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How to Watch HBO Max in 2022: International Streaming With a VPN

HBO content quality is a significant draw for avid movie fans. Unfortunately, the streaming platform has a limited geographical reach and isn’t available everywhere. This guide will show you how to watch HBO Max outside the U.S. using a VPN. Keep reading.

Samson Max
By Samson Max (Writer, Linking Editor)
— Last Updated: 2022-02-01T13:48:41+00:00 Facts checked by Elisabeth Ivey

HBO Max is a new streaming service that’s yet to establish itself worldwide. Even though the provider is working on extending its services to more countries in 2022, some countries will remain locked out. If you want to watch HBO Max in blocked countries — such as in the U.K., Germany or Italy — you have to learn how to watch HBO Max using a VPN.

Key Takeaways:

  • HBO Max is available outside the U.S. in a many countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe.
  • You can use a VPN to unblock HBO Max in countries where the streaming service is not available, but you’ll also need an ad-free HBO account.
  • Google Play payment is the best HBO Max payment method for users outside the U.S. and other blocked countries.
  • ExpressVPN is the best VPN for HBO Max. NordVPN is an affordable alternative, and Windscribe is the best free VPN for HBO Max.

We’ll disclose a step-by-step guide to help you access HBO Max and stream prestige dramas, acclaimed HBO originals or classic films. We’ll also show you the best VPNs for HBO Max to help you get started without a hassle.

Unblocking and streaming HBO Max isn’t as straightforward as creating a Netflix account. You have to jump through several hoops to create an HBO Max account using one of the best VPNs, like ExpressVPN, to spoof your location. You’ll also have to use Google Play payment to pay for the service. Additionally, you’ll need an ad-free HBO account to watch HBO Max while abroad.

  • HBO Max is part of the HBO family of online services, which also includes HBO Now and HBO Go. It’s a stand-alone streaming service that bundles the best of HBO’s cable package, new Max originals and select blockbuster movies from Warner Bros.

  • HBO Max offers two pricing plans billed either monthly or annually. The with-ads plan costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year, whereas the ad-free plan costs $14.99 per month or $149.99 per year. However, the ad-free account will not let you watch HBO Max if you’re using a different country’s IP address.

  • Yes, HBO Max works just fine outside the U.S. in countries where the HBO service is available. If you want to unblock the streaming service while you’re in a country where it’s blocked, you’ll need an ad-free subscription and a VPN such as ExpressVPN.

  • The best way to get HBO Max outside the U.S. is to use a VPN to create an ad-free account in a country where HBO Max is available and then make the payment via a Google account.

Where Can You Watch HBO Max?

HBO Max is a relatively new streaming service launched in May 2020 as a replacement to HBO Now and HBO Go. Currently, the service is available in the U.S. and other select countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe. 

Current List of Countries & Territories Where HBO Max Is Available

Åland Islands, Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canary Islands, Cayman Islands, Ceuta, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Madeira, Melilla, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Spain, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Svalbard & Jan Mayen, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, United States (including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Uruguay and Venezuela.

However, HBO Max is unavailable in major markets like Australia, Canada, the U.K., Germany and France. Luckily, the provider plans to expand its reach to 14 additional European countries in 2022. 

How to Watch HBO Max Abroad With a VPN

When you first open the HBO Max website, the system checks your IP address to determine where you’re located.

If you’re in a country outside the allowlist, the system will deny you access. Instead, it sends you the error message, “Sorry, HBO Max isn’t available in your region yet.” It doesn’t matter whether you have an HBO Max account or not. As long as you step into a blocklisted country, you lose access to HBO Max. 

HBO error message
Watching HBO Max outside U.S. borders is only possible with a VPN. 

Fortunately, a good VPN service can change your IP address to a different location, fooling the HBO Max system into thinking you’re in that region. However, it’s not as simple as logging in.

Challenge 1: HBO connects your account login information to a “home” country, which requires local payment methods. If you live outside the “allowlist” countries and you’re creating an account for an HBO Max country, you’ll need to pay via Google Play for this to work.

Challenge 2: Accessing HBO content from other allowlist countries — besides the “home” country — depends on whether you have an ad-free account or not. You need an ad-free account to stream abroad.

Ads vs Ad-Free Plans: Streaming in Other Countries

If you have an account with ads, you will not be able to watch HBO Max when you’re using an IP address from outside that country. If you do pay for the ad-free content, you can stream HBO Max from any of the supported countries.

hbo ad-free vs ads
HBO offers an ad-free plan that comes with other major perks, like streaming while abroad.

Luckily you can always upgrade your account, if you don’t have the ad-free version.

Watch HBO Max Anywhere With an Ad-Free Account

If you have an ad-free HBO Max account, there are two scenarios where you’d need a VPN to unblock HBO Max content. Either you’re traveling to a country where HBO Max service isn’t allowed, or you want to access the larger selection of movies in a different library.

Regardless of your case, here’s how to watch HBO Max by using a VPN. We’ll use ExpressVPN to demonstrate. (If you need to create an account, skip to the next steps.)

  1. Install a VPN App

    If you’re using an Android TV device, head over to Google Play store, search “ExpressVPN,” select the app and hit “install.” Follow along with the installation widget. ExpressVPN also has setup guides for other smart TV systems (Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Samsung TVs), game consoles and routers.

    ExpressVPN for Android device
  2. Connect to a Server

    Open the VPN app and select a server in your desired location, then hit the “connect” button to encrypt your traffic.

    ExpressVPN for streaming services
  3. Log in to Your HBO Max Account

    Log in to HBO Max via a web browser or the HBO Max app for your smart TV and enjoy your streaming.

    Watch HBO Max

How to Create an HBO Max Account When Outside the HBO Country List

If you’re outside the U.S. or any of the other countries that HBO is available in, signing up for HBO’s cable package or online services is a process with two major hurdles. First, you have to circumvent HBO Max geoblocking, though that’s a cinch with a reliable HBO VPN. 

However, you also need a local payment method to subscribe. We will use the U.S. as an example; the guide below shows you how to create an account if you already have a U.S. payment method, but we’ll also clue you in on how to pay without one.

  1. Download and Install a VPN App

    Head over to ExpressVPN and download a VPN for your Windows, Mac, iOS or Android device. Click the download file and follow the subsequent steps to complete the setup.

    download-expressvpn
  2. Connect to a Server in the U.S.

    Select a U.S. server and hit the “connect” button. You can run a DNS leak test to double-check your virtual location.

    expressvpn us olympics
  3. Open the HBO Max Website and Create Your Account

    Creating an HBO Max account is a three-step process. Go to the HBO Max website, click “sign up now,” and select your ad-free plan. Add your credentials (name, email address and password) and click “create account.” You can add payment information if you have a U.S. card. Otherwise, read our follow-up below for instructions on how to pay from abroad.

    Watch HBO Max online

How to Pay for HBO Max Without Local Options

If you don’t have a local payment method, there are two options to get around that obstacle. 

The first one involves connecting to a VPN and making a payment on your mobile through the Google Play Store or Apple app store. The HBO Max app on your phone lets you choose your Google account as a payment method. If you’re connected to a U.S. server on your VPN, the payment will go through as normal, and you’ll have your HBO Max subscription.

Enjoy hbo max
It’s easy to subscribe for HBO Max abroad via a Google Play account.

You can also pay through a virtual prepaid card, but those normally carry fees of their own, which means you’ll end up paying a bit more than with the first method.

Is There an HBO Max Free Trial?

When the service first launched, new subscribers could enjoy a seven-day HBO Max free trial. However, HBO ended the free trial in December 2020. 

Thankfully, there are multiple options to watch HBO Max abroad for free. First up is the HBO Max “watch for free” option. Through this option, you can sample the first episodes of the latest and most popular original series from the HBO Max library without creating an account. 

HBO free content
You don’t need an HBO Max subscription to watch the first episodes of select programs. 

Beyond that, some internet service providers like AT&T allow you to watch HBO Max for free with unlimited mobile plans. Moreover, you can get a 30-day HBO Max free trial when you buy any Roku product, and Hulu offers a seven-day HBO Max free trial with its base plan. 

Best VPN to Unblock HBO Max

We have already mentioned ExpressVPN as the best VPN for HBO Max. In this guide, we’ll discuss the features that make the VPN service ideal for HBO Max. We’ll also disclose two other HBO Max VPNs, just in case you need more options before making the decision.

1. ExpressVPN

expressvpn windows client
ExpressVPN enables Smart TV, PC, iOS and Android users to watch HBO Max regardless of their location.

More info about ExpressVPN:

  • Pricing: $6.67 on the annual plan (includes three free months)
  • Website: expressvpn.com

Pros:

  • Blazing-fast speed
  • Great at unblocking HBO Max
  • 23 U.S. servers in 14 cities

Cons:

  • Expensive

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for HBO Max, period. It has 23 VPN server locations in the U.S. with unparalleled ability to unblock HBO Max. The servers get you into the U.S. HBO Max  library on the first attempt, whether you’re accessing it from Australia, Canada or the U.K.

Once you’re in, ExpressVPN comes into its own, thanks to its lightning-fast speeds. You might not even notice the impact of the VPN service on your internet connection. Plus, with unlimited bandwidth, you’re sure to enjoy buffering-free streaming.

ExpressVPN is expensive, as it costs $6.67 per month on the 15-month plan. However, when you consider the features it offers, you’ll see it’s worth every dollar. It works seamlessly on multiple devices, including smart TV systems and gaming consoles. It also has a media streamer for devices that don’t support VPN like Apple TV and Samsung TV. Read our ExpressVPN review to learn more. 

2. NordVPN

nordvpn ui us
NordVPN unblocks HBO Max and other streaming platforms with ease.

More info about NordVPN:

  • Pricing: $3.30 per month on the two-year plan
  • Website: nordvpn.com

Pros:

  • Excellent streaming speed
  • NordLynx is fast & secure
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds across locations with OpenVPN

NordVPN is our second pick for accessing HBO Max. It’s fast enough to deliver a consistent and buffering-free streaming experience, especially when you use the proprietary NordLynx protocol, which blends speed with an added layer of security over its WireGuard base.

NordVPN servers are also adept at unblocking HBO Max. They are spread over 15 locations across the U.S. — a smidge fewer than ExpressVPN, but still enough to troubleshoot in case some of them don’t work as expected.

When it comes to price, NordVPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN. Its two-year plan sets you back $3.30 per month. Read our NordVPN review to learn more.

3. Windscribe

Windscribe for HBO Max
Windscribe allows you to watch HBO Max online or on the HBO Max application for free.

More info about Windscribe:

  • Pricing: 10GB for free, build a plan for $1 per server
  • Website: windscribe.com

Pros:

  • Generous free plan
  • Nine free servers in the U.S.
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections

Cons:

  • 3-day money-back guarantee
  • Limited GB on free plan

When it comes to streaming HBO Max, most free VPNs don’t quite cut it. Windscribe — our best free VPN — defies the odds. Despite being available free of charge, it packs a punch to break through any geo-restricted streaming service: HBO Max, BBC iPlayer and Netflix. The nine free U.S. servers unblock HBO Max without a hassle. 

That said, Windscribe isn’t the fastest VPN around, and it didn’t make it onto our list of fastest VPNs. As a result, HBO Max videos might take a while to load, especially if your internet is slow.

Even though it’s free, you have to put up with its 10GB monthly data, which isn’t enough for binge-watching. You can build a custom plan for $1 per location, and each location you purchase includes an additional 10GB of data. Read our Windscribe review to learn more. 

Free
  • : Up to 15 GB free with email confirmation and Tweet
  • : 15 GB
  • : Unlimited

Final Thoughts: Watch HBO Max

Hopefully by now you know how to open an HBO Max account and stream content from around the world.

As you’ve already seen, everything works just fine if you choose a reputable VPN service. We recommend using ExpressVPN — the best VPN for streaming — to unblock HBO Max due to its all-around performance. You can get started with ExpressVPN risk-free, thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Have you created an HBO account outside the U.S.? Which VPN did you use? What other payment methods work for subscribers outside the U.S.? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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