The only team to boast a perfect five-from-five return at this stage of the competition, Ulster ran out comfortable winners in the end thanks to tries from Robbie Diack, man-of-the-match Ruan Pienaar and John Afoa.
However, they were error strewn at times against a gritty Montpellier side that played with plenty of pride and defended aggressively throughout.
Mark Anscombe's men endured a nervy opening and struggled to shake off the French visitors until Afoa's try on the hour mark.
They also lacked a clinical edge late on as they scrambled for a fourth try and the bonus point, with Pienaar being held up by Montpellier replacement Pierre Berard and Michael Allen then had a foot in touch as he tried to stretch over in the corner.
The elusive bonus point would have afforded the province a little more security ahead of next weekend's crucial clash at Welford Road.
Unbeaten Ulster now have 22 points at the top of the pool, with second-placed Leicester travelling to Treviso tomorrow. Anscombe's side will go into the final pool game at least two points ahead of the chasing Tigers.
Swift exchanges after an early Ulster scrum led to the award of a third minute penalty on the Montpellier 22 which was driven just wide by Pienaar, whose kicking had been so precise against Munster seven days earlier.
The visitors' scrum half Eric Escande went one better than his opposite number three minutes later, dipping his kick just over the Ulster crossbar from an identical distance to establish an early lead.
An abrasive palm-off from Dan Tuohy got Ulster well into Montpellier territory on 12 minutes, but the French defence stood up defiantly to block ensuing charges from Afoa, Luke Marshall and Craig Gilroy until a knock on eventually blighted the move.
Then Escande only just missed out on adding a further three points when his penalty fell a metre short of the posts, and out-half Enzo Seponi's drop goal attempt spun marginally wide in the next attack.
These two close shaves seemed to jolt Ulster into life, Jared Payne and Gilroy injecting some tempo into the game with an incisive run apiece through the heart of the Montpellier midfield.
However, it was Paddy Jackson who proved the architect of the first Ulster score, as he knifed a sublime cross-field kick towards the left corner to pick out Diack five metres from the line. The flanker still had plenty to do, using all his upper body strength to withstand Lucas Dupont's tackle and force the ball over the line.
Pienaar converted and three minutes later, the South African star started and finished the move for Ulster's second try.
Following Jackson's lead and kicking over the heads of the retreating French, the Springbok capitalised on a bobbling ball and some hesitation from the defence five metres from home to reclaim his own kick and dive over for the simplest of tries.
Pienaar converted again, but the lead was rapidly reduced when hooker Charles Geli somehow broke clean through a 10-man maul inside the Ulster 22 and supplied lock Robins Tchale-Watchou to ground the try.
Escande added the conversion, before he and Pienaar traded penalties to leave Ulster with a slender 17-13 advantage at the break.
With Roger Wilson on as a half-time replacement for Nick Williams - as well as former Ravenhill favourite Timoci Nagusa, hoping for a winning return to his old stomping ground - Ulster stretched their lead courtesy of another well-struck Pienaar penalty on 43 minutes.
This was cancelled out by Escande five minutes later, before some virtuoso ball-carrying from Chris Henry put Ulster back in control deep in French territory.
After Payne had done well to spoon the ball up off the ground as the attack spread to the left wing, Jackson again opted to go with the boot, but his dink forward fell less kindly for the Ulster runners than it had for Pienaar in the first half, and Montpellier were able to clear.
The move was not without its consequence for the hosts, however, as Gilroy was swiftly replaced by Allen after colliding with Andrew Trimble as they both gave chase.
Despite this setback, the third Ulster try was not long in coming, and again it stemmed from a fortunate bounce.
The alert Afoa gathered a ball which had looped backwards in the Montpellier 22 over the heads of chasers on both sides from a smart Pienaar kick, and the front rower bulldozed his way the short distance to the line.
Pienaar put away the conversion to make it 27-16 to the Ulstermen with an hour gone.
After Escande hit the upright with a 66th minute penalty, a Pienaar charge-down and dribble almost brought about the bonus point try - although the replays suggested that Berard had managed to prevent the score.
Undeterred, Ulster continued to press, and opted for a five-metre lineout on 71 minutes when the French front row popped up at the scrum.
The ball was moved well from the set piece, and winger Allen was unfortunate to let his foot stray just into touch on the left wing as he attempted to touch down.
Ulster's final surge came on 78 minutes, another close range lineout working well until an unfortunate knock on ended hopes of a third consecutive bonus point in the pool stages.