How to Get US Netflix on Roku
Updated: February 25, 2016
- First get a VPN account setup
- Then install the VPN software onto the device(s) you want to get US Netflix on Roku from
- Open the VPN software then connect to a US-based server location
- Go to your Roku, login to your Netflix account (or create one if you don't have one)
- Enjoy US Netflix on Roku
How to get US Netflix on Roku in more detail
I have worked in IT for as long as I can remember now and when it comes to online entertainment, I flatter myself that I know as much as almost anyone. But in many ways I am also something of a traditionalist too. When I am relaxing in the evening, I like to watch TV and Movies on my TV, not my computer.
Why? Well partially because watching my computer to relax would be a bit of a ‘busman’s holiday’ (as they saying goes here in the UK), and partially because I a year or so ago I invested in an enormous curved screen Super-Hi-Definition TV which is the centerpiece in my living room, and if I’m honest my life as well.
Now this TV is far too good to just plug a computer into, but I was still keen to have the flexibility of using services like Netflix, so after much research I opted to buy a Roku Streaming Player. If you haven’t heard of these yet (and it amazes me how many people haven’t) it is a set-top box which can stream data from either a wired or Wi-Fi connection from a whole host of different services, including Netflix, which as far as I am concerned is the Godfather of streaming services.
The only problem that I was left with was how to get the US Netflix running on my Roku box here in London. And for that problem I was happy to use the expertise of my day job. All I needed was a good VPN, and the one I opted for was ExpressVPN.
Read on, and I will explain just how it works!
Why is US Netflix not Available on Roku?
Roku is a piece of hardware which streams online content onto your TV via a Wi-Fi or wored internet connection. Therefore, it works in much the same was as a computer would when trying to access the services it can show, including Netflix.
Because I live in London, I am therefore faced with the same geo-blocking message that I would receive on my computer when trying to log into US Netflix. Netflix has a British version, but there is far less content compared to the US version, including many shows that I like to watch.
This is because Netflix only has the rights to show these shows in the US, not the UK or anywhere else. They are therefore obliged to block users from accessing their US service if they are located outside the USA, and they do this using a technology known as geo-blocking.
How is US Netflix Blocking Access on Roku?
Geo-blocking is a technique by which the site in question reads the IP Address of each visitor they receive. Every internet user transmits an IP Address (which is a set of data about themselves, including their geographic location) every time them visit a website.
So Netflix US reads an IP Address, and if it says that the user is not located in the USA, it will block them from using their service.
The best way to get around this is by fooling US Netflix into thinking that you are located in the USA, even if you are not, and this is where a VPN comes in. A VPN will reroute all your internet activity via an external server. The IP Address that all these sites receive when you visit them will be that of the server you are using rather than your device. Therefore, if that server is located in the USA, US Netflix will think you are, and hey-presto, the service is available.
Netflix currently claims to be clamping down on VPNs, but the only way to stop a VPN using your site is to blacklist their IP Addresses, and it is very easy for VPNs to change their IP Address, so all Netflix are doing is engaging in an expensive cat-and-mouse game, which they cannot win.
So if you want to know exactly how to get US Netflix on Roku, keep reading below:
How to Use a VPN to Watch US Netflix on Roku
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
There are two ways to run your Roku box on a VPN connection. The first is to install a VPN onto your router (many models there days enable you to do this) and the second is to enable network sharing on your computer and then connect your Roku box to your computer using a WLAN cable.
For both methods, you will first need to visit the ExpressVPN website, which you can do by clicking one of the links on this page. Once there, you will need to choose from one of their subscription packages.
Having made your choice click on it to be redirected to the payments page, where you can make a payment using a variety of different internationally recognized payment options. There’s a free 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t totally satisfied.
Once your payment is complete, ExpressVPN will email you with a link. Click on this link to activate your account.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
The next step is to download and install the ExpressVPN software. To do this, all you need to do is choose your devices operating system from the menu you can see below. Click on the link and then follow the instructions to download and then install the software.
Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN
Then you will need to select a US-based server from ExpressVPNs extensive list of servers. Any will do, but if you are in Europe, the East Coast is best, whilst in Asia the West Coast will be faster.
Click on your selection and wait a few moments for the connection to be made. Here's a snapshot of me connecting to the ExpressVPN Android app. Of course you don't want to be connecting through a UK-based server location like I am, though:
Step 4: Setup Router and US Netflix Account
The last step will require you to set up ExpressVPN on your router. This is pretty straightforward but varies depending on your model, so the best thing to do is follow the appropriate ExpressVPN guide.
If you intend to use network sharing, simply enable the function and attack the WLAN cable to your Roku Device.
Then you should be able to access US Netflix just as if you were in the USA. If needs be, you can set up a new account too. Netflix still accepts PayPal and international credit cards at the time of writing, although you may have to enter a US address and Zip Code. Any will do, as Netflix never check.
And with that your Roku box will have access to US Netflix and you can kick back and enjoy the best TV shows and movies around on your TV… get a curved screen one, they are amazing… trust me.
Feel free to leave any comments below (but not about the Curved Screen TV, that’s not up for debate!). Oh, and if you are not keen on ExpressVPN for whatever reason, there are plenty of other options out there. See below for my Top 5 VPNs which can help you solve the dilemma of how to get US Netflix on Roku.