By April 26, 2013 71 Comments Read More →

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.
  7.  

  8. Get the popcorn, it’s time to find out what heat gorgeous Betty McRae gets into…

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71 Comments on "How to Fix a Roku that Won’t Connect to the Internet"

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  1. PickPeace says:

    I’m came across this while trying to solve my own Roku setup issues. My problem was an inability to connect to my local network, however. The easy way to fix it: temporarily disable your wireless security to get the Roku through initial setup and updating of software, then re-enabled my wireless security, Then I re-connected to the now-protected wireless with the Roku without issue. Hope this helps others having the same problem I did!

    • PickPeace says:

      Uh, oops. Typo. *I came across this….

      • kalinakauai says:

        Thanks PickPeace and Scott! We spent 2 hours on this and will try again tomorrow. First we couldn’t connect to the wireless, but used Scott’s tip and it worked. Then we couldn’t connect to the local and found PickPeace’s solution. Well it did work, but then I couldn’t go to roku.com/link to register the device code. I then put the security back on and that seemed to d/c the Roku, but I was able to go to the registration page. When I tried entering the code it said invalid code because my husband said right before it d/c, the Roku gave a new code which he didn’t write down before the Roku went off. Hopefully I’ll be able to somehow juggle the on/off security issue to be able to both connect and register. At least we’re getting there slowly.
        So PickPeace, do you recall at what point you could re-enable the security? Was it before registering or after?

        • kalinakauai says:

          I wrote two other updates, but deleted them since no one should have to read such a long confused story. This is what finally worked for my Roku 1/ Belkin N750 issues:

          Rather than disable (although that works) security, I changed the Security to WPA2-PSK where it says “authentication” and chose a 10 digit/letter passcode for the PSK

      • kalinakauai says:

        This Roku vs. Belkin issue is still an unsolved mystery! At one point it finally connected to all three (wireless network, local network, internet) and I was able to register and watch Amazon. But later when I re-enabled the Security, it disconnected. Tried all kinds of suggestions for hours. Sometimes it wouldn’t connect to even the wireless. We gave up when it connected to wireless, but not to local. Then an hour later, I went back again and although it again gave me the red X on “local” I defiantly pressed the AMAZON button on the remote. To my amazement it connected to Amazon and I was able to watch! What?!?!

        • kalinakauai says:

          Yet another update: We found out that it had connected to our neighbor’s unsecured wireless (but not the “local connection”) and was registered this way. So today we started all over.

          We were again unable to connect unless we disabled security and keep it
          off. When we enable it, it disconnects. I have no idea why it worked
          last night without the local network connection. I don’t want to leave the security off (although it is kept on for our computer).

          Any other ideas?

    • scotteallen says:

      Great info. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Grrr-roku says:

    terrific info – worked exactly as you said. Too bad Roku doesn’t account for this potential problem and help with the fix. Thank you so much

    • scotteallen says:

      Agreed. It seems like a logical thing for them to include in setup troubleshooting. Glad the fix worked for you! Thanks for stopping by…

  3. Quantum Looper says:

    So how can I stream media from my computer or phone to a Roku that is on a different network via the Internet? There’s many apps that allow for streaming of media you have stored on a PC or right from your smartphone such as PlayTo, roConnect, PlayOn, Plex…but the PC or phone app seems to be required to be run on the same local network as the Roku…or does it? How is it possible to point my Roku compliant media server running on my PC to a Roku on a totally different network via the Internet? I’d suspect I need to get clever with a vlan or VPN and port forwarding from the router on the Roku side but I’m not too sure. If it can be done it would be awesome. Even more so if live video. Anyone have any suggestions?

  4. Donna says:

    Tried everything and this finally worked. Thank you!!!

  5. BrendonBrown says:

    You fixed it for me, thanks!

  6. Justy says:

    Hi Scott. Please, please help!

    I purchased a Roku 2xs and cannot get it to connect to either my wifi or when I connect it directly via the Ethernet. It passes the first step and then refuses to connect to the local network with an error code 14.
    I have been on to my ISP and they said there is nothing on their side that is blocking the Roku. I have also been on to roku support (for hours) and they said that the roku is not getting an IP address even when using the Ethernet.
    I have tried all of the steps you detailed and no joy.

    Have you any idea what might be the problem?

    • scotteallen says:

      Hi Justy. If you’ve rebooted the router, after making sure the DNS issues have been made (and do double check that the DNS edits have indeed “stuck”), then I’d take the Roku over to a friend’s house. Hook it up over there. Fresh wifi. Establish that the Roku itself isn’t kerfuffled in some way. Get a little win under your belt. Once you establish that it can connect out to the Internet properly, you can zero in on your router. The router itself might need to have its firmware updated. The age of your router can also have something to do with it. But again, even if you went in and set your router properly, go back in and double check that the new configs are indeed still there. Sometimes a device can be schizo. Hope this helps. Ping me back. Lemme know how it works out.

  7. Sophia says:

    So easy to understand. I’m really glad I ran across your instructions. Netflix here I come!!

    • scotteallen says:

      LoL, right on! Lately I’ve been gorging myself on Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead. The only byproduct of this is dreams at night of home invasion by flesh-eating bikers!

  8. Andy says:

    Hi, I need help with my Roku HD.

    I found my IP address, but I don’t know my account name and password.

  9. Katie says:

    See I’ve had my roku over a year now & it’s just deciding not to work anymore.

  10. Sanket Amin says:

    This worked for me.

  11. Sri says:

    Thanks. Amazing. I had my Roku player lying idle because it won’t connect. Finally this worked for me. Thanks a ton!

  12. T.r. says:

    I tried all of the above and my Roku 3 will connect to the wireless network, just not to the local internet. Help :(

    • scotteallen says:

      T.r. Try taking your Roku to a friend’s house–preferably not someone with the same router/internet situation. See if you can get it hooked up there. Knock out one variable at a time. Let us know how it goes.

  13. Amanda Carden says:

    I tried all of the above and now it won’t even connect to my wireless network (the first step it was at least doing before). I have a funny feeling there is a dimension in hell where you’re perpetually trying connect your roku after hours with idiot support people to no avail, ready to scream and rip your hair out. Oh wait. That’s my reality.

    • scotteallen says:

      Amanda, any good news? Has your Roku come back to life?

      • Amanda Carden says:

        For some reason, after I had completely given up, I just left it alone for a few days. It then said my registration period had expired and I had to set it up on my computer and it was magically fixed!!!! It worked!!!! But then I still over all decided the roku just wasn’t for me, so I restored it to factory settings to return it. Only to realize my receipt vanished into thin air. And I’m back to square one of not being able to connect to my local network and have left it on for days trying to get it to expire again, with no luck. I now have a $90 paperweight.

        • scotteallen says:

          What a bummer. Well, the first thing that I’d try doing is taking the Roku to another house (or office) where you can try connecting it up to a fresh network. See how that goes as a test. If it works elsewhere, then at least you can try to zero in troubleshooting locally. Come back and let us know how it goes? Oh, btw, i’m curious…what made you decide to take the Roku back? Maybe Apple TV or even a Chromecaster would be a better fit?

    • Fischer says:

      LOL this is me today! I am in the dimension in hell perpetually trying to connect my roku for hours with idiot support people over two hours now and ready to start screaming and ripping hair out of my head!!!!!!!!!! My problem is Roku 3 worked excellent for one year and now it doesn’t stay connected. While nothing else has changed with my internet provider or router and all my other computers are connected fine. I can watch netflix and hulu on my computers but roku keeps dropping connection and freezing for the past two weeks.

  14. Jim says:

    is there any way to take roku apart that does not have a ethernet connection and connect an female ethernet connection to run a hard line

  15. Frank Williams says:

    The suggestion to change the DNS addresses worked for me! I had already configured my Roku last week and all was good until I got a new modem and router this morning(ordered more bandwidth from cable company) . After this my Roku wouldn’t connect to local network. THANKS for the information, was able to fix this fast – I did need to reboot both the modem and my Roku.

  16. matt says:

    Hi – Thanks for publishing your Roku advice, which at least gave me hope!

    I’m on day 2 of trying to set this irritating little thing up. My home wifi (via DSL modem, broadcast through a newer iMac’s airport) flawlessly and easily runs a host of my family’s wireless devices (MacBook pros, pc laptops, iPhones, iTouches, kindles, iPads and a Wii that effortlessly streams TV!) But the Roku 3 sniffs out the Wifi signal easily enough, yet – as seems to be the sad standard for this device according to the interwebs – it somehow can’t figure out a way to connect to LAN and internet. Like legions of other frustrated users, my Roku’s IP is 0.0.0. and I’ve done everything, including getting into the multiple secret screens, (looking in vain for the command to turn off pings) and also trying your advice on assigning a new# in the DNS on my airport network and it is extremely resistant to any of my attempts to connect it.

    What should the Roku’s IP number be on the “secret screen”? And any ideas on how I might get it to change?

    Any further advice/possibilties before I teach it a lesson by hurling it into the nearest harbor? :-)

    Sorry – so incredibly frustrated…

    • scotteallen says:

      Matt, sorry for your frustration. I see you posted some time ago. If you still haven’t gotten the Roku working, you might take it to a friend’s house and see if you can get it to work there. A baseline that confirms the device works, is a good place to start.

  17. Jill K. says:

    Thank you, this worked for me as well!

  18. Mo B. says:

    OMG! You are incredible. I have been so frustrated with my Roku. All of the sudden it stopped connecting. Called for tech support and they wanted to charge me. I email them about my displeasure and low and behold they did call me today right as I was leaving my house. They are going to call back in the am but I will just tell them it is fixed. I really appreciate that you posted these instructions.

  19. mrgarlic says:

    Greetings Scott, I am larry. I have and use my Roku 3 for a few years. My problems are always intermittent. Today I connect and watch a movie or two. Tomorrow I can’t watch. Quite often it just freezes. Mostly it starts a movie then stops- reloads-stops-reloads. I have connected –dis connected— un powered – powered, sometime helps sometimes not ?? I always watch Amazon. Amazon says not their problem. I use WIFI with a fast signal and router is just 10′ away. — 15.5 up 5.5 down— I am able to hardwire from modem if that would help. Does time of day or day of week affect signals. When I am having problems, I quite often go to ” CHOW” CHANNEL to check connection. it is working great,,,, Any suggestions

    • scotteallen says:

      The first thing I would try would be to take the Roku to a friend’s house. Make sure he/she’s not with the same Internet provider. See if you can get the Roku to work properly for you there. If it’s working at your friend’s house, then you might consider looking at your router. In some situations, the router and the WIFI router are 2 separate boxes. Make sure your WIFI router is 802.11 (g or n). And, if you do have 2 separate boxes (wifi router and cable or dsl router) check the age of your primary router. If it’s old, you might contact your provider to send you and upgrade.
      If you are on DSL and not Cable, then you might have a bandwidth issue. Post back and let us know how things turn out for you!

  20. Ella says:

    Woo! My Roku that I’ve had for months stopped working, and I tried this and it worked. Thanks!

  21. tomq says:

    Setting the DNS was what works but for me the TP-LINK Archer 7 router initially would not let my Roku 3 to connect to the 5 GHz band because the Roku 3 was already connected to the 2.4 GHz band. I had to disable the 2.4 Ghz band and rebooted the router. Only then I can connect to the router on 5 Ghz but now had the problem with connecting to the internet and specifying the OpenDNS solved the problem. I did not have to specify OpenDNS on the 2.4 GHz band so that was what seemed strange. I also did not have any of these problem with the TP-Link WDNR3500.

    • scotteallen says:

      Great reply Tomq. Thanks for the information. Does seem odd not having to specify OpenDNS on the 2.4. However the differential in having two bands to content with could really be a key troubleshooting spot to check. Thanks for your addition to the conversation.

  22. monica says:

    i entered my router address and received a message saying a connection could not be made. i entered it into google and received a lot of ip location finder information. not sure what to do with this.

  23. Killer BOB says:

    I just bought a Roku 2 a couple of days ago– have wanted one for a long time, and finally caught a good deal on one. I have yet to be able to watch anything on the infernal little box. Most times it won’t connect to my local area network despite find the wifi with ease. If I am able to connect, it absolutely refuses to give me a link code. Spent two hours on support live chat with no results after several resets and secret screens. Makes me sad that I wanted one for so long, and now I just my money back.

    • Killer BOB says:

      Slight update: buying a Roku and attempting to get it working was one of the single most frustrating experiences in my life. No matter your ISP it is pretty much impossible to buy a Roku and have it working without having to fiddle with your router. If your ISP doesn’t allow you to change DNS settings well, then, pray you still have your receipt or you’ve got an expensive paperweight on your hands.

      • scotteallen says:

        Killer BOB. Great input. I’ve installed Roku in 4 homes each having different ISPs (2 in Phoenix, 1 in Anchorage, 1 in Boulder). Three out of 4 of those installs went through without fiddling. It was the Phoenix, Cox install that threw us for a loop in having to update the router’s DNS.

        • Killer BOB says:

          This is with Xfinity in the Indiana/Ohio area.

          • scotteallen says:

            Ok, now my curiosity is piqued. I just got Xfinity put into my office. I haven’t worked with Xfinity before. So… for fun–and I needed one anyway– I’ve ordered the Roku Stick. When it comes in, I’ll be able to report how the install goes. BOB, which Roku are you working with?

          • Killer BOB says:

            Roku 2. It is my understanding that Xfinity does not always disable the ability of their customer to change DNS settings– this particular model from my area office IS set up that way, however.

          • scotteallen says:

            I got the new Roku stick and it set up and installed on Xfinity here in Boulder without issue.

          • Killer BOB says:

            I still have my Roku 2, even though I can’t actually use it at home. But I am a WWE fan, and it makes it very easy for me to take my Roku over to a friends for the monthly live specials on WWE Network. The player works flawlessly on every other ISP in the area.

  24. Kim says:

    My daughter just came home with a Roku and was having the same problems!! Followed your instructions and it’s working great!!! Thanks!!!

  25. J. Renee Hart says:

    Oh my goodness, never in my life has an internet forum actually helped me. This is mostly because I feel like I’m reading latin and give up to go sob on the couch. BUT this actually solved my problem. Yay! The internet likes me, it really likes me! Many many thanks!

    • scotteallen says:

      LOL… How fantastic is that!! Honestly I get so depressed when computers and people don’t work well together. Tech is supposed to make life easier, not push us to kicking the chihuahua. Thank you for the note!

  26. JennEssa Li says:

    I am not able to log into my router – can someone PLEASE
    help – I just purchased this Roku yesterday & still haven’t been able to go beyond the first check – ???

    • scotteallen says:

      Have you made any progress getting your Roku connected?

      • JennEssa Li says:

        Hi yes I got it connected after a week of support from Roku over several days – I still have a problem streaming from DramaFever – not american sites tho – so I don’t understand whats wrong with the internet connection – only that when it freezes – I have to reprogram the roku back to square one – which sometimes drives me crazy all over again hahaaha lol

        Than k U for Ur reply to help me tho – I appreciate it

        Be Well
        Sarah

  27. wnash says:

    I got Roku 3 about 2 months ago and worked consistently once I changed the router channel. Now, all of a sudden can’t connect to the Internet. I have Xfinity and their router does not allow DNS change. Any ideas? I’m dead in the water.

    • scotteallen says:

      Have you had any luck getting your Roku working?

      • Mike says:

        I had the same problem, but with a Verizon FIOS router. It supplies DHCP info to the Roku that gives the router as the DNS server, and can’t be changed to do otherwise. It also does not function as a resolver, so won’t go to the external DNS server when it can’t resolve a request on its own and the only addresses it resolves are local. The Roku makes this a critical problem by not allowing me to enter a DNS address myself, leaving it non-functional with this router. I had two options: set up a DHCP server on another machine that would be up all the time and turn off DHCP in the router, or return the Roku to the store. I returned the Roku. My Bluray player will stream too, and lets me configure the network settings myself, so it works fine even with the FIOS router. One poorly engineered device is annoying…but the pair of them (Roku and router) was too much.

  28. Rahul says:

    Is there a simple fix? I have the Roku 3 and it wont connect to the local network.

    • scotteallen says:

      Not able to connect to the local network, is a different sort of issue than not being able to connect to the Internet. Are you not seeing your network as an option when setting up the Roku?

  29. Ashley Jordyn VanSant says:

    hi ive changed my router settings to the ones you stated above for DNS1 AND DNS2 and rebooted both devices and still have no luck :( please help.

  30. Nana says:

    My roku was working fine. Now it won’t connect to internet. The only thing we have done differently is add a wireless printer. Is it possible that this is causing our problem?

  31. Jeremy Hansche says:

    I attempted to put a better router in only to have the roku unable to see the network. What settings within the router would cause this? I can put the old router back in place and everything works fine… Try to use the new router and the local network isnt visible to the roku (however, it is visible to an iphone).

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