Hulu buffering with VPN

If you’re trying to watch Hulu with a VPN and you’re coming across buffering, stuttering or lag issues, there might be a problem with the VPN you’re using.

This can be frustrating especially if Hulu was working and now its not. Fortunately, there’s a number of fixes you can try to fix these problems.

This article will explain how to fix Hulu buffering with VPN so you can get back to watching Hulu and all of its content without issue.

How to fix Hulu buffering with VPN

Before attempting to resolve any buffering issues with Hulu when using a VPN, ensure that your internet connection is sufficient. Hulu requires different speeds depending on the quality of the video you wish to stream:

  • Basic Requirement: A minimum of 3 Mbps is required for Hulu’s streaming library
  • Live streams: 8 Mbps is required for livestream content
  • Ideal Speed for 4K UHD: For streaming in 4K Ultra High Definition, Hulu advises you have an internet speed of at least 15 Mbps to avoid buffering issues.

To check your current internet speed, deactivate your VPN and visit a speed test site, such as Speedtest by Ookla. This will give you an accurate measurement of your connection’s speed. If it falls short of Hulu’s requirements, you should contact your internet service provider.

Once you’ve confirmed that your internet speed is sufficient, you can explore other methods to address the buffering problem.

  1. Change to a different server

    Hulu buffering with VPN

    Switching to a different VPN server can often resolve Hulu buffering issues experienced while using a VPN. This is because some VPN servers may be overcrowded or may have slower connection speeds, which can lead to buffering.

    When you connect to a different server, especially one that is geographically closer to you or less congested, you’re likely to experience a more stable and faster connection.

  2. Change to a different protocol

    Hulu buffering with VPN

    Switching to a different VPN protocol can significantly improve your Hulu streaming experience, especially if you’re encountering buffering issues.

    Different VPN protocols offer varying balances of speed and security. For instance, protocols like OpenVPN might provide robust security but can sometimes be slower, potentially leading to buffering. On the other hand, newer protocols like WireGuard are designed for faster performance and may enhance streaming quality.

  3. Update/Restart your VPN

    Hulu buffering with VPN

    Updating your VPN can be an effective way to fix Hulu buffering issues. This simple action clears the apps memory and can resolve minor glitches that may be affecting the streaming quality.

    Restarting also allows the VPN connection to reset, potentially resolving any IP address conflicts or connectivity issues that might be causing the buffering.

  4. Restart your router

    Hulu buffering with VPN

    Restarting your router can be an effective way to fix Hulu buffering issues when using a VPN. This process, commonly known as “power cycling,” helps by clearing any existing glitches in your router’s memory that might be causing connectivity problems.
    When you restart the router, it re-establishes a fresh connection with your ISP, which can lead to a more stable and faster internet connection.

  5. Upgrade to a faster VPN

    Hulu buffering with VPN

    Upgrading to a faster VPN can significantly enhance your Hulu streaming experience, especially if you’re encountering buffering issues while using a VPN.

    From out tests we’ve found ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for Hulu as its renowned for its fast connection speeds, which is crucial for streaming high-quality content without interruptions.

    By providing higher bandwidth and more stable connections, ExpressVPN ensures that the video streams smoothly, reducing the likelihood of buffering.

    Additionally, it has a wide range of servers across different locations, allowing for a better and faster connection regardless of your geographic location. This improvement in speed and stability makes ExpressVPN an excellent choice for an uninterrupted and high-quality Hulu viewing experience.

The best VPNs for Hulu: Quicklist

ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) is the gold standard of VPNs. With servers in 94 countries and top-tier encryption protocols, it provides users the fastest and most reliable way to unblock streaming services from anywhere in the world.

NordVPN ($2.99/month) has an expansive network of 5,800+ high-speed servers in 60 countries – making it a great option for anyone looking to unblock popular streaming services, at a more mid-range price point. An excellent choice.

Private Internet Access ($2.03/month) is the “best of the rest” VPN. It stands out as a solid streaming VPN with a budget price tag. It’s not as reliable, or fast, as ExpressVPN or NordVPN. Making it a more suitable choice for a casual VPN user.

Ivacy ($1.00/month) the price is the selling point here. If you want a VPN that works with major streaming services “most of the time” and don’t mind a bit of buffering during peak periods, Ivacy is fine. But it’s nowhere near as good as ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

CyberGhost ($2.19/month) is a decent VPN option that offers user-friendly apps and a range of servers worldwide. While it may not lead the pack in all features, it provides a satisfactory balance of privacy, speed, and ease of use.

Why is Hulu buffering when I use a VPN?

Hulu buffering while using a VPN could be due to several reasons:

  1. Slower Internet Speed: VPNs can slow down your internet connection because your data is being routed through an additional server, which can be geographically distant. This can result in slower speeds, hence causing buffering.
  2. VPN Server Overload: If the VPN server you’re connected to is overcrowded, it might not be able to handle the traffic efficiently, leading to slow speeds and buffering.
  3. Quality of the VPN Service: Not all VPNs are equal in performance. Lower quality VPNs may not provide the speed and stability required for seamless streaming.
  4. VPN-Streaming Service Conflict: Streaming services like Hulu actively try to block VPN traffic. If Hulu detects that you’re using a VPN, it might throttle your connection or block access entirely, which can manifest as buffering issues.
  5. Data Throttling by ISP: Sometimes, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) throttle bandwidth when they detect streaming or VPN usage. This throttling can result in buffering, particularly during peak usage hours.
  6. Outdated VPN Software: If your VPN software is outdated, it might not function efficiently, leading to potential issues like buffering.

Which VPNs work with Hulu?

ExpressVPNNordVPNPIAIvacyCyberGhost
Hulu
Download Speed79 Mbps71 Mbps27 Mbps31 Mbps41 Mbps
Throttling79%71%27%31%41%
Stream quality⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Price per month$6.66$3.79$2.03$1.00$2.19

How do I pick a good VPN for Hulu?

Choosing a good VPN for Hulu involves considering several key factors to ensure an optimal streaming experience:

  1. Strong Streaming Capability: Look for a VPN known for effectively bypassing geo-restrictions of streaming services. Some VPNs are better at this than others and are less likely to be detected and blocked by Hulu.
  2. High Speed and Reliability: Ensure the VPN offers high-speed connections with unlimited bandwidth. Streaming in high definition requires a fast and stable internet connection to avoid buffering.
  3. Server Network: A good VPN should have a wide range of servers, especially in countries where Hulu is available. This gives you more options to connect to a server that works well with Hulu.
  4. No-Logs Policy: Choose a VPN that has a strict no-logs policy. This means it doesn’t keep records of your online activities, ensuring your privacy and anonymity.
  5. Simultaneous Connections: Consider how many devices you want to use with the VPN. A good VPN should allow multiple simultaneous connections.
  6. Ease of Use: The VPN should have a user-friendly interface, making it easy to connect to the right server for Hulu.
  7. Customer Support: Good customer service is essential, especially if you encounter issues with accessing Hulu. Look for a VPN with 24/7 customer support and a live chat option.
  8. Compatibility: Ensure the VPN is compatible with your streaming device, whether it’s a smart TV, mobile device, computer, or gaming console.
  9. Price: Compare the pricing plans of different VPNs. While free VPNs might be tempting, they often have limitations like slower speeds, fewer servers, and less effective geo-restriction circumvention, which can affect your streaming experience.

The VPN services we recommend for Hulu

1. ExpressVPN 🥇 $6.66/month

The fastest and most reliable streaming VPN

  • Optimized for HD streaming speed
  • Wide network with 160 locations across 94 countries
  • Split tunneling feature to select apps using VPN
  • TrustedServer technology for enhanced security
  • Limited to 5 simultaneous device connections
ExpressVPN review

ExpressVPN is highly regarded for its exceptional streaming capabilities, making it a top choice for accessing Hulu. It boasts a vast server network that spans numerous countries, ensuring users can find a server that works seamlessly with Hulu. The speed offered by ExpressVPN is one of its standout features; it provides consistently high speeds that are essential for streaming high-definition content without buffering.

Furthermore, ExpressVPN is known for its strong encryption and security measures, along with a strict no-logs policy, ensuring user privacy and security. Its user interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, making it simple to connect to the optimal server for Hulu. Additionally, ExpressVPN offers excellent customer support, including a 24/7 live chat, which is particularly useful for troubleshooting any streaming issues. Compatibility with a wide range of devices, including smart TVs, smartphones, and gaming consoles, adds to its appeal for Hulu users.

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2. NordVPN $3.19/month

An incredibly fast and trustworthy VPN

  • Extra encryption with Double VPN
  • Over 5,500 servers in 59 countries
  • SmartPlay technology to unblock 400+ geo-restricted streaming services
  • CyberSec feature for ad and malware blocking
  • The interface can be complex for new users
NordVPN Best VPN image

NordVPN is another excellent choice for Hulu, primarily due to its robust server network that includes a large number of servers in the United States, where Hulu is based. This extensive network increases the likelihood of finding a server that can bypass Hulu’s geo-restrictions effectively. NordVPN is also known for its high-speed connections, which are crucial for streaming content in HD or 4K without interruptions.

It places a strong emphasis on security with features like double VPN and a strict no-logs policy, ensuring user data remains private and secure. The software is user-friendly, allowing easy access to servers that are optimized for streaming. NordVPN’s customer support is responsive and knowledgeable, providing assistance whenever needed. Moreover, the ability to connect multiple devices simultaneously makes it a versatile choice for households with several Hulu viewers.

Read our full NordVPN review.

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3. Private Internet Access $2.03/month

An affordable, reliable VPN

  • Strong encryption for secure connections
  • Extensive server network enhancing connectivity
  • Built-in ad and malware blocking
  • Supports up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Can have slower speeds
Best VPN list - PIA

Private Internet Access offers a reliable service that can efficiently access Hulu. While it might not have as many servers as some of its competitors, PIA provides a solid balance of speed and security, which is beneficial for streaming purposes. Its strong encryption protocols and commitment to user privacy, evidenced by its no-logs policy, make it a trustworthy choice.

PIA’s interface is straightforward, catering to both beginners and advanced users. This VPN is particularly noted for its customization options, allowing users to tailor their experience according to their needs. While PIA might not be as fast as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, it generally provides a stable connection for streaming Hulu content. Their customer service is reliable, offering support through various channels.

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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4. Ivacy $1.00/month

A trustworthy and affordable VPN

  • Cost-effective pricing
  • Servers optimized for P2P activities
  • Strict no browsing logs policy
  • Allows up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Smaller server network compared to others
Ivacy Best VPN image

Ivacy is a more budget-friendly option that still manages to offer effective features for streaming Hulu. It has a decent server network, including servers in locations key for accessing Hulu. Ivacy stands out for its balance of affordability and functionality, offering decent speeds suitable for streaming media. It also includes essential security features like strong encryption and a no-logs policy.

Ivacy’s interface is simple and user-friendly, making it easy to navigate and find an appropriate server for Hulu. While its customer support may not be as robust as some of the bigger names, it still provides adequate assistance for users. For those looking for a cost-effective VPN solution to access Hulu, Ivacy is a commendable option.

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5. CyberGhost $2.19/month

A solid VPN package

  • Large server network with streaming-optimized servers
  • Strong encryption standards for security
  • Specialized servers for streaming, torrenting, and gaming
  • Generous 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Speed performance can be mixed
CyberGhost Best VPN image

CyberGhost is particularly user-friendly, with dedicated profiles optimized for streaming, making it a great choice for accessing Hulu. It has a large server network, including numerous servers in the United States, which is essential for unblocking Hulu. CyberGhost offers good speeds that are sufficient for streaming content without lag or buffering.

Its strong commitment to privacy, highlighted by its no-logs policy and strong encryption standards, ensures a secure streaming experience. The interface is designed with simplicity in mind, allowing users to easily find and connect to the best server for Hulu. CyberGhost also offers a longer money-back guarantee period compared to some other VPNs, giving users ample time to test its compatibility with Hulu. Its customer support is comprehensive, including 24/7 live chat for immediate assistance.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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Hulu buffering with VPN: FAQs

Q: Why does Hulu buffer more when I use a VPN?

Answer: Hulu may buffer more with a VPN due to slower internet speeds caused by the VPN routing your connection through an additional server, which can be geographically distant, leading to latency.

Q: Can changing the VPN server improve Hulu streaming?

Answer: Yes, switching to a different VPN server, preferably closer to your location or in a region where Hulu is available, can often result in better streaming performance and less buffering.

Q: Will a free VPN work well for streaming on Hulu?

Answer: Free VPNs are generally not recommended for Hulu streaming as they often have bandwidth limitations, fewer servers, and slower speeds, which can lead to more buffering and poor video quality.

Q: How do I choose the best VPN for streaming Hulu without buffering?

Answer: Look for a VPN with a large server network, fast speeds, strong privacy policies, and the ability to bypass geo-restrictions effectively, all of which are crucial for a smooth Hulu streaming experience.

Q: Is it possible that Hulu is detecting my VPN and causing buffering?

Answer: Yes, Hulu actively tries to detect and block VPN traffic, which can lead to throttling or blocking your connection, manifesting as increased buffering or inability to stream content.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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