Are you outside of the U.S. because you’re on vacation, on a business trip, or living abroad as an ex-pat? Sadly, if so, HBO Max will not be available to you.
This is because HBO Max is geo-restricted. That means that only viewers inside of the U.S. can access HBO Max’s content, and all others outside of the U.S. are left in the dust.
How can HBO Max tell where you’re located? By checking out your IP address. Every internet-connected device has one. When you try to access HBO Max from outside of the U.S., the video streaming service will see your foreign IP address and block your access.
However, if you use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), the VPN will hide your real IP address and give you a new, local IP address in the U.S., fooling HBO Max into thinking you’re really in the U.S. even if you’re all the way in Ecuador.
VPNs are capable of doing more than just unblocking streaming services. VPNs also cover your internet connection in a layer of encryption, keeping anyone, including governments, Internet Service Providers, employers, and hackers from having any idea what you’re doing online. VPNs are also good for bypassing censorship in restrictive countries.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to the best 5 VPNs for unblocking HBO Max.
How to Use a VPN to Unblock HBO Max
It’s a simple process to unblock HBO Max from abroad.
- Subscribe to a reputable VPN service. (I recommend NordVPN.)
- Download and install the VPN app(s) onto your device(s).
- Log into the VPN service and connect to a VPN server in the U.S.
- Visit the HBO Max website and, if you don’t already have a subscription, sign up for one. (You’ll need a credit or debit card connected to an American home address to do this.)
- Start enjoying HBO Max’s streaming content!
Note: If you have any trouble, try clearing your browser cache and cookies, then refresh the page. If it’s still not working, contact your VPN’s customer support department, because the VPN may have servers that are better for streaming HBO Max than others.
Best VPNs for HBO Max
Here’s a short rundown of the best VPNs for unblocking HBO Max. (There are more detailed reviews below.)
- NordVPN: NordVPN is the best VPN for unblocking HBO Max. The provider offers incredibly fast speeds, fast enough for streaming HD and 4K video, in addition to strong encryption and a strict no-logs policy. App support is supreme.
- Surfshark: Surfshark is my budget-priced pick, capable of unblocking HBO Max at an affordable price. Its speeds are plenty fast enough for streaming HD video, and an unlimited simultaneous connections allowance lets you and your family watch HBO Max in different rooms.
- ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN offers blazingly fast speeds, comprehensive security and privacy protections, and app support for all of the most popular device platforms, but at a pretty hefty price.
- CyberGhost: CyberGhost makes it easy for newbies to the VPN world to get a hang of using VPNs thanks to its easy-to-use apps. The provider doesn’t save any logs of your online activities and offers speedy connections.
- IPVanish: IPVanish offers a privacy protection most other VPNs don’t: By owning and operating all of its servers, it keeps third-party contractors away from your data. Unlimited simultaneous connections are an added bonus.
These factors proved to be most important when it comes to unblocking HBO Max, so I included the pertinent information in my reviews:
- Capable of unblocking HBO Max (critical, of course)
- Connection speeds (fast enough for HD streaming)
- Security and privacy protections
- App support
Here are my top 5 picks for the best VPNs for unblocking HBO Max.
NordVPN is my top choice for unblocking HBO Max because of its fast speeds, excellent app support, and more.
NordVPN has over 5,400 servers located around the world in 59+ countries, with plenty of servers located in the U.S. The provider is adept at unblocking HBO Max in addition to a multitude of other video streaming services, such as HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Those high-speed servers offer speeds fast enough to handle HD and 4K video, making your streaming sessions an enjoyable experience. You’ll have no problem while playing fast-moving games or sharing large files, either. The provider never spoils the fun with bandwidth limitations or data caps.
Military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and ad and tracker blocking all protect your connection while you’re enjoying HBO Max’s excellent content selection.
The provider doesn’t save any logs of your online activities, and the Bitcoin cryptocurrency is readily accepted in return for a subscription.
Considering that video streaming services are available on a variety of devices these days, comprehensive app support is important. NordVPN offers apps for the Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV, and Amazon Fire device platforms. Router support is also available, as are browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
There’s also a smart DNS service called, simply, “SmartDNS.” The service enables you to watch HBO Max on devices like gaming consoles, some smart TVs, and other set-top boxes. However, be warned that the service doesn’t offer encryption for your connection like the VPN service does.
6 devices can connect simultaneously to the service on one set of login credentials.
- Unblocks HBO Max easily
- Extremely fast speeds
- High-end encryption
- Reasonably priced
- Wide app support
- Can’t select a specific server in a country
BEST VPN FOR UNBLOCKING HBO MAX:NordVPN is the obvious top choice for unblocking HBO Max from abroad. The provider’s high-speed servers reliably unblock HBO Max, and its speeds provide enough oomph for an HD experience. Apps are available for all of your favorite devices. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark makes for an excellent VPN option if you’re looking to watch HBO Max from abroad but not looking to spend a lot of money to do so.
Surfshark’s 3,200+ servers are available in 65+ countries, the U.S. included. The provider has no problem unblocking HBO Max.
The provider’s speeds are more than up to streaming HBO Max in HD (depending upon your usual connection speeds, of course). Gaming and file sharing are also a breeze. The provider offers unlimited bandwidth and never imposes daily or monthly data caps.
The provider happily accepts Bitcoin in return for its services and never saves any online activity logs.
Surfshark offers apps for the most popular device platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, macOS, and Amazon Fire. There’s plenty of router support if that’s how you roll, and browser extensions are available for Chrome and Firefox.
Surfshark also offers unlimited simultaneous connections, so large families can all enjoy VPN protection on many devices.
- Very affordable pricing
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- High-end encryption
- HD-capable streaming speeds
- One -month subscription a bit expensive
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark doesn’t charge much for a subscription, so budget-minded HBO Max viewers can rejoice. The provider also offers unlimited simultaneous connections, extensive app support, and comprehensive security and privacy protections. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN offers an excellent service (if you can afford to pay the price).
With 3,000+ servers spread across nearly 95 countries, including the U.S., you’ll have no problem finding a server fit to unblock HBO Max.
ExpressVPN also wins the award for the fastest connection speeds on this list, meaning you can watch HBO Max in HD or 4K. You’ll never have to worry about data caps or bandwidth limitations with this provider.
The provider takes your security seriously, offering government-grade AES 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, IP and DNS leak protection, and a “Lightway” protocol that increases speed in addition to security.
ExpressVPN follows the industry standard of never saving any logs of your internet travels, in addition to accepting the Bitcoin cryptocurrency as subscription payment.
ExpressVPN offers some of the most extensive app support I’ve seen, including apps for the Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, ChromeOS, Android TV, and Amazon Fire device platforms. Browser extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, and even Edge, and the provider’s router support is comprehensive.
ExpressVPN also offers a smart DNS service called “MediaStreamer.” This service allows you to watch HBO Max on devices that don’t support VPN apps, like gaming consoles, some smart TVs, and other set-top boxes. However, the service doesn’t encrypt your connection like the full-blown VPN service does so be aware of that.
Sadly, the provider only allows 5 concurrent connections on a single account.
- Reliably unblocks HBO Max
- Fastest connection speeds on this list
- Strong encryption and privacy protections
- App support for all of your devices
- Expensive subscription fees
- Only 5 concurrent connections allowed
RELIABLE VPN PROTECTION:ExpressVPN is a reliable provider that offers great service all around, except when it comes to subscription fees (which are quite expensive). ExpressVPN provides blazingly fast connection speeds and wide-ranging app support. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
CyberGhost will make an excellent VPN choice for users who are not into complicated bells and whistles, preferring a simple service.
With 6,800+ servers in 89+ countries, CyberGhost offers some of the best global server coverage I’ve seen. Some of the servers based in the U.S. are optimized for streaming video.
The provider offers speedy connections, so you’ll have no trouble streaming in HD. No data caps or bandwidth restrictions to speak of.
CyberGhost is excellent at protecting your security thanks to its bank-grade 256-bit AES encryption, automatic kill switch protection, DNS leak protection, and malicious website and adblocking. There’s also an option where you can force a website to serve up HTTPS versions of their web pages.
The provider follows a strict no-logs policy and accepts Bitcoin as payment.
Easy-to-use apps are available for the following platforms: macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Android TV, and Amazon Fire. The usual Chrome and Firefox browser extensions make the scene, and there’s plenty of support for routers.
Up to 7 devices can connect simultaneously to the provider’s servers on one account.
- Easy-to-use apps
- Streaming-optimized servers
- Wide app support
- Fast speeds
- Struggles to work properly in restrictive countries
- Doesn’t unblock all streaming services
BEST VPN FOR NEWBIES:CyberGhost ensures that your VPN experience will be a simple one thanks to its easy-to-use apps that offer one-click protection. High-speed servers optimized for streaming enhance your HBO Max-viewing experience. A 45-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
IPVanish offers unlimited simultaneous connections, in addition to an extra privacy protection.
IPVanish’s server network is not very vast, comprising 1,600+ servers in 55+ countries. That said, there are servers in the U.S., so you should be good on the HBO Max front.
This is also where the extra privacy protection comes in. The provider owns and operates all of its servers instead of leasing them, meaning no third-party contractors have any access to your data.
The provider’s speeds, while not the fastest of this bunch, will provide enough power to ensure an excellent streaming experience. No data caps or bandwidth limitations to worry about here.
IPVanish provides government-grade AES 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and an obfuscation feature that hides the fact that you’re using a VPN.
While IPVanish follows an industry-standard no-server-logs-ever policy, the provider doesn’t accept Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency as subscription payment options.
IPVanish’s native app support includes offerings for the Android, Windows, iOS, macOS, ChromeOS, and Amazon Fire device platforms. Manual setup is required for Linux and Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately, there are no browser extensions available, but you can set up the service on a multitude of router makes and models.
The provider offers an unlimited simultaneous connections allowance, meaning you can connect all of your family and friends to HBO Max on separate devices on one account if you’d like.
- Keeps third-party contractors away
- Solid security protections
- Unlimited concurrent connections
- No Bitcoin payment option
- No browser extensions
GREAT FOR FAMILIES:IPVanish may not offer a Bitcoin payment option or browser extensions, but the fact that it keeps third-party contractors away from your personal info is significant. Unlimited simultaneous connections are a definite plus. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of IPVanish.
Methodology for Assessing VPNs for HBO Max
It’s important to consider several factors when deciding upon a VPN service provider for use with HBO Max. Not all VPN providers offer the same features, and you have to choose a VPN that has what you need in order to view HBO Max.
These are the most important aspects of a VPN to consider when choosing a VPN for HBO Max.
- Speed: Fast connection speeds allow you to watch HBO Max in high definition and without much, if any, buffering, making it a critical factor to consider. All of the VPN service providers on my list offer superb speeds, as proven by their scores in my most recent connection speed tests.
- Server Network: You need servers in the U.S. to watch HBO Max. In addition, a large number of servers is a boon, as no individual server will be overloaded with users. Look for both of these things when deciding upon a VPN for HBO Max.
- Value: Most users don’t want to overspend on a VPN, especially if that VPN doesn’t offer the features and functionality they need to watch HBO Max and conduct other online activities. That’s why I ensured that each VPN I recommend offers an excellent value, given what they offer.
- Ease of Use: An easy-to-use app will make it simple to connect to a VPN server in your preferred location and get you started on your HBO Max streaming adventures. Plus, apps for myriad devices mean you can stream on whichever device suits your fancy. Each VPN on my list offers simple apps for a goodly number of devices.
- Security and Privacy: Never forget that you’re in danger when you’re on the internet, and you need formidable digital security and privacy protections to keep you safe. A VPN should offer, at least, banking-level encryption, an automatic kill switch and DNS/IP leak protection, if not more. Also look for a no-logs policy, as that means that the VPN is not monitoring or recording your online activities.
- Streaming: You’re probably a fan of streaming more than just HBO Max. That’s why I assessed the VPNs on my list for streaming all kinds of video streaming services. Not only are the VPNs on my list capable of giving you an excellent experience while streaming HBO Max, but also for streaming Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and more.
Check out more information about my VPN testing methodology.
Can I Use a Free VPN with HBO Max?
It’s not the best idea to use a free VPN with HBO Max.
You should know that free VPNs don’t often offer support for more than Windows or macOS devices, leaving you out if you want to watch on devices like iOS, macOS, Linux, or any streaming TV platform.
Plus, free VPN service providers like to make you wait in a queue before you can connect to any of the provider’s servers. Then, once you are allowed to connect, you’ll be faced with few server options or no option at all. Better hope you’re connected to a U.S. server.
Even if you are connected to a U.S. server, streaming services like HBO Max do their darndest to block VPN IP addresses from connecting to their content. Unlike paid providers, free VPNs don’t have the resources to replace their IP addresses as they’re blocked, so you’re unlikely to be able to access HBO Max.
This is in addition to the fact that freebie VPNs will often throttle your connection speeds to save bandwidth for their paying customers, and also impose daily or monthly data caps on your online activities. So much for your bingeing session.
Not to mention, free VPN service providers make money not by charging you a subscription fee, but by logging information about your online activities and selling it to interested third parties, such as advertisers (or worse). You’ll also often find unwanted ads and tracking cookies inserted into your browsing sessions.
Do you really want to deal with all of these problems? Free VPN providers might seem attractive on the surface, but once you look at the issues they pose, I’m sure you’ll want to opt for a paid provider, such as low-cost NordVPN or Surfshark.
When Can I Watch HBO Max in My Country?
HBO Max has focused on offering their service in the U.S., launching in May 2020 and offering a free, ad-supported membership in 2021.
While there are plans to launch the service and offer localized programming in Latin America and Europe in the future, that has yet to happen.
There is some hope: HBO recently partnered with Bell Media and Sky, suggesting that HBO Max will expand to those countries. However, don’t expect this to occur for a couple of years at least.
Shows Available on HBO Max
Here are some of the big-name shows available on HBO Max (although it may vary by region).
- The Big Bang Theory
- Doctor Who
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
- Game of Thrones
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Sesame Street
- The Sopranos
- South Park
Watching HBO Max from abroad doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Just subscribe to a VPN, like my top pick, NordVPN.
NordVPN can reliably unblock HBO Max from nearly any country. The provider’s connection speeds let you watch HBO Max in HD or 4K, and there’s app support for almost all of your favorite connected devices. Customer support is only ever a click away, and NordVPN’s prices are very attractive.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.