Recommended VPNs for Hulu 2020

The best VPNs that work with Hulu

Hulu is a major competitor of  Netflix and Amazon as a provider of streaming video content. They started as a free service, but as of 2010, Hulu switched to paid subscriptions for watching TV shows and movies. The service is available in the US and Japan only, which may prevent subscribers from watching their favorite TV shows when traveling abroad.

You may need a VPN for Hulu to gain access to their service overseas, but using a virtual private network to access your Hulu account can be a daunting task due to some clever restrictions by them.

Source: Statista

International companies such as 21st Century Fox, Disney, and NBCUniversal own Hulu, but they limit access to the service to the US and Japan only. The service will work on almost any modern device, but regular business travelers or digital nomads may need a Hulu VPN to access the service they pay for. Bearing in mind that Hulu is blocking selected VPN service providers to prevent you from accessing their service via web proxy altogether, you may need to dig deeper into the available options to get your TV shows and movies on the go.

Best VPNs for Hulu

Four years ago, Hulu started a massive campaign preventing VPN services and apps from accessing their videos. Since then, they have been enforcing a restrictive policy against the use of web proxy servers and other techniques that bypass the policy of watching Hulu videos only in the United States and Japan.

However, this makes it difficult for paid users to reconnect with their favorite TV shows while abroad. Opting for a random VPN will not be of much help since Hulu blocks a good number of VPN apps. Furthermore, you should use a VPN provider with reliable and fast servers located on US soil.

What Makes a VPN good for streaming?

The average internet user enjoys reasonable bandwidths these days. Bandwidth is a major factor when accessing Hulu over a virtual private network, and the same applies to any other streaming service you may use.

Audio and video streaming services require high-speed internet connections. Every VPN service slows down your internet connection a little bit, so you need a Hulu VPN that slows you down the least compared to most other services. Unlimited bandwidth is a must, but you’ll still need VPN software that performs fast.

Another factor to consider is the locations where your VPN service provider have installed their servers. A good VPN service operates server locations all over the world, having multiple servers in each location. In the case of Hulu, you should look for servers located in the United States and Japan. Moreover, you should look for US-based servers in different locations across the country to be able to choose the fastest one for you. Accessing your Hulu account from a more remote server or a server installed closer to your physical location may provide variations in streaming speed. Having more servers to choose from is the best scenario, either way.  You can take advantage of free trial use and money-back guarantee offers to test which VPN service performs best for your location.

Privacy & Security with Hulu

You also need to follow some basic privacy and security requirements when streaming TV shows and movies on Hulu. It is not uncommon for hackers to stream video content using the accounts of unsuspecting users. A decent VPN app, such as one of the listed above, will encrypt your connection and will check for malicious software attempting to interfere with your connection.

Sure, VPNs are not firewalls or antivirus tools, but they can provide an additional layer of privacy and security to your internet connection. Check if the VPN service implements reliable security and encryption protocols, and look for high-grade encryption.

A good number of online services log part or all of your browsing activities. Some use cookies to customize certain components of their service, but others may also log activities considered private data by most users. Check the no log policy of any VPN provider you consider using to access your Hulu account with.

Pay attention as well to available features such as kill switch functionality. What is kill switch in VPN? It is a feature that prevents your connection from accidental exposure. Why use a VPN service with privacy in mind if it can leak your data at any moment by accident?

Hulu Proxy Ban

All of the above requirements notwithstanding, you need to have valid access rights to your Hulu account enabled. This might be a problem with some VPNs because Hulu is currently blocking access by certain VPN services.

Hulu is using a simple method to prevent customers who are using VPNs from accessing their services. One tactic is using blacklists. Simply put, a blacklist is a list of banned IP addresses. Actually, any administrator of a more sophisticated online service – Hulu is one such service – may add one or more VPN providers, a country, or a single user to a list of blocked addresses. The service’s host server will then deny access to all the IP addresses or ranges of IP addresses on the list.

Any internet service provider, as well as VPN service providers, has a limited number of IP addresses it can use. Hence, a service like Hulu can block the entire range of IP addresses available to one or another VPN apps, individual users, or even internet service providers.

The solution you need in this case is very simple: you need a VPN that is not on Hulu’s blacklist. Thankfully, Hulu does not block every single VPN on Earth, and all of the above-mentioned VPNs for Hulu work with their service.

You should bear in mind, however, that any company can block access to their service using a kind of geofencing restrictions or geo-restrictions, and there is no guarantee that Hulu will not add a certain provider to their blacklist at any given moment in the future. Furthermore, there are plenty of even more advanced methods that could be used to block a device or user, and you do not want your paid Hulu user account being blocked for violating certain Hulu terms. So, don’t experiment with unproven and obscure VPN apps to access your Hulu service. We will discuss alternatives to VPN access in the next section.

VPN vs Smart DNS Proxy

A smart DNS proxy is an alternative to VPN services, and it works by changing the DNS of your device. The smart DNS proxy re-routes your traffic through a dedicated proxy server that is operating in the country where the website you are trying to access is located. This is a server method similar to the one used by VPN service providers.

The main difference between a smart DNS proxy and a VPN is that smart DNS does not encrypt your connection. Using smart DNS proxy may provide you with faster speeds in certain scenarios, but it is more dangerous in terms of online privacy and security.

Furthermore, Hulu warns on their website that if you get an “Error playing this video” error message during playback, their system has determined that your computer is behind an anonymous proxy. The only method to remove that message is to disable the proxy before you can access videos on Hulu again. A smart DNS may not be considered an anonymizer by default, but it is very likely that Hulu systems would decide the opposite.

Can I Use a Free VPN to Watch Hulu?

Free VPNs are not a good choice to use to access your Hulu service for a number of reasons. Most of them finance their operations by selling user data and browsing history. Also, most of those services are on Hulu’s list of banned VPN apps.

Of course, you may eventually find a free VPN that works on Hulu, but you generally sacrifice your privacy and security in a  case like this. As we mentioned before, a free VPN has no other source of financing other than selling user data, injecting tracking software into your browser, or installing cookies that track all your online actions. In theory, one can finance such a VPN service by selling ads, but who wants to view ads while watching a movie online on Hulu?

Hulu VPN FAQs

Hulu no longer provides a free service plan for watching movies and TV shows. Their plans start at $7.99 a month for streaming and $39.99 for streaming + Live TV service. Hulu is a favorite choice for customers wanting to watch shows by leading third-party entertainment companies whose content is accessible via the Hulu platform.

Source: Statista

A subscription to Hulu with Live TV gives you access to live and on-demand TV from over 50 top channels (including sports, news, and any available local TV channels). You can check available channels here, and you also get unlimited access to the Hulu streaming library.

If you are traveling a lot or if you are spending part of the year abroad, you can try using a reliable VPN to access your legal Hulu account. A decent VPN service will not be detected as violating the Hulu terms of use, although we urge you to consult their original terms and conditions if you want to fully comply. Furthermore, you will want to avoid VPNs that are blocked by Hulu, and those include most VPN services that have no dedicated Hulu servers. Some well-known VPN services that currently do not work on Hulu include:

  • CactusVPN
  • Hola
  • Hotspot Shield
  • IPVanish
  • IronSocket
  • Private Internet Access (PIA)
  • PureVPN
  • Tunnelbear
  • Unotelly

You should be aware the above list can be extended to cover most of the currently available VPN services out there.

Conclusion

Hulu is a leading movie and TV streaming service, which unfortunately is available only in the United States and Japan. Even other English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom are excluded from their list of available territories. This can be a pain for you as a paying Hulu customer when traveling abroad.

Another issue with accessing your Hulu account when traveling or doing business abroad is that the service blocks most VPNs. One of a few working methods to watch your favored TV shows and movies on Hulu from outside the United States and Japan is to opt for one of the VPN services on our list.

Check their service offerings and speeds before settling for a particular service.

Written by: Kiril V. Kirilov
23 October 2018

Kiril V. Kirilov is a professional writer and content strategist who covers business and IT topics for close to two decades. He is also interested in the intersection of business and tech.

Written by: Kiril V. Kirilov

Kiril V. Kirilov is a professional writer and content strategist who covers business and IT topics for close to two decades. He is also interested in the intersection of business and tech.

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