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The Best VPNs to Watch Hotstar Outside India

Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

Callum Tennent oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his VPN advice has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society.

Our Verdict

ExpressVPN is the best VPN to stream Disney+ Hotstar live from outside India, including from the USA and UK. CyberGhost is the best free VPN for Hotstar, but it's not free forever. You can also watch Disney+ Hotstar content from abroad by subscribing to the Disney Bundle package available on Disney Plus.

The best VPN for Disney Plus

India’s Disney+ Hotstar doesn’t just stream Bollywood movies. It combines content from Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, and HBO Max.

With just one subscription, you can watch Star Cricket Live, the English Premier League, Formula 1, NFL, and more. Furthermore, Hotstar is much cheaper than other streaming platforms.

However, if you’re not located in India, you’ll get the error code err_pb_1417 trying to access the service from outside the country.

In order to unblock Disney+ Hotstar, you’ll need to change your IP address location to India, and to do so you’ll need to use a VPN with India servers.

We tested 56 VPN services to find the best ones with India servers that unblock Disney+ Hotstar from outside India.

Based on our streaming tests, the best VPNs for streaming Hotstar in 2022 are:

  1. ExpressVPN – Overall Best VPN for Hotstar
  2. Private Internet Access – Best Cheap VPN for Hotstar
  3. CyberGhost – Best Free VPN for Hotstar

Remember that you’ll need access to an Indian cell phone number to subscribe to Hotstar’s premium content. However, there is a free version of Hotstar you can easily stream by getting an Indian IP address.

The Best VPNs for Hotstar Compared

The table below compares the best VPNs for Hotstar, based on access to Hotstar, number of servers in India, international download speed, and more.

Why Trust Top10VPN.com?

Unlike many review websites, we’re completely independent and focused on VPN software. We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing VPNs for Hotstar using our unbiased Hotstar VPN review process to recommend the best ones.

Here is an overview of our key Hotstar VPN testing statistics:

  • VPN Services Reviewed: 56
  • VPNs That Work with Disney+ Hotstar India: 6
  • Test Platforms/Devices: Windows, Mac, Fire TV, iPhone & Android
  • Hotstar Unblocking Tests: 10,000+
  • Weekly Speed Tests: 3,000+
  • Longest Streaming Distance Tested: 10,553 miles

In this guide, we’ll detail which VPNs are the best for Hotstar, and walk you through how to watch Hotstar from outside India.

EXPERT ADVICE: If you’re in the USA (or outside India) and don’t have an Indian payment method, the best way to watch premium Hotstar is to subscribe to the Disney Bundle package.

If you’re outside the USA and don’t have an Indian or US payment method, subscribe to Hulu, which includes most of Hotstar’s content. To watch Hotstar content on Hulu from outside the US, use ExpressVPN.

The Best VPNs for Disney+ Hotstar

INDIA VPN DATA LAW UPDATE: India’s new VPN data law has forced many reputable VPN services to remove their India physical servers. Only a handful of good VPNs offer virtual server locations in India. The VPNs we recommend below still work with Hotstar India.

The best VPNs for Hotstar offer Indian servers, fast international speeds, and reliably unblock Disney+ Hotstar outside of India.

They can also access other international streaming platforms where Hotstar content is available, including Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max.

Out of 56 VPN services we tested, only 31 have physical or virtual servers in India.

Of these 31 India VPNs, six work with Hotstar but only the three below are worth using to unblock Hotstar content.

1. ExpressVPN: The Best VPN for Hotstar

ExpressVPN comes with two Indian city servers and unblocks Hotstar, HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney+.

PROS CONS
  • Two India servers
  • Reliable access to Hotstar outside India
  • Access to Hulu, Disney+ & HBO Max
  • Top-tier security & privacy protection
  • 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee
  • Expensive subscription
  • India connection speeds could be better
  • Virtual servers in India only

ExpressVPN Test Ratings

Overall Hotstar Rating: 9.7/109.7

Speed & Reliability: 9.2/109.2

Streaming: 9.9/109.9

Ease of Use: 9.8/109.8

Customer Support: 9.8/109.8

ExpressVPN comes with two India servers via the UK and Singapore. The best server for accessing Hotstar is via Singapore, which works reliably to spoof your real location and get around Hotstar geo-restrictions.

ExpressVPN Hotstar Streaming

ExpressVPN’s India virtual servers work with Hotstar.

On June 2nd 2022, ExpressVPN removed its servers from India in response to the Indian government’s demands to log user data.

ExpressVPN no longer has physical servers in the country, but you can still get an Indian IP address via the VPN’s India virtual servers.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming, reliably unblocking all streaming services hosting Hotstar content Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max. This is ideal if you’re outside the US and want to access Hotstar Specials on Hulu.

While ExpressVPN’s overall speeds are exceptional, its India connection speeds could be faster.

We recorded an average download speed of 57Mbps connecting from the UK to Chennai, India. This is a 43% speed loss versus our baseline 100Mbps internet speed.

ExpressVPN is the best overall VPN – it’s secure, private, and comes with excellent customer support.

2. Private Internet Access: Best Cheap VPN for Hotstar

PIA accesses all US streaming sites and its servers in Mumbai get around Hotstar blocks.

PROS CONS
  • Accesses Disney+ Hotstar from anywhere
  • US servers for Disney Bundle streaming
  • Cheap subscription plan
  • No logs privacy policy
  • Mumbai server only
  • Slower than ExpressVPN
  • Smart DNS feature not working
  • India connections speeds could be improved

Private Internet Access Test Ratings

Overall Hotstar Rating: 9.4/109.4

Speed & Reliability: 9.3/109.3

Streaming: 9.0/109.0

Ease of Use: 8.3/108.3

Customer Support: 9.4/109.4

Private Internet Access (PIA) is another secure and easy-to-use VPN service for unblocking and streaming Hotstar outside of India.

PIA Hotstar India Streaming

You can stream Bollywood movies via PIA’s India server.

Moreover, PIA VPN unblocks major US streaming platforms, including HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney+.

PIA has a huge network of 17,087 servers, with the highest average number of servers per country of any VPN.

For India, PIA lets you connect to servers in Mumbai. We’d like to see more city options, but we’ve never experienced network congestion, and speeds have remained fast.

If you want to watch Hotstar via the US Disney bundle, you can take advantage of PIA’s 50 US city locations for optimal streaming speeds.

We were also impressed by PIA’s customer support, with 24/7 live chat available and quality online guides.

The main issue with PIA VPN is that ExpressVPN is more reliable for unblocking streaming sites, and faster on longer-distance connections.

Despite being slower than ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access represents very good value, costing only $2.03 per month on its two-year plan.

3. CyberGhost: Best Free VPN for Hotstar

CyberGhost offers a 100% free trial on PC and Mac, and its Mumbai servers unblock Hotstar.

PROS CONS
  • India server works with Disney+ Hotstar
  • US servers give access to the Disney Bundle
  • 100% free trial in Windows and macOS
  • Long 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Mumbai server only
  • Slow international speeds

CyberGhost Test Ratings

Overall Hotstar Rating: 9.1/109.1

Speed & Reliability: 8.8/108.8

Streaming: 8.8/108.8

Ease of Use: 8.8/108.8

Customer Support: 9.5/109.5

If you want to unblock Hotstar for free, CyberGhost VPN is your best option.

CyberGhost isn’t completely free, but it does offer a genuine VPN free trial with no registration.

You can in fact use the VPN completely free for 24 hours on Windows and macOS computers, with no payment details required.

Furthermore, you can take advantage of a seven-day free trial on iOS and a three-day free trial on Android.

We tested CyberGhost’s Mumbai virtual server and it still works well with Hotstar. Moreover, the VPN’s US servers also unblock Disney Plus, and the wider Disney Bundle.

CyberGhost Hotstar Streaming

We streamed cricket highlights on Hotstar using CyberGhost.

With CyberGhost you get access to a wide network of 8,800 servers, and user-friendly apps for all popular devices. The VPN also comes with Smart DNS, but not for India, sadly.

Similarly to PIA, CyberGhost’s 24/7 live chat support is very quick and well-informed.

The main issue you’ll face using CyberGhost with Hotstar is the streaming speed. In all our tests, CyberGhost was much slower than ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access.

The Truth About Free VPNs for Hotstar

There are currently no 100% free VPNs that work to unblock Hotstar in India. The free VPNs on offer are either unsafe to use or they do not come with VPN servers in India.

TunnelBear used to have a free VPN server in India, but removed it following India’s new law on VPN data.

Psiphon still has a server in India, but it can’t unblock Hotstar India.

Windscribe and PrivadoVPN have free servers that unblock Disney+ and Hulu, but no servers in India. You can use these two free VPNs to watch Hotstar content via Hulu, but you can’t watch Hotstar India.

To unblock Hotstar for free, we suggest you use CyberGhost, the best VPN free trial for Hotstar India.

Other Hotstar VPNs We Considered

Based on our Hotstar-specific tests of 56 VPN services, most VPNs weren’t good enough to unblock the Indian streaming platform.

Even some very popular VPNs were not up to scratch, often because they no longer offer servers in India.

We’ve listed below some of the more notable VPN services that currently don’t unblock Hotstar India:

NordVPN

What we don’t like: NordVPN no longer works with Hotstar India. It used to operate 30 servers in India, but they have now been removed and the VPN no longer provides its users with an Indian IP address.

Surfshark

What we don’t like: Surfshark operates an India virtual server however it doesn’t work with Hotstar. Surfshark doesn’t unblock Hulu (and therefore Hotstar content on it), either.

PureVPN

What we don’t like: PureVPN’s India virtual server worked with Hotstar in our tests. However, the VPN’s long distance speeds aren’t as good as ExpressVPN’s or PIA’s.

Hotspot Shield

What we don’t like: Hotspot Shield can assign you with an Indian IP address via its India virtual server location. However, we couldn’t access Hotstar with it from outside India.

Hola VPN

What we don’t like: Not only does Hola VPN not work with Hotstar, it’s also a very unsafe VPN. It logs your online activity, and lets other Hola customers use your internet bandwidth.

Below is a table with a selection of the 56 VPNs we tested to find the best VPNs for Hotstar India:

How to Watch Disney+ Hotstar Using a VPN

There are different local versions of Hotstar depending on where you are in the world.

The best way to watch Hotstar will depend on where you live and which Hotstar content you need access to.

Use the flowchart below to find the best way to watch Indian Hotstar based on your specific circumstances:

How to Watch Disney+ Hotstar from Anywhere

Follow the flowchart to find the best way to unblock Hotstar content.

If you’re in the US and want to watch premium Disney+ Hotstar, you’ll need access to an Indian payment method and creating a Hotstar account by using a VPN.

With an Indian payment method and a VPN you can access the cheapest, and most complete version of Hotstar.

Alternatively, if you’re in the USA but don’t have access to an Indian payment method, you can subscribe to the Disney Bundle, which contains most Hotstar India content.

What’s more, you can also use a VPN to get an Indian IP address and stream free Disney+ Hotstar content.

If you’re outside of India and the US and don’t have access to an Indian phone number or US payment method, the best scenario is to use a VPN to sign up to Hulu.

Once you’ve found the right method for you, keep reading to find detailed instructions for unblocking Hotstar content from anywhere in the world.

Do I Need a VPN to Watch Disney+ Hotstar?

You don’t always need a VPN to watch Disney+ Hotstar. This is for two reasons:

  • You can watch all Hotstar content (including Indian language content) on the following US platforms: Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ (all three are part of the Disney Bundle), and HBO Max.
  • There are local versions of Hotstar, such as in Canada, UK, and Singapore.

You can watch Hotstar without a VPN if there’s a local version of Hotstar in your country, but you’ll have access to very limited content.

There are regional versions of Disney+ Hotstar in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. There are also versions of Hotstar in the UK, Canada, and Singapore.

You can also stream Hotstar content in the USA by subscribing to the Disney Bundle package, and HBO Max.

Of all versions, Disney+ Hotstar India is the most content-rich. To access it, you’ll need a VPN to change your IP address. This includes both the free and paid version of Hotstar.

If you want the ad-free, premium version of Disney+ Hotstar, which includes live broadcasts, you’ll also need an Indian phone number and payment method on top of your VPN.

If you’re outside the US and want to watch Hotstar, you’ll need a VPN and US payment method to subscribe to the US Disney Bundle. This is because you can only upgrade to the Disney Bundle through Disney+ or Hulu directly and not through gift cards.

If you’re in the UK or Europe and don’t have access to an Indian or US payment method, you’ll need a VPN to subscribe to Hulu.

In this section, we’ll explain the three easiest ways to watch Disney+ Hotstar India from anywhere:

Method 1: Use an Indian Phone Number & Payment Method

The only way to access the full premium version of Hotstar outside of India is to use an Indian phone number and payment method in combination with an Indian VPN server. There are no other reliable workarounds.

disney-plus-hotstar-cell-phone-number

You need an Indian phone number to sign up for Disney+ Hotstar.

Here’s how to unblock Hotstar using an Indian phone number and payment method:

  1. Subscribe to a VPN that consistently unblocks India Disney+ Hotstar. We recommend ExpressVPN, using its Chennai server.
  2. Connect to an India VPN server and head to the website hotstar.com/in.
  3. Select Login in the top right corner and enter your Indian phone number.
  4. Choose your subscription plan and enter your payment details.
  5. With the VPN still connected, you can now stream premium Hotstar content.

This solution isn’t applicable to everyone, but it is the only reliable way to access Hotstar premium outside India if you don’t already have an account.

Some websites suggest purchasing a virtual phone number or using Fiverr to pay a third-party, but we don’t recommend these methods due to the potential security risks involved. There are other ways to watch Hotstar, though.

Method 2: Subscribe to the Disney Bundle Package

You can access most of Hotstar India’s content from the USA by subscribing to the Disney Bundle package. This bundle grants access to Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ – three platforms that contain most of Hotstar’s content.

If you don’t have an Indian phone number, or another way to set up an Indian Hotstar account, this is the best and easiest way to watch Hotstar if you’re outside of India.

Disney Bundle Signup

The Disney bundle contains Hotstar content across its various channels.

If you’re located outside the USA, you’ll need to use a VPN that works with Disney Plus and a US payment method.

To sign up for the Disney Bundle outside the US:

  1. Subscribe to Surfshark or another top VPN for Disney+.
  2. Connect to a US VPN server.
  3. Subscribe to the Disney Bundle package through a US payment method. If you don’t have a US payment method, sign up to Hulu instead.
  4. Log in to Disney+ or Hulu and stream Hotstar content.

How to Access Hotstar on Hulu

StarHub on Disney+ is the European and UK version of Hulu. It doesn’t include all Hulu content, though, especially some of the Hotstar content available on Hulu USA.

To access Hotstar content from Europe and the UK, sign up for the Disney Bundle package, or use a VPN to access Hulu from outside USA.

In the video below, you can see how easy it is to stream Hotstar content directly from Hulu. We used ExpressVPN from the UK:

You can access the Hotstar content hub on Hulu.

Hotstar in India also includes content that is available on HBO Max. Therefore, if you want the full Hotstar experience, it’s worth subscribing to HBO Max, too.

The original version of HBO Max is exclusive to the US, so you’ll need a VPN to access HBO Max from abroad.

Method 3: Use a VPN to Watch Free Hotstar Content

Indian Hotstar has a lot of free content that you can stream from anywhere in the world if you connect to an Indian VPN server. You don’t even need to create an account.

The content you can watch for free is limited to sports highlights and select movies and TV shows. There are also ads.

But you’ll be able to stream popular shows, Bollywood blockbusters, and lots of sports, including full F1 races, NFL games, cricket matches, and more. You can’t watch sports live, though.

Here’s how to watch free Hotstar content from anywhere using a VPN:

  1. Sign up for a VPN that includes India servers. We recommend ExpressVPN.
  2. Download and open the VPN app and connect to an India server.
  3. Head to Hotstar.com/in.
  4. You can now stream free Hotstar content, including sports matches. You don’t even need to generate an account.

In the video below, we used ExpressVPN’s Chennai server to access Hotstar India from the US and stream a replay of a Formula One race:

You can use a VPN to access India’s Disney+ Hotstar and stream free sports, movies, and shows.

What to Do if Hotstar Detects Your VPN

Disney+ Hotstar monitors its users’ IP addresses to prevent anyone outside of India accessing the service.

A VPN gets around this geo-restriction by changing your IP address to an Indian one, fooling the detection methods.

Our tests show that Hotstar’s geo-detection methods aren’t as effective as those used by Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

However, many VPNs that have servers in India can’t always access Hotstar.

If you can’t access Disney+ Hotstar while connected to an Indian VPN server, it’s likely your VPN connection has been detected.

You’ll know if your VPN has been detected if you get the error message:

“An error occurred while processing your request.”

Or

“We are unavailable at your location.”

If you see either message, change servers to another one based in India. If none of your VPN’s India servers work, you’ll need a better VPN for Hotstar.

How We Test Disney+ Hotstar VPNs

We tested 56 VPNs following our Hotstar-specific review process.

Thanks to streaming-optimized India servers, top VPNs for Disney+ Hotstar India assign you Indian IP addresses that bypass the streaming service’s geo-restrictions.

A VPN’s compatibility with streaming devices is another key factor we consider.

For Hotstar specifically, we highly rate VPNs with a native Fire TV Stick app and router compatibility. The latter allows streaming on devices that don’t support VPN applications.

Furthermore, we expect a VPN service’s customer support to be knowledgeable about unblocking Disney+ Hotstar.

We calculate the overall Hotstar VPN rating based on the weighting of the test categories below:

  • Consistent access to Hotstar India: 40%
  • Long-distance speeds (based on UK to India connections): 20%
  • Number of available India Servers: 20%
  • Ease of use (including Fire TV Stick & router support): 15%
  • Customer support: 5%

What Is Hotstar & Is It Available in the US?

Disney+ Hotstar is a streaming service that is exclusive to India.

There are also international versions of Hotstar in Canada, Singapore, and the UK, but these are very limited compared to the Indian version.

Hotstar US is no longer available in the US. It was discontinued on November 30, 2021 after The Walt Disney Company bought Star India, the company behind Hotstar, and migrated all of its content across the Disney Bundle package that includes Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu.

While Hotstar is no longer available as a subscription service in the US, Hotstar’s content can still be viewed on various US streaming services. For example, Bollywood movies and Indian TV shows have moved to Hulu and are marked as Hotstar Specials. Indian sports fans can find cricket, football, and other favorites on ESPN.

At the time, Disney encouraged Hotstar subscribers to move to the bundle package. However, Hotstar content is not free or included as part of the standard Disney+ subscription. Therefore, Hotstar isn’t the same thing as Disney+.

In India, Hotstar still exists and is available, but it has been rebranded as Disney+ Hotstar and now includes Disney+ content.

Put simply, the India-exclusive Disney+ Hotstar combines all of the content that you find on Disney+, Hulu, ESPN, and HBO Max. If you’re in the UK or Europe, it includes some content from Disney+ Star, too, but not all of it.

You can use the chart below to work out how US streaming sites split up Hotstar content and how they relate to each other:

Hotstar On US Streaming Sites Chart

Hotstar content is available across different US streaming services.

EXPERT TIP: The Indian company behind Hotstar was once called Star. It was renamed Disney Star after the Walt Disney Company acquisition. Do not confuse this with Disney+ Star, which is the name of a content hub for European and UK Disney+ users – an international version of the US-exclusive Hulu. Hotstar content is not available via the Disney+ Star hub.

What Can I Watch on Hotstar?

With over 30 individual channels, India’s Disney+ Hotstar has one of the biggest media libraries of any streaming service. Alongside Bollywood movies, TV shows, sports, and news from India, there are thousands of English-language titles, including access to Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and National Geographic.

hotstar-channels

Disney+ Hotstar premium library contains major English language movies from Disney, Warner Bros. & more.

Some of the most popular content hubs include:

  • Asianet
  • Disney+
  • FOXlife
  • HBO Original Programming
  • Hotstar Specials
  • Showtime
  • StarPlus
  • Star Sports

There’s an extensive selection of sports available, too, including access to NFL, English Premier League soccer, Bundesliga, the ICC Cricket World Cup, F1, tennis, martial arts, kabaddi, hockey, and golf.

However, this large library and live sport is reserved only for those with premium Disney+ Hotstar accounts in India. If you are unable to create an Indian account for Hotstar, you’ll be restricted to certain content. But you can watch Koffee with Karan, sports replays, and select movies like Baaghi 2 and Junglee.

On Disney+ Hotstar, you can stream content that is usually split between Disney+, Hulu, ESPN, and HBO Max in the US. Below is a venn diagram that compares what you can watch on Hotstar India compared to the US Disney Bundle:

Hotstar in India and the Disney Bundle in the US share a lot of video content.

It’s worth noting that even though you can access some content from certain channels like the BBC on the Disney Bundle, that does not mean you can access all of that channel’s content.

Furthermore, while Hotstar and the Disney Bundle share lots of content, it is not always under the same names. For example, what you can stream on ESPN is also available on Hotstar, but ESPN is not a channel listed on Hotstar.

How Much Does Hotstar Cost?

India’s Disney+ Hotstar has two pricing plans: Super and Premium. Premium is an ad-free version with a four-device allowance and 4K streaming capability. Super is limited to two devices and 1080p quality (Full HD).

Super costs ₹899 per year (approximately $12.00) while Premium costs ₹1499 per year (approximately $20.00). You can also subscribe to Premium on a monthly basis of ₹299 (approximately $4.00).

You can see all the differences between the two plans in the table below:

Disney+ Hotstar Pricing Plans

Disney+ Hotstar has a two-tier subscription model.

To put it in perspective, ₹1499 converts to just under $20.00 per year. That’s an incredible price for such an extensive streaming service. On a monthly basis, ₹299 is just under $4.00 per month.

If you’re able to get an Indian Hotstar account from the US you can make immense savings. The difficulty of getting one, however, forces many to pay the price of a full Disney bundle.

Disney+ Hotstar FAQ

Is Hotstar the Same as Disney Plus?

Although Hotstar is now owned by The Walt Disney Company, it is not the same as the Disney+ streaming service. For example, you cannot access most Hotstar content if you subscribe to the regular Disney+ package.

However, the Disney Bundle package is much closer to the full India Hotstar offering, because it includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. This is where Hotstar content was moved to after Disney bought it. Even then, it’s still not as comprehensive as Hotstar in India.

The closest thing to Hotstar in the USA is a combination of Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, and HBO Max.

Is Hotstar Free with Disney Plus?

If you’re in India, Disney+ and Hotstar are the same and are combined in one package. In this sense, Hotstar is free with Disney+ in India.

If you’re in the US or anywhere else, Hotstar is not free with Disney+. Hotstar has different content and is not included as part of a standard Disney+ subscription.

You can only access additional Hotstar content via Hulu and ESPN+ as part of the more expensive Disney bundle package.