In today’s globalized world, it’s frustrating to be held back by digital borders. For example, you’re nestled in a foreign hotel room, hoping to unwind with your favorite HBO Max show, only to be confronted by that dreaded message:
HBO Max’s region-lock mechanism will still trip you up overseas even if you’re a bona fide subscriber from a supported region. So, how do you break free? The answer lies in a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This powerful tool encrypts your connection and tricks the system into believing you’re lounging at home.
But before you rush to download any VPN, here’s the rub: HBO Max is crafty. It’s adept at spotting and blocking most VPN connections. That’s where our expertise steps in. At Comparitech, we’ve rolled up our sleeves and rigorously tested multiple VPN providers for HBO Max. Discover the results of our extensive research and testing. Get ready to reclaim your entertainment, wherever in the world you might be.
Later we’ll go into some depth on each of the VPN providers, but for anyone short on time, here’s a summary of the best VPNs for HBO Max:
- NordVPN: Our top VPN recommendation for HBO Max! Fast and versatile with strong encryption and security. Has apps for most streaming devices and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly for HBO Max.
- Surfshark: The best value VPN. Supports unlimited devices and has a fair subscription price. Works with lots of popular streaming platforms including HBO Max.
- ExpressVPN: Excellent speeds make for a great streaming experience. Can overcome geographical restrictions and works great with HBO Max. Also has 24/7 live chat support.
- CyberGhost: Has specific servers for streaming at no extra cost. The most extensive server network of any VPN on this list and has strong security features.
- IPVanish: No problems streaming HBO Max or most other popular streaming services. Speeds fast enough to stream HBO Max’s content in HD.
- PrivateVPN: A simple VPN that‘s suitable for securely bypassing HBO Max geo-blocks. Works with a wide range of platforms and is a reliable streaming VPN.
- Atlas VPN: One of the fastest VPNs tested. Works with HBO Max, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more. Unlimited simultaneous connections per account.
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There are so many VPN providers online, it can be very difficult to figure out which one will unblock the services you want and provide a secure connection. We researched the best VPNs for HBO max based on the following criteria:
- Can help you securely access HBO Max
- Fast speeds for HD video streams
- Helpful customer support
- Strong privacy and security
- Comes with a money-back guarantee
Best VPNs for HBO Max – Our hands-on review
We’ve tested and compared the most important features of the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for HBO Max.
No value NordVPN Surfshark ExpressVPN CyberGhost IPVanish PrivateVPN AtlasVPN Website NordVPN.com Surfshark.com ExpressVPN.com Cyberghost.com IPVanish.com PrivateVPN.com atlasvpn.com HBO Max reliability 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Streaming reliability Excellent Excellent Good Good Good Good Good Devices Supported Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, Routers Windows, MacOS, Linux (command line), iOS, Android, Smart TVs Routers Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Avg Speed (Mbps) 100+ Mbps 100+ Mbps 100+ Mbps 100+ Mbps 100+ Mbps 39 Mbps 100+ Mbps Best deal (per month) $2.99
SAVE up to 69% + 3 months FREE
Save 82% + Get 4 Months FREE
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free
SAVE 84% on the 2 year plan + 4 months free
SAVE 74% on the 2 yr plan
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
SAVE 86% on a 2 year plan + 6 months free
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
We had no issues unblocking HBO Max with NordVPN. It’s the fastest VPN we’ve tested this year, so you’ll have no problem streaming high-quality video. It’s a trustworthy streaming VPN with strong security and good customer support.
NordVPN also works with a wide range of streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and Fire TV. You can connect up to six devices at once.
- Can securely access HBO Max from abroad
- Robust security features
- Works anywhere in the world
- Excellent security and encryption standards
- Excellent connection speeds
- A few unreliable servers
BEST FOR HBO MAX:NordVPN is our #1 choice. Works great with HBO Now and similar services. Best in class security and privacy. Extremely fast. All plans include a risk-free a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a relatively new provider with an emphasis on unblocking streaming services. We were able to unblock HBO Max on our first attempt when connected to a US server. Speeds are solid, more than enough to stream HD quality video, despite not having the extensive server network of some of the competition.
Connections are well-secured and Surfshark keeps no logs of your online activity. Live chat support is available on Surfshark’s website.
Best of all, Surfshark has no device limit, so you can connect as many laptops and smartphones as you want on a single plan. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and Fire TV.
- Works with HBO Max
- Fast enough for HD streaming
- Unlimited devices
- Great set of security features
- Keeps no logs
- Has the occasional slow server
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is affordable, able to unblock HBO Max from anywhere, and a great choice for sharing thanks to its lack of a connection limit. It even offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full SurfShark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is a solid choice. We were able to unblock HBO Max without any trouble. Just install the app, enter your verification code, and connect. Speeds are fast enough for the highest quality streams that HBO Max has to offer. Should you encounter any issues, 24/7 live chat support stands ready to help.
ExpressVPN can securely access and overcome geo-restrictions on a wide range of other streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. It works on a wide range of devices, including Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Fire TV, and certain wi-fi routers. Up to five simultaneous connections are allowed.
- Can access HBO Max
- High speeds for downloading and video streaming
- One of the best all-around VPNs
- Solid privacy and security
- Slightly higher cost than others
- Doesn’t provide much control over advanced features
GREAT EVERYDAY VPN:ExpressVPN is quick and reliable. It works with HBO Max from any country. Provides impressive security and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost has thousands of servers, including streaming-optimized servers. The service lets you choose a server based on which streaming service you want to unblock instead of guessing which locations might work. HBO is on that list, which takes the guesswork out of unblocking it.
Speeds are above average and should be more than enough for HD streams. CyberGhost has dedicated servers for securely accessing a wide range of streaming sites including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer.
You can connect up to seven devices at once. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Fire TV.
- Works with HBO Max
- Decent, reliable speeds
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Doesn’t reliably work in China or UAE
- May be less suitable for advanced users
EASY UNBLOCKING:CyberGhost makes it easy to unblock HBO Max and offers a reliable, safe service. Comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is a veteran VPN provider that offers fast speeds and strong security. It works great with HBO Max, and is a reliable VPN Netflix and a few other streaming services. You’ll also get plenty of digital security and privacy protections with this no-logs provider.
Any number of simultaneous connections are allowed, making IPVanish a solid option for a family or group of housemates with a lot of streaming devices. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Fire TV (it’s actually one of our favorite VPNs for Fire TV).
- Bypasses restrictions on HBO Max
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Use any number of devices simultaneously
- Apps don’t work in China
- No live customer support, email and ticket support only
SECURE STREAMING:IPVanish offers a reliable VPN service that can access HBO Max. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN is a smaller but premium provider that packs a big punch. In addition to HBO Max, it works well with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. It’s one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, which means you can stream high quality video without buffering or noticeable speed drops. Live chat support is available if you need it.
You can connect up to six devices at once. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Fire TV.
- Works with HBO Max
- Impressive speeds
- Works with a wide range of streaming services
- Small number of servers to choose from
FAST SPEEDS:PrivateVPN is a simple-to-use VPN that can access HBO Max from anywhere. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Atlas VPN averaged 247 Mbps in our latest speed tests, making it one of the fastest VPNs for streaming. When combined with this VPN’s ability to bypass restrictions and provide an IP address across the world, you’ve got a great option for traveling abroad, be it on vacation or business. We’ve tested Atlas VPN against a wide range of streaming services and found it works not only with HBO Max but also other popular streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
It may be that you have a lot of devices to secure or that you plan on sharing your VPN with family. Atlas VPN is highly suitable for this because it allows unlimited simultaneous connections. This secure service offers 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. In fact, it even has an ad, malware, and tracker blocker and MultiHop servers for an additional layer of encryption.
Secure all of your devices at once with Atlas VPN’s apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. In order to use this VPN with Linux or your home wifi router, you’ll need to set this up manually.
- Consistent unblocking of streaming services such as HBO Max
- High-speed connections and unlimited bandwidth
- Secure all of your devices at once under a single account
- MultiHop servers encrypt your data twice for extra security
- Only offers a little over 700 servers
FAST SPEEDS:Atlas VPN combines high-speed connections with strong unblocking ability. Watch HBO Max in high resolution without lag. Connect as many devices as you want at the same time. Includes an ad blocker. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Atlas VPN review.
How to Watch HBO Max With a VPN
Using a VPN to watch HBO Max is pretty straightforward. Once you’ve connected to a VPN server in a supported HBO Max country, streaming the platform from anywhere is a breeze.
Here’s how to watch HBO Max with a VPN:
- Sign up for one of the VPNs in this guide. We particularly recommend a NordVPN subscription.
- Download their app and install it on your device.
- Run the VPN app and select a server location in the United States or another supported country. Hit the Connect button.
- Now, you’ll need to sign up for HBO Max. This requires a US payment method with a US-based billing address.
- Once you’re signed up and the VPN connection is established, open HBO Max and start watching!
If you’re using one of the VPNs we recommend, but HBO Max is blocking it, try these troubleshooting steps:
– Clear your browser cache and cookies
– Try a different VPN server
– Contact your VPN provider’s customer support
– Try a different device or watch it in a browser
If none of the above works, let us know in the comments. Note that all of the VPNs we recommend come with generous money-back guarantees, so you can always switch to a different provider if your first choice doesn’t succeed.
Our HBO Max VPN testing methodology
Hundreds of VPNs are on the market, and they were not all created equal. To enjoy watching HBO Max on vacation. You require specific features, such as fast servers. However, a solid VPN should also provide robust data security and privacy.
At Comparitech, we use a specialist VPN testing methodology to test market-leading VPN services. This lets us compare the market and recommend VPNs for specific use cases. Below, we have included a list of the most important criteria we looked for when recommending VPNs for HBO Max.
- Fast servers. We test VPNs server speeds to ensure that they are fast enough to stream HBO in HD. We also look for a wide choice of US servers that work to access popular services, including HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, and more.
- Apps for all platforms. We check that each VPN is compatible with a wide range of devices. This ensures that you can install the VPN and use it to gain privacy or to watch HBO Max on Windows, macOS, iOS, or an Android device.
- Fully featured apps. We look for versatile VPN services with apps that are packed with useful features. We look for a kill-switch, obfuscation, split tunneling, P2P compatibility, Smart DNS, malware protection, ad blocking, and any other useful features that make the VPN better value for money.
- Strong security. We look for VPNs that have strong privacy policies and security benefits. This includes testing for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks – as well as checking that they implement the encryption to a high standard.
- Superb customer care. We only recommend VPNs with live chat and email support. This allows you to get help with setting up and using the VPN at any time of day.
- Outstanding accessibility. We only recommend VPNs with a reliable global server network that has been tested and works to access a wide range of international services. This ensures the VPN is good for bypassing censorship and gaining online freedom anywhere in the world.
Updated Stats for HBO Max 2023
As of 2023, HBO Max has achieved several milestones and notable statistics:
- HBO and HBO Max reached 95 million global subscribers in 2022, with a goal of reaching 150 million by the end of 2025.
- HBO and HBO Max reached 50 million subscribers in the United States in 2022.
- HBO Max’s annual in-app revenue increased from $119.9 million in 2020 to $534.5 million in 2022.
- The average revenue per user (ARPU) for HBO and HBO Max declined from $11.72 in 2020 to $11.09 in 2023.
- In the first quarter of 2023, the company reported 97.6 million global subscribers across HBO, HBO Max, and Discovery+.
Some of the new content on HBO Max in October 2023 includes season 2 of The Gilded Age, season 2 of Our Flag Means Death, and season 2 of 30 Coins.
HBO Max VPN FAQs
What countries is HBO Max available in?
HBO Max is available in more than 40 countries including the US, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and Denmark. However, its international expansion is slated to continue, with over a dozen additional European countries gaining access to this service in 2022 alone.
Can I use a free VPN to unblock HBO Max from abroad?
We strongly recommend against using a free VPN to watch HBO Max. HBO has historically been one of the few streaming services to actually penalize users who they catch using VPNs, so it’s best to invest in one that works. If you use a free VPN, it’s more likely to have been blocked, and HBO could suspend or terminate your account.
Furthermore, free VPNs usually have slow speeds that are not suitable for streaming high quality video. They often have data caps or bandwidth limits. Many are even known to spy on users’ online activity or contain malware. By using a free VPN, not only will you have a poorer streaming experience, but you could be compromising your online security.
How is HBO Max different from HBO Go and HBO Now?
HBO Now and HBO Go are two deprecated streaming services which have now been fully replaced by HBO Max. While these services only allowed you to watch HBO content, HBO Max carries shows and movies from a wide range of networks and studios.
Is using a VPN with HBO Max legal?
Yes. Using a VPN to access your HBO Max account while on vacation is not illegal. You are already a paying subscriber and you are entitled to watch your account. Using a VPN to pretend to be back home simply provides you with that ability while you are traveling outside of the country temporarily.
That said, it is worth noting that using a VPN to access an HBO account from abroad is technically in breach of HBO’s terms of service. Thus, you could theoretically have your account disabled. The good news is that HBO Max does not go after paying subscribers, and there is no precedent of HBO Max account holders having their account shut down for VPN use.
Instead, HBO Max works hard to block IP addresses associated with VPN providers. This prevents the VPN’s users from accessing HBO from abroad. Due to these VPN blocks, there are only a few services that work with HBO Max. This is why you must pick a recommended VPN that has been tested and still works.
How many devices can be logged into HBO Max?
You can register up to 5 different profiles on an HBO Max account. However, only three of those profiles will be able to stream on HBO Max simultaneously. This allows three members of your household to watch different shows if they want to, all at the same time.
Is there a HBO Max free trial?
No. Although HBO Max used to have a free trial subscription, this has now unfortunately been removed. We believe this is because of the Warner Brothers deal that allows HBO Max to stream simultaneous cinematic releases of movies like the Matrix 4. A free trial would allow consumers to too easily exploit the platform to watch those newly released films for free.
Will using a VPN affect my HBO Max video quality?
When streaming, your video quality is mostly determined by your download speeds. For instance, HBO says you’ll need around 25 Mbps to watch 4K video, but you should be able to watch in HD with around 5 Mbps.
While it’s true that your connection will almost always be slower with a VPN connected, providers have really been pushing to make their networks as efficient as possible lately. This means that unless your base speeds are already very low, it’s unlikely you’ll notice any real reduction in video quality.
What can I watch on HBO Max?
Some of the most popular titles on HBO Max include:
Can you watch HBO Max without the app?
Yes, you can watch HBO Max without the app. You can either go to HBOMax.com on a computer or use the HBO Max app on a streaming device like Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV.
How can I stop HBO Max from buffering?
Buffering on HBO Max can be a pain, but there are a few things we can recommend for you to to fix it:
- Test your internet speed: As discussed above, you will need at least 5 Mbps for HD streaming. Use an online speed test to check.
- Update the app: Ensure you’re using the latest version of HBO Max. Check for updates in your device’s app store or on your computer.
- Try Wi-Fi: If you’re on cellular data, switch to Wi-Fi. It might improve playback. The reverse is also worth a shot.
- Limit network use: If others use the same internet connection as you, ask them to pause their activity. This will help free up bandwidth for your streaming.
- Restart your device and router: Log out of HBO Max, close all apps, and restart your device. Also, unplug your router for 30 seconds, then plug it back in again.
- Reinstall the app: If you feel the app isn’t working right, uninstall and reinstall it.
- Clear cache: Clear your caches and cookies if your device or browser has not been cleaned in a while.
- Check HBO Max’s server status: Use a tool like DownDetector to see if HBO Max is having server issues.
If none of these steps resolve the issue, it may be worth reaching out to HBO Max support for further assistance.
Can I use a free proxy for HBO?
Yes. However, it is generally not recommended to use free proxies for streaming content as they are often unreliable and can pose a security risk.
A better option would be to invest in a VPN service, which will encrypt your traffic and keep your data secure. All the VPNs above offer a free trial period so you can test their services before committing to a subscription.
What do I do if my HBO Max VPN has stopped working?
If your HBO Max VPN has stopped working, don’t panic! There are a few things you can do to hopefully get it working again. First, try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies. This is to ensure HBO Max forgets your previous IP address and recognizes the one provided by your VPN. If you still can’t stream HBO Max, it’s worth connecting to a different server and clearing your cookies again. You may need to repeat this process a few times to find a server that works.
Can I watch HBO Max in Germany?
Unfortunately, HBO Max is currently not available to stream in Germany. However, you can still watch it with a VPN, allowing you to connect to servers outside of Germany.
A VPN will hide your IP address and thus make it seem like you are streaming from the U.S and thus allow you to set up a HBO Max account and enable you to stream the entire catalog.
HBO Max will come to Germany, Italy and the UK by 2026 because of a current licensing deal with Sky TV. Until then a VPN is your best option.
What problems do people have with HBO Max?
We have found that HBO Max users have encountered a range of issues with the streaming service. The most common problems we get to hear about include the app crashing, streaming and audio issues, and difficulties signing in. Some users have also been frustrated by the service’s limited availability in certain regions.
Other issues can arise from outdated app versions, internet connection problems, browser issues, server outages, and a messy transition from HBO to Max.
See also: How to watch HBO Max online abroad