Why Hulu blocks VPN apps, and how to unblock them
Arguably the largest reason why Hulu blocks VPNs – or at least tries to – comes down to the fact that not all of the third-party content on its platform is licensed for global distribution. Sometimes, that’s because Hulu failed to agree on the price of the licensing fee with the owner. On many other occasions, it’s because it has yet to get around to renegotiating wider distribution agreements.
This state of affairs is why Hulu does and will continue to impose geolocation restrictions on the majority of its content. But that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it, mind you.
Before we get into the details of how to unblock content on Hulu, let’s just establish that doing so always constitutes a breach of your user agreement with the platform. According to Hulu’s terms of service, “any technology or technique that obscures or disguises your location” while you’re using any version of its app is in violation of that very same EULA.
Now, Hulu’s preferences are not the law anywhere on the planet. And VPNs are perfectly legal to use in the U.S. and most other parts of the world. Hulu still has the right to ban you from its services if it determines you’re using a VPN, of course. But will it? Probably not, according to its track record.
Sure, it can happen and if you look hard enough, you’ll find dozens of testimonies from people who claim they’ve been banned over such a non-issue. But you’ll also find thousands giving an exact opposite account, even offering advice on how to successfully unblock Hulu and similar platforms.
At the end of the day, VPN users are simply too minuscule of a niche to cause significant pressure from copyright owners on Hulu. And while their numbers might have grown larger in recent times, so have those of the streaming giants. So, if you’re worried about getting banned because Hulu detected a VPN on your end – know that the chances of that happening are fairly low. A couple of harmless “anonymous proxy error” messages is likely the worst consequence you’ll face whenever you don’t succeed at unblocking Hulu content.
How does Hulu know I’m using a VPN?
Hulu is essentially playing a cat-and-mouse game here. And not with you, but your VPN service provider. A good VPN company will exhibit a certain level of stubbornness in how it chooses its hosting partners and how often it switches them around. One that Hulu simply won’t be able to match.
The primary way that Hulu detects any VPN or proxy service at all is to monitor for the number of access requests from a single IP address. So, the number one thing to be concerned about is whether your fake IP that both a proxy and a VPN will give you will hold up under scrutiny. Needless to say, proxies are even more vulnerable to such simplistic means of detection than VPNs. And any VPN incapable of dealing with Hulu’s lukewarm measures against content unblocking arguably isn’t deserving of your money in the first place.
Should you use a free VPN to access Hulu?
Let’s exemplify that train of thought: if you’re trying to log into Hulu via the same IP address used by 2,500 other users from another part of the world, chances are that one of them is trying to access the same service, as well. Or at least they did so fairly recently.
Because if it took you five seconds to find that shady proxy you’re trying to test, you can be certain countless others tried the same beforehand. Maybe you luck out with an IP address that’s dynamic in the sense that it changes every other week. But that’s the best-case scenario; good luck finding a reliable source of dedicated IP addresses that funds its legitimate and genuinely convenient service with the pennies it gets from serving ads. Servers cost money, too. Not a lot of it, sure, but “free” is unmistakably still too much to ask, as of 2021.
Is there a list of VPN providers that actively block Hulu?
The list of VPN providers completely unable to unblock Hulu content isn’t that long and mostly comes down to which companies are proactively preventing you from accessing streaming services, at all. Probably the biggest offender here is Hola – not that you should have considered it at all, on account of it being free.
PureVPN is another high-profile name that Hulu subscribers should avoid, based on recent user reports. Your mileage with this one might vary, though, as we found it to work fine with some other streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Other than that, users of IPVanish, Hotspot Shield, CactusVPN, and IronSocket reported struggles with connecting to Hulu in recent times.
Which VPN providers do not block Hulu?
So long as you’re willing to pay half as much for a monthly VPN subscription as you are for Hulu, you’ll have a tougher time finding VPNs that don’t work with it than those that are able to spoof its systems 24-7. With that said, we’d recommend one of the following for all your Hulu unblocking needs: NordVPN, ExpressVPN Cyberghost, or Ivacy VPN. These are simply some of today’s best VPN services overall; and as content unblocking presents a fairly minor technical challenge for VPNs, all of them will be able to handle Hulu without any issues.
There’s one major disclaimer to note here: you need to make sure you’re connecting to Hulu with a dedicated IP address. Because while all of the aforementioned services do support this functionality, they might not have it enabled by default.