HBO Max is geo-restricted, which means it’s only available in certain regions. For instance, if you try visiting the site from outside of the US, you’ll get the following error: “This site is not available in your region.” So how do these services know where you are? In most cases, they’ll find your location from your IP address. When you connect to a VPN though, websites can only see the IP address of the server you’re using. Simply, if you connect to an American server, HBO Max will think you’re actually in the US and will let you use the service.
Of course, VPNs are good for more than just streaming. They also encrypt your internet traffic, ensuring that your employer, Internet Service Provider, or any other snoopers can’t see what you get up to online. You can even use VPNs to bypass country-wide blocking in countries with strict online censorship.
How to watch HBO Max online from anywhere
HBO Max won’t officially launch until May 2020, so you can’t actually watch anything yet. However, the website does let you sign up for the newsletter, allowing you to stay up to date with all the latest announcements. Below is a quick guide to unblocking HBO Max (and really, most geo-blocked services) from anywhere in the world.
Here’s how to watch HBO max online abroad (outside US) using a VPN:
- First of all, sign up for one of the VPNs below. We particularly recommend ExpressVPN.
- Install the VPN app, ensuring you get the right version for your device.
- Log in and connect to a server in the relevant location (to unblock HBO Max, you’ll need an American VPN server).
- Now visit the HBO Max website. It should load right away, but if you still see an error message, clear your cookies and refresh the page.
With so many different providers, features, and specifications, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re trying to choose a VPN. In our experience, the best VPNs are usually the most versatile. With this in mind, we only recommend VPNs fitting all of the criteria below:
- Provides fast enough speeds for HD streaming
- Unblocks HBO Max and other popular streaming platforms from abroad
- Logs no personally identifiable information
- Keeps you safe using effectively uncrackable encryption and plenty of other security features
- Offers apps for all major operating systems and devices
Take a look below for a brief overview of the best VPNs for HBO Max. Don’t worry, though: we’ll cover each of our recommendations in greater detail a little later.
Best VPNs for HBO Max
- ExpressVPN: Our #1 choice for unblocking HBO Max. A fast, security-conscious, and extremely versatile service.
- CyberGhost: The best budget option. Boasts easy-to-use apps, high speeds, and a wide range of pre-configured security features.
- NordVPN: Gives users all the tools they need to stream safely. Keeps no logs, includes several advanced features and unblocks plenty of region-locked services.
- IPVanish: With a high connection limit, zero-logs policy, and fast, reliable connections, this VPN is ideal for those who like to stream on the go.
- PrivateVPN: Provides the perfect balance of speed and security. Unblocks HBO Max outside of the US and keeps no logs whatsoever.
- Surfshark: This no-logs VPN has powerful security features, no connection limit, and speeds that are fast enough for lag-free streaming.
- Hotspot Shield: Excellent unblocking potential, strong security features, and very high speeds make this service a great choice for streaming HBO Max abroad.
Best VPNs for watching HBO Max outside of the US
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the best VPNs for HBO Max:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN operates more than 3,000 servers across 90+ countries, so it’s already an excellent choice for anyone looking to access geo-restricted platforms like HBO Max or Netflix US. Further, it’s fast enough that you won’t have to worry about being interrupted by lag or buffering, even when watching in 4K. With up to five simultaneous connections permitted, you can protect most, if not all, of your devices from one account.
This VPN comes with plenty of security features including 256-bit AES encryption, protection against WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks, and a kill switch (that ensures you never browse unprotected, even for a second). You can even let certain applications bypass the VPN entirely (for instance, if you wanted to use services from two regions at once). You can pay with bitcoin if you’d like, but this is an optional step since ExpressVPN doesn’t keep any logs that could identify you. If you run into any problems, you can reach support 24/7 over live chat.
ExpressVPN has apps for Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, and iOS. It even offers custom router firmware to make it as easy as possible to secure all of your devices simultaneously.
- High speeds for downloading and video streaming
- Top-class security and privacy protection features
- Unblocks HBO Max and similar services abroad
- Pay anonymously with Bitcoin
- Doesn’t allow as much customization as some rivals
BEST VPN FOR HBO MAX:ExpressVPN is our top choice. It’s fast, security-focused, and able to unblock major platforms like HBO Max without any problems. Best of all, this service comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee meaning you can try it out risk-free.
Read the full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost has over 5,900 servers in 90 countries and is fast enough to stream live HD video without any noticeable lag or buffering. Better still, this service is able to unblock major streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, so HBO Max doesn’t pose much of a problem. It has a generous connection limit, too, allowing you to connect up to seven devices at once.
This might be a novice-friendly service but it actually includes several powerful security features. For instance, there’s 256-bit AES encryption, an always-on kill switch, protection against IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS leaks, automatic malware-scanning, and an ad-blocker. CyberGhost doesn’t log any data that could identify you, so once connected, you’re effectively untraceable. That said, it’s possible to pay with Bitcoin for even greater anonymity. 24/7 customer support is available over live chat and email.
CyberGhost offers MacOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android apps, and it can be manually installed on supported routers.
- User-friendly yet versatile
- Thousands of fast servers around the world
- Solid privacy and security features enabled by default
- Strong unblocking capabilities
- Less suitable for power users
BEST BUDGET VPN:CyberGhost is a low-cost service that nonetheless offers high speeds, a wide range of security features, and excellent unblocking ability. There’s even a 45-day money-back guarantee.
For more information, check out our in-depth CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN has one of the largest networks around, with more than 5,500 servers in 50+ countries. This service is known for its unblocking ability, and lets you use not just HBO Max, but also stubborn platforms like Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. Equally important, it offers unlimited bandwidth and consistently high speeds, as well as a six-connection limit.
This VPN keeps your activities private at all times using DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leak protection, a customizable kill switch, and 256-bit AES encryption. That’s not all, though: there’s also automatic ad-blocking and malware-scanning, plus special privacy-optimized servers. NordVPN follows a strict no-logging policy which means it cannot reveal details of your activities even if asked to. If you’d prefer, there’s always the option to pay with Bitcoin. Support is on-hand over live chat and email, 24/7.
NordVPN boasts excellent multi-platform support, with apps for Android, iOS, MacOS, Windows, and Linux. You can even manually install it on select network routers.
- Offers a vast array of security options
- Easily unblocks a wide range of geo-locked sites
- Huge range of servers to choose from, including servers optimized for specific purposes
- The desktop app can be awkward to use (needs updating)
SECURITY-FIRST VPN:NordVPN not only lets you use HBO Max abroad, but it also allows you to do so safely using all manner of customizable security and privacy features. A 30-day money-back guarantee is included.
Take a look at our in-depth review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 7 DAYS
IPVanish has around 1,300 high-speed servers spread across 60+ countries. As such, it’s a natural choice for anyone who streams regularly. In fact, IPVanish is even capable of unblocking platforms like Netflix US and ITV Hub, as well as HBO Max. This, coupled with the service’s generous 10-connection limit, means that there are very few limits on what (or where) you can watch.
This VPN places particular emphasis on user security. There’s 256-bit encryption, a kill switch (in desktop versions), and protection against IPv6 and DNS leaks. It’s possible to start IPVanish whenever your device boots, or scramble your OpenVPN traffic to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN. IPVanish keeps no logs whatsoever so there’s no need to worry about having your activities traced back to you. Its apps are fairly straightforward to use but if you need help, live chat-based support is available 24/7.
IPVanish provides apps for MacOS, iOS, Android, and Windows. This service can be manually configured for use on Linux systems and supported wireless routers.
- Use up to 10 devices simultaneously
- Consistently high speeds
- Strong encryption and privacy protections
- Struggles to unblock some major streaming services
FAST AND RELIABLE:IPVanish provides high speeds, powerful security features, and access to thousands of servers, making it ideal for streaming HBO Max abroad. This no-logs VPN also offers a seven-day money-back guarantee.
Interested? Check out the complete IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN may not have as many servers as some other providers in this list (there’s around 150 in 60 countries) but it helps make up for it by providing higher speeds than most. It also has exceptional unblocking capabilities, which means you’ll be able to use not just HBO Max from abroad, but also services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. Up to six devices can be connected simultaneously.
This service protects your traffic from prying eyes using 256-bit encryption, protection against WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks, a kill switch, and a stealth mode that lets you bypass VPN blocking. Users can even choose to terminate specific apps whenever their connection to the VPN drops. PrivateVPN is a zero-logs provider and allows users to register almost completely anonymously by paying in Bitcoin. If you run into any problems, support is available via live chat 22 hours per day.
PrivateVPN offers Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android apps. If you’d prefer, you can manually configure it to work on your home router.
- Unblocks almost all geo-restricted streaming content that we’ve tested
- Very fast speeds
- Privacy and security are top-notch
- Live chat goes offline for two hours per day
ZERO LOGS:PrivateVPN might be fast and excellent at unblocking streaming services, but it’s also particularly security-focused. In fact, this VPN keeps no logs at all and allows you to pay with Bitcoin. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read the full PrivateVPN review for more info.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark provides access to over 1,000 servers in 60+ countries. This service excels at unblocking geo-restricted platforms and has no problems with Netflix US, HBO Max, or BBC iPlayer, among others. Better still, its speeds are generally fast enough to stream live HD video without any lag (although there are a handful of slower servers). While most VPNs restrict you to six simultaneous connections at most, Surfshark lets you protect every device you own at once.
This VPN is particularly security-conscious and includes numerous advanced features. There’s 256-bit encryption, for instance, as well as a kill switch (in every version), protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks, and a NoBorders feature that lets you bypass country-wide internet restrictions. Most importantly, Surfshark doesn’t log any data that could be used to identify you; you can even sign up using Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ripple for another layer of privacy. Surfshark’s customer support team can be reached 24/7 over live chat.
Surfshark has apps for Linux, Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS. It can also be manually installed on select internet routers.
- Connect as many devices as you like
- Strong commitment to your security
- Fast enough for streaming live TV without any issues
- A relatively small server network
- Some servers are much slower than others
SECURE EVERY DEVICE:Surfshark is a security-first VPN that, unlike most, has no connection limit. With decent speeds, strong unblocking ability, and a 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s ideal for anyone looking to use HBO Max outside of the US.
Find out more in our comprehensive Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Hotspot Shield has 3,000+ servers in over 70 countries. As well as unblocking HBO Max from outside of the US, it lets you access services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Best of all, this is one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, so you shouldn’t have any problems with lag (assuming your base connection is fast enough). This VPN lets you connect up to five devices simultaneously.
This service uses 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks to keep your activities private. It can be configured to connect automatically whenever you use an unsecured network, and you can even let certain websites bypass the VPN entirely. Hotspot Shield doesn’t keep any personally identifiable data once your session ends. If you’re having problems, customer support is on-hand 24/7 via live chat.
Hotspot Shield apps are available for iOS, Android, Windows, and MacOS devices.
- Some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen
- Takes user security seriously
- Unblocks all kinds of services abroad including HBO Max
- No Linux support
- Working to repair reputation after past privacy issues
PERFECT FOR STREAMING:Hotspot Shield offers very high speeds and the ability to unblock all kinds of streaming platforms from abroad. It also includes a wide range of security and privacy protections, as well as a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Check out the full Hotspot Shield review.
Can I stream HBO Max with a free VPN?
While free VPNs can be an attractive prospect for those looking to access their usual services while on vacation, they rarely live up to the hype. In fact, with so many users and so few servers to share the load, you’ll likely find that most free VPNs simply aren’t fast enough for streaming. Even if you find a lightning-fast service, it’ll almost certainly have a low monthly data limit. Additionally, due to their popularity, free VPNs are usually the first to be blacklisted by streaming platforms, so you still might not be able to watch anything.
It’s also worth noting that, statistically, you’re more likely to compromise your security with a free VPN. In fact, one study found that nearly 40% of tested free VPNs contained malware. Worse, almost 20% used no encryption at all, meaning they were essentially pointless. We’ve even seen a major free VPN provider (Hola) sell user bandwidth for use in botnets, so clearly, well-known free services are just as risky.
To stay as safe as possible online, we recommend using a reputable, security-first VPN with a clear-cut logging policy and a history of standing up for user privacy.
When is HBO Max launching in my country?
The international release schedule for HBO Max is quite vague at the moment but we do have an indication of when the service will arrive.
- May 2020: HBO Max launches in the US for $14.99 USD per month.
- Late 2020: European and Latin American countries begin to get their own versions of HBO Max with localized programming.
- 2021: A free, ad-supported membership is launched in the US. This will allow users to watch select content (mostly news and sports) live.
Often, you find out more about a company’s plans from what it doesn’t say, rather than what it does. For instance, there has been no word of HBO Max coming to Canada or the UK, and HBO recently expanded its partnerships with Bell Media and Sky, hinting that if the service does come to these countries, it won’t be for several years.
What shows are on HBO Max?
HBO already has an impressive lineup of its own titles, but it hopes to lure in subscribers by snapping up some of the most in-demand shows of the last few years. It’s worth mentioning that the content will likely vary from one region to another, but below, we’ve listed a few of the TV shows and movies you can expect to see at launch:
- Game of Thrones
- The Sopranos
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
- Doctor Who
- Sesame Street
- The Big Bang Theory
- South Park
- My Neighbor Totoro
- 1 How to watch HBO Max online from anywhere
- 2 Best VPNs for watching HBO Max outside of the US
- 3 1. ExpressVPN
- 4 2. CyberGhost
- 5 3. NordVPN
- 6 4. IPVanish
- 7 5. PrivateVPN
- 8 6. Surfshark
- 9 7. Hotspot Shield
- 10 Can I stream HBO Max with a free VPN?
- 11 When is HBO Max launching in my country?
- 12 What shows are on HBO Max?