How to use a VPN with Chromecast


 How to use a VPN with Chromecast

How to use a VPN with Chromecast

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Are you wondering how to use a VPN with your Chromecast? When it comes to staying safe online, nothing beats a VPN. While VPNs aren't perfect, VPNs can help keep you protected by anonymously routing your traffic through servers around the world so that your footprints disappear. Whether you just want to avoid being tracked by advertisers or change your location to stream out-of-area Netflix movies, using a VPN while browsing online is a breeze.

Of course, a VPN doesn't do you any good if you leave crumbs that go straight to your door. This is exactly what can happen if you use your Chromecast without proper VPN coverage. You might be running your VPN on a mobile device, but when you're streaming movie night on your TV, you run the risk of being tracked again. Is there a way to use your VPN with a Chromecast, or are you doomed to get caught anyway?

How to connect Chromecast to your VPN

This section will show how to connect your Chromecast to a VPN. First, it's important to understand that you'll need to set up a router or virtual network on your PC or Mac to do this. We explain how to do this further below.

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You'll also need to download and set up the Google Home app on your iOS or Android device. Once set up, you'll need to plug your Chromecast into a wall outlet and the screen you want to use. Then, you can follow the steps below to connect your Chromecast to your VPN.

Note: We use a virtual network to connect our Chromecast to our VPN.

Open the Google Home app and select the Chromecast device you're using.
Then, under Connect Chromecast to your Wi-Fi, select the VPN network you set up.
Use a VPN with a standard Chromecast
Obviously, your Chromecast needs an internet connection to function properly, running on your home network to allow casting movies, shows and music from your phone. Unlike devices like Amazon's Fire Stick or Apple TV, Google's Chromecast doesn't run a dedicated app (or at least, it's not used—more on that at the end of this article), so there's no way to install a VPN app on your device.

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Also, you can't dig into your Chromecast's settings to change its network settings like a smartphone can, which means you're probably out of luck.

Or at least, if the VPN isn't flexible, you will be. While you can't install a VPN directly on your device, you can set up a VPN to work locally with your router, moving all traffic on your home network through your VPN. It's not as simple as installing a VPN on your computer or smartphone, but it's worth securing your entire network if you have the time.

VPN router

You can configure a virtual router on a Windows or Mac computer, but it's safer and easier to use if you have a VPN-enabled router. By default, routing all internet traffic through your router means nothing is configured on any computer, phone, or IoT device in your home. You don't need to install VPN software or remember to turn it on.

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If you don't have a VPN-enabled router (you probably do, since setting up a VPN is largely software-based), you can upgrade the firmware to DD-WRT or Tomato. These are available for a range of router makes and models. If you have a compatible router, you can upgrade your firmware to one of these and turn a $100 router into something that would normally cost closer to $1,000.

How to Set Up ExpressVPN with a Virtual Router Using a Mac

ExpressVPN is compatible with a wide variety of routers. You can check if yours is listed on this website. Assuming you have a compatible router, you can follow these steps to use your VPN with Chromecast:

Register your router IP address with ExpressVPN on this website.
Log in and click DNS Settings on the left.

Click Register my IP address next to the router's IP address.

After completing these steps, your IP address is automatically registered.
Next, we'll set up your VPN on your Mac. That's it:

Click the Apple icon in the upper-left corner of your Mac, then click System Preferences. Then, click Network.

Click the "+" sign in the lower left corner.

Name your connection (ExpressVPN in this example), choose Default next to Configure.

Type 12345678 in the server address box.

Finally, paste the username you retrieved from the ExpressVPN website into the instructions above.

Check the Show VPN status in menu bar box and click Authentication Settings.

Enter the password we copied in the instructions above. Then, enter 12345678 next to the Share Secret box.

Click OK in the pop-up window. Then, from the web page, click Advanced.

Check the box to send all traffic over the VPN connection. Then, click OK.

Finally click Apply in the lower right corner.

Once the IP address is registered, it's time to set up sharing on your Mac. Don't worry, the process is simple. What this does:

Open System Preferences as we did above. Then, click Share.

Check the box next to Internet Sharing on the left.

Next to Share your connection: Select the VPN network you set up.

Finally, check the Wi-Fi box next to To computer, use:

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You can now access the Google Home app on your smartphone and connect it to the network you just created. Once the connection is set up, you can stream content to your Chromecast as a VPN.

How to Set Up ExpressVPN Using a Virtual Router Using a PC
A PC is not much different from a Mac, as it can also act as a virtual router for the VPN. You need to get some information directly from your VPN provider. After collecting the data, follow these steps:

Install your VPN on your PC. Then, log into your account and have your VPN up and running.
Now, open Settings and click on Network & Internet.

Next, click on Mobile Hotspot, which is in the menu on the left side of the screen.

Then, click the Share my internet connection with other devices toggle button to turn it on.

From here, click the Change adapter option in the menu on the right side of the screen.

Now, right-click on your VPN's adapter and select Properties.
Next, click the Share tab at the top of the new window.

Then, click the "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection" check box, and select your newly created hotspot from the list of connections.
Select OK when finished.
You have now set up a virtual router on Windows 10.

Set up VPN on router

Setting up a VPN on your router requires that you know your provider's VPN settings. You will need the URL or IP address of the VPN server, your username, password, and any security settings your provider uses. This is usually in the account section of the provider's website.

Most good providers offer guides and walkthroughs to set up their services on your router. If they have them, it makes sense to follow them. Some router providers provide their own firmware that you can install on your router, but I recommend you use config instead, as it retains control over the router's functionality.

A typical router configuration would look like this:

Add the DNS and DHCP settings provided by your VPN provider to the router.
Disable IPv6 if needed.
Choose a VPN server address from the addresses provided by your provider.
Select TCP or UDP as the tunneling protocol.
Choose an encryption method (AES).
Add your VPN username and password.
You'll need to look at the VPN of your choice to see specific instructions for setting up your router. Our VPN top pick, ExpressVPN, has their description here.

Block Google DNS

Next, you need to block Google DNS for the Chromecast to work properly on the VPN. This is more router configuration, but very simple. You actually create a static route that bypasses Google DNS. This will not work if you are already using Google DNS on your router. If you want to use your Chromecast over a VPN, you must first change your DNS.

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Again, it's hard to be specific as router configurations vary between manufacturers, but on my Linksys router I had to do:

Log in to your router and select Connect, then Advanced Routing.
Select Add static route and give it a name.
Add the destination IP as (Google DNS address).
Add the subnet mask as
Add the gateway address as the router's IP address.
Choose Save.

Repeat for Google's other DNS address
After saving this configuration, you should be able to stream with your Chromecast without issue. You'll also benefit from enhanced security for all internet traffic. Your ISP, government, and anyone interested in your online activities will no longer be able to see what you're doing, and you've made huge strides in improving your online privacy.

Chromecast and Google TV

It's been a while since we've had our new Chromecast, but we finally saw the launch of Google's new streaming stick last fall. While it's still called the Chromecast and retains the classic puck shape we know and love, it's a completely new device. In fact, it's the biggest change to the Chromecast we've seen, combining the utility of Google Cast with a remote and a new Android TV-based interface called "Google TV."

If you're new to Android TV, that's okay, it's important to you. Users of this new Chromecast ($49 with 4K and HDR support out of the box, a price drop compared to the old Chromecast Ultra) will have access to the Play Store, allowing them to download several VPNs for Google TV, including but not limited to:

Northern VPN
surf shark
cyber ghost

This means that instead of being forced to set up your VPN through external means, you can rely on the base app via Android as you would on most other smart devices. It's a notable addition that makes upgrading to Google's new Chromecast an even more enticing proposition.

Things to remember when using a VPN

The downside of a VPN is that all your traffic will be routed through the VPN unless you disable the VPN at the router level. In most cases this shouldn't cause any problems, but if you choose a VPN endpoint in a different country or somewhere not close to you, any location-aware website will get confused and require manual intervention. 

Again, this may not be a problem for you, but it's worth knowing the consequences. For example, if you shop online, you may receive different listings and pricing than in your home country. It's a small issue - if you have your VPN set up to route in your home country, it won't matter to you at all - but it's something to keep in mind, depending on how you use the internet.

Another major disadvantage of VPNs comes from the location of your endpoints. The VPN endpoint is where your secure tunnel ends and reverts to a standard internet connection. Most VPN providers have hundreds of endpoints spread across the country, but it's still a good idea to make sure your connection is stable. 

Look for VPN providers that have endpoints in your city or region, in addition to other states and countries. This way you get the maximum spread and can choose your location according to your needs.

Speed ​​used to be an issue with VPNs due to their traffic overhead. This is extra data generated by the security of the VPN, in fact the traffic has to go further. Now that's not a problem, especially if you use a premium VPN provider like ExpressVPN. TechJunkie has a lot of articles on choosing a VPN provider to help with this.