Best VPN for Roku

After launching its streaming player back in 2008, Roku quickly established itself as one of the first streaming boxes to gain mainstream popularity. However, despite supporting a broad range of apps and channels, a lot of its content remains geo-restricted. This means users can only access some channels from specific countries. However, it is possible to bypass these geo-blocks, provided you know how to install and use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

A VPN protects your privacy by encrypting your online traffic and routing it through a remote server in a location of your choosing. You’ll receive a new IP address which will enable you to bypass any geo restrictions. What’s more, using a VPN also adds a crucial layer of privacy to your online activity. It prevents anyone, including your ISP, from snooping on your streaming activity.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to set up a VPN with Roku, and the VPN options that are ideal for the job. I’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about Roku VPNs. In case you’re pressed for time, I’ve come up with a summary of the VPNs that work best with Roku.

The best VPNs for Roku:

  1. NordVPN: The best VPN for Roku. Robust bypassing ability coupled with built-in smart DNS. Round-the-clock support. Specialized servers, top-notch notch security features, and a strict no-logs policy. Risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Surfshark: Offers the greatest value for money. Servers are spread across 100+ countries with 30+ Netflix libraries. Router compatibility and unlimited simultaneous device connections are available.
  3. ExpressVPN: 3,000+ servers across 94+ countries. Strong, rapid connection secured via high-end encryption. Smart DNS proxy service is also included.
  4. CyberGhost: Over 9,000 servers. Offers Smart DNS and the fastest speeds. Works great with Roku and boasts a strict no-logs policy.
  5. PrivateVPN: Fast and easily stream most popular streaming platforms. Payments are accepted in Bitcoin for additional privacy. User friendly and offers email support.
  6. IPVanish: Router compatible. Fast servers and unlimited simultaneous device connections. Legit no-logs policy.
  7. Private Internet Access: Decent speeds and a no-logs policy. Up to 10 simultaneous device connections or an unlimited number via a VPN compatible.
  8. Atlas VPN: Boasts fast speeds and facilitates an unlimited number of device connections. Very secure and no identifying logs are stored.

Below is a list of the most important features of a great Roku VPN:

  • Global server network that’s able to access the most popular streaming platforms including Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now, and BBC iPlayer
  • Fast, strong, reliable connections that allow for HD streaming
  • Private DNS servers and DNS leak protection to fully mask user location
  • Helpful customer support
  • Apps for Windows, macOS, and Android

You’ll learn more about my selection process in the methodology section further below. First, let’s take a closer look at the VPNs that made the cut.

Best VPNs for Roku

After extensive research, I’ve come up with a list of the top Roku VPNs based on various key criteria. If you’d like to read the more detailed reviews, feel free to start with NordVPN – the #1 choice for Roku.

Here’s my list of the best VPNs for Roku:

1. NordVPN

nordvpn homepage

NordVPN is our top suggestion for Roku as it is excellent at accessing Roku as well as any other popular streaming service. It boasts over 5,400 servers that are secured using top-notch encryption. The servers are spread across 60+ countries giving users a wide variety of regions to choose from.

This provider is also a great option for families and roommates as it allows up to six simultaneous connections on one account. NordVPN account holders can also access SmartPlay. This is an encrypted DNS proxy service that enables users to access geo-restricted content.

Additionally, NordVPN offers pre-flashed DD-WRT routers in case you’d like to avoid the hassle of setting up the connections manually. However, you can have a go on your own by using the detailed tutorials available in the NordVPN knowledge base.

Pros:

  • Vast server network, capable of accessing most geo-restricted content
  • Servers are optimized for HD streaming
  • Top-notch encryption standards with DNS leak protection
  • User-friendly apps for most platforms
  • Preconfigured routers available
  • 24/7 live chat support is available

Con:

  • The desktop app could use some updating

BEST VPN FOR ROKU:NordVPN is my number one choice. An excellent option that works great with Roku. Connect up to six devices simultaneously. Preconfigured routers are available. Risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Surfshark

Surfshark ESPN

Surfshark works to access most of the popular streaming services including Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and over 30 Netflix libraries. It can access such a broad range of geo-restricted content thanks to its extensive server network. It has more than 3,000 servers spread across 100+ countries. Surfshark is also one of the fastest VPNs out there and does not throttle your bandwidth.

A single Surfshark account allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. This VPN is also router compatible, plus it’s easy to set up on Roku, as there are detailed instructions available. It also provides top-tier security via highly secure 256-bit AES encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, MultiHop servers, a kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy.

Surfshark has apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV.  Chrome and Firefox extensions are also available or you could configure it to work on your home router manually.

Pros:

  • Can access over 30 Netflix libraries (and other streaming services)
  • No limit to the number of devices you can connect at once
  • Very fast server speeds for nonstop streaming
  • Compatible with a wide range of devices, routers included
  • Plenty of security features such as MultiHop servers

Con:

  • Customer support could be improved

BEST VALUE VPN:Surfshark is a fast VPN that also allows unlimited simultaneous device connections. Router compatible, secure, and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN home

ExpressVPN works well with Roku as well as Hulu, HBO Max, Netflix US, and Disney+. You simply need to get in touch with customer support to find out which servers are presently working with your preferred streaming service. It has over 3,000 servers distributed across 94+ countries. Each server is optimized for maximum speed and reliability. They are also highly secured using the best tools in the market such as 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy.

ExpressVPN accounts also include a smart DNS proxy service known as MediaStreamer. For some WiFi routers that do not support VPNs, it’s possible to switch the default DNS addresses to MediaStreamer’s in a few easy steps. While this cannot provide the same level of encryption as a VPN, you’ll be able to access geo-restricted content.

In case you’d like to use a fully featured VPN but lack the time or confidence needed to configure your router manually, ExpressVPN has your back. It offers pre-flashed routers with tailor-made firmware to help you quickly route your preferred devices, including Roku, through any server on its network.

Pros:

  • A vast, superfast network of over 3,000 servers dotted around the globe
  • No limits on data and bandwidth use, great for HD streaming
  • DNS leak protection and keeps no traffic logs
  • 24-hour chat support staff
  • Apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux

Cons:

  • More expensive than others on this list.

SECURE AND RELIABLE:ExpressVPN is a solid choice for a Roku VPN. With a vast server network that is optimized for super-fast connections, it works great with Roku. User-friendly apps for all operating systems. Heavy focus on privacy and security. 30-day money-back guarantee.

4. CyberGhost

CyberGhost homepage

CyberGhost sets itself apart from its competition with its extensive server network that spans over 90+ countries and totals over 9,000 servers. With such an impressive network, CyberGhost comfortably accesses a wide variety of geo-restricted websites. This includes streaming services such as Netflix US, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. It’s also the quickest VPN on our list making it great for watching content on Roku.

It follows a strict no-logs policy and employs security features such as 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. You can connect your Roku to a CyberGhost VPN server thanks to its Smart DNS feature. Plus, it’s compatible with several WiFi routers. 24-hour live chat and email support are on hand to help you get set up in case you need it.

CyberGhost has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. You can also use CyberGhost on up to seven devices simultaneously. Although it supports select routers, manual setup is needed. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available.

Pros:

  • More than 9,000 servers in 90+ countries
  • Fastest speeds of any VPN tested (ideal for streaming on Roku)
  • Allows up to seven simultaneous connections
  • Smart DNS feature for quick and easy use with Roku
  • Live chat and email support 24/7 should you need help

Cons:

  • Unable to bypass VPN restrictions in China
  • More suited to beginners than power users

SMART DNS FEATURE:CyberGhost works well with Roku via its Smart DNS feature. This router-compatible VPN has more than 9,000 servers and posted the fastest speeds in our tests. No logs service. 45-day money-back guarantee.

5. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN is a more recent arrival to the VPN scene. However, it has quickly established itself as one of the best at accessing popular streaming services such as Netflix US. In our speed tests, it got an impressive score plus I also found its customer support to be very helpful.

On its website, you’ll find detailed instructions on how to set up PrivateVPN on your Tomato or DD-WRT router. With one account, users can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously.

No logs are stored whatsoever plus the provider recently switched to using its own DNS servers rather than public ones. However, these can’t be used beyond this VPN service.

Pros:

  • Growing reputation as it gains access to more and more sites
  • Good enough speeds for high-quality streaming
  • Top-tier security

Cons:

  • A limited number of servers
  • The support team is only available within European business hours.

GREAT SPEEDS:PrivateVPN is a top pick for families. Fast speeds despite its small server network. 30-day money-back guarantee.

6. IPVanish

ipvanish

IPVanish can offer fast and reliable connections by having its own server network. Users can access over 2,000 servers that are distributed across 60+ countries. While it may struggle to stream certain services from overseas, it does work comfortably with both Hulu and Sling TV.

This VPN employs the WireGuard protocol along with military-grade encryption to secure your online activity. Besides offering DNS leak protection, IPVanish also owns its DNS servers.

Sadly, custom firmware is not available. However, if you’d like to avoid the hassle of a manual setup, you can purchase pre-configured routers from Flashrouters. What’s more, IPVanish allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices at once.

Pros:

  • Can access most popular streaming platforms thanks to an expansive server network
  • Awesome streaming speeds
  • IPv6 and DNS leak protection
  • Remote-friendly apps make it a favorite for Firestick and Kodi

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work in China
  • Based in the USA which is a Five Eyes member

UNLIMITED SIMULTANEOUS CONNECTIONS:IPVanish offers robust security and privacy features. Excellent speeds due to its large server network. Customer service could be better. 30-day money-back guarantee.

7. Private Internet Access

private internet access

Private Internet Access works great with some of the most popular streaming services available on Roku, including Amazon Prime Video and Netflix US. With servers across 84 nations, it averages speeds of about 94 Mbps, making it more than capable of high-quality streaming. PIA allows connections of up to 10 devices at once and even offers unlimited bandwidth.

PIA can be used with a VPN-compatible router which makes it possible to use with Roku devices as well. Internet traffic is secured using 256-bit AES encryption whether you’re using a router or any other device, such as a laptop or phone. It also offers a legit no logs policy as confirmed by an independent audit by Deloitte. Other key security features include DNS leak protection and a kill switch.

Apps are available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. Chrome and Firefox extensions are also offered.

Pros:

  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • Works with multiple routers
  • No logs policy audited by Deloitte

Cons:

  • Can’t access some major streaming services
  • Does not work in China

ROUTER COMPATIBLE:Private Internet Access works great with Roku. It allows users to access several geo-restricted services. It has several customization options and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

8. Atlas VPN

atlasvpn homepage

Atlas VPN operates a relatively modest network of 750 servers that are spread across 40+ locations around the world. While this is significantly smaller compared to most providers on this list, Atlas VPN can still keep up with them when it comes to performance. It’s a highly reliable VPN that delivers lightning-quick speeds and robust security features.

Some of the top-tier security features of this VPN include a kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, and protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks. Unlike most of its competitors, Atlas VPN offers MultiHop servers for double data encryption. It’s also a strict zero-log provider and allows unlimited simultaneous device connections.

Apps are available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

Pros:

  • Delivers sufficient speeds for 4K streaming
  • Rock solid security features
  • Stringent no-logs policy

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work on Linux or routers
  • Cancelation process needs some improvement

RAPID SPEEDS AND ROBUST SECURITY:Although it runs a smaller server network, Atlas VPN delivers fast speeds. It can safely access nearly all the major streaming sites and doesn’t impose bandwidth or connection limits. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Roku VPN testing methodology

Privacy.net endeavors to provide its readers with the most accurate and useful VPN reviews and recommendations on the internet. To achieve this, each VPN on this list has been subjected to a series of tests, and expert analysis, and evaluated based on real-world experience. To identify the top Roku VPNs, I looked at the following:

  • Router support: Roku does not support VPN applications. To get it to work, you must first set up your VPN on a WiFi router. Almost all the VPNs on the above list can be configured manually on a broad range of router firmware.
  • Streaming: To find out which VPNs work to access geo-restricted content, I employed extensive real-world tests. The popular streaming services I typically check include BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, and Disney+, among several others.
  • Speed: I measured and recorded the connection speeds to each VPN’s servers to determine the fastest ones with Roku.
  • Security: I only recommend VPNs that have met a minimum set of encryption standards. I further tested them for several data leaks
  • Privacy: I combed through the terms of service and privacy policies of each VPN in search of any indication of storage of personally identifiable information. Only VPNs that offer legit no-log policies made it onto the list.
  • Customer service: I got in touch with each provider’s customer support staff as a potential subscriber and evaluated their speed and helpfulness.
  • Server network: The greater the number of server locations, the wider the variety of options for streaming.

The above is a condensed version of my methodology. To learn more, read the full guide on how I test VPNs.

How to connect Roku to a VPN

Currently, in its fifth generation, Roku has six different offerings ranging from lightweight budget devices to heavy-duty 4K streamers. Here’s the complete list:

  • Roku Express
  • Streaming Stick
  • Roku Premiere
  • Roku Premiere+
  • Ultra
  • Roku TV

However, Roku OS is incompatible with VPNs on all of its devices, including the latest ones. To set up VPNs, Roku owners are forced to use an intermediary device. This is usually a WiFi router. Below, I’ll show you the various ways you can achieve this:

  1. Set up a VPN on your WiFi router, then connect the VPN to it.
  2. Set up a VPN-protected WiFi hotspot on a laptop, then connect the Roku to it.
  3. Connect an Android smartphone or tablet to the VPN, then screencast to the Roku.
  4. Purchase an alternative streaming device or VPN-compatible WiFi router.

Using Roku with a VPN-enabled WiFi router

To safely access your shows via a VPN-enabled router, simply set up a VPN on your router and connect your Roku to the router’s network. In this case, you can choose between a physical and virtual router.

How to set up a VPN on a physical WiFi router

You’ll need a particular kind of firmware that supports VPN connections before you can set up a VPN on a physical router. To access your router firmware dashboard, simply type “192.168.0.1” or “192.168.1.1” into the URL bar on your browser. Ensure you’re connected to WiFi then key in your log-ins. In case you’ve forgotten your credentials, check your user manual or look up the defaults online. “admin” is a common username and password.

Keep in mind that certain routers such as Netgear support creating a VPN server on the router itself. Other devices would then be able to access the local network through it. However, we don’t want that. Rather, our primary goal is to connect the router to a VPN server in a remote location.

After you’ve accessed the dashboard, find the option to set up a VPN connection. In case you can’t locate it, you may need to install new firmware onto the router. This is a procedure that varies from device to device, although it’s commonly referred to as “flashing.” It’s a delicate process that requires a great deal of caution. If poorly done, it could result in permanent damage to your router. Popular free and open source router firmware include Tomato and DD-WRT with both having versions that are VPN compatible.

Once you’ve installed the right firmware, check your VPN provider’s website or contact their customer support for setup instructions. Also, find out the configuration details for connecting to their servers.

Note that not all routers are compatible with DD-WRT or Tomato. In such a case, you’ll have to replace your router with one that has been pre-configured. This is also an alternative option for the more experienced VPN users. My top VPN recommendation is NordVPN. It offers bespoke pre-configured routers that come pre-loaded with all the setup and configuration already completed. This makes it much easier to set up and use compared to open-source options.

If your router isn’t compatible with DD-WRT or Tomato, or you just don’t feel confident enough to change it, you can opt for a pre-configured router. Our top recommendation is NordVPN, which comes with the option of bespoke pre-configured routers pre-loaded with all the setup and configuration done for you. It’s far easier to set up and use than open-source alternatives.

How to set up a VPN on a virtual WiFi router/hotspot

Compared to setting up a VPN on a physical WiFi router, doing so on a virtual router is far simpler and involves less risk. You’ll simply require a laptop to broadcast its network and provide a wifi hotspot. Most recent Macs and Windows PCs can easily perform this function.

Follow these easy steps to set up a VPN for Roku on a virtual WiFi router:

  1. Choose an appropriate VPN provider from this list, we particularly recommend NordVPN.
  2. Set up a VPN connection and click connect.
  3. Broadcast a WiFi hotspot to nearby devices.
  4. Connect your Roku to the wifi hotspot.
  5. All traffic from the Roku is routed through the VPN.

How to set up a Roku DNS proxy

Besides Roku not allowing its users to change the default DNS addresses, it also doesn’t support VPN software. You’ll need to do this on your router.

Although a DNS proxy provides neither the geo spoofing nor encryption capabilities of a VPN, it’s far simpler to set up, plus it won’t make your connection slower. Roku users will need to access their router dashboards and head to the DNS settings. Usually, you’ll only require a primary and secondary DNS server address. Make sure you connect to DNS servers located in the appropriate regions for the content you’d like to access. An extra measure that’s not necessary for streaming is hard coding your IPv6 addresses. It might also need to be completely disabled in certain cases.

Domain Name System (DNS) is used by devices to resolve URLs like “privacy.net” into their associated IP addresses that consist of numbers and decimals. It’s similar to a phone book that matches up people’s names with their phone numbers.

Since you’ll be changing the server where DNS requests get sent, you’ll be able to access content on platforms that locate users using DNS. This technique is referred to as a DNS proxy. It’s important to note that reputable VPNs automatically override your DNS settings and connect you to their private DNS servers. However, very few VPN providers will allow you to use their DNS servers if you don’t have a subscription.

Can I use a free VPN for Roku?

While there are numerous “free” VPNs on the market, nearly none of them work with Roku. Since many free providers only run on their apps, it’s impossible to configure on any WiFi router as is required for Roku. Also, free VPN servers are usually congested and unreliable making them unsuitable for streaming.

What’s more, most free VPNs are incapable of protecting user privacy with some even creating unnecessary risks. To keep their lights on and hopefully profit off their subscribers, free VPNs might store user browser data and then sell it to third-party advertisers. Some come loaded with malware, while most typically add display ads and tracking cookies into browsers.

Only a handful of reliable free VPN services exist. However, all of them have strict bandwidth limits, making them unreliable for streaming.

Simply put, I strongly suggest staying away from free VPNs and, instead, signing up with a reputable paid VPN.

VPNs to avoid with Roku

VPNBook

VPNBook offers configuration files for free OpenVPN servers yet it’s still unclear what their policies are or even who’s behind the company. According to the hacking collective Anonymous, the site could be a honey pot for law enforcement. Considering all the performance and privacy concerns, I advise against using VPNBook.

Hola

Although Hola refers to itself as a VPN, it doesn’t have centralized servers but rather utilizes a peer-to-peer structure. Unfortunately, this raises serious privacy concerns and prevents it from being set up on a Roku device or router. At one point, the provider used all of the devices connected to its network to form a vast botnet which it used to launch multiple DoS attacks on websites. To avoid losing your bandwidth to strangers or having your Roku hijacked, I recommend avoiding Hola.

Kodi on Roku

Kodi is a free, open-source home theater software for streaming content from official and unofficial sources. Sadly, Roku does not support it. An imperfect solution to this would be to get an Android device with casting capabilities and use screen mirroring to set up Kodi on Roku.

Recommended Roku alternatives: Amazon Fire TV Stick

In case you’re still weighing up different options before deciding whether or not to buy Roku, I’ve identified two great alternatives. I strongly recommend Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, if it’s available in your country. The second generation or any later Fire Stick works great.

Roku and Fire TV have nearly identical features and channel offerings. However, Fire TV offers greater flexibility when tweaking configurations, accessing geo-restricted content, and installing third-party apps. Here’s what you can do with Fire TV:

  • Install a VPN on Fire TV
  • Install Kodi on Fire TV
  • Specify your DNS servers
  • Install third-party apps from Android APKs

With Fire TV, you won’t need a wireless router to connect to a VPN or an Android device to cast Kodi.

Roku VPN setup FAQs

Can I set up Roku on a WiFi hotspot?

Yes. Broadcasting a WiFi hotspot from your phone, laptop, or router works just the same as connecting to any other WiFi network when it comes to setting up Roku.

To use a VPN with Roku, simply set up your VPN on the device that is broadcasting the hotspot. Here’s how you can do it on Windows.

How can I share my Mac VPN connection with a Roku device?

Setting up a virtual router will enable you to share your MacBook’s internet and VPN connections with your Roku device. In just a matter of minutes, you can set up a VPN-protected virtual router on your Mac.

Why is Roku blocked in some places?

Roku employs various strategies for determining your location. For starters, they could use your IP address, which is a special set of numbers and decimals that are assigned to every device connected to the web. Each address is unique and has an associated approximate location on the planet. As such, they make it possible for companies to geo-restrict apps or content provided they have access to user IP addresses. A reliable VPN allows you to switch your IP address, which in turn changes your apparent location.

Another method involves where you bought the device plus the country you in which created an account. Roku might use these details to decide which apps you can and can’t access. For instance, if you’re outside Canada, Crave TV may not be available. To fix this, you’ll need to either create a new account or buy a new Roku device.

Is it illegal to use a VPN with Roku?

VPNs are 100% legal in most countries and are used by millions of people around the world every day. That said, attempting to access content from other regions apart from your home region does go against Roku’s terms of service. However, this would not be the case if you’re just using a VPN to stream your favorite shows securely.

Assuming you pick one of the reputable providers I’ve recommended, Roku will probably never detect the connection. If they do, they’ll likely ask you to simply switch off the VPN before you can continue watching.

Disclaimer: Although we have spent hours researching this topic, we are not legal experts. As such, nothing we’ve said above should be taken as legal advice. We encourage you to consult local laws or perhaps even seek a professional’s opinion if you’re not 100% certain that VPNs are legal where you are.