Does ExpressVPN Work with Roku?
Browsing the web in this day and age almost literally comes with its ups and downs. On the one hand, virtually everything you need is on the internet with its vast, potentially unending banks of information. On the other hand, some of the places where we really want to get into are geo-restricted. This means that only people in certain parts of the world are allowed to consume the content on that part of the web, and everyone else is denied access automatically. If you’d like to know if ExpressVPN works with Roku, the simple answer is: Yes. But first, let’s explore the concept of geo-restrictions and why a VPN is needed to tackle them.
The way geo-restriction works is that IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are assigned to computers, mobile phones, and basically every other device that can access the internet. The IP address serves, in a way, as a means of identification of the device being used to surf the web. It tells the server where the device is accessing the web from among other things. As such, when the server “reads the IP address” and sees that the device is in a place that is not part of the accepted locations, it blocks it automatically from viewing. One of the kinds of sites that does that online is known as Roku.
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What is Roku?
Roku is a series of media players that allow for streaming videos on the internet. It was founded by a United States-based company known as Roku, Inc. The name of the company is gotten from the Japanese word “Roku’ which means “six.” It was adopted for the company because it is the sixth company that the founder has established.
Its specialty lies in providing media services. The average Roku streaming device receives data through a Wi-Fi connection from a router. Simply put, it is a small, often square, device that allows you to watch free and premium videos on your television through the use of the internet.
The devices come in different forms, such as the Roku Ultra, Roku Streaming Stick, Roku Streaming Stick Plus, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere Plus, Roku Express, Roku Smart TV, etc.
That’s all good, but why do I need to use a VPN with Roku?
In the introductory part of this article, we spoke about websites and servers refusing access to internet users based on their location. Well, Roku just so happens to be one of those sites. Roku is a great media streaming device that has grown from its limited streaming options at the time of its creation to multiple options at the mere push of buttons. However, it is US based, and it is only available in the United States.
When your Roku device outside the United States tries to communicate with the central server for you to stream videos, the server would recognize the IP address as explained earlier and block it from accessing the content.
There lies the reason you need a VPN to use Roku. You might not always be in the United States, but you definitely would still want your entertainment to be able to travel along with you. Now, fortunately for us, there is a way through which you can bypass this restriction, and it is by using a VPN.
How does a VPN help me view Roku?
VPN is the short form of Virtual Private Network. To put it very simply, it helps you keep your activities and footprints on the internet private. This means that the IP address which the server recognizes, and then subsequently blocks, can be masked or disguised by the VPN.
On Roku, there are various streaming services. The ones that are most popular for being geo-restricted are Hulu and HBO Now. They are quite strict with this and only allow for US-based servers to stream video content on their platform. By changing your IP address virtually, a VPN is able to get you access to the server that previously blocked you from viewing.
Apart from that, it also offers a number of security measures in order to be able to help you keep safe on the internet. Of course, the capabilities of these Virtual Private Networks differ based on different factors. However, as you already know, the one we would be focusing on in this article is ExpressVPN.
What is ExpressVPN, and why is it an excellent choice for Roku?
ExpressVPN is a Virtual Private Network service provider with over three thousand servers that span a hundred and sixty different locations across 94 different countries around the world. One of the distinguishing features that make it a great option for Roku is its smart DNS proxy. This allows it to bypass restrictions that are based on location in order to give you access to the content of those sites.
In addition to the fact that its prices get more affordable as you commit to longer durations, it also provides you with five connections per subscription. The implication of this is if, after connecting your Roku device, you are still in need of the coverage ExpressVPN offers, you can still connect four other devices. Alongside that, it offers the option of setting up a router that would allow an infinite number of connections.
Indeed, ExpressVPN works well with Roku. Through the availability of its DNS proxy alongside all the technical mumbo-jumbo we would not want to bore you with, it bypasses the geo-restriction placed on Roku by its developers.
Simply put, it masks your IP address, tricks the servers into thinking you are viewing from the United States even when you aren’t and subsequently helps you gain access to the content you want to consume.
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How do I use ExpressVPN with Roku?
Since it’s already been clarified that ExpressVPN works like a charm with Roku, the online streaming platform, the next thing to do would be to explain how exactly you can use it. Firstly, it is imperative that you understand that you cannot install ExpressVPN directly on your Roku. You have to get it done through a virtual router (on your PC), or you can get it done on a physical router. We’ve found the virtual router to be a lot more convenient and easy to understand. As such, we’ll be giving you a step by step guide on how to set it up and use ExpressVPN with Roku.
1. Subscribe to any ExpressVPN package of your choice by visiting the company’s website. This shouldn’t be particularly difficult, seeing as they have a 30-day money-back guarantee that refunds you fully if you are unsatisfied with the services after thirty days. As soon as you are logged into their site, simply navigate to the subscription section of the site and choose which one best suits you.
2. Search for and download the official Windows version of the ExpressVPN app. For smooth downloading and installation, we would recommend that you have a good internet connection so you do not have to go through the usual frustration that occurs when one tries to download something, and the speeds are just utterly counterproductive.
- On your taskbar, click on the internet connection button and then “network and internet settings.”
- On the left side of the menu on your screen, click the mobile hot-spot button and then share your connection with other devices.
- On the left side of the screen again, click on “status” and then change your adapter options.
- At this point, right-click ExpressVPN, tap adapter, and then properties.
- Allow other users of the network to connect through your computer by clicking on the option that allows for that on the sharing tab.
- Select the already created connection and click “OK.”
- Connect to a US server after you must have launched the Virtual Private Network on your PC.
3. Note: All of the aforementioned steps are merely the starting stages. There are still a few more of them, and while they might be technical, if you pay attention, you will definitely get it. However, if your Roku device is already configured to the United States region, you can skip the next eight steps
- After establishing your ExpressVPN connection with a US server, visit owner.Roku.com on your computer.
- Select the United States as your country.
- Input a US ZIP code in the required field. The code consists of five digits.
- Factory reset your Roku device by long pressing the reset button on the back of the device.
- When the reset is done, you can simply log in again, and you’ll have a US-based account in the place of the one that was there before.
- Select the “network” option after clicking on the “settings” button on your Roku home screen.
- Set up a wireless connection afterward by clicking the option on the screen that says so. There would be a list of available Wi-Fi connections. The one you’re looking for is the one you just created using ExpressVPN.
- Type in your Wi-Fi password.
At this point, your Roku device should be connected to ExpressVPN. With this alongside your connection to a US server, you would be able to access geo-restricted streaming platforms like Hulu, HBO NOW, etc. Of course, there is also the option of connecting via a physical router in the stead of a virtual router on your laptop. However, as stated earlier, that is a bit more technical, and we would only advise that you resort to that option only if you are experiencing difficulties with the virtual router.
What else can I do with ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN has many other different uses besides letting you view content in parts of the world that you normally wouldn’t be able to. For the sake of it, we’ll be giving examples that you should be able to relate with.
The first that comes to mind is that it can allow you to use public Wi-Fi and networks securely. In some places, before you are allowed to use an organization’s Wi-Fi or any form free internet, you are first asked to log in with your email address or something of that sort.
It is possible that some or all of those emails are collected and compiled into a huge database whereby your information is used for things you wouldn’t be entirely comfortable with. ExpressVPN prevents that from happening but encrypting your data and preventing them from being able to track you or collect/use your information without permission.
Also, ExpressVPN allows you to bypass censorship placed on the web. If, for example, there is a ban on Facebook where you currently are, and you need to access the app, you can simply use ExpressVPN. It is not a ban based on geography so, saying that it’ll bypass the geo-restriction isn’t correct. However, what the Virtual Private Network service provider would do is to “tunnel” you out of the censorship. That is just the simplest way to put it.
Alongside that, there are a number of other possibilities. However, they mostly center around protecting your privacy, protecting your information, ensuring top-notch security, and providing you with the ability to bypass restrictions placed on the net.
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Is ExpressVPN legal?
Having mentioned all of the above, it is only normal if you have your doubts about the internet privacy service provider. It seems a little funny even, but ExpressVPN is not against the law. It is legal in most countries in the world, including the United States and the British Virgin Islands, where the company is located.
However, it is important to note that what isn’t legal without the use of a VPN remains illegal even with a VPN. At the risk of sounding dramatic, allow us to give this example and say that masking your IP address and hacking into a government website does not become legal just because you’re using a VPN to do the job.
While Roku does not have any pre-installed VPNs on its system, it is still very possible to have ExpressVPN installed on it for use. Doing so will give you access to stream however you like without having to worry about the annoying geo-restrictions.