Since it first launch in 2012, Roku has been growing in popularity among streaming lovers. One of the top streaming device brands on the market, it blends great value with great app compatibility and free content to deliver a smart, effective package. However, where you live can limit what you can watch on Netflix, and other services like Hulu and BBC iPlayer can be completely blocked. To get access, you need a Roku VPN.
Setting up the best VPN on your Roku device isn't entirely straightforward. That's because, despite supporting a huge range of apps and channels, it doesn't do the same for virtual private networks.
But don't be discouraged – we're here to help. All you need to do is use a virtual router, or set up a router VPN, and we've rounded up the top VPNs for Roku on the market today. And, if you need a hand getting set up, check out our tutorial below.
1. ExpressVPN – Hands-down the best Roku VPN (opens in new tab)
ExpressVPN is quite simply the best option if you're looking for a Roku VPN. With a dedicated router app, excellent speeds and the best streaming site unblocking performance we've tested, it ticks every box. Plus, Tom's Guide readers can now claim three months free on a 12-month plan.
2. NordVPN – A worthy runner up (opens in new tab)
Although NordVPN doesn't have a dedicated app, its streaming performance is impressive, and pre-configured routers are widely available online. What's more, it's great value, and you'll be covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test it before you commit.
3. Surfshark – Unlimited connections make for great value (opens in new tab)
Surfshark is one of the very cheapest options out there, but don't be fooled by it's low price. It's perfect for streaming, is super secure, and even has unlimited connections to cover all your devices. At just about $2.40 a month, you can't complain.
What makes a great Roku VPN?
A VPN for Roku has to have a couple of key features. First of all, you'll want your Roku VPN to be relatively simple to install on a router – and only a couple of options like ExpressVPN offer dedicated router apps. If you don't have a compatible router, it'll be useful if it has a comprehensive virtual router setup guide – we've got more info below.
Then, of course, you'll need it to be able to access as many streaming sites in various locations as possible. Many VPNs simply can't do this, so make sure your chosen VPN for Roku can unblock and access the streaming sites you pay for. Finally, you'll want great speeds – no one likes waiting for shows to buffer.
Roku VPN – a note on using virtual routers
One of the biggest downsides to using your Roku with VPN is the fact your VPN connection has to originate from your router. However, a nifty trick to get around this is to set up a virtual router.
ExpressVPN has some excellent instructions on how to do this (opens in new tab), and while this doesn't give the same household protection as installing a VPN on your router, it's far simpler to get set up and connect your Roku – once you're up and running, it's as easy as connecting to a mobile hotspot on your smartphone.
The five best Roku VPN services today(opens in new tab)
If you want to use your Roku with VPN, ExpressVPN is the only provider that delivers the full package.
Worried about installing your Roku VPN on your router yourself? Don't be. ExpressVPN's dedicated router app makes it far simpler to get set up than the competition, and it also allows you to change location more easily, meaning it's less of a hassle accessing regional Netflix libraries.
If that's not for you, setting up a virtual router is super simple with ExpressVPN's comprehensive guide (opens in new tab).
With a brilliant track record in unlocking streaming sites – always one step ahead of them when they are trying to prevent VPNs to work – you'll be able to watch services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and Disney+ abroad as well as catch overseas exclusives from your living room. Express always seems to be one step ahead of them trying to prevent you watching from abroad
The connection speeds we experienced in our ExpressVPN review are more than fast enough for 4K streaming, plus if you ever run into any issues with the app, the 24/7 customer support has always been reliable and prompt in our experience.
With five simultaneous connections, you can also install apps on your PC, Mac, smartphone or just about any other device and enhance your online security as well as access blocked content, and you'll be covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee should you not get along with the service.
All in all, it's clearly the top option when it comes to choosing a Roku VPN.
Get 3 months FREE with the best Roku VPN (opens in new tab)
With a dedicated router app, excellent speeds, great support, and intuitive apps for all your other devices, ExpressVPN is the best Roku VPN available. Plus, Tom's Guide readers can claim three months free when signing up to a year-long plan. That works out at 15 months for the price of 12.
You're likely to have come across NordVPN if you've been checking out Roku VPN services, and in our NordVPN review the big-name provider certainly lived up to its reputation.
For a kick off, you'll get over 5,500 servers dotted around the world and, in our testing, Nord's supremely capable of unblocking just about every streaming site we tested. Plus, with excellent speeds, you won't be waiting around for your movies to load.
Its commitment to be one of the best streaming VPN services is clear with its NordVPN’s SmartPlay technology, a Smart DNS service that the provider uses to bypass the geo-restrictions of streaming websites. Enabled in all apps by default, it means that there’s nothing to set up, update, or activate - simply connect to the right VPN server.
If you don't want to set NordVPN up on a router yourself (the lack of a dedicated app does make it trickier than ExpressVPN), the provider is partnered with a company called FlashRouters. They'll sell you a configured router that's ready to go, cutting out the hassle – all you need to do is sign up for your desired NordVPN plan.
In use, it's a very close match for ExpressVPN, but the fact there's no dedicated router app does mean there will be an extra outlay on your part – of either time or money. But if you're happy with that (or can settle for a virtual router) it's more than capable as working as a VPN for Roku.(opens in new tab)
No matter where you are, you'll be able to access your favorite shows and unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and tons more services – thanks to its excellent speeds, they will load nice and swiftly too.
Another huge bonus for Surfshark is the fact that it offers unlimited connections. That means you won't have to worry about using your VPN on only a few of your most important devices. Here, you can install it just about any device that you want – whether it's your cell phone, router, PC, Mac, or anything else.
Again, when it comes to using Surfshark as a Roku VPN, if you have a PC handy it's a simple process of setting it up as a virtual router and sharing your VPN connection.
So while Surfshark lacks a couple of the high-end security features of the class leaders (but still plenty to keep you safe), it's an excellent streaming companion that's simple and super cheap to get up and running as a VPN for Roku.(opens in new tab)
From the most common streaming sites like Amazon Prime and Disney+ to the likes of Hotstar and Zattoo, CyberGhost isn't afraid of geo-restrictions.
But, if you're looking for your next Netflix VPN, you should bear in mind that during our last testing we were able to unlock just its US catalog. However, that isn't so unusual even among the top VPN services.
Combine that with a huge range of international servers – more than 7,800 dotted across 91 countries – and some of the fastest connections around right now, CyberGhost isn't clearly messing around.
Plus, its 45-day money back guarantee beats the likes of ExpressVPN and NordVPN meaning that you will have some extra time for trying it out.
As only downside, while more and more providers have their security features and apps independently audited, CyberGhost hasn't yet.(opens in new tab)
Proton easily bypasses geo-restrictions on all the major streaming platforms, including Disney+, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video – and we were able to unblock a number of regional Netflix libraries.
The service comes with a free version, too. However, you will have to upgrade to the Plus plan to enjoy its streaming power. Also, its customer support chat isn't available 24/7 just yet – but when live, we found it very helpful.
All in all, there are better Roku VPN options higher on this list, but ProtonVPN is still a good choice if you want speedy streaming on a number of different services.
Best Roku VPN FAQ
Why do I need to use a VPN for Roku?
Just about every streaming service in the world restricts what viewers can watch due to their location – or in the case of BBC iPlayer and Peacock, totally blocks those who live in certain countries.
Combining Roku with VPN means you can virtually change your location and watch whatever you want, wherever you are. Our top recommendation is ExpressVPN (opens in new tab), thanks to its super simple router set up, excellent speeds, and rock-solid security.
Do I need a Roku VPN on my router?
The short answer is yes – unless you create a virtual router on your PC.
That might sounds complex, but if you're using Windows 10 it's very simple and following a guide like ExpressVPN's should only take you ten minutes.
In essence, by doing this you can share your VPN connection from your PC to your Roku, and by changing your PC's location with a VPN, your Roku will do the same.