You’re probably reading this article because you’ve tried to watch Hulu from outside the US using a VPN and, all of a sudden, it’s stopped working. Well, don’t worry. I’m going to explain why that has happened and what you can do to fix it.
Hulu not working with VPN: Quick guide
If you want to find out why this has suddenly happened, you can read the whole article where we go through how and why Hulu is blocking your VPN, but if you’re looking for a quick fix to this problem, then try the following steps.
Delete your cookies
Cookies can sometimes store information that tells websites where in the world you are connecting to the internet. These cookies can tip off Hulu that you are trying to stream its content outside of the US.
A good place to start is to delete your cookies and then retry Hulu with your VPN turned on to see if it works.
Connect to a different US server
If deleting your cookies didn’t work, changing to a different US server is the next thing to try.
Hulu doesn’t have the capacity to block VPNs; it blocks IP addresses. By connecting to a different server provided, you will be provided with a different IP address, and that may resolve the problem.
Upgrade your VPN
If deleting your cookies and connecting to a different US server doesn’t fix the problem, then Hulu has been able to blacklist and block all of the IP addresses your VPN provides. Luckily, there is an easy way to get around these blocks, and that is by upgrading your VPN.
Two of the best VPNs on the market are NordVPN ($3.49/month) and Ivacy ($1.33/month). Both NordVPN and Ivacy have 30-day money-back guarantees, they both work with Hulu and have many US servers, meaning you can stream Hulu content anywhere in the world.
Why does Hulu block VPNs?
The reason it has done this is simple. Licenses. More specifically, US licenses. Hulu only has the rights to broadcast content – The Handmaid’s Tale, Castle Rock, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – in the US. Various broadcaster’s in other countries own the rights to this content in their regions.
Like every other major broadcaster, Hulu has to block VPNs from accessing its content to protect its investments. If, for example, Hulu didn’t police its digital border and allowed internet connections from all over the world to stream from its servers, then it would have to start paying for global licenses for its content. Which is (obviously) a lot more expensive than just owning the American broadcasting rights.
How is Hulu Detecting my VPN?
There are three primary checks Hulu performs to detect VPNs.
The first is a routine check for IP, DNS and WebRTC leaks. This is a simple test that all respectable VPNs *should* pass.
The next test is a little more cunning. Broadcasters use GeoIP databases, such as MaxMind to verify the IP address you’re connecting from. If your VPN is using an IP address that’s on one of these lists you won’t be able to watch Hulu.
Finally, Hulu will perform its own IP checks – and this is probably the test that caused your VPN to stop working – where it monitors the number of connections coming from the same IP address.
VPNs have a lot more customers than they do servers. This is a problem, as each VPN server has its own IP address, just like a typical house or office would do. When too many people (more than an average household) connect via the same IP (VPN server), it is easy for Hulu to detect and blacklist the IP address.
Does Hulu still work with VPNs?
Yes. I stream Hulu from my home here in New Zealand daily.
There are some VPNs that won’t work with Hulu. At the time of writing, IPvanish, Tunnelbear, PureVPN, Zenmate, Hotspot Shield, Hola, CactusVPN, Private Internet Access (PIA), IronSocket, Unotelly and CactusVPN will not work.
This is because Hulu has been able to identify and blacklist all the IP addresses that those VPNs provide.
Why do some VPNs work with Hulu and some don’t?
The best VPNs for streaming Hulu haven’t had all of their IP addresses blacklisted by Hulu which is more than likely what has happened to your VPN.
They do this by playing a game of cat and mouse game with the streaming service.
When Hulu identifies an IP address provided by a VPN, they blacklist it. VPNs that work with Hulu will close this IP address and open a new one, ensuring that you can stream Hulu consistently from anywhere in the world.
How to fix Hulu not working with your VPN
This is a pretty common problem. And the solution is really easy.
The first thing you should do is try another server from your VPN app. If this doesn’t work, try getting in contact with your provider – most have Live Chat features on their websites – and ask them to direct you to a specific server that works with Hulu.
If the first two options don’t work, then it’s time to change VPNs. I suggest switching to either NordVPN ($3.49/month) or Ivacy ($1.33/month) as these two providers play a cat and mouse game with Hulu and other broadcasters such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
This cat and mouse method makes it impossible for Hulu, and other broadcasters, to police. However, the process is time-consuming and expensive – so not every VPN is willing to engage in these tactics.
The best VPNs for streaming Hulu
The best (& fastest) VPN of 2021!
Number of servers: 5,000+ | Speeds: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 62 countries | Devices supported: 6 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
NordVPN is the most widely-used VPN in the world. And its easy to see why. It’s a polished app that delivers fast connections (more on this later) to a massive network of VPN servers.
It’s the most reliable at unblocking popular streaming services too – US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. This is because NordVPN hired full-time technical team (that’s responsible for monitoring its servers connections with popular TV streaming services) and has been aggressively investing in its network of IP addresses in key locations.
Another interesting thing to note is that NordVPN is an industry leader in its development of Nordlynx technology. Nordlynx is built using the WireGuard, a new VPN tunnelling protocol designed to outperform current standards (OpenVPN and IPSec). The benefits, according to NordVPN, are dramatically faster transfer speeds while connected to a VPN. My tests – New Zealand to London – confirm that Nordlynx is currently the fastest VPN on the market. However, the difference isn’t dramatic, a few Mbps is all.
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The BEST low-cost VPN
Number of servers: 1,000+ | Speed: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 275 in 100 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
If you’re looking for an excellent VPN, with an even better price tag, Ivacy ($1.16/month) is a great option.
This VPN has all the features you need to stream BBC iPlayer, in HD, from any country in the world. I’ve been testing the app recently on Mac, PC, Android, iOS and FireStick and the results have been impressive – unlocking BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. with ease.
The Ivacy app is a little different in regards to its UX (user experience). Instead of just selecting a UK server, you need to select the specific BBC iPlayer server. Don’t worry, this isn’t a bad thing – by connecting to a dedicated BBC iPlayer server, it simply means that you’re connecting to an IP address that Ivacy knows works with BBC iPlayer.
For an extra $1.99/month (£1.74) you can add-on a dedicated IP. This will buy you sole access to an IP address in a country of your choice, meaning you won’t have to share your IP (and speeds) with any other use. I don’t recommend this though, using the regular Ivacy servers is enough 95 per cent of the time.
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A very reliable and fast VPN
Number of servers: 3,000+ | Speed: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 160 in 94 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
ExpressVPN is still one of the best VPNs you can buy. However, we’ve got it ranked in the number three spot for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s the most expensive VPN on the market. This was understandable when it was also the fastest and most reliable VPN too. But now it’s not. NordVPN is. ExpressVPN has recently been struggling to unblock some big streaming sites – BBC iPlayer and BeIN Sports – too.
And importantly, it ALWAYS has servers that are open with major streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video etc.
ExpressVPN is usually very good at playing Cat and Mouse with online streaming sites (apart from BBC iPlayer). Meaning, whenever one of its servers is blacklisted it creates a new one – giving its users a constant stream of servers that aren’t blocked. Needless to say, this is a valuable attribute if you’re looking for a VPN to unblock streaming sites.
Its app is easy-to-use and free to download on pretty much any device you can think of. Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, FireStick, Android TV, Roku, PS4, Xbox, Linux, even Apple TV (with a workaround). It’s got it all covered.
The app is another main reason this VPN is so good at unblocking TV streaming sites (that claim they block VPNs) is that its software takes a pragmatic approach to user management. While other VPNs tempt customers by promising them access to hundreds/thousands of servers in multiple countries, ExpressVPN does things differently.
With ExpressVPN you only have a handful of server locations to choose from. Once you select your location the app takes care of the rest. Assigning you to the fastest available server that’s not oversubscribed. This simple technique is so important, as it keeps ExpressVPN’s servers operating at lightning-fast speeds and prevent its IPs from getting blacklisted for “abnormal” usage in the first place.
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The BEST mid-range VPN for streaming!
Number of servers: 25,000+ | Speeds: >75% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 70 in 74 countries | Devices supported: 10 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
Private Internet Access is one of the leading no-log VPN services with over 1 million paying customers.
This VPN is one of the best in the industry at beating streaming sites’ VPN bans. It provides reliable connections with US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+ Amazon Prime Video, etc. It also allows 10 simultaneous devices to be connected to its servers at the same time, so you can share the account with your close friends.
If, for whatever reason, you’re not happy with Private Internet Access, there’s a 24/7 live chat support available to assist you with your problem. PIA also offers the industry-standard 30-days money-back guarantee.
From my tests (from New Zealand) I was able to get download speeds of 70 Mbps while connected to a UK server using the Private Internet Access VPN (my non-VPN speed is 100 Mbps).
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Number of servers: 6,000+ | Speeds: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 200 in 90 countries | Devices supported: 7 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
CyberGhost is one of the more established VPNs on the market. It has a well-established, and well-tested global network of servers that perform well.
From my tests over the past several months, CyberGhost has no trouble at unblocking major streaming services – US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max etc. This VPN performed well at maintaining download speeds, well above 65 per cent of my regular (non VPN) ISP speed.
That said, there’s nothing really unique about the service. Which forces you to look at its price-point. And there’s nothing special here. Its short-term $12.99/month price tag puts is well above the industry average of $10.10/month. Similarly, its long-term $2.75/month for 3 years deal isn’t much of a “deal” either.
Oddly, CyberGhost’s most unique feature is its a 1-day, no obligations, free trial. This is an appealing offer to customers who are new to VPNs. However, it’s important to remember that most reputable VPNs will offer customers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so try not to be too seduced by the offer.
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