Updated: January 1st, 2018
HBO GO is not available in the UK. This is super annoying for us UK residing internet users that love the quality HBO shows that are on this service.
This guide shows you how to get HBO GO UK unblocked in under 5 minutes. So do to this, go through the steps listed below right now:
- 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
Reading Time: 4 Minutes
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 get 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 get HBO GO UK unblocked 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 your HBO subscription UK location-available 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. In the UK alone, such goliath streaming services as Fox Sports, beIN and ESPN are unavailable, and thus require such workarounds like the one laid out in this guide.
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 make HBO UK accessible 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.
OK, what the heck is a VPN? Is it legal? Safe?
It is worth taking 30 seconds to quickly understand exactly what a VPN is, how it works (generally -- we won't get super technical) and how they are completely legal in the UK.
So, a VPN is a small, easy-to-use piece of software that basically intercepts your internet connection right before your device communicates with your actual ISP (Internet Service Provider). This happens by you connecting to one of the many servers that the VPN provider offers you.
These servers are located around the world, whereas your standard ISP server is located in your actual physical area. This means that your device is not directly communicating with your ISP, but rather instead with the server through your VPN. Makes sense, so far? Good.
Why does this provide a way for you to change your device's IP address? Well, your IP address is determined by the server you are connected to. So whereas normally you would be connected to your local ISP server; thus showing your IP address as your actual location -- when you connect to a VPN, you can actually choose where you connect to the internet through.
A VPN offers you locations all over the world to connect through, so if you choose to connect through a server located in the US, you will physically connect through a US-based server. This changes your UK IP address to instead show a US IP address.
Once you do this - your device's IP address is then showing your location as within the US. Sweet!
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 take less than 1 minutes to go through:
As you can see, this service offers 3 different plans that you can choose from. This really just depends on how much you want to commit to the service. However, regardless of which plan you decide to go with -- you will have the first 30 days money back guaranteed. So either way you have the first month to give it a try and see how you like it.
You will confirm your new ExpressVPN account via email once you have chosen your plan and signed up. At this point you will be directed to the main download area to get the software onto your device. This part is as "technical" as the entire process gets, and you will see now just how simple this part is...
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), so in my case I just navigated to the Google Play Store on my Android device and got the app therein.
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:
I mentioned above that in my case I wanted to have HBO GO UK accessible on both my Macbook and my Android smartphone device. So check out the quick screen shots below that I took to show how similarly simple the connection process is on my mobile device:
(Of course you won't be connecting to a UK-based location like I did in the above shots. I just quickly connected to show you how simple it is.)
With your device now connected to a US-based server through your VPN, you will have now effectively changed your IP address to reflect this. So long UK-location; hello US-location!
So now the next and final step in this quick guide is to jump over to HBO GO and get access...
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 get HBO UK unblocked 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:
FAQ: Any alternative ways to change my IP address?
With this guide helping out thousands of people every month, one common question we receive via email is whether there are alternative methods or approaches to successfully change your device's IP address other than with a VPN.
The short answer to this is: Yes. There are two other popular ways to achieve this -- via a SmartDNS or Proxy browser. So let's quickly run through these options and most importantly explain why they simply do not compare to using a VPN for this solution.
A SmartDNS works in much the same way as a VPN. There are free SmartDNS service providers, just as there are free VPN providers - however, we strongly suggest not using such free services. Why? Because if they are free; they are either receiving money by harbouring and re-selling your data or provide a service that is entirely ineffective in unblocking such online streaming services as HBO GO in the UK.
With that said, we have nothing bad to say about trying this solution with a SmartDNS rather than a VPN. A good, trusted SmartDNS service will use the same IP-address hijacking approach that a VPN does, to successfully get HBO NOW UK unblocked for you.
You can Google "best SmartDNS" and there will be many legitimate providers to choose from. Sign up then get connected in the same way that we describe in this guide with a VPN, then you should have access to HBO GO.
I am mentioning this option only as it technically allows some form of unblocking of websites with relative success.
However, proxy browsers are by far and away the most unreliable and untrusted methods to unblock even standard sites online. Moreover, an actual online streaming service like HBO GO is a much more sophisticated type of "website" -- so they have much higher levels of detection and protection against users attempting to access their service from locations they do not wish.
So you can safely assume that 99.999% of proxy providers will not get HBO UK unblocked for you.
With this said, what is the difference between a SmartDNS, proxy browser and a VPN? This simple table should make it clear:
IP Address Changer
Not that this table needs further explanation, but to be clear: it's the added level of protecting your entire online data and activity when connected to a VPN that make it by far and away the best option to use for this solution.
Now I know that you just came here for the solution to get your HBO Subscription UK accessible on your device. However, since you should only be considering to go with a VPN or SmartDNS (based on the justification I gave to negate using a Proxy browser service) then you should know that the price difference between these two is basically the same as a cup of coffee.
So with the web today being so privacy-invasive and surveillance heavy, it just makes sense to get this super high-level encryption placed on your internet connection, while also getting a 100% effective solution to make HBO NOW UK available to you.
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!