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The best Roku VPN 2021

Best Roku VPN
(Image credit: Roku)

Widely regarded as one of the top streaming device manufacturers out there, Roku combines great value with huge streaming service support to deliver a smart, effective package. No matter where you live, though, streaming services like Netflix restrict what you can watch thanks to distribution rights. That's where using a Roku VPN comes in. 

However, using the best VPN for Roku isn't quite as simple as it is for other devices thanks to the fact that Roku devices don't natively support VPN software, and instead you'll have to install a router VPN – or set up a virtual router.

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 – check out our full ExpressVPN review for more info.

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, 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.

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1. ExpressVPN – Hands-down the best Roku VPN
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.

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2. NordVPN – A worthy runner up
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.

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3. Surfshark – Unlimited connections make for great value
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 $2.49 a month, you can't complain. 

The five best Roku VPN services today

ExpressVPN best roku vpn

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

The best Roku VPN on the market

Specifications
Dedicated router app: Yes
US speeds on 1Gbps line: 490-630Mbps
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
24/7 customer suppoort: Yes
Setup guides: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Powerful dedicated router app+Unblocks just about every site+Setup guides are excellent+Great speeds
Reasons to avoid
-A little pricey – but worth it

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.

But it's not just Netflix ExpressVPN enhances. As the class-leading VPN when it comes to streaming, you'll be able to watch services like Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and Hulu abroad as well as catch overseas exclusives from your living room.

Speeds are some of the best we've seen and 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. And, if you want to set up a virtual VPN router, there are comprehensive guides on-site.

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.

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Get 49% off plus 3 free months of the best Roku VPN
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.

NordVPN VPN for Roku

(Image credit: NordVPN)

2. NordVPN

Excellent for the security-conscious streamer

Specifications
Dedicated router app: No
US speeds on 1Gbps line: 480-820Mbps
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
24/7 customer suppoort: Yes
Setup guides: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Useful router guides+Excellent streaming support+Independently audited twice+Over 5,000 servers
Reasons to avoid
-No in-house router app

You'll 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 5,000 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.

If you don't want to set NordVPN up 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.

Sign up now on the NordVPN website

Surfshark VPN for Roku

3. Surfshark

Bargain VPN is excellent for streaming

Specifications
Dedicated router app: No
US speeds on 1Gbps line: 550-700Mbps
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
24/7 customer suppoort: Yes
Setup guides: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly good value+Unlimited connections+Excellent streaming support
Reasons to avoid
-No dedicated router app

If you're after a bargain VPN that rivals the most expensive when it comes to streaming performance, Surfshark is the perfect choice – read the full Surfshark review for more.

With the power to unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and tons more services, no matter where you are you'll be able to access your favorite shows – and the excellent speeds will load them 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 anything that you want. That could be any and all of your mobile devices, your router, your PC and Mac, and more.

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

Head over to Surfshark's website to sign up

VyprVPN Roku vpn

(Image credit: VyprVPN)

4. VyprVPN

Decent for streaming, with a dedicated router app

Specifications
Dedicated router app: Yes
US speeds on 1Gbps line: 270-420Mbps
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu
24/7 customer suppoort: Yes
Setup guides: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Dedicated router app+Apps for tons of other devices+Fairly simple to use
Reasons to avoid
-App only for Tomato routers-Slower speeds in US

VyprVPN is a smaller provider, but it’s got a fair bit of clout in the VPN world. As a verified no-logging service you can be pretty sure your data is being kept private, but the biggest selling point here is that it’s the only other Roku VPN on this list to have a dedicated, in-house router app – something we noted in our VyprVPN review.

In terms of streaming, it's pretty useful for unblocking US, UK, and Canadian Netflix alongside BBC iPlayer and others. Plus, decent speeds mean it'll load with no issues.

If you're not up to the challenge of installing the VyprVPN router app (or you simply don't have a compatible router), you can still set VyprVPN up as a virtual router if you have a PC and want to share the VPN from that.

However, VyprVPN does have a couple of issues – namely its dated app and a couple of minor issue within it – but the provider's been verified as a zero-logging VPN and is definitely priced to sell. So, as a VPN for Roku, it's a good choice.

Sign up now on VyprVPN's website

Hotspot Shield vpn for roku

(Image credit: Hotspot Shield)

5. Hotspot Shield

Super speeds and great streaming

Specifications
Dedicated router app: No
US speeds on 600Mbps line: 360-380Mbps
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu
24/7 customer suppoort: Yes
Setup guides: Yes
Reasons to buy
+New router compatibility+Excellent for streaming+Great speeds
Reasons to avoid
-Apps are pretty limited-Some non-identifying data logs

In our Hotspot Shield review, we found the provider to be seriously quick and very simple to use. As one of the the fastest VPN services we've tested, it's a great all-rounder, and while it lacks some of the in-depth features competitors offer, it's still a useful alternative.

What's more, Hotspot Shield didn't use to offer router support, but now it does. It also promotes pre-configured routers on its site, so you can just pay up and get going.

In our testing, however, Hotspot Shield works quite reliably for creating a virtual VPN router, even though there aren't any instructions on how to do so on-site. All you need to do is follow another provider's guide and you'll be able to get up and running. That'll save you a bit of cash compared to buying a new router.

All in all, there are Roku VPN options higher on this list, but Hotspot Shield is still a good choice if you want speedy streaming on a number of different services.

Head over to Hotspot Shield's website to sign up

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, 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.

Mo is eCommerce Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees privacy and security content, and his product guides help his readers find the best software and products for their needs. When he's not testing VPNs, you'll find him working on his classic car or plugged into a guitar amp.