Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

Are you a British ex-pat living abroad or simply looking to enjoy your favorite shows from back home? If so, you’ve probably encountered the frustrating limitation of iPlayer only being accessible on devices with a UK IP address. But don’t worry, a VPN for BBC iPlayer will allow you to watch from anywhere in the world.

We have found that geographical restrictions imposed by content licensing can be a major hurdle when accessing certain videos on the iPlayer website or app. From our experience, there’s a simple solution at your disposal. By using one of the top VPN services, you can easily bypass these restrictions and unlock BBC iPlayer, allowing you to enjoy your favorite series or films as if you were in the UK. However, it’s important to note that not all VPNs are compatible with BBC iPlayer.

In this article, we will guide you on how to watch iPlayer abroad using a VPN, and you’ll be streaming your favorite BBC content in no time! We’ll cover all VPNs in detail, but for those of you looking for a quick answer, our testing showed these to be the best options.

The best VPNs for BBC iPlayer:

  1. NordVPN: Best option for accessing BBC iPlayer from anywhere. Extremely fast and secure, with a large selection of servers and a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly for BBC iPlayer.
  2. Surfshark: Our top budget BBC iPlayer VPN. Speedy VPN with no connection limit that unblocks various streaming services including iPlayer.
  3. ExpressVPN: Stream geo-blocked content on BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world with no restrictions. Veteran provider with excellent security credentials.
  4. CyberGhost: One of the biggest server networks on the market. Works well with BBC iPlayer and other streaming services. Easy to use and has dedicated streaming servers.
  5. IPVanish: An easy-to-use VPN with high speeds and great streaming ability. Works well with BBC iPlayer, ITVX, and more. No connection limit and 24/7 customer support via live chat.
  6. PrivateVPN: Good up-and-coming VPN that works well with BBC iPlayer and other streaming services. Some of the fastest speeds we have tested.
  7. Private Internet Access: Works well with BBC iPlayer and Netflix. Servers in 80+ countries. Up to 10 simultaneous connections.
  8. PureVPN: Incredibly fast speeds for streaming BBC iPlayer. User-friendly apps across most popular devices.
  9. ProtonVPN: Robust security features like 256-bit encryption and a no-logs policy. Provides secure access to iPlayer.


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Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN service encrypts a device’s internet traffic before routing it through an intermediary server in a location of the user’s choosing. In the case of BBC iPlayer, the user just needs to pick a British server. They’ll be assigned a UK IP address to make it appear that’s where they’re located.

But this workaround is getting less effective by the day as BBC iPlayer starts cracking down on the circumvention software and detecting when a VPN is used. The site has followed in the footsteps of Netflix when it comes to banning VPN users. For this reason, it’s important to subscribe to a VPN service that bypasses iPlayer’s firewall and will actively work to fix the problem if it gets blocked.

Often only some servers from a specific VPN service can accomplish this, so if one VPN server is blocked for you then just try another or ask customer service which ones work.

Our criteria for BBC iPlayer VPNs

We’ve curated the following list of the best VPN providers for watching BBC iPlayer outside the UK based on the following key criteria:

  • A large selection of servers in the UK and worldwide
  • Works with iPlayer when abroad (and other streaming platforms)
  • Fast connection speeds for HD streaming
  • Strong security features, including a no-logs policy
  • Compatibility with the majority of popular devices
  • Generous simultaneous connections (unlimited is preferred)
  • Fair pricing and a money-back refund guarantee
  • Good customer support, including live chat functionality

If you would like to understand exactly how we analyze and rank VPNs you can find out more in our methodology section below.

Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer outside the UK – Our hands-on review

We’ve compared the most important features for the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for watching BBC iPlayer outside of the UK.

No valueNordVPNSurfsharkExpressVPNCyberGhostIPVanishPrivateVPNPrivate Internet AccessPureVPNProtonVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.comSurfshark.comExpressVPN.comCyberghost.comIPVanish.comPrivateVPN.comPrivateInternetAccess.comPureVPN.comprotonvpn.com
BBC iPlayer reliability123456789
Streaming reliabilityExcellentExcellentGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGood
Streaming servicesBBC iPlayer
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Sky Go
ITV Hub
BBC iPlayer
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Sky Go
ITV Hub
BBC iPlayer
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Hulu
Disney+
BBC iPlayer
Netflix
Amazon Prime
ITV Hub
BBC iPlayer
Netflix
Amazon Prime
ITV Hub
BBC iPlayer
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Hulu
Disney+
BBC iPlayer
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Sky Go
ITV Hub
BBC iPlayer
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Hulu
Disney+
BBC iPlayer
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Hulu
Disney+
Devices SupportedWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, LinuxWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TVWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, RoutersWindows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, AndroidWindows, MacOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TVWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, LinuxWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Chromebook, RoutersWindows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Chromebook
Avg Speed (UK)100+ Mbps100+ Mbps100+ Mbps100+ Mbps100+ Mbps20 Mbps100+ Mbps324 Mbps100+ Mbps
Best deal (per month)$3.09
Up to 74% off + 3 months FREE
$2.19
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free
$6.67
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free
$2.19
SAVE 83% on the 2 year plan + 2 months free!
$2.99
SAVE 76% on the 2 yr plan
$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
$2.19
SAVE 82% on the 2 yr plan
$2.11
Up to 82% off the 2-yr standard plan + free months
$3.59
Up to 64% off a 2-year plan

These VPNs will work with BBC iPlayer outside the UK. Just connect to a suitable UK server and start streaming.

Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

Based on our research, here’s our list of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer outside of the UK:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN May 2024 Works with iPlayerTested May 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • Background FireTV

Website:  www.NordVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

NordVPN is a reliable service for watching BBC iPlayer abroad with plenty of UK servers to choose from. In fact, it operates more than 700 servers in the UK, and some of them are even optimized for streaming. Check the NordVPN website’s official knowledge base to find out which servers currently unblock BBC iPlayer content. Live chat support can be contacted 24/7.

This service scored one of the highest results in our speed test, so you shouldn’t have any issues streaming in HD or even 4K. Security is excellent thanks to strong encryption, and a strict zero-logs policy means your personal information (including your IP address) remains private. Moreover, public wifi users will love NordVPN’s automatic wifi protection feature. Servers are available in over 60 countries. NordVPN allows up to six concurrent internet connections on a single subscription, making it a great option for a small household or office.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux, and Android.

NordVPN speed test data

No valueNordVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)354 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)262 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)284 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$3.09
Up to 74% off + 3 months FREE

Pros:

  • Plenty of servers in the UK unblock iPlayer from almost anywhere in HD
  • Also great for unblocking a wide range of UK geo-blocked content
  • Strict no-logs policy and solid security on apps
  • Connect up to 6 devices at the same time
  • Live chat support 24/7

Cons:

  • Desktop app can sometimes take a while to connect

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

Our score:

4.5 out of 5
BEST VPN FOR BBC IPLAYER ABROAD:NordVPN is our top choice. for an iPlayer VPN. Works reliably with BBC iPlayer and most popular streaming sites. Connects up to 6 devices simultaneously. App doesn’t offer server switching choice. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full NordVPN review here.

NordVPN Coupon
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2. Surfshark

Surfshark Works with iplayerTested May 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Surfshark.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Surfshark currently has over 3,200 servers in 65 countries, including the UK. It’s fast enough to stream live HD content with no noticeable buffering, and can reliably access major services including BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, and Netflix US. Best of all, though, Surfshark has no connection limit, meaning you can secure every one of your streaming devices simultaneously.

This service uses 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks to keep your online activities private at all times. There’s also a zero-logs policy and the option to block ads, trackers, and malware automatically. With 24/7 support available over live chat, you’re never more than a few seconds away from help with any problems

Surfshark offers apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. It can be manually installed on supported wireless routers.

Surfshark speed test data

No valueSurfshark
WebsiteSurfshark.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)521 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)702 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)561 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.19
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free

Pros:

  • Decent speeds
  • Strong streaming ability
  • Powerful security and online privacy features
  • Secure every device you own simultaneously
  • Very affordable, especially on longer subscriptions

Cons:

  • Has the occasional slow server
  • Doesn’t have the largest network

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is our favorite low-cost option. It’s quick, versatile, and works with a huge number of streaming services from abroad. Better still, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full Surfshark review

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3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Works with iPlayerTested May 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.ExpressVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ExpressVPN has a good server choice with four locations in their server network across the UK alone. While it’s one of our favorite all round VPNs, ExpressVPN has been less reliable with BBC iPlayer recently. Its speeds remain exceptional, though, plus it offers live chat-based support 24 hours per day.

ExpressVPN logs no identifying personal information and boasts top-notch security standards. It operates servers in over 90 countries, each optimized for maximum speed. If you want to watch iPlayer on a streaming device that doesn’t natively support VPNs, ExpressVPN makes its own router firmware which customers can either download and install free of charge or purchase with a pre-flashed router on the website.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and certain wifi routers.

ExpressVPN speed test data

No valueExpressVPN
WebsiteExpressVPN.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)319 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)303 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)278 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$6.67
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free

Pros:

  • Servers in the UK are great for streaming in HD quality
  • Unblocks most popular streaming sites with ease
  • Best-in-class encryption makes for solid security and privacy
  • 24/7 live chat support staff are on the ball

Cons:

  • Not the cheapest choice on this list
  • Worth trying, but it is less reliable at avoiding the VPN ban than it once was

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

RELIABLE SPEEDS:ExpressVPN is fast and secure, making it perfect for unblocking popular services. Offers top-notch security, reliable download speeds, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full review of ExpressVPN here.

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4. CyberGhost

CyberGhost Works with iPlayerTested May 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Cyberghost.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

CyberGhost makes streaming geo-locked content easier than most other VPNs because of its huge network of over 10,000 ultra-fest servers. Instead of contacting customer support or guessing at which server to connect to, CyberGhost’s apps let you choose a server based on the video site you want to unblock. Clicking the streaming option upon opening the app will bring up a lengthy list of popular streaming sites, including BBC iPlayer. Just click that option to get connected, and the app will even open iPlayer in your browser for you.

CyberGhost also boasts a strong security and privacy pedigree, perfect for security-conscious users. It keeps no logs and uses strong encryption with perfect forward secrecy. Leak protection and a kill switch ensure none of your internet traffic ever leaves the encrypted tunnel. CyberGhost boasts solid speeds that should be more than sufficient for high-quality video streaming.

A single plan allows up to seven simultaneous connections. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.

CyberGhost speed test data

No valueCyberGhost
WebsiteCyberghost.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)449 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)269 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)167 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.19
SAVE 83% on the 2 year plan + 2 months free!

Pros:

  • No issues unblocking BBC iPlayer from various test locations
  • Operates a global network of more than 7,900 servers in 90 countries
  • Low-cost option with beginner-friendly apps
  • Very good speeds

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work reliably in UAE or China
  • May not be customizable enough for experienced users

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

Our score:

4.5 out of 5
easy-to-use apps:CyberGhost has a simple set up. CyberGhost has a simple set up and offers high speeds at a low cost. Good on privacy. Streams BBC iPlayer in HD video reliably and works with other popular streaming services. 45-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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5. IPVanish

IPVanish works with iplayerTested May 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.IPVanish.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

IPVanish operates more than 2,000 servers around the world, with four locations to choose from in the UK. In our latest tests, it delivered average speeds of over 300 Mbps. As such, you should be able to stream live 4K video without any noticeable stuttering or buffering. One of the other great things about this service is that it has no connection limit – users are free to secure all of their devices simultaneously. If you get bored of BBC content, don’t worry: IPVanish can also help you access Netflix, Prime Video UK, and Now TV, among many other platforms.

A VPN’s primary goal is to keep you safe online. IPVanish includes all kinds of features to make this possible such as uncrackable encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch, and a tool that blocks ads and trackers automatically. This service has been independently audited to prove that it doesn’t keep any logs. Although the apps are very straightforward, customer support staff are on hand 24 hours per day just in case you need them.

IPVanish has its own apps for Android, iOS, MacOS, Linux, Fire TV, and Windows. If you’d prefer, you can also install it directly on your router (the website’s help section has step-by-step instructions explaining how to do this).

IPVanish speed test data

No valueIPVanish
WebsiteIPVanish.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)277 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)237 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)352 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.99
SAVE 76% on the 2 yr plan

Pros:

  • Great for streaming British TV abroad
  • Fast and reliable servers in the UK
  • A strong set of privacy tools
  • Protect every device you own

Cons:

  • Monthly plans aren’t the cheapest
  • Lacks some advanced features available elsewhere

Our score:

4 out of 5

SECURE STREAMING:IPVanish has everything you need to securely access BBC iPlayer while traveling. Impressive privacy toolkit and friendly support staff that make it as easy as possible to resolve problems. Annual plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Find out more in our comprehensive IPVanish review.

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6. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN Works with iPlayerTested May 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.PrivateVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

PrivateVPN is a zero-logs VPN with a good track record for streaming BBC iPlayer, Netflix and other content. It makes short work of BBC iPlayer’s VPN firewall, and also works with other streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu. It boasts extremely high speeds and round-the-clock live chat support in case of any issues.

Speeds are excellent despite the comparatively small network of servers. Security doesn’t fall short, either, sporting 256-bit and 128-bit encryption options guarded with perfect forward secrecy. PrivateVPN stores no logs of user activity and won’t record your IP address.

A single plan allows you to connect up to six devices. Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

PrivateVPN speed test data

No valuePrivateVPN
WebsitePrivateVPN.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)94 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)57 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)62 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free

Pros:

  • Unblocks BBC iPlayer at decent streaming speeds from abroad
  • A growing reputation for unblocking popular streaming sites from anywhere
  • Keeps no logs whatsoever

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have 24/7 live chat

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

Our score:

4.5 out of 5
GREAT SPEED:PrivateVPN is a good family choice. Unblocks many popular UK shows and allows up to 6 devices on the same account. Small network of servers but fast, encrypted connections. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full PrivateVPN review.

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7. Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access Works with iPlayerTested May 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • Background FireTV

Website:  www.PrivateInternetAccess.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Private Internet Access boasts dedicated streaming servers for the UK, and unblocks BBC iPlayer without breaking a sweat. Speeds are fast enough for live HD streaming, and there are no bandwidth limits at all. Its server network covers more than 80 countries including the US, Canada, and the UK. Further, PIA has a generous 10-connection limit and offers live chat support around the clock.

This service offers plenty of security features, including adjustable encryption (up to 256-bits), a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and even support for the extremely fast Wireguard protocol. There’s a strict no-logs policy in place too, so your privacy is in good hands. You can find optional paid add-ons in the form of a Windows antivirus and even a dedicated IP address (ideal for avoiding IP blacklisting and CAPTCHAs).

PIA apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. Alternatively, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera browser extensions are available. To use PIA with a compatible router, you’ll need to configure a connection manually.

Private Internet Access speed test data

No valuePrivate Internet Access
WebsitePrivateInternetAccess.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)93 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)58 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)200 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.19
SAVE 82% on the 2 yr plan

Pros:

  • Generally fast connections with unlimited bandwidth
  • True no-logs policy
  • Works wide a wide range of streaming services

Cons:

  • Streaming speeds can be inconsistent

Our score:

4 out of 5

SOLID ALL ROUNDER:Private Internet Access achieves decent speeds although they can be variable. Reliably unblocks geo-restricted content and has great digital privacy credentials. Lacks some popular features. Includes 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full PIA review.

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8. PureVPN

PureVPN Works with iplayerTested May 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.PureVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 31 DAYS

PureVPN is an outstanding VPN option if you want to access British TV services like BBC iPlayer. It is highly effective for gaining access to a vast array of streaming platforms in regions like the UK, the US, Europe, and beyond. This includes streaming iPlayer, Channel 4, ITVX, and Netflix UK.

This VPN delivers remarkable speeds, with its WireGuard implementation contributing to an average global download speed of around 400 Mbps. This is impressive considering that PureVPN stands out as one of the most affordable VPNs on the market.

Security-wise, PureVPN offers robust protection with AES encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak prevention, and a stringent no-logging policy. These features make it a dependable choice for watching Netflix at work or on campus, and for protecting you against hackers on public wifi, or ISP surveillance. The only drawback was its live chat support, which was somewhat slow to respond when we asked questions

That aside, PureVPN is an impressive VPN that is ideal for streaming iPlayer on holiday. Its 31-day money-back guarantee means you can test it to stream your favorite shows on any device.

PureVPN speed test data

No valuePureVPN
WebsitePureVPN.com
Avg Speed (US)628 Mbps
Avg Speed (UK)324 Mbps
Avg Speed (Asia)246 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.11
Up to 82% off the 2-yr standard plan + free months

Pros:

  • Fast and consistent performance
  • Independently audited no-logging policy
  • Compatible with a range of services including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and more
  • User-friendly across various devices
  • 31-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Customer support can be slow to respond
  • Additional charge for port forwarding

Our score:

4 out of 5

AFFORDABLE:PureVPN is a budget-friendly VPN for streaming. Works to access BBC iPlayer and a choice of British TV platforms. It’s simple to use on platforms like Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Firestick. Boasts a solid no-logs policy and robust AES-256 encryption.Comes with a 31-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full PureVPN review.

PureVPN Coupon
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9. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN Works with iPlayerTested May 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.protonvpn.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ProtonVPN is a highly respected premium VPN based in Switzerland, a country known for its robust privacy laws. Originating from the creators of Proton Mail, this VPN has a sterling reputation. We like the VPN because of its rock-solid security and dedication to privacy, which includes an independently audited no-logs policy.

ProtonVPN is at the forefront of VPN technology, with apps that include AES encryption, a kill switch, a variety of protocols, and innovative features like obfuscation, split tunneling, multi-hop connections, Secure Core (self-owned servers), and even Tor over VPN capabilities. This positions ProtonVPN as one of the most sophisticated VPNs money can buy – but you do pay a bit extra for these added benefits (such as its port forwarding feature which makes it ideal for torrenting).

The good news is that this VPN works perfectly for watching BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Channel 4, and British Netflix. This makes it perfect for British residents on vacation or who are traveling for work. Plus, it also works with US platforms like Hulu, Netflix US, and HBO Max – making it a superb all-rounder.

Live chat is available on the member’s area of its website and the support team’s expertise and helpful nature make the entire support experience fantastic. Admittedly, due to the higher subscription cost, ProtonVPN may not be the first choice for beginners due to its advanced capabilities – so be sure you need all its advanced features in addition to streaming servers.

ProtonVPN speed test data

No valueProtonVPN
Websiteprotonvpn.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)390 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)306 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)295 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$3.59
Up to 64% off a 2-year plan

Pros:

  • Impressive streaming speeds
  • Effective for accessing multiple Netflix regions
  • Robust encryption and strict no-logs policy
  • Abundance of advanced features including port forwarding

Cons:

  • Slightly pricey
  • May not be the most user-friendly option for beginners

Our score:

4 out of 5

MANY FEATURES:ProtonVPN offers an extensive array of features tailored for tech-savvy users. With servers available in over 85+ countries, it’s ideal for bypassing restrictions to watch iPlayer at work or on campus. Enjoy round-the-clock live chat support and a generous 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full ProtonVPN review.

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Our testing methodology for BBC iPlayer VPNs

Comparitech aims to give readers the most useful, comprehensive, and accurate VPN reviews and recommendations on the web. To do that, our team of professional reviewers personally use, test, and analyze each VPN on a range of security and performance criteria. When it comes to BBC iPlayer VPNs, we specifically look at:

  • Access to BBC iPlayer: If you’re reading this article, then this is what you’re here for. All of the VPNs we recommend are proven to work with BBC iPlayer in our tests. However, we also test them against other popular streaming services including the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
  • Speed: We measure download speeds on connections to VPN servers around the world. You should have no problem streaming high-definition video with the VPNs recommended above. Indeed, all of them offer unlimited bandwidth which means performance problems such as lag and buffering are uncommon.
  • Privacy: Every VPN we recommend maintains a no-logs policy, which means it won’t record what you do online nor any other identifying info while you’re connected. It’s worth knowing that we’ve analyzed some 140 VPN logging policies to find the very best (and so you can steer clear of the worst!).
  • Security: VPNs must meet our minimum standards of encryption and security, which include passing a series of leak tests. Note that most of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer offer extra security features. This may be an ad blocker, auto wifi protection, or Double VPN (MultiHop) servers.
  • Customer support: Our reviewers contact each VPN’s customer support staff as secret shoppers to gauge response times and quality. The best VPNs typically offer 24/7 live chat and email support (and tend to respond to emails within just a few hours).
  • Device compatibility: We test each VPN on both desktop and mobile platforms, as well as Amazon Fire TV Stick, routers, and Linux devices. Add to this the fact that all of the above VPNs allow multiple simultaneous connections, and you should be able to secure all of your devices.
  • Value: We also consider value when we assess VPNs. This includes subscription costs, discounts, and money back guarantees. We look at exactly what you get for your money, and determine whether or not we think it’s a good value product.

Read more about our methodology and exactly how we analyze VPNs.

VPNs to avoid using with BBC iPlayer

Our tests show that the following VPN providers do not unblock the BBC iPlayer. Unfortunately, because of its strict VPN blocks, it’s one of the most difficult streaming platforms to access abroad.

Here are some of the VPNs we have tested that don’t work with iPlayer:

  • HideMyAss
  • Hide.me
  • Betternet
  • LeVPN
  • SuperVPN
  • VPNBook
  • VPNTunnel
  • AnonymousVPN
  • Perfect Privacy
  • Proxy.sh
  • Tunnelr
  • VPN4All
  • EarthVPN
  • GooseVPN
  • iPredator
  • Overplay
  • VPNJack
  • VPN Master
  • TorVPN

Although many of the VPN providers in the above list may be excellent for other online activities, you would be wasting your money with them if you aim to get videos from the BBC iPlayer over the internet while abroad.

Can I use a free VPN to Unblock BBC iPlayer?

No. Although some free VPNs are circulating on app stores and Google, they will unfortunately not work to stream iPlayer. Free VPNs have few servers, and they are oversubscribed. This puts a great amount of strain on those servers, which causes them to become congested. To deal with this, free VPNs implement bandwidth throttling that renders the VPN useless for streaming and other data-intensive activities.

Even without these performance issues, we have yet to find a free VPN with UK servers that unblock iPlayer. The BBC is extremely active in discovering and blocking IP addresses that belong to VPNs. As a result, most VPNs have been blocked (including most paid services). Free VPNs are extremely easy to spot, meaning they are the first to lose access.

Besides the fact that free VPNs don’t work to stream iPlayer, we recommend that you stay away from them for security reasons. Studies have revealed that free VPNs have dodgy privacy policies that let them harvest and sell user data for marketing purposes. As a result, everything you do online will be tracked and sold to third parties, such as data brokers.

In addition, free VPNs have been found to suffer from severe data leaks, have weak (or no) encryption, have app vulnerabilities, and even to purposefully include spyware. This makes using those VPNs a massive risk to your online health. A VPN is supposed to provide you with privacy, not spy on everything you do!

How to use a VPN with BBC iPlayer (video)

Getting a British IP address and unblocking BBC iPlayer is simple if your VPN supports doing so. Sign up with one of the recommended VPN providers above and follow these easy steps.

Our research shows how to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK with a VPN. Simply follow these instructions:

  1. Download and install the VPN for your device from your provider’s site or an official app store. We recommend NordVPN.
  2. Run the app and choose a VPN server in the UK that works with iPlayer. If you’re not certain which to choose, consult your provider’s website or customer service.
  3. Connect to the VPN.
  4. You should now have a UK IP address (check your ip here).
  5. Clear your cookies and your browser cache. These can store location information from previous sessions.
  6. Open BBC iPlayer and start watching!

If you encounter any issues, contact your VPN’s customer support. You might need to adjust some settings on your device. Many of our recommended VPNs have 24/7 support for such issues.

What can I watch on BBC iPlayer?

Some of the most popular TV shows you can watch on BBC iPlayer with a VPN include:

What else can I do with a VPN?

As well as accessing BBC iPlayer, VPNs also work with other streaming platforms. This makes them the perfect solution for accessing your favorite British shows from back home when traveling, including ITVX, Netflix UK, and BritBox. But streaming isn’t their only use.

A VPN can be used to protect your online privacy and browse anonymously. It can change your IP address, and combat threats often found on public WiFi networks like malware and viruses. VPNs are also useful for bypassing bandwidth throttling and bypassing censorship in restrictive countries.

A VPN is also useful for accessing the dark web or downloading torrents. Both activities are risky because of malware and cybersecurity threats, and a VPN can protect your device and identity. Want to know more about what else you can do with a VPN? Read our guide to 16 VPN uses.

See also

VPN for BBC iPlayer FAQs

BBC iPlayer not working with your VPN? Try this

Note that we can’t guarantee these VPNs will work on the iPlayer website or the iPlayer app. If you run into trouble, it’s often simply a case of disconnecting and trying a different VPN server. If that doesn’t work, there may be bigger issues.

If you’re using the BBC iPlayer app, you should know that apps for iOS, Android, streaming media boxes, smart TVs, and game consoles can force a device onto your internet service provider’s DNS servers instead of the VPN’s. One way to get around this is to set up the VPN on your home wifi router or a virtual router instead of using the VPN app. Check out our tutorials on how to configure VPN-enabled virtual routers using both PC laptops and Macbooks.

Even after you connect to a VPN server, BBC iPlayer might have stored your previous “location” in a cookie that’s still active. If you still see a warning that the streaming content is not available in your location, you might need to clear your cookies. You can do this either in your browser settings or using an extension like EditThisCookie.

Sometimes when using a VPN, the BBC iPlayer page might not load at all and instead return an error page. If this is happening to you, you might need to flush your DNS cache. On Windows, type “cmd” into your search bar and open Command Prompt. Type in the following command and hit enter: ipconfig /flushdns. For Mac users, find the instructions for your version of OSX here.

Finally, clear any cached data that might allow iPlayer to see your real location. You can clean out your entire browser cache in the settings, but usually it’s enough to hold CTRL and hit F5 to perform a “hard” refresh.

For even more troubleshooting tips see our guide on VPNs not working with BBC iPlayer.

What if I don't have a UK TV license?

When trying to access BBC iPlayer, you might get a notification informing you that a UK TV license is required to watch any program on the site. When prompted, many sources report you can simply click “I have a TV license”.

BBC apparently depends on the honor system to keep viewers honest and does not require actual proof that the user has a TV license. This message was added to iPlayer’s terms of service in September 2016.

Access to the BBC iPlayer streaming service now requires viewers to register a BBC account and input a valid UK postcode. The form does not seem to verify whether or not the registrant actually lives within the postal code they input, so as long as you have a UK IP address, you should be okay.

Can I watch Planet Earth II on BBC iPlayer?

Yes, Planet Earth II and Blue Planet 2 are both on BBC iPlayer and available for free. It’s even in HD! Just make sure you have one of the VPNs above if you’re outside of the country. You’ll need plenty of bandwidth to watch the wildlife in stunning high definition.

Can I use a free proxy to access BBC iPlayer?

Unlikely. BBC iPlayer is notoriously difficult to access with most VPNs and proxies. It will likely detect that you’re using a proxy and prevent you from watching the show. Stick with the VPNs recommended above for the most reliable access to BBC iPlayer from abroad.

How much Internet does BBC iPlayer use?

BBC iPlayer can stream in different resolutions and will adjust quality according to your available bandwidth. The highest resolution is 720p, which requires at least 5 Mbps of available bandwidth. You will need a minimum of 3.2 Mbps to watch TV shows without buffering.

Can I Watch BBC iPlayer in Australia, Canada and USA?

Yes! But without a VPN, you can only access the international version, which doesn’t include most of the on-demand TV shows and catch-up content. You can use one of the VPNs recommended above to access the full UK version by connecting to a server in the United Kingdom first. Make sure to clear your browser cookies and cache first.

How does BBC iPlayer detect and block me when I'm overseas?

BBC iPlayer, like many other streaming services, users your IP address to determine your location. Your IP address is a unique sequence of numbers and decimals used to identify your device and its approximate location. A VPN hides your location by changing your public IP address to that of another country, such as the UK.

If you’ve attempted to access BBC iPlayer from abroad and failed, the site might store your blocked status in your web browser. If you’re using one of the VPNs above and still can’t access iPlayer, be sure to clear your browser cookies and web cache.

BBC iPlayer also prompts new users for a UK postal code in order to use the service. The code a user enters is not verified, though; it accepts any genuine UK postal code.

How do I stop my ISP from throttling BBC iPlayer?

If you believe your internet service provider is specifically throttling BBC iPlayer, then a VPN can help. By encrypting the contents of your internet connection and routing it through an intermediary server, your ISP won’t be able to see what you’re doing online. In turn, it won’t be able to discriminate against a specific type or source of data, such as a BBC iPlayer stream.

However, if your ISP is throttling all your data and not just BBC iPlayer, then a VPN won’t help much. If you’ve reached your monthly data cap, for example, then throttling will be applied to all internet traffic whether it goes through a VPN or not.

Why does BBC iPlayer Radio block some programs when I listen from outside the UK?

Like TV shows and movies, radio content is also restricted according to your location. While most BBC Sounds content is available worldwide, some sports and music can’t be accessed from outside the UK without a VPN. This is usually due to licensing restrictions.

If BBC iPlayer blocks you from listening to radio content, you’ll hear one of two messages:

  • Live content: “This content is unavailable due to technical or rights reasons.”
  • On-demand content: “Sorry, this content can only be played in the UK.”

Has the BBC iPlayer blocked NordVPN?

NordVPN works with BBC iPlayer as of time of writing. That being said, BBC iPlayer occasionally blocks connections from known VPN servers. This might result in BBC iPlayer being temporarily unavailable. This can happen to any VPN, however, and isn’t specific to NordVPN.

If you’re unable to access NordVPN through BBC iPlayer, you can contact customer service so they can start working on a fix. Access is usually restored within a day or two.

What's new on BBC iPlayer?

Below are just a few of the newest titles available on BBC iPlayer.

  • The Capture
  • Inside Man
  • Doctor Who: Series 13
  • Crossfire
  • London Kills

Will I get blocked by iPlayer for using a VPN?

You are unlikely to be blocked for using a VPN with BBC iPlayer outside the UK, although it may go against the terms of service set by the BBC. Technically, you could get banned if you are detected using iPlayer and a VPN, but there have been no reported cases of this happening to date.

What's the minimum speed required to stream BBC iPlayer?

The minimum speed required to stream BBC iPlayer is 1.5Mbps. If you want streams of a higher quality this you’ll need a connection speed of 5Mbps.

Can I stream BBC iPlayer on Fire TV Stick with a VPN?

You can stream BBC iPlayer on Fire TV Stick with a VPN. A VPN (a virtual private network) will create a secure connection between your device and the service you are trying to access.

This provides an extra layer of security and allows you to bypass any geo-restrictions that may be in place. After setting up your VPN, connect it to the server(s) that support BBC iPlayer and launch the app or website on your Fire TV Stick. You should now be able to watch BBC iPlayer without any restrictions!

Is BBC iPlayer free?

BBC iPlayer is a great way to watch top-quality content from the BBC without spending any money. Users can access a vast range of on-demand shows, movies, and documentaries with a valid UK TV license. The platform also features exclusive box sets, so you won’t miss out on must-see programming. Not only is it free but also convenient – users can stream programs straight from their computer, tablet, or smartphone to enjoy at home or on the go. Whether you’re a fan of dramas, comedies, nature documentaries, or anything else, there’s something for everyone on BBC iPlayer!

Can I watch BBC content on any other platforms?

BBC iPlayer is a top-rated streaming service that offers a plethora of exclusive content from the BBC. It’s a great platform to watch TV shows, movies, and documentaries. Even though you may be able to find some BBC programming on other streaming services, the selection available on BBC iPlayer is unmatched. It’s the only place where you can fully enjoy the wide range of BBC content available.