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How to Watch HBO Max Anywhere in 2 Minutes [2021 Update]

HBO Max is finally here! Who can’t wait to get sucked into HBO Max Originals and every episode of Friends, Game of Thrones, and The Big Bang Theory?

But HBO Max is only available to streamers in the US.

What do you do if you’re outside of the US? The solution is simple: a VPN  – software that lets you mask your location and virtually transfer it to anywhere in the world. With a VPN, you can make your location look like you’re in the US, so you can stream HBO Max from wherever you are.

I’ve tested 300+ VPNs to find the best ones with guaranteed unblocking powers, super-fast speeds, and of course, advanced security features. I recommend ExpressVPN because it can unblock HBO Max with ease no matter where you are. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free and if you’re not satisfied, you have up to 30 days to claim a refund.

Start Watching HBO Max Today!

How to Watch HBO Max from Anywhere in Under 2 Minutes

  1. Choose a good streaming VPN. My top pick is ExpressVPN for its super-fast speeds and consistent unblocking powers.
  2. Connect to a US server.
  3. Head over to HBO Max and sign up or log in. You need a US credit card or HBO gift card to subscribe.

Watch HBO Max With ExpressVPN Today!

NOTE: If you’re already signed up for HBO NOW, you’ll automatically be upgraded to HBO Max at no additional cost.

Why You Need a VPN to Watch HBO Max

Due to licensing restrictions and company interests, HBO Max geoblocks its service, so only users with a US IP address can access its content. Try to connect to HBO Max with a non-US IP address and an error message confirms your access is blocked.

Screenshot of the HBO Max geoblock warning screen

HBO Max error message when trying to connect outside the US.

With a premium VPN, you can connect to a US server. The VPN replaces your real IP address with a US one. This tricks HBO Max into believing you’re in the US and lets you stream from its library. It’s simple, legal, and gives you instant access, hiding your location from your ISP. It also blocks ISP tracking, many cyber attacks, and data thieves.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free For 30 Days!

The Best VPNs for Watching HBO Max – Full Analysis (September 2021 Update)

To reliably connect to HBO Max every time, you need a VPN that can beat geoblocks and anti-VPN technology. After thorough research, I’ve chosen the five best VPNs for watching HBO Max.

TIP: If your US server is blocked from accessing HBO Max, disconnect and try another to be assigned a new IP address and overcome the problem. My selection of premium VPNs have plenty of US servers for great IP address variety.

1. ExpressVPN – Fast VPN for Streaming HBO Max

  • 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries, 20+ US server locations
  • Super-fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth
  • Built-in speed test
  • Expert 24/7 live chat
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Works with: HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, ITV Hub
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, iOS, routers, browsers
ExpressVPN’s latest deal September 2021: Get 3 months completely free on your annual subscription with this current offer! It’s not for certain when this deal will end so it’s best to check the deals page to see if it’s still available.

ExpressVPN is often top of my list when it comes to US streaming, and it’s not hard to see why. With its superfast speeds and superb unblocking abilities, you can get your fix of Rick and Morty in vibrant HD within minutes.

ExpressVPN has an impressive US server network, with servers spread across 20+ locations. All three US servers I tested were able to sail past HBO Max’s geoblocks with ease.

Using the built-in speed test for Mac and Windows devices, I connected to the fastest US server. I experienced blazing speeds of 55.14 Mbps, which is much more than the 5 Mbps needed for HD streaming, and just a fraction lower than my starting speed.

Even when using Quick Connect to get a US IP address, my download speed dropped by just under 11%. The speed loss wasn’t at all noticeable and the quality of my HD stream remained unchanged. I double-checked my speeds with two third-party speed tests and the results were consistent with ExpressVPN’s measurement.

Connection Ping Download Speed Upload Speed
Starting speed UK server 13 ms 61.67 Mbps 18.25 Mbps
Quick connect US server 86 ms 55.14 Mbps 17.41 Mbps

While streaming Game of Thrones, I didn’t experience any lag or buffering. There was no sign of frozen pixels, even during a busy battle scene. The picture was crystal clear; I could see every ounce of anguish in Jon Snow’s eyes.

Test out ExpressVPN’s speed for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can get a full refund if you cancel during the guarantee term, no questions asked.

You can connect 5 devices at once across a wide range of operating systems. I connected my smartphone, tablet, and laptop at the same time and didn’t experience a dip in streaming performance. Thanks to unlimited bandwidth, there were no dropped connections and my whole family could stream HBO Max at their own pace, hassle-free.

ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer feature is great for streaming HBO Max on devices that don’t usually support VPNs, like game consoles. I tested it out on my Samsung Smart TV using one of ExpressVPN’s helpful tutorials and was streaming Friends in minutes. MediaStreamer doesn’t encrypt your data, though, so it’s best to use the regular VPN app if you can.

There are many more helpful tutorials on the ExpressVPN website, and the 24/7 live chat support team were extremely friendly and helpful.

Want to know more? Explore our ExpressVPN review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Watch HBO Max with ExpressVPN!

2. CyberGhost – Great VPN for First-time Users

  • 7,190+ global servers in 91 countries, 1,000+ US servers
  • Great network speeds and unlimited bandwidth
  • Optimized streaming servers
  • Email and live chat support
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Works with: HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Sling TV, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN+, Netflix
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, browsers, routers
September 2021 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 83% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

Of all the VPNs I’ve tested, CyberGhost is the easiest to use. That’s why I regularly recommend it for beginners. Its apps are intuitive to use, and I had it set up in less than five minutes.

CyberGhost labels its streaming-optimized servers with the service they’re best at unblocking. Although it hasn’t got a specialized HBO Max server yet,  I tested its HBO Now server and it works seamlessly for Max, too. All I needed to do was type “HBO” into the search field, it directed me to the best server for me.

When I tested it, my download speed hit 15.81 Mbps. It was slower than the other VPNs on this list, but it still provided a crisp, sharp picture and no lag when watching South Park.

Thanks to unlimited bandwidth, I managed to stream several episodes back-to-back without interruption.

Connection Ping Download Speed Upload Speed
Starting speed UK server 13 ms 61.67 Mbps 18.25 Mbps
HBO Optimized US server 82 ms 15.81 Mbps 17.67 Mbps

Its specialty servers beat HBO Max’s geoblocks every time. But if you’re struggling to connect to an optimized server, CyberGhost has 1,000+ US servers that can bypass geoblocks. I found that they all provide comparable speeds that are good enough for HD streaming.

CyberGhost supports up to 7 simultaneous connections. If you install it on your VPN-compatible router, you can use it with every device on your network. I shared my CyberGhost account with my entire household. Even when we were all connected at the same time, we were able to stream at high speeds, hassle-free.

You can try out the beginner-friendly VPN for yourself and see if it’s the service for you with its 45-day money-back guarantee. That’s plenty of time to investigate its features, plus CyberGhost’s live chat support team is happy to talk you through any additional help you might need.

Want to know more? Explore our CyberGhost review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Watch HBO Max with CyberGhost!

3. PrivateVPN – Small But Reliable Server Network

  • 100+ servers, including 14 US servers
  • Designated streaming servers
  • Unlimited bandwidth and good streaming speeds
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Email and live chat support
  • Works with: HBO NOW, Hulu, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+
  • Works with: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Kodi, routers

PrivateVPN is a great budget-friendly VPN, offering fast speeds and great unblocking powers at a low price.

Its US network is smaller than those of my other top recommendations, but I skipped past HBO Max’s geoblocks with each server I tried. There’s even a designated HBO server.

You can put the unblocking abilities of PrivateVPN to the test with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Just be sure you stay under 100 GB of data, which is the limit to get a refund.

That’s enough for around 30 hours of streaming – you can watch the entire Rick and Morty collection and then some. Once the money-back guarantee is up, your PrivateVPN subscription includes unlimited data and bandwidth.

Its US servers’ speeds varied during my test, particularly at peak times where the speeds dropped down to less than 25 Mbps. This is likely due to the small number of US servers being clogged with users.

However, when I tested the designated HBO server, I enjoyed smooth streaming with speeds of just over 48 Mbps. It dropped by only 20% during busy periods. I found it is fast enough to avoid buffering and lag.

Connection Ping Download Speed Upload Speed
Starting speed UK server 13 ms 61.67 Mbps 18.25 Mbps
HBO Optimized US server 128 ms 48.40 Mbps 17.65 Mbps

You can connect 6 devices at once with PrivateVPN. So, you can keep your whole family entertained with their favorite shows on their own devices while you stream.

PrivateVPN supports most major devices and operating systems. I found the apps very simple to use. It’s easy to get started, and navigation is intuitive. You don’t need to spend a lot of time setting up; you can start streaming right away.

Live chat support is only available during business hours in Sweden, but when it is open, you get a quick response. If you need help outside live chat hours, email support is available. I received a helpful response within 24 hours of sending an email. There’s also a large selection of guides and FAQs on its website.

Want to know more? Explore our PrivateVPN review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Limited time offer: Save big on your subscription

Watch HBO Max with PrivateVPN!


What else can a VPN do?

Being able to access geo-restricted streaming sites from anywhere is a major perk of premium VPN, but there are many other benefits a quality VPN provides, including:

  • Top-shelf security features, including unbreakable military-grade encryption.
  • Anonymous surfing and streaming, even in countries with online surveillance and harsh censorship laws.
  • Freedom to connect to unsecured public WiFi networks safe in the knowledge your sensitive data is protected.
  • Built-in ad and malware blockers.
  • The ability to bypass local network congestion and ISP throttling for faster speeds.

We show you everything you need to know in our VPN guide for newbies.

Why can’t I access HBO Max with my VPN?

Sometimes, HBO’s anti-VPN software matches your IP address with a known VPN IP. This is rare when you’re using a premium VPN because it refreshes its IPs routinely to avoid detection.

But don’t worry; it’s easy to fix. Simply disconnect from your VPN and reconnect on a different US server. You’ll be assigned a new IP address that isn’t blocked.

My colleague shows you how to bypass VPN blocks in our step-by-step guide.

Will my VPN impact my streaming speeds?

Not if you use a premium VPN. Low-quality and free VPNs have small server networks that are clogged with users, which drastically reduces your streaming speeds.

All of the VPNs I recommend are fast enough to stream in high definition without any lag or buffering.

Concerned about speeds? We’ve tested all the top VPNs to find the 10 fastest services in 2021.

Should I use a free VPN to stream HBO Max?

There are very few free VPNs that have the power to overcome HBO Max’s geoblocks.

Most free VPNs are limited, too: they restrict your data, bandwidth, server access, and speeds. This makes for a terrible, slow streaming session.

Plus, they often monetize their services through ads and selling your personal data to third parties.

It’s not worth risking your privacy when you can use a money-back guarantee to try a premium VPN for free. 

Bottom Line

You can watch HBO Max from anywhere by using a top-notch VPN like ExpressVPN to overcome geoblocks.

I put each of my VPN recommendations through rigorous testing to ensure that they can beat HBO Max’s geoblocks with speeds that are fast enough for smooth, HD streaming. You can test all of them risk-free using their money-back guarantees.

Watch HBO Max Now!

To summarize, the best VPNs for HBO Max in 2021 are…

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

About the Author

Gemma is a cybersecurity writer and researcher. She believes in digital privacy and creating a freer and more open internet.

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