Indian streaming media platform Hotstar first launched in February 2015 with a focus on broadcasting cricket matches. However, it has rapidly grown its roster of content, which now includes movies, television shows, sports, and music.
Hotstar’s popularity has risen to considerable heights in India, especially with the streaming of the Indian Premier League.
Unfortunately, the service is geo-restricted with a varying library of content depending on your country. The largest library is reserved for those with an Indian IP address. If you’re traveling abroad and want to access the Hotstar service in the United States, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, or elsewhere, your best bet is to sign up for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) first.
However, not all VPNs will work with Hotstar.
We’ll explain how we chose the best VPN software for Hotstar further down, but if you’re short on time, here’s our summary list of the 7 best VPNs for Hotstar:
- NordVPN Our top choice for Hotstar. A security-first VPN with impressive unblocking ability, a no-logs policy, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark Best budget option. Plenty of speedy servers to choose from. No connection limit. Top-notch security and privacy features.
- ExpressVPN ExpressVPN is a veteran provider that excels at unblocking services like Hotstar. Solid speeds and a great range of security features.
- CyberGhost Another budget-friendly option with fast servers in India so you can easily unblock Hotstar from abroad.
- IPVanish Fast enough to stream Hotstar from abroad in high quality, plus strong security and a no-logs policy.
- PrivateVPN Small VPN provider with a few servers in India that can access Hotstar from anywhere.
- VyprVPN Reliable VPN servers and good Indian streaming service speeds. A little pricey.
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How to watch Hotstar abroad with a VPN
Setting up VPN software might sound complicated, but it’s actually very easy to do. Just follow the instructions below and you’ll be able to stream Hotstar abroad in no time.
Here’s how to watch Hotstar online outside India:
- Download and install a VPN that works with Hotstar. NordVPN is the most reliable option.
- Open your VPN and pick a server in India.
- Clear your browser cache and cookies to remove location information from previous sessions.
- Open Hotstar and stream your favorite content from any country in the world.
A VPN functions by routing all the internet traffic flowing to and from your device via an encrypted tunnel. Most paid VPN providers offer a wide variety of server locations to choose from; it’s up to you to decide which server the traffic will be routed through. If you select a server in India, the Hotstar website and mobile app will assume you’re geographically located there and grant you access to premium content. Using a VPN also makes it very difficult for your internet service provider (ISP), hackers, government surveillance agencies, and others to monitor your digital footprint.
See also: Best VPN for India
The best VPNs for Hotstar
There are hundreds of VPN services to choose from, but that doesn’t mean all of them offer comparable products. There’s a high degree of variation when you look at factors like network size, security, speed, reliability, customer support, and more. In this section, we’ll highlight the best VPNs for unblocking Hotstar based on the following criteria:
- Possesses the ability to unblock restricted content
- Manages servers in India
- Has a fast and reliable service with minimal downtime
- Uses strong encryption so your location remains hidden
- Allows for multiple simultaneous connections to split the bill
- Incorporates top-notch customer support
Based on these criteria, here is our list of the best VPNs for Hotstar:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is a veteran in the VPN business as it’s been around for well over a decade. The service enables users to select a server based on how they’d like to use it: streaming video, secure privacy, or anti-DDoS.
The NordVPN network comprises more than 5,000 servers spread across 60+ countries, including more than a dozen Indian servers. Best of all, this is the fastest VPN we’ve tested, meaning you won’t have to worry about lag or buffering while watching Hotstar abroad.
NordVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption by default, coupled with 2,048-bit SSL keys. DNS leak protection is enabled and a kill switch is built in. The service adheres to a zero-logs policy which means there’s no storage of user data at all.
Apps are available for both Android and iOS and there are desktop clients for Windows, Linux, and MacOS. A single paid account allows for six simultaneous connections which is more than the industry standard of five.
- Operates 10+ servers in India that are great for streaming Hotstar abroad
- Faster than any of its rivals
- Top-notch security and privacy protection
- Even unblocks Netflix, Hulu BBC iPlayer and more
- Connect 6 devices concurrently
- Desktop app can be sluggish at times
BEST VPN FOR HOTSTAR:NordVPN is our #1 choice. A good all-rounder that also works well with Hotstar. Strong security features and accommodates up to 6 devices. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can try it completely risk-free.
Here’s our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is an excellent choice for anyone looking to watch Hotstar abroad. It has servers in 60+ countries including the US, UK, and India, so you can access whichever content library you’d prefer. Better still, this service is fast enough for you to stream live video without any noticeable lag or buffering. Unlike most of its rivals, Surfshark allows you to connect as many desktop and mobile devices as you like.
Security is one of Surfshark’s biggest strengths. It uses AES 256-bit encryption, protection against WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks, and a kill switch (which stops all traffic if your VPN connection drops suddenly) to keep your activities private at all times. You can sign up anonymously with cryptocurrency and a disposable email address but as Surfshark doesn’t keep any logs, you can’t be traced either way.
Surfshark has apps for Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS, and Linux. It can also be manually configured to work with supported internet routers.
- No connection limit
- Unblocks Hotstar and similar services abroad
- Strong security features and a no-logs policy
- Accepts three different cryptocurrencies
- Relatively small (but growing) network
BEST BUDGET OPTION:Surfshark is a low-cost VPN with plenty to offer. It has excellent unblocking capabilities, no connection limit, and solid speeds, not to mention a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Surfshark here.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN ranks highly because of its choice of military-grade encryption standards and ability to unblock geo-restricted content. The service is speedy, reliable, and has minimal downtime. The company operates more than 3,00 servers spread across 94 countries. There are three locations in India so users shouldn’t face any problems when trying to unblock Hotstar.
This service uses 256-bit AES-CBC as its default encryption protocol, along with HMAC authentication and perfect forward secrecy. It’s fair to say that the standards are ironclad. An internet kill switch is included, which the company refers to as a ‘network lock.’ This feature will temporarily halt all web traffic if the connection drops.
ExpressVPN offers apps for both Android and iOS, as well as a desktop client for Windows and MacOS. One paid account allows for three simultaneous connections.
Operates 12 servers in India
- Operates reliable servers in India that can unblock content to locations abroad
- Fast speeds for streaming Hotstar in HD
- Comprehensive security and privacy features
- A wide range of apps available – Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and certain Wi-Fi routers
- Slightly higher cost than others
SECURE AND PRIVATE:ExpressVPN is a solid choice thanks to its high-speed connections, great unblocking ability, and strong security. Also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost ships with a variety of nifty features including anti-tracking and ad-blocking. It’s also relatively inexpensive and won’t break the bank—appealing to users on a budget. The service is fast and incorporates military-grade encryption parameters.
At the moment CyberGhost offers 5,700 servers across 89 countries. India is included in the list with 20+ servers. We’ve seen the range of servers and countries expand considerably in recent months with no signs of slowing down.
Apps are available for both Android and iOS and there are desktop clients for Windows, MacOS and Linux. A premium subscription grants access to seven devices on a single plan.
- Operates 20+ servers throughout India and unblocks Hotstar with no issues
- Some of the fastest streaming servers we’ve tested
- Budget VPN provider that doesn’t compromise on security and privacy
- Apps are easy to use, secure and offer good privacy protections
- Not suitable for those that need control of advanced features
- Doesn’t work in China or the UAE
Beginner friendly:CyberGhost has a simple set up. Works well with Hotstar. Good option if you are looking for a fast, reliable connection and an easy-to-use interface. Can struggle with unblocking some other popular streaming sites. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is a favorite for users who want blazing connection speeds coupled with stringent privacy measures and strong encryption. In our user review, the service performed admirably when subjected to HD video quality streaming. That makes it a solid choice to access Hotstar.
IPVanish offers a comprehensive global network of servers with more than 1,000 options spread across 60+ countries. Several servers are located in India and there are many other options within Asia.
Encryption standards are robust. IPVanish deploys AES 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048-bit key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. The latter keeps past browsing sessions safely out of reach of any intrusive entities, even in the case of a successful breach.
IPVanish is a completely log-less service — there’s no storage of metadata related to timestamps, server preferences, or other user behavior.
Many users find IPVanish an excellent option for Kodi because it enables them to download the Android APK directly to their device. The interface is remote control-friendly for Kodi devices that lack a keyboard and mouse.
Apps are available for both iOS and Android and there are desktop clients for Windows and MacOS. One paid account allows for unlimited simultaneous connections.
- Operates servers in New Delhi that unblock Hotstar at good speeds
- Preferred by Kodi and Firestick TV for its remote-friendly apps
- Strong encryption makes apps secure
- Customer support is a little slow
- Apps don’t work in China
UNLIMITED DEVICES:IPVanish is great for families and multiple connections. Easy to use with Hotstar and preferred by users who need high standards of user privacy and security. Can’t unblock as many other streaming services as some of its rivals. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN has a smaller network of servers than others on this list, but it compensates for this relative disadvantage by delivering incredible speeds. Servers in India are included so users looking to access Hotstar won’t be disappointed.
In our user review, PrivateVPN streamed 1080p video flawlessly when tested across three different server locations. Online games were similarly quick so it’s clear the service checks all the boxes when it comes to a seamless experience.
PrivateVPN uses excellent encryption protocols (128-bit or 256-bit depending on your choice of protocol) as well as perfect forward secrecy. An automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection are included and no logs are maintained.
A basic plan allows for five simultaneous connections. There are apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- Unblocks Hotstar with servers in Bangalore and Chennai
- Good speeds for streaming
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Very fast speeds
- Support staff are good, but only operate during European business hours
- May need support assistance in locating the best server to choose
GREAT SPEED:PrivateVPN is a good family choice. Unblocks Hotstar. Also good for secure and private browsing and torrenting. Could do with having more servers and lacks 24/7 support. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of PrivateVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
VyprVPN is one of the few VPN services that is able to circumvent China’s Great Firewall—testament to the superior engineering at play. It’s great at bypassing restrictions in general, which is why it occupies a place on our list. VyprVPN offers a global server network encompassing over 700 locations, including options in India.
All secure connections are protected by 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys without perfect forward secrecy, and SHA256 authentication. An internet kill switch is included by default. Users can avail the proprietary Chameleon™ protocol for an additional fee — this will further scramble your internet connection, making it almost impossible for your ISP or surveillance agencies to monitor web activity.
This provider does have a bit of a data retention policy. Specifically, it will store “the user’s source IP address, the VyprVPN IP address used by the user, connection start and stop time, and total number of bytes used.” The data is deleted after 30 days but this still may be a problem for some users.
A basic VyprVPN plan allows for five simultaneous connections. Apps are available for both Android and iOS and there are desktop clients available for Windows and MacOS.
- Fast speeds are perfect for streaming
- Military-grade encryption and logs no identifiable information
- Doesn’t log any personally identifying information
- Slightly more expensive than some VPNs
- Could have more options for advanced configuration
- No cryptocurrency payment options
SOLID PERFORMER:VyprVPN is user friendly. Works well with Hotstar and some other popular streaming services. Good on privacy and security but a bit pricey. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of VyprVPN.
Should I use a free VPN to access Hotstar?
Free VPN offerings are widely available and the no-cost factor is very tempting. But that’s usually where the allure finishes.
The basic premise of paying for a VPN is to ensure you get access to servers optimized for speed, security, and reliability. Free VPNs skimp on this aspect; they’ll offer you a choice of one or two server locations, and regularly subject you to bandwidth throttling and data caps. Expect poor encryption standards that don’t do much to protect your privacy online. And, in some cases, you run the real risk of having your data pilfered and sold to third-party advertisers.
At Comparitech, we don’t recommend using a free VPN to access Hotstar because you’ll receive a fraction of the experience that a paid VPN service offers.
How do I access Hotstar with a VPN?
The local (read: Indian) version of Hotstar incorporates a freemium model. Some of the older content, including some television shows and movies, is free to stream. However, users will have to fork out a fee if they wish to view live sports and the latest blockbusters.
If you try to log in from a different country such as Canada (screenshot below), you’ll be prompted to redirect to a local version of the site. Here, you may be able to access some of the streaming content for free, but this likely won’t include sports or American television shows.
Residents in North America wishing to sign up for Hotstar can avail of the packages on offer as they can sign up with a US or Canadian credit card. If you’re looking to access the Indian version, you’ll need a credit card with an Indian billing address, or a PayTM wallet, which is only available for residents in India.
How to fix Hotstar VPN detected error
In the past, Hotstar would display the following error if it realized you were using a VPN: “Uh-oh, we cannot playback due to geographic restrictions. Disable VPN if it’s accidentally turned on.”
Nowadays, the service will simply refuse to show you any content, without specifically telling you why. This can be confusing, especially since the page just appears to be loading endlessly.
Sometimes, VPN providers have specific servers that are optimized for unblocking a particular website. If this is the case, your VPN’s customer support team should be able to tell you which servers work with Hotstar. Unfortunately, failing this, there’s little you can do other than waiting for a workaround or trying a different service.
What else can I do with a VPN?
The use of a VPN opens up a plethora of options and use cases. This article is meant to showcase how you can spoof your location to access Hotstar, but a VPN can also reliably unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, and more.
See also: How to watch Indian TV abroad
How to watch Hotstar abroad VPN FAQ
Where is Hotstar available?
Hotstar is currently available in four countries: India, the US, the UK, and Canada.
What can I watch on Hotstar?
Hotstar has a huge library of sports, movies, and TV shows. Better still, its content is available in eight different languages (English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, Marathi, and Kannada).
Here are a few of Hotstar's most popular TV shows and movies:
- Chhappad Phaad Ke
- City of Dreams
- Taare Zameen Par
- Geetha Govindam
- Bahut Hua Sammaan
Why doesn't my VPN work with Hotstar?
Sometimes, streaming services upgrade their VPN-detection features. This can lead to brief periods of time where a previously-working VPN will not be able to access them. However, usually, such issues are resolved in a matter of hours. If problems persist, it's best to contact your VPN provider directly and let them know about the issue.
Can I use an Indian proxy server to access Hotstar?
Hotstar has pretty advanced VPN-detection measures built-in and many paid VPNs don’t work with it. For this reason, it’s highly unlikely that a proxy server (especially a free one) would work. Further, these services do nothing for your digital privacy. There’s also no telling what they do with your browsing data; they could even be selling it without your knowledge.
Can Hotstar ban me if I use a VPN?
Hypothetically, you could be banned for using a VPN. Realistically, though, this is extremely unlikely. First and foremost, VPNs are privacy tools, used by millions of people all around the world; if Hotstar banned every user who left their VPN on while streaming, it’d never turn a profit. The most likely worst-case scenario is that you are unable to watch unless you turn the VPN off.
Is it legal to watch Hotstar in Europe with a VPN?
What is the streaming speed of Hotstar?
Although Hotstar doesn’t specifically list a minimum internet speed on its website, we can estimate based on what other streaming services say. For instance, Netflix recommends having at least a 5 Mbps connection to watch HD content. This is echoed by BBC iPlayer and NBC, so we can safely assume that this will be enough. Of course, reducing the video quality can bring your required speed down as low as 1.5 Mbps, so if you’re having trouble, it may be worth trying out standard definition playback.
Why does Hotstar buffer so much?
If you’re having issues with Hotstar buffering, you’re definitely not alone. Usually, excessive buffering is caused by slow or unstable internet speeds, but Hotstar users often find themselves waiting on a show to load even when their internet connection is perfectly fine. To make matters worse, Hotstar’s FAQ simply suggests a handful of basic fixes such as rebooting your router, despite the problem being on its end.
While we don’t have any clear reason as to why Hotstar buffers so often, there is a glimmer of hope. The service was acquired by Disney in 2019, and as such, will likely see an overhaul in the coming years, bringing it technologically in line with other Disney-owned platforms like Disney+ and ESPN+.
Does NordVPN come with a subscription to Hotstar?
No, NordVPN does not come with a subscription to Disney+ Hotstar. NordVPN is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that allows you to unblock Hotstar from anywhere in the world. It has over 30 servers in India so you can stream Hotstar while traveling abroad. What’s more, NordVPN even includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you can try it out with Hotstar risk-free and, if unsatisfied, request a full refund for your money back.
Will using a VPN stop my ISP from throttling Hotstar?
Using a VPN ensures your internet traffic is encrypted and routed through the VPN’s servers, hiding your online activities. This means that your ISP can’t see what you’re doing online and won’t throttle your connection as a result. The advantage of this is that you’ll enjoy faster speeds. The fastest VPNs also have unlimited bandwidth so you won’t experience much lag or buffering while streaming Hotstar.