Hepadnaviruses do not infect cultured cells, therefore our knowledge of the mechanism of the early stages of virus-cell interaction is rather poor. In this study, we show that dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO)-treated HepG2 hepatoblastoma cells are infected efficiently by serum-derived hepatitis B virus (HBV) as monitored by viral gene expression and replication markers. To measure virus attachment, a variety of HBV surface proteins (HBsAgs) were conjugated to polystyrene beads and their capacity to attach cells was visualized and quantified by light microscopy at a single-cell resolution. Remarkably, DMSO increases the attachment efficiency by >200-fold. We further identify the QLDPAF sequence within preS1 as the receptor-binding viral domain epitope. Interestingly, a similar sequence is shared by several cellular, bacterial and viral proteins involved in cell adhesion, attachment and fusion. We also found that the small HBsAg contains a secondary attachment site that recognizes a distinct receptor on the cell membrane. Furthermore, we provide evidence in support of multivalent HBV attachment with synergistic interplay. Our data depict a mechanistic view of virus attachment and ingestion.