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How to Install a VPN on Your TV

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Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent
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Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio

A VPN lets you stream global content safely and securely from your Smart TV. VPN installation can vary between TVs, so we've put together guides for installing a VPN on all the most popular smart TVs.

Illustration of a VPN connected to a Smart TV

There are lots of reasons you need a VPN on your smart TV. Above everything else, it helps to secure your TV’s connection to the internet – allowing you to stream tv in security and privacy – as well as unblocking regional content.

Pretty much every smart TV can be hooked up to a VPN, but the most straightforward way to do this varies slightly by which smart TV you’re using.

We’ve laid out the easiest methods for using a VPN with your smart TV below, as well as guidance for which one will work best with your TV.

What You’ll Need

  • A smart TV. The most important bit, obviously. If you have an Android TV the process will be easier, but it’s possible with pretty much every Smart TV on the market.
  • A VPN subscription. But make sure it’s one from a trusted VPN provider – depending on the method you use it may also need to be router compatible, too.
  • An internet connection. Either a WiFi or ethernet connection will do, but they require slightly different methods.

Unless your smart TV is an Android TV – which generally support VPNs natively – you will also need:

  • A PC with WiFi, or
  • A Mac with a free ethernet port (and cable), or
  • A router capable of supporting a VPN connection

Remember to check the connectivity options of your TV and devices before starting, it may well be that your Smart TV or Mac needs an adaptor to connect to an ethernet cable, or can only use a WiFi connection.

Method 1: Install a VPN on Your TV

Screenshot of the IPVanish VPN app in the Google Play Store

It doesn’t get much easier than this.

If you have an Android TV with access to the Google Play Store:

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your TV
  2. Search for your VPN provider’s app and install it
  3. Sign-in to the VPN app
  4. Connect to your VPN

You’re done! As easy as that.

Method 2: Sideloading a .APK

This method is most likely to apply to you if you have a smart TV which is built on Android but doesn’t have access to the full Google Play Store. The most common example of this is the Amazon Fire TV.

Important: Don’t do this unless you know you have an Android Smart TV.

If your TV isn’t running on Android the best case scenario is that your VPN simply won’t run and the file will take up storage space. The worst case scenario is ‘bricking’ (irreversibly breaking) your TV.

You are going to download an .APK (Android Application Package) file containing the VPN onto your TV, rather than getting the program from an app store.

This sounds pretty technical, but is fairly easy to do when following step-by-step guidance:

  1. Search your Smart TV’s App Store for the FX File Installer app and install itScreenshot of the FX File Explorer
  2. Navigate to Settings > Security and restrictions > Unknown Sources. The exact navigation will vary slightly by device. At this point you will either be able to toggle Unknown Sources, or toggle specific apps. In the latter case you should toggle FX File Installer to the ‘On’ position now.Screenshot of a smart TV settings menuScreenshot of the Unknown Sources toggle on an Android Smart TV
  3. On a Mac or PC, download your VPN provider’s .APK file
  4. Move that .APK onto a flash drive or USB stickScreenshot showing how to move a .apk file to your USB drive
  5. Insert the USB drive into your smart TV
  6. In FX File Installer, open your USBA screenshot highlighting the location of your USB drive in FX File Explorer
  7. Select the .APK and press InstallScreenshot of your VPN .apk within FX File Explorer
  8. When installation is complete, press OpenScreenshot of a successfully installed VPN .apk on an Android TV

Your VPN is now installed and ready to go.

Method 3: Sharing a VPN Connection from your PC

In order to do this, you’ll need to set your PC up as a virtual router or mobile hotspot, and then connect your smart TV to it like you would a normal WiFi network.

A guide to how Virtual Routers work

Before you start you will need to make sure your computer supports running a virtual router:

  1. Type cmd into the Windows search bar
  2. Right Click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator
  3. Enter the following: netsh wlan show drivers
    Screenshot of command prompt
  4. Press Enter

If you see “Hosted network supported: Yes”, then your computer can host a virtual router. If it reads “No,” then you will need to try another method – most likely installing the VPN on a router (method 5).

If you are running Windows 10 you can set up a mobile hotspot, but older Windows operating systems will need to manually set up a virtual router.

First, we’re going to go over setting up a mobile hotspot – you can scroll down the page for instructions for a virtual router.

Windows 10 Mobile Hotspot Setup

  1. Install your chosen VPN onto your PC (if you become stuck you can consult our guide to installing a VPN on Windows)
  2. Navigate to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile hotspot, then toggle Mobile hotspot to OnScreenshot on mobile hotspot toggle on Windows 10
  3. Navigate to Settings > Network & Internet > Change adaptor options. Right-click on [VPN service provider name] Tap Adapter > Properties
  4. Select the Sharing tab, then tick the box labelled Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connectionScreenshot of network sharing panel on Windows
  5. Open the drop-down menu and select the hotspot you just created and press OK
  6. Connect to your new network from your smart TV as you would any WiFi network

If you ever want to end the mobile hotspot just navigate to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile hotspot and turn the Mobile hotspot toggle to Off

Windows Virtual Router Setup

If for any reason your computer does not support a hotspot we recommend setting up a virtual router. This is a bit more complex than just setting up a mobile hotspot.

  1. Connect your PC to the internet by WiFi or ethernet
  2. Install your VPN of choice
  3. Re-open the Command Prompt
  4. Type: netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=NETWORKNAME key=PASSWORD
    Instead of ‘NETWORKNAME’ and ‘PASSWORD’ you should enter the name and password you want to use for your new networkScreenshot of command prompt
  5. Press Enter
  6. Type: netsh wlan start hostednetwork and press Enter
  7. Next up, press Windows key + R to open Run
  8. Type in ncpa.cpl then press OKScreenshot of Windows Run box
  9. In the Network Connections menu, right click on the connection called [VPN service provider name] Tap Adapter and select Properties
  10. Navigate to the Sharing tab, then check Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connectionScreenshot of network sharing panel on Windows
  11. Select your new virtual router from the drop-down menu, then press OK
  12. Make sure your VPN is set to use the OpenVPN protocol, then connect
  13. Connect to your new virtual router from your smart TV, just like you would with a normal WiFi network

To disable the virtual router you will need to enter the following into Command Prompt: netsh wlan stop hostednetwork

Method 4: Connecting Through a Mac

This method should work for all Mac users running on the latest version of macOS, but also requires a VPN provider who supports an L2TP/ IPSec connection on Mac.

You will connect your Mac to the internet via and share the connection with your TV via WiFi.

Note: You may also need to purchase an adaptor to connect an ethernet cable directly to your Mac, depending on the model.

The process is pretty straightforward, though. Just follow these steps:

  1. Install the VPN on your Mac using a manual configuration. Specifically, you need to use L2TP/ IPSec. (We have a guide to installing a VPN on Mac in case you get stuck here).
  2. Connect to the VPN on your Mac
  3. Navigate to System Preferences and select Sharing
  4. Select Internet Sharing on the left-hand side
  5. Check the Wi-Fi box on the right
  6. Select Wi-Fi Options
  7. In the Security drop-down, choose WPA2 Personal
  8. Set up the network using a Network Name and Password of your choice (make sure the password is secure)
  9. Click OK
  10. Back in the Sharing tab, check the Internet Sharing checkbox
  11. Click Start

That’s all. Your smart TV can now connect to your Mac like it would a normal WiFi network.

Your VPN is already turned on, so the traffic will be protected.

If you want to turn off internet sharing, navigate back to the Sharing tab and untick Internet Sharing.

Method 5: Installing a VPN on Your Router

Not only is this one of the most hassle free ways to get awkward Smart TVs working on a VPN, it also allows you to protect all the devices in your home at the same time.

Unfortunately the basic routers provided by ISP generally don’t support VPN installations.

You have two choices: either purchase a pre-configured router or install your VPN’s software on a DD-WRT/Tomato based router. We go over these options in more detail in our full VPN router installation guide.

Once you have your router set up you won’t need to do anything out of the ordinary with your smart TV. Just connect it to your router like normal and enjoy all the benefits of a VPN.

Which Method Is Best for My Smart TV?

How Do I Install a VPN on Apple TV?

It isn’t possible to install a VPN directly onto your Apple TV. This is because Apple is very restrictive about what it allows on the Apple TV App Store.

Instead, we recommend installing your VPN on your router (method 5) – which will put your Apple TV inside the VPN ‘tunnel’.

Can I Download a VPN onto a Samsung Smart TV?

Tizen (the operating system used on Samsung Smart TVs) doesn’t have any native VPN apps. It is based on Linux, not Android, which means Tizen does not support .APK files.

This means the best way to get a VPN working on your Samsung Smart TV (or any Tizen Smart TV) is to put in on your router (method 5).

You can also share a VPN connection from a Windows PC (method 3) or Mac computer (method 4).

How Can I Put a VPN on my LG Smart TV?

LG Smart TVs run on a Linux-based operating system called WebOS, which doesn’t have access to the Google Play Store or ny native VPN apps.

The best solution is to either share your VPN connection from your PC (method 3) or Mac (method 4), or to set your VPN up on a router (method 5).

How Do I Install a VPN on My Android TV?

The most popular popular Android TVs include:

  • Hisense Smart TV
  • Nvidia Shield TV
  • Xiaomi Mi Box
  • Sony Bravia Smart TV
  • Sharp Smart TV
  • Philips Smart TV

Make sure your TV is running on Android before proceeding, as these techniques won’t work with other TVs and could even cause damage to your device.

Android TVs are generally very easy to install VPNs onto. You should be able to download an app from the Google Play Store (method 1).

Failing that, you can sideload a .APK (method 2) – this should only take a few minutes.

What Is the Best Way to Install a VPN on an Amazon Fire TV?

Most VPNs actually have Fire TV apps, so all you’ll have to do is search for them in the Amazon App Store.

For some VPNs, though, you will need to find a work around.

Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are both built on top of Android, which means you can sideload a .APK (method 2). You can also share a VPN connection from your Mac (method 4), from your PC (method 3), or from a router (method 5).

Alternatively, we have a dedicated guide for installing a VPN on Amazon Fire TV Stick and Fire TV.

Can I Install a VPN on a Roku TV?

You cannot install a VPN directly onto Roku.

Instead, you should install your VPN on a router (method 5), and connect your Roku to that router.

(If you don’t have a compatible router you can try method 3 or 4, instead).

In order to get around geo-restricted content, you will also need to configure your Roku with a regional account:

  1. Navigate to https://owner.roku.com
  2. Select the country whose content you want to access
  3. Enter a valid postcode/ZIP code
  4. Hold down the reset button on the back of your Roku for 15 seconds to perform a factory reset

Can I Use a VPN with Chromecast?

While you control your Chromecast from a phone or computer, it does connect directly to the internet when you stream content (which is why you can turn your phone off mid-stream without interrupting it).

As there is no internal VPN functionality on the actual Chromecast, your only option is to install the VPN on a router (method 5), which will funnel all connected devices through the VPN.

Learn more by reading our full guide on how to use Chromecast with a VPN.

About the Author

  • Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent

    Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio