Surfshark not working with BBC iPlayer

Trying to watch BBC iPlayer on vacation but can’t get it to work with Surfshark? We explain how to use Surfshark with BBC iPlayer and provide solutions for when your VPN isn’t working.

BBC iPlayer is a streaming service on which you can watch popular TV shows including Strictly Come Dancing and Vigil for free (although you do need a TV license). The trouble is that it’s only available in the UK due to copyright restrictions on its content. If you try to access content from hone on BBC iPlayer while traveling abroad, you’ll encounter a message such as the following: “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues”.

The good news is that while many VPNs struggle to unblock BBC iPlayer, Surfshark does work well with the streaming platform. However, you may still encounter the occasional issue. We cover how to overcome these in this article.

Why isn’t Surfshark working with BBC iPlayer?

Surfshark is compatible with BBC iPlayer and, as such, there are only a couple of reasons why it wouldn’t be working.

Here’s a list of the most common reasons for Surfshark not working with BBC iPlayer:

  1. The IP address you’re using has been identified as belonging to a VPN and has been blacklisted by BBC iPlayer as a result.
  2. BBC iPlayer has stored a cookie on your device that’s telling it that you’re not located in the UK.
  3. You’ve inadvertently connected to a server located outside of the UK.

Here’s how to fix Surfshark not working with BBC iPlayer:

  1. Clear your browser’s cache and cookies. This ensures BBC iPlayer forgets your previous IP address and location and accepts the new one provided by Surfshark.
  2. Still not working? It’s worth connecting to another British server in case the IP address you’re using has been blacklisted by BBC iPlayer.
  3. If all else fails, we recommend you contact your VPN’s customer support who may be able to provide further assistance.


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How to sign in to BBC iPlayer with Surfshark

Here’s how to sign in to BBC iPlayer with Surfshark:

  1. Sign up with Surfshark. Remember, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Download and install the Surfshark app that’s compatible with your streaming device.
  3. Open the VPN app and connect to a server in the UK (servers are available in London, Manchester, and Glasgow). You’ll then have a UK IP address that should allow you to securely access BBC iPlayer from anywhere.
  4. Go to BBC iPlayer and sign up for an account if you don’t have one already. You’ll be asked to provide the following information: your date of birth, country, and a UK postcode (any UK postal code is accepted).
  5. Now you can select your preferred content. If it doesn’t play, be sure to clear your browser’s cookies or connect to another server.

Why do streaming services region-lock their content?

Most streaming platforms are geo-blocked and BBC iPlayer is no exception. This is usually in an effort to comply with laws related to copyright and licensing. Additionally, the ownership of broadcasting rights can vary between regions. So the BBC may only have the right to broadcast a particular title in the UK and as a result, has to try and ensure that only people in the UK can access the content.

Of course, region-locking can be a source of frustration if you’re traveling abroad and want to continue streaming your favorite TV shows. Furthermore, this kind of geographic restriction means that you may have to wait much longer to see a title, depending on the country you’re in (for instance, with British fans having to wait months for Killing Eve to arrive after its US premiere). It’s for these reasons that so many people choose to use VPNs for streaming.

What can I watch on BBC iPlayer?

BBC iPlayer is home to a wide range of live and on-demand content—all of which is available for free (providing you have an account and a UK TV license). Below, we list all of the live channels you can watch as well as some of the most popular on-demand titles:

Live streams:

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • CBBC
  • BBC Four
  • CBeebies
  • BBC Scotland
  • BBC News
  • S4C
  • BBC Parliament
  • BBC Alba
  • BBC Radio 1

TV shows and movies:

How does BBC iPlayer know if I’m using a VPN?

BBC iPlayer looks at your IP address to determine your location. If it sees that it’s a UK IP address, you’ll be able to access the service. However, it may be that BBC iPlayer identifies that the VPN IP address you are using is shared and, as a result, you may find that content is blocked because it has been blacklisted. In this case, your best bet is switching servers and changing your IP address.

Are there any free VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer?

Unfortunately, very few free VPNs work with BBC iPlayer. With so many people using free VPN services, IP addresses are quickly identified as belonging to VPNs and blacklisted as a result. Furthermore, the heavy user load also results in slow speeds which are particularly obvious during streaming when issues such as low resolution, lag, and buffering become an issue. Besides, free VPNs also lack security and some may even log your browsing data and compromise your privacy.