Roku Subscription and a VPN: Why Do You Need Them Both?

| Updated on March 27, 2024

Roku was among the first streaming media boxes of its kind and has been a popular choice for viewers worldwide since 2012. Since the initial launch, there have been multiple upgrades, and currently, the company supports six different versions to accommodate the full spectrum of viewership. 

The available options include the following:

  • Roku Express
  • Streaming Stick
  • Roku Premiere
  • Roku Premiere +
  • Ultra
  • Roku TV.

Although launched more than ten years ago, this streaming media box is still the go-to for many households. However, it also has shortcomings. For example, while the technology is extremely convenient, geo-blocking is one of the problems many users encounter. 

Geo-blocking is pretty common with all streaming services. It blocks some content from its users when they’re located in certain parts of the world. This means that one of your favorite shows may be on Roku; however, if you are in the wrong location, you won’t be able to stream it. 

You may wonder how Roku can tell where you are and how Roku and other streaming media boxes can find your location through your IP address. Roku is connected to your Wi-Fi router, and your Wi-Fi router has a unique IP address that all devices share. Unless you deliberately hide your IP address, it is accessible to your internet service provider and, in this case, Roku. 

However, you don’t have to put up with this limitation. When you use a VPN along with your Roku, you can easily bypass these restrictions and make your streaming service much safer and more private. But before we get into the detailed demonstration of how you can connect your Roku to a VPN, let’s briefly go over the process through which a VPN can help you bypass Roku’s geoblocking.

How does VPN Help Bypass Geo-blocking with Roku?

VPN for Roku or a virtual private network prevents others from seeing your IP address and getting information about your location that way. This technology manages to do this with the VPN encrypting your internet traffic and rerouting your connection through a secure server.

You can choose the server’s location beforehand from the list of available options, depending on what you’re looking to accomplish. After you’ve connected to a VPN, only the IP address of the server you connected to will show up, making you private online. 

Apart from concealing your IP address, you can also use VPNs to significantly improve your privacy when browsing online or streaming content, blocking your ISP from seeing what you’re doing online, which is a genuine possibility when you go online without a VPN. Worse, it’s not uncommon for ISPs to sell this data to third parties without much information on what the third-party company plans to do with the data

Last but certainly not least, you can also score better deals online for travel, subscriptions, and other products and services, which we will cover in more detail later. 

How to Set Up VPN on Roku?

There are two main ways to set up your VPN for your Roku, even though you can’t do it directly on the Roku media box since it doesn’t have direct support for VPN apps.

Suppose you want to be able to access whatever content you want without the geo-blockers and increase the privacy of your streaming experience. In that case, you will have to install a VPN on the so-called intermediary device. Most commonly, this will be a Wi-Fi router. Your two main options will be to set it up on the physical or virtual router.

The most obvious way to do it is to set up a VPN on your physical Wi-Fi router and then connect your Roku. However, this option will not be available to most internet users as this option is only available for users with routers that support VPN connections.

Additionally, the process will be tricky and may take quite a while to finish. However, the upside is that it will help you avoid any lags that can happen when connecting your try to set up a VPN for your Roku using other methods. However, if you’re using a quality VPN provider, you shouldn’t be experiencing any lags, no matter which method you use to connect it to your Roku. 

If your router doesn’t support the appropriate firmware and making any changes would be too risky, setting up a VPN on a virtual Wi-Fi router or hotspot is the second option. In this case, you will need to use a laptop as a Wi-Fi hotspot. You will simply have to connect to the VPN on your laptop, then broadcast a Wi-Fi hotspot to nearby devices.

Other Benefits of Using a VPN for Roku

While a VPN can help you access geo-blocked content through Roku, it can also be used to buy a Roku subscription for less. It’s pretty standard for companies, including Roku, to charge different prices for their product depending on where the user is accessing the website.

When you’re connected to a VPN and browsing the web that way, no one can tell where you’re browsing from; they can only see the location of the server you’re connected to, so you don’t have to pay the price assigned to your region specifically. You can use this to score better deals on products and services, including Roku. Just try out different servers until you find the best deal.

While having Roku alone is still great, you need to have both Roku and VPN for the optimal experience. Suppose you’re going to be paying for Roku and the content it offers. In that case, you might as well have access to everything this streaming service offers, no matter the location, especially considering that the geo-blocking frequently doesn’t even make much sense. 

To get the best out of Roku, consider investing in a VPN. As demonstrated above, connecting Roku to a VPN is a simple procedure that won’t take more than 5 minutes. However, you will get to keep the benefits for much longer than that. You will get instant access to everything this streaming service offers and know your privacy is protected.

Chitra Joshi

Content Writer & Marketer

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