Roku is a brand of media players that offer streaming from a range of online sources such as Netflix. These devices are great for collecting your streaming services into one convenient package, but it still suffers from some content being geo-blocked, depending on where you live in the world.
Geo-blocking is a measure taken by streaming companies and other websites to limit access to services based on your location. This limitation is usually because the service doesn’t have the rights to stream that content in your location. The geo-block determines your location from your IP address.
A VPN is the standard tool to bypass geo-blocking, as your IP address is replaced with that of the VPN server you connect to. This has the effect of making you appear to be at the location of the VPN server, even if this is in a different country with different licenced content.
Roku devices don’t directly support having a VPN configured. You can, however, configure a VPN on either a router or share a VPN connection from your computer, to have the same effect.
Tip: If you’re using a VPN to change your location to a different country, you need to create a Roku account based in the same country for it to correctly recognise the changed location. For example, you need a US account and a US-based VPN server to access the US content library.
Configure a VPN on your Router
You’ll need to connect to your router’s web administration page. To do this you’ll need the IP address of the router, which you can get by running the “ipconfig” command in Command Prompt. You can open Command Prompt by pressing the Windows Key, typing “cmd”, then hitting enter. Type the command “ipconfig” into the Command Prompt window and you can find the router’s IP address listed as the “Default Gateway”. The IP address should start with 192.168, have a third number, and then end with a one.
Once you’ve got the IP address, you can access the router’s web interface by browsing to the IP address in your web browser. You will need to sign in to the router to add a VPN configuration, you can generally find the admin password on the bottom or side of the router unless you have changed it in the past.
You can generally find the VPN configuration page in the network configuration settings, or in the “WAN” (Wide Area Network) settings. Once you’ve found the VPN settings, you need to enter the manual VPN configuration details as provided by your VPN provider, the exact details of which will vary between providers.
After you apply the VPN settings, you should browse to whatismyipaddress.com on a connected device. The VPN is working if the location shown matches that of the VPN server.
Share a VPN from your Computer
If you already have a VPN configured on your computer, it’s easy to share your VPN connection with your Roku device. To do so, open the Settings app to the Mobile Hotspot settings, under Network & Internet. You can access this page directly by pressing the Windows key, typing “Mobile hotspot settings”, and hitting enter.
You need to select the VPN network from the drop-down box, as this is the network connection that you want to share. You can configure the hotspot name and password by pressing the “Edit” button.
Once you’ve configured the hotspot as you want it, you can enable it by clicking the slider at the top labelled “Share my Internet connection with other devices” to the “On” position.
Now you just need to connect your Roku device to your hotspot, and then you can watch any location restricted content.