ExpressVPN not working with HBO Max

If you’ve been watching HBO Max with ExpressVPN and you suddenly cannot play any content on the streaming service, HBO Max has been able to block all of ExpressVPN’s IP addresses.

This has happened because ExpressVPN is no longer able to get around HBO Max’s VPN blocking techniques.

To fix ExpressVPN not working with HBO Max, go through these simple fixes in order. If one doesn’t work, move on to the next one until you can watch HBO Max with a VPN again.

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ExpressVPN not working with HBO Max: Simple fixes

  1. Delete Cookies

    Cookies 1 1

    Deleting your cookies is a great place to start when trying to fix ExpressVPN not working with HBO Max.

    Cookies are used to make your online experience better. You may have noticed some websites asking you to accept them. Even if you don’t remember explicitly accepting Cookies, they may still be stored on your browser, and the problem with these Cookies is they sometimes contain information about your location.

    If you’re outside of the US, HBO Max can use these cookies to identify your location and block you from accessing its content, even if you’re using ExpressVPN.

  2. Change to a different server on ExpressVPN

    ExpressVPN servers 1

    HBO Max may have stopped working because the IP address ExpressVPN has given you has been identified and blocked by HBO Max.

    HBO Max can’t block ExpressVPN entirely; however, it can block the IP addresses it provides. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s been able to block all of ExpressVPN’s IP addresses.

    Changing to a different server will provide you with a new IP address, and if that IP hasn’t been blocked, HBO Max will work with ExpressVPN again.

  3. Upgrade to a better VPN

    NordVPN Best VPN image

    If neither of the first two fixes works, then HBO Max has managed to block all of the IP addresses ExpressVPN can currently give you.

    You can wait for more IPs to be released. However, there’s no telling how long this will take and also, seeing as you’ve run into this problem already, it’s clear that ExpressVPN doesn’t have measures in place to stay ahead of HBO Max’s blocks, and the new IP addresses will inevitably be blocked as well.

    To fix the issue properly, you need to upgrade to a VPN that has measures in place to stay ahead of HBO Max’s VPN blocks. You need NordVPN ($3.79/month).

Why does HBO Max block ExpressVPN?

HBO Max tries to block all VPNs from accessing its service. 

It does this to protect itself from potential copyright and licensing issues. 

HBO doesn’t have the rights to broadcast all of its content worldwide. Some content can only be broadcast in certain geographic areas. This is because HBO has a content distribution agreement with content creators that stipulates where the content can be broadcast. For example, the US HBO Max library differs from the UK library due to these agreements. 

Because VPNs are a good way to watch HBO Max libraries outside of their broadcast zones, HBO tries to block them. If it didn’t, it could breach its content agreements and face financial punishments. 

This is why ExpressVPN is no longer working with HBO Max.

How does HBO Max block ExpressVPN?

HBO Max blocks ExpressVPN by monitoring for and blocking IP addresses provided by Express connecting to its service.

ExpressVPN is a large VPN, and because of that, it has more customers than IP addresses. It struggles to keep up with the demand of its customer base, and so customers are forced to share IP addresses. 

Usually, only a household of connections will access HBO Max via the same IP address. When HBO Max see an abnormal amount (more than an average household) of connections coming from the same IP address, it knows it’s an IP address provided by ExpressVPN, and it blocks it. 

ExpressVPN not working with HBO Max

Does HBO Max still work with VPNs?

Yes, HBO Max will still work with a VPN, but you need to use a VPN that has IP addresses that are still compatible with the service. That means you need a VPN that hasn’t had all of its IP addresses blocked by HBO Max and that can stay ahead of HBO Max’s blocks. 

To fix the problem, you need a VPN that plays a game of cat and mouse with HBO Max. You need a VPN like NordVPN ($3.79/month)

NordVPN ($3.79/month), it will close that IP and open a new one. This will allow you to reliably watch HBO Max from anywhere in the world, and it will help to prevent the errors you’ve run into from happening again.

The best VPNs to watch HBO Max

1. NordVPN $3.79/month

An incredibly fast and trustworthy VPN

  • Over 5,000 servers worldwide
  • 6 simultaneous devices
  • Reliable customer service
  • Fast NordLynx protocol
  • Cybersec ad and tracker blocker
  • Easy to use interface
NordVPN Best VPN image

NordVPN is the most widely-used VPN in the world. And it’s easy to see why. It’s a polished app that delivers fast connections (more on this later) to a massive network of VPN servers.

It’s the most reliable at unblocking popular streaming services too – US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. This is because NordVPN hired a full-time technical team (that’s responsible for monitoring its servers’ connections with popular TV streaming services) and has been aggressively investing in its network of IP addresses in key locations.

Read our full NordVPN review.

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2. Private Internet Access $2.03/month

An affordable, reliable VPN

  • 35,000 servers worldwide
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • 24/7 chat support
  • Servers in over 80 countries
  • MACE ad blocker included
  • Supports multiple protocols
Best VPN list - PIA

Private Internet Access is one of the leading no-log VPN services with over 1-million paying customers.

This VPN is one of the best in the industry at beating streaming sites’ VPN bans. It provides reliable connections with US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, MAX, Disney+ Amazon Prime, and many more.

Even better, it allows for an unlimited number of simultaneous devices to be connected to its servers at the same time. So you can share the account with all of your friends.

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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3. Ivacy $1.00/month

A trustworthy and affordable VPN

  • 5700+ servers worldwide
  • 10 simultaneous devices
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Dedicated IP address option
  • Available on all major platforms
  • Great price
Ivacy Best VPN image

If you’re looking for an excellent VPN, with an even better price tag, Ivacy ($1.00/month) is a great option.

While it doesn’t do much more than the other VPNs on this list, the main attraction is the price. This is an affordable VPN that will allow you to stream BBC iPlayer, in HD, from any country in the world on Mac, PC, Android, iOS and FireStick. You’ll also be able to unlock other services like US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, MAX, Amazon Prime, etc. with ease.

Read our full Ivacy review.

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4. CyberGhost $2.19/month

A solid VPN package

  • Deloitte verified no logs policy
  • Servers in 91 countries
  • 7 simulatenous devices
  • Proprietary NoSpy servers
  • Multiple protocol options
  • Split tunneling support
CyberGhost Best VPN image

CyberGhost is one of the more established VPNs on the market. It has a well-established, and well-tested global network of servers that perform well.

It also offers NoSpy servers which are specially designed to provide an extra layer of security and privacy for users.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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Is watching HBO Max with a VPN legal?

In most countries, using a VPN is legal. There are only a handful of countries (spot the authoritarianism link) where using a VPN is illegal; these are: China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, North Korea, Iraq, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Eritrea, Seychelles, Suriname, Namibia, Slovenia, Nicaragua and Tajikistan.

If you’re outside these countries and are using a VPN, you’re legally allowed to do so. However, it’s important to know that using a VPN with some streaming services may breach that service’s terms of use.

The HBO Max terms of use state, “to subscribe to the Platform: (a) reside within one of the fifty (50) states of the United States of America (“U.S.”), the District of Columbia or certain U.S. territories” and “You may only access the Content on the Platform in your Service Area. Restrictions may be enforced according to the location from which you are accessing the Platform.”

This means, HBO Max can stop your subscription and ban you from the streaming service if you try to access its content with a VPN turned on.

However, given the wide-spread use of VPNs, plus the many legitimate and legal use cases for VPNs, it’s fair to suggest that banning customers for using a VPN would be a heavy-handed and financially costly policy for HBO Max (and other streaming services) to enforce.

If you’re trying to watch HBO Max outside the US, you risk having your account banned. In theory. However, the best VPNs for HBO Max use military-grade encryption it is impossible for streaming services to trace where you’re physically accessing its content from.

There’s one final thing to note on the subject: HBO Max has never banned anyone for using a VPN to access its service.

For more information you can check out our article answering Is streaming with a VPN legal?

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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