Hulu not working with VPN

Trying to watch Hulu outside the US using a VPN? If it isn’t working, it means your VPN can’t get past Hulu’s VPN blocks.

If you’re coming across Hulu not working with VPN issues, the reason this has happened is because Hulu has managed to identify and block the IP address your VPN has given you. And if the problem persists, your VPN doesn’t have measures to ensure it can work reliably with Hulu.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that will help you get past Hulu’s blocks. If all else fails, it may be time to switch to a good VPN for Hulu.

This guide will explain how you can fix Hulu not working with VPN and help you find the best VPNs for Hulu so you can stream anywhere in the world.

The best VPNs for Hulu

Our Pick 🥇

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN Favicon
  • TrustedServer RAM-only servers for extra security
  • Servers in over 100 countries worldwide
  • Specialised Lightway protocol

Buy now for $6.67/month

Highly Recommended 🥈

NordVPN
NordVPN favicon
  • Enhanced Double VPN encryption
  • Proprietary NordLynx protocol
  • CyberSec Ad and threat blocker

Buy now for $3.99/month

Runner Up

PureVPN
PureVPN Favicon
  • Dedicated/optimised video streaming
  • Ozone data protection service
  • Option for a personal dedicated IP address

Buy now for $1.96/month

Robust encryption

Private Internet Access
VPN Logos Small 0000 PIA Logo
  • Install on an unlimited number of devices
  • Independently audited no-logs policy
  • Dedicated IP options

Buy now for $2.03/month

Unlimited connections

Surfshark
Surfshark Favicon
  • NoBorders mode provides services in restrictive regions
  • Supports simultaneous connections on multiple devices
  • Camouflage Mode hides VPN use even from your ISP

Buy now for $2.49/month

Hulu not working with VPN: Fixes

To make sure Hulu works with a VPN again, check out the steps below:

Total Time: 5 minutes

  1. Check if your VPN works on another device

    How to Change To a Different Device

    This is the easiest thing you can do to figure out what you need to do next. If you VPN works with Hulu on your smartphone, but not your computer, then you know your VPN isn’t the problem.

  2. Contact your VPNs live chat service

    How To Contact Live Chat Service

    This is another easy one. Cycle through your VPN’s available servers. If you only have a few options available to you, go to your VPN’s website and find the Live Chat feature (if they have one) and ask for a specific server number that works with Hulu.

    This is the single most effective way to diagnose if your VPN is the problem or not. If they can’t point you towards a server that works with Hulu then you know, without doubt, that the VPN is the problem.

  3. Delete your cookies

    How To Delete Cookies

    Deleting your cookies can potentially fix VPN issues. Accumulated or corrupted cookies in a browser might interfere with the way websites and online services function, especially when using a VPN. Clearing these cookies removes any old or problematic data, thereby ensuring a cleaner slate for your VPN connection to operate. This can help in establishing a more stable connection and resolving conflicts between the VPN and certain web services like Hulu.

  4. Connect to a different US server

    How To Change Server

    If you’re coming across Hulu not working with VPN issues, the streaming service has probably blocked the IP address your VPN has given you.

    While it’s true Hulu cannot block a VPN, it can block the IP addresses the VPN provides.

    The good news is just because Hulu has managed to block the IP address you’re currently using with your VPN, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has blocked all of your VPN’s IP addresses.

    Changing to a different US server will give you a different IP address, and if that one hasn’t been blocked, you’ll be able to watch Hulu with a VPN again.

  5. Reinstall or update your VPN

    How To Reinstall

    Removing your VPN, and its settings, from your device and starting again is a good way to get the most up-to-date settings configured on your devices without much effort. If you don’t want to reinstall the software, you can always check to see if there’s an update available to download any fixes your service may have introduced.

  6. Switch VPN protocols

    How To Change Protocol

    VPN protocols are the beating heart of a VPN. They determine how the VPN works. When you use a VPN the protocol is responsible for hiding your data and rerouting it via VPN servers.

    If Hulu isn’t working with your VPN, it might be because the protocol you’re using is no longer working with the service.

    If your VPN allows it, try changing to a different protocol to see if that fixes the issue. Take a look at our VPN protocols article to discover more about which technology might be best for you.

  7. Upgrade your VPN

    ExpressVPN rank

    If changing to a different US server doesn’t fix Hulu not working with VPN and else fails, you should consider upgrading to a high-end VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) or NordVPN ($3.79/month) for Hulu.

    For more information, check out our VPN list below to see which VPN suits your needs and budget.

Why is Hulu not working with VPN?

There are pros and cons of using a VPN with Hulu, and one of the latter is having to put up with blocks. Hulu has joined Netflix, HBO Max, CBS, NBC, BBC iPlayer, and more in blocking VPNs from accessing its content.

The reason it has done this is simple. Licensing agreements. 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.

Hulu keeps a blacklist of IP addresses known to be associated with VPNs. If you connect to a blacklisted IP, your access will be blocked. What’s more, it utilizes various methods to detect VPN usage. If it sniffs something out, the it immediately denies these users access. There are a few other reasons, including overloaded servers – heavy usage can slow down connections and hinder streaming stability – and outdated software, meaning it’s time for an update.

How does Hulu detect VPNs?

Hulu employs several methods to detect VPN usage:

  • 1. Blacklisted IP addresses: VPN services have large pools of shared IP addresses. Hulu maintains a blacklist of IP addresses known to be associated with VPNs. If you connect to Hulu with a blacklisted IP, your access will likely be blocked.
  • 2. GeoIP databases: These databases map IP addresses to geographical locations. Hulu can use such databases to determine if your IP address aligns with your supposed location. Inconsistencies can raise suspicion of VPN usage.
  • 3. Traffic analysis: While encrypted, VPN traffic can exhibit patterns that differ from typical user traffic. Hulu may analyze traffic patterns to identify potential VPN connections.
  • 4. IP/DNS leaks: If your VPN leaks your real IP address or DNS requests, it exposes your true location and reveals your VPN usage to Hulu.
  • 5. WebRTC leaks: WebRTC, a browser technology for real-time communication, can sometimes leak your true IP address even if you’re using a VPN. This can also tip off Hulu.

Does Hulu still work with VPNs?

Yes. I stream Hulu from my home here in New Zealand daily. 

It’s essential that you use a VPN that still works with Hulu like ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) or NordVPN ($3.79/month)

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. 

To stream Hulu, you need to upgrade to a VPN like ExpressVPN or NordVPN that manages to stay ahead of Hulu’s checks.

Hulu not working with VPN

Will a free VPN work with Hulu?

Unfortunately, using a free VPN to access Hulu is highly unlikely to work and comes with several drawbacks. Even the best free VPNs struggle to get around Hulu’s VPN blocks.

  1. Free VPNs aren’t secure: We put a number of free VPNs through DNS leak tests which test how well they keep your online activity anonymous. Most of them failed these tests. This means you’re not able to surf the web privately with free VPNs and it makes it easier for Hulu to spot you’re using a VPN and block it.
  2. Feature restrictions: Important features that make VPNs work are often hidden behind a paywall. While free VPNs claim they’ll work reliably with Hulu, they often won’t.
  3. Slow speeds: Even if they do connect, free VPNs often suffer from slow speeds and data caps, making streaming frustrating and unreliable.
  4. Limited server options: Free VPNs have fewer servers, increasing the chance of encountering overloaded servers and further reducing performance. For Hulu, you need multiple US servers to use if one isn’t working.

Best VPNs to watch Hulu

1. ExpressVPN

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • Physical servers in 104 countries
  • Brilliant for unblocking streaming services
  • Very high-speed Lightway protocol
  • Available on almost any device
  • Very secure
  • Pricey
  • Only 8 simultaneous devices
  • No addons
ExpressVPN

Streaming: ExpressVPN excels in unblocking geo-restricted content and works seamlessly with streaming services, even in countries where VPNs are banned. It consistently performed well in tests with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO Max.

Servers: ExpressVPN has a robust network with servers in 104 countries, significantly above the 71-country average. Less than 3% of these servers are virtual, ensuring a reliable and fast physical network.

Privacy: ExpressVPN’s privacy measures include passing independent audits by cybersecurity firms like Cure53 and F-Secure, ensuring a strong level of security and no significant weaknesses in its macOS, Linux, and Windows apps. More details can be found in the audit reports available online.

Price: ExpressVPN offers three payment plans: a 1-month option at $12.95/month, a 6-month option at $9.99/month, and a 12-month option at $6.67/month. Payment methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other systems, accommodating a wide range of users.

Speeds: ExpressVPN maintains high download speeds with minimal drop-off, ensuring efficient performance. Tests showed a slight decrease in upload speeds, but download speeds remained fast across various server locations, including the US, UK, and Vietnam.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

2. NordVPN

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

  • Affordable pricing
  • Effective streaming access
  • Diverse server types
  • Solid speeds
  • Useful add-ons
  • Strong security
  • Limited server locations
  • No virtual servers
NordVPN

Streaming: NordVPN is highly effective for bypassing geo-restrictions on streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It has shown consistent success in connecting to various streaming services without noticeable issues.

Servers: NordVPN’s server network spans 60 countries. While this is below the average of 71 countries for the top 20 VPNs, its commitment to physical servers ensures faster and more reliable connections.

Privacy: NordVPN’s secure connection and no-logs policy have been verified via three independent audits, including one by Deloitte. The audits have confirmed NordVPN’s adherence to its no-logs policy, ensuring user privacy.

Price: NordVPN offers three pricing plans: Complete, Plus, and Standard. The 2-year plan for the Standard package is priced at $3.19/month, the 1-year plan at $4.99/month, and the monthly plan at $12.99/month. It accepts major credit cards and various payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table showing the speeds tested for NordVPN. From our tests in New Zealand, NordVPN displayed very good speeds, although slightly behind ExpressVPN, but significantly faster than many other VPNs on the market.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73

Read our full NordVPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

3. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Robust security and privacy
  • 24/7 responsive chat support
  • Extensive server network in 100 countries
  • Has trouble with services like Hulu
  • Lacks a unique proprietary protocol
  • App can be overwhelming
  • Not the fastest among competitors
Surfshark

Streaming: Surfshark performs well with most streaming services but faces challenges with some, like Hulu. This could be a drawback for users who heavily rely on VPNs for streaming content from various regions.

Servers: Surfshark boasts a server network in 100 countries, which is well above the average and includes both physical and virtual servers, providing extensive geographic coverage.

Privacy: Surfshark emphasizes its commitment to privacy with successful DNS leak tests and independent security audits by Cure53, ensuring robust online security and privacy. You can find more about their security audits here.

Price: Surfshark offers a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 12-month option at $3.99/month, and a 24-month option at $2.49/month. It accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance when using Surfshark. From our tests, we observed decent speeds, suitable for general use, but not the fastest compared to some rivals.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)940.55520.24
Surfshark US server775.96.15
Surfshark UK server587.793.79

Read our full Surfshark review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

4. Ivacy VPN

A straightforward and affordable VPN, ideal for beginners

  • Great price
  • $1/month 5-year deal
  • Subscription includes password manager
  • Streaming service specific IP addresses
  • Secure VPN service
  • Slower speeds
  • No 3rd Party audits
  • Low number of country server locations
  • Not many addons
Ivacy

Streaming: Ivacy VPN offers reliable access to major streaming services like US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and MAX. However, it’s slower than competitors such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN, which might be a drawback for users seeking the fastest streaming experience.

Servers: Ivacy has a global network of 6,500 servers, but it only covers 62 countries. This is below the average of 73 countries for top VPNs. Additionally, it wasn’t very open about the distribution between its physical and virtual servers.

Privacy: Ivacy maintains a strict no-logs policy, ensuring that your online activities are not recorded or monitored. However, unlike ExpressVPN, Ivacy’s audits are not readily available to the public, making it less transparent in comparison.

Price: Ivacy has three payment options: a 1-month plan costing $9.95/month, a 12-month plan at $3.99/month, and a 5-year plan at $1.00/month. It accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, Coingate, BitPay, and various other payment systems.

Speeds: Ivacy’s speed performance showed a noticeable reduction in download and upload speeds when connected to its servers. From the tests, there was a significant speed drop when using Ivacy’s virtual server for India, impacting streaming and web browsing.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)939.78519.86
Ivacy US server445.205.65
Ivacy UK server693.293.53

Read our full Ivacy VPN review.

Special Offer for you!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

Is watching Hulu with a VPN legal?

Using a VPN is legal, and it’s safe to use a VPN with Hulu. However, the legality of using a VPN to watch Hulu depends on several factors:

  • Inside the US: If you’re physically located in the US and have a valid Hulu subscription, using a VPN doesn’t violate any laws. However, it violates Hulu’s terms of service, which state you can’t use VPNs to access the platform. While unlikely, violating the terms could lead to account suspension.
  • Outside the US: Using a VPN to access Hulu from outside the US violates both Hulu’s terms of service and potentially copyright laws. It’s important to understand the legal implications in your specific country before doing so.
  • Personal Viewing: If you’re accessing Hulu for personal non-commercial viewing and have a valid subscription (if within the US), the legal risk is considered low. However, violating terms of service still stands.
  • Commercial Use: If you’re using Hulu for commercial purposes (e.g., streaming in a public space), even within the US and with a valid subscription, it could be considered copyright infringement.

The Hulu terms of use state, “bypass, modify, defeat, tamper with or circumvent any of the functions or protections of the Services, including using any technology or technique to obscure or disguise your location when you are accessing the Services.”

This means Hulu can stop your subscription and ban you from the streaming service if you try to access its content with a VPN turned on.

However, Hulu hasn’t banned anyone from using a VPN to watch the streaming service. Moreover, the best VPNs for Hulu use military-grade encryption it is impossible for streaming services to trace where you’re physically accessing its content from.

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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