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How to Unlock More Channels on Your Roku Device in 2023

I was disappointed when I traveled to another country with my Roku and found that I couldn’t watch my favorite channels. Many of them are geo-restricted, which means you cannot access them from another country even if you’ve paid for a subscription. But there’s an easy way to unlock more channels on your Roku device, and it only takes a few minutes.

A VPN is a simple app that makes it seem like you're browsing the internet from another country of your choice. This gives you access to geoblocked Roku channels from anywhere in the world, so you can watch all of Netflix’s libraries and country-specific channels like BBC iPlayer.

I ran multiple tests to see which VPN works best for Roku, and I found ExpressVPN is the most reliable solution. It offers lightning-fast speeds for UHD streaming and an extensive server network to help you unlock different channels on your Roku. Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it risk-free. If you’re not satisfied, you can get a full refund.

Unlock Roku Channels With ExpressVPN

Quick Guide: How to Unlock More Channels on Roku in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN as it’s easy to use and offers fast speeds for uninterrupted streaming on your Roku.
  2. Connect to a server of your choice. Choose a VPN server in the region where the content you want to watch is available.
  3. Start watching content on Roku. Register for an account on Roku if you haven’t already, and start watching channels from your preferred region.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free

Why You Need a VPN for Unlocking Roku Channels

Roku (and the streaming platforms it supports) determines which channels are available to you based on your location. Because of regional licensing agreements, they limit what you can watch to local content. It uses your WiFi’s IP address along with your device’s country to lock your region. So, you need to change your virtual location by getting a new IP.

A VPN is the easiest way to mask your actual IP and make it seem like you’re in the US or another country of your choice. To be able to access more Roku channels, you need a VPN service with a wide range of servers in your preferred region. Additionally, you need fast speeds so that you can enjoy watching your favorite channels in HD or UHD. Roku doesn't support VPN apps, but you can install a VPN on a router and connect your Roku to it. I have listed the best VPNs for you right here and made sure that they all come with router support.

Try ExpressVPN With Roku

Best VPNs to Unlock More Channels on Roku in 2023

1. ExpressVPN — Best Overall for Unlocking Worldwide Channels on Roku

  • 3,000 reliable servers in 94 countries for unblocking Roku channels
  • Lightning-fast speeds for Ultra HD streaming
  • Easy to install on Roku
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Roku (via a router), Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Apple TV, and more
ExpressVPN Offer February 2023: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for Roku because of its user-friendliness, router compatibility, and fast servers. What makes this VPN even more convenient for use on Roku is its router app which most other VPNs don’t offer (they require manual installation). The app is quick to set up and get running on popular routers with its detailed guides, so you’ll have no issues even if you’re a VPN beginner.

It also offers lightning-fast speeds that let you stream your favorite shows in Ultra HD with no buffering. Using a VPN typically slows down your internet speed by 20–25%. I tested several servers across the US and UK, and ExpressVPN maintained a high level of performance with just an 8% drop in speed.

Screenshot of a speed test result while connected to ExpressVPN's New York serverOn a 150 Mbps connection, my download speed only dropped by 8%

There are over 3,000 servers in 94 countries, giving you the freedom to choose your preferred Roku region. I tested a dozen servers among the 24 locations in the US, and they all worked smoothly.

ExpressVPN’s Smart DNS (called MediaStreamer) can be easily set up on any router and allows you to watch both US and UK channels together. It's similar to changing your IP with the VPN, but the difference is that you don't have to switch between servers. It automatically changes your virtual location to the US or the UK based on the site you’re accessing. I set it up quickly and changed my Roku region so I could watch both Netflix US and BBC iPlayer. Even if your router doesn’t support a VPN, it’ll still support changing the DNS server, so this feature is highly compatible.

Alongside its many useful features, however, ExpressVPN does have a minor con. Its lowest price is $6.67/month, which is slightly on the expensive side. Despite this, it offers a discount of up to 49%, so I was able to get a good price when I signed up.

ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee means you can try it out risk-free. If you’re not satisfied, you can get a full refund. I wanted to see whether the guarantee was legitimate, so after testing the VPN for 2 weeks, I used its 24/7 live chat to request a refund. They processed my refund straight away, and I got my money back in my bank account within 4 days.

Unlock Roku Channels With ExpressVPN

2. CyberGhost — Easy Roku Setup With Smart DNS

  • Smart DNS optimized for unblocking Hulu and Netflix (US and UK)
  • 9,753 servers in 91 countries
  • Superfast speeds to stream without buffering
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Roku (via a router), Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Apple TV, and more
February 2023 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost’s Smart DNS feature allows you to easily change your Roku region and unlock specific streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu. It only took me a couple of minutes to set it up. There's a helpful guide on its website, which walks you through the steps needed. So even if you've never set a Smart DNS before, you won't have any issues. I was able to watch Only Murders In The Building on Hulu with no buffering. Note that Smart DNS doesn’t encrypt your data like a VPN, so you might get slightly better streaming speeds.

Screenshot of CyberGhost's Smart DNS servers.You can quickly set up CyberGhost’s Smart DNS and unlock Netflix US/UK and Hulu on Roku

This VPN also comes with superfast speeds that let you watch any Roku channel in 4K. The slowdown in speeds is barely noticeable. When I tested 5 of its US and UK servers (the US is far away from my location), the average drop was only 15% (from 150 Mbps to 127 Mbps). A speed drop up to 20% is acceptable. You only need 25 Mbps to stream in 4K, so if your base is higher than that, you won’t face any buffering even while watching a live broadcast.

You can install CyberGhost on 7 devices using a single license, so you can use it on all your home devices simultaneously. I tested this on 2 Android devices along with a Windows laptop, and my speeds were still consistent. You can also use your computer as a virtual router for your Roku if you don’t want to set up the VPN on an actual router. A virtual router is similar to a mobile hotspot but on a desktop or laptop. It lets you share your VPN connection from your computer to your Roku.

There is one slight problem with CyberGhost — its short-term plan is quite expensive and comes with a much shorter, 14-day money-back guarantee. But thankfully, you can get a longer plan for just $2.19/month and more time to test out all of its features.

Compared to other VPNs, CyberGhost comes with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out risk-free. To test it after using the service for 3 weeks, I contacted customer support via the 24/7 live chat. After a few short questions, they processed my refund, and I got all my money back within 6 days.

Unlock Roku Channels With CyberGhost

3. Private Internet Access — Large Server Network to Watch More Roku Channels

  • 29,650 servers in 84 countries
  • Impressive speeds for HD streaming
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Roku (via a router), Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Apple TV, and more
February 2023 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 83% off!

With 29,650 servers worldwide, Private Internet Access ensures you get a server in every major city so that you can unlock more channels on Roku. An extensive server network also means you will never face issues with slow speeds caused by overcrowding. I tested 5 servers in the US, and I was able to unblock Hulu and Disney+ with no hassle.

Screenshot of Brooklyn Nine-Nine playing on Hulu while connected to PIA's US West Streaming Optimized serverAll the Private Internet Access US servers I tested unblocked Hulu successfully

PIA offers impressive speeds with its NextGen VPN Network, allowing you to stream full HD content on your Roku. These servers utilize 10 Gbps cards for better efficiency. When I tested its US servers (far from my location), I got speeds of about 130 Mbps on a 150 Mbps connection (a 13% drop in speed). Since you only need 5 Mbps for HD, you’ll be able to watch any live sports event on your Roku with zero buffering at the best quality possible.

However, its customer service department as a bit of a let-down. There was no response when I used its live chat, so I had to resort to sending an email. But, the answer I got from its support staff was informative and detailed, quickly resolving my issue.

Its lowest-cost plan comes to $2.19/month, and I received a 83% discount when I signed up. Another great thing is that you get a free email breach monitor included in your subscription. This will alert you if a data breach exposes your email, and it proved to offer great value for my money.

PIA comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you time to try out its features risk-free. I tested its refund policy to see how trustworthy it is. I was able to contact a customer service agent through email and request a refund. After a short while, they approved my request, and I got my refund back within a week.

Unlock Roku Channels With PIA

4. IPVanish — Consistent Speeds to Stream in HD on Your Roku

  • Consistently high speeds for good-quality streaming
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • 2,000 servers in 75 countries
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Roku (via a router), Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Apple TV, and more
IPVanish February 2023 Deal: It's hard to find active IPVanish offers so I was really surprised to find this one! Click here to get 66% off your IPVanish subscription today! Discount automatically applied (no code required).

IPVanish offers consistently high speeds for watching HD content on your Roku. While testing UK servers near me, I got speeds of about 129 Mbps on a 150 Mbps connection (just a 14% slowdown). I watched Netflix UK on my Roku with no buffering at all. So, you won’t have any significant speed drops that could interrupt your viewing experience.

Screenshot of IPVanish's Windows interface while streaming Loki on Disney+There were no interruptions during the whole show and the quality was HD

It can be used on an unlimited number of devices, which is great if you would like to switch between Roku and your other streaming devices. I was able to set up IPVanish on a total of 8 devices in my home, including Roku, and it performed smoothly on all of them. You can also use one of your devices as a virtual router for Roku, which is similar to using a mobile hotspot but on a desktop or laptop.

A significant problem with IPVanish is that it is unable to unblock a few popular channels like Amazon Prime Video and Sky TV. You may need to try multiple servers if that happens or contact customer support for a solution. However, IPVanish successfully unblocked Netflix US and Disney+, so I was able to stream my favorite shows from the US.

IPVanish’s longest subscription plan is priced at $3.33/month, which I found very cost-effective. I also got a 66% discount and ransomware protection when I signed up as an added bonus.

It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can try IPVanish risk-free. Also, it has 24/7 customer service, with options to call them in 6 countries, but you don’t have to talk to a representative to get your money back. I just clicked on the “I wish to cancel my subscription” button on my account dashboard, and my refund was processed with no questions asked. My money was back in 5 days.

Unlock Roku Channels With IPVanish

5. PrivateVPN — Reliably Unblocks Popular Roku Channels

  • Powerful unblocking abilities
  • Superfast speeds to stream without interruptions
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Roku (via a router), Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Apple TV, and more

PrivateVPN makes it easy to access most Roku channels so you can watch global content. With other VPNs, sometimes you have to try multiple servers to unblock Netflix or Prime Video. But I was able to stream those 2, as well as Hulu and Peacock TV, on the first US server I tried. You can just connect to any desired server and watch your favorite shows in no time.

Screenshot of The Office playing on Peacock TV while connected to PrivateVPN's NY serverWhile connected to its NY server, I was able to watch The Office on Peacock TV

Its speeds are fast and only show a minimal slowdown, so you’ll be able to watch your favorite content on Roku in HD with no hiccups at all. My tests revealed only a 17% drop across 6 US servers (all were far away from my location). On a 150 Mbps connection, I got speeds around 124 Mbps, so I could stream The Office on my Roku smoothly.

Compared to the other providers like ExpressVPN, PrivateVPN has a slight drawback — it only has 200 servers. However, it makes up for it with the fast speeds it provides and by unblocking the most popular streaming platforms on Roku.

The most cost-effective plan for PrivateVPN comes in at just $2/month. Plus, I got a discount of 85% and 24 months free when I signed up for it.

PrivateVPN is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you time to try out its features risk-free. I tested this guarantee, and it only took me a few minutes to start the refund process. I requested it via the “Contact Support” option, stating my reason. They responded to my email in 20 minutes and issued the refund. My money was returned in 6 days.

Unlock Roku Channels With PrivateVPN

How to Set up a VPN on Your Roku

Roku does not support native VPN apps, so you have to install a VPN on your router first. Although this process is not as simple as installing an app, most VPN services have guides detailing how you can install a VPN on your router.

If you don’t want the hassle of going through that whole process, all the VPNs on this list, other than PrivateVPN, offer pre-configured VPN routers.

ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs with a dedicated router app that makes it easy to install and use. It offers all the features in a clean user interface, so you can spend more time watching your favorite Roku shows rather than setting up the VPN on your router. Here’s a quick guide on installing it:

  1. Get a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN because it's one of the rare ones that offer a router app that's super easy to use.
  2. Download the compatible ExpressVPN firmware. Go to ExpressVPN’s router page and find your model.
  3. Connect your router to the internet.
  4. Access your router’s control panel. You can typically find it by entering the address in your browser). Locate Administrator settings > Firmware Upgrade.
  5. Upgrade your firmware. Click “Upload” and select the firmware file you just downloaded. The router will reboot after it has installed the firmware.
  6. Visit your router’s new control panel. Go to ExpressVPN's router website and set up your new WiFi network with a good password.
  7. Connect to a VPN server of your choice. On the ExpressVPN router app, just select your desired server from the Dashboard, and click “Connect”.

Note that this process varies slightly from router to router. If your particular model does not support VPNs, you can use Smart DNS (such as ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer).

Try ExpressVPN With Roku

How to Change Your Roku Account Region

Before you can change Roku’s region, you need to factory reset it first. If your Roku is brand new and hasn’t been set up, you won’t need to reset it. Note that if you only want to watch international libraries from Roku channels already installed on your device, such as Netflix US, you just need to use a VPN in that location. But to install a geo-restricted app that’s not available in the Roku store, you’ll need to change your device’s region.

Here are the steps to factory resetting your Roku and changing your account region:

  1. Open your Roku interface through your TV. Go to Settings > System > Advanced System Settings > Factory Reset.
  2. Type in the given code. In the grid interface on the right side of your screen, you’ll see a code. After typing it in, click “Okay”. The factory reset will be completed after this.
  3. Connect your router to a VPN server in your preferred region. I connected to ExpressVPN’s US server so I could open my Roku account in the US. If you use a UK server, you can unlock UK-only channels like BBC iPlayer and NOW TV.
  4. Create a Roku account. Open Roku’s signup page, fill out your credentials, and select the US as your country. Note that you can create this account on your laptop or phone as well, but remember to have your VPN on.
  5. Login to your new account on your Roku and add your preferred US channels.
Pro Tip: Every Roku also has a physical factory reset button on the back or on the bottom of the device. This will be either a pinhole button (requiring a paperclip) or tactile. Press and hold the button for 10–15 seconds, and wait for your Roku to restart to complete the factory reset.

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FAQs on Unlocking Channels on Your Roku With a VPN

Why does my Roku say “content disabled”?

If your Roku says “content disabled”, the problem is most likely with your HDMI cable. To fix this, all you need to do is switch off your TV for 30 seconds, unplug the HDMI cable, plug it back in firmly, and power up your TV again.

If you are setting up your Roku for the first time, note that it will detect your current region, and you can only access channels within this locale. If you’re in the UK, you won’t be able to watch geoblocked channels from the US, such as Hulu, and vice versa. VPNs can help you unblock channels while you’re traveling and make the most of your Roku device. They let you connect to a specific server and change your Roku region so you can watch geoblocked content that you paid for.

Can I unlock Roku channels without a VPN router?

Yes, you can unlock Roku channels without a VPN router. You have 2 options to choose from — either use a WiFi hotspot from a VPN-connected device or use a screen-mirroring app.

If you want to use a WiFi hotspot, you simply need to connect to a device that’s using a VPN. You could install a VPN on your laptop and run a hotspot from there, then connect your Roku to this hotspot, turning it into a virtual router.

When it comes to screen-mirroring apps, you first have to wirelessly mirror your device screen to your Roku. If you own an iOS device, you can simply use AirPlay. For Windows or Android, there are several different apps depending on the manufacturer, but any one of them will work similarly.

Once you’ve mirrored your screen, connect to a VPN on your phone/laptop, run the show you want to watch, and enjoy it on the big screen through your Roku. The content will continue playing on both devices.

However, I recommend installing a VPN on your router as a safer and more convenient method of unlocking Roku channels.

Does Smart DNS work on Roku?

Yes, Smart DNS works on Roku. Although Roku does not directly allow you to change DNS, you can still use such a service through a router and have it work on your Roku device. This is quite easy to set up on most routers with broad compatibility.

However, Smart DNS will not protect your online traffic like a VPN does, as it doesn’t encrypt your online data. Since it requires to be set up on a router to work with Roku, you may be better off installing a full-fledged VPN that guarantees your safety and privacy.

Is it legal to unlock Roku channels from another country with a VPN?

Although VPNs are technically legal in most countries, accessing geo-restricted content with a VPN falls in a gray area. Platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer are legally bound to follow their particular country's content distribution and licensing laws. They restrict the content available to you through geoblocking based on your IP address.

Thus, you cannot watch certain content unless you’re physically in that country or use a VPN if you’re outside their borders. If you want to access geo-restricted apps on your Roku device, you have to change your account region using a VPN.

These platforms typically discourage the use of technologies like VPNs and actively restrict them as well. However, they never go after the paying customers. Instead, they go after the VPN technology itself.

Also, even though VPNs are permitted in most countries, some are highly restrictive about it, like China. Namely, only government-approved VPNs are allowed there. However, they have never fined any tourists for using a VPN, but they too actively block VPN providers.

What are the best Roku alternatives?

The best Roku alternatives are Amazon Fire Stick, Kodi, Chromecast with Google TV, Apple TV, and Nvidia Shield TV Pro. There’s also a possibility to use Kodi with your Roku — you can do that with screen mirroring.

Regardless of the device you choose, you will run into the same problem of channels being geoblocked on your preferred device based on your country and IP address. A VPN helps you unlock content worldwide on any device. All you need to do is connect to a server in your preferred region. For example, if you mostly want to watch US content, you can connect to a US server. That way, you’ll appear as if you’re physically there.

Unlock Roku Channels With ExpressVPN

Unlock Any Roku Channel Now

Roku is one of the most popular streaming devices where you can access a wide selection of channels, especially in the US. Depending on your location, you might be restricted from watching some of them. Whether you’re a US resident or not, you can make the most out of your Roku while traveling by accessing its channels worldwide. For that, you need a VPN.

Out of all the VPNs I tested, my expert recommendation is ExpressVPN. What sets it apart from every other VPN is its easy-to-use router app, superfast speeds, and extensive server network. It is also backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try ExpressVPN with your Roku risk-free. You can get a full refund within those 30 days if you decide it’s not for you.

To summarize, the best VPNs for unlocking Roku channels are…

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About the Author

Anshul is a writer and cybersecurity enthusiast, with a keen interest in AI, Cryptocurrency, and DeFi. He focuses on navigating today's online world with complete security, privacy, and anonymity, and wants to help his readers do the same.

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