6 Best VPNs for HBO MAX

HBO Max launched on May 27, 2020 in the USA. However, this service is region-locked so for anyone traveling outside of the US, you’ll need a VPN to watch.

Even if you signed up for HBO Max in the USA, if you try to watch from another country, you’ll get an alert like this one:

hbo max not in service area
“Not in service area”

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) uses an app to encrypt your internet connection and route it through a server in another location. To watch HBO Max while abroad, you’ll need to connect to a VPN server in the US to get a US IP address.

But not all VPNs will work. HBO Max blocks most VPN connections. Comparitech has tested several providers to find out which VPNs work with HBO Max.

Later we’ll go into some depth on each VPN provider but for anyone short on time, here’s a summary of the best VPNs for HBO Max:

  1. ExpressVPN: Our top recommendation for HBO Max! Easily unblocks HBO Max. Fast speeds and 24/7 live chat support.
  2. NordVPN: A solid budget option that unblocks HBO Max.
  3. CyberGhost: Clearly labeled servers make it easy to find one that unblocks HBO Max.
  4. PrivateVPN: A simple VPN that unblocks a wide range of streaming services including HBO Max.
  5. IPVanish: Unblocks HBO Max with speeds fast enough to stream in HD.
  6. Surfshark: No device limit. Works with lots of streaming services.

See also: How to watch HBO Max online abroad

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:

  • Unblocks 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

Here are the top VPNs to watch HBO Max in 2020:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Oct 2020 unblocks HBO MAXTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.ExpressVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ExpressVPN is our #1 recommendation. 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 also unblocks 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.

Pros:

  • Unblocks HBO Max
  • High speeds for downloading and video streaming
  • One of the best all-around VPNs
  • Solid privacy and security
  • Offers 24/7 live chat

Cons:

  • Slightly higher cost than others

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST FOR HBO MAX:ExpressVPN is our top choice. It unblocks HBO Max from any country. Try it with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN

NordVPN unblocks hbo maxTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

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 great budget option with strong security and good customer support.

NordVPN also unblocks 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.

Pros:

  • Unblocks HBO Max from abroad
  • Great low-cost alternative for streaming
  • Excellent security and encryption standards
  • Speeds are fast enough for HD streaming

Cons:

  • A few unreliable servers

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST BUDGET VPN:NordVPN offers a competitive service that unblocks HBO Now for a low monthly price. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full NordVPN review.

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3. CyberGhost

Cyberghost unblocks hbo maxTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Cyberghost.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

CyberGhost lets you choose a server based on which streaming service you want to unblock instead of guessing at which locations might work. HBO is in that list, which takes the guesswork out of unblocking it.

Speeds are above average and should be more than enough for HD streams. CyberGhost unblocks a wide range of streaming services 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.

Pros:

  • Unblocks HBO Max
  • Decent, reliable speeds
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • 7 simultaneous connections

Cons:

  • Doesn’t reliably work in China or UAE

Our score:

4 out of 5

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.

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4. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN unblocks hbo maxTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.PrivateVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

PrivateVPN is a smaller provider that packs a big punch. In addition to HBO Max, it also unblocks 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. 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.

Pros:

  • Unblocks HBO Max
  • Very fast speeds
  • Works with a wide range of streaming services

Cons:

  • Small number of servers to choose from

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

FAST SPEEDS:PrivateVPN is a simple-to-use VPN that unblocks HBO Max from anywhere. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full review of PrivateVPN.

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5. IPVanish

IPVanish unblocks hbo maxTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.IPVanish.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

IPVanish is a veteran VPN provider that offers fast speeds and strong security. It unblocks HBO Max, as well as Netflix and a few other streaming services. You’ll also get plenty of security and privacy protections with this no-logs provider.

Up to 10 simultaneous connections are allowed, making IPVanish a solid option for a family or group of housemates with a lot of devices. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Fire TV.

Pros:

  • Works with HBO Max
  • Keeps no logs whatsoever
  • Use up to 10 devices simultaneously

Cons:

  • Apps don’t work in China
  • No live customer support, email and ticket support only

Our score:

4 out of 5

SECURE STREAMING:IPVanish offers a reliable VPN service that unblocks HBO Max. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full review of IPVanish.

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6. Surfshark

SurfShark VPN unblocks hbo maxTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Surfshark.com

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 a somewhat smaller server network.

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.

Pros:

  • Works with HBO Max
  • Decent, reliable speeds
  • Unlimited devices

Cons:

  • Relatively small server network
  • Occasional slow server

Our score:

4 out of 5

UNLIMITED CONNECTIONS:Surfshark is ideal for your whole family to use to unblock HBO Max and other services from anywhere. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full SurfShark review.

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HBO Max VPN FAQs

What countries is HBO Max available in?

HBO plans to launch the service in more countries in 2021. Latin America and parts of Europe are in the pipeline. If other HBO services are already in your country, you'll get HBO Max sooner rather than later.

Can I use a free VPN to unblock HBO Max from abroad?

Highly unlikely.

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 are usually too slow to stream high quality video. They often have data caps or bandwidth limits. Many are even known to spy on users' online activity or contain malware.

How do I watch HBO Max with a VPN?

  1. First you'll need to sign up for HBO Max. That requires either an HBO Max account or an existing cable subscription to HBO. If you're using another HBO streaming service like HBO Now or HBO Go, you'll also get HBO Max at no extra charge. If you sign up for an HBO Max account, you'll need a US payment method.
  2. Sign up for one of the VPNs we recommend above. Download their app and install it on your device.
  3. Run the VPN app and select a server location in the United States.
  4. Hit the Connect button.
  5. Once the VPN connection is established, open HBO Max and start watching!

What if my VPN doesn't work?

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 watching 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.

How is HBO Max different from HBO Go and HBO Now?

If you already use HBO Now or HBO Go, you'll get HBO Max for free. Right now it looks like all of those services will eventually merge into one. You can log into HBO Max with either a standalone streaming account or, if you have an HBO TV subscription, with your cable provider details.

Unlike HBO Go and HBO Now, HBO Max doesn't just have HBO original content. You'll also get plenty of shows and movies from other networks and studios.