Hulu is a popular video streaming service that streams movies and television shows from major and independent movies studios, as well as television networks from around the globe. In addition, the service streams its own original content.
Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, Hulu is only available in the United States, its territories and Japan. Viewers in other regions are blocked from accessing the service.
In addition to Hulu’s geographical viewing restrictions, users attempting to view the service while connected to networks managed by their school or employer may also find the service to be blocked.
No matter why Hulu is being blocked, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service is the best way to gain access to the extensive library of films and television shows available through the popular video streaming service.
Among the many useful features of a VPN is the ability to make a user appear as if they’re connected to the internet from another location. Users can seem to be connected from another city or even another country, enabling access to restricted content such as Hulu streams and other streaming services.
However, you can’t simply select a VPN at random and expect it to efficiently unblock Hulu.
Over the last few years, Hulu and other streaming services have become skilled at detecting and blocking the IP addresses of VPN servers. This makes finding a VPN provider that has a solid record of evading Hulu’s blockades all the more important.
In this article, I’ll reveal the top 5 VPNs for unblocking Hulu.
I’ll be focusing on the VPN providers’ individual abilities to provide reliable access to Hulu content from outside the U.S., as well as their connection speeds. I’ll also evaluate other crucial VPN features that make it a valuable addition to your online toolkit.
How to Watch Hulu Using a VPN
Using a VPN to access Hulu content while outside American or Japanese borders requires a few simple steps:
- Subscribe to a Hulu-capable VPN provider. (My VPN of choice is ExpressVPN.)
- Install the provider’s VPN app on your device(s).
- Log into the VPN’s system.
- Select a server located in the U.S. or Japan.
- Fire up your Hulu app, grab your popcorn and start viewing!
But how do you know which VPN is right for you?
What Is the Best VPN for Watching Hulu?
After extensive testing, the following 5 VPNs have proven to be the best VPNs for watching Hulu. If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick summary of each provider’s abilities:
- ExpressVPN: The best VPN option available for viewing Hulu content. The provider’s reliable U.S.-based servers provide access to Hulu when you’re outside of U.S. borders. High-speed connections provide smooth access to Hulu’s HD streams.
- NordVPN: This provider delivers excellent Hulu access for viewers on a budget. In addition to fast connections, NordVPN has all of the popular device platforms covered.
- Surfshark: Surfshark provides a high level of service for a low price. The provider does a reliable job of unblocking Hulu from outside the U.S. and offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
- CyberGhost: Another low-priced provider, CyberGhost’s best feature is their connection speeds, the fastest in the top 5. Plus, the provider is generous with its simultaneous connections allowance.
- PrivateVPN: This VPN delivers reliable Hulu access and fast connection speeds. While their global server coverage could be better, PrivateVPN has the United States well-covered.
In order to rank the best 5 VPNs to use to view Hulu content from outside U.S. borders, I considered these crucial factors:
- Provides reliable access to Hulu and other streaming services
- U.S.-based server farms
- HD-capable connection speeds
- Strong security and privacy protections
- Strong native app support
Here is my list of the top 5 best VPNs for watching Hulu:
ExpressVPN is the best choice for providing access to the Hulu streaming library from outside of the United States.
ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 VPN servers stationed in 160 locations in 94 countries around the globe. Of those locations, over 30 are in the U.S.
This provider’s connection speeds can easily handle the high-definition video streams that Hulu and other streaming providers offer. Plus, there are no data caps or bandwidth limitations here.
Privacy and security are top priorities at ExpressVPN. The provider keeps no logs of its users’ online activities, and you can pay your tab using Bitcoin. In addition, the service protects your connection with military-grade encryption and a kill switch.
Native app support is provided for Android, Windows, iOS, macOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Kindle Fire devices. ExpressVPN Firefox, Chrome and Safari extensions can protect your browser sessions.
If you watch Hulu on your game console, set-top box or smart TV, you can use the provider’s MediaStreamer DNS service to open access to the streaming service (although it will not encrypt your connection like the VPN service does).
If you need more than the 3 simultaneous connections the service allows, you can take advantage of ExpressVPN’s optimal router compatibility.
- Reliably unblocks Hulu and other popular streaming services
- Excellent U.S. server coverage
- HD-capable connection speeds
- Optimal security and privacy protections
- Top-notch native app support
- Only 3 concurrent connections allowed
BEST VPN FOR UNBLOCKING HULU:ExpressVPN is my best overall choice for a VPN to reliably unblock Hulu from outside U.S. borders. In addition to fast speeds, the provider also does an excellent job of protecting their customers’ security and privacy. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN takes the runner-up spot in my top 5 thanks to its above-average connection speeds, value pricing and reliable access to Hulu and other streaming providers, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and others.
NordVPN not only provides access to Hulu when you’re outside of the United States, they offer a list of all of their servers that unblock Hulu.
The provider has 5,100+ servers stationed in 60 countries, as well as the U.S.-based servers I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
NordVPN’s connections deliver speeds that can easily handle the HD streams that Hulu and other streaming services deliver.
NordVPN’s fast connections are well-encrypted by 256-bit protection, and a kill switch prevents your online activities from being laid open to prying eyes.
Privacy is a priority at NordVPN, as the service has a strict no-logs policy and happily accepts Bitcoin to protect your payment privacy.
If you watch Hulu on multiple devices, that’s not a problem, as NordVPN offers native apps for the Android, iOS, macOS, Windows and Linux platforms. If you enjoy viewing Hulu in your favorite browser, you’re also covered, thanks to Chrome and Firefox extensions.
If 6 concurrent connections on a single username isn’t sufficient, or if you have devices not covered by NordVPN, you can make use of the provider’s extensive router compatibility.
- Plenty of U.S.-based servers
- Fast connection speeds
- Excellent security and privacy protections
- Desktop app isn’t user-friendly
BEST BUDGET VPN:NordVPN offers a low price, and when combined with the features it offers, it’s a steal. With plenty of U.S.-based servers and HD-capable data speeds, the service is completely binge-capable. A 30-day money-back guarantee gives you plenty of time to try it.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark squeaked into the final spot of this list thanks to its access to Hulu from outside of the U.S. and its impressive unlimited simultaneous connections allowance.
This provider offers reliable access to the U.S.-based streams of Hulu, and it also does a good job of opening access to Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and HBO.
Global server coverage numbers tallying in at over 500 servers in 50+ countries aren’t the most impressive numbers we’ll ever see, but their U.S.-based servers do a good job of providing access to Hulu.
Surfshark’s connection speeds are easily up to handling Hulu’s HD streams and most anything else you may have in mind.
Surfshark’s online security protections are second to none, with military-level encryption, as well as kill switch and ad-blocking protection.
Your privacy is equally well protected, as this provider keeps no logs of any kind recording your online antics and accepts Bitcoin as payment.
Native app support is above average, with apps available for the iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, macOS and Fire TV platforms. Firefox and Chrome browser extensions are available.
Surfshark allows an incredible unlimited number of devices to connect to their servers on a single login simultaneously. However, there may be devices that aren’t covered by the service’s app support, so it’s good to know router compatibility is at the ready.
- U.S. Hulu access present and accounted for
- Unlimited concurrent connections
- Excellent security and privacy protections
- Global server coverage could stand improvement
- Customization options somewhat lacking
PERFECT FOR FAMILIES:Surfshark provides access to Hulu and allows an unlimited number of simultaneous VPN connections on a single username, making it an excellent option for large families and other movie-loving groups of folks. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of Surfshark.
CyberGhost, although ranking in at #3 on this list, is actually the fastest provider I have tested. In addition to speed, the provider delivers excellent Hulu-unblocking power for multiple devices at once.
The provider has over 3,700 servers located in 60 countries. 730 of those servers are in the United States, offering reliable Hulu access. The provider also does an excellent job of unblocking Netflix and other streaming services around the world.
CyberGhost’s connection speeds are easily the fastest in this roundup, providing speeds more than capable of streaming HD and even 4K content with little to no buffering delay. Those connections are protected by 256-bit encryption and a kill switch protection option.
Never worry about your browsing habits being exposed to others, as the provider also follows a no-logs policy and happily accepts Bitcoin in return for its services.
Popular device platforms are well served by CyberGhost, as apps are available for Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, macOS, iOS and Windows devices. Browser sessions can be protected by the provider’s Chrome and Firefox extensions.
While CyberGhost allows a generous 7 simultaneous connections on a single login, users with greater device requirements will appreciate the provider’s router compatibility.
- Plenty of U.S.-based servers to access Hulu
- #1 connection speeds
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Comprehensive privacy and security protections
- App doesn’t include options expected by advanced users
GREAT VALUE:CyberGhost is the high-speed option for Hulu viewers. The provider offers high-speed, reliable unblocking for Hulu streams via a simple-to-use app, all at a reasonable price. A 45-day, no-risk money-back guarantee allows plenty of time for testing.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
PrivateVPN is our #4 provider, but they deliver the 2nd-fastest speeds on this list. The VPN delivers reliable access to Hulu and other streaming services, including Amazon Prime, HBO and BBC iPlayer.
This provider’s global server coverage is rather lightweight, with over 150 servers spread out in 60 countries. However, the U.S. has the highest server count, with servers located in 9 U.S. cities.
This provider’s connections are ready to stream, as both HD and 4K content should stream with little to no buffering delay. Those speeds will also come in handy for online gaming and file transfers.
Military-grade encryption and a kill switch help protect your data. The connections are also not subject to any bandwidth limitations or data caps, so binge away!
PrivateVPN accepts Bitcoin in return for its wares and doesn’t track you or record your activities while connected to their network of servers.
While multi-platform app support is limited to the big 4 (Windows, macOS, iOS and Android), users can also take advantage of their extensive router capabilities to protect the rest of their connected devices. (That also comes in handy if 6 concurrent connections aren’t enough for your needs.)
- Opens up U.S. Hulu access internationally
- Very speedy connections
- Allows up to 6 simultaneous connections
- Server numbers definitely could use improvement
- Multi-platform support limited to 4 most popular devices
FAST SPEEDS:PrivateVPN may not have the greatest global server coverage, but they have them where it counts this time around. Plus, their connection speeds make them an above-average choice for streaming. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Tip: Check out our guide to accessing Hulu from the U.K., Australia and Canada for more information.
Can I Use a Free VPN to Watch Hulu?
Maybe, but I don’t think you’ll be happy with it.
Hulu, and other major streaming services, are always on the lookout for viewers who are using a VPN to access their shows and movies. The services do this because their contracts with film and television studios require them to geographically control access to their materials.
When Hulu detects a large number of viewers accessing their content from the same IP address, they take a closer look at that traffic. If the service detects the IP address being used is owned by a VPN provider, it will block that IP address.
The VPN provider should then add new IP addresses, once again enabling access to Hulu from their servers. Then, in awhile, Hulu may detect the replacement IPs, block those, and the cycle begins anew.
As you might imagine, this virtual game of whack-a-mole requires a VPN provider to have deep pockets to stay in the game. Free VPN providers simply don’t have the resources to engage in this back-and-forth competition.
Free VPNs are simply not going to offer reliable access to Hulu.
As well as unreliable access to Hulu, there are other reasons not to use a free VPN.
Free VPN privacy is an oxymoron. If you’re using a free VPN, there’s a good chance that your online activities are not as private as you think they are.
This lack of privacy basically amounts to you making a payment for your “free” VPN, but instead of paying with money, you’re paying with your privacy.
Many “free” VPNs track your online activities, collecting that information and selling it to the highest bidder. Some “free” VPNs also invade your privacy by inserting unwanted tracking cookies and ads into your browser sessions.
You’ll also pay for a “free” VPN with your time. Many gratis VPNs force their users to sit in a queue before being allowed to connect to one their few select servers.
Users of free VPNs may also find that their connection speeds are throttled or that their data usage is capped, neither of which is good for viewing high-definition video.
A reliable, Hulu-compatible VPN can cost you as little as 3 bucks a month. Seems to me that reliable access to Hulu and other content on the web is worth that. Just drink one less Starbucks per month, and you’ll pay for it.
Besides, Starbucks’ Wi-Fi hotspots are not secured, just so you know.
What Else Can I Use a VPN For?
In addition to unblocking all that sweet content that Hulu and other streaming services have to offer, a VPN can also unblock gaming servers and other content and services that you might normally be blocked from accessing in your region of the world.
A VPN can also prevent your Internet Service Provider (ISP) from throttling your connection speeds. A VPN’s encrypted connection prevents your ISP (or anyone else) from monitoring your online travels.
That encryption also does an excellent job of protecting your personal information when you’re banking, paying bills or shopping online.
This is an especially valuable feature for road warriors and other users that access the internet via unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots, such as those found in public locations. (And we’re back to Starbucks once again.)
A Hulu subscription is a great way to keep up on your favorite television shows and movies.
By using a VPN, like ExpressVPN – which provides top-notch access to Hulu and other streaming services, HD-capable connections, and excellent privacy and security protection – you can open access to restricted content, while protecting all of your online activities.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.