Hotstar is a massively popular streaming service in India that many people consider to be India’s answer to Netflix. The website lets you sign up for a monthly subscription which allows you to watch any content you want, as often as you want, at the time you choose. This has led many to cut the cord and get rid of their TVs, and to watch all of the content that they want on their computers instead.
One of the best things about Hotstar is that it has movies and TV shows from both India and around the globe, so you can use this one service to catch up on all the latest Bollywood movies and Indian dramas as well as Hollywood movies and western TV shows. Plus there is sports content available so you can watch all of the cricket, football, and more.
With a free and a premium option available, the service has taken off in a big way in India. The only problem is that Hotstar can normally only be watched if you’re actually in India. If you try to watch from the UK, for example, then you’ll get an error message. But fortunately, there is a solution which we’ll share with you today. Keep reading to find out how to watch Hotstar in the UK.
Why Doesn’t Hotstar Work In The UK?
If you are sitting in India and you point your browser to the Hotstar website, http://www.hotstar.com/, you can start using the site straight away to stream content with the free version. However, if you are based in the UK and you head to the site, when you try to watch a video you’ll get an error message: “Hotstar is currently not available in your region.” You can browse some of the content on the website, but you can’t play any of the videos. This geographic restriction is present due to copyright.
So how does the website know whether you are in India or in the UK? The answer is to do with your IP address. Whenever you connect a device (like a phone, tablet, or computer) to an internet connection, the network assigns your device an IP address. This is a string of numbers that refers specifically to your device and is different from every other device on the network. The network uses IP addresses to make sure that the right information is sent to the right device – so when you type a URL into your browser, the data about the webpage is sent back to your device and not to your neighbour’s.
The problem is there are ranges of IP address which are assigned to particular countries, so IP addresses from the UK will be in one range and IP addresses from India will be in another. Websites can read your IP address and figure out which country you are visiting from, and then adjust the content that is shown to you based on your location. In the case of Hotstar, the site checks whether you have an IP address from India and shows you the video content if you do, but shows you the error message instead if your IP address is from another country.
Use A VPN To Watch Hotstar In The UK
Luckily for users who are based in the UK but want to watch Hotstar, there is a way to get an Indian IP address. The best method to unblock sites like Hotstar is to use a VPN. A VPN works by first installing a piece of software onto the device that you want to use to watch Hotstar. This software then encrypts all of the data that the device sends over the internet. Then, it is sent to a server run by your VPN provider in another location, where it is decrypted and sent on to its original destination. This means that when you use a VPN, you’ll be able to browse the internet as usual, plus download files, stream video, or do any of your other regular tasks online.
The clever part of this process for our purposes is that you can choose where in the world you want to connect to a server. And when the data is decrypted and leaves the server, it is assigned an IP address based on the location of the server instead of your real location. In other words, your real IP gets hidden, and websites only see your proxy server’s IP address.
This means that if you use a VPN to connect to a server in India, you will be assigned an Indian IP address. Whether you are in the UK or anywhere else in the world, with a VPN connected to a server in India it will appear to websites as if you are actually located in India. Therefore, when you are in the UK using this VPN you can go to the Hotstar website, the site will see that you have an Indian IP, and it will let you watch all of the great video content available on the site. You can use this same technique to watch other region locked content too, like watching BBC iPlayer from anywhere.
Other Advantages To Using A VPN
There are more reasons to use a VPN besides just accessing Hotstar from the UK though. Because the VPN encrypts all of the data you send over the internet, it is also important for improving your online security and privacy. To start with the privacy benefits, if you live in the UK then you are likely highly aware of how much monitoring goes on of online communications, and you may wish to stop both the government and private companies from snooping into your internet activities. Using a VPN to encrypt your data prevents any outside parties from accessing your data – even your ISP. This is particularly important if you participate in file sharing as otherwise your ISP might report you to law enforcement if they catch you downloading copyrighted content.
In terms of security, a VPN is also important when you use a public wifi network like the ones in cafes, as without encryption other users on the network may be able to intercept your data and even steal your identity. With encryption, you can be sure that no one else can see your data or interfere with it in anyway. In addition, a VPN helps to protect you from cyber attacks like phishing, smishing, and vishing by ensuring that scammers cannot see your real location and therefore cannot target their attacks at you.
Our Recommended VPNs To Watch Hotstar
Now that you can see how to use a VPN to watch Hotstar in the UK, plus all of the other advantages of using a VPN, you just need to choose a VPN provider. But there are so many different VPN providers out there – how do you know which is best for your needs? First off, you should know that you need to avoid free VPNs as these services are often untrustworthy and make their money in dubious ways like selling off user data.
Instead of a dodgy free VPN, you should use a reputable and trustworthy paid VPN provider to protect your data. You should look for a VPN that meets the following key criteria to let you watch Hotstar:
- Servers available in India and elsewhere in the world, so that you can route your traffic via India and access the Hotstar website. It is also helpful to have lots of servers available in other countries so that you can unblock other websites and browse the internet with total freedom.
- Fast connection speeds so that you don’t have any issues with buffering when you try to watch videos on Hotstar. You want a VPN with fast connections so that your browsing isn’t slowed down by your VPN.
- Excellent security to keep your data safe and private, like the use of strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy so you can be certain that your data isn’t being collected and will never be sold off to another company.
- Software support for a variety of operating systems so that you can use your one VPN subscription to protect all of your different devices, like your phone, tablet, and computer.
When we looked at all of these factors, we came up with a list of recommended VPN providers to unblock Hotstar and watch it from the UK:
1. ExpressVPN – Stellar Speed And Security
ExpressVPN is a highly rated VPN that you’ll see recommended all over the place. A big advantage of this provider is their large network of servers, which covers more than 2000 servers in 94 different countries. This includes servers at three different locations in India, so you can easily connect to one and watch Hotstar from anywhere. And the connections are super fast which earns the express name, so you’ll have no issues with buffering of videos.
The security offered is excellent, with 256-bit encryption to keep your data safe and a no logging policy to keep your information private. Plus there are more security features in the software like an IP address checker to ensure your real IP address is hidden, and DNS leak protection so you can’t be tracked through your DNS use. The software can be installed on a range of platforms like Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android, and there are also browser extensions available for the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari browsers.
Read our full ExpressVPN review here.
2. NordVPN – Specialty Servers Aplenty
NordVPN is an advanced VPN with lots of extra options. The huge server network covers more than 3500 servers, including 13 servers in India which you can use to watch Hotstar from the UK. But there is more on offer than just the regular VPN servers. There are also speciality servers available like P2P servers that are optimised for torrent use, onion over VPN for best possible anonymity, and anti DDoS servers to protect you from distributed denial of service attacks. For the greatest level of security, try the double VPN in which your data is sent to two separate servers to give you two layers of encryption.
The speedy connections are perfect for streaming video or downloading large files, and the software can be installed on devices running Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, or Windows Phone.
Read our full NordVPN review here.
3. CyberGhost – Easy Interface, Tough Security
CyberGhost is perfect for new users thanks to its simple to use software. When you want to use the VPN, you simply open the software and choose from the options like unblock streaming sites, browse anonymously, or torrent anonymously. The the software will select an appropriate server for you and apply all of the settings that you need. You don’t have to do any configuration yourself, if you don’t want to! Though if you do prefer to use a particular server, you can make your selection from the total 1300 servers in 59 countries. This includes 14 servers in India that you can use to watch Hotstar from the UK.
The security is on par with the very highest industry standard, with nigh-unbreakable 256-bit encryption and a comprehensive no logging policy. The fast connections are great for streaming, and the software is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS.
Read our full CyberGhost review here.
Hotstar is a popular service in India thanks to its wide range of content and flexible subscription options. However, it’s normally impossible to access the full service from another country like the UK. If you’re an Indian living abroad or simply an aficionado of the country’s myriad entertainment, you’re going to need to find a solution to watch videos. Fortunately, it is possible to watch Hotstar from the UK by using a VPN. We’ve shared our recommendations for the best VPNs for Hotstar users to unblock the site.
How do you watch Hotstar from the UK? Have you tried out any of these VPNs? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.