If you live in Canada, you can’t access Hulu’s library of movies and TV shows — unless you know the trick I’m about to reveal. Read on to find out how to get Hulu in Canada.

5-Minute Video Summary

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ExpressVPN: the best VPN for accessing Hulu from Canada

You have to be wise about the VPN service you choose if you want to get to Hulu content from Canada.

Some VPN services are better at getting past geo-blocks than others.

When I want to get to Hulu and other sites that offer United States exclusive content, I use ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN always reacts to geo-blocks quickly to ensure that their customers always have access to American content.  When Netflix or Hulu update their block list, we’ve found that this VPN tends to react as soon as they know that there is a problem.

One of the major reasons why I like ExpressVPN is that they have a unique strategy of getting their customers across Hulu’s virtual borders. Rather than try to configure all of their servers so that all of them are Hulu ready, ExpressVPN focuses all of their efforts on making sure that one server can access Hulu. All you have to do is open a chat with their customer service team to find out which server they’re using for Hulu now.

Usually, the San Francisco server is the one that can access Hulu, Netflix and other streaming services that are only available in the US. Sometimes, ExpressVPN rotates and uses other servers instead. Fortunately, ExpressVPN’s support team is always online and ready to help. Each time I’ve need to contact them, I’ve received an immediate response.

Good things about ExpressVPN

  • You can try ExpressVPN to make sure it works. Any VPN service worth its salt will offer a risk-free trial. This gives you a chance to make absolutely sure that the service actually works. ExpressVPN’s trial lasts for a full 30 days. That’s more than enough time to verify that the VPN works as expected. If for any reason you want to discontinue your service within that time frame, you can get all your money back.
  • You can get a huge discount if you purchase an annual subscription. If you like ExpressVPN and decide to stick with it, you can get a big discount if you purchase a year’s worth of service. Click here to find out more.
  • Hundreds of US-based VPN servers.  Hulu easily blocks VPN services that only have one or two American VPN servers.  But ExpressVPN has hundreds of servers in the United States– and they’re adding more every day.
  • Reliable.  Because ExpressVPN uses advanced VPN technology, it is much harder for Hulu and other streaming services to block.
  • Fast. In my experience, ExpressVPN provides better speed and performance compared to other VPN providers. That could be because the service uses their fastest VPNs to accommodate their customers that want to use Hulu and other streaming services abroad. The other servers that they have are for general use, like staying anonymous while you browse the web.
  • Excellent customer support. Most VPN services give you a knowledge base of vaguely worded frequently asked questions and leave you to figure out how to use the service on your own. ExpressVPN is different because their support team will walk you through each step of whatever you’re trying to do.

There are many fly-by-night VPN services that help Canadians get to Hulu.  However, not all of them are safe– and some of them don’t even work at all. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, is the world’s largest VPN service and has been in business since 2009. If you’ve tried other VPNs and you’ve been disappointed with the results, maybe it’s time to get one that actually works.

As mentioned earlier, one of ExpressVPN’s best features is the fact that this service has excellent customer support. That’s one of the main reasons why I like ExpressVPN and continue to use it to access streaming services that I can’t ordinarily access where I live. Everyone who you chat with or talk to knows what they’re doing and they specialize in helping their customers access Hulu and other streaming services.

After you sign up, just open up a chat and a representative will walk you through the setup process if you need help getting started. ExpressVPN’s support team responded immediately each time I reached out to them with a question.

How to get Hulu in Canada with ExpressVPN

Step 1: Sign Up for ExpressVPN

Visit the ExpresssVPN website to get three free months of VPN service. The site looks like this:

Expressvpn
Source: ExpressVPN

Step 2: Download and Install the ExpressVPN Client

  • ExpressVPN’s client is super easy to install. Just log into ExpressVPN, then download the installer to your hard drive. If you have an Apple TV or an Android TV device, installing ExpressVPN app is even easier. Just go to the appropriate app store and click the ExpressVPN app.expressvpn clientSource: Flixed.io
  • Select the installer file and double click to begin the installation process.
  • After installation has completed, you’ll be prompted to run the ExpressVPN client on your PC or Mac computer. Once loaded up, your client should look like the following:
expressvpn client
Source: Flixed.io

Step 3: Login to ExpressVPN and connect to the San Francisco server

Last time I chatted with the ExpressVPN customer support team, they told me to use the San Francisco server to access Hulu. Here’s everything you need to do to connect to it.

  • Before you can use ExpressVPN, you’ll need to login with your credentials. Once logged in, ExpressVPN will keep your client logged in automatically as long as it has an internet connection.
  • To log into San Francisco, select Change Location on the lower left-hand side of the window. 
  • A window will pop up providing you a list of countries to choose from. Find and select the United States, or use the search bar at the top and type in “United States”:
expressvpn bbc iplayer
Source: Flixed.io
  • Now, select San Francisco. As mentioned earlier, the San Francisco server is ideal for logging into restricted streaming services outside of the US. If San Francisco doesn’t work for you, just open a chat with the ExpressVPN customer service team and they will point you in the right direction.
  • After making your choice, double click the location name. ExpressVPN will automatically begin to connect:
Source: Flixed.io
  • Once connected, your ExpressVPN client will tell you that the VPN is “On”:
ExpressVPN bbc iplayer
Source: Flixed

Congratulations! Setup is complete.  

Can Hulu block Canadian credit cards?

Yes — but there is a workaround.

In order to keep out Canadians that use a VPN to access Hulu, the company has decided to ban the use of Canadian credit cards.

If you don’t have an American credit card, you can buy a Hulu gift card for yourself and purchase your subscription with that.  Once you create your account, you’ll be able to login to Hulu as long as you use a VPN to do so.

Please note that we are not responsible for any issues you have with purchasing a gift card from eBay. As always, use caution when dealing with sellers. Be sure that they’ve had many successful sales and good reviews before you buy.

hulu ebay

What are other publications saying about ExpressVPN?

Here are just a few positive comments from other web publications that have reviewed Strong VPN.

“ExpressVPN is one of those companies that’s going to battle with Netflix.” – PCWorld

“ExpressVPN offers a premium service, with well-crafted clients, an ample choice of locations and reliable performance.” – Techradar

“ExpressVPN has a wide distribution of servers and a slick interface, and it allows BitTorrent and other P2P services.” – PCMag

Privacy: more important than ever

Though the ability to get to Hulu from across the American border is a good side benefit of using a VPN, it’s not the main reason that motivates people to sign up.  The biggest benefit of a VPN is privacy.  With your VPN on, strangers can’t collect your data or track what you do online.

Some people don’t care about anonymity because they feel they aren’t doing anything wrong when they surf the web.  But actually, there are many nefarious things that 3rd parties can do with your internet data.

Identity theft

When Time writer Joel Stein gave data security expert Michael Fertik his name and email address, Fertik was able to pull up his social security number three hours later.

Websites can gather an incredible amount of information from their visitors.  They can calculate your net worth, determine your age and education level, and much, much more.  If that info falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to pull of financial scams that could cause irreparable damage.

Harassment and cyber-stalking

Online harassment is a growing problem. Women in particular are especially hard hit. Roughly 1 out of 12 females will experience some form of cyberstalking during their lives, according to the Berkman Klein Center for Internet Security at Harvard University. VPN security is a key piece of the puzzle if you want to defend yourself from stalking while online.

Why is Hulu blocking Canadians?

hulu block

In order to understand why Hulu is blocking Canadians, you have to first understand how licensing works. Hulu executives don’t have a problem with Canadians. They just want to keep their lucrative licensing contracts from falling apart. When a new TV show or movie comes out, the studio that produced it sells broadcast licenses to anyone who wants to buy them.

For example, let’s say that 20th Century Fox just came out with a new comedy movie called Funny Phil.  First, 20th Century Fox would try to get Funny Phil into movie theaters. To do that, they have to sell the right to play Funny Phil to various theater chains. Whichever theater purchased the broadcast rights to Funny Phil would gain the ability to play it and charge money for it.

If Funny Phil was only showing at the movies, it would make sense for theater owners to buy the rights to it.  But if cable broadcasters were already playing Funny Phil on cable TV, hardly any theater owners would buy a license to play it.

The same concept applies to new content distribution channels like Hulu and Netflix.  Why would anyone pay a premium fee to a cable company to watch Funny Phil if everyone could watch it for cheap or for free on Hulu?

Because different countries have different broadcasters, licensing timetables move at different speeds.  It takes time for the suits upstairs to sort out the details of who gets to broadcast what.

Streaming technology offered by companies like Hulu and Netflix are disruptive.  They make it harder to control who gets to watch what.  So in order to preserve the old business model, executives are forcing Hulu and Netflix to implement content “geo-blocks.”

How is Hulu blocking Canadians?

Hulu’s geo-block is actually quite simple.  Basically, a geo-block is just a simple IP address filter. If you’re not a computer person, that may sound complicated– but actually it’s not.

Every machine on the Internet has a unique IP address.  Computers can’t communicate without them.  IP addresses help information flow from point A to point B. If you try to load the Hulu page from a computer that has a Canadian IP address, you get geo-blocked. But if your computer has an American IP address, you can easily watch Hulu from Canada. That’s why disguising your true IP address is the key to getting where you want to go online.

The easiest way to change your computer’s Canadian IP address into an American one is to get a VPN.  If you login to an American VPN server, it’ll look like you’re located in the United States when you go online. Once you’ve got an American IP address, you’ll be able to access not only Hulu but also all the other licensed content that’s only available in the United States. In addition to Hulu, all kinds of other streaming services use geo-blocks to block or filter content. DirecTV Now, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue are just a few of the many streaming services that use these kinds of blocks.

Can Hulu block VPNs?

Yes, they can– but there’s no way to block VPNs consistently.

VPN servers are not immune to geo-blocks. VPN servers are computers on the internet, just like yours.  They have IP addresses, too.  And they can be geo-blocked.

Hulu and Netflix have both tried to block out various popular VPN providers.  But they haven’t been successful.

Unlike physical mailing addresses, VPN IP address are not permanent. Any VPN service provider can easily change all their servers’ IP addresses.  All it takes is a few simple commands.

So long as the VPN service provider is willing to play “whack-a-mole,” it can react to and overcome any type of block that Hulu tries to implement.

We’ve identified several VPN services that are responsive when it comes to helping their customers avoid geo-blocks. As far as we can tell, ExpressVPN is the most consistent at avoiding geo-blocks and helping their customers access Hulu and other streaming services.

Will Amazon follow in Hulu’s footsteps?

Amazon has already followed Hulu’s footsteps, although it’s a bit more complicated. Because Amazon is currently available in Canada, you won’t find that service blocked. However, like Netflix, Amazon offers different content in each country due to various copyright agreements. As a result, you get a similar effect, although you can also bypass this issue with a VPN.

Hulu and Netflix have stirred up controversy lately. Both streaming services have received criticism for implementing geo-blocks.

In recent months, Netflix and Hulu have both been hemorrhaging customers. Hulu lost $65 million last year, according to The Motley Fool. And when Netflix’s stock took a nosedive back in July, it lost $6 billion in market value according to Market Watch.
Of course, Amazon isn’t Netflix. And it’s not Hulu either.
Actually, Amazon is much bigger than Netflix and Hulu combined. According to Forbes, Amazon is currently the 12th most valuable brand in the world.
More movie and TV makers may try to force Amazon to help prevent content licensing from going the way of the dodo bird.  But given the fact that Amazon is such a powerful market force, there’s a chance that Amazon executives could simply say “no” to forces that want the company to implement more geo-blocks. Additionally, because Amazon is increasingly making its own, original content, content blocks are less and less of a problem with the service.

Conclusion

If you want to use Hulu in Canada, all you need is ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN is inexpensive and easy to set up. Plus, you have three full months to try out the service before you have to pay anything.

The other thing you may need to access Hulu in Canada is a Hulu gift card, because Hulu blocks all non-American credit and debit cards. The best way to buy a Hulu gift card is through an eBay seller with good ratings.

Alex Munkachy is a freelance writer, game developer and hobby robotics enthusiast. You can find his blog about robotics news and reviews at robotfanatics.com.