Trying to watch BBC America while traveling abroad? We reveal how a Virtual Private Network (or VPN) can help you to watch BBC America from anywhere in the world, plus the best VPNs for the job.
Although the BBC operates in many countries around the world, the shows you can watch differ from one region to another. This kind of geo-blocking is usually done for copyright reasons but there’s no denying that it causes problems for people traveling outside of the US. Americans on vacation who try to use BBC America will simply see an error that reads “Unfortunately, this content is unavailable in your location”.
The good news is that it’s surprisingly easy to get around regional TV restrictions. Most streaming platforms use your IP address to tell which country you’re in, and by connecting to a VPN, you can make it seem like you never left the US. That’s not all; these services also encrypt your traffic, allowing you to use public wi-fi hotspots on vacation without worrying about who might be watching.
If you’re short on time, you’ll find a summary of the best VPNs for BBC America below. Of course, we’ll touch on each of these individually a little later, so you can always scroll down to find out more.
Best VPNs for watching BBC America online:
- NordVPN: Our top VPN for BBC America. Strong on speed, security, and streaming ability. Has a true no-logs policy, almost 2,000 US servers, and a 30-day money-back guarantee that means you can try it for yourself risk-free.
- Surfshark: The top budget VPN for streaming BBC America. Boasts a fantastic security toolkit, a no-logs policy, and extremely high speeds. Connect any number of devices.
- ExpressVPN: A well-balanced VPN that’s great for watching BBC America abroad. Quick, reliable, and P2P-friendly, with solid security and servers in over a dozen US cities.
- CyberGhost: This novice-friendly VPN has 1,200 US servers, including some designed for streaming. An easy-to-use VPN with pre-configured security tools and WireGuard support.
- IPVanish: Reliable, inexpensive, and lightweight. IPVanish is a zero-log VPN that works well with BBC America and allows any number of connections. Great for secure streaming.
- PrivateVPN: This VPN is not just fast, it also has a cast-iron commitment to privacy. Keeps no logs and works perfectly with BBC America, Hulu, and more.
- Hotspot Shield: This easy-to-use VPN is secure and more than fast enough for HD streaming. It even has special servers for accessing US-only platforms like BBC America.
WANT TO TRY THE TOP VPN RISK FREE?
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 watching BBC America, free from any restrictions, for a month. This is perfect for any traveler looking to catch up on their favorite TV shows during a vacation abroad.
There are no hidden terms—just 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.
Deciding which VPN to use would be much easier if they were all essentially the same. However, this isn’t the case, and it’s the differences between services that allow some to evade detection by platforms like BBC America. We’d rather you chose a VPN that’s capable of handling any day-to-day task, though, which is why all of the services we’re recommending meet the criteria below:
- Offers access to several servers in the US
- Reliably unblocks BBC America from abroad
- Is fast enough for uninterrupted HD live streaming
- Doesn’t log any data that could be used to identify you
- Provides apps for all of the most common operating systems
We explain our VPN testing methodology in more detail below.
How to watch BBC America from anywhere using a VPN
Geographic restrictions aren’t as much of a problem as they seem at first glance. Below is a quick guide to streaming BBC America from anywhere in the world with a VPN.
Here’s how to watch BBC America online from anywhere:
- First off, decide which VPN you’re going to use (we recommend NordVPN).
- The next step is installing this service’s app on any device you use for streaming. Most providers allow five or so simultaneous connections, which should be enough to secure all of your most-used devices.
- Log in and choose a server in the US. Generally, the closer the server, the faster your speeds. If you’re having trouble finding one that works with BBC America, those based in New York and Los Angeles are usually safe choices.
- Finally, visit BBC America and try watching something. You shouldn’t see any errors, and the video should start right away. If not, clear your browser’s cookies and try again. Still having problems? We’d advise trying a different server or getting in touch with your VPN’s customer support team.
The best VPNs for BBC America
Now, we’ll jump right in and examine each of our top VPNs in more detail:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our top choice for watching BBC America during your travels. Aside from being one of the fastest providers on the market, it’s among the best at unblocking US-exclusive streaming services abroad. In fact, it even works with the likes of Hulu, Sling TV, and HBO Max. Users can connect a maximum of six devices simultaneously and there’s no bandwidth limit whatsoever.
This provider is known for its exceptional security offering. Its apps include effectively-uncrackable 256-bit AES encryption, as well as a kill switch, tracker-blocker, and protection against IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. Further, in 2020, NordVPN introduced its own WireGuard-based protocol named NordLynx. NordVPN keeps no logs and regularly calls in outside auditors to verify this. Live chat-based customer support is available 24/7.
NordVPN has apps for Android, iOS, Linux, MacOS, and Windows. If six simultaneous connections aren’t enough, you can manually install this service on supported home routers, thereby protecting every device on the network.
- Capable of providing top-tier speeds
- Works flawlessly with BBC America
- Strong focus on security
- Proven no-logs policy
- PC apps don’t let you disconnect in one click
BEST VPN FOR BBC AMERICA:NordVPN is our top pick for BBC America. It offers exceptional speeds, a wide array of security tools, and almost 2,000 US servers to choose from. What’s more, it includes a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it totally risk-free.
Why not check out our complete NordVPN review?
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is the best budget option for streaming BBC America abroad. Despite its low price point, this VPN actually took first place in our latest speed tests, making it ideal for data-intensive tasks like watching live TV and torrenting. It works well with most major streaming services and is one of a very small number of providers that lets you secure an unlimited number of devices at the same time.
Surfshark apps are available for MacOS, iOS, Windows, Android, and Linux. This service can also be manually installed on select routers.
- Excellent speeds
- Great set of security features built-in
- Has no connection limit
- Settings menu could use some tidying
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is our top budget option. It’s actually faster and more security-conscious than some more expensive providers, plus it works well with BBC America. Better still, all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Still have questions? You’ll find answers in our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is a well-established provider, having been around for more than a decade. With high-speed servers in more than a dozen US cities, it’s perfect for anyone hoping to stream BBC America on a trip abroad. It works similarly well with platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Sling TV, so you’ll certainly have plenty of options when it comes to what to watch. You’re allowed to connect five devices at once and use as much bandwidth as you like, no questions asked.
When it comes to security, ExpressVPN has all kinds of tools. First off, there’s Lightway, its own proprietary protocol that’s faster and easier to audit than OpenVPN. There’s also 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a no-logging policy. ExpressVPN even lets you pay in Bitcoin for another layer of anonymity. Live chat and email support are available at all times just in case you have any problems.
ExpressVPN offers apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. Additionally, it has its own router firmware; this saw a significant upgrade recently, leading to a smoother, more reliable experience. If you haven’t used it already, there’s never been a better time to try it out.
- Lots of speedy US servers
- A great option for streaming
- Solid security offering
- Simplified installation for routers
- Not the cheapest choice on this list
SECURE STREAMING ABROAD:ExpressVPN is a quick and effective way to watch BBC America outside of the US. More importantly, it has all of the tools required to do so safely. Still not sure? Why not take advantage of ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee?
Read our comprehensive ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost takes all of the hassle out of watching your favorite shows abroad. That’s because, in addition to unblocking BBC America, it has specific servers for streaming Disney+, Sling TV, and more. In fact, with more than 7,000 servers globally, it can likely access just about any service you’d care to use. This VPN provides steady speeds, has no bandwidth limits, and permits up to seven simultaneous connections at once.
Here’s the best part: all of CyberGhost security features are enabled by default. In other words, there’s no messing around in the settings, since you’re already using 256-bit encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch from the moment you connect. This VPN doesn’t store any personally identifiable data, either. Looking for a more comprehensive security setup? CyberGhost recently launched its own Windows cybersecurity suite, as well as a password manager. Staff are on-hand 24/7 over live chat to help resolve any problems you might have.
CyberGhost has its own Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS, and Linux apps. If you’d prefer to secure your whole home network, you can manually install this VPN on select routers.
- Fast enough for watching live TV
- Specially-optimized streaming servers
- Great set of security tools
- May not be customizable enough for advanced users
HIGHLY VERSATILE:CyberGhost is as easy to use as it is secure. There are more than 1,000 US servers available, many of which work with BBC America. This novice-friendly VPN boasts solid multi-platform support and an impressive 45-day money-back guarantee.
Take a look at our full review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is a highly-versatile service that’s a great choice for streaming, torrenting, or just about any other everyday task. In addition to BBC America, this VPN can securely access Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max, to name but a few. Thanks to a recent network upgrade, it’s faster than ever, and unlike most of its rivals, IPVanish lets you connect all of your devices at the same time.
It’s no slouch where security is concerned either, and recently added support for the WireGuard protocol to its toolkit. Additionally, it offers 256-bit AES encryption, protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks, a kill switch, and the ability to scramble your OpenVPN traffic. IPVanish is a true zero-logs provider, so your privacy is in good hands. Help is available around the clock via live chat or email.
IPVanish users have access to Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS apps. This service also works with Linux systems and some routers, though you’ll have to configure these manually.
- Works reliably with BBC America
- Punches above its weight on security
- Secure any number of devices
- Doesn’t work with as many streaming services as others in this list
GREAT ALL-ROUNDER:IPVanish can handle just about anything you throw at it, including streaming BBC America abroad. It’s speedy, secure, and has no connection limit, plus its annual plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Why not check out our in-depth IPVanish review?
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN has roughly 200 servers worldwide, with around a dozen in the US. While other providers might have more servers, this VPN outpaces many of its rivals, with an average speed of 71 Mbps in our latest tests. Not only that, but it works reliably with a huge range of streaming services including BBC America, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. A maximum of six devices can be connected simultaneously.
Unlike most other VPN providers, PrivateVPN owns, hosts, and manages its entire network. This gives it full control over access to user traffic, which means a far lower chance of outside interference. Meanwhile, the apps keep you safe using 256-bit encryption, a customizable kill switch, leak protection, and a stealth mode. PrivateVPN doesn’t store any logs and customer support is available most (but not quite all) hours of the day.
PrivateVPN has apps for iOS, Android, MacOS, and Windows systems. Alternatively, you can follow manual setup instructions to get it running on your Linux device or wireless router.
- Consistently high speeds
- Works with most streaming services, not just BBC America
- Exceptional security and privacy offering
- Small number of servers to choose from
- Support isn’t available 24/7
PRIVACY-CONSCIOUS:PrivateVPN keeps no logs, controls its own infrastructure, and comes packed with security tools, allowing you to stream with complete confidence. As if that wasn’t enough, it works with platforms like Netflix and even offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our complete review of PrivateVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Editor’s Note: Hotspot Shield is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company.
Hotspot Shield covers all the bases. It boasts steady speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and even a handful of servers that are specially optimized to help you access American streaming services while traveling. There are also almost 2,000 general-purpose servers spread across 80+ countries, so finding one that meets your needs should be simple. Subscribers can secure up to five of their devices simultaneously.
This service’s easy to use apps feature 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against IPv6 and DNS leaks. Additionally, they have a toggleable option that lets them connect automatically any time you use an unsecured network. Recent versions now let you connect via IKEv2 instead of just the Catapult Hydra protocol. Hotspot Shield doesn’t keep any identifiable data once your session ends. Live chat-based support is available 24/7.
Hotspot Shield provides apps for MacOS, Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android. Manual configuration is needed to get it up and running on a supported router.
- Securely accessing US streaming platforms couldn’t be simpler
- Good range of security settings
- User-friendly apps
- Doesn’t accept Bitcoin
- Had past privacy issues
US STREAMING SERVERS:Hotspot Shield has specially-configured servers designed to help you access platforms like BBC America abroad. It’s a quick and reliable VPN with a solid set of security tools, a 45-day money-back guarantee, and apps that are extremely easy to use.
Read the full Hotspot Shield review.
As we mentioned above, not just any VPN will let you watch BBC America outside of the US. This is just one of the many criteria we considered when deciding on the best services to recommend, though. After all, we also want you to have a strong level of online security, and to be able to torrent safely if you so choose. Here are some of the things we looked out for:
- American servers: Without these, you won’t be able to access US-only services like BBC America. The more servers to choose from, the easier it’ll be to find one that works, especially at peak times like evenings and weekends.
- Fast, reliable speeds: We look for VPNs that have a minimal impact on your speeds. Assuming your base connection offers reasonable speeds, the services we recommend should be fast enough to stream live HD video on a few devices at once.
- Streaming capabilities: Naturally, our recommendations have to work with BBC America, but we also pit them against platforms like Hulu, Sling TV, and Disney+. This way, you’ll never be short of something to watch.
- Security and privacy features: Digital security is non-negotiable. All of the VPNs we recommend include 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, leak protection, and a no-logs policy. Of course, this is just a baseline, and we prefer VPNs that go even further.
- User-friendliness: The VPNs above are all easy to use, with novice-friendly apps for a variety of operating systems. We’re big fans of anything that reduces the barrier to entry, from free trials to 24/7 support to pre-configured security settings.
- Value for money: Part of our testing involves comparing VPNs to similarly-priced competitors. If a service doesn’t have the functionality to back up its price tag, it doesn’t make the cut. Naturally, we also take long-term discounts and money-back guarantees into account.
This might seem like a long list of requirements, but it’s actually only one small part of our larger testing process. To find out more, you can read our full VPN testing methodology post.
Watching BBC America abroad: FAQs
Can I unblock BBC America with a free VPN?
Free VPNs like to promise the world but in actuality, they’re a pretty poor choice for most tasks. For instance, as they tend to have huge amounts of traffic coming from a relatively small pool of IP addresses, it’s easy for platforms like BBC America to blacklist all of their servers in a short space of time. Even if you find one that works, the sheer number of users means that you’ll likely experience very slow speeds. Your options may be further limited by a bandwidth cap; this is often as low as 500MB (or about a half hour of standard-definition streaming) per month.
What can I watch on BBC America?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, BBC America airs some of the UK’s most popular shows, as well as a constantly rotating selection of movies. Here is just a small sample of what was available at the time of writing:
- Doctor Who
- The Graham Norton Show
- Killing Eve
- Orphan Black
- Antiques Roadshow
Is BBC America free to watch?
Yes, in a sense. Users can watch on-demand content on BBC America without having to create an account or pay anything. You will need to sign in with a supported TV provider to access the live stream, although one of these is YouTube TV, which currently offers a two-week free trial. Be sure to cancel before this trial ends since YouTube TV usually costs $64.99 USD per month.