Best VPNs for Hotstar

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 Hotstar 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 VPNs for Hotstar further down, but if you’re short on time, here’s our summary list of the 7 best VPNs for Hotstar:

  1. ExpressVPN Our top choice for Hotstar. ExpressVPN is a veteran when it comes to unblocking geo-blocked content like Hotstar. Doesn’t skimp on security or speed.  Includes 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. NordVPN Best low-budget VPN. Huge global network of servers including many in India that can unblock Hotstar. Decent speeds and strong security.
  3. Surfshark Prioritizes security and privacy, but performs well from a streaming standpoint. Allows unlimited simultaneous connections.
  4. CyberGhost Another budget-friendly option with fast servers in India so you can easily unblock Hotstar from abroad.
  5. IPVanish Fast enough to stream Hotstar from abroad in high quality, plus strong security and a no-logs policy.
  6. PrivateVPN Small provider with a few servers in India that can access Hotstar from anywhere.
  7. VyprVPN Reliable servers and good streaming service speeds. A little pricey.

How to watch Hotstar abroad with a VPN

Setting up a VPN 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:

  1. Download and install a VPN that works with Hotstar. ExpressVPN is the most reliable option.
  2. Open your VPN and pick a server in India.
  3. Clear your browser cache and cookies to remove location information from previous sessions.
  4. Open Hotstar and stream your favorite content from any country in the world.

A VPN functions by routing all the 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:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Oct 2020 Unblocks HotstarTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.ExpressVPN.com

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.

ExpressVPN has a policy of not storing any detailed traffic logs and the maintenance of your privacy online is of utmost importance to the company. Some metadata is retained and used to improve service quality levels, specifically the date (not time) of connection, choice of server location, and total bandwidth used. Your real IP address won’t be recorded

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

Pros:

  • Operates reliable servers in India that can unblock content to locations abroad
  • Fast speeds for streaming Hotstar in HD
  • Comprehensive security and privacy features
  • No identifiable personal data is logged
  • A wide range of apps available – Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and certain Wi-Fi routers
  • Live chat customer support – 24/7

Cons:

  • Slightly higher cost than others

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST VPN FOR HOTSTAR:ExpressVPN is our #1 Choice. Optimized for high-speed connections. Scores high above its rivals for unblocking Hotstar and other streaming sites. Hard to beat on privacy and security. There is a 30-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.

Read our review of ExpressVPN.

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2. NordVPN

NordVPN Unblocks HotstarTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.NordVPN.com

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 servers in India. Globally-minded users will be pleased that the server list has been expanding in recent months; a sign that the company is constantly improving the product offering.

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 and MacOS. A single paid account allows for six simultaneous connections which is more than the industry standard of five.

Pros:

  • Operates 10+ servers in India that are great for streaming Hotstar abroad
  • Top-notch security and privacy protection
  • Even unblocks Netflix, Hulu BBC iPlayer and more
  • Personal data is protected as it keeps no logs
  • Connect 6 devices concurrently

Cons:

  • Desktop app and speeds aren’t always reliable

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST BUDGET CHOICE:NordVPN is a great value choice. A good all-rounder that also works well with Hotstar. Strong security features and accommodates up to 6 devices. Includes 30-day money back guarantee.

Here’s our full review of NordVPN.

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3. Surfshark

SurfShark VPN Unblocks HotstarTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Surfshark.com

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 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 devices as you like.

Security is one of Surfshark’s biggest strengths. It uses 256-bit encryption, protection against WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks, and a kill switch (which stops all traffic if your 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.

Pros:

  • No connection limit
  • Unblocks Hotstar and similar services abroad
  • Strong security features and a no-logs policy
  • Accepts three different cryptocurrencies

Cons:

  • Relatively small (but growing) network
  • Some slow speeds

Our score:

4 out of 5

SECURE AND PRIVATE:Surfshark packs plenty of security features, but it also offers excellent unblocking capabilities and an unlimited number of connections. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full review of Surfshark here.

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4. CyberGhost

Cyberghost Unblocks HotstarTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Cyberghost.com

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.

CyberGhost uses 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, along with 2,048-bit RSA keys and MD5 HMAC authentication. An internet kill switch is included too, which will keep your connection secure even if the link to a server drops for some reason. Another reassuring factor is that CyberGhost adheres to an internal policy of not storing any user logs.

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.

Pros:

  • Operates 20+ servers throughout India and unblocks Hotstar with no issues
  • Some of the fastest streaming servers we’ve tested
  • Budget provider that doesn’t compromise on security and privacy
  • Apps are easy to use, secure and offer good privacy protections

Cons:

  • Not suitable for those that need control of advanced features

Our score:

4 out of 5

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.

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5. IPVanish

IPVanish Unblocks HotstarTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.IPVanish.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

IPVanish is a favorite for users who want blazing 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 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 logless 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 five simultaneous connections.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Customer support is a little slow
  • Apps don’t work in China

Our score:

4 out of 5

UP TO 10 DEVICES:IPVanish is great for families and multiple connections. Easy to use with Hotstar and preferred by users who need high standards of privacy and security. Can’t unblock as many other streaming services as some of its rivals. 7-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full review of IPVanish.

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6. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN Unblocks HotstarTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.PrivateVPN.com

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. A 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.

Pros:

  • Unblocks Hotstar with servers in Bangalore and Chennai
  • Good speeds for streaming
  • Keeps no logs whatsoever
  • Very fast speeds

Cons:

  • Support staff are good, but only operate during European business hours
  • May need support assistance in locating the best server to choose

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

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.

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7. VyprVPN

Unblocks HotstarTested Oct 2020

Apps Available:

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.

Pros:

  • Fast speeds are perfect for streaming
  • Military-grade encryption and logs no identifiable information
  • Doesn’t log any personally identifying information

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive than some VPNs
  • Could have more options for advanced configuration
  • No cryptocurrency payment options

Our score:

4 out of 5

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.

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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 content for free, but this likely won’t include sports or American television shows.

Hotstar India Screenshot

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 NetflixHuluBBC iPlayerESPN, and more.

A VPN can also be used to blog online safelyaccess public wifi, and indulge in torrenting.

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). 

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?

VPNs are legal in almost every country in the world. In other words, unless you’re using one for nefarious purposes, there’s really no reason you’d get into any trouble. Additionally, while it may be against a streaming service’s terms of use, it’s not illegal to access geo-restricted content using a VPN. This means that you can stream Hotstar in Europe or anywhere else without fear of legal problems.