How to Watch Hulu With a VPN: Watch the Best Shows on Hulu From Anywhere
Since Hulu is only available in the U.S., those in other countries will need to use a VPN. If you’ve never used a VPN before or you’re having trouble connecting, our guide on how to watch Hulu with a VPN has you covered.
Hulu’s content library includes some of the most popular shows and movies, including Hulu originals like The Handmaid’s Tale, Castle Rock and Marvel’s Runaways. The problem is that Hulu is only available in the U.S., so if you’re anywhere else in the world, you need to know how to watch Hulu with a VPN.
Whether you’re an American on vacation and want to access your existing Hulu account, or you reside in another country and want a taste of Hulu’s library, a VPN can help. A VPN, or virtual private network, allows you to connect to a server in another country, such as the U.S. Your true IP address is then masked by a new one in that country, making it look like you’re physically there.
- Hulu is only available in the U.S., so if you’re outside the country, you’ll need to connect to a U.S. server. You also need to have a U.S. payment method or purchase a Hulu gift card if you don’t already have a Hulu subscription.
- Watching Hulu + Live TV is a little more tricky if you’re traveling with a VPN because Hulu requires you to have a U.S. residential connection at setup and you have to reconnect every 30 days.
- ExpressVPN is the best Hulu VPN, but NordVPN and Surfshark are also good choices.
If you don’t already have a Hulu account, we’ll show you how to set one up. If you don’t have a U.S. payment method, you can purchase a Hulu gift card and sign up that way.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to stream Hulu with a VPN and list some troubleshooting ideas you can try if the VPN isn’t working. We’ll also list some of the best Hulu VPNs, so you can get started, starting with our favorite, ExpressVPN. Let’s get into it.
Yes, you can use Hulu with a VPN, but you need to choose one that has U.S. servers and can bypass Hulu’s geo-restrictions. ExpressVPN is the best VPN choice for Hulu.
If your VPN is being blocked by a streaming service, the first thing you could try is switching to a different server. If that doesn’t work, there are a few other options, like clearing your cache and cookies, buying a dedicated IP address, using the SmartDNS feature and changing the VPN protocol.
Most streaming services monitor IP addresses. If there’s any sign that they’re owned by a VPN or other unblocking tool, they’re blocked. One indication is lots of people using the same IP address to access Hulu.
How to Watch Hulu With a VPN
Streaming Hulu with a VPN is a simple process, but if you’ve never used a VPN before, you might not know where to start. The steps below show you how to set up a VPN (using NordVPN as an example), how to get a Hulu gift card if you need one and how to start streaming Hulu. We have a separate guide on how to watch Hulu with our top Hulu VPN, ExpressVPN.
- Sign Up for a VPN Service
Go to the VPN’s website (in this case, NordVPN) and sign up for one of the VPN plans. NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a full refund if you don’t like it.
- Download the VPN App
Download and install the VPN app on your device. NordVPN is compatible with many device types. If you install the VPN on your mobile device, you can cast Hulu to your TV to watch it on the big screen. Some smart TVs, such as Android TV and FireTV, support VPN apps, meaning you can install it directly on your TV.
- Connect to a U.S. Server
Since Hulu is only available in the U.S., you need to connect to a U.S. server. You can find a server in the United States with NordVPN’s map interface or the server list on the left-hand side. If it doesn’t automatically connect when you click the server, click on the “connect” button in the top right.
- Purchase a Hulu Gift Card
If you don’t already have a Hulu subscription and don’t have a U.S. payment method, you can buy a Hulu gift card and pay for Hulu that way. It’s also possible to sign up with an Apple Store gift card, so long as you have a U.S. Apple ID. You can find Hulu gift cards on sites like MyGiftCardSupply.
- Redeem Your Gift Card on Hulu
When you have a Hulu gift card ready, you can redeem it on Hulu’s website. Once it is redeemed, you can sign up as usual. Keep in mind that when your gift card balance has run out, you’ll need to add another payment method, like another gift card. If you don’t, your account will be canceled.
- Start Streaming Hulu
You can now start streaming Hulu either on the app or on the Hulu website (here’s our guide on how to get Hulu on TV). Be sure to connect to a U.S. server whenever you want to access Hulu.
Watch Hulu Plus Live TV With a VPN
Watching Hulu + Live TV with a VPN is pretty much impossible, unless you can meet specific conditions. Hulu + Live TV is only intended for use by a single household, and it needs to establish your home location with a residential network. A mobile network or hotspot won’t suffice.
This is Hulu’s way of ensuring you have a physical address in the U.S. so it can stay in line with its licensing agreements. Plus, some of its live channels are local to specific areas.
If you reside in the U.S., this might not be a problem if you’re able to get home and verify your home connection. For those who are completely outside the U.S., though, it’s an issue. Unless you have a friend or relative in the U.S. who wouldn’t mind setting up a Hulu + Live TV account for you, you’re pretty much stuck.
Hulu’s Residential “Check-In”
On mobile, Hulu also likes to “check in” and ensure you’re still able to connect to that residential connection every 30 days. Again, if you’re a U.S. resident, you can just make sure you connect to your home network every now and then.
Hulu takes an extra step on mobile devices. It not only wants to verify your IP address, but also your physical position via your GPS location. You have to give Hulu permission to check your device’s location; once you do, it’ll know where you really are and deny access.
If you can’t connect to your home network, Hulu won’t let you use live TV until you do. You’ll still be able to stream on-demand content from the Hulu library, though. If you have no problem verifying your home connection occasionally, you can certainly use Hulu + Live TV on the go so long as you’re connected to a U.S. server.
Will a Dedicated IP Address Work With Hulu + Live TV?
Many VPN providers, such as NordVPN and CyberGhost, offer a dedicated IP address. This is an add-on service to your regular VPN subscription, which will increase your monthly cost, but it could be worth it if you want to access Hulu’s Live TV package while traveling.
A dedicated IP address is a personal IP that never changes. You choose the location you need and get a unique IP address on a VPN server from that place. No one else can use it, making it similar to a residential connection but even more secure.
As we mentioned earlier, Hulu mobile apps not only check your IP address, but also your device’s GPS location. The only way to fake your GPS location is to use a location spoofing app. However, such apps usually require you to have a jailbroken or rooted device.
In summary, if you can use a dedicated IP address, set that as your home network connection and spoof your location to that of where your dedicated IP address is located, you might just be able to access Hulu + Live TV from anywhere.
The Best VPNs for Hulu
Aside from the live TV service, you can access Hulu’s on-demand content from anywhere, so long as you’re connected to a U.S. IP address with a VPN that can bypass geoblocks. Below, we’ve listed the top VPN services that have U.S. servers and can unblock Hulu easily.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $6.66 per month
- Provider website: expressvpn.com
- Fast speeds
- Plenty of U.S. server locations
- Accesses Hulu easily
ExpressVPN is not only our top recommended VPN overall, it’s also our best VPN for streaming. There are many reasons that it claims those top spots, but its ability to get into popular streaming services — including Hulu, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max and others — and fast speeds on all servers are two features that make it stand out here. You’ll hardly notice you’re even using a VPN, which is great for ensuring the best streaming performance.
You have access to multiple U.S. server locations, and ExpressVPN’s strong security will ensure you stay protected while streaming. Something it doesn’t offer, though, is dedicated or static IP addresses.
What ExpressVPN does have is MediaStreamer. It’s a form of SmartDNS, a common VPN feature which allows you to spoof your location to access content in other countries. It works by changing the DNS address of your device, fooling streaming services into thinking you’re located there.
However, using MediaStreamer will mean your device is not protected by VPN security — there’s no encryption, much like a proxy server.
ExpressVPN is an expensive service. You can reduce the monthly cost by choosing its 12-month plan, but it’s still pricier than other options. That said, you’re getting a quality VPN service. You can learn more in our ExpressVPN review, or take it for a spin using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.49 per month
- Provider website: nordvpn.com
- Fastest VPN speeds
- Consistently unblocks Hulu
- Multiple U.S. server locations
- Expensive monthly plan
NordVPN is another of our favorite VPNs here at Cloudwards, sitting very close to ExpressVPN. According to our speed tests, it’s the fastest VPN you can get, mostly thanks to its secure NordLynx protocol. It can unblock Hulu, and its huge server network includes plenty of servers in multiple U.S. cities, meaning you’ve got options if one server doesn’t work.
That difference sets NordVPN slightly below ExpressVPN as a streaming option.
For the most part, ExpressVPN can unblock streaming services from the first server you pick, whereas you might need to try a couple of NordVPN’s servers before you get through. It’s not a dealbreaker, though, and certainly doesn’t happen enough to be annoying. Read our ‘does NordVPN work with Hulu, guide to learn more.
Dedicated IP Addresses
NordVPN does have a couple of added benefits. For one, you can get a dedicated IP address priced at $70 for one year, which works out to $5.83 per month.
That cost is in addition to the standard VPN package, but considering you can get NordVPN for less than $4 per month, it’s not too bad. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee here, too. You can read our NordVPN review for more information.
- Unlimited GB
- Unlimited GB
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: $2.49 per month
- Provider website: surfshark.com
- Gets into Hulu
- More than 20 U.S. servers
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- No user forum
Surfshark is one of the most wallet-friendly VPNs that doesn’t skimp on features and quality. It has a large server network that includes more than 20 server locations in the United States — plenty for accessing Hulu, which Surfshark can do easily.
It doesn’t offer dedicated IP addresses, but it does have static IP addresses available in the U.S., which are included in the price. You can find them under the “static IP” tab in the app.
With a static IP, you’ll get the same IP address each time you connect, but it’s shared — that is, not exclusive to you. One of the problems with this is the bad neighbor effect, where the IP address can get blocked by certain services because another user abused the service.
Surfshark’s Speeds & Streaming Capability
Surfshark’s speeds are good. They can fluctuate on U.S. servers, but not enough to cause concern, and Hulu still streams fine. You can connect an unlimited number of devices on Surfshark. That won’t help with Hulu’s two simultaneous screens limit, but it does mean you can keep multiple devices — and maybe family and friends too — protected by Surfshark’s excellent security.
It’s an impressive service that offers quite a few extra features, as you can read in our Surfshark review. Its best value plan comes in at $2.49 per month over two years. If you want to give it a test run first, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
More details about Windscribe:
- Pricing: Free; Build-a-plan option for $1 per location.
- Provider website: windscribe.com
- Unblocks Hulu, even on free servers
- Free U.S. server locations
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- 3-day money-back guarantee
- 15GB data cap on free plan
Windscribe is an impressive VPN that not only has a great paid plan, it also has a generous free plan that earned it the top spot in our list of the best free VPNs. It can unblock Hulu on most of its U.S. servers, with more than 50 U.S. locations to pick from. That number includes some free U.S. servers. We were able to stream Hulu from several of those.
There are no dedicated IPs on offer, but like Surfshark, Windscribe does have static IPs. They’re a separate cost item, offering the choice between a datacenter static IP for $2 per month or residential static IP for $8 per month (both billed annually). You’ll also need to be on the paid plan or at least have unlimited data through the build-a-plan option to use them.
Windscribe’s speeds are fast and, like Surfshark, it allows unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can really benefit from its strong security. Which plan you opt for won’t change that, either. The main difference is that the free VPN plan has limited server locations and a data cap, as we explain in our Windscribe review.
Windscribe’s Multiple Plans
Windscribe has a build-a-plan option, though, which allows you to bundle server locations for $1 each per month and unlimited data for $1 per month. There’s a $3 minimum checkout, but if you bundle that with a static datacenter IP, you’re looking at $5 per month.
If you sign up for the free plan, you’ll be able to connect to U.S. servers, but you’ll be limited to 15GB of data per month, which can get eaten up pretty quickly if you’re streaming in 4K. If you want to go the whole hog, the Pro plan has no limitations and costs $5.75 per month on a 12-month plan. There’s only a three-day money-back guarantee, though, so make sure you’re happy with it.
- Up to 15 GB free with email confirmation and Tweet
- Unlimited GB
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: $2.37 per month
- Provider website: cyberghostvpn.com
- Accesses Hulu
- More than 1,000 U.S. servers
- Dedicated streaming servers
- Slow speeds
CyberGhost has no problem getting into Hulu. Its server network is massive and includes servers in multiple U.S. locations. It also has dedicated streaming servers, including one optimized for Hulu. CyberGhost also offers dedicated IP’s with U.S. locations for an additional $3.75 each per month.
While all that’s great, CyberGhost’s speeds aren’t always on par with other VPNs. It can be just as fast as our top VPNs one day, then completely drop the next, making its overall speeds inconsistent and unreliable. This can result in content loading slower at times, but once it is loaded, it streams fine.
It has an easy-to-use interface and comes with extra features like “smart rules,” which allow you to set up triggers for how the VPN works. For instance, you could set the VPN to automatically connect to a specific U.S. server at launch and even load the Hulu app once it has established a connection. You can read more on that in our CyberGhost review.
CyberGhost is another cheap VPN. Although its month-to-month price is just as expensive as other VPNs at $12.99, it has longer plans available that bring the cost down considerably. For instance, it has one- and two-year plans, both of which cost less than $5 per month.
Its three-year plan is the best option, though, costing just $2.29 per month. It also has a lengthy 45-day money-back guarantee (14 days on the monthly plan), in case you’re not satisfied.
6. Proton VPN
More details about Proton VPN:
- Pricing: $4.99 per month
- Provider website: protonvpn.com
- Accesses Hulu
- Servers in various U.S. cities
- Excellent free version
- Free servers can’t access Hulu
- Free servers can be slower
Like Windscribe, Proton VPN has both a paid and free plan. The paid plan gives you access to its large server network, including servers in U.S. locations. The free plan only includes three locations — the U.S., Netherlands and Japan — but each location has multiple servers. Aside from free servers, the main things that set ProtonVPN and Windscribe apart are speed and data.
While Windscribe’s free plan has a 15GB data cap, ProtonVPN provides unlimited data for free. Conversely, Windscribe provides fast speeds on both the free and paid plans, whereas ProtonVPN’s free servers can be slower. That’s mostly because there are a lot of users connected to them, making the speed drop, but you can learn more about that in our Proton VPN review.
Proton VPN’s Paid Plan
That said, you’ll need the paid plan to access Hulu. We tried multiple free VPN servers, but Hulu could detect that we weren’t in the U.S. at the time.
The paid plan won’t break the bank, but it’s still $4.99 per month on the two-year plan, more than NordVPN or Surfshark for the same duration. Still, it’s a feature-rich VPN and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee if you want to give it a whirl.
- Unlimited GB
Hulu Not Working? Troubleshoot Common Errors
First and foremost, make sure you’re using a VPN that can actually access Hulu. Even then, though, there might be times when it just doesn’t work the way you want it to. Thankfully, there’s usually an easy fix. If you’re denied access to Hulu while connected to a U.S. VPN server, there are a couple of things you can try to resolve the issue.
Switch to Another Server
This is the easiest solution and will usually fix the issue. Simply go to your VPN app and connect to a different U.S. server. Doing so will get you a new U.S. IP address and, hopefully, fool Hulu — and other streaming platforms — into letting you in.
If it doesn’t work the first time, try again with yet another server. With some VPNs, you’ll need to try this a few times before you’re successful.
Clear Your Cache & Cookies
Your cache and cookies can hold your IP address or geographic information that tells the streaming service where you really are. Deleting them both may help you access the service. Using a private browser window can usually solve this issue too.
Clear Your DNS Cache
Your DNS cache may also be creating a problem, but it’s easy to clear. You just need to use the Command Prompt on Windows or the Terminal on macOS. Once you’ve opened the terminal, type in the relevant command below EXACTLY and press enter. You’ll also need to enter your password on macOS:
MacOS: sudo dscacheutil -flushcache;sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
Change the VPN Protocol
VPNs come with at least a couple of different protocols to choose from. If you can’t access Hulu, it might be helpful to change the protocol you’re using. You can do this by going to your VPN settings menu. If you’re using ExpressVPN, its Lightway protocol is the best one to use, but OpenVPN and IKEv2 also work perfectly well.
Contact Your VPN Support Team
With some VPN services, you can contact support via live chat and ask if there’s a Hulu-optimized server. If there is, the support team will happily tell you which server to use.
Check for DNS Leaks
High-quality VPNs like ExpressVPN or NordVPN shouldn’t suffer from DNS leaks, thanks to built-in DNS leak protection. However, if there is a DNS leak, the VPN is leaking your true IP address, meaning Hulu can see where you really are.
You can check for DNS leaks using a free tool like IPv6 Test. It’s simple enough to use — just open the tool and see if your real IP and Internet Service Provider (ISP) address are listed. If they are, you have a DNS leak. This means your connection itself is not secure, so the best solution is to switch to a different VPN provider.
If you don’t know your real IP address, just visit your IP testing website of choice while your VPN isn’t active.
Many VPNs have a SmartDNS feature, just like ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer. By using this instead of the full VPN service, you’re able to spoof your location at the DNS level, meaning Hulu can’t detect your true location.
Just remember that SmartDNS doesn’t include encryption, so your online activity isn’t secure. It’s a great feature, though, if you have a device that doesn’t natively support VPN apps, such as Apple TV or some smart TV models.
Invest in a Dedicated IP Address
A dedicated IP address can help you access Hulu more easily. A residential IP address is preferable, since it looks more like a regular household IP address. However, these usually come at an extra cost, so it really depends on your budget.
If your VPN doesn’t support IPv6 traffic, the VPN can accidentally leak your true IP address while visiting an IPv6 site. The unsupported traffic will travel outside your VPN’s encrypted tunnel, meaning your real IP address is not masked. Choose a VPN that has IPv6 leak protection or disable IPv6 on your device.
On macOS, go to system preferences>network>advanced>TCP/IP>configure IPv6 to off. Alternatively, turn off IPv6 via the Mac Terminal by typing in networksetup -listallnetworkservices > Type networksetup -setv6off “Wi-Fi”
On Windows, go to network and internet settings>network and sharing center>select your network>properties>uncheck internet protocol version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and click close.
How Does Hulu Detect VPNs?
As you can see in most of the fixes above, the main reason a VPN can’t get into Hulu is because Hulu can detect your true IP address. That can work the same way with the IP addresses that VPNs assign.
Hulu monitors IP addresses. If there’s any indication that an address is connected with a VPN or other unblocking tool, such as a proxy, Hulu blocks it. The IP address is then added to a blocklist, so if the same IP address tries to access Hulu again, it’ll block it straight away.
While VPN services have thousands of IP addresses, there is a chance that you might get connected to one that has already been blocklisted. If that happens, you’ve got no chance of accessing the service. That’s why switching to a different server and getting a different IP address usually works.
Hulu has a good reason for doing this: to keep in line with its licensing agreements. If Hulu allows someone outside the U.S. to view its content, it’s in breach of its contract with the content owners. For that reason, Hulu does what it can to block VPNs and other location-spoofing tools.
Now you know why Hulu tries to block VPNs, which VPNs are the best at dodging Hulu’s blocking attempts and what to do if your VPN has trouble accessing Hulu. If you’re outside the U.S. and want to access Hulu’s streaming library — including movies like The Resident and Prison Break— pick the best VPN for Hulu.
ExpressVPN is without a doubt the best choice here, due to its fast speeds and ability to unblock Hulu and other major streaming sites. If you need something a little more wallet-friendly, though, both NordVPN and Surfshark are good options. All come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you are a sports fan, be sure to read our guide on how to watch Hulu with live sports.
Have you been blocked from accessing Hulu while using a VPN? If so, how did you get around the block? Which VPN were you using? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.