The Roku Streaming Player lineup includes a variety of video streaming set-top boxes and sticks, made by Roku, Inc. The Roku offers a variety of video and audio streaming options via its huge selection of apps and “channels,” including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and many more.
Unfortunately, the content of some of those apps is blocked due to governmental or geographical licensing restrictions. Consequently, some of the best content may not be available in your area.
By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can gain access to blocked content, as it assigns a new IP address to your device, allowing it to fool a content provider into believing you are located in a place where the content is available.
A VPN’s useful features don’t stop there. A VPN also protects your internet connection by encasing it inside a tunnel of encryption. This prevents any observers, like your Internet Service Provider (ISP), the government or hackers, from tracking your online travels.
In this article, I review the top 5 VPNs for protecting and enhancing your Roku viewing sessions.
How to Use Your Roku With a VPN
Setting up a VPN with your Roku may seem somewhat daunting at first, but it’s actually reasonably easy to do:
- First, subscribe to a VPN. I recommend NordVPN.
- Set up the VPN on a compatible router (or purchase a pre-configured router).
- Select a VPN server located nearest to the streaming content you’d like to access.
- Make sure your Roku is connected to the VPN-protected router.
- Grab the popcorn and start streaming!
Best VPNs for Roku
I’ve put all of my top VPN providers through exhaustive rounds of testing, and the results show that these 5 VPNs are your best choices to use with your Roku device.
Here’s a summary for those of you in a hurry:
- NordVPN: This top provider delivers optimal connection speeds and top-notch global server coverage, both of which are of the utmost importance when streaming video with your Roku.
- Surfshark: Budget-minded users will appreciate the unlimited simultaneous connections allowance, wide server coverage and fast speeds that Surfshark provides for a low price.
- ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN offers a well-rounded service that includes fast connection speeds, comprehensive global server coverage, and satisfying security and privacy protections.
- CyberGhost: CyberGhost’s wide-rangeing global server coverage makes it excellent for unlocking content in other countries. The provider’s fast speeds and good router compatibility add to the value.
- IPVanish: This provider delivers top-notch service and adds an extra layer of security for your information with its proprietary server farms.
Note: At this point in time, there are no VPN apps available for the Roku platform. That makes router compatibility, and the availability of pre-configured routers, crucial features to look for in any VPN you plan on using with your Roku streaming box.
I evaluated and ranked the top Roku VPNs according to the following criteria:
- Global server coverage
- Connection speeds
- Customer support level
- Privacy and security protections
- Router compatibility (bonus points for pre-configured VPN routers)
Here’s my list of the top 5 VPNs for use with the Roku.
NordVPN is the best available VPN to protect your Roku viewing sessions. The provider’s lightning-fast speeds and considerable global server coverage offer fast and easy access to content all over the world.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer the HD or 4K format for your movie pleasure, NordVPN’s super-fast connections (the fastest around) have you covered. Plus, you never have to worry about your bingeing sessions being interrupted because of hitting a data cap or having your bandwidth limited.
While I’ve not had many issues with NordVPN, stuff happens, so when it does, you’ll be glad to know that the provider offers email support, a searchable knowledge base and 24/7 live support chat.
Your online security and privacy are kept intact when using NordVPN. The provider protects your connections with military-grade encryption and kill switch protection, and it assures your privacy with a strict no-logs policy and Bitcoin payment option.
As with all of the providers on this list, NordVPN does not offer a native Roku app. That’s where the provider’s compatibility with numerous router makes and models comes in. Pre-configured routers are also available.
NordVPN also offers a SmartDNS service that allows streaming devices like Roku, which are not compatible with VPN apps, to access international content. Be warned, though, as the service does not encrypt your connection like the VPN service does.
- 5,500 servers in 59 countries
- HD- and 4K-capable connection speeds
- Very reasonable pricing
- Top-notch security and privacy coverage
- 24/7 customer support
- Apps could be more user-friendly
BEST VPN FOR ROKU:NordVPN is the best choice to enhance and protect your Roku viewing sessions. Top-notch global server coverage, fast connections and excellent router support make protecting your Roku a snap. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark earns the runner-up spot this time around thanks to speedy connections, excellent customer support and unlimited simultaneous connections allowance.
The provider boasts over 3,200 servers, located in 65+ countries around the world. Surfshark offers above-average content-unblocking power, opening access to including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others.
Depending on your usual connection speeds, Surfshark should have no problem supplying HD- and 4K-capable connection speeds.
Customer support is always there for you thanks to the provider’s 24/7 live support chat, searchable FAQ library and support contact form.
Online security and privacy protection are the least of your worries thanks to the service’s highly-encrypted connections, strict no-logs policy and Bitcoin payment option.
While no native Roku app option is available (as is common among VPN providers), Surfshark offers excellent compatibility with numerous routers, and ready-to-go routers are available.
Surfshark also offers a “Trust DNS” service, which allows you to stream international content on your devices by changing your router’s DNS settings. You should know that this service doesn’t encrypt your connection, though.
For other devices, users can take advantage of the provider’s excellent multi-platform support and super-generous unlimited simultaneous connections allowance.
- Lowest prices around
- Good content-unblocking power
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Great router compatibility
- Lacks some advanced features
BEST FOR BUDGET:Surfshark is a great option for Roku device owners looking to save a buck, but not give up any VPN features. Despite its low price, the provider delivers fast, well-protected connections and offers an unlimited simultaneous connections policy. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN offers a well-rounded service with top-notch customer support, global server coverage, router compatibility and speeds, making it a good option if you’re looking for solid performance all-around.
Connection speeds from ExpressVPN provide more than enough horsepower to stream your favorite HD and 4K content. Bingeing won’t cause any problems thanks to the service’s lack of bandwidth limitations and data caps.
Customer support is always available to help through the provider’s 24/7 live chat option, searchable knowledge base, support ticket tracking system and email support option.
Security and privacy are must-haves, and ExpressVPN has you covered with military-grade encryption and kill switch protection on many of their apps. A strict no-logs policy and Bitcoin payment option protect your privacy.
Since there are no VPN apps available for the Roku, router support becomes all-important. Luckily, ExpressVPN offers support with a large number of routers, and also offers pre-configured routers if you’re not into the whole configuration thing.
Just like NordVPN and Surfshark, ExpressVPN also offers a MediaStreamer service, which will let you stream international content by changing your router’s DNS settings. However, as I’ve mentioned, these types of services don’t encrypt your connection like the VPN service does.
Apps are available for most popular devices (including the Amazon Fire TV), allowing you to protect your other devices as well.
- Extensive global server coverage
- 24/7 customer support
- Top-notch security and privacy protections
- Pre-configured routers available
- More expensive than some other providers
- Lacks labeled streaming servers
GREAT ALL AROUND:ExpressVPN performs well in numerous categories, like router support, global server coverage, connection speeds, and security and privacy protections. If you’re looking for a well-rounded service, this is it. A 30-day money-back guarantee in available.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
CyberGhost offers impressive security and privacy protections and above-average global server coverage, allowing it to rank #4 on my list.
With nearly 6,700 servers stationed in 90 countries, CyberGhost’s server network will provide access to most any geo-blocked content. This provides access to content from Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and other services.
CyberGhost’s connection speeds are impressive, meaning you can stream content with little to no buffering. The provider imposes no bandwidth limitations or data caps on their users, which is always a plus for streaming.
In the unlikely event that you have an issue with CyberGhost’s service, it’s no biggie. The provider’s customer support is always available via live support chat, a support ticket tracking system and a searchable support library.
Your online security is well protected when you’re connected to CyberGhost’s servers thanks to military-grade encryption and kill switch protection.
Your privacy is also assured, as the provider keeps no logs of any type connected to your online antics while connected to their servers. CyberGhost’s Bitcoin subscription payment option allows users to keep their payment information safely private.
Since no VPN apps are available for Roku devices, you’ll need to protect your viewing sessions via your router. Luckily, CyberGhost is compatible with a large number of routers. Pre-configured routers are also available.
- High-level encryption for connection security
- Excellent router compatibility
- Top-notch privacy protections
- No kill switch protection for routers
- Can’t unblock some streaming services
WORLDWIDE COVERAGE:CyberGhost offers more than 6,000 servers in 90+ countries, giving it an extremely wide reach. You won’t have any problem accessing any international content you’ve been dreaming of. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
IPVanish offers top-notch security and privacy protections thanks to the fact that it owns and operates all of its servers. Its router support is also excellent.
This provider is the sole VPN service on this list to own and operate their own servers. By doing so, the service removes third-party operators from the equation, increasing security for your data. IPVanish has 1,300+ servers located in 50+ countries.
Unfortunately, IPVanish does not open access to Netflix in other locations, but does allow access to other services, such as BBC iPlayer, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video and Sling TV.
Although IPVanish’s connections may not quite measure up to the speeds that other providers in this top 5 offer, it still offers plenty of HD-capable power. It also doesn’t impose any data caps or bandwidth limitations.
IPVanish’s customer support is second to none, as it offers 24/7 support chat, email support and a searchable support library.
The privacy protections that IPVanish offers could be better. Although the provider follows a strict no-logs policy, it doesn’t offer a Bitcoin payment option, which means your payment anonymity could be at risk.
Military-grade encryption and kill switch protection keeps you safe while you’re connected to this provider’s self-owned servers.
IPVanish protects your Roku device via its extensive router compatibility. Pre-configured routers are available if you’re not comfortable setting things up on your own.
- Owns and operates its VPN server farms
- Pre-configured routers available
- Well-protected connections
- Small-ish global server coverage
- No Bitcoin payment option
HIGH SECURITY:IPVanish provides an extra layer of privacy and security with its self-owned and -operated server farms. They provide fast, well-protected connections. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Is a Free VPN a Good Option For Use With a Roku?
I would never recommend a free VPN for any use, but gratis VPN providers are a particularly bad choice for use with your Roku.
First, while it’s true that there’s no Roku app support available from any VPN, free VPNs don’t offer much router compatibility. They almost always require you to use their apps to enable their “protection,” leaving you no way to protect your Roku device.
A “free” VPN provider will also cost you, in terms of both your privacy and your time and convenience.
First off, many freebie VPN providers make money (and companies have to make money to stay in business) by tracking their users’ online travels and selling the information to advertisers and other third parties. Plus, some even inject unwanted ads and tracking cookies into a user’s browsing sessions.
Now for the “your time and convenience” portion of the hidden-cost equation: When connecting to a free provider’s servers, you may be forced to wait in a queue before connecting.
Then, once you’re allowed to connect, you’ll have a limited number of servers to select from – if you have any choice of servers at all.
Once you’re connected, you may find that your connection speeds are throttled and that your data usage is restricted by a monthly data cap. Neither of those restrictions are exactly conducive to the viewing of streaming video.
While using a free VPN is certainly your decision, I’d advise giving up a single cup of your favorite caramel, low-foam, skim milk, one-teaspoon-of-sugar latte per month. That’s all it costs for excellent VPN protection.
Alternatives to Using a Router With Your Roku
If you’re not up to flashing your router with new firmware to use a VPN, and you simply don’t wish to spend money on a pre-configured router, there’s another option available.
Set Up a VPN-Protected Wi-Fi Hotspot
If you’re a macOS or Windows user, you can set your computer up as a VPN-protected Wi-Fi hotspot.
If your Windows or macOS machine has both an Ethernet port and a Wi-Fi connection, you can easily share your computer’s VPN connection. You simply need to run your VPN app of choice and then share your computer’s Wi-Fi connection as a hotspot.
This allows you to share your encrypted internet connection with your Roku (or any other wireless device).
Roku VPN FAQs
What Is the Best Free VPN for Roku?
Beware of free VPNs. Free VPNs will often impose data caps, throttle your connection speeds, make you wait in a queue before connecting and sell your internet data to advertisers and other interested parties. For the best experience with Roku (and your privacy), use a paid provider.
What Is the Cheapest VPN for Roku?
Surfshark offers cheap multi-year subscriptions and excellent Roku coverage, which will be enticing for readers who pinch their pennies.
Does TunnelBear Work with Roku?
While you can get TunnelBear to work with Roku, TunnelBear is notorious for offering very little in the way of streaming. You won't be able to access Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu or any other of your favorites. Choose one of the providers on my list in order to have access to all of your preferred streaming providers.
Roku users have an excellent pool of content available to them, which can be greatly increased by using a VPN with their little streaming stick or box.
In addition to opening up a world of content, a VPN also prevents any party from monitoring or throttling your internet connection.
NordVPN delivers the best way to protect your Roku streaming box – and other connected devices – from the perils of the internet thanks to its top-notch privacy and security-related protections.
The provider’s excellent global server coverage will aid viewers in screening their favorite shows and movies, no matter where they’re located.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.
- How to Use Your Roku With a VPN
- Best VPNs for Roku
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. IPVanish
- Is a Free VPN a Good Option For Use With a Roku?
- Alternatives to Using a Router With Your Roku
- Roku VPN FAQs
- What Is the Best Free VPN for Roku?
- What Is the Cheapest VPN for Roku?
- Does TunnelBear Work with Roku?