Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Chromcast give users the chance to stream a variety of content, including TV series, documentaries and movies from Netflix. However, the options are subject to geo-blocks due to incensing agreements that establish that certain TV shows and movies can only be accessed on certain countries. For instance, Netflix subscribers in the United States can enjoy a larger selection of content, while users in other countries have to settle for a more limited media library.
In order to bypass the restrictions, users around the world can use a VPN. This is one of the most popular and effective methods to unblock content and it also offers great advantages in terms of security. With a VPN, the traffic that goes to and from a device is encrypted and you can defeat geo-blocks by connecting to a remote server in a country where the content you want to watch is available. If you live outside the United States, you can connect to a server in that country in order to access more media content.
However, it should be noted that not all VPNs are effective when it comes to bypassing restrictions on Netflix. The company has taken steps to prevent users from circumventing their blocks and as a result, many VPN services are no longer working for this purpose. The good news is that if you want to be able to stream content from Netflix US, or from other platforms like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, there are still VPN services that will allow you to do so. Although the situation is very changeable since Netflix is always trying to find a way to stop their customer from accessing content in a different region with the help of a VPN, ExpressVPN, Buffered and NordVPN are some of the providers that are still able to get around the restrictions.
If you want to stream content from Netflix and other services that apply geographical blocks on Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and similar devices, you can use a VPN. However, you need to keep in mind that these devices don’t have native support for VPNs. This is why you will need to set up the service on a different device first. You can use a WiFi router, or set up the VPN on a virtual router on your computer. Here we will go through the steps needed in both cases.
Setting up a VPN on a Windows virtual router
The majority of computers can connect to WiFi and share the WiFi signal with other devices. You can set up a virtual router on your computer to connect your Chromecase via VPN without having to change your physical WiFi router settings. For this, you need to have a laptop at hand, which is easier than having to configure a physical router. This can be used whenever it is needed, instead of getting all your devices connected to the VPN. Once you subscribe to a VPN service, you can easily download and install the VPN client on your computer. Then, you need to make sure that your computer supports virtual routers.
- Type “cmd” in the Windows search bar and then right click Command Prompt and Run as Administrator.
- Type “netsh wlan show drivers” in the terminal windows that appears and press Enter. Search for “Hosted network supported” and if it says “Yes”, you can continue. Otherwise, you need to set up the VPN on the physical router. You can find the steps required for this later on the article.
- Type “netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=key= with the network name and password you prefer, then press Enter.
- There will a text showing that you have created the virtual router successfully. You can turn it on by typing “netsh wlan start hostednetwork” and pressing Enter.
- A message should appear saying that the hosted network started. If you don’t get that message, you will need to update the network adapter drivers and try once again.
- The next step is to share the virtual router with other devices. For this press Windows Key+R, type “ncpa.cpl” into the Run prompt and press Enter.
- A list of connections will appear, there look for the one that you previously created. You should see the network name you entered. Remember the name of this connection.
- Look for the connection that says “TAP-Windows Adapter” on the same list and right click on it. Then select Properties.
- Click the Sharing tab located at the top and mark the box that says “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection”.
- Click the drop-down menu under Home network connection and select the name of the network that you previously created. Hit OK.
- Open the VPN, select OpenVPN and connect to a server located in the US. TAP Windows Adapter gets activated with OpenVPN. That is all, now your computer will work as a VPN enabled WiFi router.
All you need to do now is to connect to the virtual router in the settings of your Roku, Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV. Just make sure that the VPN is connected to a server that is not going to be blocked by Netflix. In some cases, you would need to reach out to your VPN provider’s support team in order to find out which servers work. Keep in mind that if you turn off your computer, the virtual router is disabled and your streaming device will be disconnected from the internet.
Setting up a VPN router on a Mac virtual router
1. Click the Apple icon in order to open a system menu and select System Preferences. Then click the Network icon.
2. Click on the plus (+), which appears at the bottom of the left panel in the Network window. This will allow you to add a new service. In the pop-up window that appears, select the below:
VPN Type: L2TP over IPSec
Service Name: select a name for your VPN connection and then click Create.
3. In order to continue with the process, you will need your VPN username, password and a server address. You may also need an IPSec key, also known as Shared Key or Shared Secret. They can be found under the Manual Configuration section of the VPN provider’s support website. The majority of providers also have a list of servers that you can select from. Then you need to enter the below information:
Server Address: [server address that you prefer]
Account Name [username]
Encryption: Automatic (128 bit or 40 bit)
4. Check the box next to “Show VPN status in menu bar” so that you can see your VPN connection status in the menu bar.
5. Click the Authentication Settings on the Authentication screen and the enter the password in the required field and then the IPSec key in the Shared Secret box under Machine Authentication. Select OK.
6. Click Advanced. Then check the box that says “Send all traffic over VPN connection” and select OK.
7. To save all the settings, click Apply and then connect to your VPN using the Connect button. This will connect you to the VPN server. All you need to do now is to set up the VPN for sharing. Go back to the System Preferences menu and then click Sharing.
8. Select Internet Sharing from the left panel in the Sharing menu. You will see these options on the right side of the screen. You can set the below settings:
Share the connection from [the VPN PPTP connection you previously created] to computers using: check the box for WiFi.
Select WiFi options and enter this information:
Network name: [select a network name or SSID]
Channel: [this should be left as default]
Security: WPA2 Personal
Password: [select a password]
Verify: [re-enter your password]
9. Check the box next to Internet Sharing on the Sharing menu. You’ll be prompted to enable Internet Sharing. Click Start and once Internet Sharing is activated, you will see a green light next to the text: “Internet Sharing: On”.
10. You will see two new icons in the menu bar. The first one shows the status of your VPN connection. The second one displays your Internet Sharing status.
Once you click on the WiFi icon, you will notice that it is not searching for available WiFi signals anymore. It will tell you that the WiFi internet sharing is on. You can connect your devices to the WiFi router as you would with any other WiFi, using the SSID and password that you entered in the WiFi settings.
How to set up a VPN on a router
There are different ways to set up a VPN on a physical WiFi router, the steps will vary depending on the router’s firmware. Some firmware doesn’t support VPNs, but it is possible to flash the router (update the firmware) using free, open -source firmware that does offer VPN support. DD-WRT and Tomato are the most popular options available. The configuration steps vary between VPN providers and while we’ll go through the general process, you may need to contact your provider for specific instructions.
You will requite the VPN configuration files. They can usually be downloaded from the VPN provider’s website. These files have a .opvpn file extension and you will need a config file for every server/location that you wish to connect to. The files will have to be downloaded onto your computer. Once you have downloaded them, you can open them using Notepad.
Then you will need to connect to your router using WiFi or LAN. Enter your WiFi router’s local IP address in your web browser’s URL bar, this is usually 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1. If these options don’t work, look for the IP address in the user manual or the router’s manufacturer website.
The next step is to log in to your router. Usually the username and password are not changed at all from the original settings. If you can’t find the username and password, you can enter “admin” in both fields. Alternatively, leave the username in blank and enter “admin” as a password. You can also type “admin” for the username and “password” for the password. Another option is to leave both username and password blank or go to RouterPasswords.com and search for your router model.
How to set up a VPN on a DD-WRT router
- Locate the router model on the list that appears in the following link: https://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices#Linksys_.28Wireless_a.2Fb.2Fg.2Fn.2Fac.29 and flash the router with DD-WRT. Follow the relevant install guide.
- When you have accessed the DD-WRT dashboard, go to Services, then VPN and enable the OpenVPN client. Enter the configuration details from your VPN provider under OpenVPN client, or/and the VPN configuration files.
- Usually you will see the keys and certs included at the bottom of the configuration files. You can copy them and paste then into the relevant fields.
- To establish the connection to the VPN, apply settings. Click Status>OpenVPN to confirm that it is working. You would see “Cleint: CONNECTED SUCCESS” and the log of your connection.
- You may also change the static DNS settings of your router, if advised by the VPN provider. Go to Setup, then Basic Setup, followed by Network Address Server Settings (DHCP) and configure as needed. Once you are connected, you can use your streaming device to access more content on Netflix.
How to set up a VPN on a Tomato router
- First of all, you will need to check that your router model is compatible with Tomato. You can take a look at the list in the following link: http://tomato.groov.pl/?page_id=69
- To install Tomato, you can follow the instructions here: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Tomato_Firmware/Installation_and_Configuration
- Go to VPN Tunneling and then Client in the Tomato administrative dashboard. Select Client 1 and Basic. There you will be able to configure the VPN according to the specifications of your VPN provider or/and OpenVPN configuration file. Your provider’s specifications are also needed in order to change the settings in the Advanced tab.
- Select the Keys tab. Look for the keys in your OpenVPN config file. Then Copy and paste them into the relevant fields.
- After configuring the VPN, go to VPN Tunneling, then Client, Status and select Start Now.
- Once a connection has been established, you will be able to use your Roku, Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV to enjoy Netflix without geo-restrictions.