Does NordVPN work with BBC iPlayer?

BBC iPlayer is geo-restricted and can’t normally be accessed if you travel outside the UK. If you try, you’ll usually see one of two errors, either “This content is not available in your location” or “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues. The reason for this is quite simple: the network only has the rights to show most of its content in the UK.

Normally, it’s fairly easy to get around this kind of regional blocking by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). However, BBC iPlayer’s VPN-detection systems are very powerful, so many premium services (even well known ones) won’t work. Today, we’ll put NordVPN to the test to see if it’s suitable for live streaming, watching on-demand, and downloading shows for offline viewing.

Does NordVPN work with iPlayer?

Yes, NordVPN works exceptionally well with BBC iPlayer and doesn’t have any noticeable issues accessing any of the platform’s content, whether it’s on the website or mobile app. In fact, if you install this VPN on your router, you’ll even be able to stream iPlayer on gaming consoles.

That’s not all: NordVPN offers excellent speeds, 256-bit AES encryption, and hundreds of servers in the UK, plus it works with every major streaming service we’ve tested. There are apps for every popular operating system, and browser extensions in case you’d rather just watch using the website.

NordVPN is our preferred VPN to use with iPlayer, but it’s not the only VPN we’d recommend, both Surfshark and CyberGhost work well with this service too.


NordVPN is offering a fully-featured risk-free 30-day trial if you sign up at this page. You can use the VPN rated #1 for BBC iPlayer with no restrictions for a monthgreat if you want to stay up-to-date with your favorite shows while on a short trip abroad.

There are no hidden termsjust contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn't right for you and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.

Testing NordVPN with BBC iPlayer

NordVPN currently has four server locations in the UK (two in Scotland and two in England), and more than 440 servers to choose from. Our previous tests have seen it work flawlessly with Netflix UK, ITVX, and NOW, so we had pretty high hopes it’d be able to securely access BBC iPlayer too.

Now, NordVPN doesn’t have dedicated streaming servers. Instead, we picked a general-purpose one in London. In our experience, those in large cities generally have the best show at beating geo-restriction, so it seemed like a good place to start.

First, we tried accessing BBC iPlayer on a desktop device. Within minutes, we were streaming content live, without any buffering or lag. In fact, once we installed the BBC iPlayer Downloads app, we were even able to download shows for offline playback. Just out of curiosity, we tried all of the other British server locations, and had the exact same experience.

Next, we installed the BBC iPlayer app on an Android phone. As expected, NordVPN provided instant access to this service, both in-browser and on the app. Best of all, official guidance says that you can download content using any NordVPN servers. Crucially, there weren’t any noticeable differences in our connection speeds when using a mobile vs desktop.

Watch live?Watch on-demand?Download shows?
Mobile (app)
Mobile (browser)N/A

How to watch BBC iPlayer outside of the UK with NordVPN

Not quite sure how to get started? Just follow these steps to enhance your online privacy, secure all of your devices, and beat BBC iPlayer’s anti-VPN blocking from anywhere in the world.

Here’s how to watch BBC iPlayer with NordVPN:

  1. First, visit the NordVPN website and sign up (remember, you can save over 60% using our exclusive NordVPN discount coupon).
  2. Install the app onto any device you stream with regularly, then log in.
  3. Connect to a NordVPN server in the UK. This will give you the British IP address needed to use BBC iPlayer.
  4. Open the BBC iPlayer website, accept the cookie policy, and login. You should now be able to use the service as normal!
  5. Having trouble? We’ve always found that clearing your Clear your cookies and browser cache resolves the most common issues. Alternatively, you could try one of the alternative troubleshooting methods laid out in our fixing BBC iPlayer problems post.

Watching iPlayer with NordVPN: Frequently Asked Questions

Will a free VPN let me watch BBC iPlayer abroad?

Most free VPNs can’t unblock BBC iPlayer at all. In fact, there are plenty of paid services that struggle to! Additionally, free providers tend to have smaller networks, which means more people are sharing each server. This often leads to extremely slow speeds, which is not what you want when live streaming. You might even find that your free provider limits you to a small amount of free bandwidth each month; this not only forces you to ration your usage but is often used to pressure you to pay for unlimited bandwidth anyway. 

Here’s the thing: if you’re going to end up paying regardless, you’re better off choosing a reputable paid VPN from the very start. These usually come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and unlike their free competitors, their whole business is based on their reputation, meaning they’re less likely to outright lie about the kind of logs they keep.

What channels are available on BBC iPlayer?

Currently, BBC iPlayer lets you stream live and on-demand content from eleven TV channels and one radio station. These are:

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • CBeebies
  • BBC Three
  • BBC Four
  • Radio One
  • BBC Scotland
  • BBC News
  • CBBC
  • BBC Parliament
  • BBC Alba
  • S4C

How fast does my internet connection need to be for BBC iPlayer?

The BBC’s own guidelines say that users should have at least a 5 Mbps download speed to watch live TV in HD, or 1.5 Mbps to watch standard-definition video. Generally, the faster your speeds, the better, though. This is because if your connection is too slow, you’re more likely to experience buffering and stuttering, and your stream may even fail to load. 

Why isn't NordVPN working with BBC iPlayer?

NordVPN should work perfectly with BBC iPlayer and most other popular streaming services. However, there may be times when you find yourself unable to watch your favorite shows. This could be because:

  • BBC iPlayer has updated its VPN-blocking system
  • You haven’t connected to one of NordVPN’s servers in the UK
  • The iPlayer app or website has stored old location data
  • Your VPN needs an update
  • The protocol you’re currently using is blocked by BBC iPlayer

In the majority of cases, clearing your cookies and cache will fix your issue. However, you can also try changing server, switching to the NordLynx protocol, or asking NordVPN support for assistance directly. This is quick and easy, since there’s a 24/7 live chat feature.

Does NordVPN have a kill switch?

Plenty of VPNs have a kill switch that will stop sending data any time you lose your connection unexpectedly. NordVPN is no exception, and its kill switch can even be customized to close specific applications upon disconnection. Additionally, users can turn on an internet kill switch, which prevents them from using the internet at all unless NordVPN is connected. 

What logs does NordVPN keep?

In a word: none. NordVPN doesn’t keep any logs on desktop devices, whether it’s your source IP address, chosen server, browsing history, or connection timestamps. Its mobile apps do store your device’s advertiser ID, which could technically be linked to you. That said, it can be reset at any time in your phone’s settings menu.  

Now, plenty of VPNs claim to be privacy-conscious, but few have been able to back up their claims. That’s why NordVPN regularly brings in high-profile auditing firms to prove that it really follows a no-logs policy.

Is it legal to use a VPN to access BBC iPlayer?

Yes, in most countries, it is legal to use a VPN to access BBC iPlayer. In fact, even in places like China, users are only restricted to certain providers, rather than banned from using VPNs altogether. This means that you can secure your connection and stream all of your favorite content on vacation without worrying about getting into trouble.

Disclaimer: Although we’ve spent hours researching this topic, we are not legal experts. As such, nothing we’ve said above should be taken as legal advice. We encourage you to consult local laws before attempting to use a VPN if you’re unsure as to their legality.

Can I watch BBC iPlayer without a TV license?

Normally, you can watch on-demand content without needing a TV license. However, BBC iPlayer is the exception to this rule. The law requires you to have a valid TV license, regardless of whether you’re watching live or not.