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.
It is probably the only legitimate free streaming service in the video-on-demand industry.
Unfortunately, the geographical availability of the service is only confined to the UK.
Now that’s unfair because British Television has followers all over the world.
So, what can you do about it?
The answer is:
Use a VPN!
But as you are probably aware, there are hundreds of VPN services and only a few of them are good enough to overcome BBC iPlayer geo-restrictions.
In this blog, I will present 5 of the very best VPNs for BBC iPlayer to enjoy the streaming from abroad.
Without further delay, let’s get right into it!
Are VPNs Actually a Working Solution in 2019?
While it is true that BBC iPlayer has grown stronger in its ability to detect the use of proxy/VPN, all is not lost yet.
As streaming services improve their VPN detection systems, the top VPNs aren’t lagging behind increasing their bypassing capabilities as well.
Though VPNs are still the most effective solution to unblock BBC iPlayer, they are still far from perfect.
This means that there might be times when you’ll find yourself unable to fool the defences of BBC, and be denied access even when you’re connected to a VPN.
This annoying error message is more infuriating than it looks
But this problem does not usually persist, provided you are using one of the stronger VPNs from the market.
Generally, switching to different servers can resolve the issue.
So technically, there is no viable solution to unblocking the iPlayer besides using VPNs.
5 Best BBC iPlayer VPNs in 2019
To watch iPlayer from your country (literally wherever you are), 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.
Consult the list of services below for VPNs having UK servers capable of unblocking BBC iPlayer:
|VPN Providers||Price ($)||Special Deals||More Info|
Best Affordable VPN
$2.95 Per Month
Exclusive Discount 1 year Plan
Best Budget Service
$1.99 Per Month
2 Years Deal
Best for Geo-Unblocking
$2.99 Per Month
3 Years Plan
Best for Streaming
$6.67 Per Month
No Exclusive Offer
Best for Private Browsing
$2.75 Per Month
3 Years Deal
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.
Just select a UK server, and you’re all set to access the streaming service at a click.
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 has a huge number of servers, which is ideal for unblocking streaming services. The provider offers 578 servers in the UK alone.
Although this service has a good track record when it comes to unblocking iPlayer, users have reported having troubles accessing it via certain servers.
However, this is a problem affecting only a few users.
There are many who are still watching shows on BBC’s streaming platform with no problem using NordVPN.
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
Step-by-Step Instructions to Unblock BBC iPlayer
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 VPNs listed above.
- 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, 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
- Enjoy unlimited streaming on BBC iPlayer outside UK
Important: Don’t give location permission to VPN apps on your smartphone. This may affect its ability to pass through BBC iPlayer undetected.
Watch BBC iPlayer without a VPN for Free (as it is supposed to be)
BBC iPlayer is a free service, but using a VPN that can actually unblock this streaming platform is unfortunately not free.
It doesn’t really make sense that people should pay for a service that is supposed to be free only because they live in a different part of the world.
That’s just not fair.
Well, I’m going to let you in on a secret which I discovered myself recently.
There’s 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.
Accessing BBC iPlayer on Different Devices
To start with, you will first need to subscribe to and download a VPN service on your Android device.
Follow the steps below:
- 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.
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 the streaming service because your DNS still belongs to your actual location.
Instead, you will need to access it through a VPN extension for Chrome.
A Chrome VPN extension will only allow you to bypass geo-restrictions if you visit iPlayer through the browser itself, rather than through its app.
So if you find yourself unable to access the service through the official iPlayer app, try visiting the site through a VPN extension for Chrome.
Also, you can watch British shows through BritBox service and watch BritBox outside Canada and US as well.
Google’s Chromecast is a small media streaming device similar to Amazon Fire TV and Roku.
The device can be used to view videos on a TV, computer, or smartphone.
Here is how to do that:
- Connect your computer/phone to the same Wi-Fi as your Chromecast
- Launch a VPN service
- Open BBC iPlayer app or visit the website from Chrome
- If you’re using a phone, wait for the app to detect Chromecast
- When the icon turns blue, select a show of your choice
- Watch stream on the TV the Chromecast is plugged into
Or if you’re on your PC, follow instructions above until step 3 then:
- Play a show of your choice
- Click “Cast” (The TV icon) on the control bar
- Watch the stream on your TV
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 the popular streaming service in UK, they may prove to be beneficial for other online activities.
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 unable to access the streaming platform.
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 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
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
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.
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, this guide may help you.
Alternatives to 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.
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 that will grant you access to BBC iPlayer (as well as the secret free solution I mentioned above) outside of the UK.
Make sure you choose one of the working VPNs mentioned in the list above and enjoy BBC original shows and a whole a lot of other content on the popular free streaming platform: the iPlayer.
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