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The Best VPNs to Watch Hotstar from Outside India

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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

You can watch Disney+ Hotstar live from outside India with a top streaming VPN. We've identified the best free and paid VPNs to unblock Hotstar from any country including the US and UK. You can also watch Hotstar content via the Disney Bundle package available on Disney+.

The best VPN for Disney Plus

Quick Guide: How to Watch Hotstar Outside India

  1. Get a VPN that unblocks Hotstar India. We recommend ExpressVPN, whose India virtual servers work without issues.
  2. Download, install, and launch the VPN software on your device(s).
  3. Connect to a India VPN server location.
  4. Go to hotstar.com/in and sign in with your account details.

The steps above assume you already have a Hotstar India account. If you don’t, follow our detailed instructions below.

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 the English Premier League, Star Cricket Live, Formula 1, NFL, and more. Moreover, Hotstar is much cheaper than other streaming platforms.

But, if you’re located outside India, you’ll get error code err_pb_1417 and see the message “hotstar content not available in your region” when accessing the streaming service.

To successfully unblock Hotstar from anywhere, you’ll have to change your IP address location to India. To do so, you’ll need to use a VPN with India servers.

Summary List: The Best VPNs for Hotstar

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

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

The absolute best VPN for Hotstar is ExpressVPN. In our tests it scored 9.6/10 thanks to its exceptional ability to unblock Hotstar via its virtual servers located in India. The VPN’s apps are extremely easy to use and assigned us an India IP address instantly.

To watch free content of Hotstar, you simply need to get an Indian IP address using a VPN. However, to watch Hotstar’s premium content you’ll also need access to an Indian cell phone number.

The Best VPNs for Hotstar Compared

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

In this guide, we’ll explain step-by-step the different ways to watch Hotstar content from outside India by using our recommended VPNs.

EXPERT ADVICE: If you’re located 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 and watch Hotstar content using ExpressVPN.

Why Trust Top10VPN?

We’re completely independent and have spent 8 years reviewing VPNs for Hotstar using our unbiased testing process.

Our ratings are based on our own data, and are unaffected by financial incentives.

VPNs Tested52
VPNs That Unblock Hotstar India6
Test Platforms/DevicesPC, Mac, Fire TV, iPhone & Android
Hotstar Unblocking Tests10,000+
Weekly Speed Tests3,000+
Money Spent on VPN Subscriptions$25,000+

The Best VPNs for Hotstar India (Detailed Analysis)

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.

Out of 65 VPNs we tested, 31 have physical or virtual servers in India but only six work with Hotstar and only three are worth recommending.

The three VPNs we’ve picked operate India virtual servers that easily and consistently unblock Hotstar from outside India at high speeds.

The VPNs below also work with other streaming platforms that host Hotstar content, including Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max.

1. ExpressVPN: Overall Best VPN for Hotstar

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

ExpressVPN's app for iOS

Pros Cons
Two virtual India servers Expensive subscription
Reliable access to Hotstar outside India No split tunneling on Mac app
Access to Hulu, Disney+ & HBO Max Servers in India are virtual only
User-friendly apps for streaming
Live chat support & refund guarantee
Overall Hotstar Rating: 9.6/10

This overall score is based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our Hotstar VPN testing methodology.

Unblocks Hotstar: 9.9/109.9

Speed: 9.7/109.7

India Servers: 8.5/108.5

Ease of Use: 9.9/109.9

Customer Support: 9.8/109.8

ExpressVPN offers access to two India virtual servers (connecting via the UK and Singapore).

In response to India’s VPN Data Law, 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.

The best India server for unblocking Hotstar connects via Singapore. It successfully spoofed our geolocation and bypassed Hotstar’s geo-restrictions.

ExpressVPN Hotstar Streaming

ExpressVPN’s India virtual servers worked with Hotstar.

Additionally, the VPN service is the best VPN we tested for streaming. Crucially, it reliably unblocks all streaming services that contain Hotstar content (Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max).

These unblocking capabilities apply to all of the VPN’s user-friendly applications for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Fire TV.

ExpressVPN’s overall speeds are exceptional, including those we recorded connecting into India. It’s one of the fastest VPN services available in 2024.

If you want to test ExpressVPN, take advantage of its risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

If for whatever reason you don’t want to continue your subscription, ask for a refund within 30 days via the service’s 24/7 live chat support.

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

PIA’s servers in Mumbai get around Hotstar VPN blocks.

the Private Internet Access iOS app

Pros Cons
India server works with Hotstar Only one server in Mumbai
Fast international speeds Slower than ExpressVPN
US servers unblock Disney Bundle Smart DNS service is unreliable
Cheaper than ExpressVPN
24/7 live chat support
Overall Hotstar Rating: 9.3/10

This overall score is based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our Hotstar VPN testing methodology.

Unblocks Hotstar: 9.9/109.9

Speed: 9.7/109.7

India Servers: 8.0/108.0

Ease of Use: 8.1/108.1

Customer Support: 9.2/10{9.2

Private Internet Access (PIA) is another secure and easy-to-use VPN service that streams Hotstar from outside India.

PIA’s India virtual server, which assigns a Mumbai IP address, bypassed Hotstar’s geo-blocks at every attempt.

PIA Hotstar India Streaming

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

We’d like to see more Indian city server options, but we’ve never experienced network congestion, and speeds have remained relatively fast.

Using Private Internet Access, we recorded an average international download speed of 86Mbps testing from the US. This is a 14% speed loss versus our baseline 100Mbps internet speed.

In comparison, ExpressVPN registered average international streaming speeds of 85Mbps, while CyberGhost even slower speeds of 81Mbps.

What stands out is how well PIA VPN unblocks US streaming platforms, especially HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney+.

The VPN runs a huge network of 18,651 servers worldwide, including 50 US states.

PIA's US server locations

PIA’s server locations in USA.

This level of unblocking and server coverage in the United States is optimal for watching Hotstar via the US Disney bundle.

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

3. CyberGhost: Best Free VPN for Hotstar

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

Cyberghost's VPN app for iOS

Pros Cons
India server works with Disney+ Hotstar Only one India server location
US access the Disney Bundle Reduced speeds connecting to India
100% free trial available Not as user-friendly as ExpressVPN
Cheaper subscription deals
Extended money-back guarantee period
Overall Hotstar Rating: 8.2/10

This overall score is based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our Hotstar VPN testing methodology.

Unblocks Hotstar: 9.9/109.9

Speed: 8.5/108.5

India Servers: 8.0/108.0

Ease of Use: 9.5/109.5

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.

Similarly to ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, 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 speeds we recorded connected to the Mumbai server.

In all our tests, CyberGhost was noticably slower (81Mbps) than ExpressVPN (85Mbps) and Private Internet Access (86Mbps).

In our experience, the service’s apps aren’t as easy to use as ExpressVPN’s either.

However, the fact CyberGhost is completely free to try for one day partially compensates for the software’s shortcomings.

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.

Popular VPNs That Don't Unblock Hotstar India

Based on our Hotstar-specific tests of 65 VPNs, most apps weren’t able to unblock the Indian streaming platform, including very popular names.

Often this was because they no longer offer servers in India as a result of the India VPN ban.

We’ve listed below some of the more notable VPNs 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.

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 of some of the 65 VPNs we tested with Hotstar India, and the results of our tests:

How to Watch Hotstar Using a VPN

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

How to watch Hotstar will depend on where you live and which Hotstar content you want to access.

We created the flowchart below to help you find the best way to watch Hotstar India based on your specific circumstances:

Hotstar Flowchart
If you’re in America and want to watch premium Hotstar content, you’ll need an Indian payment method and create a Hotstar account using a VPN.

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

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 of Hotstar India’s 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 located outside India and the US, and don’t have access to an Indian phone number or US payment method, we suggest signing up to Hulu to access Hotstar content.

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 Disney+ Hotstar India. 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 access to full F1 races, NFL games, cricket matches, and more. You can’t watch sports live, though.

EXPERT ADVICE: Streaming free Hotstar India content on the Google Chrome browser caps your video resolution at 360p quality. Using Safari browser, the free content streams at 1080p Full HD quality.

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 switch to a better VPN for Hotstar.

How We Test VPNs for Hotstar

We tested 65 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:

  • Unblocks Hotstar India: 40%
  • Speed: 20%
  • India Servers: 20%
  • Ease of Use: 10%
  • Customer support: 10%

The table below summarizes the results of our VPN tests specific to Hotstar:

What Is Hotstar & Is It Available in the US?

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

There are now international versions of Hotstar in countries like Canada, Singapore, and the UK. These are very limited compared to the Indian version, though.

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.

The Walt Disney Company 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, 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, soccer, and other popular sports on ESPN.

In India, Hotstar still exists and is available under the new name of Disney+ Hotstar. It now includes Disney+ content, too.

The India-exclusive Disney+ Hotstar now combines all the content available 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.

Use the chart below to see how US streaming platforms divide Hotstar content and how they’re connected to each other:

Hotstar On US Streaming Sites Chart

Hotstar content is available across different US streaming services.

IMPORTANT: 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 Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and National Geographic.

hotstar-channels

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

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.

However, live sport is reserved to premium Disney+ Hotstar subscribers in India, only.

If you can’t create an Indian Hotstar account, you’ll be restricted to certain content. But you can watch Koffee with Karan, sports replays, and select movies like Baaghi 2 and Junglee.

As we mentioned above, Disney+ Hotstar hosts content split between Disney+, Hulu, ESPN, and HBO Max in USA. Below is a venn diagram of 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.

FAQs

Is Hotstar the Same as Disney+?

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+?

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.