How to watch American Netflix on Roku – VPN or DNS Proxies ?

The U.S. American version of Netflix is surely the best and most complete. People who live outside the U.S. as expats working overseas or simply fans of US shows either get a different version of Netflix on their Roku or it’s blocked altogether, due to geographical Internet restrictions. In order to unblock the American Netflix on Roku in Canada, Germany, France, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, UK, Ireland, or anywhere else, you need to set up a VPN or Smart DNS which helps you to bypass any ISP/Netflix restrictions and change your Netflix region on Roku, Roku 2, and Roku 3 and Roku Stick through location spoofing . I will show you the methods on how to do in this simple how-to guide
Watch American Netflix on Roku
Watch American Netflix on Roku

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Watch U.S. American Netflix on Roku – The basics

First things first. You need to create a U.S. account on Roku. To do so you’ll need to be able to fake your IP address so that it appears you’re living in the U.S. This is possible via VPN and Smart DNS.

If you have set up your Roku before, do the following:

  • Reset it
  • Use a VPN or Smart DNS Proxy Service
  • Create an American account
  • Add U.S. Netflix or any other geo-blocked channel to your Roku

VPN and Smart DNS are both able to unblock various channels and services that are geo-blocked see the above list for reference. As for VPN and Smart DNS, please see a description about either below. You will need one of the two for setting up your US Roku account and for streaming channels on Roku outside the USA.

How to unblock American Netflix on Roku using VPN Proxies

 VPN is a virtual private network that gives you the ability to change your IP address to another country. That means that you’ll get to watch all the channels that are geo-blocked on your Roku including American Netflix. In addition to spoofing your IP address, VPN lets you do the following:

  • Encrypt your online data completely which means that all your online activity is kept secure and hidden.
  • VPN is fairly easy to set up on all sorts of devices such as Android, iPhone, iPad, PC, and Mac. Roku does not natively support VPN, so you need to set up VPN on your router for Roku to use VPN.
  • Setting up a VPN on a U.S. server means that you’ll unblock U.S. content on your Roku. In case you need to watch UK content you need to switch to a UK server. Unless you actually do live in the UK, in that case, you need to disconnect VPN before being able to access geo-restricted local sites.
  • VPN is very resilient against ISP mechanisms that break Smart DNS Proxy functionality. I.e. DNS Hijacking and ISP Transparent Proxies.

I personally do use ExpressVPN,  mainly because of their great support and vast VPN country selection. You can basically change your IP to anywhere around the world.

In order to access US channels on Roku overseas, use these VPN providers.

VPN Provider
Best VPN
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  • Works for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu
  • 24/7/ live chat support
  • 3 extra months free on annual plan
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Second Best VPN
  • UltraHD streaming
  • Free Smart DNS proxy
  • Unblocks all major streaming services
  • Limited Time 72% Discount
Third Best VPN
  • Unlimited VPN connections
  • Over 1000 servers
  • Ad-blocking feature available
  • User-friendly application
  • Exclusive Smart VPN feature
  • Standalone Smart DNS subscription available
  • Extra security features
  • Extensions for Firefox and Chrome
  • Split-tunneling available

How to watch American Netflix on your Roku via Smart DNS Proxies

Alternatively, Smart DNS also allows you to change your online location in order to unblock online channels like U.S. Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, WWE Network. Your local IP address is unchanged so you still get to access content that is exclusive to your region as well as unblocking channels from all around the globe. Smart DNS does operate in a fashion different to VPN, see below :

  • With Smart DNS only the relevant Geo bits and pieces are redirected  thus your Internet speed is preserved
  • All devices are supported and setup is very straightforward. There are video and screenshot guides here if you want to get a taste.
  • Unlike VPN, you do not need to change anything to watch content from different regions at the same time. In that sense, you can change your Netflix region, watch Hulu, Canal Plus, BBC Iplayer at the same time.
  • Smart DNS Proxies do have a weakness against ISP restrictions such as  DNS Hijacking and ISP Transparent Proxies. If your ISP applies either, you might have to go with VPN.

I have been using Unlocator since their beta days. They are one of the most used Smart DNS providers with over 214 unlocked channels and a “free/no questions asked” one week trial.

In addition to Netflix, the following channels can also be found on Rokus :

  • Amazon Instant Video
  • Hulu Plus
  • Pandora
  • Crackle
  • Vudu
  • HBO GO
  • HBO Now
  • Vevo
  • Blockbuster on Demand
  • MLB.TV
  • Flixter
  • ESPN
  • WWE Network
  • NFL
  • NBA
  • ABC
  • ABC Family

American Channels on Roku – Unblock and Watch outside the USA

That should be it, if you still cannot get American channels on Roku outside the USA using VPN or Smart DNS proxies, please leave a comment below and I will try to help.

25 thoughts on “How to watch American Netflix on Roku – VPN or DNS Proxies ?”

  1. Hello
    I have an ExpressVPN flashed router account and a Roku Streaming Stick+ with a US account. I try to access US content but every time I try to add a channel it says that it is not available in my region. I am located in S.Korea. I’ve tried factory reset, deactivating my account and creating a new one, all to no avail. Please help!

  2. I really hope you can help me. I’m using Smart DNS but still don’t have access to american channels on my Roku. The american channels work great on my comptuer. So I know that the Smart DNS is working. But somehow when I register on the US Roku website with an american address and go to the channel store. All the american channels are greyed out so I can’t add them. Not sure what to do next.
    Thank you

    1. Charles Roswell

      Hello Gina. It appears that your Roku account has been flagged as non-US. Try creating a new American Roku account.

  3. My VPN capable router is working through express vpn so my computer and phone gets us library but roku gets au library. Don’t know what in Roku that causes this. It used to work a year ago when i first set it up. Is there a setting i can change in Roku? Id like to know any work around.

  4. this is my comment
    I live in Mexico, if I change the DNS on my router will i still have internet usage on my computer? Do I have to change the DNS every time I want o use intenet? what is the cost of SMART DNS?

    1. Hello Maggie. When using Smart DNS, all your Internet browsing will function as it normally would. In addition, you get to access geo-restricted channels that you usually have no access to in Mexico.

  5. Hi, we have the Netgear R6250 and running DD-WRT version 3.0-R29362 and running into issues configuring the VPN on the router. Any ideas?



  6. I am having the issue where I can watch U.S Netflix on my laptop but get the geoblocker message on my Roku 2- do you know how I can get around this?

      1. Yep. Using unblock us. The problem is the roku is hardcoded with google dns so it bypasses any vpn or dns. My laptop is obviously not hardcoded with the google dns so i get american netflix on my laptop. I am trying to figure out a way around the hardcoded google dns. Blocking google dns doesnt work because netflix then knows you are using a proxy. This is part of their recent crackdown

  7. It seems as though while vpn offers some extra benefits, if I just want to watch American TV in JAPAN, smartDNS will do the job. So, my first question is do you know if Japanese ISPs use DNS Hijacking or ISP Transparent Proxies? I’m planning on taking a Roku Stick with me and have not yet set up an account. I assume, from reading your advice, that I can and should wait until I get there? Having said that I guess I can wait until I get there to create an account with Unlocator or whoever? Your expert advice will be greatly appreciated. In any case, I do have a vpn capable router but I hear that the latency of using a vpn can be an issue with all but the fastest internet connections.

    1. Hi Joseph. The best thing to do in your case would be waiting until you get to Japan and then sign up for a free Unlocator Smart DNS trial to test things out yourself. I don’t think Japanese ISPs use either DNS hijacking or transparent proxies. If you are currently in the USA and haven’t yet setup a Roku account, you can set one up now.

      1. I think that’s good advice and just what I’ll do. But again, to make the distinction between VPN and SMARTDNS, for an individual looking for a work-around to being boxed in to a specific locale, SMARTDNS is the way to go whereas if an individual or business has larger security and privacy concerns, VPN would be the default. Is that the easy answer?

  8. HI,thanks for the info. I just was online with express and the support chat guy told me i need to take a vpn compatible router or my laptop to thailand if i want to get netflix there. that Roku will not work with (express) vpn without a vpn compatible router. xbox or playstation would, he said.
    i don’t know how common vpn compatible routers are but i guess he was assuming that hotels in thailand don’t have them. he also said vpn router MAY work, hotel might block vpn. A laptop would give me more channels(?) to avoid their block. I told him at the start my Roku was SE edition but he did not seem to pay attention to model. I’m leaving in 4 days.
    Unless Roku SE is limited, his advice seems to contradict yours in my newbie brain. thanks for any help.

    1. Hi Chris. ExpressVPN support are right. You cannot directly enable VPN on Roku streaming devices due to the absence of a VPN client. Hence, the need for a router that supports VPN. The same applies to Playsation and Xbox. With a laptop, you can directly install VPN without the need for access to a router.

  9. Hey there, thanks for the guide. I started using ExpressVPN. It works fine with my android and pc browser overall. And it almost worked with roku too. I’m using Roku from Italy. So before i pretty much used it as a chromecast to cast stuff on my tv, but since Netflix is now available in Italy I wanted to get it work on roku. So I reseted it and created a new account faking the info as if I’m using it from US. It Actually kinda worked. I now have all US channels listed, but when I open them they show me the region lock message. Netflix instead shows me only the Italian catalog wich is very limited. I pretty much set up the VPN and then start roku. Is there a way to fix it?! Btw, the only thing that might skrew me it can be my paypal account as it is an European account…

    1. Hi. This seems to suggest that your Roku is not really getting the American IP address via VPN. Could you double-verify the settings you’re using on your router to configure VPN?

  10. Hi…once i hook up the roku, to my tv. All i need is an internet connection?
    Do i understand it correctly?
    Or will i need to purchase a VPN as well?
    Help plz.

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