Hulu detecting your VPN

Hulu not working with VPN? Here’s how to fix that!

You’re probably reading this article because you’ve tried to watch Hulu 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

  1. Get ExpresssVPN ($6.66/month) or Private Internet Access ($2.85/month)
  2. Download the ExpressVPN app
  3. Connect to a server in the US
  4. Go to Hulu and enjoy!

That’s it.

Why does Hulu block VPNs?

Hulu has joined Netflix, HBO Max, CBS, NBC, BBC iPlayer – pretty much every major broadcaster – in blocking VPNs from accessing its content.

The reason it has done this is simple. Licenses. More specifically, US licenses. Hulu only the rights to broadcast content – The Handmaid’s Tale, Castle Rock, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – in the US. The various broadcaster’s in other countries own the right to this content in their regions.

Hulu, and every other major broadcaster, has to block VPNs from accessing its content in order to protect their investments. If, for example, Hulu allowed 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.

I’ve been using ExpresssVPN ($6.66/month) to watch Hulu (without any issues) since March 2018.

How Hulu Detects VPNs?

There are three main checks broadcasts perform 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, 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 normal house or office would do. When too many people (more than an average household) connect via the same IP (VPN server) it makes it easy for Hulu to detect and blacklist the IP address.

How to fix!

This is a pretty common problem. And the solution is really easy.

The first thing you should do it try another server from your VPN app. If this doesn’t work, then 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 ExpresssVPN ($6.66/month) or Private Internet Access ($2.85/month) as these two providers play a game of Cat and Mouse with Hulu and other broadcasters such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

Whenever Hulu detects one of its servers, they react by closing that IP address down and opening a fresh, undetected, IP. 

This 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 Cat and Mouse tactics.

The Best VPNs that work with Hulu (2020)

1. ExpressVPN

The BEST VPN of 2020!

ExpressVPN UK screenshot

Pros

  • Fast servers
  • Thousands of IP addresses
  • 10-simultaneous connections
  • 24/7 Live Chat
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • Expensive

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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

  • $6.66/month for 15 months
  • $9.99/month for 6 months
  • $12.95/month for 1 month

ExpressVPN is the best VPN you can buy. If you can afford the extra few pounds/dollars a month, you won’t regret it.

The first thing you need to know about this VPN is that it’s fast. Really fast! It consistently tops our independent VPN speed tests, with blazingly fast download/upload speeds.

And importantly, it ALWAYS has servers that are open with major streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video etc.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN on the market at playing Cat and Mouse with online streaming sites. 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.

ExpressVPN is a little more expensive than the other VPNs. But if you want the most reliable VPN on the market, there’s only one choice. ExpressVPN is the best.

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2. Private Internet Access

The BEST mid-range VPN for streaming!

Private Internet Access UK screenshot

Pros

  • Fast and reliable servers
  • Thousands of IP addresses
  • 10-simultaneous connections
  • 24/7 Live Chat
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Only 48 server locations

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Number of servers: 3,000+ | Speeds: >75% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 70 in 48 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes

  • $2.85/month for 1-year
  • $5.99/month for 6-months
  • $9.95/month for 1-month

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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3. Ivacy

The BEST low-cost VPN

Pros

  • Fast servers
  • Thousands of IP addresses
  • Dedicated streaming servers
  • 5-simultaneous connections
  • 24/7 Live Chat
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Only 5 devices
  • Sometimes runs slow
  • Occasionally blocked by streaming sites

7-DAY TRIAL – $0.99

30-day money-back guarantee

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

  • $1.16/month for 5-years
  • $3.50/month for 1-year
  • $9.99/month for 1 month

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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(30-day money-back guarantee)

4. NordVPN

A solid all-round VPN option!

NordVPN UK screenshot

Pros

  • Fast servers
  • No logs
  • Thousands of IP addresses
  • 6-simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • No refunds for purchases from iTunes/App store
  • Poor long-term discounts

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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

  • $3.49/month for 2-years
  • $6.99/month for 1-year
  • $11.95/month for 1 month

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 pretty reliable at unblocking popular streaming services too – US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. – but its record isn’t perfect. NordVPN claims that’s all changed now as a result of hiring full-time technical team (that’s responsible for monitoring its servers connections with popular TV streaming services) and aggressive investment 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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5. CyberGhost

CyberGhost UK screenshot

Pros

  • 1-day free trial
  • Reliable servers
  • Thousands of IP addresses
  • 7-simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Average speed scores

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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

  • $2.75/month for 3 years
  • $3.69/month for 2 years
  • $5.99/month for 6 months
  • $12.99/month for 1 month

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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