BBC iPlayer is a free online streaming service that users in the UK can use to watch TV shows and programs. Unfortunately, the geographical availability of the service is only confined to the UK.
Using the right VPN for BBC iPlayer, you can access it across the globe just like if you were in the United Kingdom. If you are unsure about which VPNs are capable of bypassing geo-restrictions exactly for iPlayer, read on below to find out!
Why You Need a VPN on BBC iPlayer?
There are numerous places to watch best shows from UK, but nothing beats the BBC iPlayer. Its illustrious content library extends deep into popular TV shows, movies, cartoons, sports, and much more
Unfortunately, the iPlayer app is not your run of the mill media streaming service – it has a fine print. Due to copyright agreements, content on iPlayer is only accessible from the UK.
This means that you will only be able to access the service if you have a UK IP address. Otherwise, you will receive the following error:
You might be wondering that this is a hopeless cause if you are living abroad, but you couldn’t be more wrong!
Because VPN services can give you IP address from anywhere in the world with a single click. VPNs operate a multitude of servers located across various countries that you users can connect to.
By doing so, your visible IP address on the Internet will turn to an IP from that country, giving you access to the Internet as a local resident from that location would experience.
So, you can use a VPN to acquire a UK IP and unblock iPlayer irrespective of what your actual location is.
Similarly, you can explore our best VPN list to watch other streaming services like US Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and others from any country of your choice.
What if you don’t have a UK TV License?
Luckily the BBC iPlayer works on the honor system, which means it will only ask if you have a TV license rather than actually verifying if you actually do have one. However, you do need to provide a valid UK post code, which again is not verified.
5 Best BBC iPlayer VPNs in 2019
Watch BBC iPlayer Outside UK with the top 5 VPN services described as follows.
To watch the famous BBC player at your desired location, you need to juggle your IP address – something a VPN does by nature. Now, when it comes to selecting a VPN for iPlayer, make sure that it offers servers in the UK.
The same goes for PrimeWire since you can attain your unblocked objective with a VPN. Here are some of the best VPN services for accessing iPlayer content from anywhere:
|Rank||Providers||Price ($)||Discount||More Info|
| 74% Off |
Exclusive Discount 2 years Plan
| 79% Off |
3 Years Deal
| 83% Off |
2 Years Deal
| 75% Off |
3 Years Plan
| 35% OFF |
No Exclusive Offer
1. PureVPN – The Fastest VPN App for Media Streaming
PureVPN outshines a large number of VPN providers available in the market. With a wide range of servers spread across the UK, this is a highly recommended VPN to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.
It allows access to iPlayer from anywhere in the world. At the moment, the service offers servers in the Manchester, Leicester, Maidenhead and Gosport with a total of 56 servers in the UK. Subscribers can easily connect to one of these locations and stream iPlayer on Android, iOS, Mac or Windows devices.
PureVPN is also the fastest VPN provider for streaming purpose, best to use with Netflix, Hulu and also BBC I-Player.
The pricing plan of Pure VPN is as follows:
- Monthly Package: $10.95/month
- Yearly Package: $4.09/month
- 2 Year Package: $2.88/month
- Offers Internet Kill Switch and Nat Firewall
- Up to 5 multiple logins
- Accepts anonymous payments (Bitcoin, PayPal and much more)
- Transparent zero activity log policy
- The service does not offer free trial
2. NordVPN – The Instant Unblocker
NordVPN is an excellent iPlayer unblocker. With an extensive range of features, the service keeps user’s identity secure while offering one-touch access to BBC iPlayer from abroad.
The provider offers 578 servers in the UK alone. Also, a three-day trial allows subscribers to take a test drive of the service before final subscription. This is why the VPN is definitely worth considering if you want to access iPlayer from broad.
The pricing details of NordVPN are:
- Monthly Package: $11.95/month
- Yearly Package: $6.99/month
- 2 Year Package: $3.99/month
- 3 Year Package: $2.99/month
- The provider is based at Panama
- The service has more than 5,000 servers
- Six simultaneous connections
- Allows P2P
- The users may experience connectivity issues during peak hours
Surfshark is a British Virgin Islands based provider that has recently made entry into the VPN industry. Do not be fooled by its late entry in the industry, however, because the service is already performing extremely well in terms of both security and ability to bypass geo-restrictions.
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.
The pricing packages of Surfshark look something like this:
- Monthly Package: $11.95/month
- Yearly Package: $5.99/month
- 2-Year Package: $1.99/month
- Allows unlimited simultaneous connections
- Uses AES 256 encryption
- No-logging policy
- Unblocks BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and other streaming services
- No dedicated apps for Linux and Mac
CyberGhost sets itself apart from other VPNs by its ability to unblock streaming sites with ease. This is a VPN service that has improved considerably over time in terms of features offered and speed. It has over 3,000 servers worldwide with almost 350 of them located in the UK and offers dedicated servers for unblocking BBC iPlayer.
These are the subscription packages of CyberGhost:
- Monthly Package: $11.99/month
- Half-yearly Package: $4.99/month
- 18-Month Package: $2.75/month
- BBC iPlayer dedicated servers
- Up to 7 multi-logins allowed simultaneously
- Supports torrenting
- Based in Romania (privacy-friendly region)
- Limited security features
5. ExpressVPN – Multiple Servers in the UK to Access iPlayer
ExpressVPN is a pioneer in VPN industry. Although Express doesn’t offer dedicated IP address, it provides instant access to iPlayer live streaming to the fans around the world. The fast speeds and stable server infrastructure allows for a seamless streaming experience no matter where you are in the world.
The pricing of ExpressVPN is as follows:
- Monthly Package: $12.95/month
- Half-yearly Package: $9.99/month
- Yearly Package: $8.32/month
- Unblocks BBC iPlayer
- Fast server speeds
- More than 2,000 servers all over the world
- Users have to deal with the higher pricing plans
How to Access iPlayer from Abroad Straightaway?
Once you have chosen a VPN service, you are all set to watch your favorite BBC shows on iPlayer. Here is a step by step guide to help you out.
*NOTE: We used PureVPN as an iPlayer VPN for our demonstration as it offers multiple servers in the UK.
- Launch PureVPN application or any other VPN software on your chosen device
- Connect to a server located in the UK
- After successful connection, you should get an UK based IP address
- Now, launch iPlayer and access your favorite show. You will be shown the following prompt, just select ‘I have a TV License’ and you’re good to go
- Enjoy unlimited streaming on BBC iPlayer outside UK
VPNs That Do Not Work with BBC iPlayer
As per the tests we conducted, the following VPN providers were not able to unblock BBC iPlayer:
- Private Internet Access (PIA)
Even though the above mentioned providers may not be able to unblock BBC iPlayer for you but they may prove to be very beneficial for other online activities.
How to Watch iPlayer on Android?
To start with, you will first need to subscribe to and download a VPN service on your Android device. Follow the steps below to get one and access the large variety of shows available on the iPlayer:
- Download and Install a VPN service of your choice from the Play Store
- Open the app and sign up to subscribe
- After successfully subscribing, enter your login details in the app
- Now connect to a UK VPN server
- Minimize the app and gain access to iPlayer without restrictions
Just make sure you’re on your Wi-Fi, or you’ll be using up your mobile data pretty fast.
How to Watch iPlayer on iPhone/iOS?
Getting access to iPlayer through on iOS from outside the UK is a little trickier. This is because the iOS does not allow the use of any DNS other than the original one associated with the user.
As such, even if you turn on a VPN on iOS, you still won’t be able to access iPlayer because your DNS still belongs to your actual location. To get British streaming service working, you will need to access iPlayer through a Chrome using VPN extensions for the browser.
A Chrome VPN extension will only allow you to bypass geo-restrictions if you visit iPlayer through Chrome, rather than through its app. So if you find yourself unable to watch streams through iPlayer app on iOS, try using a Chrome VPN and visiting the BBC iPlayer website through it.
Also, you can watch British shows through BritBox service and watch BritBox outside Canada and US as well.
How to Watch iPlayer on Chromecast?
Chromecast is a small media streaming device similar to Amazon Fire TV and Roku. Chromecast can be used to view videos on a TV, computer, or smartphone.
If you want to stream shows through Chromecast via your PC, follow these steps:
- Connect your PC to the same Wi-Fi as your Chromecast
- Open Chrome on your PC while having Chromecast extension installed on it
- Visit BBC iPlayer official site and play the recorded stream of any show of your choice
- Click “Cast” (The TV icon) on the control bar
- Watch the stream on your TV
Make sure that you have a VPN running in the background or you won’t be able to access iPlayer from abroad.
- Ensure the Chromecast and Smartphone are connected to the same Wi-Fi
- Launch a VPN service
- Open the BBC iPlayer app and wait for it to detect Chromecast
- When the icon turns blue, select a show of your choice
- Watch stream on the TV the Chromecast is plugged into
VPNs and iPlayer: an Ongoing Battle
British Broadcasting Corporation iPlayer is following the footsteps of other popular streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu and has tried blocking VPN users. A VPN allows you to bypass geo-restrictions and access content from any region you want. However, BBC doesn’t want anyone outside the UK to access its content available on iPlayer.
That said, their attempts to block VPN users has not been successful so far. All the VPN providers we have mentioned in this post are working perfectly to unblock iPlayer content. We tested each provider, and its UK servers have positively responded in accessing the streaming service.
BBC iPlayer Ban on VPN (iPlayer App Detecting VPN)
VPN services are blocked by several media streaming sites, including iPlayer. As a result, on some occasions, users are unable to access BBC iPlayer even through a VPN.
However, it is only those VPNs that use weak and outdated protocols that are detected by iPlayer and subsequently banned. Leading premium services have the resources to maintain server functionality and use obfuscation technology to pass through BBC iPlayer without getting banned by the service.
This means that you should carefully select a VPN that performs reliably well when it comes to accessing BBC iPlayer. Consult the list of VPNs provided above to ensure you choose the right VPN.
How to Evade VPN Detection by BBC iPlayer?
The BBC iPlayer suspects that a VPN is being used if too many users visit the website from the same server using shared IP addresses. In response, the service bans the servers associated with the VPN, leaving users deserted at the gates of the iPlayer.
If your VPN has been blocked by BBC, you can try the following steps:
Get a Dedicated UK IP Address
One thing that you can consider doing is getting a dedicated VPN IP address from UK. For the IPlayer, which should be in the UK.
A dedicated IP address means you will no longer be sharing one with hundreds of other people, meaning better performance as well.
Use a VPN Proven to unblock 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.
Use a Wired Connection to the Internet
However, it is also possible that the problem is not with your VPN but with your Internet connection. If you are trying to access it with Wi-Fi, connect to the Internet with Ethernet cable and try watching streams on the iPlayer again.
Update iPlayer app
Another problem could be that you are using an outdated iPlayer app. If that is the case, download the updated BBC iPlayer from the following links:
You can check if there are pending updates which you have not followed through for your BBC iPlayer apps.
This is how:
- Android Devices – Settings > About Device > Software Update
- iOS Devices – Settings > General > Software Update
If the BBC iPlayer continues to give you problems, check out more tips and tricks on our blog BBC iPlayer not working through VPN?
Alternate Methods to Accessing BBCiPlayer – Proxy
There are various proxy websites that you can find by a single search through Google. However, most of these are insecure and are simply unable to pass the iPlayer website. Those that can bypass the block deliver poor performance with constant buffering and low quality.
So, while it is theoretically possible to access BBC iPlayer through a proxy rather than a proper VPN, I wouldn’t recommend this method for the sake of your security.
Popular Available Channels on BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer offers various channels for British users to enjoy. You can switch through these channels at your leisure, provided you have UK IP, which can be obtained with a VPN.
Here are some of the most popular channels on BBC iPlayer:
- BBC One
- BBC Two
- BBC Three
- BBC Four
- BBC Radio
- BBC News
- BBC Alba
- BBC Parliament
Popular Alternatives for BBC iPlayer
Although BBC iPlayer is a great streaming service, it only has content from the UK, which limits the choice users have for the shows they can view. If you have gotten bored with BBC iPlayer, you can check out the following alternatives to access much wider libraries of video content:
- Amazon Prime
- PlayStation Vue
However, most of these services are subscription-based, unlike BBC iPlayer which is completely free!
Yes, BBC iPlayer is completely free.
Not if you directly try to access it. You will need a VPN to first obtain a UK IP address and then you can access it from the US.
These are some of the popular VPNs that work with iPlayer
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 I mentioned above.