How to watch Hulu movies and TV shows from the UK

These providers can all bypass Hulu’s restrictions, meaning you don’t need to miss out on all your favourite shows.

If there’s anything better than changing into pajamas, squeezing yourself between the crisp, slightly cold sheets of your bed, and plowing through an entire season of 90 Day Fiancé after a busy day, we have yet to experience it.

This gloriously trashy reality series is a guilty pleasure for a lot of people out there, and it’s just one of literally thousands of TV shows and movies available on Hulu, the bright green-branded streaming service founded in 2007. 

Hulu passed the 28 million subscriber mark in 2019, making it the third most popular video streaming service after YouTube and Netflix. Hulu provides on-demand access to a stacked lineup that includes hit movies like Annihilation and Sorry to Bother You; cult-favourite shows like Rick and Morty and This Is Us; and exclusive originals like Shrill and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Unlike Netflix, that has expanded internationally, Hulu’s library is strictly limited to viewers in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. military bases. That’s because Hulu doesn’t own international streaming rights for any of its shows and movies; it only holds the U.S. distribution licenses. If Hulu were to expand the availability of its content abroad, it would have to make new deals with distributors to acquire streaming rights in other regions — and that requires a lot of negotiating and money-spending.

On the bright side, there’s a chance Hulu will go global as soon as 2021 if Disney (its majority owner as of 2019) follows through with the expansion plans its chairman and CEO revealed during a recent earnings call with investors — more on that here. But until then, those attempting to watch Hulu from outside the U.S. will have to circumvent Hulu’s geo-restrictions with the help of something called a virtual private network, or VPN.

Why should you use a VPN with Hulu?

To prevent users outside the U.S. from accessing its shows and movies, Hulu requires two things of its accountholders: a U.S.-issued form of payment and a U.S. IP (internet protocol) address — that’s the numerical ID containing information about your location and web activity that gets assigned to your device by your internet search provider, or ISP, when you connect to a local network. It’s like a house’s physical address, but for your computer/smartphone/tablet.

That IP address part is where a VPN comes into play. For the uninitiated, a VPN is a service that creates a safe, secure connection over the internet by routing your device’s traffic through its own private servers. Known as encryption, this process shields your personal information and online activities from the prying eyes of your ISP and — this is key — creates a temporary IP address that hides your true location.

You can probably guess where we’re going with this: If you’re trying to watch Hulu from outside the U.S., you can have a VPN spoof your IP address and trick Hulu into thinking you’re based in America. Simple, right?

Actually, not so much. Because here’s the thing: Hulu isn’t dumb.

What’s the best VPN for Hulu?

Just like Netflix, Hulu prohibits its accountholders from using VPNs in an effort to protect its licensed content, and it’ll slap you with an error message if it thinks you’re trying to use one to watch its content. Its tactics are threefold:

  1. Hulu blocks anonymous IP addresses whose geographical location it can’t verify 

  2. Hulu checks your IP address against its own blacklist of known VPN servers

  3. Hulu keeps a lookout for IP addresses with a large number of users. If there are too many people sharing any given server, Hulu will assume you’re all using a VPN and shut that shit down.

If a VPN provider wants to unblock Hulu for its users, it needs to steer clear of Hulu’s blacklist while maintaining a sizeable U.S. server network. These are no easy feats, so the list of VPNs that can consistently bypass Hulu’s ferocious firewall is pretty short. 

Need help making sense of all this? Below, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of six VPN services that are currently capable of unblocking Hulu and keeping you anonymous online. That way, you can make an informed decision on how to spend your hard-earned cash.

These are the best VPN for watching Hulu in 2020.


30-day money-back guarantee • Decent amount of U.S. server locations • IP addresses are rotated regularly to keep Hulu unblocked • Support available via livechat and email

No ad blocker • Pricey • No free trial

Unrivalled for unblocking and streaming Hulu (or any activities that call for a VPN, really).

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN offers a top-tier triple threat of great security, speed, and support.

  • Monthly:
    £10.18/month
  • Six-month plan:
    £7.85/month
  • 15-month plan:
    £5.24/month
Sometimes things that are expensive are worse, but not ExpressVPN. For a couple of pounds more each month than you would spend on another provider’s subscription, you can get the perfect blend of security, speed, and support — on up to five devices at once.
ExpressVPN users can take advantage of a kill switch and ultra-strong AES 256-bit encryption to avoid being tracked online. Adding to that protection is the fact that ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands — a country without mandated data retention laws — and promises to uphold strict no-logging policy when it comes to both your activity and your connection.
ExpressVPN gives you the option of enabling a split tunneling tool that routes only some of your traffic through its private servers, which prevents bandwidth bottlenecks that might otherwise slow down your connection. What’s more, its huge global network of more than 3,000 servers features plenty of U.S. locations — meaning if you ever encounter a too-busy server while you’re trying to reach Hulu abroad, there will likely be others to choose from.
In addition to live chat and email assistance that’s available around the clock, ExpressVPN makes available to its users an active blog filled with how-to guides, troubleshooting tips, general security advice, and helpful, easy-to-understand infographics. It’s an excellent resource no matter your VPN skill level, and a big part of why we believe ExpressVPN is a solid choice not just for Hulu, but for all your VPN needs.
While ExpressVPN doesn’t offer dedicated (single-use) IP addresses or Hulu-specific servers, it promises to rotate all of its IP addresses regularly to increase its users’ anonymity and prevent Hulu from blocking its service. 

Unlimited bandwidth • Supports up to seven simultaneous connections • Kill switch • Dedicated IP addresses available • 45-day money-back guarantee

Connecting to its servers can take a while • Limited cryptocurrency payment options

A great choice for most light VPN users, but use that free trial first to make sure it’s right for you.

CyberGhost VPN

This budget-friendly provider is one of the few VPNs to offer Hulu-optimised streaming servers.

  • Monthly:
    £10.29/month
  • One-year plan:
    £4.59/month
  • Two-year plan:
    £3.09/month
  • Three-year plan:
    £2.10/month
A VPN will keep you anonymous while you’re watching Hulu, but no matter where you are, it won’t let you watch Hulu for free — you’ll still need a Hulu subscription. 
If you’re not super thrilled about the idea of paying for a VPN on top of your Hulu plan, CyberGhost VPN is your friend: It lays claim to many of the same security features as premium providers like ExpressVPN — 256-bit encryption, unlimited bandwidth, an automatic kill switch, a no-logging policy — but costs as little as £2 a month with a multi-year plan. 
CyberGhost is unique in that it maintains Hulu-optimised servers; when you connect to one of them, CyberGhost’s software automatically conceals your IP address and replaces it with one from its system that’s based in the U.S. Its server network includes 844 American locations in 11 cities, so there’s a slim chance yours will be too crowded for streaming.
As great as CyberGhost seems up front, there are two reasons we highly recommend taking it for a test drive before you commit to a paid plan: Its apps are known to be slow to connect to its servers, for one thing. It’s also partially based in Germany, a member of an intelligence-sharing alliance in which the government can force companies under its authority to turn over customer data. You do have the option of signing up for a more expensive CyberGhost plan that includes its ultra-secure “NoSpy” servers, which are located at its data centre in Romania (a non-14 Eyes country), but none of them are optimised for Hulu as far as we can tell.
Make good use of CyberGhost’s one-day free trial and, if necessary, its 45-day money-back guarantee. 

31-day money-back guarantee • Unlimited bandwidth • Built-in ad blocker • Supports up to five simultaneous connections • Split tunneling

Doesn’t support torrenting • Doesn’t support cryptocurrency payments • Connection speeds can be slow

You might run into speed and/or privacy issues with this one, but at least you’ve got a solid customer support team on which to fall back.

PureVPN

This self-managed provider offers highly reviewed customer support with lightning-quick response times.

  • Monthly:
    £8.63/month
  • One-year plan:
    £2/month
No matter which VPN you subscribe to, your connection probably won’t work perfectly everywhere and every time. That’s why it’s so important to choose a provider with a reputation for excellent customer service. Enter: PureVPN.
Based in Hong Kong, this 14-year-old provider offers around the clock assistance via live chat, support ticket, and email — and according to the VPN review site BestVPN.co, its average response time for the latter clocks in at just under 40 minutes.
PureVPN operates a self-managed network of more than 2,000 servers in over 140 countries, including more than 650 in the U.S. No matter which one you connect to, you’ll enjoy split tunneling, a kill switch, 256-bit encryption, a built-in ad blocker, and DNS and IPv6 leak protection. Unfortunately, that suite of tools comes at a price: PureVPN’s connection speeds are known to be a little on the slow side.
We should also note that PureVPN got some heat in 2017 for handing over a user’s account information to the FBI as part of a cyberstalking case. It’s since updated its privacy policy and undergone an independent audit that verified its no-logging promise as just that, but whether you trust PureVPN (or any VPN provider, really) to keep your data secure is ultimately your call to make. 

Unlimited bandwidth • Ad blocker included • Supports cryptocurrency payments • Split tunneling • Kill switch

Trial only for iOS and Android • Small server network

Unlimited simultaneous connections. That is all.

Surfshark

This budget-friendly provider is unique in that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections on all of your devices.

  • Monthly:
    £9.49/month
  • One-year plan:
    £4.79/month
  • Two-year plan:
    £1.59/month
Surfshark has made waves in the VPN world with affordable subscriptions, above-average customer support, and a well-rounded suite of security features that includes a kill switch, double encryption, and a private DNS and leak protection. 
The main reason that Surfshark is on this list is that it’s the only decent Hulu-unblocking provider offering unlimited simultaneous connections across all sorts of devices, including Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, FireTV, and browsers like Chrome and Firefox. For families, roommates, and other types of shared households with lots of different TV tastes, it should be a go-to.
The biggest drawback to using Surfshark is its small server network: There are just over 1,000 of them, and that relatively low number means you’ve got a pretty good chance of encountering sluggish servers. On the plus side, every single one of its servers can bypass Hulu’s VPN ban — or so the company claims.

Built-in ad blocker • Supports up to six simultaneous connections • Dedicated IP addresses available • Sleek and very user-friendly app • Unlimited bandwidth

No free trial • Doesn’t support split tunneling

If you’re not turned off by reports of its security issue, you can look forward to an uninterrupted streaming experience with NordVPN.

NordVPN

NordVPN offers enough U.S. servers to virtually guarantee a fast connection.

  • Monthly:
    £9.68/month
  • One-year plan:
    £5.66/month
  • Two-year plan:
    £4.04/month
  • Three-year plan:
    £2.82/month
You want U.S. servers? NordVPN’s got plenty: Out of its 5,500-server global network, nearly 1,600 of them are based in the States, and none of them are virtual. In other words, watching Hulu with NordVPN means never having to worry about running into connection-crippling bottlenecks that can happen when a shared server tries to accommodate too many users at once. 
If you’re really, really worried about having your IP address flagged by Hulu, know that NordVPN also gives its users the option of adding a dedicated/single-use IP address to their plans.
On the security front, NordVPN does its very best to quell your privacy concern with double VPN encryption, DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, a built-in ad/suspicious website blocker, and an option to route your traffic through the Onion network with every plan. Moreover, its Panama headquarters affords you a viewing experience free of mandatory data retention laws and outside the jurisdiction of the 14 Eyes alliance, and there’s a strict “no-logging” policy that applies to all of its users’ online activities.
Along those same lines, we can’t not mention NordVPN’s reported security breach in March 2018, when a hacker exploited an insecure remote management system at a Finnish data centre from which the company was renting servers. The company has since doubled down on its commitment to user privacy by undergoing several audits, and we still think it’s a strong contender in the VPN space. But if you’re hesitant about committing to one of its plans, you’re covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee if you decide it’s not for you. 

Free seven-day trial • Clean, intuitive app • Supports up to six simultaneous connections • Kill switch • Unlimited bandwidth

No split tunneling • Claims to offer live chat support, but we couldn’t find it on the website • Small server network • No ad blocker

Probably not powerful enough for very frequent Hulu streamers, but it’s a good way to familiarise yourself with VPN technology.

PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN’s free trial is an easy way to get yourself up to speed with the technology.

  • Monthly:
    £9.09/month
  • Three-month plan:
    £6.23/month
  • One-year plan:
    £4.98/month
None of the VPNs on this list are particularly tricky to install and run — we wouldn’t be recommending them if they were — but reviews indicate that PrivateVPN is especially easy to use, even if one has no prior experience with VPNs.
Sporting a simple, aquamarine design and uncomplicated language, PrivateVPN’s app features a handful of built-in privacy tools like 256-bit encryption and a “connection guard.” Equally user-friendly is PrivateVPN’s support website, which includes a thorough explainer on how to unblock Hulu (among other how-tos) and a detailed FAQ section.
There are two downsides to using PrivateVPN to unblock Hulu, the first being its small server network: It maintains a mere 14 U.S. locations, and only a pair of them are dedicated Hulu servers. Secondly, the fact that PrivateVPN is based in Sweden means there’s always a chance it could be forced to cough up user data — although if the company follows through with its promise to uphold a strict no-logging policy, this should be a non-issue. Hypothetically.
If you have any lingering concerns about PrivateVPN, be sure to take advantage of its free seven-day trial before committing to a paid plan.

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