BBC iPlayer is the UK’s very own free streaming service that locals can use to watch movies, shows, sports, and a whole lot of other programs. Unfortunately, all content on BBC iPlayer is geo-restricted outside of the UK.
Due to various licensing agreements, BBC iPlayer is officially geo-restricted to stream its content only in the UK. If you try to access BBC iPlayer from abroad, you’ll get this error message:
BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.
You can only gain access to this streaming service with a UK IP address, and for that, you need a VPN service. However, not all VPNs are able to unblock BBC iPlayer because BBC tends to use a firewall to filter traffic associated with VPNs. In this guide, we bring you the 5 best VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer.
5 Best BBC iPlayer VPNs working in 2022 [In-Depth Analysis]
There are hundreds of VPN providers in the market today. Only a few VPN services have the capability to bypass the BBC iPlayer firewall. We have shortlisted 5 best services for unblocking BBC iPlayer base don the following criteria:
- Number of servers in the UK, so you can easily get a UK IP address.
- Fast speeds for a seamless streaming experience.
- Works with BBC iPlayer.
- Number of simultaneous connections.
1. ExpressVPN – Best BBC iPlayer VPN
ExpressVPN is the best VPN for BBC iPlayer with excellent unblocking ability and speed. It offers 3000+ servers in 94 countries and among these, 4+ are located in London, Docklands, East London, and Wembley.
All its UK servers are capable of unblocking BBC iPlayer abroad. With ExpressVPN, you can even unblock BBC iPlayer in China.
The fast speeds and stable server infrastructure allows for a seamless streaming VPN experience no matter where you are in the world. ExpressVPN is also the best option for streaming other geo-restricted streaming platforms such as Sky TV, BFI Player, Channel 5, All4, Netflix, and many more.
When testing BBC iPlayer with ExpressVPN, it offers fast speeds so you can enjoy a bufferless streaming experience in HD. Let’s check out ExpressVPN’s recommended servers for BBC iPlayer and their speeds:
|Recommended Servers||Speed Result|
|East London||88.2 Mbps|
You can connect up to 5 devices at the same time on a single ExpressVPN account and it offers apps for Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, FireStick, and more.
ExpressVPN is available for $6.67/mo (Save 49% and get 3 extra months FREE with 12-month plan) and it is also offering a 30-day money-back guarantee during which you can test the service.
To learn more about this service, you can always read our ExpressVPN review.
2. Surfshark – Budget VPN for watching BBC iPlayer
Surfshark is a great VPN for unblocking BBC iPlayer outside the UK for viewers who are on a budget. There are over 3200+ servers in 95 countries and more than 3+ servers in UK. These servers are located in London, Manchester, and Glasgow.
Surfshark also offers reliable speeds for streaming in HD. On Surfshark’s London server, we got a speed of 78.1 Mbps and experienced no buffering.
Let’s check out Surfshark’s recommended servers for streaming BBC iPlayer and their speeds:
|Recommended Servers||Speed Result|
Apart from BBC iPlayer, Surfshark also works with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, SkyGo, HBO Now, and more.
But what makes this VPN stand out from others is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections and it offers apps for devices like Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Amazon FireStick, and more.
Surfshark comes at a low price of $2.30/mo (Save 81% on 2 Years + 2 Months Free Plan with Surfshark Antivirus). It also comes with a 30-day refund policy so you can always cancel your Surfshark subscription if you don’t like the service.
With Surfshark, you can easily gain access to BBC iPlayer by connecting to one of its UK servers. The user-friendly logging policy ensures that you can do so without the knowledge of your ISP. To learn more about this service, you can always read our Surfshark review.
3. NordVPN – Fastest VPN to watch BBC iPlayer outside UK
NordVPN is another great choice for people who want to watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere outside the United Kingdom. NordVPN offers 5200+ servers in 60 countries including 645+ servers in the UK. All these servers are located in London.
It is one of the fastest VPNs available in the market for streaming BBC iPlayer and other geo-restricted streaming services. When testing NordVPN with BBC iPlayer, we experienced less than 10-15% speed drop which was amazing. There was no buffering or lag during streaming.
Let’s check out NordVPN’s recommended servers for BBC iPlayer and their speeds:
|Recommended Servers||Speed Result|
NordVPN also offers a SmartPlay feature to unblock SkyGo on your Smart TV, Apple TV, and more. This makes it an extremely powerful service accessing BBC iPlayer on 6 devices at the same time from anywhere in the world.
Other than its outstanding server infrastructure, NordVPN is also known for its excellent logging policies and extra features that boost user security. As for pricing, it costs $3.99/mo (Save 70% on 2 Years Plan + Extra Subscription) and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to users.
To learn more about this service, you can always read our NordVPN review.
4. CyberGhost– User-friendly VPN for watching BBC iPlayer
CyberGhost is the most user-friendly VPN for watching BBC iPlayer from outside the UK. It offers 7700+ servers in 90 countries, including 641+ servers in the United Kingdom. So, with CyberGhost, you have multiple servers that you can choose from to get a British IP address and access BBC iPlayer.
As such, CyberGhost is a pretty good option as BBC iPlayer VPN. While conducting CyberGhost’s speed test using its UK servers, we received an average speed of 62 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection. We did not experience any extensive buffering or lags while streaming BBC iPlayer with CyberGhost.
Let’s check out CyberGhost’s recommended servers for BBC iPlayer and their speeds:
|Recommended Servers||Speed Result|
What is cool about CyberGhost is that it offers optimized servers just for streaming so that you always find the most optimized servers for streaming BBC iPlayer. For example, instead of connecting to a UK server, you can always connect to its BBC iPlayer dedicated server to unblock it abroad.
It allows 7 multi-logins on a single account and there are easy-to-use apps for various devices and platforms. It also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and more so you can also watch BBC iPlayer online via its website. There is a free CyberGhost browser extension with limited server access and features that you can try with BBC iPlayer.
You can get this VPN at a price of $2.23/mo on its annual plan. All its subscription plans are backed by a 45-day money-back guarantee.
To learn more about this service, you can always read our CyberGhost review.
5. IPVanish – Reliable VPN for BBC iPlayer in Australia
IPVanish is a reliable VPN for unblocking BBC iPlayer from abroad. It offers 2000+ servers in 75+ countries and 1169+ servers in the UK. With IPVanish, you can watch BBC iPlayer from abroad without any issues as there are multiple servers in the UK.
While using its recommended server for BBC iPlayer, we received an average of 54 Mbps speed on our 100 Mbps connection. It was not as fast as other VPNs on this list, but we did not experience any buffering or location error while streaming.
Let’s check out IPVanish’s recommended servers for streaming BBC iPlayer and their speeds:
|Recommended Servers||Speed Result|
IPVanish also works with other streaming platforms such as Netflix, Channel 4, Hulu, HBO Max, NBC, Peacock TV, and more.
IPVanish also offers other advanced features such as continuous file syncing, data sharing controls, advanced VPN encryption, unmetered device connections, no data transfer caps and so much more.
Just like Surfshark, IPVanish also supports unlimited simultaneous device connections on a single account. So, you can connect and stream on as many devices as you want. You can even share a single IPVanish account with your friends and family.
IPVanish is quite affordable, available at a price of $3.99/mo on its annual plan and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you wish to opt-out of the service due to any reason.
To learn more about this service, you can always read our IPVanish Review.
Side-by-Side Comparison of the Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in April 2022
|Works with||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more|
|Unblocks Streaming Sites||Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and more.||Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Showtime, and more||Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more.||Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more.||Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sling TV, and more|
|Simultaneous Device Connections||5||6||Unlimited||7||Unlimited|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 days||30 days||30 days||45 days||30 days|
|More Info||ExpressVPN Review||Surfshark Review||NordVPN Review||CyberGhost Review||IPVanish Review|
Why do you need a VPN for watching BBC iPlayer abroad?
BBC iPlayer is a video streaming service that only has the license to work within the UK. Any IP address that doesn’t belong to the UK and tries to visit the iPlayer website is immediately denied access due to content distribution rights.
The easiest way to bypass BBC iPlayer’s geo-restrictions is using a VPN to get a British IP address. With a VPN, you can connect to a UK server and trick BBC iPlayer into thinking you are trying to access it from somewhere within Britain.
However, just as VPNs are getting more sophisticated with time, BBC’s VPN detection mechanism is also getting more advanced. That is why not most VPNs are capable of unblocking BBC iPlayer from abroad.
The VPNs listed above have been tested and are thus working solutions for BBC streaming. Meaning, you can easily avoid the BBC iPlayer proxy error with a VPN in Austria, Denmark, Malaysia, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and any other location and stream your favorite British shows for free.
Testing Methodology: How we chose the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer
We have tested 50+ VPNs on various performance criteria to bring you the 5 best VPNs for watching BBC iPlayer abroad. If you are looking for a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK, make sure to look for the following things:
- Large server network — The VPN should offer a large server network, with multiple servers in the UK to unblock BBC iPlayer from outside the UK.
- Unlimited bandwidth — Fast speeds so you can stream content in HD quality without any buffering, or lags.
- Multi logins — Offers more than 5 simultaneous connections so you can stream on multiple devices at the same time.
- Money-back guarantee — Offers 30 days or more refund policy to test out the service risk-free with BBC iPlayer.
- Easy to use apps — Offers apps for iOS, Windows, macOS, Android, and other streaming devices.
- Customer support — Offers 24/7 live chat support so you can get help in case you are facing issues accessing BBC iPlayer outside the UK.
BBC iPlayer detecting VPN? Here is what you should do
If BBC iPlayer suspects that a VPN is being used if too many users visit the website from the same server using shared IP addresses, it will ban the servers associated with the VPN, leaving users unable to access the streaming platform.
So, what can you do if iPlayer is not working with a VPN? If your VPN has been blocked by BBC, you can try the following steps to fix the issue.
- Get a Dedicated UK IP Address
- Use a VPN Proven to Unblock iPlayer
- Update iPlayer App
1. Get a Dedicated UK IP Address
One thing that you can consider doing is getting a dedicated VPN IP address situated in the UK. BBC iPlayer can detect the use of VPNs to gain entry if multiple users are connected with the same IP address. So, you can try a dedicated IP address that will only be used by you.
2. Use a VPN proven to unblock BBC iPlayer
While BBC is trying its best to block VPNs, there are some that still work, try different services. The VPNs we mentioned above have all been tested with BBC iPlayer and are currently able to unblock it in any region.
You shouldn’t experience any problems if you are trying to access iPlayer through one of the VPNs described above. You can use ExpressVPN that works perfectly well with BBC iPlayer.
You can also try reconnecting to a different VPN server to get a fresh IP address.
3. Update BBC iPlayer App
Another problem could be that you are using an outdated version of the app. If that is the case, download the up-to-date app for your respective device:
You can check if there are pending updates that you may have not followed inside the app.
This is how:
- Android Devices – Settings > About Device > Software Update
- iOS Devices – Settings > General > Software Update
If you are watching BBC iPlayer through the app, you can also try watching it online.
VPNs to Avoid for BBC iPlayer
As per the tests we conducted, the following VPN providers were not able to unblock BBC iPlayer:
- Private Internet Access (PIA)
- IPVanish BBC iPlayer
- TunnelBear BBC iPlayer
Even though the above-mentioned providers may not be able to unblock the popular streaming service in the UK, they may prove to be beneficial for other online activities.
Is it free to use BBC iPlayer?
Yes, BBC iPlayer is completely free to stream.
Can I use a free VPN to watch BBC iPlayer from abroad?
You can watch BBC iPlayer with a free VPN that is if you can find any that works. However, we don’t recommend using a free VPN for BBC iPlayer because it will not be able to bypass geo-restrictions and give you access to the British streaming service.
Is ExpressVPN not working with BBC iPlayer?
Although ExpressVPN should easily unblock BBC iPlayer, if you’re running into issues with ExpressVPN, you can try the following troubleshooting methods:
- Contact customer support
- Visit the troubleshooting dashboard
- Update the ExpressVPN app
- Try disconnecting other devices simultaneously connected to ExpressVPN
- Switch to a different server
Can you get BBC iPlayer in Ireland?
BBC iPlayer is unfortunately geo-restricted for viewers in Ireland. The only way to access it from Ireland is to use one of the VPNs mentioned above.
The detection systems of streaming services are getting smarter by the day. This is a big concern for fans of geo-restricted streaming sites that are located outside of their domain of availability.
Thankfully, there are still a few working VPNs that will let you bypass the BBC iPlayer VPN block from anywhere in the world.
Our top recommendation for watching BBC iPlayer is ExpressVPN. With ExpressVPN you will have no issue unblocking BBC iPlayer abroad as it offers 4+ servers in the UK, and is powerful enough to bypass geo-restrictions and firewalls.
It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a limited-time offer of a 3-month FREE subscription on its 12-monthly plan.