BBC iPlayer is UK’s very own 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.
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.
Here’s a quick summary of the 6 best BBC iPlayer VPNs that still work:
- PureVPN – The best VPN for BBC iPlayer, proving the excellent unblocking capabilities and speed.
- Surfshark – The most budget-friendly VPN to bypass restrictions on BBC iPlayer.
- Ivacy – Efficient for bypassing geo-restrictions on BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world.
- ExpressVPN – Fast servers for seamless BBC iPlayer streaming.
- CyberGhost – Good overall service that unblocks BBC iPlayer abroad.
- NordVPN – delivers great value with widespread servers and streaming capability for BBC iPlayer
Read on below for more detailed discussion.
6 Best BBC iPlayer VPNs working in 2020
There are hundreds of VPN providers in the market today. Only a few VPNs, however, have the capability to bypass BBC iPlayer firewall.
iPlayer VPN Selection Criteria:
- Number of Servers in the UK.
- Fast Servers for a seamless streaming experience.
- Servers that are not blocked by BBC iPlayer.
- Number of Simultaneous connection (to enjoy BBC iPlayer on more than one device).
1. PureVPN – Best BBC iPlayer VPN
Servers: 2,000+ | Speed: 26.01 Mbps | Pricing: $2.91/mo
PureVPN outshines a large number of VPN providers available in the market. It has faster server speeds and the power necessary to unblock BBC iPlayer.
With 168 fast servers spread across the UK, PureVPN is the recommended choice to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.
Just select a UK server, and you’re all set to access the streaming service on a click.
PureVPN also offers a 31-day money-back guarantee and 10 Multi-Login which means you can watch BBC iPlayer abroad on 5 devices at the same time.
All these features are available for $2.91/mo making PureVPN the cheapest VPN service of the time.
Servers: 800+ | Speed: 24.91 Mbps | Pricing: $1.99/mo
Surfshark is a British Virgin Islands based provider that is extremely effective for watching iPlayer abroad.
It is the fastest VPN service with a network of 1000+ servers in 50+ countries including 3 servers in the UK and comes with a wide range of excellent security features.
But what makes this VPN stand out from others is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections and is available for the surprisingly low cost of $1.99/mo.
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.
Servers: 1,000+ | Speed: 18.71 Mbps | Pricing: $2.25/mo
Ivacy has an excellent track record when it comes to unblocking streaming services like BBC iPlayer. Ranking at #1 in our best VPN for torrenting blog, it offers 1,000+ servers in 100+ countries including 58 servers in the UK and almost 0% server downtime, this VPN can allow you to stream all iPlayer content anywhere in the world with minimal buffering.
The provider also comes equipped with efficient privacy-enhancing features like DNS secure, IPv6 protection, and killswitch. In addition, it is quite affordable, priced at $2.25/mo
With a 30-day money-back guarantee and support for 5 simultaneous connections, Ivacy is one an excellent choice to bypass BBC iPlayer VPN Block.
Servers: 3,000+ | Speed: 27.17 Mbps | Pricing: $8.32/mo
ExpressVPN possesses all but one quality to be considered the best VPN For BBC iPlayer: cost. It is considerably more expensive than other alternatives, costing $8.32/mo.
Barring the factor of pricing, ExpressVPN is an extremely reliable VPN that offers consistently fast speeds on its sizable network of 3,000+ servers in 94 countries including 4 servers in the UK.
The fast speeds and stable server infrastructure allows for a seamless streaming vpn experience no matter where you are in the world.
In addition, the privacy-oriented logging policy and safe jurisdiction (British Virgin Island) also makes this VPN a great choice for users offering 5 Multi-login to cater more device to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.
Servers: 3,500+ | Speed: 17.1 Mbps | Pricing: $2.75/mo
CyberGhost is an all-around good VPN service that is useful for watching BBC iPlayer outside the UK.
This is a VPN service that has improved considerably over time in terms of features offered and speed.
It has over 3,500 servers in 58+ countries including 444 servers in the UK and also offers dedicated servers for streaming.
Moreover, it comes at highly reasonable price of $2.75/mo and offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee with 7 multi-login.
As such, CyberGhost is a pretty good option as BBC iPlayer VPN.
Servers: 5,500+ | Speed: 27.91 Mbps | Pricing: $3.49/mo
NordVPN has a huge number of servers, which is ideal for unblocking streaming services. In the UK alone, NordVPN offers more than 645 servers.
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.
With a price tag $3.49/mo, NordVPN for BBC iPlayer is well worth its salt.
Best VPN For BBC iPlayer – Video Guide
Best free VPNs for BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer is a free service, but using a VPN that can actually unblock this streaming platform is unfortunately not free.
Unfortunately, there are no free VPN services that have the servers with unblocking capabilities to work with BBC iPlayer.
However, there is a way to watch BBC iPlayer without paying for a premium VPN.
It involves using a Chrome extension by the name of Telly which allows you to unblock the iPlayer no matter where you live in God’s green earth!
Although it is basically a proxy service, it actually works better than the proxy websites for iPlayer that you see on Google’s first page.
Just click on the icon on the top right of Chrome and it will immediately direct you to BBC iPlayer.
The difference is, this time you won’t see the “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK” error message.
I actually personally tested it to watch The Revenant again:
Pretty smooth, right?
I’d recommend using Telly if you’re looking for a free solution. Avoid the ad and possibly malware-ridden proxy websites at all costs.
They can do more harm than good.
But keep in mind this only works for desktops. Smartphones do not support Chrome extensions as of yet.
Why you need a VPN for iPlayer?
BBC iPlayer is a video and radio streaming service that only has the license to work within the UK.
Any IP address that doesn’t belong to UK and tries to visit the iPlayer website is immediately denied access.
So, whether you want to listen to BBC iPlayer radio or watch video streams of your favorite British TV shows, the only way to access this service is by having a UK IP address.
The easiest way to get an IP address that iPlayer can recognize and grant passage to is by using a VPN service.
But just as VPNs are getting more sophisticated with time, BBC’s VPN detection mechanism is also getting more advanced.
This is why you can’t trust just any random VPN out there because many of these no longer work with iPlayer.
The VPNs listed above have been tested and are thus working solutions for BBC streaming.
Steps to Unblock BBC iPlayer abroad with a VPN
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 for this demonstration. The process is similar in all Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer listed above.
- Launch PureVPN application on your preferred device.
- Connect to UK Server from the list of servers.
- After successful connection, you should be connected to a UK IP.
- Now, clear your browser cache and cookies.
- 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
Important: Don’t give location permission to VPN apps on your smartphone. This may affect its ability to pass through BBC iPlayer undetected.Also, if you still encounter the BBC iPlayer error message, just try disconnection and reconnecting a couple of times till you’re assigned a white list IP address.
If you follow these steps correctly, you should be able to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA or anywhere else in the world.
BBC iPlayer detecting VPN? Here is what you should do
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 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
- Use a Wired Connection to the Internet
- Update iPlayer App
1. Get a Dedicated UK IP Address
One thing that you can consider doing is getting a dedicated VPN IP address from situated in the UK.
The iPlayer suspects the use of VPNs to gain entry if multiple users are connected with the same IP address.
NordVPN is one of the VPNs that offers dedicated IP address from the UK.
2. 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.
3. Use a Wired Connection to the Internet
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 a Wi-Fi, connect to the Internet with Ethernet cable and try watching streams on the app/website again.
4. Update 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 which you may have not followed inside the app.
This is how:
- Android Devices – Settings > About Device > Software Update
- iOS Devices – Settings > General > Software Update
In a few cases, BBC iPlayer may continue to give you problems. If you have iPlayer not working through VPN, may help you.
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.
Can I get BBC iPlayer in the US?
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.
Which VPNs work with iPlayer?
These are some of the popular VPNs that work with iPlayer
ExpressVPN BBC iPlayer not working?
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 I watch BBC iPlayer abroad?
Yes, but not without a VPN. If you try to access BBC iPlayer outside the UK without a VPN, you will be prompted to an error message saying “BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only.” You can thank geo restrictions for that.
How to watch iPlayer abroad?
Well its fairly simple. Since BBC iPlayer is a free VOD service, you don’t need to purchase any subscription plans. All you need is a reliable VPN with plenty of white list IPs and servers in the UK.
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 I 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 its domain of availability.
Thankfully, there are still a few working VPNs (such as PureVPN and Surfshark) that will let you bypass BBC iPlayer VPN block from anywhere in the world.
Make sure you choose one of the best VPN for BBC iPlayer mentioned in the list above and enjoy original shows and a whole lot of other content on the popular free streaming platform: the iPlayer.
Also, if you’re looking for discounts on VPNs, do check out our VPN deals to save your precious dollars.