We take a look at the best VPNs for HBO Go so you can watch abroad, when outside of the United States.
HBO Go is a great way for HBO subscribers to watch all of their favorite movies and TV shows while away from home. That is, unless, you’re traveling outside the United States. Even with a premium cable subscription that includes HBO, the HBO Go streaming service cannot be accessed from any country other than the US. Attempting to do so will result in an error message: “Not in Service Area” or “To access HBO GO, you must reside within the fifty states of the United States of America.”
If you reside in this area and are still experiencing difficulties, please contact your television provider.
But there is a workaround. By using a VPN, you can get an American IP address that will make HBO Go believe you are located within the US. Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a remote server in a location of your choosing. By connecting to a VPN server in the US, you can easily unblock HBO Go and watch Season 7 of Game of Thrones from anywhere in the world.
If you’re not interested in reading the rest of the article, here are the top five best VPNs for watching HBO Go:
We ranked our list of the best VPNs for HBO Go based on the following criteria:
- Servers in the United States
- Can reliably unblock HBO Go
- Fast, reliable performance
- Apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android
- Quick and competent customer support
ExpressVPN operates servers in well over a dozen locations in the US alone, and in 94 countries worldwide. You really can’t go wrong here. Speeds are fast. Security is cutting edge. The company keeps no logs of your activity or IP address. Live customer support is available all day every day, so if HBO has blocked a server, just ask the staff which one to connect to. Not only can ExpressVPN unblock HBO Go, it also works with US Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. Apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and even Linux are easy to use so you can start streaming the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver within minutes of signing up.
Special offer: Get 3 months free with the ExpressVPN annual plan, including a 30-day no-questions-asked guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
IPVanish owns, rather than rents, its huge global network of servers. That includes eight locations in the United States that you can connect to when you want to stream an episode of High Times. You can view a server’s current load and capacity right in the app. IPVanish has a zero logs policy, meaning it doesn’t record any of its users’ activity or connection logs. 256-bit AES encryption will keep all of your traffic in secure tunnel. Customer service usually replies within four hours of submitting a ticket. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
EXCLUSIVE for Comparitech Readers: Save up to 60% on your IPVanish subscription. That comes with a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full IPVanish review.
If you want to be sure to catch the latest episode of Westworld before it gets spoiled on Facebook or Twitter, NordVPN has your back. You can live chat support or just check the knowledge base on the company website to find out which servers work best for a particular streaming service. It operates over 700 servers in the United States alone. It’s also capable of unblocking Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer among others. NordVPN touts a true zero logs policy and uses military grade encryption on all OpenVPN connections. You can connect up to six devices at the same time on a basic subscription. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
Best value: Subscribe for two years and knock 72% off the monthly price to pay just $3.29 per month.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
VyprVPN is another top choice for Americans living abroad. Even if you’re in China, the service can unblock HBO Go in addition to Netflix and Hulu. For an added fee, you can avail of the proprietary Chameleon protocol to further obfuscate your connection to ensure that your ISP can’t detect whether or not you’re using a VPN. Only the best encryption standards are used, although VyprVPN does record the user’s source IP address when they connect. Other than that, privacy and security are airtight. Live chat support is available on the website if you run into any issues when trying to stream Season 2 of Insecure. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
Free trial deal: Use VyprVPN at no charge for three days, then get 50% OFF your first month if you want to continue.
Read our full review of VyprVPN.
PrivateVPN, not to be confused with Private Internet Access, is a relative newcomer in the VPN space. Despite that, it’s proven itself to be a competent unblocker of streaming services like HBO Go and Netflix. Live chat is available during business hours. PrivateVPN has a smaller network of servers than others on this list, but don’t let that dissuade you–it ranked near the top in our speed tests. A single account lets you connect up to six devices simultaneously so everyone in the house can watch Veep at the same time. The service keeps no logs. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
Comparitech readers get a 56% discount plus 5 months extra free with the annual plan.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
Avoid free VPNs
Free VPNs abound, but HBO Go users should probably avoid them. HBO takes an aggressive stance towards VPNs and frequently blocks them. Even if you manage to find a free VPN server that works, it probably won’t last.
Free VPNs typically cap data and limit bandwidth, meaning you’ll either get cut-off mid-viewing or be forced to endure low quality video and long buffer times.
Many free VPNs are out to collect your personal data and sell it to advertising companies. Some even inject tracking cookies and advertisements into your browser. This is a huge violation of privacy and defeats the purpose of using a VPN.
VPNs to avoid
One of the core purposes of using a VPN, other than unblocking streaming services, is to improve privacy. Unfortunately, some big names in the VPN space have done just the opposite.
A recent complaint filed at the FTC alleges Hotspot Shield, which operates both free and paid VPN services, has been injecting tracking cookies into users’ browsers without their consent, then selling the data it harvested from those cookies to third party advertisers. To make matters worse, the complaint also says HTTP requests were hijacked, and users were sent to affiliate sites instead.
Hola is a peer-to-peer proxy service posing as a VPN. Instead of using centralized servers like everything else on this list, it uses the idle bandwidth of its users’ computers. This can run up your data usage, make you responsible for other people’s activity, and sacrifice your online privacy. At one point, the company infamously turned all of its users computers into a giant botnet used to carry out massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on websites.
HBO Go vs HBO Now
Note that HBO Go is a separate service from HBO Now. HBO Go requires a premium cable subscription that includes HBO. HBO Now is a standalone streaming service that doesn’t require cable. If you have an HBO Now subscription and are traveling abroad, these VPNs should work for you as well, or you can check out our list of the best VPNs for HBO Now.
HBO Go VPN for Roku, Chromecast, and Fire TV
The apps from the VPN providers in our list will work on a web browser like Google Chrome or Firefox, but you may run into issues when using the HBO Go app on a smart TV, set-top media streaming box, or the mobile app on Android and iPhone. HBO Go can force its app to use different DNS servers than what the VPN uses, which gives away the device’s true location.
If you’re having difficulties, we recommend watching on a web browser instead of the app. Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and other set-top boxes don’t have web browsers, so you need to set up the VPN on a router. You can either do this on your home wifi router if it supports VPNs, or configure a virtual router on your laptop. We’ve got tutorials for how to configure a VPN-enabled virtual wifi router using Windows and MacOS.