How to Watch & Unblock Hulu From Outside the US

Updated on: 12 July 2020
Updated on:12 July 2020

Depending on what you count as a streaming site, Hulu is either the second or third most popular streaming service in the United States (after Netflix and YouTube). It provides streamed content from the US television networks NBC, FOX, and ABC, as well as producing original content such as ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’.

However, currently, you can only access Hulu from the United States, Japan, or a US military base located outside the country. If you try to access the site from outside the US, then it is likely that your access will be blocked. Here we explain:

  • Why you cannot access Hulu from outside the US (and Japan);
  • How you can access Hulu if your access has been blocked due to a geo-restriction;
  • Why Hulu is not available outside the US and Japan;
  • How Virtual Private Networks work;
  • What you should do if you still cannot access Hulu, despite the VPN;
  • Whether you need a US-based payment method to access Hulu.

Unblock Hulu

Why can’t I access Hulu from outside the US?

If you try to access Hulu from outside of the US, without the right VPN in place, it is likely that you will be ‘geo-blocked’, and unable to access the site.

A common method of getting around such a restriction is to use an anonymising tool such as a proxy server, a Tor browser or a Virtual Private Network (‘VPN’).

However, it is possible that if you attempt to access the site using one of these anonymising tools, you may get the following message:

“Based on your IP address, we noticed you are trying to access Hulu through an anonymous proxy tool. Hulu is not currently available outside the US. If you’re in the US, you’ll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu.”

Unblock Hulu

In this article, we explain how it is still usually possible to access Hulu via a VPN. However, in order to avoid being blocked, it is recommended that you use a premium VPN service, such as ExpressVPN.

Unblock Hulu: Step-by-step process

To unblock Hulu from outside the US, the best method is:

1. Choose a high-quality VPN service such as ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN

2. Download the VPN application and consider adding a browser extension.

3. On the VPN application, choose a server in the US, and connect to it. The VPN works by creating an ‘encryption tunnel’ which connects your real-time location outside the US to a server in the US, changing your visible IP, to a US one.

ExpressVPN UK Server

4. Go to Hulu, login, and try watching something. Note, if you have not signed up to Hulu, you will have to do so first before you can watch something.

Why isn’t Hulu available outside the United States and Japan?

In order to stream shows, Hulu must acquire the distribution license to screen that show. Currently, Hulu is not licensed to do so outside the US and Japan. While Hulu has signalled an intention of further international expansion, it has not yet explained when this will happen.

What is a VPN and how does it work?

A Virtual Private Network (‘VPN’) works as a kind of ‘middle man’ between you and the internet as a whole. Instead of connecting directly to your target site (in this case, Hulu.com), your communications are first encrypted and sent through a virtual ‘tunnel’ to a server owned by the VPN service company. It is this VPN server (and its IP address), which accesses the ‘public’ internet and goes to the site in question.

Most VPN services will let you choose where the server is based. Once you connect to a server in the Netherlands, for example, your device will automatically receive an IP originating in the Netherlands. To anyone else on the web, you will appear to live in the Netherlands, and any local geo-restricted services, based on IP address, become accessible to you.

By using a US-based VPN server, you may be able to access sites which are geo-restricted to US IP addresses only.

Hulu is giving you the content-blocking message even with a VPN. What should you do?

This may happen where the IP address of the server you have connected to, is on a Hulu blacklist. As with many other streaming sites, Hulu actively monitors which users are accessing their databases, and sometimes blocks the IP addresses of suspected VPN servers (they may see many multiple users trying to access the site from that location).

If this happens, change the server location on your VPN. This will give you a new IP address, and eventually, you should find one that has not been blocked.

This is a major advantage of high-quality VPN services, such as ExpressVPN. They may have hundreds or thousands of servers located in the US, so it is likely that you can find an IP address that has not been blocked. At the same time, premium VPNs are constantly working to replace banned addresses with new ones.

Summary – if you still get an error while trying to see movies on Hulu, go to your VPN server list, and connect to another one. This should solve the problem.

Do you need a US Payment Method to access Hulu?

Unlike some other streaming services, such as TLC, you cannot simply access the site and start watching. You need to sign up for an account and submit payment details.

The basic plan is $5.99 per month, but there is a 30-day free trial available. Note that your payment details are required from the beginning, even if you do not continue for more than a month.

Hulu requires that you submit the payment information of either:

  • A US-issued debit or credit card such as American Express, Visa, Mastercard or Discover;
  • Paypal or Venmo; or,
  • Hulu gift cards.

Conclusion

As Hulu geo-restricts its content, it is unlikely you will be able to access it from outside the United States, without a VPN or similar device. In order to access Hulu, we recommend that you use a VPN that allows access through multiple US servers.

Keep in mind, also, that your access to Hulu also requires that you sign up for an account using an acceptable payment method.

Written by: Stephen Mash

Connect with him:

Software and Systems Assurance Specialist Based in West Sussex, England, Stephen has worked as an information security and safety assurance consultant since 1997, specialising in risk management for high integrity systems. Prior to that, he developed safety-critical software-based systems for the aerospace industry. He transitioned from consultancy into the role of technical copywriter and editor in 2019, writing and reviewing materials on behalf of a broad spectrum of clients.

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