BBC iPlayer is, unfortunately, locked due to geo-restrictions in the world except for the UK, where the iPlayer is based itself. This means that you will require a UK IP address to stream this popular service on your device.
BBC iPlayer offers some amazing binge-worthy content for users to watch. From Doctor Who to Peaky Blinders, you can stream anything you like. But, there’s a catch. Free VPNs aren’t as safe as they claim to be and there are plenty of risks attached to them.
ExpressVPN is highly recommended for BBC iPlayer. This VPN offers top-notch security features, 3000+ servers, and unlimited data for streaming.
It also offers a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee and a 3-month free subscription on its 12-month plan for users to enjoy BBC iPlayer without any hassle. It is one of the best VPN services listed in 2022
4 best free VPNs for BBC iPlayer in January 2022 [Detailed Analysis]
After testing 45+ VPNs, we bring you 4 free VPNs that are still working with BBC iPlayer. The VPNs that can unblock BBC iPlayer in any country are as follows:
1. ExpressVPN – The Best VPN for BBC iPlayer with a Risk-free 30-day Trial
ExpressVPN is the best streaming VPN for BBC iPlayer with a risk-free 30-day trial period. You can use ExpressVPN free for 30 days with BBC iPlayer using its 30-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t like the service, you can cancel and get your refund.
ExpressVPN is our top choice for streaming BBC iPlayer abroad. It offers overall 3000+ servers in 94 countries, and 4 servers in the UK – London, Docklands, Wembley, and East London. With these servers, you can easily access BBC iPlayer outside the UK.
Moreover, you get unlimited bandwidth and fast speeds for streaming in HD quality without any buffering or loading time. To stream in HD on BBC iPlayer, you only need 5 Mbps, so you can stream lag-free with ExpressVPN as it does not throttle bandwidth.
ExpressVPN also works with other popular geo-restricted streaming sites like Netflix US, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Sky TV, and more. With unlimited bandwidth, you can stream as much as you want.
It also offers a MediaStreamer feature that allows you to stream BBC iPlayer on devices that don’t natively support VPNs. With MediaStreamer, you can stream BBC iPlayer on your Smart TV, Apple TV, PS4, Xbox, and more. It also supports 5 simultaneous connections.
With ExpressVPN, you don’t have to worry about online security as it offers an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and 256-bit encryption. Also, it follows a strict no-logs policy so whatever you do online remains anonymous.
2. Windscribe – Best Free VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer
Windscribe is an all-rounder-free VPN offering two servers in the UK for users to unblock BBC iPlayer. It offers free data of 10GB/mo, which would restrict your BBC iPlayer binging idea but will allow you to stream around six movies in Standard Definition (SD). But to make it more fun, you can unlock free data of 5GB only by tweeting about Windscribe.
Windscribe offers 10 server locations on its free version, including 2 servers in the UK for unblocking BBC iPlayer. On the first try, we couldn’t access BBC iPlayer, but on the second try, it worked fine. It also offered decent speeds as we didn’t experience any buffering, or delays.
Windscribe also offers P2P optimized servers for torrenting and a strict no-logs policy so you can stay anonymous online while torrenting. It is also compatible with a wide range of devices like Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more.
This VPN offers decent speeds and can bypass geo-restrictions through its robust security features. Just ask your queries at its live chat, and they’ll provide you with an effective customer support service. It offers a chatbot and a live chat feature as well.
For more information, check out our Windscribe VPN review.
3. Tunnelbear – Popular Free VPN for iPlayer
Tunnelbear is a popular free VPN for watching BBC iPlayer abroad. It offers servers in 23 locations, including the UK. You can easily unblock BBC iPlayer on its UK servers.
If we talk about data, Tunnelbear offers a limit of 500 MB/mo. This data limit only lets you stream BBC iPlayer for around 30-40 minutes, which is relatively less. This data limit is plain sad, even for occasional binge-watchers out there.
If you tweet about TunnelBear or refer them to a friend, you can receive 1 GB additional bandwidth for free. With an additional 1 GB, you can squeeze in a few more hours of streaming.
Since TunnelBear offers a decent-sized server network, it offers reliable speeds for streaming without any lags or buffering. Furthermore, TunnelBear offers top security with features such as a kill switch called the VigilantBear, 256-bit encryption, and GhostBear for bypassing deep packet inspection (DPI).
TunnelBear also offers apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Firestick, and Browsers (Chrome and Firefox) so you can stream on any device you want.
You can learn more about this service in our TunnelBear review.
4. Speedify – Fast Free VPN to Access BBC iPlayer
Speedify is one of the fastest free VPNs for streaming BBC iPlayer from abroad. This VPN offers a data limit of 2GB/mo, which might let you stream BBC iPlayer for around three hours. It is enough for streaming movies and shows on iPlayer.
Speedify offers six super-fast UK servers and over 53 servers in 35 countries for you to enjoy iPlayer along with other popular streaming services. During testing, we were able to unblock and stream ‘His Dark Materials’ on BBC iPlayer with no buffering.
Speedify prioritizes offering a speedy connection to users like its name already suggests and offers encryption protocols like AES 256-GSM for all latest devices and ChaCha for the older ones.
Speedify also offers a Channel Bonding feature that combines your Wi-Fi with mobile data to improve connection speeds. However, the downside of this feature is that it uses a lot of data and you might run out of bandwidth on your cellular data.
Speedify also supports P2P on its Amsterdam server and is optimized for BitTorrent. It also keeps no logs and ensures that your IP address is entirely masked. However, with a 2 GB data limit, you cannot download large files.
You can learn more about this service in our Speedify review.
While these free VPNs work effectively for iPlayer, you can also use them to access other streaming services:
How to watch BBC iPlayer with a free VPN?
Here’s how you can get BBC iPlayer and watch it on your device:
- Sign up for your chosen free VPN (We highly recommend ExpressVPN).
- Download it on your device and launch the app.
- Select a UK server and connect to it.
- After you know you’re connected, visit iPlayer’s website or the BBC iPlayer app.
- Choose your favorite show to binge and enjoy!
Testing Methodology: How to choose the best free VPN for iPlayer?
When choosing the best free VPNs, we tested the VPNs according to the following criteria:
1. Server Network:
The best free VPNs for BBC iPlayer should offer servers in the UK to unblock this UK-based streaming service. And not just one server; it should offer multiple servers so you face no traffic overload and can easily stream iPlayer. This is what we checked when we listed the VPN above.
Speed is one crucial factor when looking for the streaming BBC iPlayer. We conducted speed tests of all the popular UK servers of the VPNs mentioned in this guide. These VPNs offered good speeds on their UK servers, and the iPlayer did not buffer when we tested them together.
3. Compatibility with devices:
We made sure that the VPNs are compatible with all popular devices, so you have multiple choices to stream BBC iPlayer on. You can connect these VPNs to Android, iPhone/iPad, Mac, Windows, Smart TVs, etc., to stream BBC iPlayer.
Why are free VPNs for BBC iPlayer risky to use?
Free VPNs have a certain set of limitations which include their inability to unblock geo-restricted content. Let’s look more into the risks that free VPNs pose:
- Collect user data and sell it to third-party advertisers.
- Offer a few servers and below-average speeds.
- May collect logs and leak IPs.
- Offer limited data to users.
Here are the details:
1. Free VPNs offer limited servers in their free version, while the paid versions offer a wide range. Less number of servers automatically leads to extra traffic on them, further leading to slow streaming.
2. Free VPNs are not compatible with all devices. You might be able to connect your free VPN to your Android phone or your Mac, but when it comes to Fire Stick or Nvidia Shield, a compatible application might not be offered.
3. Trusting a free VPN is one significant risk a user takes. Even though these VPNs claim to be harmless, can one be sure that someone might offer you a service without collecting anything in return? Sounds fishy to me.
4. Geo-restrictions are not easy to bypass. Many free VPNs find it extremely hard to get past those, not because they can’t, but because streaming services can detect VPN servers. Limited servers lead to multiple people connecting to one service through a single IP that can make the service suspicious and lead it to block you from watching anything on the service. Premium VPNs are also recommended for streamers in China looking for ways to get BBC iPlayer in China.
Paid VPNs are the complete opposite of free VPNs. While the goals are the same, they both offer completely different services. Paid VPNs offer unlimited data and thousands of servers for users to choose from.
These VPNs are efficient in unblocking geo-restricted websites and streaming services like Netflix. With the best security features, paid VPNs are easy to trust and more reliable than free VPNs.
A paid VPN is always a better and safer choice to get around geo-restrictions and finding your way into a streaming service that isn’t available in your country.
What’s good on iPlayer at the moment?
Some popular TV shows you can watch on BBC iPlayer are:
- The Victim
- Doctor Who
- Our Girl
- Killing Eve
- Normal People
- The Nest
- Silent Witness
- Fort Salem
- The North Water
- Ordeal by Innocence
Why is my BBC iPlayer not working?
Here are some troubleshooting tips to solve your BBC iPlayer not working problem:
- Switch to an alternate UK server to watch BBC iPlayer.
- Refresh your internet connection.
- Update your VPN app.
Can a free proxy be used to unblock BBC iPlayer?
No, free proxies are easy to detect, and you’re likely to get blocked from BBC iPlayer if you use them. Streaming services like BBC iPlayer can detect proxies and VPNs easily. Therefore, you need the best VPN with many UK servers to access iPlayer.
How does iPlayer detect VPN?
VPNs offer limited servers in the UK to users. When hundreds of users worldwide connect to one server and unblock the BBC iPlayer, iPlayer’s technology immediately detects it as a VPN and blocks the IP address. BBC iPlayer’s geo-restrictions are challenging to bypass and can only be done using premium VPN features.
Our guide to using a VPN to access and enjoy iPlayer is now ending. BBC iPlayer is the best streaming service in the UK. Maybe that’s the reason it’s geo-restricted. They must’ve wanted to keep the service to themselves instead of sharing it with the world.
But to access this service from anywhere in the world, use a VPN. If you’re unconvinced about a free VPN, then we highly recommend you choose the best VPN for BBC iPlayer while spending some cash to enjoy its services.
Paid VPNs are better in terms of security anyway. For example, paid VPNs offer secure HTTPS browsing, while free VPNs may or may not offer it. We highly recommend ExpressVPN for BBC iPlayer. You can subscribe to its risk-free 30-day refund policy or opt for its 3-month free subscription on its annual plan.
But in case free VPNs are really your deal, then just use our guide for the best free VPNs for iPlayer.