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The Best VPNs to Watch Hotstar Outside of India

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.

Additional Testing by David Hughes

Our Verdict

The only way to watch Hotstar India from abroad is to use a compatible VPN with servers in India. You'll also need an Indian phone number to access Hotstar's subscription-based content. ExpressVPN is our top-rated VPN for Hotstar, with a test rating of 9.6/10. Its two Indian server locations unblocked Hotstar on every major streaming device and at very high speed.

The best VPN for Disney Plus

Hotstar (now called Disney+ Hotstar) is a streaming service exclusive to India. It shows the English Premier League, Star Cricket Live, Formula 1, NFL, Bollywood movies, and much more.

To access Hostar outside of India, you need a VPN that has Indian servers and consistently bypasses the service’s geo-restrictions. Otherwise, you’ll see this error notification:

“Hotstar content not available in your region.”

Summary: The Best VPNs for Hotstar

Based on our hands-on tests, our recommended VPNs for unblocking Hostar India are:

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

Why Trust Us?

We’re fully independent and have been reviewing VPNs since 2016. Our ratings are based on our own testing results and are unaffected by financial incentives. Learn who we are and how we test VPNs.

VPNs Tested with Hotstar India65
VPNs That Unblock Hotstar India8
Test DevicesWindows, iOS, PS5, Fire TV & Apple TV

The Best VPNs for Hotstar India Analyzed

From the 65 VPNs we tested with Hotstar, only 3 VPNs are worth recommending. You can compare them in the table below, or keep reading to find a more detailed review:

1. ExpressVPN: The Best VPN for Hotstar Overall

ExpressVPN's app for iOS

Pros Cons
Virtual Indian server locations Expensive subscription
Reliable access to Hotstar outside of India Smart DNS doesn’t work with Hotstar
Unblocks Hotstar content on Hulu, Disney+ & HBO Max
User-friendly apps across all platforms & devices
7-day free trial & 30-day refund guarantee
Overall Hotstar Rating: 9.5/10

Unblocks Hotstar: 9.9/109.9

India Servers: 8.5/108.5

Speed: 9.7/109.7

Streaming Device Compatibility: 9.3/109.9

To learn more, read our VPN testing methodology.

ExpressVPN‘s India servers reliably unblocked Hotstar in all of our tests. As the best VPN for streaming, it’s also able to unblock international sites that also offer Hotstar content and Indian sports, including Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Tubi, and JioCinema for the IPL.

ExpressVPN’s Indian servers aren’t physically located in the country, but its virtual servers still provide an Indian IP address that is just as effective for accessing Hotstar. Our tests found that the India via Singapore virtual server is the best choice for Hotstar.

ExpressVPN Unblocking Hotstar

ExpressVPN’s virtual India server locations worked to access Hotstar outside of India.

We encountered no buffering issues streaming Hotstar content from outside India thanks to ExpressVPN’s fast long-distance connections. Our speed tests worked out an average international speed of 85Mbps, which makes it one of the fastest VPNs you can get.

ExpressVPN apps are available for every major device and platform, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Apple TV, Fire TV Stick, and even routers. This enables you to stream Hotstar on multiple devices of your choice.

ExpressVPN costs $6.67 on its best price deal, which may put some off. However, in our experience ExpressVPN’s performance justifies the price. Whether you have an Indian phone number or not, it’s the easiest way to unblock Disney+ Hotstar content from outside of India.

You can also use ExpressVPN for free by signing up to a 7-day free trial via a mobile device, or by asking for a refund within 30-days of buying a subscription. This way you can stream Hotstar completely for free.

2. Private Internet Access (PIA): Cheap Alternative for Hotstar

the Private Internet Access iOS app

Pros Cons
Indian servers unblock Hotstar One Indian location only
Fast international speeds Doesn’t work with Disney+
Budget subscription price Smart DNS doesn’t work
Accesses Hulu, Tubi & HBO Max
24/7 live chat support
Overall Hotstar Rating: 9.0/10

Unblocks Hotstar: 9.9/109.9

India Servers: 8.5/108.5

Speed: 9.7/109.7

Streaming Device Compatibility: 5.3/105.3

To learn more, read our VPN testing methodology.

Private Internet Access (PIA) comes with virtual India servers that work to unblock Hotstar from anywhere. It’s not as reliable as ExpressVPN, but it’s substantially cheaper at just $2.03 per month.

All of PIA’s servers are based in Mumbai. We’d like to see more Indian city options so you can switch between locations and find the best connection, but we experienced very little network congestion using the service.

PIA Unblocking Hotstar

We also experienced no buffering when streaming Hotstar. This is due to PIA’s average international download speed result: 86Mbps. This represents a speed loss of just 14%, which makes PIA faster than ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.

You can also use PIA to unblock Hotstar Specials on Hulu and access Hotstar content on Max and Tubi. However, our tests show that it’s been unreliable with Disney+ for some time.

PIA has simple apps for major streaming devices, including Fire TV Stick and Apple TV. But it’s let down by a Smart DNS service that doesn’t work.

3. CyberGhost: Best Free VPN for Hotstar

Cyberghost's VPN app for iOS

Pros Cons
100% free trial on desktop and mobile Mumbai location only
India servers unblock Hotstar Slower than ExpressVPN & PIA
Cheap subscriptions Connection issues and bugs
45-day money-back guarantee
Overall Hotstar Rating: 8.9/10

Unblocks Hotstar: 9.1/109.1

India Servers: 9.4/109.4

Speed: 8.5/108.5

Streaming Device Compatibility: 7.8/107.8

To learn more, read our VPN testing methodology.

If you want a free VPN for Hotstar, we recommend CyberGhost VPN. Its Mumbai server works to access Hotstar and it has the best VPN free trial available on both desktop and mobile, where you can use it 100% free for 7 days. You can also claim your money-back within an extended 45-day window.

If you want to stream Hotstar content on other international streaming sites, CyberGhost also works for Max, Hulu, Tubi, and Disney+.

CyberGhost’s average international speed is 81Mbps. This is fast considering the distances involved, and it won’t affect streaming Hotstar, but it is slower than ExpressVPN and PIA.

We also did not enjoy using CyberGhost’s apps as much as ExpressVPN’s, which are easier to navigate. CyberGhost’s connection can sometimes freeze your internet and stop it working.

If you did choose to subscribe to CyberGhost, it only costs $2.03 per month on its best deal. This is equal to PIA, but PIA offers better overall performance and therefore more value for money.

How to Watch Hotstar Outside India Using a VPN

Quick Guide: How to Watch Hotstar Outside of India

  1. Subscribe to a VPN that has Indian servers and unblocks Hotstar. We recommend ExpressVPN.
  2. Download the VPN, login, and connect to an India server.
  3. Go to hotstar.com/in and subscribe to Hotstar. You will need an Indian phone number to do this.

If you do not have access to an Indian phone number, there is a free version of Hotstar that does not require you to create an account. You only need to get an Indian IP address with a VPN. However, this version has a restricted library, ads, and caps video resolution to 360p.

Unfortunately, our research shows that if you do not have an Indian phone number there is no way to get the full premium version of Hotstar, even if you use a VPN.

Most websites ignore this fact, or suggest purchasing a virtual phone number or paying a third party. But there are other, safer ways to access Hotstar content.

That’s because, even if you don’t have access to an Indian phone number, you can still watch most Hotstar content through other streaming services.

Hotstar is owned by Disney, which distributes its Hotstar content to other regions through other streaming services it owns, such as Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu (all of these are available as the Disney Bundle package in the US). It also rents its content to services like Max and Tubi. A top VPN for streaming allows you to access all of these services from anywhere.

For example, popular Disney+ Hotstar titles like Bahut Hua Sammaan, Criminal Justice, City of Dreams, and Special Ops are all available if you have access to Hulu.

ExpressVPN Unblocking Hotstar Specials on Hulu

Most Hotstar movies are available on Hulu, listed as ‘Hotstar Specials’.

Our VPN research also shows that you can use a VPN to stream the IPL for free through Jio Cinema, access F1 for free through RTBF Auvio, and stream the English Premier League cheaply on Setanta Sports.

We maintain data on each VPN’s performance with every major international streaming service, so you can use the table below to see which VPN accesses the international streaming services that show Hotstar content:

ExpressVPN and PIA offer complete solutions to accessing Hotstar content. They enable you to access both the premium and free version of Hotstar India, alongside every other international streaming service that Hotstar content is also available on.

VPNs You Should Avoid for Hotstar

Based on our Hotstar-specific tests, most VPNs weren’t able to unblock the Indian streaming platform, including very popular names.

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

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield's free VPN app for iOS

Hotspot Shield can assign you an Indian IP address via a virtual server location. However, it did not work to access Hotstar from abroad in our tests.

NordVPN

NordVPN's app for iOS

Despite being an impressive VPN in most areas, our streaming tests show that NordVPN is unreliable at bypassing Hotstar’s geo-restrictions.

PureVPN

PureVPN's apps for Android and iOS

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. It also cannot unblock Hotstar content on Hulu.

How We Test VPNs for Hotstar

To find the best VPN to watch Hotstar, we tested each VPN against the following criteria

Reliably Unblocks Hotstar (40%): We tested each VPN with Hotstar to check that it bypassed Hotstar geo-restrictions, allowing us to stream Hotstar outside of India.

India Server Locations (30%): Lots of India servers help to prevent server congestion and deliver optimal performance. It enables you to switch between servers if one isn’t currently working with Hotstar.

International Download Speeds (20%): Fast download speeds allows you to stream Hotstar in high resolution and without buffering. We collect download speed results from multiple international locations to determine each VPNs average international speed.

Streaming Device Compatibility (10%): VPN for Hotstar should be available as an easy-to-use app on various streaming devices, including Fire TV Stick and Apple TV. This enables you to stream Hotstar however you want.

The table below shows how each VPN scored in each testing category:

FAQs

What’s the Best Free VPN for Hotstar?

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

TunnelBear Free used to offer free VPN servers in India, but these were removed following India’s new law on VPN data. Psiphon is a free VPN with a server in India, but our tests show that it cannot unblock Hotstar.

To unblock Hotstar 100% for free, we suggest using CyberGhost VPN. It has a number of free trial options available as well as a prolonged 45-day money-back guarantee offer.

Is Hotstar Available in the US?

Hotstar 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 decided to migrate all Hotstar 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, a lot of Hotstar content can still be viewed on these streaming services. For example, using Hulu, a lot of Bollywood movies and Indian TV shows are marked as ‘Hotstar Specials’. Sports fans can find cricket, soccer, and other popular Indian sports on ESPN.

Is Hotstar the Same as Disney+?

Hotstar is not the same as Disney+. Although Hotstar is now owned by the Walt Disney Company and has been rebranded as Disney+ Hotstar, you still cannot access most Hotstar content if you subscribe to the regular Disney+ package.

However, the Disney Bundle package — which is available in the US — is much closer to the full Hotstar offering, because it includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. Even then, it’s still not as comprehensive as Hotstar in India.

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 Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and National Geographic.

Some of the most popular content hubs on Disney+ Hotstar include:

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

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

If you can’t create a premium Hotstar account, you’ll be restricted to certain content.

Do I Need a VPN to Watch Hotstar?

Yes, you need a VPN to watch the Indian version of Hotstar.

However, there are local versions of Hotstar available in Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK. If you’re in these countries, you do not need a VPN to access Hotstar.

Furthermore, most Hotstar content is available without a VPN in the US if you subscribe to the Disney Bundle package.