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 iPlayer because BBC uses a firewall to filter traffic associated with VPNs.
Here’s a quick summary of the top 5 VPNs that still work with BBC iPlayer:
- PureVPN – The best solution for watching BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world. Excellent combination of privacy features and speed available for $2.95/mo.
- Surfshark – The most budget-friendly VPN to bypass restrictions on BBC iPlayer with a price tag of $1.99/mo.
- ExpressVPN – Fast servers for high-quality iPlayer streaming
- NordVPN – Delivers great value with strong unblocking capability for BBC iPlayer
- CyberGhost – Good overall service that works well with BBC iPlayer
Read on below for more detailed discussion.
Best Working VPN for BBC iPlayer in 2019
There are hundreds of VPN providers in the market today. Only a few VPNs, however, have the capability to work with BBC iPlayer.
These VPNs are discussed in some detail below:
1. PureVPN – The Fastest VPN App for Media Streaming
Servers: 2,000+ | Speed: 26.01 Mbps | Pricing: $2.95/month
PureVPN outshines a large number of VPN providers available in the market. It has faster server speeds and the power necessary to unblock iPlayer.
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.
PureVPN offers 31-day money-back guarantee and follows a no-logging policy.
All these features are available for $2.95/month making PureVPN extremely affordable.
Servers: 800+ | Speed: 24.91 Mbps | Pricing: $1.99/month
Surfshark is a British Virgin Islands based provider that is extremely effective for watching iPlayer abroad.
It has a network of 800+ servers in 50+ countries and comes with a wide range of excellent security features.
But what makes this VPN standout from others is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections and is available for the surprisingly low cost of $1.99/month.
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.
3. ExpressVPN – Multiple Servers in the UK to Access iPlayer
Servers: 3,000+ | Speed: 27.17 Mbps | Pricing: $8.32/mo
ExpressVPN possesses all but one quality to be considered the best BBC iPlayer VPN: cost. It is considerably more expensive than other alternatives, costing $8.32/month.
Barring the factor of pricing, ExpressVPN is an extremely reliable VPN that offers consistently fast speeds on its sizeable network of 3,000+ servers in 94 countries.
The fast speeds and stable server infrastructure allows for a seamless streaming 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 that need iPlayer abroad.
4. NordVPN – The Instant Unblocker
Servers: 5,500+ | Speed: 27.91 Mbps | Pricing: $2.99/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 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 $2.99/month, NordVPN for BBC iPlayer is well worth its salt.
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 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 and also offers dedicated servers for streaming.
Moreover, it comes at highly reasonable price of $2.75/month and offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
As such, CyberGhost is a pretty good option as BBC iPlayer VPN in 2019.
Best free VPN 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 the 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 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.
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, this guide may help you.
How to Get BBC iPlayer app for Android
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.
How to Watch BBC 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 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.
This method also applies if you want to watch BBC iPlayer on iPad from outside the UK.
How To Watch BBC iPlayer on Fire TV
There are two problems that you need to deal with to watch BBC iPlayer on Fire TV: You need to change your Fire TV’s region to the UK through Amazon account and then use a British VPN server.
Here’s how to do that:
- Open your browser from a computer and visit Amazon
- Click Manage Content & Devices > Preferences
- Under Country/Region settings, click on Change and enter a UK address (you can search for one on Google)
- Click on Update
- Now connect your Fire TV device to your TV
- From the Amazon store, search for BBC iPlayer and download it
- Do the same for a VPN service
- Launch the VPN once installed
- Connect to a UK server
- Now launch BBC iPlayer app and enjoy free shows/movies from outside the UK
How To Watch BBC iPlayer on Roku
- Turn on your Roku and select Channel Store
- Search for “BBC iPlayer”
- Choose the official BBC iPlayer in the search results to begin download
- Launch the app when download is finished to stream all content on the app for free
If you are outside the UK, then the iPlayer app won’t be of much use to you even if you have it downloaded on your Roku because of the geo-restrictions.
So, you will need to connect your Roku to a VPN for that. Here’s how to do that:
- Configure VPN on Roku
- Connect the VPN to a UK server
- Launch the BBC iPlayer app to access content from abroad
How To Watch BBC iPlayer on Kodi
- Launch Kodi and click on Settings
- Navigate to system settings > Add-ons
- Toggle the “Unknown sources” option to on
- Download Kodi repository (zip file) from a browser using this link http://bit.ly/kodilrepo
- Go back to the Kodi home screen
- Click on Add-ons on the sidebar
- Click on the package installer (box icon) > Install from zip file
- Choose the zip file you just downloaded > Install from repository
- Select the Kodil repository > Video add-ons
- Click on BBC iPlayer > Install
This will complete BBC iPlayer setup on Kodi.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer on Chromecast
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
How To Watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV
- Start your Apple TV device by connecting it your TV
- Open the App Store
- Type BBC iPlayer in the search field and press the search icon
- When the app appears in the search results, select it and press Install
You can now use BBC iPlayer app in your Apple TV. However, once again the problem of geo-restrictions will prevent users outside of the UK to access the app to watch any content.
To be able to do that, you will need to setup a VPN on your Apple TV. Find out the instructions Apple TV VPN setup here.
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 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 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 best VPN for BBC iPlayer mentioned in the list above and enjoy original shows and a whole a lot of other content on the popular free streaming platform: the iPlayer.