Hulu plays whack a mole with VPNs

All of us are different and have a variety of uses for a VPN service, some like to protect their privacy, some require that consistent IP address, some feel safer when travelling. The simple fact of the matter is many users purpose for a VPN is solely to access content that isn’t available to them in their own country, or content that is available normally but when travelling isn’t. Services such as Hulu, BBC iPlayer and the more well known ones are accessed frequently by those who aren’t in a position to access directly, ie; you live in the UK but want to watch Hulu which is only available in the US or you’re from the US but currently abroad studying or in the military.

When situations arise such as being abroad for educational or military purposes one of the only comforting abilities is to use a VPN service to access the kind of TV shows that you’re familiar to watching, it is soothing and reminds you of home.

The fact a VPN service allows you to access such services is more of a by product of how a VPN works rather than their intention. Many providers don’t even mention the fact that this by product exists due to the fact it isn’t a given.

At any time this type of by product could be removed with technical or blocking means. Other providers sell heavily on the ability to access restricted content and can become their main focus, because, let’s face it, accessing content is a large portion of a customer base and there is nothing directly wrong with that.

Using this by product to access these services will be frowned upon by the TV services themselves, while they may not specifically mention it is against their terms & conditions to access the service using a VPN or anonymous proxy type service (although many do) they will definitely be against the practise and fully aware it exists.

There is actually very little that these services can do against this type of bypassing method but recently Hulu has started to block most major VPN services IP ranges according to Reddit user DanHeese and confirmed by other users. One silver lining is it appears that the blocks are simple IP based blockages as explained by the VikingVPN server administrator which makes it extremely easy to rectify for many VPN providers.

The way in which this has most likely come about is either Hulu have made a concious effort to sign up the most major VPN providers, record the IP addresses used on US servers and block them. An alternative would be to take note of IP addresses that are being heavily used to access the service and considering what that specific IP address relates to.

Hulu IP Blocked

Even a heavily utilised IP address at an educational institute or library would never match thousands upon thousands of connections from one IP address at a VPN provider and so it would be extremely easy for Hulu to route out these “rogue” IP addresses and add them to a block list.

The solution for VPN providers depends on the amount of IP addresses they have available. For those considered more secure who use a very small range of IP addresses and share them between many users it will be more difficult as they will need to offer out a new IP address which in the future could also be subject to being added to the blocked list. Providers who have hundreds if not thousands of IP addresses such as IPVanish which are constantly changing when you connect are more likely to give you the best chance at being able to access Hulu and other similar services which could at any junction introduce similar IP range blocks.

If you’re with a provider that provides thousands of different IP addresses then the likelihood is that you haven’t been affected and probably haven’t even notice any issue, its entirely possible that your provider wasn’t included in the blockages either which would be another reason you didn’t notice.

If you’re with a provider who offers a smaller number of IP addresses and you’re finding you can no longer access Hulu then you should contact them immediately as they may be able to substitute with a new IP address so you can continue to access the service. If a provider sells the service based on the fact you can access restricted services then they should do their best to enable this again, however if the provider did not specify in the first instance then it is entirely possible that they have no reason to assist you.

Regardless of your provider, if you can no longer access Hulu and they aren’t willing to assist it will be time to start considering a provider who can assist you accessing Hulu.

Comments (1)
  1. VPNCompare May 10, 2014

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