A few months ago I wrote how to chromecast behind a VPN which demonstrated a method of using the Google Chromecast device while connected on a VPN. However, while that technique of using the Wireless Hosted Network feature on Windows works it is was more an exercise of can do spirit than of practicality, quite frankly it was complex and not suitable for everyday use or implementation by the n00b. The previous workaround is for the super technical but today I will show you the easy recommended way to go about it for everyday use.
You will be shown the solution described on this reddit thread but with pictures as a guide through the 2 step trick.
1. Download Google Cast Extension
By default the Chromecast is optimized to work with apps that detect the device and then stream content directly to it through the internet. This is usually great as it maximizes performance except that when on a VPN performance is not the main priority but the route traffic takes is. The caveat with the standard chromecast to internet route is that the streaming service will detect the source network and may block content etc or on the other hand you the streamer lose the privacy you've worked hard to attain by masking your network origin.
Problems like this are what can happen when casting goes wrong due to being on a VPN.
Side effects like the above will defeat the point of using the VPN in the first place. Therefore, for us to have our cake and eat it what we need to do is stream to the chromecast device directly from our VPN connected machine while bypassing the normal internet route. To do this you have to use the Chrome Browser and the nifty Google Cast extension.
Go to the Chrome Web Store and search for "chromecast" or "Google Cast".
Once you have found the correct extension.
Install it. A small cast icon will then appear in the toolbar.
2. Cast This Tab
Now that the Google Cast extension is installed you can simply click the button to cast content over the VPN anytime. However, web applications built to detect and work with the Chromecast out of the box such as Netflix, Hulu etc will still try to utilize the old method. You can tell when this happens as they usually display their own interface with a cast option that will not cast using the browser window.
To avoid issues with these applications and others you need to do this one thing before attempting to cast. Select the cast button in the browser and click the small drop down arrow to the right of the device list.
Ensure that Cast this tab is checked.
It really is this easy. That is all there has ever been to it, one simple trick.
If you have read this far and you are not sure why people would want to go through the hassles of using a VPN then take a look at some of the pain points VPN can solve, check out one of the providers on the LifeHacker Best of Five and give this trick a go to finally move from the laptop and get that show on your big screen.
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