Advice

How to Fix a Roku that Won’t Connect to the Internet

roku-hdCongratulations! You’ve finally made the leap into the world of streaming media players. Personally I think the Roku is super slick. But I had this experience the other day, when trying to set one up for a friend of mine, that almost put the kibosh on our Bomb Girls. (yes, that’s right, I said Bomb Girls.)

Basically, we got the new Roku all connected. We fired it up and started the setup process. The Roku recognized her Wi-Fi, and once we put the password in, it was able to connect to the local network. However, when it tried to connect to the Internet (essentially the outside world), the process failed. Red light! I’ve set up three Rokus in three different houses. I’ve never encountered this problem before. My immediate suspicion was that my friend’s router was somehow denying Roku’s connection to the Internet.

Before taking the plunge into full-on troubleshooting, I wanted to make sure that Cox hadn’t set up the router, or her service, in a way that might prevent the use of a streaming player. So we called Cox. After about 45 minutes with the rep, who was really nice by the way, the Roku was still FUBAR. However, right after hanging up with Cox I stumbled across what turned out to be the root cause of the problem.

The quick fix: make sure your router’s DNS settings are properly set to an External IP address. If DNS1 or DNS2 show  up as internal IPs such as: 192.168.1.x, then your Roku won’t connect to the Internet.

    Here is the detailed fix:

  1. Login to your router. (typically this is done through an internal ip address like 192.168.1.100). You enter this IP address directly into your web browser same as you would a website. **NOTE some people actually enter web addresses into Google, and then navigate that way. This won’t work. Enter the IP address directly into the browser’s Location or Navigation bar at the top. This will take you to your router’s login screen. *NOTE sometimes the router’s default password is “password”. But it’s possible that your password was changed during installation. If you don’t have your router’s password, contact your Internet provider.
  2. Once logged into your router, navigate to its DNS settings. My guess is that if your Roku isn’t working, it’s because rather than an external IP address being used for your DNS, the router is set to use an internal IP address. (Your computer is able to overcome this because it has built-in DNS settings, but the Roku looks to the router for this information.)
  3. Replace the internal DNS address with a public DNS address. What worked for us was using Google’s public DNS. So set DNS1 to 8.8.8.8 and DNS2 to 8.8.4.4 .
  4. Save your settings.
  5. Run the Roku setup again. If you still aren’t able to connect to the Internet, then bounce (unplug) the router. Leave it unplugged for 15 seconds. Then power it back up. Try again with the Roku. If that doesn’t work, bounce the Roku. Leave it unplugged for 15 seconds, plug the power back in. The 15-second rule with computers and hardware is surprisingly effective.
  6. If you’ve set the DNS properly, your Roku should now (finally) connect to the Internet. When this happens, it will complete its setup process and you should be good to go.
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  8. Get the popcorn, it’s time to find out what heat gorgeous Betty McRae gets into…

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