There are two main reasons why people use a VPN:
- Getting around geo-blocking
The first point is always a concern, the second is usually just a bonus. Hulu has reportedly started blocking VPN services who attempt to gain access to Hulu through known VPN IPs. You will see a screen that looks something like this:
What they are attempting to do is stop those from overseas who use VPNs to get around geo-blocking. The unfortunate thing is that completely legitimate US users, who are just trying to protect their anonymity, are being caught in the cross-fire.
How our Top 3 VPN providers are affected by Hulu blocking VPNs
The problem is that Hulu isn’t very good at blocking VPNs. They haven’t successfully blocked every VPN service provider by a long shot. My theory as to why this is the case is because…they’re not very good at their jobs. At all, and on several fronts.
Here is where each of our top 3 VPN providers are right now with the Hulu blocking problem.
Private Internet Access on Hulu blocking VPNs
“Private Internet Access exists to protect the privacy of netizens everywhere. Many of our customers leave their Private Internet Access accounts enabled 24/7/365. It is unfortunate that Hulu is blocking VPN service IPs.”
Users are reporting issues connecting to Hulu through PIA for some of its IP address, but not all. You can still do it if you connect to the correct gateway, the US-Midwest and US-East servers appear to be the best options.
For those that are worried, fear to as CEO Andrew Lee had this to sat as well:
“We have an existing relationship with Hulu and are reaching out to them directly to see what we can do about fixing this issue.”
In short, they are working on the issue, and doing so directly with Hulu.
Hide My Ass evades Hulu VPN blocking
As of this writing, Hide My Ass is telling me that they are not experiencing any issues with Hulu blocking any of their servers. They have updated their servers to get around the block and are testing their servers daily to make sure that this remains the case.
This again demonstrates that not all VPNs are being blocked, further showing how poorly Hulu is handling not only VPN users, but their own users.
IPVanish unaffected by Hulu VPN blocking
IPVanish is currently reporting no issues with their servers being able to access Hulu. They have not publicly stated what they have done to get around this issue, but working good is good enough.
Conclusions on Hulu blocking VPN access
This shows once more why the first three VPNs in our Top 10 list are in our top 3 to begin with. Even as other VPNs are blocked, two of these three are completely unaffected, while the third is partially affected but working with the originator of the problem.
To step outside the usual rhetoric, how does Hulu define a ‘legitimate user’ anyway? You have to pay to have a subscription to Hulu. This is around $8/month for unlimited access to the content they have, which is A LOT.
Once you’re paying them money…what does it really matter to them where you are? Sure, there are content licensing issues, local laws on content by country and on and on and endlessly on.
But in today’s digital world, my feeling is that many modern companies aren’t modern at all, they’re still trying to play by old rules…and they’re losing. Worse, they’re creating pirates out of paying customers as people choose to download for free, rather than deal with more nonsense from Hulu.
Feature image credit to Air 21 Express. Which, I understand, is the name of one of the involved teams. However, for the purposes of this blog post, Hulu is the blue team…