Trying to watch geo-blocked content on platforms exclusive to a single region can be a bothersome experience. Content providers certainly aren't trying to make things easier on you, either. Platforms like Hulu may end up not working even with the best VPN by your side.
We go over several reasons why that might happen down below.
Hulu Not Working With VPN? 4 Crucial Things to Check
Finding the answer to these three important questions should help you determine why Hulu is not working even with a VPN.
#1 Are you using the right US VPN server?
VPNs have been a thing for a good while now, and streaming sites have caught on to people using them to bypass geo-blocks. To put it bluntly, Netflix, Hulu, and many others are against you watching content that isn't licensed in your area. This is mostly due to pressure from studio executives who want to extract as much money from their titles as possible.
In any case, this has lead to numerous VPN IP addresses getting blocked on Hulu and other platforms. Very few VPNs that can unblock Hulu are left - and not all of their US servers will work on the platform. In fact, some VPNs have servers specifically tailored for streaming. Be sure to check that information on their website or through customer support. Support reps will be more than happy to direct you to a VPN server that works with Hulu.
#2 Have you cleared your browsing, location, and cookie data?
Your IP address is not the only thing that can give out your real-life location to Hulu. Before you even sign up to the platform with a VPN, we recommend using a freshly installed browser. That way, you won't risk any leftover cookies or other data signaling your actual location.
At the very least, you should clear your cookies and browser cache, as well as sync your system clock with the VPN server you're using. Why? Well, websites can detect proxy and VPN usage due to desynchronized time settings. So if the server is located in New York, for example, then set your system time zone to GMT-4 to avoid any issues.
#3 Is your VPN leaking data?
Not using one of our top recommended VPNs for Hulu? Then you might want to verify whether your current provider suffers from any VPN leaks and fix them before proceeding.
The two usual culprits that could reveal your actual location to Hulu are DNS leaks and WebRTC leaks. We have a guide on how to fix VPN leaks, so make sure to check that out. We've also included several online tools that can detect if your VPN is leaking, so you don't waste time fixing a problem that isn't there.
#4 Does your VPN have a kill switch?
Your VPN connection may sometimes go down while streaming content online. This could be another reason why Hulu stops working with your VPN, as the service can detect a sudden change in your IP address and traffic. A kill switch disables your network connection the moment you're disconnected, so there's no chance any of your traffic leaks outside the VPN tunnel. The connection is re-established once you can reliably connect to the VPN.
We recommend using a VPN with a built-in kill switch (like ExpressVPN) to avoid getting blocked from Hulu.
Getting Hulu Error Codes? Check Your VPN + Extra Solutions
On top of Hulu not working with VPN, you may also encounter one of several error codes. Talk about a headache when you're just trying to watch your favorite show.
Anyway, here's how to deal with them.
Fixes for Hulu Error Codes 3 and 5
These codes usually indicate an Internet connection issue on your side and are accompanied by messages like "Error playing this video," "We're having trouble loading this right now," and so on.
If your Internet and VPN connections work fine outside of Hulu, try the following:
- Restart your browser or your device
- Unplug your router for around 30 seconds (to give it time to fully reset), then plug it back in
- Reinstall the Hulu app
- Update your VPN app and/ or device
- Clear your browser cookies and cache
Using Wi-Fi and already tried everything above? Try switching to a wired connection to see if that solves the issue.
How to Solve Hulu Error Code 16
This error indicates that you're not in the correct region to watch Hulu content. See if you're using the right US VPN server, or check with your provider's customer support to see if there have been any changes in the meantime. It's not uncommon for specific servers to stop working with services like Hulu, but VPN providers have backups for such situations. Restart your browser (or the Hulu app) and log back in once you're sure everything is in order.
If you're already in the US, simply turn off your VPN while watching Hulu. Alternatively, use split tunneling to exclude your browser or the Hulu app from the VPN tunnel.
How to Fix Hulu Error Code 400
Error 400 indicates a problem with your Hulu account and is usually encountered on mobile devices or game consoles (if you're using a VPN on your router). Before everything else, make sure you're connected to the VPN and using the server recommended by your provider. You might want to perform a fresh install of the Hulu app if you're using it, too.
If that didn't work, follow the steps below:
- Go to Hulu and log into your account.
- Click on your account name (upper right), and go to Account.
- You'll be prompted to enter your password. Do so, then click on Manage devices.
- Remove any devices that get the error code 400.
- Delete and reinstall the Hulu app on your device, then log back in.
Fix for Hulu Error Code 500
An error code 500 means there's a problem on Hulu's side and is usually experienced in the browser version. Aside from checking if your Internet and VPN run correctly, all you can do is refresh the page. If that doesn't work, switch to a different browser or device to see if you experience the same issue.
Fixes for Hulu Error Code 5003
Error code 5003 indicates a problem with your device. Try the following tips:
- Restart the device which experiences the error
- Restart your router
- Update the Hulu app
- If the app is already up to date, try a fresh install instead.
Nothing seems to work? Then all you can do is report the problem to Hulu themselves and switch devices until the issue is resolved.
More Useful Tips If You Can't Get Hulu to Work
Anything else we haven't mentioned above (and doesn't fit snugly into its own section) will be covered here.
#1 Hulu Not Working With Free VPN
Let's not beat around the bush here - free VPNs don't work with Hulu. If by some miracle you've stumbled across any that do, it's not likely they'll last much longer. As mentioned, streaming sites fiercely go after and block VPN traffic. Sadly, free VPN providers don't have the kind of funding needed to get around that.
This isn't even getting into the security issues of free VPNs, such as:
- Potential malware infections and ads injected into your browser
- Having your data sold to advertisers or leaked online
- Having your device become part of a botnet.
Worried about spending money on a VPN, only to realize it doesn't work? Understandable. Fortunately, many providers nowadays let you try out their services at your own pace before making a decision. Here's how to get an ExpressVPN risk-free trial account for 30 days. On the house.
#2 Hulu Not Accepting Your Payment Method
Using a VPN to get a US IP address won't be enough to watch shows on Hulu. The service also requires a valid US payment method. If that sounds tricky, that's because it is. Not all hope is lost, though - here's what you can try if you live outside the US.
- Lookup services that sell Hulu gift cards to pay for your initial subscription. Make sure to renew your subscription (with more gift cards from Amazon, eBay, or other retailers) before your balance runs out, or your account will be automatically canceled.
- Another thing you can try is to set up a virtual debit card for the US. Note that the card provider will need some form of ID to prevent fraud and similar issues. Now, this virtual card may not work directly on Hulu, but you can potentially use it to create a US-based PayPal account to pay for Hulu.
The first method is faster and easier and is much more likely to work. However, obtaining a working US virtual debit card and/ or PayPal account will allow you to use it for many other services exclusive to the USA. It's worth a shot, even if it doesn't end up working (as PayPal, Hulu, and others regularly change what they allow on their platform).