Who doesn’t dream of watching most of those US series right from their computer for free? I do. I’m sure you do too. But for us who are living outside of the US, Hulu gently reminds us that they can’t allow us to access their service due to some legal constraints they can’t control. Learn how to watch Hulu outside of the US.
Hulu error message. Have you ever been faced with this deceiving window when going to hulu.com?
I am a great fan of Carl Lightman character from the series “Lie To Me,” and guess what? Hulu has all the episodes available for watching for free – if only I were in the US. They also have movies, trailers, documentaries – well, they have enough to keep us awake late at night watching our favorite shows online (provided that we have good enough Internet connection).
But how do Hulu check if I am physically based in the US or not?
Every time you are using the Internet, your computer, or smartphone, or whatever device you are using to access the internet is given an IP address which is unique. Your Internet Service Provider assigns this IP address to your device without you knowing it. The fact is: those IP addresses are so well assigned that they also give any computer on the internet an indication of where you are located in the world.
Websites are now then able to track the IP address of their visitors (in fact, they know a lot of things about you, but that’s not the point of this article). Back to Hulu, whenever a visitor browses their website, Hulu checks for the originating IP address, double-check it with a database of geo-located IP Addresses that is publicly available, then it can tell if your IP address is part of those who are based in the US.
So how do we circumvent this IP-location barrier to be able to watch Hulu?
Different techniques can be used to access Hulu, but the one I’m recommending is the use of a virtual private network (VPN) solution to unblock Hulu. A lot of answers exist out there (I will write another post dealing with the criteria you should use for choosing a VPN provider). For the time being, let’s stick to choosing one provider that has a US presence (which means that once you fired up your VPN client software, your computer will use a US IP address). So, in my case:
- I launched my VPN client, chose to connect via a US-based VPN tunnel.
- I use a publicly available service to check if my browser uses a US-based IP address. I went to xmyip.com and here is what is shown for my current connection.
Perfect. Ain’t that nice? The whole internet thinks that I am rich enough to go to Los Angeles for watching Hulu :). It is how to you may access Hulu.
- Once we verified it, we can then launch our browser and go to Hulu, and voilà. Long nights to spend online ahead.
VPN services to access Hulu from anywhere
There are plenty of tools that can change/hide your real IP address, but only VPNs provide enough speed. VPN services change your IP address and allow you to surf the internet anonymously and safely by using a secure and anonymous connection through servers located in the US.
Below I have compiled a list of VPN services that can offer US IPs and at the same time provide optimal download speed. All services can be used to unblock Hulu.
- HideMyAss – $11.52/month
- ibVPN – $4.95/month (offers free trial accounts)
Hulu Plus for iPad and iPhone. Unlock it with VPN from outside the US.
Hulu Plus is now official. It makes Hulu streaming available on iPad, iPhone, and other devices. For $9.99/month. Of course, the users from outside the US are excluded. Learn how to unlock Hulu Plus from outside the US.
What is Hulu Plus?
Hulu Plus is an invite based service for a while. You can request for Hulu Plus invite. Even if you don’t have an invite, you’ll still be able to download a Hulu Plus application on the iPad, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. The app will feature a limited number of episodes, but good enough to get a feel for how the paid service would be like.
The launch of Hulu Plus does not mean the end of classic, free and ad-based Hulu. They will be both available. Instead, Hulu Plus comes with the ability to watch programming on mobile devices or set-top boxes instead of a computer, plus a few other bonus features including 720p HD video playback and access to complete seasons of TV shows instead of just the last few episodes.
How to unlock Hulu Plus from outside the US
As previously mentioned, Hulu Plus (as well as Hulu) is not available from outside the US. But you can unlock Hulu Plus with the use of a VPN service that provides a US IP address. Here is a list of such services: List of VPN Services that Provide USA IP Addresses.
Later edit: You may also try one of the VPN apps listed in this post: The best VPN apps for your iPhone.
Hulu Desktop – How to download it and make it work outside of the US
Hulu has released a desktop video client, called Hulu Desktop, allowing you to navigate Hulu’s entire library with just six buttons.
What is Hulu Desktop?
Available for both Windows and Mac operating systems, Hulu Desktop was launched as a beta product during which Hulu plans to gather and incorporate user feedback to improve the service.
Unfortunately, Hulu Desktop is available for download and runs Hulu content only for US users. I am going to explain how you can overcome this problem and be able to use Hulu Desktop from everywhere.
The first step is to go to the download page and try to download Hulu Desktop for Mac or Windows.
If you live outside of the US (meaning that you are not browsing with US IP address) you’ll probably get the following message:
The solution to the problem is called Hotspot Shield from AnchorFree.com. Hotspot Shield is a free VPN solution that can be used to change your IP address to a US one.
Now, go to AnchorFree.com, download Hotspot Shield and start the setup. The installation process is straightforward, and you should not encounter any problem.
When the Hotspot Shield starts, the VPN connection is initialized as you will see in the configuration page (to look at all values click Show Config):
Next, refresh the download Hulu Desktop page, and you will be able to download the setup.
Watch Hulu content with Hulu Desktop
After Hulu Desktop is installed, you will be able to see Hulu content without problems. It’s essential to keep Hotspot Shield running while watching Hulu! Otherwise, you’ll get timeout errors (take a look below).
When you are done watching you should turn Hotspot Shield off:
How to Watch Hulu from outside the US without a proxy or VPN
I recently found a trick that makes watching Hulu from outside the US even simpler. A small Firefox plugin modifies one of the HTTP headers and makes Hulu ignore that you are not located in the US.
Here are the steps that need to be done:
Step 1. Install Modify Headers add-on on your Firefox browser.
Step 2. In Firefox, click Tools menu and then Modify Headers. In the new window, type in
X-Forwarded-For the first box,
188.8.131.52 in the second box and leave the third empty. Click the Add button.
Step 3. Click on Configuration button and check Always On.
Step 4. Go to Hulu.com and load a video. It should work. It does for me:
Even this is good news; I don’t believe it will last. In the meanwhile, enjoy!
Prepaid Visa for your Hulu Plus subscription
Here at the Hide IP blog, we always find ways to help people have access to the best VPN services and hide IP tools on the web and assist them in unlocking blocked and restricted websites. Good news for our Canadian friends, we have found a prepaid Visa card from a particular retail shop across Canada that functions well with Hulu Plus. You can easily see this at retails shops like Sobeys, Staples, Safeway, or Pharmasave stores or purchase them online, and they will snail mail them to your address. Learn how to get Hulu prepaid card.
What is a Hulu Prepaid Card?
Yes, you heard it right – a prepaid Visa card issued by Citizen’s Bank of Canada! The card is valid for two years, and it can be obtained easily in the denomination of $25, $50, or $100. The purchase fee varies from say $3.25 for a $25 card to around $6 for a $100 card. In case you have read the fine print in the front of the card, you will see a $2 per month charge as a maintenance fee, and there’s an additional 2.5% fee for currency transactions made online.
Because it’s more of a Gift Card, it’s, therefore, not registered to any specified person upon purchase so that you will get a generic card without your name embossed on the face of the card.
Total anonymity with the Gift Card
You can enjoy complete anonymity when using this prepaid visa card! With this prepaid visa card, you can now obtain a Hulu Plus subscription. To get started, follow the steps below.
First, register your card. To register, check the back of the card where it the link for registration is provided. So, you will see the website: https://www.mybalance.ca. Go to any of these sites and then click on the menu link “My Account.”
Key-in the card number of the prepaid visa card you just purchased, four digits of your phone (enter 9999 the first time) and the security code. It should look like this:
Proceed to the “Account Activities” section and click on the “Go” button near “Register Card”:
Further, make certain you use a valid US address as it is very likely that Hulu Plus run some checks on the address validity. After that, you will utilize the same US address when register with Hulu Plus. You may enter your real mobile phone as a phone number is not verified nor validated.
After which you can click on the “Continue” button to proceed:
At this point, you can see that it now accepts US Zip Codes and State names even if the entire registration defaults to that of Canada.
Once done, click on the “Submit Registration” button, and you are all set! Finally, make sure you use the same US address and the same name to subscribe to Hulu Plus.
Next, you will need to use a VPN service to unblock Hulu from outside the US.
Later edit: Hulu has recently started to offer Live TV!