Winter is coming and, with Game of Thrones returning to HBO for its eighth season, fans all over the world will be anxious to tune in as the battle for the Iron Throne begins again.
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Unfortunately, anyone living or traveling outside the US will find their efforts to support their favorite characters’ quest for the throne thwarted by HBO’s “Not in service” message.
Although HBO’s mobile app HBO Go means you can take the Starks and the Lannisters with you wherever you go, HBO is only available in the US so, if you’re hoping to see the Queen of Dragons making her way back to Westeros while holidaying in Wales, you’ll need a VPN to help you.
Just as characters in the Game of Thrones may need to mask their location or wear a disguise from time to time, so do fans wanting to catch the latest action. A VPN can mask your real location by creating a fake IP address that will indicate that you’re in the US even when you’re not! Stealthy and sneaky it may be, but it’s also really useful if you want the comfort of homegrown content while traveling overseas.
All VPNs are capable of creating fake IP addresses but that’s where the similarities end. While some VPNs may track your online activities or sell your information to eager third parties, the best VPNs for streaming HBO from abroad not only offer high-speed global connectivity but also give you complete privacy and cutting-edge security.
Why Isn’t HBO Available Overseas?
As with other similar streaming services, much of the content on HBO Go and HBO Now is under copyright which means that those sites showing media content need to get the correct licenses to broadcast those shows.
As copyright restrictions and licenses vary considerably from one country to the next, many sites limit viewing to certain areas, using a technique known as geo-blocking. As its name suggests, this occurs when a site will only allow users from a specific area to access certain content.
Of course, the only way for geo-blocks to work effectively is if they have some way of working out where users are connecting from. This is done simply and easily by using your device’s unique IP address.
An IP address is basically like a name tag and indicates the region and country that your device is in whenever it makes a request to access a specific site. This allows streaming sites like HBO, Hulu, and Netflix to control who accesses certain content depending on their location and thereby abide by copyright regulations.
How to Stream HBO from Overseas
A VPN isn’t the only way to stream HBO from abroad, but it probably is the best and most cost-effective. A VPN is a versatile piece of software that you’ll utilize in a range of different situations, for a multitude of reasons. One alternative to a VPN is a Slingbox which is effective but limited.
The Slingbox is a clever little gadget that allows you to access your home network from overseas. That means that, not only will you be able to make the most of your HBO subscription, you’ll also be able to watch pre-recorded shows, satellite TV or live cable regardless of where you are in the world. Unfortunately, that’s all it does.
While a VPN can keep you safe when shopping online, save you money on flights and hotel bookings, and much more, a Slingbox will only give you access to your home network which, when you consider the cost, is pretty limited.
Certainly, a Slingbox is a good way of keeping up with your favorite HBO series and live sporting events, but with prices starting at just under $300, it’s certainly not cheap. By comparison, a VPN will only set you back a few dollars a month, especially if you sign up for a long-term subscription with one of the following top VPNs.
Other methods of getting around geo-blocks include using proxy sites and Smart DNS which are both effective but lack some of the additional extras you get with reputable VPN providers like ExpressVPN.
Top VPNs for Streaming HBO from Abroad
#1 ExpressVPN – Our Top Pick For HBO
No logs, unlimited bandwidth and a speedy connection, ExpressVPN is our number one choice for reaching content behind that geo-restricted wall. Get to watch your HBO shows with their global servers and encrypted protection. Able to work on Android, iPhone, Windows, Linux systems along with game consoles, you’re able to stream HBO on any compatible device from anywhere.
Additional features: ExpressVPN is configured to be consistently easy to use and they offer live chat for support in case you may run into some trouble. The service has a popular yearly plan starting at $12.95 a month, with a 30-day money back guarantee.
For more information on ExpressVPN features, read our extensive ExpressVPN review.
#2 NordVPN – Optimal Speed and Security Mix
NordVPN is popular for unlocking content from streaming websites and apps so there’s no mistake that you’ll be able to unlock HBO with this choice. Fast and reliable, this VPN provider can offer some peace to users looking to browse a secure and trusted connection.
Additional features: Highly rated as a trusted HBO Nordic VPN to watch HBO Nordic abroad they also offer their service with a promise of a 30-day risk-free trial for their two-year plan at $3.29 per month. Connect up to 6 compatible devices and enjoy online freedom with unlimited bandwidth.
For more information on NordVPN features, read our extensive NordVPN review.
#3 Surfshark – Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
Get maximum protection when watching HBO with Surfshark due to the internet-friendly jurisdiction. This VPN is located in the British Virgin Islands and has 800 servers in 50 countries around the world. Complete with a warrant canary, security audit and foolproof logging policy there is no question that your online movements will be completely anonymous. If you sign up with Surfshark for the two-year plan you can pay as little as $1.99 per month, probably the cheapest price you will find on the market.
Additional Features: This ultra-fast VPN is packed with features including unlimited data and bandwidth, DNS leak protection, IPv6 leak protection, ad blocker, tracker blocker, and anti-malware. Additionally, you can switch servers as often as you like and access HBO, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.
For more information on Surfshark features, read our extensive Surfshark review.
#4 ZenMate – Helpful Additional Security Features
If you want full access to HBO you can get it with ZenMate. Although ZenMAte has jurisdiction in Germany, one of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance countries, the strict no-logging policy will ensure that you have complete privacy when browsing online. This VPN is compatible with Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Android TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. There are extra features you can download on the ZenMate website which will protect your online security like the ZenMate Web FireWall, SafeSearch and Identity Shield.
Additional Features: A great thing about ZenMate is that it is perfect for VPN beginners due to its easy-to-navigate interface. We recommend signing up for the two-year plan which is set at a very affordable price of $2.05 and the service comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For more information on ZenMate features, read our extensive ZenMate review.
#5 Windscribe – The Best Free VPN
Popular for unlocking Netflix, Windscribe is a solid solution for unlocking content in HBO. They offer the option of subscribing to a free VPN for HBO with one of their subscription plans, but they also have a yearly plan for only $4.08 a month. Both plans come with a 30-day money back guarantee on unlimited devices.
Additional free features: Known for its browser extensions and compatibility across several devices, Windscribe is an impressive choice if you want to watch HBO Now abroad. The service promises to keep your browsing activity off their logs, so if you wanted to stream content while undetected, you certainly can.
For more information on Windscribe features, read our extensive Windscribe review.
Can I Use a Free VPN for HBO
Yes and no. Essentially you can use a free VPN to access HBO Go or HBO Now content but a free choice isn’t always the best option.
Free VPNs often don’t work on all available operating systems and platforms, and often come with a variety of restrictions – including bandwidth caps and limited server availability. To add to that, your information does not remain private. VPNs sell your information to third parties. (This is how they keep their VPN free.) And on top of that, you will receive numerous ad popups. Nothing is worse than trying to watch Westworld and popups keep interrupting your viewing pleasure.
A paid VPN not only does not sell your information or give you endless ads, but are committed to zero logging AND do not put any caps on what you can do.
We highly suggest that if you are going to be streaming HBO for a long period of time to commit to a paid VPN service. It will be worth the money you pay for it.
Get a VPN and Watch HBO Abroad Today
HBO has long since been a part of our TV lives. We have watched endless shows, shed tears over finales, and looked forward to the arrival of new shows. Now with their online streaming options, HBO has invited the globe to have access to their content.
While HBO Go is a great way to take your cable TV subscription on the go, HBO Now offers users an alternative option if they aren’t subscribed to any cable provider. Both services offer an opportunity to catch up with your favorite games, movies, and shows, so gaining access, even while traveling abroad is an entertainment necessity.
And if you don’t have access to either of these HBO options, get a VPN.
Does HBO Go block the VPN? No.
Would you have access to restricted HBO Now content? Yes.
You will be able to browse freely and securely. Take some time to see which of our recommended services work for you and get to streaming today!
As we mentioned earlier, one of the best things about a VPN is that it’s versatile and can provide you with much more than just the ability to watch the latest season of Game of Thrones from overseas.
For example, if you need to do a spot of online banking but you’re en route across China, a VPN like NordVPN will give you secure access to your bank in the US by enabling you to use an obfuscated server to get around Chinese restrictions in back into the land of the Free – virtually, at any rate.
Similarly, you could use CyberGhost VPN to connect to a server in India and save yourself a few dollars on your next trip by dodging the high prices offered to US users and getting the cheaper alternative prices offered to those in poorer countries.
By now, you should not only have an answer to the problem of how to stream HBO abroad but also have some idea of the other potential uses of a VPN. You should have also gathered that the best VPNs are those that provide fast international connections via a user-friendly interface so, reassuringly, even those as technologically challenged like me can enjoy the benefits of top-class cybersecurity and stream HBO from overseas.