As one of the most popular streaming services going these days, Hulu is jam-packed with quality content. Unfortunately, it's also only available to residents of the US and Japan, so if you want to stream your favorite TV shows outside those two countries, you’ll find accessing Hulu difficult. Difficult, but not impossible, as a VPN service can successfully bypass Hulu’s blocking.
A VPN provider offers a number of servers that can allow you to appear as if you’re getting online from a different location and country, complementing your Hulu subscription and meaning that you can watch content even when you’re, say, on holiday abroad.
Another benefit is that a VPN will also potentially free you from the burden of ISP throttling, and may actually provide a boost in your internet speeds, in some cases. However, do note that very few VPN providers can actually deliver the streaming service to your screen.
Also bear in mind that watching content that shouldn’t be available in your particular region is something Hulu doesn’t want to allow, and the firm puts a lot of effort into detecting and blocking VPN users. Naturally, if you’re engaging in VPN content unblocking, you do so entirely at your own risk…
How to choose the best VPN service for Hulu
For starters, you obviously want ample locations in the US in order to get a reliable connection there – Japan will likely be far less well-represented, but you can still keep an eye out for a provider with locations in that country.
Naturally, the VPN needs to be fast enough to stream HD content, and ideally it should offer apps for multiple devices and platforms (particularly if you watch Hulu on many different devices). Customer support is also something that should be readily available to solve any potential issues that crop up.
With all that in mind, here are our top five VPN services for Hulu.
- Check out the best VPN services of 2018
Best all-round VPN for Hulu
Number of servers: 2,000+ | Server locations: 148 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 3
ExpressVPN offers a quality service with more than 2,000 servers in 94 countries (there are plenty of servers located in the US, with a couple in Japan, too), and generally above-average speeds that will allow you to stream HD content without a problem.
A wide range of platforms are supported: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. That means you can watch Hulu from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Additionally, the MediaStreamer DNS feature unblocks Hulu on devices that don’t have native VPN support (i.e. Apple TV, smart TVs and game consoles).
Security is tight featuring 256-bit AES encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch, and split tunneling, while privacy remains favorable with no activity logs or connection logs kept. There’s 24/7 email and live chat support if you run into problems.
One slight downside here is that this provider only supports up to three devices using the service simultaneously (whereas many firms support up to five). Also, ExpressVPN is a bit more expensive than most of its rivals, and there is no free trial.
However, the company does offer a great experience for Hulu users and has a reassuring 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the service. There are three price plans on offer, with the 12-month plan providing the best value. The packages available are:
- [$12.95 a month] 1-month
- [$9.99 a month] 6-months - $59.95
- Exclusive deal [$6.67 a month], save 49%, 15-months - $99.95
Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 3-5
All VPN services encrypt the data you send online and that can potentially slow down your internet connection. That wasn’t the case with VyprVPN during our testing, and indeed we experienced impressive speeds with little difference to our non-VPN rates on shorter hops.
You get plenty of choice on the software front, including support for some smart TVs and other peripheral devices. VyprVPN's Fastest Server option connects you to the fastest VPN server location available – unsurprisingly – without any additional tinkering. Speaking of servers, you can choose from eight locations in the US and one in Japan.
On the security side of the equation, users get all the expected protocols plus VyprVPN’s own tailored solution called Chameleon – and a few other extras to boot. Privacy-wise, connection times and IP addresses are recorded in logs, which is more than you’ll usually find elsewhere. The support team is ready to help around the clock via email or live chat.
The Swiss-based provider offers new customers a free 3-day trial to test out the service. It’s wise to exercise that option, as if you do sign up, no refunds are given under any condition.
VyprVPN offers two price plans with monthly and annual billing. Monthly billing is expensive, and the Basic plan lacks some important features such as the aforementioned Chameleon protocol, so your best bet is likely to be the full service offered by the Premium plan on an annual basis. The packages available are:
- Basic: $9.95 monthly or $3.75 per month billed annually
- Premium: $12.95 monthly or $5.00 per month billed annually
Most secure VPN
Number of servers: 4,264 | Server locations: 62 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
For streaming purposes, NordVPN is right up there with the best. The provider offers reasonably fast performance, with our download speeds barely affected compared to our usual rates with the VPN turned off.
Hulu users will be pleased to know there are over 1,500 servers in the US alone, along with 30 odd in Japan. There are custom apps for all the major platforms and devices, with tutorials for manual setup covering the rest. Of particular interest here is the Smart Play feature, a secure proxy that NordVPN uses to bypass the geoblocks of various media streaming services. It’s on by default, meaning you can watch Hulu without any extra steps.
Security-wise, NordVPN is as good as it gets with 2048-bit encryption and the option to encrypt your internet traffic not once, but twice – on select servers, that is. You also benefit from DNS leak protection, ad and malware blocking, as well as a kill switch. A ‘no logs’ policy protects the user’s online activity and you can get assistance 24/7 via chat or email.
To round things off, NordVPN offers a free 3-day trial and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The monthly billing is rather expensive, but the annual plans are tempting, particularly the 2-year and 3-year offerings which are impressively wallet-friendly. The packages available are:
- [$11.95 a month] 1-month
- [$5.75 a month] 1-year - $69.00
- [$3.29 a month] 2-years - $79.00
- [$2.75 a month] 3-years - $99.00
Best balance of performance and price
Number of servers: 3,041 | Server locations: 28 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
Private Internet Access (PIA) returned impressive results just about everywhere when it came to our performance tests. Even hopping to the Far East Asia servers didn't throw a spanner into the works, providing speeds which were good enough to stream top-quality 4K video.
There are native apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS, and there's a Chrome extension available too. The service offers plenty for your money, including a huge amount of servers (1,600 US servers spread over 13 locations, plus 13 Japanese servers in one location), a SOCKS5 proxy, as well as built-in blocking of ads, trackers and known malicious websites, and no traffic logs are kept.
What’s not to like? Well, there is no readily available customer support and no free account or trial, but Private Internet Access does offer a 7-day refund. On top of that, the prices are really affordable, particularly the yearly plans which are the go-to choices for overall value. The packages available are:
Best for overall device support
Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
VPN Unlimited has a dedicated server for accessing streaming services (Netflix and Hulu), along with a dozen US locations users can connect to. The performance of this VPN was nothing short of excellent in our tests, even slightly improving on our non-VPN rates at certain locations.
There’s software for a huge array of platforms, including more unusual offerings like a Windows Phone app, Linux client, and browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome, with setup instructions for other devices and 24/7 email and live chat support to provide assistance.
Security-wise, things are all good with the usual protocols supported. Privacy is a different story, with some session logging (not that unusual, but still), and evidence of sporadic DNS leaks (when using the Windows client, or at least we found this to be the case – your mileage may vary).
Still, there’s a 7-day trial so you can give the provider a spin before spending a single penny. There are three price plans with the yearly subscription offering the best value (not counting the lifetime plan). More demanding users can combine extras such as a personal server and IP options for a custom plan. The packages available are:
- We’ve rounded up the best free VPN services of 2018