HBO Max not working with VPN? Fix it in 3 steps (2023 guide)

HBO Max (also known as Max) is designed for US folk, which means that if you’re trying to stream content outside America, you’ll hit a brick wall. Usually, a VPN would come to the rescue here, allowing you to spoof your location if you’re abroad so you can keep watching. But what if your current VPN isn’t working with HBO Max? We’ll help you fix it.

Let’s get right to it. If your current VPN isn’t working with HBO Max, there’s a high chance that the VPN server you’re trying to use has been blacklisted by HBO. In other words, you won’t be able to stream shows if you’re outside America. Have a read through our guide for more details.

In this article:

How to use HBO Max abroad: quick guide

  1. Get ExpressVPN (£5.47+), Ivacy (£0.80+), NordVPN (£3.39+), Atlas VPN (£1.68+) or PureVPN ($2.08+)
  2. Open the VPN and connect to a server based in the US
  3. Sign in to your HBO Max account
  4. Use HBO Max from anywhere in the world

Why is HBO Max not working with my VPN?

In the event that the HBO Max website works out that you’re trying to access it from a restricted region, your connection will be blocked every time. A support page on HBO’s own website explains: “Not in Service Area or VPN Detected.

HBO Max is accessible only in the U.S. and certain U.S. territories from your real IP address.”

If your current VPN isn’t working with HBO Max, it’s clearly not doing a very good job of spoofing your location. Some or all of the VPN servers you have available to you through that service may be blacklisted. Swapping to a more reliable VPN will save you some trouble.

How does HBO Max detect my VPN?

Rubbish VPNs don’t do a very good job of hiding your true location, which means HBO Max prevents you from streaming content. When the HBO Max website identifies VPN use, it’ll blacklist the temporary IP address provided by your VPN so you can’t use it again. The worst VPNs do a lousy job of replacing their blacklisted servers.

Have a look at our recommended VPNs below and enjoy a superior service. And don’t worry – you don’t need to spend big to get yourself a top-tier VPN.

The best VPNs for HBO Max in 2023


Watch HBO Max abroad using ExpressVPN
Above: Watch The Outsider on HBO Max from anywhere using ExpressVPN

If the VPN you’re using at the moment just refuses to work, then it’s time to switch over to ExpressVPN. We’ll happily recommend this newbie-friendly VPN over and over again – it’s easy to use, speedy and works brilliantly if you’re looking to access HBO Max from abroad. You won’t have to stare at annoying error messages on the HBO Max website if you’re protected by this tried and tested VPN.

ExpressVPN does a great job of replacing its blacklisted servers. That means that, even if HBO temporarily disables incoming connections from ExpressVPN, the VPN will have a replacement server up and running ASAP. To access your account, all you need to do is open up ExpressVPN, connect to a US-based server and go from there.

ExpressVPN keeps your real IP address hidden, so websites won’t know you’re accessing content from abroad. Every ExpressVPN member can enjoy servers in over 90 countries around the world. This VPN works on loads of different gadgets including Mac, PC, Android or iOS smartphone.

  • Keeps your information private and secure
  • Compatible with phones, tablets, laptops and routers
  • A VPN built for speed

Try ExpressVPN with our unique discount code (30-day money-back guarantee)


    Watch HBO Max abroad using Ivacy
    Above: Watch The OC on HBO Max from anywhere using Ivacy

    Ivacy is a great pick if you want to enjoy HBO Max while you’re travelling. This is one of the most popular, affordable VPNs around, thanks in part to its battle against blacklisted servers. The cheapest Ivacy subscription will only set you back $2.45 per month.

    This trusted VPN will effectively hide your real location so you can use all of HBO’s features, even if you’ve roamed outside the US. Use our exclusive link below and you get instant access to over 1,000 VPNs servers across the world. A single membership to Ivacy also means you can protect up to 10 gadgets at a time.

    • Offers effective malware protection
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • Optimized servers for high-speed downloads

    Try Ivacy with our unique discount code (30-day money-back guarantee)

    For more on Ivacy, you can read our full Ivacy review.


    Watch HBO Max abroad using NordVPN
    Above: Watch True Blood on HBO Max from anywhere using NordVPN

    Here’s another VPN for your shortlist if you want to use HBO Max while you’re travelling. NordVPN has servers all over the world and all of them are protected by military-grade encryption. That means they’re extremely secure and you can connect without handing over your personal data to companies that shouldn’t own it.

    If you run into trouble while getting to grips with NordVPN, you can make use of the live chat feature for a helping hand.

    • Protect yourself and friends without buying multiple accounts
    • Just pick a server and connect
    • Secure your online traffic with leading-edge encryption

    Try NordVPN with our unique discount code (30-day money-back guarantee)

    Atlas VPN

    Watch HBO Max abroad using Atlas VPN
    Above: Watch True Blood on HBO Max from anywhere using Atlas VPN

    Atlas VPN will act as a shield against online threats while at the same time unlocking geo-restricted content for you. It’s a good pick for buyers on a budget and comes with a built-in tracker blocker that stops ads, suspicious websites and phishing links in their tracks. It’s a solid choice if you want to watch HBO Max anywhere in the world.

    Other handy Atlas VPN features include a shielded connection that leaves ‘no room for unsecured data exchanges’, plus a data breach monitor that lets you know if your personal details have been exposed online. This awesome service also has a no-logs policy (your activities aren’t tracked) and a network kill switch that halts the service if your connection becomes unstable.

    Atlas VPN currently offers access to over 750 servers around the world. Clicking the ‘Connect’ button will automatically pick the ideal server for you according to your distance, download speed and latency. Then, you can start watching HBO Max wherever you are in the world. It’s also worth noting that Atlas VPN supports unlimited devices and works on both desktop and mobile.

    As an added benefit, Atlas VPN members get access to a 24-hour live support service. That means that, if you encounter a technical problem or have any questions, you can reach out to a real person and get the situation sorted. Give Atlas VPN a try and watch HBO Max without encountering region-based error messages.

    Try Atlas VPN today with our exclusive code (30-day money-back guarantee)


    Watch HBO Max abroad using PureVPN
    Above: Watch Band of Brothers on HBO Max from anywhere using PureVPN

    If your current VPN doesn’t work with HBO Max, it’s time to treat yourself to a better alternative. PureVPN is a great example, being powerful enough to unlock geo-locked websites so you can enjoy them without a hassle. You’ll be able to log in to your HBO Max account even if you’re in a country where it doesn’t usually work.

    PureVPN also works with ITV Hub, Hulu and Amazon Prime. There are around 2,000 secure PureVPN servers based in over 130 different countries.

    • Instant, unrestricted access to your favourite shows
    • Military-grade encryption keeps you anonymous
    • A global network of VPN servers

    Try PureVPN with our unique discount code (31-day money-back guarantee)

    Prices listed above correct at time of publication