The Roku device is a digital media box that allows you to access streaming services from all sorts of different online streaming providers including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and many 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 a Roku device is geo-blocking; the tendency for online streaming platforms to restrict access to their service to certain geographic areas.
This is where Roku 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.
Table of Contents
What VPN works with Roku?
The short answer to this question is, none of them works directly with Roku devices. You cannot install a Virtual Private Network directly onto a Roku TV 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 router works just like a regular router but it allows you to install a VPN on to the router itself which then creates a VPN-enabled Wi-Fi hotspot or network.
VPN supporting routers either support VPN apps or allow you to follow a guide to manually set up a VPN in the router firmware.
By doing this, you can ensure that all your devices that connect to this router’s Wi-Fi network are protected by your VPN service. This includes your Roku device. Even better, you can offer VPN protection to all your other network users too.
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 need to find a VPN which either offers a dedicated router app or will otherwise allow manual installation.
The best VPNs will usually offer one or the other.
But you will also need to find a router that can support VPNs too, either by allowing a dedicated router app to be installed or having the capacity to allow manual installation of a VPN.
Here is a rundown of our pick of the best Wi-Fi router options that allow the installation of VPNs and which are available 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-enabling router in the traditional sense. Rather it is a router that utilises DNS servers to serve as a DNS proxy. For you as a user, this doesn’t matter much. But you should note that 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. It is a pre-configured router that comes with the StreamLocator service already installed.
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 Roku account holders and internet sharing 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 speed 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 thanks to its own DNS servers network.
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-enabling WiFi 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 premium VPN subscription to Windscribe if you choose.
Once you have connected, the router’s WiFi network will be encrypted and secure and you can use your Roku box to stream content on platforms from anywhere in the world by adopting one of your VPNs many new IP addresses.
The only restrictions you have are the location where your VPN provider offers servers.
Setup and configuration of the Invizbox 2 Wi-Fi router is so simple even your Granny could do it. The multiple hotspots and profile features are a little more complex but still simple enough to figure out and it can support VPNs of all kinds.
Price-wise, the InvizBox 2 sits firmly in the mid-range category. But we still think it delivers terrific value for money and is perfect for users of Roku TV and the Roku Streaming Stick.
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 gives you unlimited connections meaning you can hook up as many devices as you like 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 the connection 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 is one of the pre-configured routers on the market that comes with pre-configured settings for about 25 leading VPN providers and some less well-known providers too.
It’s worth nothing, you will still need to sign up and log in using your VPN account password and username. 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), it does cost a lot of money. But if it doesn’t put you off, this is an extremely good VPN router.
Check out Vilfo here.
There are lots of other VPN-enabling routers and even VPN-enabled virtual router options on the market that you can connect a VPN to, so your choice isn’t limited 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.
That is a big reason why these are the three VPN routers we recommend for Roku users.
Devices like the StreamLocator don’t need any additional VPN service and you can use them straight out of the box.
If you opt for an unbundled Invizbox 2 or the Vilfo, you’ll also need an additional VPN service too. To help you wth that difficult decision, we’ve compared the best VPNs for Roku users below.
Top 7 VPN services for Roku
Choosing the best VPNs for Roku and using a VPN with a router and your Roku box is not as simple as you may think. There are hundreds of VPNs on the market and they will all claim to be the best VPNs for Roku.
The truth is that some are much better suited to this task than others, so here is a rundown of the best Roku VPN options:
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 most of those recommended above and therefore our top Roku VPN.
In addition to compatibility, ExpressVPN comes with an independently-verified and rock-solid no-user logs policy and all the online security features you need as well as some of the fastest speeds of any VPN.
Together with unlimited bandwidth, this makes ExpressVPN ideal for streaming content on your Roku box.
ExpressVPN’s own server network is an extensive one with more than 3,000 VPN servers in 94 countries worldwide and thousands of IP Addresses.
It is compatible with all the major streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and even Sling TV too which means Express VPN users can watch what they want when they 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 and by some distance the best VPN for Roku.
Best VPN for Roku
30-day money back guarantee
If you are looking for the best value-for-money Roku VPN, then you won’t go far wrong with NordVPN which has held that VPN status for some time now.
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. It can work with both a virtual and physical router and this makes NordVPN perfect for Roku users.
Under the hood, NordVPN offers strong encryption, a watertight no-user logs policy and an extensive range of privacy and security features to keep your VPN connection secure such as double-hop VPN servers, a kill switch and split tunneling.
NordVPN users also benefit from a 5,544 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 connect Roku to just about any streaming service you would care to mention, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and more. The best Roku VPN option for users 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 routers.
Despite its youth, Surfshark already offers more than 3,200 VPN server options in 95 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 streaming services too.
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 also 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 and terrific VPN app options, it is another excellent VPN 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 unlimited simultaneous connections with every account and there is also 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 to ensure your VPN connection is safe.
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 and a server network that consists of 2,000+ servers in more than 75 countries.
It can work with Netflix and BBC iPlayer but is somewhat temperamental and we would not 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 in 70+ locations 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 VPN for Roku users.
If you are new to the VPN 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 45-day money-back guarantee too – another great Roku VPN option.
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 Roku VPN provider we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
Why you need a VPN for your Roku
There are 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:
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 use a VPN on a virtual router 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.
Online privacy is an increasingly difficult thing to achieve these days.
VPN apps are able to encrypt your data and hide your real IP Address.
This stops your Internet Service Provider and anyone else from seeing what you have been watching online on your Roku box.
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.
Some ISPs even have data caps that limited your data usage. But with a VPN connection in place, your ISP cannot see what you are doing, so is unable to throttle your speeds or control his much data you are using.
Connection speeds can be slow for various reasons and this can really impact 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. The security limitations of free VPNs are frankly not worth the hassle.
But that’s not all. There are also various service limitations with free VPNs that make them far from ideal for streaming.
Connection speed rates are routinely slow and often capped, while there are frequently data restrictions rather than unlimited bandwidth.
Server network options on free VPNs are invariably minimal and often consist of no more than one or two servers in a single location, which is totally insufficient for most Roku device users.
But the biggest problem is with the compatibility of free VPNs with the routers needed for a Roku VPN. Router support is almost non-existent with free VPN services.
We are not aware of any that offer a dedicated router app for any of the above-recommended routers. 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 a free VPN with Roku is not one of them. It is, in short, a complete waste of time.
Deciding on the best VPN for Roku is not easy since you cannot install a VPN or use a VPN directly on Roku devices but have to set up a VPN on a virtual router or VPN-enabled device for your entire Wi-Fi network.
But by using the 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 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.