3 steps to connect Roku to your VPN:
- Set up a VPN on a router, OR create a virtual router with a VPN;
- Factory reset your Roku device;
- Create a new Roku account for the region.
Roku is an amazing streaming service to equip your home with. But how do you stay secure from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and snoopers? You can set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on Roku for that.
The problem is that Roku doesn’t natively support VPNs or smart DNS (Domain Name System) functionality, but there’s a workaround.
Disclaimer: We prohibit using Surfshark services for any unlawful purposes as it is against our Terms of Service. Please be sure to act in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations of streaming service providers.
Table of contents
Set up a VPN on your smart TV
Set up a VPN on your home or virtual router
First and foremost, let’s get the technical bit sorted. To connect your Roku to a VPN, you can either install a VPN on your home router or set up a virtual one using a Windows 10 laptop.
Solution A: connect your router to a VPN
Connecting your router to a VPN extends the VPN benefits to all the devices on the Wi-Fi network, including Roku.
Most routers support VPN connections, but some don’t. To find out whether your router has VPN functionality, check the manufacturer’s website or your router’s manual.
In case the router you have doesn’t support VPNs, you have a couple of options:
- Buy a VPN-compatible router;
- Install a new firmware (DD-WRT or Tomato) that flashes a VPN.
You can find a comprehensive firmware guide on our blog that explains how to install a VPN on a router. I highly recommend you do this to enjoy the VPN benefits on all your home devices.
Solution B: set up a virtual router with a VPN
To set up a virtual router with a VPN, you’ll need a Windows 10 laptop and some patience.
Disclaimer: This method only works on Windows. A Mac cannot share and receive Wi-Fi simultaneously unless it’s using the L2TP/IPSec protocol. L2TP/IPSec is outdated, and Surfshark does not offer it among its VPN protocols.
Find the network adapters
- Right-click the Wi-Fi (or Wired connection) icon on your Windows toolbar and select Open Network & Internet settings.
- If you are connected to the internet via Wi-Fi, go to the Wi-Fi tab. If you are connected via an Ethernet cable, choose Ethernet.
- Scroll down until you find the Change adapter options setting and click on it.
- A window with all network adapters installed on your device will show up.Look at the screenshot.Network adapter No. 1 is Surfshark TAP (Surfshark is even mentioned in the title) — it’s likely to be called Ethernet 2.No. 2 adapter is the Wi-Fi adapter that allows connecting to a Wi-Fi network.
Keep this window open — we’ll need this later. Proceed with the process.
Turn on a mobile hotspot
- Right-click the network icon on your Windows toolbar again and choose Open Network & Internet settings.
- Navigate to Mobile hotspot.
- Enable Mobile hotspot by flipping the switch to On. You will see information about this hotspot network below:
- Network name: the name of this network that you’ll see when looking for Wi-Fi connections.
- Network password: the password you’ll need to connect to this network.
- If you want to set your own name and password, click Edit.
Configure the VPN adapter
- Back in the Network connections window you have left open, you will notice a new network adapter — this is what your hotspot will use to share your internet.
- Right-click the Surfshark network adapter and go to Properties.
- Navigate to the Sharing section tab and the box next to “Allow other network users to…”
- In the dropdown menu, choose your new hotspot network adapter.
- Click OK.
Connect to the VPN
The only thing left now is to connect to the VPN (don’t worry about the stuff discussed above — all those settings will remain in place until you change them).
- Launch the Surfshark app and log in.
- Go to Settings → VPN Settings → Protocol and change the default protocol to OpenVPN (UDP).
- Connect to your location.
Congratulations, you’ve created a new Wi-Fi hotspot. Now you can move on to setting up your Roku device and account.
Tips on how to choose the best VPN provider for Roku
Some VPNs are better for Roku than others. Here’s how you choose the best one:
- Server locations: VPN speed depends mainly on the distance between you and the VPN server — the closer, the better. So if the provider doesn’t have a server in your country, you’re already at a disadvantage.
- Server count: if the server closest to you is also a very popular server, you may face some bandwidth congestion. But if the VPN has a lot of servers, that’s less likely to be the case.
- No bandwidth limitations: for streaming TV, you definitely want to avoid VPNs with bandwidth limits. Luckily for you, premium VPNs like Surfshark don’t have those!
Benefits of using a VPN on a Roku device
Once you have a VPN on your Roku device, you can enjoy the following:
- Privacy: your ISP won’t be able to see that you’re connecting to the Roku service – information that the ISP may be selling to advertisers.
- Speed: if your ISP throttles your bandwidth when you stream, a VPN encryption hides the fact from the ISP, and it can’t slow down your connection.
- Overcoming firewalls: watching Roku when your dorm/work/etc. network administrator wishes you didn’t? A VPN helps overcome all sorts of blocks put on Roku.
In conclusion: protect your Roku!
Having completed these steps, you have set up your Roku VPN. And hey, if you went with the VPN router solution, every device connected to that router is now also protected by the VPN!
Can you use Surfshark on Roku?
Yes. Sure, you cannot download the Surfshark app onto your Roku, so it’s not as easy as pressing a few buttons on your phone would be. But you can still apply the Surfshark connection onto your Roku with a few extra steps.
Is there a free VPN for Roku?
Probably, but you shouldn’t use it. Because free VPNs are a security liability. It’s hard keeping security products up-to-date without charging money for them. So free VPNs have a simple choice: they either cannot offer the same privacy as paid VPNs, or they have to sell your data to keep up.
How do I add a VPN to my Roku TV?
You will need to use one of the alternative methods listed in this article. Unfortunately, Roku doesn’t support VPN apps directly. Still, with a few extra steps, you will be able to protect your Roku.