Kids, I’m going to tell you a story. And that story is all about the best way to watch How I Met Your Mother online. The show, focused around a group of friends in New York City, was a little bit like Friends but with less coffee, more alcohol, and Neil Patrick Harris as one of the most notable characters on any sitcom ever — the suit-loving Barney Stinson.
How I Met Your Mother aired for nine seasons, finding a home on CBS between 2005 and 2014. Created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, it was noted during the New York Television Festival back in 2016 that the show was inspired by the attacks on 9/11. Having worked on late night shows before, the two were interested in branching out into character-driven writing and realized that life was short. Very quickly, How I Met Your Mother became one of the most beloved sitcoms on CBS.
If you’re new to the show, here’s how to watch How I Met Your Mother streaming online.
How to Watch How I Met Your Mother Online & Stream the Complete Series
Among the streaming services, Hulu has exclusive rights to How I Met Your Mother. If you don’t already have an account, there are a couple different options when signing up:
Hulu: If you simply want Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, which includes every episode of How I Met Your Mother, you can sign up right here. It costs $7.99 per month for the limited commercials plan or $11.99 per month for the no commercials plan.
Hulu With Live TV: If you want to switch between live TV shows and How I Met Your Mother episodes without changing the app, “Hulu with Live TV” is the service that offers that. This option gives you access to Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, as well as a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels. It costs $39.99 per month for the plan that includes limited commercials with the on-demand content or $43.99 per month for the plan that includes no commercials with the on-demand content.
Once signed up for either of the above options, you can watch every episode of How I Met Your Mother on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
How to Buy & Stream Individual How I Met Your Mother Episodes & Seasons
If you would rather own the episodes but still want to have a digital library so you can watch on different devices, you can purchase either individual episodes or seasons and then watch via Amazon:
Season 1: Episodes cost $2.99, or the entire season costs $19.99
Season 2: Episodes cost $2.99, or the entire season costs $19.99
Season 3: Episodes cost $2.99, or the entire season costs $19.99
Season 4: Episodes cost $2.99, or the entire season costs $19.99
Season 5: Episodes cost $2.99, or the entire season costs $19.99
Season 6: Episodes cost $2.99, or the entire season costs $19.99
Season 7: Episodes cost $2.99, or the entire season costs $19.99
Season 8: Episodes cost $2.99, or the entire season costs $19.99
Season 9: Episodes cost $2.99, or the entire season costs $19.99
Once you’ve bought an episode or season, you can either watch on your computer via the Amazon website, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app, which is free to download on Apple TV, Roku, Android phones and tablets, iPads and iPhones, Fire tablets, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Smart TV’s and more. You can also watch on an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV stick without having to download the app.
Where to Buy How I Met Your Mother Seasons on DVD
Another option, if you prefer being able to watch episodes without being reliant on an internet connection, is to buy individual seasons or the entire series on DVD. You can do that right here.
NOTE: Spoilers to follow
How Many How I Met Your Mother Seasons Are There?
There are nine seasons of How I Met Your Mother. Based around the character of Ted Mosby (played by Josh Radnor) telling his two children the story of how he ended up with their mom, they witnessed a lot of side stories about their honorary uncles and aunts in the process.
How I Met Your Mother Season 1
22 Episodes | September 2005 – May 2006
In the first season of the show, Ted starts chatting with his kids about how he met their mother. But first, he tells a story about how he fell for their Aunt Robin, played by Cobie Smulders. He also covers his relationship with Victoria, a baker he meets at a wedding. In the process, Ted lets them know all about the adventures he had with his friends Marshall and Lily, played by Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan, who he went to college with. The two are engaged, but Lily — a teacher and artist — starts wondering if she missed out on big opportunities due to her long relationship. The two split at the end of the season, leaving Marshall heartbroken.
How I Met Your Mother Season 2
22 Episodes | September 2006 – May 2007
Ted and Robin try to give love another shot in season two, even though they both want different things. This season was one of the strongest, as we’re introduced to “Robin Sparkles,” the Canadian pop sensation, and the concept of the Slap Bet. Lily returns from her opportunity in San Francisco, and she tries to once again navigate her relationship with Marshall.
How I Met Your Mother Season 3
20 Episodes | September 2007 – May 2008
Lily has to face some problems with her compulsive shopping, and Ted’s kids get a clue about how he met their mother. It turns out that a yellow umbrella is involved. But, the kids don’t learn the story just yet — first, they’re introduced to Stella, the other woman who Ted formed a strong relationship with. Britney Spears guest starred in the episode “Ten Sessions,” which was big deal as she was in the news just a year earlier for having a highly publicized meltdown.
How I Met Your Mother Season 4
24 Episodes | September 2008 – May 2009
Ted and Stella are super close to tying the knot, but at the last minute, Stella leaves him for her ex, Tony. Speaking of love, Robin and Ted are roommates with a “friends with benefits” arrangement, and this causes Barney to admit that he’s got real feelings for her — which is pretty out of character. We learn one more thing about the future Mrs. Mosby — she was once in a class that Ted accidentally taught.
How I Met Your Mother Season 5
24 Episodes | September 2009 – May 2010
We get even closer in the fifth season. Ted starts dating a woman named Cindy, who’s the roommate of the future mother. Without even meeting, Ted realizes how much of a connection he has with the mother, as everything of interest in their apartment belongs to her, not Cindy. Ted also invests in a house, which is where he — in the future — raises his children. Rachel Bilson stars as Cindy.
How I Met Your Mother Season 6
24 Episodes | September 2010 – May 2011
Marshall and Lily try hard to conceive their first child, and Marshall’s dad passes away in a very upsetting episode called “Bad News.” John Lithgow makes an appearance this season as Jerry Whittaker, someone very important to Barney.
How I Met Your Mother Season 7
24 Episodes | September 2011 – May 2012
Barney’s getting married this season, but it’s unclear who’s the lucky bride until the last episode. Barney and Robin’s love reignites this season, as they both cheat on their partners with each other. Lily’s baby is born, and he’s given the monicker of Marvin Waitforit Eriksen. (Yes, Barney had something to do with it.) Victoria also makes a reappearance, as she and Ted try to rekindle their relationship.
How I Met Your Mother Season 8
24 Episodes | September 2012 – May 2013
Robin’s friendship with Ted is a huge obstacle for Victoria, and the two break up because of it. While we knew that Robin was Barney’s bride at the very end of season seven, we get to see the proposal in season eight. Abby Elliott, known best for being on Saturday Night Live, is featured as one of Ted’s girlfriends this season.
How I Met Your Mother Season 9
24 Episodes | September 2013 – March 2014
The entire ninth season is focused around Barney and Robin’s wedding, except for the last episode which wraps up how Ted met his future wife and the mother of his children, Tracy. Tracy passes away from an illness in 2024, and six years have passed since Ted decides to share the story of how they met. In the end, his children give him permission to move on — and date Aunt Robin, who divorced from Barney after a short marriage.
What Are the Best How I Met Your Mother Episodes?
There are a few standout episodes of How I Met Your Mother, especially during the earlier seasons. Here are the ones you don’t want to miss.
Season 1, Episode 5: “Okay Awesome”
In season one, Marshall and Lily host a wine and cheese party, since they feel like that’s just the activity to do when you’re an adult. Unfortunately, they both find it to be boring and escape out of their bathroom window to join their friends at a nightclub, which is so loud that nobody can understand each other’s conversations. After watching this episode, you learn a lot about tannins.
Season 2, Episode 7: “Swarley”
When the barista at the coffee shop accidentally spells Barney’s name as “Swarley” on the cup, the gang runs with it and won’t let him escape the adorable nicknames it brings, like “Swarles Barkley” and “Swarles.” Marshall and Lily finally get back together after Lily gets a little crazy seeing Marshall on a date with the barista.
Season 2, Episode 9: “Slap Bet”
“Slap Bet” combines two of How I Met Your Mother‘s greatest jokes — Robin Sparkles and the Slap Bet. After Robin gets weird about going to the mall, the gang tries to figure out what causes her aversion. While Barney bets it’s somehow related to porn, and even issues a slap bet (where the winner slaps the loser in the face) the truth is that “Let’s Go To The Mall” was one of her hit singles when Robin was a teen pop star in Canada.
Season 4, Episode 4: “Intervention”
There’s something quirky the friends do when something is out of hand — they hold an intervention. In this 2008 episode, we see past interventions with Marshall’s Dr. Seuss-inspired hat, Robin’s intervention after she went heavy with tanning, and of course, the intervention of their being too many interventions.
Season 5, Episode 23: “The Wedding Bride”
As if Stella leaving him wasn’t traumatic enough, Ted realizes that there’s a movie based on the relationship — and in it, he’s the villain. Written by Tony, everyone’s a big fan of the film, called “The Wedding Bride,” and it causes Ted to be a little insecure. Chris Kattan stars as “Jed Mosley,” who’s obviously based on Ted.
Who Are the Actors in the How I Met Your Mother Cast?
Josh Radnor as Ted Mosby
As the lead of the show, Josh Radnor is wonderful as Ted — the straight-laced, family oriented architect who might drop the l-bomb a little too soon in new relationships. Since the show ended, he’s since appeared on Mercy Street and Rise.
Jason Segel as Marshall Eriksen
As Ted’s college buddy, Jason Segel plays Marshall, from St. Cloud Minnesota. His dreams are to work in environmental law and help save the world. Segel has kept a relatively low profile since the show ended, but helped revive the Muppets franchise with a 2011 movie.
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson
Nothing suits Barney Stinson like a suit. Neil Patrick Harris played the classy, womanizing character who helped complete the gang. Harris is currently starring as Count Olaf in the Netflix show A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Cobie Smulders as Robin Scherbatsky
Robin isn’t your typical girly girl— and Cobie did a wonderful job portraying that on the show. As a broadcast journalist, Robin is all about traveling for opportunities and fears settling. Cobie is now making waves in film, with a small role in the Avengers series.
Alyson Hannigan as Lily Aldrin
Formerly from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Alyson Hannigan plays artist and kindergarten teacher Lily Aldrin, who’s been with Marshall since college.
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on How I Met Your Mother?
The best part about sitcoms is that there’s plenty of ways to sneak in guest stars for brief appearances. Here are some of the most important How I Met Your Mother guest stars.
Wayne Brady as James
Wayne Brady appeared in 13 episodes as James, the older brother of Barney. James and Barney both have different fathers — which is obvious, as they don’t look anything alike. He has two children with his partner, Eli and Sadie.
Britney Spears as Abby
Spears appeared in two episodes of How I Met Your Mother — “Ten Sessions” and “Everything Must Go.” She’s the receptionist for Stella, and develops a bit of a crush on Ted (and then, Barney.)
Katie Holmes as The Slutty Pumpkin
After meeting years ago at a Halloween party, Ted is desperate to reconnect with someone he dubs “The Slutty Pumpkin.” She’s later introduced as Naomi seasons later when the two meet in an episode called “The Slutty Pumpkin Returns.”
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind How I Met Your Mother?
Created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, who also produced and wrote episodes of the show, they notably only had four directors throughout the run of the series — one being Neil Patrick Harris, who worked on one episode. The show is reportedly based on the friendship between Thomas and Bays, which means they had quite a personal connection to the series.
Carter Bays: Creator, Producer, Writer
Bays is also a musician, and his band, The Solids, performed the (mostly) lyric-less theme song of How I Met Your Mother. As it’s notably his biggest hit, he also worked on shows like American Dad!
Craig Thomas: Creator, Producer, Writer
Interestingly enough, Thomas is also a member in The Solids and has a very similar resume to Bays. You can tell they’ve got an incredible friendship based on all of their projects together.
Pamela Fryman: Director
Fryman, a Philadelphia native, was one of the four directors, but the only one to direct over 100 episodes. Only 12 weren’t directed by her, as hey — everyone needs a vacation sometimes.
Where How I Met Your Mother Ranks in the Television Pantheon
How I Met Your Mother helped fill the void left by Friends in being a show about young people who think they have a good grasp on life and adulthood, but still have a lot to figure out. Sometimes, the characters can be straight up unlikable — but that only makes it more realistic. While most episodes will make you laugh, some might make you cry — especially near the end, when we realize that after years of anticipation, we’re not getting a lot of time with Tracy.
There’s a reason why so many people were upset with the finale, which broke up Robin and Barney to tell a story that could have easily been the end of season one. “What felt like an inordinately well-cast comedy with a clever gimmick when the show made its debut had probably outlived its expiration date, but the ratings justified keeping the show around,” Variety said in 2014. The characters are people you invested in, and root for. If the series was perhaps two seasons shorter, it could have easily been known as one of the best comedies of this generation.