FIX: HBO Max not working with VPN (8 tested solutions)

Vlad Constantinescu
by Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
Affiliate Disclosure

  • HBO Max is currently one of the most popular video streaming platforms online.
  • Unfortunately, HBO Max is not available if you live outside of the United States.
  • While using a VPN can help you unblock HBO Max, sometimes it may not work for you.
  • If HBO Max doesn't work while you're using a VPN, our guide will teach you how to fix it.
HBO Max not working with VPN

Powered by HBO, HBO Max is one of the most popular streaming platforms at the time being, as it offers a broad range of video content.

However, if you’ve tried to access it from outside of the US, you may have noticed that it’s downright impossible due to an error message.

That’s quite a shame, considering that HBO subscriptions are not US-exclusive and HBO Max comes for free for HBO subscribers.

Using a VPN can help you bypass this geo-restriction without breaking a sweat and unblock HBO Max in no time.

On the other hand, sometimes unblocking HBO Max with a VPN may not work as intended.

Incidentally, the same issue seems to arise for users who try to access HBO Go through VPNs.

If you find yourself in that situation, then this guide is definitely for you.

How can I fix HBO Max VPN not working?

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1. Try using a different server

If you notice that HBO Max simply won’t accept your VPN connection, you may want to switch servers.

It’s a simple solution and only requires that you temporarily interrupt your VPN connection while choosing a different location.

There’s a quite important aspect you may need to be reminded of: while picking a different server, make sure that’s in the United States.

If you’re in Europe, for instance, and HBO Max doesn’t work for you without a VPN, choosing a Europe server won’t make it happen.

On the other hand, if you’re already connected to a US server and HBO Max still doesn’t work, choose another US server.

Quick tip: make sure to choose the server with the lowest latency and switch to the next best one, if necessary.

That way you’ll avoid buffering and stream interruptions if you get HBO Max to work.

2. Use a premium VPN

Perhaps this hasn’t occured to you before, but premium VPN are paid services for a few good reasons.

First and foremost, they work way better than their free counterparts. Then there’s the better privacy protection they offer.

However, we’re here to fix your HBO Max VPN connectivity issues, so let’s set privacy aside for a second.

If you’re using any free VPN, proxy, or other location-spoofing tool, you shouldn’t be surprised that HBO Max picks up on it.

Just get rid of them as fast as you possibly can and make the leap to a stable, paid-for service.

Instead, you could use a premium VPN like Private Internet Access, also known as PIA. It has more than 29,000 servers worldwide at the time being, so that you have plenty of choices when it comes to switching servers.

We think that PIA is the best VPN for HBO NOW and HBO GO.

Even though some of the servers may be slow, or might not work with HBO Max, having this huge network at your disposal is quite the plus in our books.

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3. Try SmartDNS

Both Netflix and HBO have waged war against VPN users worldwide, so it makes sense that sometimes it may not work for you.

In order to protect your privacy, a VPN encrypts your traffic and re-routes it, which makes it easy to detect.

However, there’s another way you can spoof your geo-location and access HBO Max without using a VPN: you can turn to SmartDNS.

What SmartDNS proxies do is they simply change your ISP-assigned DNS and strip all your requests of location-identifying data.

Some even say that SmartDNS services are even better than VPNs at unblocking geo-restricted services because they’re faster.

Well, the reason why they’re faster is that they lack encryption, and that they don’t hide your IP address.

However, if you’re only trying to watch HBO Max and you’re not concerned about your privacy, you should go ahead and try SmartDNS.

4. Use public DNS servers

As we’ve established above, ISP-assigned DNS can be quite limiting, but that doesn’t mean that you can change them.

Changing your ISP-assigned DNS can help you avoid throttling, increase your connection speed, and even dodge restrictions.

To change your DNS, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Start menu
  2. Select Network Connections
  3. Click the Change adapter options hyperlink
  4. Right-click your active Internet connection
  5. Select Properties from the context menu
  6. Double-click the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option
  7. Click the Use the following DNS server addresses radio button
  8. Put 8.8.8.8 in the Preferred DNS server field and 8.8.4.4 in the Alternate one
  9. Click the OK button

Now if your ISP-assigned DNS was the reason why HBO Max was not working with your VPN, it should definitely start working now.

Just connect to a US server and try accessing HBO Max to check if there’s any improvement.

5. Flush your DNS

flush DNS servers in Windows 10

Cached data build-ups can have a negative impact on various services you may be using while online.

Cached DNS data is one such example, which can lead to even being unable to access certain websites altogether.

Although the concept of flushing your DNS may sound a bit alien-like, it’s quite easy to do it.

Just follow the steps below to flush your DNS in no time:

  1. Launch CMD with Administrator rights
  2. Type the following commands, one by one:
    • ipconfig /flushdns
    • ipconfig /registerdns
    • ipconfig /release
    • ipconfig /renew
    • netsh winsock reset
  3. Restart your computer

After your PC reboots, try connecting to a US VPN server, then try accessing HBO Max.

If cached DNS build-ups were the issue, HBO Max should now work without a hiccup.

6. Use a different VPN protocol

Each VPN supports different protocols, so we can’t exactly guide you through the process of changing them.

However, it should be fairly easy to locate and modify protocol settings. Most VPNs have them in the General or Connection settings section.

Make sure to go through all supported protocols and even play around with ports, if possible.

HBO Max may block certain ports automatically, which is why switching ports (as well as protocols) is essential to this step.

7. Pick a VPN with obfuscation features

If your VPN lacks obfuscation features, you should try switching to one that offers this type of service.

What obfuscation does is disguise your VPN traffic so that it appears as regular traffic.

We’ve mentioned above that even though VPN traffic is private, it’s quite easy to detect.

Obfuscation-ready services can dramatically reduce the chances that HBO Max will detect VPN traffic on your side.

If you’re ready to try an obfuscation-friendly VPN but don’t know where to start, check out our recommendations below.

Product Name Obfuscation Company Name
NordVPN Obfuscated Servers Tefincom & Co., S.A.
Surfshark VPN Camouflage Mode Surfshark LTD
VyprVPN Chameleon protocol Golden Frog GmbH
IPVanish Scramble OpenVPN traffic StackPath, LLC
ExpressVPN Stealth servers Express VPN International Ltd.
TunnelBear Stealth VPN McAfee, LLC
Windscribe VPN Stealth VPN Windscribe Limited
VPN Unlimited KeepSolid Wise KeepSolid Inc.

8. Clear your browser cache and cookies

We’ve talked about cached data build-ups above and how they can disrupt the functionality of certain websites on your system.

This is exactly why we urge you to clear your browser’s cache altogether if you notice that HBO Max keeps rejecting your VPN.

Make sure to include browsing history, cookies, and any other cached data on your device for the process to be effective.

We suggest you to try using another browser as well, and avoid using extensions on it while checking if HBO Max works with your VPN.

Better yet, try using a new browser in incognito mode to avoid any extensions and data caching.

Conclusion

All things considered, HBO Max not working with your VPN can be a real bummer sometimes.

However, we’ve provided you with a generous collection of potential fixes which you can try.

We suggest you try our fixes one by one and try not to avoid either one of them, if possible.

We’re confident that you will find a method that will make HBO Max work again with your VPN.

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