Unlike the Firestick, Android TV or even the Apple TV, Roku has one big shortcoming. You can’t install a VPN app on it neither can you change its DNS to access geo-restricted content. But fortunately, there are few workarounds to get VPN on Roku.
The trick here is to connect your Roku to a WiFi hotspot that’s already running a VPN. There are multiple ways to do so and pretty much all of them require a good amount of technical skills. But, here are the four most popular ones.
1. The easiest way is to share a VPN connection from your Windows PC, Mac or Android. While you can’t just do it directly, there are few settings you can tinker in the command line of your Windows and Mac to get it working. We’ll come with an in-depth tutorial on how to do it soon. For Android, you can use apps like VPN Hotspot.
2. Some routers (like Linksys WRT AC3200) support VPN right out of the box in their settings. All you need to do is simply login to router’s web portal and enter your VPN provider login credentials. And that’s it, every device on your network (including your Roku) can directly connect to a VPN.
3. If your router doesn’t support VPN functionality but supports third-party firmware, then you can ‘flash’ it with custom firmware like DD-WRT, OpenWRT or Tomato. To find out if your router supports custom firmware, you can do a quick Google search, for instance, the one we have (Netgear nighthawk R7000) support DD-WRT. These custom routers let you set up OpenVPN, which will enable you to set up a VPN on your router. Here is a detailed step by step video on how to set up OpenVPN on your router.
4. If you have a basic router, that neither support VPN functionality or flashing custom firmware, in such cases, you can buy a cheap computer like Raspberry Pi. Connect the Raspberry Pi with your VPN provider, turn on IP Forwarding, then Install an iptables rule to allow forwarded traffic and then another to SNAT traffic to the VPN IP. Once you do that, you need to set the Roku to use the Raspberry Pi as the default gateway. Here is a good article, that will get you started.
Overall, the easiest method is to share a VPN connection from your Window, Mac or Android. But that also means your computer or mobile devices, needs to be turned on the entire time you are using your Roku. The most practical and long term solution is either flashing custom firmware like DD-WRT on your router or uses a Raspberry Pi. At Techwiser, we have setup VPN on our router using DD-WRT firmware. And the advantages are since the router is running 24/7, you won’t have to worry about turning them ON/OFF.
Either way, let me know which method would you prefer or if you think we miss out something, in the comments. Happy binging.
Also Read: Best Free VPN Apps We Recommend at TechWiser