

Streaming: 8.8/108.8

Speed: 9.3/109.3

Server Locations: 5.5/105.5

Ease of Use: 7.7/107.7

PrivadoVPN Free is the best free VPN for Roku thanks to its fast connection speeds and strong streaming performance.

As a free VPN it does come with some restrictions though, including a data cap and limited device compatibility.

Here are the PrivadoVPN Free servers that work best for streaming on Roku:

  • For unblocking US Streaming Services: Los Angeles
  • For unblocking UK Streaming Services: London

Great for Streaming US Content

Privado VPN Free is an excellent choice for Roku, particularly for those based outside of the US.

Using Privado VPN Free, we were able to unblock US Netflix, Max, and Disney+ on our Roku streaming stick.

Unblocking US Netflix on Roku with PrivadoVPN Free

Despite using its free plan, PrivadoVPN unblocked US Netflix.

We also recorded an average download speed loss of just 4% while connected to a nearby Privado server. This is more than fast enough for 4K and HD streaming.

10GB Data Cap & Paywalled Router Setup

PrivadoVPN Free has a 10GB monthly data cap which limits you to around one hour of 4K streaming or four hours of HD streaming.

You also have to manually renew the data each month by logging into your account on PrivadoVPN’s website. This is frustrating and unnecessary, especially as most free VPNs automatically renew your data for you.

It’s also difficult to set up PrivadoVPN on your Roku. Its free version can’t be installed on routers and we don’t recommend creating a virtual router due to its data cap.

As a result, you can only use it on Roku via AirPlay on iOS or screen mirroring on Android. We found both setup methods straightforward thanks to Privado VPN’s beginner-friendly mobile apps.

How to Install a VPN on Roku (4 Easiest Methods)

You can’t directly install a VPN onto your Roku device because Roku does not natively support VPN apps. This applies to every Roku device, including the Roku streaming stick, Roku Ultra LT, Roku Streambar Pro, and Roku TV.

Instead, you’ll need to set up a VPN on your mobile, PC, or router and connect your Roku to it.

QUICK SUMMARY: How to Install a VPN on Roku

  1. Set Up a VPN on Your Router: Best Overall Method
  2. Install a VPN on an AirPlay-enabled Device: Easiest Method
  3. Install a VPN & screen mirror to Roku: Best Method for Watching Netflix
  4. Set Up a Virtual Router On Your PC: Best for Balancing Privacy & Ease of Use

You can use the table below to see how each installation method differs and the additional devices required:

Setup Method Setup Difficulty Works with Netflix Encrypts Your Data Hides Your IP Address Speeds
AirPlay Very Easy No No No Very Fast
Screen Mirroring Easy Yes No No Very Fast
Virtual Router Medium Yes Yes Yes Fast
VPN Router Hard Yes Yes Yes Fast

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

Flow chart describing how to set up a VPN on Roku

Follow the flowchart to set up a VPN on your Roku device.

View an enlarged image of our Roku VPN setup flowchart.

In the sections below, we go through each of the Roku VPN installation methods in more detail:

1. Set Up a VPN on Your Home Router

You can share your VPN connection with a Roku device by connecting it to a VPN-installed router.

This alone won’t change your Roku store location, but it can be used to unblock regional libraries within a Roku channel, such as US Netflix.

The quickest way to set up a VPN on your router is to install a dedicated VPN router app. We recommend using ExpressVPN, as its router app is the only one to work with multiple types of router firmware.

It also has the simplest setup process. You don’t need to flash your router, adjust your router’s settings, or change your network ports.

In fact, we were able to set up ExpressVPN on our Linksys WRT3200ACM test router in just under two minutes.

We demonstrate the process of installing ExpressVPN on a router in our video tutorial below:

It didn't take us long to install ExpressVPN on our test router.

Here’s how to install ExpressVPN on a Linksys WRT3200ACM router, step-by-step:

  1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN and register an account.
  2. Log into your ExpressVPN account and select Router from the devices listed on the main dashboard.
  3. This opens a new tab. From there, select your router model from the drop-down menu entitled Select your router.
  4. Click the green Download Firmware button.
  5. Downloading ExpressVPN firmware on a router

  6. Keep this window open as you’ll need the activation code later.
  7. Open a new tab and enter your IP address into your browser to access your router’s settings. You can find out your IP address using our IP lookup tool.
  8. Log into your router’s admin dashboard. The login and password are normally both admin by default. If you encounter any problems, you can refer to routerpasswords.com.
  9. Linksys Router admin dashboard on Windows

  10. Select Connectivity, then Router Firmware Update, and upload the ExpressVPN firmware you downloaded in Step 3.
  11. Linksys Router connectivity settings menu on Windows

  12. Click Start and follow the prompts to reboot your router.
  13. Once the reboot is finished, go to expressvpnrouter.com and click Get Started.
  14. Get started with ExpressVPN on your router

  15. Enter your activation code from Step 4 and click Sign in to ExpressVPN.
  16. ExpressVPN activation code

  17. Create a WiFi username and password for your new network and click Continue.
  18. ExpressVPN's wifi credentials interface

  19. Create a router admin password and click Continue.
  20. ExpressVPN's router administration page on Windows

  21. Connect to a VPN server in the same region as the streaming content you want to unblock.
  22. ExpressVPN's router app connected to a US server

  23. On your Roku select Settings > Network > Set up connection > Wireless and choose your newly established network.
  24. Return to the home screen and open your preferred Roku Channel to watch the content from your new IP address location.

For instructions on how to flash a router with firmware and manually install a VPN, you can refer to our dedicated VPN router installation guide.

2. Share Your Stream Using AirPlay

The easiest way to connect your Roku to a VPN is to use AirPlay. It allows you to seamlessly share streaming content from your iPhone or iPad to your Roku device.

You can use the table below to see if your Apple device is compatible with AirPlay:

Apple Model Works with Airplay
iPhone XR Yes
iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone Pro Max Yes
iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max Yes
iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max Yes
iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max Yes

Unlike screen mirroring, AirPlay only shares the selected piece of content instead of mirroring every action on your mobile device. This prevents others from seeing your device’s screen and maintains a much higher video quality.

As you’re streaming on your mobile, not your Roku, you don’t need to change your Roku store region. As a result, there are far fewer limitations on the streaming services you can watch.

It’s also much quicker to set up than the other methods and requires no technical knowledge whatsoever.

One major disadvantage is that Netflix doesn’t support AirPlay. You’ll need to install a VPN on a router, create a virtual router, or use screen mirroring to change your Netflix library on Roku.

Here’s how to set up and use AirPlay on Roku:

  1. Connect your Roku and iPhone to the same WiFi network. AirPlay only works if both devices are connected to the same local network.
  2. Roku and iOS devices connected to the same WiFi network

  3. Enable AirPlay on your Roku device. From the Roku home screen go to Settings > Apple AirPlay and HomeKit.
  4. Apple AirPlay settings on Roku

  5. Make sure AirPlay is set to On. AirPlay should always be on by default.
  6. AirPlay enabled on Roku

  7. Install a VPN on your iPhone. We recommend using ExpressVPN as our top-rated Roku VPN.
  8. ExpressVPN's listing on the Apple App Store

  9. Connect to a VPN server on your iPhone. Ensure you connect to a server in a region where your desired streaming service is available.
  10. Connecting to a US ExpressVPN server on iOS

  11. Activate AirPlay in your iPhone’s control center. You can turn on AirPlay by tapping its symbol, which looks like a triangle with three circles surrounding it.
  12. iPhone Control Center

  13. Select your Roku device & enter the four digit code. The code will appear on your Roku’s screen and should be entered into your iPhone when prompted.
  14. AirPlay activation code

  15. Open your streaming app. Once you select a piece of content it will automatically play on your Roku device.

3. Screen Mirror from Your Android Device

You can quickly use a VPN with Roku by screen mirroring from an Android device. You don’t need any technical knowledge and the whole process can be completed in under two minutes.

It’s just a case of connecting to a VPN server, sharing your screen with Roku, and opening your streaming app.

You can use the table below to see if your Android is compatible with screen mirroring:

Android Model Works With Screen Mirroring Name of Screen Mirroring Feature
Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, S20 Ultra FE Yes Smart View
Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, S21 Ultra, S21 Ultra FE Yes Smart View
Samsung Galaxy S22, S22+, S22 Ultra Yes Smart View
Samsung Galaxy S22, S22+, S22 Ultra Yes Smart View
Google Pixel 6, Google Pixel 6 Pro Yes Screen Cast
Google Pixel 7, Google Pixel 7 Pro Yes Screen Cast

Unlike AirPlay, screen mirroring works with every streaming service, including Netflix.

The main drawback is that Roku mirrors your Android’s screen exactly. Crucially, you can’t use your Android device until you’ve finished streaming and anyone can see your screen while mirroring.

It also tends to be a much lower video quality as the Roku is using your Android’s resolution, not its own 4K capabilities.

Here’s how to set up and use screen mirroring on Roku:

  1. Connect your Roku and Android to the same WiFi network. Screen mirroring only works if both devices are connected to the same local network.
  2. Roku and Android devices connected to the same WiFi network

  3. Select Smart View from your Android’s quick panel. You can drag down on your Android screen to access the quick panel.

    Android Quick Panel

    Note: Smart View may also be referred to as Quick Connect, SmartShare, AllShare Cast, Wireless display, Display mirroring, HTC Connect, Screen casting, and Cast.

  4. Enable Smart View and select your Roku device.
  5. Android Smart View menu

  6. Click Allow when prompted on your Roku.
  7. Screen mirroring request on Roku

  8. Optimize your aspect ratio. Select the option to match the output device’s dimensions.
  9. Changing the aspect ratio while screen mirroring

  10. Download your preferred VPN. We suggest using ExpressVPN as our best VPN for Roku.
  11. ExpressVPN's listing on the Google Play Store

  12. Stream as normal on your Android. Your Android’s screen will be mirrored on your Roku, including streaming apps.

4. Set Up a Virtual Router Using Your Desktop

You can share your VPN connection to Roku without using a router by creating a virtual hotspot on your PC. This method isn’t as technically difficult as manual router installation, and is more secure than the mobile setup methods.

It works by turning your PC’s internet connection into a ‘virtual router’ that any nearby device can connect to.

By connecting to a VPN on your PC, you can then share the VPN connection with all of your connected devices, including your Roku.

This setup method differs depending on what operating system you’re using. We have step-by-step instructions for both Windows and Mac devices.

Set Up a Virtual Router on Windows 10

You can follow the steps below to connect your Roku to your Windows PC over WiFi:

  1. Open the Command Prompt app. Type cmd into the Windows search bar and left-click the Command Prompt Symbol.
  2. Confirm that you’re able to share your WiFi: Type in netsh wlan show drivers and press Enter. The line Hosted network supported should state Yes, otherwise you’ll need to upgrade your wireless card or adapter drivers.
  3. Enable WiFi sharing. Type in the following command: netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=NetworkName key=NetworkPassword and then press Enter.

    Note: NetworkName and NetworkPassword are placeholders you need to replace with a network name and password of your choice.

  4. Turn on the virtual router. Type netsh wlan start hostednetwork and press Enter. You should see a message indicating that the hosted network has started.
  5. Find your virtual router’s name. Press Windows + R and enter ncpa.cpl. Locate the WiFi network you just created and make a note of its name.
  6. Download a reputable VPN. Subscribe to your preferred VPN and install it on your PC. Do not connect to it yet.
  7. Turn on the Mobile Hotspot. Click the Windows start button, then go to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Hotspot. Turn it on.
  8. Locate your adapter settings: On your PC go to Settings > Network & Internet and under Advanced network settings select Change adapter options.
  9. Go to your VPN’s properties. Look for your VPN’s TAP Adapter, right-click it and select Properties.
  10. Enable other devices to connect to your VPN. Click the Sharing tab and tick the box for Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.
  11. Choose the connection to share. Go to Home Networking Connection and select WiFi from the dropdown menu. Click OK to apply the changes.
  12. Start your VPN connection. Connect to a VPN server in a region that hosts the content you want to watch. For example, choose a US server for Hulu.
  13. Connect your Roku to your PC. On your Roku go to Settings > Network > Set up connection > Wireless and select your PC’s connection.

Set Up a Virtual Router on macOS

You can also share your VPN connection from a macOS computer, but you’ll need an ethernet cable. If your Mac doesn’t have an Ethernet port, then use a USB adapter.

Most VPN services only permit you to share a VPN connection from Mac via the L2TP/IPsec protocol. This is an insecure and outdated protocol that we don’t recommend using.

Fortunately, Surfshark allows you to share its VPN connection from Mac using the secure and open-sourced OpenVPN protocol. Alongside this, it’s an excellent Roku VPN that can unblock geo-restricted streaming services with ease.

Here’s how to connect your Roku to your Mac’s shared WiFi connection, using Surfshark’s macOS app:

  1. Download and install the Surfshark app from the Mac App Store.
  2. Connect your Mac to your router with an Ethernet cable.
  3. Enable the OpenVPN (UDP) protocol. Open your Surfshark app and go to Settings > Protocol.
  4. Connect to a VPN server. Ensure you choose a country which hosts the content you want to watch. For example, choose a US server for US Netflix.
  5. Add VPN configuration. Click Add VPN configuration for the first pop-up and Allow on the second.
  6. Share your VPN connection on WiFi. Go to System Preferences > Sharing > Select Internet Sharing and choose Surfshark OpenVPN (UDP) from the dropdown menu.
  7. Create a secure connection. Click WiFi Options and input these details:
    1. Network Name: (create your own)
    2. Channel: (leave as the default)
    3. Security: WPA2 Personal
    4. Password: (create your own)
  8. Begin sharing. Return to the Sharing menu from earlier and tick the Internet Sharing checkbox. When the prompt appears, click Start.
  9. Verify internet sharing. A green light should appear next to Internet Sharing to indicate that the process is complete.
  10. Connect your Roku to your Mac. On your Roku go to Settings > Network > Set up connection > Wireless and select your Mac’s connection.

VPNs That Don’t Work with Roku

There are a number of VPNs that don’t work with Roku, despite performing well in other areas.

For example, Mullvad is an excellent VPN service that specializes in online privacy and security at the cost of its streaming performance.

We’ve listed some popular VPNs below that either focus on different use cases or simply can’t be used on Roku:

VyprVPN

Overall Ranking: #27 out of 65 VPNs Reviewed

Overall Rating: 7.0/107.0

What we don’t like: VyprVPN can’t unblock Max, Disney+, or Hulu, and it only unblocks 2 Netflix libraries. We were also disappointed by the removal of its router app, making it harder to use the VPN with Roku.

PureVPN

Overall Ranking: #28 out of 65 VPNs Reviewed

Overall Rating: 6.9/106.9

What we don’t like: PureVPN fails to unblock Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and US Netflix. It also claims to have a router app but we couldn’t get it to work on our Linksys router and the setup instructions were outdated.

Mullvad VPN

Overall Ranking: #15 out of 65 VPNs Reviewed

Overall Rating: 7.8/107.8

What we don’t like: Mullvad does not make any attempt to focus on streaming and won’t unblock most streaming services

Why Do You Need a VPN for Roku?

You can use a VPN on Roku to access geo-restricted streaming services and watch more content. This includes region-specific Roku channels like BBC iPlayer in the UK store, or multiple regional libraries within the same channel like Netflix.

We’ve outlined both uses cases in more detail below:

1. Unblocking Geo-Restricted Roku Channels

You can use a VPN to change your online location by connecting to a remote server in a different country.

Using this VPN connection, you can change your Roku store location and gain access to geo-restricted Roku channels.

Below, we’ve highlighted the most popular streaming services you can unblock with a Roku VPN in different regions:

Roku Store Region Geo-restricted Roku Channels
US Hulu, Max, Crackle, Sling TV
UK BBC iPlayer, Channel 4, ITVX
Canada CTV, Global TV, Crave
Mexico tv azteca, Claro Video
Germany RTL, ZDF, ARD

2. Unblocking Geo-Restricted Streaming Libraries

You can also use a VPN on Roku to access different regional libraries within the same streaming service.

Most notably, you can unblock the US library of popular streaming services, which tends to have the most content.

For example, we shared a US VPN connection with our Roku stick which allowed us to unblock the US Netflix library and stream its content.

Here’s how to change your Netflix library on Roku:

  1. Install a VPN on your router. You can refer to our router VPN installation guide for step-by-step instructions.
  2. Connect your Roku to your router. On your Roku go to Settings > Network > Set up connection > Wireless and select your router’s network.
  3. Reset the Netflix app. Press the asterisk button on your Roku remote and select Restart channel from the options that appear.
  4. Open the Netflix app. Return to the Roku home screen and select your Netflix app to begin streaming.

How to Change Your Location on Roku

You can use a VPN to change your online location on Roku and, in turn, change the region of your Roku store. This allows you to access apps and channels that normally aren’t available in your country.

Despite some publications claiming that this is simply a process of connecting to a VPN, additional steps are required.

Your Roku’s online location is linked to the region you first created your Roku account in. To change it, you’ll need to delete your account, factory reset your Roku device, and create a new account in your preferred region.

In the video below, we demonstrate how to change your Roku store region with narrated instructions for every step of the process:

We were able to switch our Roku store region to the US and access exclusive content.

Here’s how to change your location on Roku and change the region of your Roku store:

  1. Factory reset your Roku device. Go to Settings > System > Advanced system settings > Factory reset, and then enter the displayed code.

    Press OK and then Start factory reset.

  2. Factory reset code on Roku

  3. Log in to your Roku account.
  4. Delete your Roku account. Go to My account and under Manage account click Deactivate account. Then, type anything into the textbox and press Continue.
  5. Roku account management settings

  6. Download a VPN on your desktop or mobile.
  7. Connect to a VPN server. Make sure your VPN server is located in the region you want to switch your Roku store to.
  8. Create a new Roku account. Ensure your VPN is connected the entire time.
  9. Roku account creation menu

  10. Choose your PIN preferences.
  11. Add a payment method. You must use a valid payment method and ZIP code from the region you’re switching to.

    Adding a payment method to a Roku account

    Note: You can skip this step by closing the window and your Roku store region will still change, however you won’t be able to make purchases on your Roku.

  12. Link your Roku device to your new account. Make sure you enter in the email you used in Step 6.
  13. Roku player activation menu

  14. Activate your account. Click on the link sent to your email on any device of your choice.

    The device you use to open your email does not need to be connected to a VPN.

  15. Roku account activation email

Alternatives to Roku for Streaming

Although Roku is an excellent choice for streaming, the lack of native VPN apps is a significant drawback.

As such, we’ve listed some alternative streaming devices and their relevant setup guides:

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick. A leading digital media player that supports native VPN apps and sideloaded .apk files. As a result, it’s easy to install a VPN on a Fire TV Stick.
  • Kodi. An open-source and highly customizable media player. We identified 11 different methods for installing and using a VPN on Kodi.
  • Apple TV. Apple’s proprietary digital media player that supports 4K streaming and Smart DNS. You can follow our guide for instructions on how to set up a VPN on Apple TV.
  • Chromecast. A digital media player developed by Google that works well with VPNs. You can set up a VPN on Chromecast using one of four methods.

Does Roku Work with Smart DNS?

Roku does not support Smart DNS or allow any DNS customisation within its settings.

If you need to change your DNS settings you can do so within your router and then connect Roku to it. Although, this process can be difficult and risks bricking your router if carried out incorrectly.

Static DNS settings on a router

We advise against adjusting your router’s DNS settings.

Alternatively, you can use AirPlay on iPhone or screen mirroring on Android to unblock geo-restricted content on your Roku. Both methods are just as quick and simple to set up as Smart DNS, requiring no technical knowledge at all.

Our Methodology: What to Look for in a VPN for Roku

We’ve created a bespoke methodology for choosing the best VPNs for Roku.

Use the table below to compare how each Roku VPN performed in our testing categories:

VPNs with a data cap receive a reduction to their overall rating.

We’ve outlined each testing category in-depth, below, along with their percentage contribution to each VPN’s overall rating for Roku:

  1. Router Compatibility: 30%. As Roku does not support native VPN apps, you need to install a VPN onto your router. The best Roku VPNs come with a dedicated router app or, at the very least, can be installed on routers.
  2. Streaming: 30%. It’s essential your VPN can unblock as many Roku channels and geo-restricted streaming libraries as possible.
  3. Speed: 20%. To prevent buffering and drops in video quality, it’s important to choose a VPN that barely impacts your download speeds.
  4. Server Locations: 10%. A large VPN server network provides access to a greater number of geo-restricted Roku channels.
  5. Ease of Use: 10%. The very best Roku VPNs provide easy-to-use mobile apps for AirPlay and screen mirroring. We also generally reward VPN services that add convenient and useful features to their apps.

Data Cap Penalty: Up to 50% Reduction

Free VPNs usually come with a data cap to encourage users to upgrade to a premium subscription.

Data allowance is especially important for Roku VPNs, though, as streaming uses up a lot of bandwidth. For example, a standard 10GB data allowance only allows you to watch around four hours of HD streaming.

If you use up your allotted data, your IP address will no longer be in the correct location. This will prevent you from watching geo-restricted streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or BBC iPlayer.

We apply a penalty to the VPN’s final overall rating for Roku based on its data cap:

  • Unlimited bandwidth: No deduction to the overall rating
  • 10GB per month: -20% to the overall rating
  • 500MB per day: -25% to the overall rating
  • 5GB per month: -30% to the overall rating
  • 1GB per month: -35% to the overall rating
  • 200MB per day: -40% to the overall rating
  • 500MB per month: -50% to the overall rating

FAQs

Can You Use a VPN with Roku TV?

You can’t directly install VPNs on any Roku device, including Roku TV. Instead you’ll have to install a VPN on your router, create a virtual router, use AirPlay, or screen mirror to your Roku TV.

You can find instructions for all four methods in our Roku installation guide above.

What Is the Best Free VPN for Roku?

The best free VPN for Roku is PrivadoVPN Free, as it unblocks US Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more. You can use it with Roku by installing the VPN on a mobile device and sharing the streaming content via AirPlay or screen mirroring.

It’s also fast enough to ensure the maximum possible video quality for all Roku channels.

Does Roku Work Internationally?

Roku devices can be used anywhere in the world, although certain apps may be blocked in your region due to licensing restrictions.

You can find a complete list of countries where Roku is officially supported on the Roku website.