The Roku is a digital media box that allows you to access streaming sites from all sorts of different online streaming providers including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and much more.
The hardware streaming solution which Roku offers has played a big part in taking online streaming mainstream and turning it into the global entertainment phenomenon it is today.
One of the big limitations that comes with online streaming on Roku is geo-blocking; the tendency for online streaming platforms to restrict access to their service to certain geographic areas.
This is where VPNs come in, allowing you to access popular streaming services from abroad and unblock those that aren’t already available in your location.
So, how can you use a VPN on Roku and which VPN services are the best to choose?
In this guide, we will address these questions and give you all the answers you need to use Roku with a VPN.
What VPN works with Roku?
The short answer to this question is, none of them works directly with Roku. You cannot install a Virtual Private Network directly onto a Roku device.
If the answer ended there, this would be a very short and pointless guide, so it won’t surprise you to know that despite this, there is a workaround that you can use to get a VPN on Roku.
The way to do this is with a VPN-enabled router on your Wi-Fi network.
A VPN-enabled router works just like your regular one but it allows you to install a VPN on to the router which creates a VPN enabled Wi-Fi network.
By doing this, you can ensure that every device that connects to this router’s Wi-Fi network is protected by your VPN service. This includes your Roku device.
It also means that you can change the region your Roku box is connected to and therefore the streaming sites you can access on it, simply by changing the server your VPN is connected to.
Best VPN Router
Before you choose a VPN to use with your home Wi-Fi network and your Roku box you will therefore also need to choose the top VPN to use too.
To help you with this, here is a rundown of our pick of the best VPN-enabled routers on the market right now:
- Cheap to buy
- Easy to set up
- Works with most popular services
- Expensive monthly subscription
- Suitable for popular services only
StreamLocator is a relatively new device but it has leapt to the top of our recommended list.
As you will see in our full review of the StreamLocator, we were seriously impressed with the simplicity and consistency of performance it offered.
This device is not in fact a VPN router but a router that utilises the DNS network. For you as a user, this doesn't matter much, only it won't provide encryption or privacy.
It has a sleek design and can be set up and be ready to work in just four simple steps.
Hooking it up is simple and once connected, you can use StreamLocator to unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and just about any other streaming platform you can think of.
It is ideal for a Roku user especially.
There are some downsides. While StreamLocator covers all the most popular regions, it isn’t universal. Outside of the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Italy and Switzerland there are no other country's services covered.
VPN connection speeds with StreamLocator were extremely good and we also had no trouble connecting to a streaming service on our Roku box and then watching a box set or back-to-back movies. This service is consistent and reliable.
There are quite a few that will do a job for a Roku user, but StreamLocator is our pick of them. It is also the cheapest as well.
Buying the StreamLocator router costs US$83.88 or £62.09 and that comes with 12-months of service too. After that, you can keep streaming with your StreamLocator for just $6.99 a month.
Check out StreamLocator here.
2. InvizBox 2
- Great speeds
- Choice of VPN services
- Easy to set up and use
- Need additional VPN subscription
The InvizBox 2 is a small but powerful VPN-enabled router that comes in a tidy circular design and is also extremely easy to set up. Even VPN setup is simple.
It comes complete with a quad-core processor and offers extremely impressive download speeds.
InvizBox 2 comes with an inclusive subscription to Windscribe if you choose. But you can also purchase this router subscription-free and then set it up to work with VPNs including ExpressVPN, NordVPN, IPVanish, Surfshark, or MyExpatNetwork.
Once you have connected, you can use your Roku box to stream content on platforms from anywhere in the world. The only restrictions you have are the location where you VPN provider offers servers.
Setup and configuration of the Invizbox 2 is so simple even your Granny could do it. The multiple hotspots and profiles features are a little more complex but still simple enough to figure out.
Price-wise, the InvizBox 2 sits firmly in the mid-range category. But we still thing it delivers terrific value for money.
Check out the Invizbox 2 here.
- One of the fastest
- Powerful hardware
- Not for beginners
The Vilfo VPN-enabled router is not a thing of beauty and it certainly won’t be bringing home any design awards. But it is small, unobtrusive and extremely powerful.
The Vilfo router lets you connect an unlimited number of devices and even lets you have up to 3 wired internet connections too. It offers 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless connections, but you do have to choose one or the other. You can’t have both at the same time.
A big plus is speeds where we found in our tests that running a VPN through the Vilfo router was almost as quick as running it directly through the desktop app.
The Vilfo router comes with pre-configured settings for about 25 leading VPN providers (and some less well known providers). It also boasts some neat additional features like a kill switch and split tunneling facilities as standard.
For streaming on your Roku box, the Vilfo router is ideal, thanks to the speeds and the ability to configure your VPN for any server location you want.
If there is a downside to the Vilfo router, it is the price. At $399 without VAT and just shy of $500 including it (~£365). That’s a lot of money, but if it doesn’t put you off, this is still an extremely good VPN router.
Check out Vilfo here.
There are lots of other devices on the market that you can connect a VPN too, so your choice isn’t restricted to these three.
The top VPN providers all offer manual setup guides for a wide range of devices. But do bear in mind that others can be a lot more complicated than these to set up and get things running on your Roku box – if you can set them up at all.
These are the three VPN-enabled routers we recommend for Roku users.
Devices like the StreamLocator don't need any additional VPN service and you can use it straight out of the box.
If you opt for an unbundled Invizbox 2 or the Vilfo, you'll also need an additional VPN service. We've compared the best below.
Top 7 VPN services for Roku
Choosing the top VPN service and using a VPN with a VPN-enabled router and your Roku box is not as simple as it may sound. There are hundreds of VPNs on the market and they will all claim to be the best Roku VPN.
The truth is that some are much better suited to this task than others, so here is a rundown of the best VPNs for Roku.
ExpressVPN is our top-rated VPN service overall for many reasons but one of the biggest is that it is compatible with almost any device you can think of.
There are few VPNs that can be installed on more VPN-enabled routers than ExpressVPN and it is ideal for all of the three recommended above and therefore our top Roku VPN.
In addition to compatibility, ExpressVPN comes with the privacy of a no user logs policy and all the security features you need as well as some of the fastest speeds of any VPN. This makes ExpressVPN ideal for streaming content on your Roku box.
The Express VPN server coverage is an extensive one with more than 3,000 VPN servers in 94 countries worldwide. It is compatible with all the major streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and Disney+ too which means you can watch what you want when you want.
There is a fantastic 24/7 customer support service, 5 simultaneous connections and a range of browser extensions.
VPN protection comes in the form of great user-friendly features like a kill switch and split tunnelling, and also an exceptional 30-day money-back guarantee which gives you lots of time to try ExpressVPN before you buy. Our top recommendation.
Best VPN for Roku
30-day money back guarantee
If you are looking for a value for money Roku VPN, then you won’t go far wrong with NordVPN. This established VPN offers one of the best VPN services around at one of the lowest prices. There is even a 30-day money-back guarantee to let you see how it works before you commit any money.
There is an enormous range of apps and plenty of manual set up guides too, meaning getting NordVPN onto a VPN-enabled router is not a problem. This makes NordVPN perfect for Roku users.
Under the hood, NordVPN offers military grade encryption, a watertight no user logs policy and an extensive range of privacy and security features such as double-hop VPN servers, a kill switch, split tunneling.
NordVPN users also benefit from a 5,500 strong VPN server coverage in 59 countries, VPN connection speeds are among the best around which makes them ideal for streaming and you can connect up to six devices simultaneously if you need to. There are some nice apps and browser extensions too.
NordVPN can unblock just about any streaming service you would care to mention, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and more. An excellent option for Roku users, especially if you are on a budget.
Surfshark is a new VPN but one that has made huge inroads into the market since it was launched. It already has a huge range of apps and works with most VPN-enabled routers.
Despite its youth, Surfshark already offers more than 3,200 in 65 different countries making it great for unblocking content. For streamers, the good news is that Surfshark works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime video, and many more.
In our tests, internet connection speeds have been impressive too meaning you should have no trouble streaming your favourite movies and TV shows.
Surfshark also comes with 256-bit AES military grade encryption as standard. Its privacy protections are ok too, although it does collect a little more connection data that we would ideally like to see. It does offer unlimited simultaneous connections.
There is room for improvement but at the price, Surfshark is marketed at, and with a 30-day money-back guarantee in place too and great user-friendly customer support, it is another excellent option for Roku users.
IPVanish is a long-standing VPN that has had one or two hiccups of late but is back with a vengeance now. It has upgraded to allow an unlimited number of simultaneous connections with every account and there is now a 30-day money-back guarantee too.
The no user logs policy has been under scrutiny recently but is now fully reaffirmed. Users get 256-bit AES encryption as standard too, along with a number of security features such as a kill switch.
Internet connection speeds are impressive and there are plenty of apps available plus a range of manual guides to get IPVanish onto your VPN-enabled router and therefore to use with Roku.
Unfortunately, IPVanish still has some issues with unblocking streaming services even though it provides plenty of IP addresses. It can work with Netflix and BBC iPlayer but is somewhat temperamental and we would recommend choosing it over the VPN providers higher up this list.
VyprVPN has been around for a long time and established a strong reputation that has been enhanced considerably in recent times thanks to fresh investment.
Connection speeds with VyprVPN are decent and good enough for streaming but there is no denying there are faster VPNs out there. When it comes to streaming, VyprVPN can unblock Netflix but only the US, UK, German, and Canadian versions. It is also able to unblock Amazon Prime video, BBC iPlayer, and more.
There are decent apps for a range of devices and manual guides for router installation are also available. Any problems, and there is a helpful customer support team on standby to assist you.
VyprVPN offers around 700 servers located around the world with a focus on key markets like the US and Europe. This isn’t bad, but it could be better. You can also connect five devices simultaneously.
Prices are reasonable and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee as well as military grade encryption, a good kill switch, and decent privacy protections that have been independently verified. VyprVPN is another excellent choice for Roku users.
If you are new to the VPNs world, then CyberGhost VPN is a good bet for you. This VPN has come on in leaps and bounds and now offers one of the most user-friendly services you will find, especially for Roku users.
There are some really good apps and this VPN can be uploaded onto VPN-enabled routers too. Unique settings allow you to set up CyberGhost VPN for streaming or other uses with a single click.
For streamers, connection speeds are good, and CyberGhost VPN can unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime video, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and most other streaming services.
Encryption and privacy protections are good too and prices are especially competitive if you sign up for a longer period. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee too – another great VPN option for Roku users.
7. Private Internet Access
It might be seventh on our list, but Private Internet Access is not here to make up the numbers. It is another top-notch VPN that offers a cost-effective VPN service ideally suited to Roku users.
With Private Internet Access, you will get fast connection speeds, decent apps, and the ability to install onto VPN-enabled routers.
It is able to unblock Netflix, although only the US and UK versions and it is not as reliable as some others on this list. Other premium streaming services like Disney+ and BBC iPlayer are patchy too, unfortunately.
Prices however, are extremely competitive and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee too. Security and privacy protections are robust with military grade encryption as standard and while there is room for improvement, this is another VPN provider we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
Why you need a VPN for your Roku
There is a number of compelling reasons why you need a Virtual Private Network for your Roku box.
Below we've rounded up some of the more important ones.
1. Bypass geo-restrictions
A lot of websites and streaming services you are likely to access on your Roku box use geo-restrictions to limit access to their service to specific countries or regions.
This can be very frustrating if your country’s offering is not great or you need to travel overseas.
You can be setting up a VPN to help you to unblock geo-restricted content by changing your IP Address and watch what you want wherever you are in the world. Using a VPN is a solution to this problem.
2. Stream privately
Online privacy is an increasingly difficult thing to achieve these days. A VPN is able to encrypt your data and hide your IP Address. This stops your Internet Service Provider and anyone else from seeing what you have been watching online on your Roku box.
3. Avoid bandwidth throttling
Bandwidth throttling is an increasingly common problem where your ISP limits your connection speeds if you are watching something or using a streaming service they don’t like.
But with a VPN connection in place, your ISP cannot see what you are doing, so is unable to throttle your speeds.
4. Resolve connection issues
Connection speeds can be slow for various reasons and this can really impact on your online experience.
With a VPN, you can redirect your internet traffic through a different route and often get around issues that are slowing your speeds down.
Is there a free VPN for Roku?
There are multiple problems that come with a free VPN for Roku. Many routinely sell your internet data to cover their costs, while others can come bundled with malware, adware, and much more.
There are also various service limitations with free VPNs that make them far from ideal for streaming. Speeds are routinely slow and often capped, while there are frequently data restrictions too.
But the biggest problem is with VPN-enabled router compatibility. Almost no free VPNs offer this and you will struggle to find any that offer manual installation guides.
There is a place for a free VPN in some limited circumstances but using free VPNs with Roku is not one of them.
Deciding on the best VPN for Roku is not easy since you cannot install a VPN or use a VPN directly but have to set up a VPN on your router for your entire Wi-Fi network.
By using VPN routers detailed above, you can still connect your Roku box to a VPN and enjoy all the benefits that come with it.
In this guide, we have detailed the best routers to use and the best VPNs for Roku too. We have explained how to find out how to set up a VPN for Roku and given you all the other information you need to for VPN setup too.
It might sound like a complicated set-up. But by choosing the router and VPNs we have recommended, it will not take you long to get things set up and working well.