Why using a Chromecast and VPN can be such a nightmare!

We have already written quite a lot of articles here in the IP Address Guide about using a Chromecast, and it can really be a useful tool. But, it can also be a big pain in the butt, especially as you want to use Chromecast to watch Netflix from abroad. Why is that, and what might the solution be?

First of all the main problem is that the Chromecast uses the WiFi connection in the house provided by the router, meaning that if you are casting to the Chromecast from a mobile phone, then it is not enough to use a VPN on the mobile phone, because the Chromecast will not be able to show Netflix anyway, because it is using the normal WiFi connection from the router in the house. A solution can therefore be to program your router to by default use a VPN connection, and that will solve all problems, but it will also create a whole lot of problems. Why?

Chromecast and VPN

If you run all your Internet traffic through the router using the VPN connection you will slow down all traffic, and it might sound cool in the start, but you will probably not really want all your traffic to run through a server in a nation somewhere else, before it actually perform the task you want it to. You can of course reprogram your router everytime you want to use your Chromecast, meaning that it will use the VPN connection only then. This will work, but it is quite some work, and it takes time and energy, and if you have kids screaming around wanting to watch their favorite kid show on Netflix, they are probably not so happy about waiting for you to edit the configuration of the router every time.

Another way to enjoy Chromecast and VPN together

That is why there is yet another option… That is to use a router number two which is connected to router number one using the Internet connection provided by your ISP. Router number 1 will thus be surfing with a local IP address, but you will setup router number 2 to use your VPN connection by default. You can now configure your Chromecast to use the VPN router by default, while you and all other devices in the house can by default use the standard router (number 1). Whenever you want to use the Chromecast you will though need to change the WiFi connection on the device you want to use to cast to the Chromecast, because it needs to be connected to the same router as the Chromecast is (meaning router number 2). But, when you first have that connection available in your phone or tablet or computer, that is really easy and do not really require much work, so that is easy! This should work great!

What about Chromecast and SmartDNS?

We wrote an article last week about using Chromecast together with SmartDNS. Since then we realized that it is a bit harder than we first though. In that article we referred to the method mentioned above with two routers and then setting up the provided “smart-DNS” servers on the router instead of the VPN connection. This will make it all faster, and can be preferred, however this does not give any of the security advantages a VPN connection might give you. This is great, but still – it is not really that great. Here is why!

If you have a Netflix Android application and you want to cast your screen to the Chromecast using your telephone using a router setup for SmartDNS (or simply your phone setup using the SmartDNS servers) you will soon find out that the Netflix application is not supported by most SmartDNS providers. In other words it will not work, and you will again face a message telling you that Netflix is not available in the region you are in. If you are as smart as we are you will then use a VPN connection to connect to a server in the given nation and then start your Netflix application over again, and now it will work. But, what happens once you want to cast your screen to the Chromecast… it doesn’t work. And why is that? Since you are using the VPN connection you are kind of loosing your local WiFi connection, meaning that you can not cast to the Chromecast anymore. For this to work again you will have to disconnect from your VPN connection and make sure that you are connected to your local WiFi connection (router number 2), and then you can start the Netflix film, and it should work (for us Netflix did not suddenly notice the changes and us disconnecting from the VPN server, meaning that we could start the program we wanted to watch inside the Netflix application and then start casting the fun to the Chromecast).

This problem (with the SmartDNS configured router) does not occur if you cast your screen from a computer using the connection, it only occurs as you use special Netflix applications for iOS and Android.

Get it? It isn’t always that easy using a Chromecast together with a VPN or a SmartDNS, but it do work, and if you follow these instructions it shouldnt be that hard either. Hope you have liked the article, but if you have questions, comments or anything else, just write!

 

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