How To Watch Hulu From Anywhere With Hotspot Shield

Hotspot_ShieldIf you live in the United States then you probably won’t get the Hulu.com reference, however if you live anywhere else, chances are you know exactly what I mean. 

For those not familiar, Hulu is a popular video playback site from NBC that streams many mainstream television shows right to your browser.  The biggest problem with the site is that it blocks access for users outside the continental United States.  Hulu isn’t the only site in the world that does this either.  Many sites restrict access based on the IP Address that you are currently connected with.

This is where Hotspot Shield comes to the rescue.  Hotspot Shield is a free software download that allows you to use the internet anonymously – for both Windows and Mac computers.  It works by providing you with a different IP address than you would normally get, allowing you to bypass country-type restrictions. 

Here’s a look at just how easy it is to use.

Start by downloading the installer from the Hotspot Shield web site.  The installation uses the standard wizard-type interface and I only identified two noteworthy items during the install.  The first is that you should uncheck the box that says “Include the Hotspot Shield Community Toolbar”.  Unless you are one of those people that loves adding more toolbars to your browser, this will provide you with very little additional value. 

Hotspot_Shield

The second item I noted was that during the install you will see one or more Windows Security prompts that let you know that Windows can’t verify the publisher of the driver software it is installing.  To complete the installation, click “Install this driver software anyway”.

Hotspot_Shield

Once the wizard completes, a browser window will open up taking you to the “Invite a Friend!” page.  You are in no way obligated to do this.  In fact, you can probably just close that browser window and continue.

Hotspot_Shield

You should now see a little green shield in your system tray that looks like: Hotspot_Shield

It’s possible that it will be red depending on the current connection state (green is connected, red is disconnected).  If the shield is red, you can right-click on the icon and the pop-up menu will give you the option to connect.  The menu also allows you to look at the configuration properties and disconnect the Hotspot Shield.

Hotspot_Shield

Clicking on Properties in the menu will open a browser window and load the status page.  This page shows the current state of the shield and the current IP Address being assigned.  From here you can also disconnect the shield, or click on Show Config for more options and information.  The extended config screen shows you how much data has moved in and out since Hotspot Shield last connected and the date and time of the last connection.

Hotspot_Shield   7_Hotspot_Shield

So you are now good to go.  Reloading the Hulu.com site produces more favorable results than last time.  The message about “our video library can only be streamed within the United States” will be replaced by a message that tells you that advertising can’t be loaded.  Amusingly enough, they offer a link to get support if you can’t see the ads.

Hotspot_Shield

After 30 seconds, the ad message is removed and the video playback begins.  The only downside to Hotspot Shield is that it forces an advertisement across the top of the web pages you load while connected.  I can deal with that though, simply scroll the page down.  :)

Hotspot_Shield

Well, there you have it.  Hotspot Shield does a good job at helping you avoid country discrimination, but it has some other great benefits as well.  If you are prone to using public networks (e.g. hotels, coffee shops both wired and wireless) then you can use this utility to help keep your data safe and secure.

The software essentially creates a VPN (virtual private network) between your computer and the AnchorFree Internet gateway.  The tunnel created prevents hackers and would-be snoops from viewing your emails, instant messages, credit card information and anything else you happen to transmit. 

What other tools do you use to make your Internet use more secure and anonymous?

15 comments

    • Hey reg4c, It’s a common misconception that Hotspot Shield is spyware/adware because some anti-spyware apps report it as such. Hotspot does not trigger any of my security software and I have read numerous posts about the issue.

      If you have any information that undoubtedly proves Hotspot to be spyware, please let us know. Thanks for the comments!

  1. Huh, fortunately I’ve never had to resort to this. It sucks how the politics behind websites, music and all other forms of entertainment blocks this type of content outside of the United States.

    This looks like a great app to keep handy.

    • It’s true, the politics are simply ridiculous. I’m glad that people are out there making applications like this so that the everyday people don’t need to get crushed under the weight of governments and corporations.

      Thanks for the comments!

  2. When I try to download Hotspot Shield, I get a download box that says it’s a RAR file. What should I do? I can’t open RAR files.

    Thanks.

    • You’ll need to get a program such as 7zip to extract the files. WinRAR is the most common program used, but it isn’t free (while 7zip is).

  3. Just an FYI: I used this method in Japan. It was great for about two months, then it mysteriously stopped working.

    So, results may vary.

  4. Unfortunally HULU recordnize the Hotspot Shield IPs and blocks it. No more watching from outside US. :-(

  5. I’ve now used Hotspot a couple of months with good results. OK, streaming is a bit slow, but at least it gives access to US clips.
    Now, is there a way to get an IP from other countries? I live in Europe, in a neighboring country they have lots of blocked material, it’s infuriating.
    I thought, if Hotspot can fix an American IP, can it be configured to get some European IPs too?
    Or is there some other program, as easy to use?
    Thanks in advance!

  6. hai friends, its not possible to install hotspot to my pc. whenever i try it shows me a msg diagnostic errors, plz help

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