How to Set Up A VPN For Roku

Stream securely over your VPN connection

Use a VPN with Roku

Roku devices are some of the most popular streaming boxes on the market and have been for a while. Part of Roku’s widespread appeal is its neutrality. Roku isn’t explicitly tied to Apple, Amazon, Sony, or any other major media company. Instead, Roku provides access to most media services without forcing anything you don’t want on you.

With that said, Roku devices universally have one major drawback. They’re locked down and afford a limited set of options. There isn’t much you can do to customize a Roku, and you certainly can’t take control of its inner workings. That means you’re restricted to only the features that Roku provides, and unfortunately, they don’t include VPN support. There is no way to directly connect a Roku to VPN.

Even though that’s not a great situation, there are still a few options to connect your Roku to a VPN and still enjoy all the benefits of a VPN service on a Roku. You just need to choose a VPN service provider that suits you, and then put in a little more work to get running.

How to Use VPN on Roku With a Router

The most direct way to get your entire network, including your Roku device, on your VPN connection is using a VPN with your router. When your router is connected to a VPN, every device that's connected to the router is also protected by the VPN. That means every Roku device you have will start using the VPN automatically when your router connects.

Router VPN configuration on Tomato

You won’t need to configure anything on the Roku itself. Instead, all you need to do is set up a VPN on your router.

There is one major drawback here. Not every router supports connecting to a VPN. You can, however, install custom firmware on many routers to enable VPN support along with plenty of other features.

Connecting your router to a VPN should probably be the first option you consider for connecting when you want your Roku protected by a VPN.

How to Use a VPN on Roku by Sharing Your Connection

There’s another simple way to connect your Roku through a VPN that just about anyone can do, and it doesn’t require much special configuration or firmware. You can share your connection on either Windows or Mac by creating a Wi-Fi hotspot.

When you share your connection, you’re creating a virtual router on your computer. If your computer is connected through a VPN, everything that connects through the virtual router will also go through the VPN. So, your Roku can connect to the hotspot on your desktop and share it’s VPN connection.

From Windows

Windows mobile hotspot

Windows lets you create a hotspot right in your computer’s network settings. The process is fairly simple, and should only take a few minutes. Once the hotspot is set up, you can connect directly to the Windows hotspot from your Roku.

From Mac

Mac WiFi hotspot

Sharing your Internet, and VPN, connection from your Mac is also very simple. You can find everything you need in your system preferences. The whole set up shouldn’t take long, and when you’re done, you can connect Roku to the hotspot you set up on your Mac.

Protect Roku With a Dedicated Virtual Router

If you’re looking for another option that’s more permanent than sharing your connection, but you either don’t want to or can’t connect on your router, there is another way to connect your Roku devices to a VPN. This one is more technical than the others, and it requires the most set up, but it will give you the ability to connect multiple devices seamlessly without the need to set anything up on our computer or share its connection.

You can use a Raspberry Pi connected directly to your router as a dedicated VPN virtual router. The Pi is an energy efficient computer that can you can configure with Linux to connect to a VPN. The actual configuration is fairly involved and technical, but once it’s finished you’ll be able to connect your Roku devices to the virtual router and automatically have them all behind your VPN.