VPN for HBO Max, Go, and Now – Unblocking from Anywhere in the World
In this article, I'm going to show you how to watch HBO streaming services outside the United States. It's a 100% effective, easy, proven way to unblock geo-restricted content. I'll tell you about HBO Go, Now, and Max. You will also learn where to find a suitable VPN service and how to install it on your computer, smartphone, or TV platform.
- HBO services and its features
- Using HBO Go/Max VPN – step-by-step instructions
- Best verified VPNs for HBO Go and HBO Max
- Free VPN for HBO Max, Go, and Now - should you try?
Most often, Americans outside the US face the problem with access to HBO Go and HBO Max content. In rare cases, such a problem may arise when the country is incorrectly determined by the service itself. If the second problem can be easily solved by reconnecting to the Internet, then there are difficulties with bypassing protection by geo-feature.
Not only do the hbogo.com and hbomax.com security systems ensure that the user's IP address belongs to the US, but he also uses various technologies to prevent it from being spoofed. This is why not every VPN is suitable for HBO services.
Read on to find out how VPN services differ and which ones are really effective.
- ExpressVPN: The most efficient VPN for unblocking geo-restricted content. It also supports other streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and others. Easy to install, fast, it offers apps for TV platforms.
- NordVPN: It is as efficient as ExpressVPN, but some US IP addresses can be blocked by HBO Go (Max). On the other hand, NordVPN is better at bypassing ISP blocking and has more servers in the US.
- Surfshark: Low-budget VPN # 1. Supports HBO and has a plan priced at $1.99 per month.
- CyberGhost: Interesting in that it has a special list of locations for streaming services with HBO Go on the list. True, the tests showed a noticeably lower speed than competitors.
- PIA: Has the least likelihood of unblocking geo-restricted content, but it is also the most technical VPNs presented. Suitable for severe restrictions on the user's network.
* all services presented have a long-term money-back guarantee in case of failure.
- ProtonVPN: It has a free plan with minimal restrictions. High probability of unblocking HBO due to a large number of servers.
- Windscribe: Similar inefficiency to ProtonVPN, but has a monthly traffic limit.
- hide.me: A service that really bypasses geo-restrictions from time to time.
- TunnelBear: TunnelBear's free plan is the most effective for HBO, but there is a significant problem.
- VPN Gate: Non-profit service related to the use of volunteers’ computers.
Do you know that HBO not only offers an internet streaming service for movies, TV series, and shows but is the oldest American pay-TV network with more than 47 years of history and brings WarnerMedia nearly $2 billion annually?
HBO stands for Home Box Office. It was launched in 1972 as a natural development of the then topical developments in the field of pay network television. The first mentions of the activities of HBO's predecessors date back to the mid-60s.
Over its almost half-century history, HBO has launched many additional services at various times. In 2020, the current services are HBO HD (transmission of a signal in HD quality), HBO On Demand (receive video on demand - SVOD), HBO Go (streaming online video), HBO Now (similar to HBO Go, but сan’t watch the main HBO broadcast) and launched in 2020 HBO Max, which aims to expand the capabilities of its predecessors Go and Now.
Thus, HBO in 2020 offers 3 similar services that reflect the dynamics of network development.
In the next chapter, I'll show you how you can launch a VPN in a few minutes and access any HBO online service from anywhere in the world.
So, if you are going on a trip or are already abroad in the United States and want to access any of the HBO online services, then follow the simple instructions. It consists of 3 steps and is suitable for any country.
If you aren’t yet registered at play.hbogo.com and are located in another country, then you should know that to sign up with using US VPN, you will need a credit card issued by a resident bank in the United States. Virtual cards and cards issued in other countries aren’t accepted for payment.
3 steps to unblock HBO
- Sign up with the VPN service.
Although there are at least 200 active VPN services in the world, only a few of them bypass the restrictions of HBO Go. Take advantage of my testing and pick one of the top 5 providers discussed in the next chapter. You can also try the free service, but the chance of success is so small that it isn’t worth the time. I say this based on my experience and in no way call for any purchases. Unfortunately, with BBC Go there is simply no other easy way out.
- Install the VPN app.
The services I recommend have apps for all platforms, including TV and gaming platforms. Download and install VPN software for your platform from the official website.
- Connect to a US location.
Turn on the VPN by first selecting the location in the United States. If this isn’t done, then, most likely, the app will offer the most optimal connection to the nearest country. This can be changed at any time, but only a US server will work for the HBO online service.
I want to note that on a computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet, you can also use a VPN only to watch streaming content, disabling it for all other programs and apps. To do this, use Split Tunneling. It’s a feature used by advanced VPNs that allows you to configure a VPN connection flexibly and disable it for the selected software. It’s very convenient since it will save you the need to frequently turn protection on and off.
From now on, HBO Go or HBO Max content will be available to you anywhere in the world.
The best VPN service for watching HBO over the Internet or any other geo-restricted streaming video service should have four important characteristics:
1. A large number of servers. Only if there is a supply of "clean" IP addresses, the VPN provider can count on effective blocking bypass.
2. Operational work of technical support. It is necessary to monitor the efficiency of the servers 24/7 and replace their IP addresses if they get into the blacklists.
3. Availability of apps for all required platforms. What is the point of effective unblocking, if for its implementation you need to install third-party software, configure it, and constantly monitor the relevance of the parameters? It is much easier to install ready-made safe software and just enjoy watching your favorite movies.
4. Stable speed over 25-30Mbps. This is exactly the speed needed for a high-quality broadcast of the modern Ultra HD format. And most of the services I know have problems with this.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for HBO Max in our testing. It most closely meets all four requirements. The result is similar to HBO Go.
Comparison of the main characteristics of VPN services for services
(out of 10)
HBO Go and HBO Max
other streaming services
- Premium quality apps
- Support of all platforms
- Superfast connection speed and stability
- Stable streaming support
- Up to 5 devices simultaneously
- Split Tunneling
- Doesn’t provide the ability to select a specific IP address
- No long-term (cheap) tariff plans longer than one year
ExpressVPN is ideal for HBO internet services, as it has particularly fast servers in US locations and is arguably the most stable of its competitors in its ability to bypass geo-restrictions.
No other VPN supports Ultra HD streaming as consistently as ExpressVPN.
The only drawback that can potentially manifest itself is the lack of the ability to choose a specific server (I emphasize that it is potentially since when testing with HBO Max and HBO Go, I never encountered the need to change the IP).
Besides, ExpressVPN is the best at protecting personal data and privacy in general. With an impeccable reputation for over 10 years, secure jurisdiction in the BVI, and the use of diskless servers, this VPN can be 100% trusted.
The table lists the ExpressVPN * plans:
|1 month||6 months||1 year|
|Money-back guarantee, days||30||30||30|
* prices are indicated with discounts when using this link.
At first glance, the cost of services may seem high. But that's only because ExpressVPN doesn't have long-term plans for more than one year. If you compare the price for 1-12 months, then it is on the level or even lower than that of many “low-budget” VPNs.
- ExpressVPN is great for HBO Go and HBO Max
- Supports other popular streaming video services
- Has super-fast servers
- Has a reasonable price
- Allows up to 5 connections simultaneously
- Passed all confidentiality tests and meets all security requirements
- Review of all ExpressVPN features
- ExpressVPN and other VPNs for streaming
- Robust HBO support
- Convenient selection of specific servers
- Interactive map of locations
- Support for all OSs
- Works even in countries with VPN blocking
- Up to 6 devices simultaneously
- WireGuard (a high-performance protocol to reduce the load on processor)
- Not found
NordVPN is another HBO VPN that is almost ideal for use from anywhere in the world, including countries that block foreign VPNs.
The tests have shown a slightly lower speed than ExpressVPN's US servers, which, by the way, is still more than enough for 4K video. But in contrast to this, NordVPN is especially convenient if for some reason some virtual IP addresses (servers) still cease to be suitable for HBO. I mean the ability to choose not only a location (in our case, US) but also a specific server. This will help you find your “own” IP address and connect to it every time.
Server selection is a rare opportunity even among the best VPNs.
I also like NordVPN for its easy-to-use interactive map right in the app. There is no need to go into the menu and scroll through the list. Just click on the United States and the connection will be established.
The table lists the NordVPN * plans:
|1 month||1 year||2 years||3 years|
|Money-back guarantee, days||30||30||30||30|
* At the time of writing, NordVPN has a 70% discount on its 3-year plan.
With NordVPN, you can save a lot with a 2 or 3-year subscription. Is there a risk? Based on over 3 years of experience testing this and other VPNs - minimal. Service level is consistently high, including streaming support.
- NordVPN consistently supports streaming HBO and other services
- Has a convenient choice of servers
- Confirmed consistently high quality of services
- Allows up to 6 connections simultaneously
- Supports NordLynx (WireGuard) making NordVPN the best choice for mobile streaming
- Perfect combination of price and quality
- Strong support of HBO services
- Additional obfuscation for censored countries
- Apps for all OSs
- Unlimited number of devices used
- Slightly lower speed on US servers
The next VPN service, which I want to talk about, is much cheaper than competitors and, while confidently bypassing the geo-restrictions of most online streaming services. It's called Surfshark.
I've been following it since its launch in 2018. From the very beginning, it focused on the most requested feature in recent years - bypassing regional restrictions for various types of content. And I confirm - all this time it is getting better at it, despite the opposition of TV networks and other media companies that don’t want to enter the situation of people moving around the world and wanting to get access to legally paid content.
Surfshark also stands out from its competitors. That doesn’t limit the number of simultaneously used devices. It is convenient for families with a large number of gadgets and TV, and even for groups of friends or colleagues who can use one account.
The table lists Surfshark VPN plans:
|1 month||1 year||2 years|
|Money-back guarantee, days||30||30||30|
Surfshark is most profitable to buy for one year or more. In this case, it is cheaper than any VPN with the support of HBO internet content I know.
- Surfshark allows you to effectively change the region for HBO Max, Go and Now
- Supports other popular streaming video services, Spotify and internet radio
- Unlimited devices used
- Super low price
- Suitable for any purpose
- Special servers for HBO Now (read further about its features)
- Protection against tracking
- 7 devices simultaneously
- Indicator of consumption and traffic speed
- Split Tunneling
- May significantly increase the load on Windows
- Unstable streaming support
- Low speed
CyberGhost VPN got into the top 5 because it has a special section in its apps that lists servers for specific streaming services and TV channels with geo-restrictions. Among them is HBO Now.
I have studied the operation of this server and confirm that it can indeed work around the limitations. True, it doesn’t do it stably, and the speed is poor.
The speed measurements showed a speed acceptable for SD and, partially, for HD quality. Ultra HD is unlikely to work well with CyberGhost.
Still, CyberGhost is a big player you can trust. It doesn’t support cutting edge technologies, but it is suitable for permanent use due to a record number of servers in 90 countries around the world.
The table lists CyberGhost's pricing plans:
|1 month||1 year||2 year||3 year|
|Money-back guarantee, days||-||45||45||45|
The provider also offers Dedicated IP connectivity ($5 extra per month). It has a somewhat over-the-top price for 1 month (compared to the minimum price for a 3-year subscription).
- CyberGhost has a dedicated location to access BBC Now (Go and Max are also available)
- Has a low speed of locations for streaming
- Not all advertised servers help bypass the block
- Allows up to 7 connections simultaneously
- Can be very stressful on Windows computers. Especially with an unstable connection and with possible automatic reconnections
- High speed
- Up to 10 devices simultaneously
- Many advanced options (VPN connection settings)
- Intermittent HBO support
- Limited choice of US servers
I must say right away that Private Internet Access is significantly inferior to competitors in terms of efficiency when used with geo-restricted content.
Why then did I put it in the 5th place?
PIA is the only one of the major VPNs that allow you to configure the connection down to the choice of the incoming and outgoing port, allows you to change the encryption standard, supports port forwarding, Shadowsocks and much more.
In cases when you need these rare settings, you can subscribe to PIA services and get your money back within 30 days in case of failure.
The table lists PIA pricing plans:
|1 month||1 year||2 years|
|Money-back guarantee, days||30||30||30|
A great advantage of the service is its low price when purchased for 1 year. It is approximately two times lower than that of the first four providers.
- Private Internet Access has low efficiency but can help in extremely difficult cases of blocking
- Has high speed in most locations
- Allows up to 10 connections simultaneously
Even the biggest VPNs that don't have free plans don't always manage to bypass geo-restrictions. Should you look for a free HBO VPN?
I believe that it will be just a waste of time, but there is still a small chance of success.
Free VPN will help you get access to HBO services from anywhere in the world if you are lucky enough to get to a fresh, little-used IP address since all the addresses that I know at the moment are already included in the blacklists of most streaming services, including HBO Go / Max.
And this is the case with all free VPNs except one.
Read on for five good free VPNs, one of which has one feature that can help you unblock HBO for free.
The first one I tried was a VPN service that has the highest chances of a fresh IP address appearing above the rest, plus it has the best features in 2020 available for free.
ProtonVPN has an extensive server base, the number of which is constantly growing. It is quite reasonable to assume that they can transfer some clean IP address to the free plan regularly enough.
Windscribe is another fast-growing VPN service that has a free plan and supports streaming on a paid plan. With it, the likelihood is also quite high that some IP addresses will work for HBO Internet content.
Note that it has a traffic limit. The maximum available is only 10 GB per month.
Hide.me is a mid-range VPN. It doesn’t have such an extensive infrastructure as the first two services, but it differs from them in that I was relatively able to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Go for free.
At the time of this writing, this no longer works, but it can be assumed that from time to time the service supports streaming.
Hide.me also has a 10 GB per month limit.
TunnelBear is more effective than other free HBO VPNs for bypassing regional restrictions. At least at the time of this writing, it allows you to log into www.hbomax.com.
TunnelBear has a limit of only 500MB per month. This is less than one SD movie. Is it suitable for HBO with this limitation? You decide.
Finally, we got to the most interesting free VPN for HBO Max, Go, or Now. In the full sense of the word, this isn’t even a service, but a free project to popularize one of the VPN protocols developed at the Japanese University of Tsukuba.
Its main feature is the use of computers of other users as VPN servers. Those streaming services, as a rule, won’t block such “servers”, as they are also real users.
But, of course, there were some drawbacks.
Three disadvantages of VPN Gate:
- Testing has shown extremely low speed, often not exceeding 0.2 Mbps.
- About 99% of all locations are Asian. Finding a working US server is extremely difficult.
- The connection can be broken at any time. There is nothing you can do about it - these are ordinary computers.
So, we've covered all the options that are relevant in 2020 for a quick and relatively easy way to access blocked HBO content.
All presented paid services have a money-back guarantee, which minimizes the risk of using them. Free VPNs are unlikely to help you, but if you have the desire and time, you can try using the providers I have proposed - there is a chance of a positive result.