ExpressVPN

Who is Hulu blocking (and what are they doing about it)?

As we reported last Thursday, Hulu has started to block users who are connected to a VPN service, regardless of their location. Not all VPN providers are affected (although most larger ones are), and the block appears to affect only those who use shared IPs (rather than just handing out new IPs as needed – we should note that we much prefer the use of shared IPs in general, as this provides a much higher level of privacy.

In addition to this, dedicated IP addresses appear unaffected (if located in the US of course).

The simplest solution for VPN providers is to recycle their IP addresses, but the new ones can also be blocked by Hulu, which could lead to endless rounds of recycling/blocking, which is hardly great for customers. We have therefore approached a number of VPN providers to ask how the situation is affecting them, and what contingency plans they have in place.

hulu VPN block


Private Internet Access

PIA told us that most of their IP addresses are blocked at the present time, although they suggested trying their US-Midwest servers. When asked about contingency plans, they said they were ‘looking into the matter’.

CEO Andrew Lee told TorrentFreak on Friday that,

‘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. We have an existing relationship with Hulu and are reaching out to them directly to see what we can do about fixing this issue.’

CyberGhost

CyberGhost said that most or all of their IPs are working at the moment, but that ‘we are checking all of our server[s] to be sure that HULU can be watched.’

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN on the other hand has been much worse affected, which is not surprising as it a high profile US provider. It did however tell us that,

‘Based on our testing, we have found that some of our US server locations remain unblocked by Hulu. These server locations are:

Seattle Kenmore
San Francisco
Silicon Valley
New Jersey
Las Vegas
Los Angeles 3’

We checked these today, and can confirm that they work.

When asked what contingency plans it had in place, ExpressVPN told us that ‘if that ever happens, we’ll likely need to replenish our IP’s on most the US servers. Will be replaced by new ones.’

 VPNArea

As usual, VPNArea seems to be on the case,

‘Here is a screenshot on accessing hulu web site with a USA, WA vpn. We also haven’t got any complains so far.  It seems we weren’t targeted by Hulu (yet). However I agree that this could be a question of time. If that happens we will just provision new servers in USA as soon as any users complain.

We’re in a good relationship with some hosting companies with their own data centers and diversified blocks of IPs so we can get a server provisioned in new IP space in seconds upon ordering.

In case this is not enough we will explore other ways.’

VPNArea also offers low cost dedicated IPs, and watch this space for an exclusive offer available to BestVPN readers.

 CactusVPN

‘For now we are not going to change servers as Hulu will block again also it’s very hard to find non blocked IPs. Our Los Angeles servers isn’t blocked by Hulu also using our Smart DNS service you can unblock Hulu.’

VikingVPN

VikingVPN was one of the first providers to notice the ban, and has been very active on Reddit in discussions about it, and seems to be taking concrete steps to solve the problem. It told us that,

‘We are currently evaluating how they are implementing the blocks, and how frequent, and readying a plan to rotate out all of our existing IP addresses to new ones. From that point forward, we will likely either change our IP addresses on a regular basis, or create an automated system with a large pool of IPs to make blocking nearly impossible.

The generic IP rotation will likely occur this week.’

VikingVPN criticised Hulu’s decision to  TorrentFreak , pointing out that it was compromising legitimate (i.e. US resident’s) privacy by its actions,

‘We’re upset that our users would have to disconnect from our service in order to access Hulu. We encourage users to remain connected in order to guard their privacy, 24/7. Hulu could mitigate a small portion of this concern if they would at least implement SSL on their website.’

IronSocket

‘We are currently not blocked by Hulu. We are aware of their attempts at blocking VPN providers and we do have contingency plans for that.’

LiquidVPN

LiquidVPN told us that,

‘So far it has not affected us. From my understanding the blocks are on shared IP VPN providers. I have not heard of any provider that hands out public IPs getting blocked.’

We questioned LiqiudVPN over the last point because it was our understanding that it offered shared IPs,

‘We do provide both but we have always recommended using a dynamic IP for streaming services. Most people use dynamic IPs when streaming from LiquidVPN servers I think. Because we offer dynamics and modulating it means less people are using shared IPs to stream so it takes quit awhile longer for our shared IPs to get flagged.’

 

TorGuard

TorGuard has not responded to our inquiries (yet), but told TorrentFreak on Friday that although many of its IPs had been blocked, not all were, and reminded readers that its dedicated IPs provided a solution to the polblem,

‘In the event of wide-spread IP blocking a quick fix for the problem is to use a dedicated VPN IP. This ensures that no other user on the network has registered an account under that same IP address. TorGuard has thousands of dedicated IPs on hand in our US locations and we’ve already seen an increase in purchases for this add-on today.’

In our tests today we found that TorGuard’s servers in Los Angeles and Los Vegas were working, while the others were not.

Hide My Ass

On Friday it was reported that HMA had updated its servers to evade the block, and today it told us that,

‘Our VPN works fine with Hulu service, we test that on daily basis.’

However, when we tested several of HMA’s servers today (including virtual ones), none of them worked…

PureVPN

PureVPN is also reported to have fixed the issue early, something which it confirmed to us today,

‘It is to inform you that Hulu has blocked IPs of all VPN providers but don’t worry our R&D never sleeps and we have 3 solutions for the same.

1. Our VPN service is still working for it.
2. Our SmartDNS is still working for Hulu.
3. Our latest product Olive is there which could not be blocked ever.’

PureVPN also reminded us that it can provide dedicated IPs.

NordVPN

‘We haven’t received any complaints about blocked Hulu on our servers yet. Nevertheless we will add another server in US soon. Hence our users will be able to watch Hulu.’

Final thoughts

We will update this article as further information becomes available / VPN providers get back to us.

We will also update our article ‘5 Best VPNs for Hulu’ when the dust settles a bit (it’s somewhat in need of an update anyway!), and in the meantime readers might want to check out our guide on’How to unblock Hulu’ (available later today).

 


Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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15 responses to “Who is Hulu blocking (and what are they doing about it)?

  1. None of LA server in ExpressVPN not working anymore yesterday LA 1 was working but today not working anymore, any US server still working in Hulu?

  2. They are very stupid.

    If you block VPNs then the once paying users will give up, and they will simply download and pirate all the shows and movies for free. Because right now as it stands its far easier just to download and pirate all of the movies and shows for free than to go through the hassle of setting up VPNs and getting them to work with Hulu or Netflix.

    So if Hulu and Netflix really want to ban VPNs, let them. They will eventually go out of business as more and more people just pirate shows and movies.

  3. Unfortunately, TunnelBear is blocked by Hulu, but Netflix works fine.
    However, using Cyberghost, no issues with Hulu.

  4. Is TunnelBear blocked? After reading the news and trying to launch a video, I’m getting a different error message:

    “This video is unavailable at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    If this error is occuring repeatedly, we may be experiencing technical difficulties. Please visit Hulu Support for more help.”

    1. Hi

      I tested TunnelBear a while ago but didn’t have a Hulu error with it. Also that is not the error message for VPN blocking so it seems like Hulu is experiencing some technical difficulties.
      Peter

      1. Hi Peter. Unfortunatelly, I have bad news.

        I think Hulu blocks TunnelBear. I just tried to access the service on my Galaxy S4 and it mentioned anonymous proxy tool. Tested with default Internet Browser and Google Chrome. Same results.

        My PC runs Vista 32-bit. I’m using Internet Explorer 9. Suspecting that IE9 is outdated for Hulu, I installed Google Chrome. But nothing was changed. On PC, I’m still getting a message saying that video is unavailable.

        1. Hi Piotr
          That’s a shame to hear. Unfortunately Hulu is constantly seeking and tracking IPs and it’s a cat and mouse game between them and providers.
          Peter

  5. As a follow up to my post above – more and more IPs from Cyberghost have been blocked by Hulu and Netflix. I have emailed Cyberghost support but as is usual there has been no reply (and I know they received my email because their ticket system told me to expect a reply within a feeble 3 days!). My advice is not to go with Cyberghost due to poor support and the blocking of most of their IPs as of the current time.

  6. Is there any VPN’s that can’t/don’t/ aren’t blocked from schools? I’ve downloaded a couple VPN’s but everyone that I get has been blocked. {from school}

    1. Hi Jasmine
      What do you mean by blocked? As in you can’t install it or it won’t run?
      Once you clarify the issue I can probably help with providing you with a solution.
      Peter

  7. As of 5/21/2014, ExpressVPN rep indicated they only provide 2 servers in LA for Hulu. I’ve tried both, but the quality is quite unsatisfactory.

    Thinking about just subscribe Hulu Japan directly, but they don’t offer Animal Planet and Discovery Channel in English… That’s a big minus right there…

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