Hulu is clearly one of the leading video content providers, and have recently teamed up with SHOWTIME last year, greatly expanding their repertoire by offering it as an add-on package. They still face stiff competition from other industry giants such as individual channels, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Netflix, HBO Now, and many other similar sites. Given the stiff competition, you’d think that they’d open their service to as many people as possible to beat their competitors. However, as much as they wish they could, just like all other online streaming services, they’re forced to operate under some very strict broadcasting, trade, and copyright regulations. At this time, Hulu’s service is only offered in the US, and they have yet to take a first step into expanding globally.
These days, it seems that the Internet has overtaken traditional content delivery mediums such as cable. More and more people stream video content every day. But some content providers have signed contracts with television companies, putting pressure on Hulu to ensure that people can’t view geographically restricted content from anywhere on the web. That’s one reason why Hulu has blocked a lot of VPN service providers’ IP addresses.
If Hulu Blocks VPNs, Does That Mean I Can’t Watch It Abroad?
It is certainly true that Hulu tries to block the IP addresses of VPN services so that they protect themselves legally and abide by their contracts and regulations. However, it hasn’t been said that they were very successful at it. VPNs are still the best way to unblock Hulu. What people don’t understand is that it’s very difficult for any service to block all of the IP addresses of another service, for reasons we’ll soon discuss.
First of all, consider that not all of a service providers IP addresses are contiguous. Because VPN service providers strategically place servers in many different cities – even within the same country – each server’s range of IP addresses is going to be different. IP addresses are, in part, distributed on a geographic level, a bit like area codes with regards to telephone numbers. Hunting out and blocking all of these different IP addresses is tough work, and nearly impossible.
In addition, you need to consider IP address churn and change. VPN service providers typically don’t have static networks; instead, they are frequently bringing new servers online at new locations, and they add new IP addresses to existing servers depending upon capacity. So, to say the least, Hulu has their work cut out for them. It’s really a game of cat and mouse, and Hulu tries to keep up with each new IP address from each VPN service provider. In all honesty, it’s a nightmare for Hulu, and they’ll never successfully block every address.
Use a VPN to Unblock Hulu
If you want to try out a new VPN service but don’t know whether or not they’re blocked by Hulu, don’t worry – there’s are several solutions. First off, understand that we don’t know each and every address they have blocked. But, fortunately, most service providers either have a free trial or a money back guarantee that lasts anywhere from 7 to 30 days. I’d recommend taking advantage of a free trial or money back guarantee to test the waters and see if Hulu blocks your provider. If they have, try connecting to different VPN servers, because chances are you’ll be able to find one that works. That said, there are several other alternatives to accessing your favorite video content.
Top of the line service that will have minimal effect on your bandwidth speeds. Albeit that ExpressVPN costs a minimum of $12.95 per month, down to $8.32 for yearly plans, you rarely hear about a disappointing customer review. The reasons are simple, fast speeds, huge global coverage, solid no log policy, and more importantly they even offer a 30-day no questions asked, no hassle money back guarantee. The refund has no conditions whatsoever, allowing you to test their VPN servers for Hulu risk-free.
Another great choice with similar speeds and overall service quality is NordVPN. Price is much more affordable for yearly plans, coming in as low as $5.75 per month. NordVPN has quickly become a leading VPN service by expanding globally without sacrificing quality or speed. On top of having layered encryption servers such as Dual-VPN and Tor over VPN servers, Nord also provides dedicated TV streaming servers for the best possible speed. Just like Express, you get to try the service risk-free with a 30 day money back guarantee. This allows you to test NordVPN specifically for Hulu without having to worry about losing your investment.
Also a great choice for Hulu is IPVanish, whom previously partnered with HBO Now. The service provides excellent speeds for streaming video with no drops, but also has an impressive global coverage with competitive pricing of as low as $6.49 per month on yearly packages. With more than 40,000 IPs and 500+ servers, you should be able to locate working locations for unlocking Hulu from anywhere in the world, but just in case you don’t, IPVanish provides an unconditional 7-day money back guarantee so that you can test the service risk free.
Alternative #1: SmartDNS
There are a multitude of different SmartDNS services that are adept at unlocking geo-restricted content. As a word of caution, however, realize that SmartDNS does nothing to encrypt your data or provide security.
SmartDNS isn’t usually free, however, though a fair few VPN providers throw SmartDNS services into packages bundled with their VPN software for free. Listed below are some SmartDNS options; Overplay – SmartDNS Standalone or with bundled VPN, ExpressVPN – included SmartDNS for gaming consoles and Apple TV only, or UnblockUS – dedicated SmartDNS that works on public networks such as hotels.
I would always recommend using a VPN tunnel instead of SmartDNS since they both cost money, and VPNs offer the added benefits of security, anonymity, and encryption. Still, SmartDNS is a viable alternative that will help you unblock Hulu content.
Alternative #2: Dedicated/Static IP Address VPN
It’s quite common for VPN service providers to use shared IP addresses, whereby multiple customers use the same IP address simultaneously. This is a great advantage because it helps protect your anonymity. However, shared IP addresses are blocked more often than dedicated IP addresses.
Fortunately, many VPN service providers offer static IP addresses as well. The only downside is that it usually costs extra money per month to lease a dedicated IP address. Also, realize that since only one customer is using a single IP address, it doesn’t scramble your identity and make you as anonymous as a shared IP address. Below is a list of the top VPN services currently offering static dedicated IP service.
Alternative #3: Find Your Content Somewhere Else
Hulu isn’t the end all be all streaming video content provider. In fact, there are a lot of other sites that host the exact same video content, and other sites don’t typically try to block as many IP addresses as Hulu does. Though they do try to get exclusive hosting rights for some of their content, you can likely find the content hosted on sites like CBS, NBC, CTV, GlobalTV, and other similar sites.
Alternative #4: Good Ol’ Bit Torrent (or Usenet)
If you’re fed up with Hulu blocking access to your favorite content and you don’t want to look elsewhere for another streaming service, you can always download it for free. While we don’t advocate breaking the law of infringing copyright regulations, you should know that the laws change drastically from country to country. Your corner of the world may very well permit P2P downloads for personal use. Yet again, I’d recommend using a VPN tunnel when downloading video content from Bit Torrent for a couple reasons.
First of all, it will make your downloads invisible to your Internet Service Provider. In addition, it will protect data in transit so that regulatory bodies and governmental agencies won’t be able to track your activities. I tend to think of downloading video files legally as a pretty harmless act (as opposed to nefarious hackers and criminal activity) that doesn’t merit privacy. After all, I wouldn’t care if my ISP saw me streaming the latest episode of Game of Thrones from HBO. But still, there are some people who want to remain private, and it’s their right.
Lastly, understand that there are some security concerns revolving around Bit Torrent. Firstly, you are exposed to other people and computing systems with which you upload and download the actual file. If one of them is a hacker or attacker, they may see your IP address and put you in their cross-hairs. Using a VPN will mask your IP address and mitigate attacks through NAT firewalls.
Hulu is an extremely wonderful service, but they aren’t available all over the world. If you want to access their site while on vacation, or if you live outside the areas that they allow streaming, I’d recommend using a VPN as your first and best option. On the other hand, if you find that they’ve blocked the IP address of your favorite provider, there are plenty of useful alternative methods to finding your favorite movies, shows, and videos.