5 ways to troubleshoot Hulu when it isn’t working

Hulu
You may need to try a few different fixes if your Hulu stream isn’t working. Shutterstock
  • If Hulu is not working, there are several simple ways to troubleshoot any problems.
  • If you confirm that the Hulu service is working by checking Downdetector, you can close and restart the app to see if that fixes the problem.
  • You should also check to see if Hulu works on another device; if not, you might have an issue with your internet connection or Wi-Fi speed.
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Like any internet service, Hulu is susceptible to an array of possible problems, any of which can keep you from catching up with the latest episode of “What We Do In the Shadows.” If Hulu is not working for you, here are the most common troubleshooting steps to get back up and running as quickly as possible.

What to do when Hulu is not working

It’s often hard to know what is causing a glitch with Hulu (or any other streaming service) so you should try each of these potential fixes, starting with the simplest and easiest and then working your way through more complex or less likely solutions.

Check to see if Hulu is down

Hulu is generally reliable with a very high “uptime,” but if you get an error or can’t connect, the first thing you may want to do is see if the service is offline. If it is offline, you just need to wait a while and try again later. The easiest way to check is to go to Hulu’s network status page at Downdetector. You can also just search for “Is Hulu down” in a Google search.

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Downdetector should be your first stop if Hulu is unexpectedly not working. Dave Johnson

Close the Hulu app and restart it

If you’re trying to watch Hulu on a mobile device, the Hulu app might be misbehaving. To solve that potential issue, force the Hulu app to completely close, then launch the app again. If you need a refresher, here is how to close an app on Android and close an app on iOS. If you’re trying to use Hulu on a smart TV or streaming player like Roku, you can close and restart the app there as well, though the steps will vary depending upon what device you own.

Closing an app on iPhone.
Swipe upward to close the Hulu app on most mobile devices. Dave Johnson

If that doesn’t fix the problem, then you might want to try restarting the device (here’s how to restart your iPhone), especially if you have any suspicion that the phone or tablet itself is misbehaving.

Not working anywhere? Check your WiFi

If Hulu isn’t working, the easiest way to see if the problem lies on the device you’re using or elsewhere is to try watching it on another device. Hulu not working on your TV? Start the Hulu app on your phone. Or try watching it in a browser on your laptop. If Hulu isn’t working on two different devices – but Downdetector doesn’t report any issues – then your WiFi might be the culprit. Reboot your WiFi router and cable modem (turn them both off for about two minutes, then turn them back on) and make sure you have a strong WiFi signal on whatever device you are trying to watch Hulu

Clear your device’s app cache

If you check Hulu on a second device and it’s working elsewhere – just not on the device you really want to use even after starting the app – then you might have a problem with your cache.

If you are using an Android phone or tablet, you can easily clear the cache. The steps might vary slightly depending upon which version of Android you are running, but here’s the general procedure:

1. Start the Settings app.

2. Tap Apps & Notifications.

3. Go to the list of apps (you might need to tap See all apps) and tap Hulu.

4. Tap Storage & cache.

5. Tap Clear cache.

The app settings screen on Android.
Clearing the cache may resolve a problem with Hulu not working. Dave Johnson

If you’re using an iPhone, there’s no way to clear the cache without uninstalling the app, so go ahead and do that – uninstall Hulu from your iPhone, and then reinstall it from the App Store and sign back into your Hulu account.

Dealing with intermittent audio or video problems

There are a few reasons Hulu’s audio or video might be inconsistent, stuttering, lagging, or cutting in and out. Start by making sure that audio and video works properly in another app, outside of Hulu. For example, if it always plays fine on YouTube, the problem might be limited to Hulu.

For a more widespread problem, make sure that your internet connection is fast enough to accommodate streaming video. Use a service like Google’s Internet Speed Test to see how fast your connection is. Your connection needs to be at least 3Mbps for standard definition video, but ideally you want 16Mbps or more. There are a handful of ways you can speed up your internet connection.

Google Internet Speed Test in Chrome.
Assess your device’s internet speed to see if that’s the cause of your Hulu playback issues. Dave Johnson

If your internet connection and WiFi speed don’t appear to be to blame and you are having trouble with Hulu on your television, it might be your HDMI connection, especially if you’re using a streaming media player. Replace the HDMI cable and try again.

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