Updated: May 10, 2017
- Start with setting up a VPN account
- Download and install the VPN software to the device(s) you want to watch HBO GO in UK on
- Open up the VPN software and connect to a US-based server location
- Login to your HBO GO account or signup if you have not already
- Enjoy HBO GO in UK
How to Watch HBO GO in UK
in more detail:
HBO GO is a great on demand media streaming service that offers a whole bunch of great shows. When I visited some friends in San Francisco earlier this month, I was introduced to HBO GO and quickly got addicted to some of the awesome TV shows therein.
However, upon arriving back in Edinburgh, Scotland, I returned to the HBO GO service to login to my account, only to be abruptly blocked from accessing the service. I was raging! It was so annoying that I had signed up for the service, only to not be able to access it from my home country, the UK.
That's right -- you cannot access HBO GO in UK locations at all. It's a purely "US-only" accessible service. Boo.
But I am not one to throw in the towel so easily. I knew there had to be a super quick and simple solution to get around this block, so I set to researching on how to watch HBO GO in UK locations right away -- and I quickly figured the best method to do this.
So I wanted to share this solution with you in a quick, helpful little guide. If you follow the steps I lay out below, then you will have full access to HBO GO in UK locations within 5 minutes, securely and legally. Enjoy!
Why is HBO GO Blocked in the UK?
It's important to understand the reason why HBO GO is blocked from accessing in the UK, which I figured out pretty quickly.
Basically, every piece of media the service offers users has a licensing agreement determined. These licensing agreements all state the HBO GO has bought licensing rights to offer the media they do within the US.
So if HBO GO wanted to offer a service in the UK, they would have to buy the specific licensing rights for the media they want to show in the UK in addition to the US ones. That's how licensing rights work. This is why other super popular on demand media streaming services are not available in all locations in the world -- because it is expensive to purchase licensing rights for each country for each piece of media.
How is HBO GO Blocking UK Users?
So now that we understand why HBO GO does not allow its service to users in the UK, we also need to understand exactly how, technically-speaking, this service blocks users that attempt to access it from the UK.
It didn't take me long to figure this out. Basically, HBO GO uses a popular process called "geo-blocking", which acts as a door on the front of their service. By using this process, HBO GO determines the location of each and every user that tries to access it. If the user is located within the US; the door opens -- if the user is located in the UK; the door stays closed and you get that annoying 'blocked' message:
Now how does HBO GO's geo-blocking process know the location of each user that tries to use the service?
By checking the IP address of each user the moment they arrive on the service. Your IP address tells HBO GO where you are accessing the service from, geographically, and thus grants or denies access based on said IP address.
Your IP address changes depending on what internet connection you have. So for example, your home connection gives you a different IP address than your local cafe; same goes with your office and/or college. However, all of these IP addresses will still accurately show your location as within the UK, which is ultimately what matters to HBO GO.
Thus, the solution to knowing how to access HBO GO in UK locations is to somehow change your IP address to a US-based one, without having to physically fly to the US, of course!
There are a few ways to change your IP address, with each method offering different pros and cons. However, by far and away the best method I determined is to use what's called a Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short.
A VPN is a secure, privacy-protecting and legal way to very quickly change your IP address, giving you instant access to HBO GO from the comfort of your UK location.
With VPNs becoming more and more popular a solution for accessing blocked services like HBO GO in UK locations, it was no surprise that when I researched them, I was faced with literally hundreds of different VPN service providers.
After personally researching, trying out, and reviewing a large quantity of the best VPNs out there -- I decided to go with ExpressVPN for this solution just because it best suits my need and budget. So while I quickly walk your through the steps to setup this VPN to unblock HBO GO below, I will use ExpressVPN as the example.
How to Use a VPN to Watch HBO GO in UK
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
First thing's first. Go to ExpressVPN's website and choose the plan that works best for your circumstance and budget. There are three price plans to choose from, so once you've selected the one you want, you just need to confirm payment and account details then you're ready to download and install the software.
Here's a quick snapshot of how simple the sign up process is with ExpressVPN. Literally just a couple steps that takes less than 1 minutes to go through:
You will confirm your new ExpressVPN account via email, upon which you will be directed to the main download area to get the software onto your device...
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
In the download area, ExpressVPN will have automatically figured out which device you're currently using (laptop, smartphone, etc) and present you with the specific download link for that device.
In addition, if you plan to watch HBO GO on more than one of your devices (I like to watch it on my Macbook and also my Android smartphone) then that's no problem, since ExpressVPN is com compatible with essentially every device you would ever want to watch the service on:
Upon downloading the software to your device you will be prompted to quickly fire through the installation process, which is just a couple steps that takes no more than 30 seconds. Then you will have the software fully installed and ready to use!
NOTE: To get ExpressVPN installed and setup on your smartphone, the service has specific apps for all types of smartphone that you can find and download in the according app store (for free, of course.)
Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN
Now that you have your VPN ready to use on your device, go ahead and open that bad boy up. It's time to get connected!
This is the all important step that will change your IP address, so what you want to do is open up the software then choose a US-based location ("server") to connect to. This is super simple to do, since ExpressVPN is a very clean and clear interface to use, as the below screen shot demonstrates:
Also to give you a feel for how the ExpressVPN app looks on mobile devices -- here is a snapshot from my Android smartphone showing the connection process:
Step 4: Setup and Access HBO GO
Once you are connected to the US-based server location you selected, your IP address will have changed. So now when you navigate to HBO GO, you will have full access from the UK!
Now, if you are like me and already have a HBO GO account setup then you are ready to watch; no more steps needed. However, if you don't have an account yet then you can now go ahead and signup since you have full access. For this you will need to provide a valid Zip code, which you can easily find by Googling accordingly.
That's it! You have just solved how to watch HBO GO in UK locations securely, privately and legally in less than 5 minutes.
Well, I hope you found this guide helpful. If you followed the steps I explained herein, you will have full access to HBO GO in UK locations without requiring you to get on a plane and fly to the states, which is pretty cool!
I did mention that there are a lot of VPN service providers out there today. So since I personally reviewed a whole bunch of them, I've listed the top five providers below to give you some more options. Each one offers different levels of service at differing prices, however all of them will change your IP address successfully:
If you feel like leaving feedback or asking me any questions on this guide at all -- let me know in the comment section below. I'll be happy to hear from you and help out with any problems you might have.
Happy HBO GO'ing!