When Americans visit or work in Australia, they lose access to most of the streaming services they subscribe to. You can’t watch HBO Max in Australia or other countries due to Hollywood’s licensing schemes. Granted, Foxtel’s cable and satellite service will carry HBO Max’s original content. But the vast majority of hotels and residences don’t use Foxtel for TV. If you’re in Australia, the best way to unblock the HBO Max content you’ve paid for is to use ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN: the best VPN to stream HBO Max from Australia
In order to ensure that you get the best experience possible, VPN providers must regularly test websites and services like Netflix, Zoom and HBO Max. Most of the free VPN providers don’t have the resources to make the online experience over VPN the same as the online experience without. ExpressVPN sets itself apart by doing the testing needed to let you stream HBO Max in Australia whenever you want.
ExpressVPN’s focus on the customer experience extends to its round-the-clock global support center. They can help you resolve any VPN issues you may have while traveling.
When you aren’t watching HBO Max to unwind at the end of the day, you can use ExpressVPN to securely connect to the internet to keep your email and web browsing secure.
Core ExpressVPN benefits
30-day Money-Back Guarantee. ExpressVPN will ask you to make your first payment upfront. But you can cancel anytime within the first 30 days and get a full, no-questions-asked refund. Instead of rushing to figure out a new app during a 7-day trial, you get about a month of regular use to decide whether ExpressVPN works for you.
Discounted Plans. You can join ExpressVPN on a month-to-month basis, but signing up for longer periods will save you quite a bit. The 6-month subscription is discounted by more than 20%. The 12-month subscription saves you 35%. Best of all, the 30-day money-back guarantee applies no matter which plan you select. You can get the maximum savings with no risk.
Many VPN Servers. If you’ve used some of those free VPN providers, you’ve probably noticed how they can slow your internet connection to a crawl. That’s because all of their customers are trying to use the same handful of VPN servers at the same time. ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 VPN servers operating at sites in more than 90 countries around the world.
Use the Fastest Servers. When you launch ExpressVPN’s app, it checks all of the servers at the site you’re connecting to. It will identify the fastest-running server so you can get the best speeds possible.
Dedicated Support Staff. Using ExpressVPN is straightforward. But sometimes a software conflict or wireless configuration can throw things out of line. ExpressVPN’s support team is available around-the-clock, every day of the week. They can quickly help you with your VPN connection issues and get you securely online again.
Account Sharing. When you travel with family, you aren’t the only one who needs to be online. ExpressVPN accounts support simultaneous connections on up to five devices. From phones to tablets to laptops to your home computer, you can keep everyone’s online presence safe and secure.
For many people, ExpressVPN starts out as a way to keep their email and web browsing secure when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots. But as you travel, being able to stream popular movies and TV shows becomes just as important. ExpressVPN doesn’t just let you unblock HBO Max in Australia and elsewhere. It will also work with streaming services like Netflix. The nice thing about this is that, even if you’re home, you can access Netflix’s unique catalogs in other countries.
Related: How to Get American Netflix in Australia
How to unblock HBO Max in Australia with ExpressVPN
Step 1: Sign Up for ExpressVPN
Sign up for the month-to-month, 6-month or 12-month subscription plan on the ExpressVPN website. Although you can do the same thing through the iOS or Android app, getting the money-back guarantee becomes more complicated. That’s because you make the in-app purchase from Apple or Google rather than from ExpressVPN.
Step 2: Download and Install the ExpressVPN Client
Once you’ve signed up, you can download the ExpressVPN app from the app store on your mobile devices. If you want to secure the internet connections on your laptop or other device, then go to the ExpressVPN site. You can download apps for the following devices:
- Amazon Fire TV Kindle Fire
- Apple TV
- Some smart home devices
- Google Chrome
Once installed, simply launch the app:
Step 3: Connect to an HBO Max-compatible server
In order to use your device in Australia as if you were back home, you need to connect to an ExpressVPN server in the US.
- The app’s “VPN Locations” menu lists the more than 90 countries where ExpressVPN hosts servers. Search or scroll to find “United States”:
- You’ll see more than 20 cities in the United States where ExpressVPN servers are running. Select one of the location names to connect.
- When you see “VPN is On”, you know you have a secure connection to ExpressVPN’s American VPN server and can stream HBO Max in Australia:
Connecting your device in Australia to an ExpressVPN server in the United States makes it appear like you’re in the US to HBO Max and other websites. They won’t know to apply their geographical restrictions and you’ll be able to access the streaming service you pay for each month.
What are other publications saying about ExpressVPN?
Quite a few technology review sites have put ExpressVPN to the test and they all share the same positive opinion:
“ExpressVPN has a great service. The speeds are phenomenal, the device support is off the charts, and the country locations and number of servers are vast.” – PCWorld
“This is a quality VPN which delivers in just about every area.” – Techradar
“ExpressVPN’s dedication to privacy is impressive, and its fleet of far-flung servers outclasses much of the competition.” – PCMag
Other ExpressVPN use cases
VPN technology was originally created to keep corporate data secure when business travelers went online. Over time, VPN evolved to protect everything you do while connecting to the Internet. Here are some of the other reasons you’ll want to use ExpressVPN.
Protecting your online privacy
Privacy is becoming harder to preserve every day. Internet service providers, governments and advertising firms alike track where you connect, which websites you visit, what you buy and more. They pour all of this information into artificial intelligence systems that profile you for their own purposes.
ExpressVPN is one way to stop some of this unwanted snooping. Once you’re connected, your internet provider — whether it’s your local cable company or the hotel Wi-Fi — cannot tell which websites you visit.
Protect your data from insecure WiFi hotspots
Hacking is another risk people face when using the internet. The Wi-Fi hotspots that make it so easy to connect when traveling are notoriously insecure. Just for the fun of it, teenagers can download easy-to-use hacking tools for spying on wireless connections. They can watch your web browser jumping from site to site and capture your credit card numbers and passwords as you enter them.
By connecting to ExpressVPN from a public WiFi hotspot, all of your personal information becomes invisible to potential hackers. The military-grade encryption ExpressVPN applies to your data is impossible to break.
Why all the interest in HBO Max?
While a lot gets made of Netflix’s original content strategy, it was HBO that was the pioneer. The premium channel has already built a reputation for carrying hit movies for cable subscribers. But as more movie channels appeared, HBO needed a way to keep people watching and paying. Creating its own content that only HBO subscribers could watch was the solution. When The Sopranos became a global hit, HBO Originals became the core of HBO programming.
The launch of HBO Max is a case of history repeating itself. Cord-cutting has seen more and more households canceling their cable subscriptions — and their HBO subscriptions. Instead, more people were picking up streaming services owned by content producers like CBS and Disney.
HBO Max gives people even more reason to keep their premium subscriptions. You get much, much more content than just the hit movies and original programs from HBO’s cable channel. HBO Max can access WarnerMedia’s century of TV and movie content. That includes cable channels like Cartoon Network and TVM as well as hit movie studios like DC Films.
WarnerMedia sweetened the deal even further in the aftermath of the 2020 pandemic. Every big studio film it releases in 2021 will be streamable day-and-date with the movie theaters.
HBO Max also signs exclusive licensing deals with other content producers. Nearly the entire catalog of Studio Ghibli’s anime film is only available on HBO Max. HBO Max is also the streaming home for Sesame Street. Even Warner competitors like Sony license their movies to stream on HBO Max.
Related: HBO Max Review 2020
When WarnerMedia launched HBO Max, it wanted all of its existing HBO subscribers to move over to the new service. At $15 per month, HBO Max is the same price as the original HBO — but with a lot more content. For the most part, this transition was automatic. This price is at the high-end for on-demand streaming. Studio-owned services like Disney+ are a fraction of that price. But it is comparable to Netflix’s most expensive plans.
You can stream HBO Max to your TV and home theater system through devices based on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV or Roku. Travelers can count on streaming HBO Max on phones, tablets and laptops.
But those apps only work in the United States — including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Once you cross the border, however, the HBO Max app will detect your location and cut off your access.
Why is HBO blocking access from Australia?
HBO Max and its parent company WarnerMedia only have full control of the content they create. They are free to decide how and where people can stream the Sopranos or Westworld. But Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, Sesame Street and other HBO-exclusive content are owned by other companies. These companies make their own international distribution deals. Studio Ghibli, for example, signed a deal with Netflix for streaming everywhere in the world except Japan and the United States.
At the same time, WarnerMedia has been licensing HBO Originals to content distributors around the world. Canceling those deals to make HBO Max a global service doesn’t make business sense. In Australia, for example, Foxtel has been the exclusive broadcaster and streamer of HBO Originals. Now it also gets HBO Max original content.
To stop people in Australia and other countries from creating HBO Max accounts and bypassing WarnerMedia’s distribution partners, HBO Max blocks people connecting from outside the United States. Unfortunately, this has a negative impact on HBO Max’s American subscribers. US military and civilian employees stationed in other countries, as well as American travelers, get blocked as well. People living too close to Canada or Mexico can also run into issues due to imprecise methods of geolocation.
How does HBO block access from Australia?
Even though the internet is a global platform, it is built on country-specific networks. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers assigns every country blocks of Internet Protocol addresses, or IP addresses. Internet routers use these numerical addresses to move packets of data across the internet.
When you connect to the hotel WiFi in Australia, your computer is assigned an IP address that links you virtually to your physical presence in the land down under. A global streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video uses this information to let you access the local content catalog. A US-only streaming service like HBO Max uses the information to block you from your account.
ExpressVPN will unblock HBO Max in Australia and elsewhere. By connecting to the company’s US-based VPN servers, you will appear to have an American IP address. HBO Max will assume you’re connecting in Los Angeles and let you access your paid-up account.
Can HBO Max block VPNs?
In order to honor their licensing deals, streaming services like HBO Max will monitor incoming connections and block the IP addresses of obvious VPN providers. That works for many of the “free” VPN providers that only operate a handful of servers. However, Express VPN runs so many servers and rotates IP addresses so often that streaming services just can’t keep up.
Streaming services can’t get too aggressive about blocking VPNs. Many of their customers in America rely on a VPN to protect their home and business networks. If HBO Max cut off those customers, it would lose their business.
Chris Casper is a former tech industry product manager who escaped from California for New Mexico. Now he writes about science and tech while searching for the perfect green chile sauce.