Is Hulu free? The short answer is no. The longer answer is yes. Hulu is free for some people and free for anyone for the first 30 days. There are several ways to get Hulu for free or nearly free subscriptions with a little effort.
There are three main ways to get Hulu for free besides standard trial. You may be able to get a free Hulu account by checking with your mobile provider to see if it’s included in your plan. You can get Hulu for free by sharing an account with a friend. Or you can get Hulu for free by gaming the free Hulu trial, though this isn’t reliable.
Why do so many people think Hulu is free? Because Hulu was free when it launched in 2007 and you could stream free shows all the way until late 2016. Hulu’s free offerings dwindled prior to moving to an all-subscription service.
As more people ditched cable and got used to paying for streaming services, more people seemed to be willing to pay a few dollars per month to fill in the gaps since so many shows and episodes are often missing from services like Netflix.
The Hulu app is free to download, but it won’t do you any good unless you pay for one of Hulu’s services or take a free trial.
Read: Is Is Hulu is worth it or not?
Hulu is Free for Some People
Adding to the confusion as to whether or not Hulu is free is the fact that some of Hulu’s partners advertise Hulu as a free bonus or perk when you pay for their services.
For example, Verizon Unlimited plans come with complimentary Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+ subscriptions. If you’re on an older Verizon plan, all you need to do to get Hulu for free is switch to a newer Verizon plan. The newer plans cost about the same as the old ones and you may even save money.
Verizon isn’t the only company to offer Hulu for free. Usually, companies offer Hulu or other streaming services for free to attract new customers, but many people are eligible for such offers without knowing it. Sometimes it’s as simple as contacting your wireless or other service provider and opting into the offer. Other times you may need to get a newer plan, sometimes at no additional fee.
With more than 36 million subscribers, you likely have a friend or extended family member that already pays for Hulu. The easiest way to get Hulu for free is for a current subscriber to share their account with you. Hulu only allows up to two devices to stream at the same time. That won’t work if they already share their account with someone else.
If you already pay for another service that your friend doesn’t, such as Netflix, offer to share your account in exchange.
College students can get the basic Hulu service for $1.99 per month, which is about as close to free as you can get. The discounted Hulu service is good for the duration while enrolled in college, up to four years.
Hulu is Free for a Limited Time for Everyone
If you want to binge on a series or try Hulu out to see if it’s the right fit, Hulu is free to try for 30 days. After that, you’ll need to pay $5.99 per month. If you want to get rid of ads, you’ll need to pay $11.99 per month.
If you’re like a lot of people, you probably don’t watch as much live TV as you used to and might be in a situation where you just want to watch a big game or awards show. That’s when you’ll need to look at Hulu +Live TV rather than the basic Hulu service.
If you’ve never subscribed to Hulu before, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial for Hulu + Live TV, but there’s no way to get it for anywhere close to free long term. Hulu + Live TV costs $64.99 per month after that and a few dollars more if you want to get rid of ads from the streaming library.
Technically, Hulu’s free service is for new subscribers only. Hulu won’t let you cancel a free trial and immediately register for a new one. But there’s nothing stopping a different family member in your household from doing so as long as they have a different credit card and email address.
Hulu also offers returning subscribers new free trials though it doesn’t advertise how long you have to wait between free trials. Hulu obviously wants to get paid and keep people from freeloading for too long. While you may be disappointed to learn that Hulu isn’t free, it’s pretty easy to justify the price. You can read our full guide about whether Hulu is worth it or not.
If you do sign up for any of Hulu’s services for free, be sure to set a reminder to cancel before you’re charged after the 30-day trial. Hulu may not send you a reminder about the free period ending and even if it did, it’s likely to end up in your email account’s junk box.
If you’ve watched sports programs or games recently, you’ve probably seen ads like the one above that tries to explain what Hulu offers while acknowledging some of the confusion of what Hulu offers.
Clearly, Hulu wouldn’t be able to pay athletes and celebrities millions of dollars to star in commercials if it was giving away its services for free still.
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