How to Set Up a VPN on Roku: A 5-Step Guide

A virtual private network (VPN) is a vital tool for keeping your online browsing habits safe and secure. On most common devices, desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, the user only needs to install the appropriate software and register for a subscription. There’s a growing argument in favor of installing VPNs on all your internet-connected devices. Roku is just one of these. Offering a simple way to stream movies and TV shows straight to your TV, it’s never been easier to watch your favorite entertainment.

But not all devices provide you with the necessary functionality to install a VPN onto them directly. For these devices, a router-level VPN is the answer.

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Why would you want to use Roku with a VPN?

The answer lies at least in part in what Roku does. By providing users with access to the online media (even if the user never actually downloads the file to their device), Roku finds itself a regular target for various groups and organizations. Installing a VPN on your network and router will ensure that your IP address is kept obscured (here’s an option that will provide you with full anonymity). This will prevent or minimize the possibility of you being traced or targeted by hackers. Note that we do not endorse accessing copyrighted material illegally. Having a VPN is good for your online safety and this tutorial helps you setup a VPN with your Roku.

Check If Your Router is Compatible

If you have used a VPN before, especially on your smartphone, you will understand that there is a setup process which may require the installation of special software onto the device you wish to connect to the VPN. This piece of client-side software is responsible for encrypting and routing your data. Most devices require you to contact your network administrator for specific details. Every provider is different, so the process will also vary between service providers.

Roku doesn’t provide the capability for users to install any proprietary software on the device itself, certainly not the software required for a Roku VPN. This means that you will need to install the VPN software on your router, rather than directly onto the Roku.

This makes this a bit more challenging than setting up a VPN on most devices. But it still shouldn’t be too difficult once you understand the process. Setting up a VPN on your router offers many other benefits, such as:

  •     All of the internet traffic that connects to the internet through your router will benefit from the VPN automatically.
  •     You don’t need to use different VPN subscription services for each device. It’s one VPN through which all your devices are connected.

The first thing you need to do is ensure that your router is compatible with VPNs. Not all routers are, and if yours isn’t, there may still be a way of setting up a virtual router for your Roku VPN to connect through. The manufacturer of your router will be able to help you with compatibility.

Update Your Router Firmware

It is always a good idea to update the firmware of your router when you are planning on installing a VPN. Doing this will ensure that your router is as secure and bug-free as possible. Be aware, if you don’t install the new firmware correctly, it can cause serious problems, which could brick your router, rendering it useless.

Installing the VPN

Many of the routers that support VPNs have the appropriate VPN software pre-installed on the router when you buy it. However, it doesn’t have to work that way. Many router manufacturers are capable of connecting through a Roku VPN, but the software to do so needs to be installed onto the router manually.

You should search the website of your router’s manufacturer to find out how to install a VPN on that particular model and whether there is any special software to download and install. The installation process will guide you through exactly what you need to do. Just remember that messing with your router can have disastrous consequences if not done right.

How to Set up a Virtual Router With a VPN

This option is easier than it sounds, but it does also carry with it some difficulties. To take this route, you will need to first set up a VPN connection on your PC or Mac, and then share that network.

On PC:

  1.   Open ‘Run’ (press Start and search for ‘cmd’ or press Win + R)
  2.   Choose a name for your connection.
  3.   Open up connection settings and look for the option with the corresponding VPN.
  4. Right-click on the connection, click properties, and then ensure that the option to allow others to use the connection is enabled.

On Mac:

  1.   Go to Sharing Menu
  2.   Check the box marked Internet Sharing
  3. Click ‘Start’ to open the menu bar; you should see a green light next to your internet sharing status.

Now, whenever your Roku box is connected to the configured VPN network, you can enjoy all the benefits of a Roku VPN. You can also use your VPN to connect to Roku through different geographical locations.

If you are streaming content through a Roku, it makes sense to use a VPN to ensure your privacy and security. It makes sense to protect all your smart and connected devices from cyber theft. Hopefully, this article has explained how to do just that.

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