How to watch Hulu from outside the US

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Today’s tip is directed to my blog readers and podcast listeners who are outside the US.  I don’t want you guys to feel left out!  As you know, in many non-US locations it is difficult to access certain websites and view some pretty popular online content.  One of those sites that is often blocked is Hulu (www.Hulu.com).

Hulu logo

If you’re not familiar with Hulu, you should go and check out their website.  It’s basically a way for you to watch TV shows and movies (clips as well as whole episodes) on your computer.   The majority of content is from the US, and a lot of people outside the US really want to see it.  But Hulu has copyright agreements with several of the US production companies (such as Disney) that means they are not allowed to let non-US viewers see their content.

That means that when you go to the Hulu website, the first thing it will check is your IP address (this is like your “address” on the internet).  If you have an American IP address, you’re fine.  If your IP address indicates you are in Europe, Asia, or even Canada, you can’t get into the site.

Unless you know the secret to getting past that little barrier:  all you have to do is get an American IP address.  With that in place, your computer basically tells any website that you visit, “Hey, I’m in the USA!” and you get all the privileges that go with that.

Note: while on the surface this procedure may seem a little sketchy, you really have nothing to worry about.  There are no laws, either in the US or abroad, that prohibit you from watching Hulu (although I encourage you to check your own laws if you happen to be in a country with severe governmental restrictions, such as communist China).  The only restrictions in this situation are that Hulu can’t make the content available to non-US IP addresses.  The French police aren’t going to arrest you for watching The Simpsons on your laptop in Paris.

Here’s how you do it (this is based on Windows 7):

1. Press the Windows key + R to open the “run” box.
2. Type: ncpa.cpl into the run box and hit enter or click OK
3. On the icon for your current network adapter, RIGHT click and choose Properties.
4. In the list, click once to highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), then click on Properties.
5. Change your DNS settings to the following:
Preferred DNS server: 149.154.158.186
Alternate DNS server: 199.167.30.144
6. Click OK to close that window, then go to Hulu and see if you are able to view anything.

I have tried this with friends in both Europe and South America, and it worked successfully with both of them.  I would like to have someone try it from China, since their government is so restrictive about web content anyway.  However, keep in mind that these blocks are not in place because of any government or law – it’s just an agreement that Hulu has entered into with some of their content providers.

Important note: if you do use this workaround to view Hulu outside the US, make sure that when you are done watching your show(s) that you set your DNS numbers back to what they were before (or blank, if they were blank).  Otherwise, your internet connection will run more slowly when you visit the other websites that you usually view.

See you in 2013!

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