Best VPN service for BBC iPlayer

If you’re considering streaming BBC iPlayer while traveling overseas, you’ll discover that the service is only available on devices with a UK IP address. This means that if you want to view BBC iPlayer outside of the UK, you’ll need to find a workaround. We demonstrate how to view iPlayer from overseas using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and recommend the finest VPN for this purpose.

Certain videos are geographically limited due to content licensing limitations. This is true for both watching on the iPlayer website and the iPlayer app. Fortunately, the answer is straightforward: just use one of the best VPNs to unblock BBC iPlayer, allowing you to watch as usual, from the United States or anywhere else in the world. Not all VPNs, however, function with BBC iPlayer.

A VPN service, short for Virtual Private Network, encrypts a device’s internet data before routing it via an intermediate server in the user’s chosen location. With BBC iPlayer, the customer only has to choose a British server. They’ll be allocated a UK IP address to make it look as if they’re situated in the United Kingdom.

However, this workaround is becoming more ineffective as BBC iPlayer cracks down on circumvention software and detects when a VPN is used. The site has followed Netflix’s lead in barring VPN users. As a result, it’s essential to subscribe to a VPN service that circumvents iPlayer’s firewall and actively works to resolve the issue if it becomes banned.

Often, only certain servers from a certain VPN provider are capable of doing this; thus, if one VPN server is banned for you, just try another or contact customer care to find out which ones work.

We’ve suggested the top VPN service for accessing BBC iPlayer outside the United Kingdom based on the following important criteria:

  • Servers in the United Kingdom.
  • Compatible with iPlayer.
  • Connection rates that are rapid.
  • Customer service that is competent.

If you’re curious about how we assess and rate VPNs, you can read more about them below.

Best VPN for BBC iPlayer


NordVPN is a reliable service for streaming BBC iPlayer from overseas, with a large selection of UK servers. Indeed, it maintains around 700 servers in the United Kingdom, with some of them geared towards streaming. Consult the official knowledge base on the NordVPN website to see whether servers currently allow BBC iPlayer content. 24/7 live chat help is available.

This service had one of the top scores in our speed test, indicating that you should have no difficulty streaming in HD or even 4K. Due to powerful encryption, security is great, and a rigorous zero-logs policy ensures that your personal information (including your IP address) stays hidden. Additionally, users of public wifi will appreciate NordVPN’s automatic wifi protection option. Servers are located in several countries. NordVPN supports multiple continuous internet connections, making it an excellent choice for a small family or workplace.

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

VPNs that should not be used with BBC iPlayer

Based on our testing, the following VPN companies have not unblocked BBC iPlayer.

  • PureVPN
  • IPVanish
  • HideMyAss
  • Betternet
  • LeVPN
  • SuperVPN
  • VPNBook
  • VPNTunnel
  • AnonymousVPN
  • Perfect Privacy
  • Tunnelr
  • VPN4All
  • EarthVPN
  • GooseVPN
  • iPredator
  • Overplay
  • VPNJack
  • VPN Master
  • TorVPN

While many of the VPN companies on the preceding list are fantastic for other online activities, you would be wasting your money if your primary goal was to access BBC iPlayer films while traveling.

Is it possible to use a free VPN to access BBC iPlayer?

No. Although some free VPNs are available in app stores and on Google, they will not function to view iPlayer. Free VPNs have a limited number of servers and are often overcrowded. This places a heavy load on the servers, causing them to become overcrowded. To address this, free VPNs impose bandwidth limits, thereby rendering the VPN ineffective for streaming and other data-intensive activities.

Even if these speed difficulties are not there, we have yet to discover a free VPN with UK servers that works with iPlayer. The BBC is quite proactive in identifying and banning VPN-related IP addresses. As a result, many VPNs have been blocked (including most paid services). Due to the ease with which free VPNs may be identified, they are frequently the first to lose access.

Apart from the fact that free VPNs do not function with iPlayer, we suggest avoiding them for security reasons. According to studies, free VPNs have questionable privacy practices that allow businesses to gather and sell user data for marketing reasons. As a result, all of your internet activity will be recorded and sold to other parties such as data brokers.

Additionally, it has been shown that free VPNs suffer from major data breaches, have insufficient (or no) encryption, have software vulnerabilities, and may even incorporate spyware on purpose. As a result, utilizing such VPNs poses a significant danger to your online safety. A VPN is designed to protect your privacy, not to monitor your every move!

How to use a VPN in conjunction with BBC iPlayer

Obtaining a British IP address and unblocking the BBC iPlayer is straightforward if your VPN provides this functionality. Sign up for a VPN account with one of the companies mentioned above and follow these simple steps.

  1. Install a VPN on your smartphone by downloading it from your provider’s website or an authorized app store. NordVPN is recommended.
  2. Start the app and choose a VPN server in the United Kingdom that is compatible with iPlayer. If you’re unsure which to choose, visit your provider’s website or contact customer care.
  3. Establish a VPN connection.
  4. You should now have a United Kingdom-based IP address (check here).
  5. Clear your browser’s cookies and cache. This may be used to save location data from past sessions.
  6. Launch the BBC iPlayer and begin watching!

Contact your VPN’s customer service if you run into any problems. You may need to make some adjustments to your device’s settings.

What is available on BBC iPlayer?

Among the most popular TV series available on BBC iPlayer with a VPN are the following:

  • Top Gear
  • EastEnders
  • Doctor Who
  • His Dark Materials
  • Planet Earth
  • Killing Eve
  • The Graham Norton Show
  • Dracula
  • Normal People
  • Our Girl
  • A Suitable Boy
  • Inside No.9 
  • Euro 2020

Methodology for BBC iPlayer VPN testing

PrivacyExplore’s mission is to provide readers with the most complete, reliable, and relevant VPN evaluations and recommendations available on the web. To do this, our team of experienced reviewers uses, tests, and analyzes each VPN based on a variety of security and performance parameters. When it comes to BBC iPlayer VPNs, we focus on the following:

  • Access to BBC iPlayer: If you’re reading this post, you’ve arrived at the right place. The VPN we suggest have been tested and found to function with BBC iPlayer.
  • Speed: We track download speeds on connections to VPN servers located across the globe. With the VPN mentioned above, you should have no trouble watching high-definition videos.
  • Privacy: Each VPN we offer adheres to a no-logs policy, which means it will not record your internet activity or any other identifying information while connected.
  • Security: VPNs must adhere to our basic encryption and security criteria, which include passing a number of leak tests.
  • Customer support: As undercover shoppers, our reviewers call each VPN’s customer support team to ascertain response times and quality.
  • Compatibility with devices: We evaluate each VPN on several platforms, including desktop and mobile, as well as Amazon Fire TV Stick, routers, and Linux devices.

FAQs about using a VPN with BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer not functioning properly with your VPN? Consider the following:

Please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee that these VPNs will operate on the iPlayer website or app. If you’re having difficulties, it’s often as simple as disconnecting and trying a new VPN server. If it does not work, there may be more serious problems.

If you use the BBC iPlayer app, you should be aware that applications for iOS, Android, streaming media boxes, smart TVs, and game consoles might compel a device to use the DNS servers of your internet service provider rather than the VPN’s. One workaround is to configure the VPN on your home WiFi network or a virtual router rather than via the VPN app. Consult our guide on configuring VPN-enabled virtual routers on both PC and Mac computers.

Even if you connect to a VPN server, BBC iPlayer may retain a cookie containing your prior “location” If you continue to see an error message indicating that streaming content is unavailable in your area, you may need to clear your cookies. This may be accomplished via the browser’s settings or with the use of an extension such as EditThisCookie.

When using a VPN, the BBC iPlayer website may sometimes fail to load entirely and instead produce an error page. If this occurs, you may need to cleanse your DNS cache. Type “cmd” into the Windows search bar to launch the Command Prompt. Enter the following command: ipconfig /flushdns. For Mac users, instructions for your specific version of OSX may be found here.

Finally, delete any cached data that may enable the iPlayer to determine your true location. While you may clear your browser’s cache entirely in the settings, it’s typically sufficient to hold CTRL and click F5 to do a “hard” refresh.

What if I do not possess a valid UK television license?

When attempting to visit the BBC iPlayer, you may see a message advising you that viewing any show on the site requires a UK television license. Numerous sites suggest that you may just click “I have a TV license” when required.

The BBC seems to rely on the honor system to keep viewers honest and does not require users to provide evidence of ownership of a television license. In September 2016, iPlayer’s Terms of Service were updated to include this statement.

Viewers who want to use the BBC iPlayer streaming service must create a BBC account and provide a valid UK address. The form does not seem to check that the registrant truly resides in the postal code they provide, so as long as your IP address is in the United Kingdom, you should be OK.

Is Planet Earth II available on BBC iPlayer?

Yes, both Planet Earth II and Blue Planet 2 are accessible for free on BBC iPlayer. It’s even in high definition! Simply ensure that you’re using the VPN suggested above if you’re traveling outside of the nation. You’ll want a significant amount of bandwidth to see the animals in breathtakingly high resolution.

Is it possible to access BBC iPlayer using a free proxy?

Unlikely. BBC iPlayer is renowned for being inaccessible through the majority of VPNs and proxies. We will very certainly identify that you are using a proxy and deny you access to the show. Maintain a connection to BBC iPlayer with the VPN mentioned above for the most dependable access from overseas.

How much internet bandwidth does the BBC iPlayer consume?

BBC iPlayer can stream at a variety of resolutions and will automatically change the quality to match your available bandwidth. The maximum resolution supported is 720p, which requires a minimum of 5 Mbps of available connection. To view TV programs without buffering, you’ll need a minimum of 3.2 Mbps.

Can I access BBC iPlayer in Australia, Canada, or the United States of America?

Yes! However, without a VPN, you’ll be limited to the international version, which excludes the majority of on-demand TV series and catch-up programming. By connecting to a server in the United Kingdom first, you may use the VPN mentioned above to access the full UK version. Ensure that you first remove your browser’s cookies and cache.

How can BBC iPlayer identify and restrict my location while I’m away from home?

BBC iPlayer, like many other streaming services, determines your location using your IP address. Your IP address is a unique sequence of numbers and decimals that serves as a means of identifying your device and determining its approximate location. A VPN conceals your location by rerouting your public IP address to a different country, such as the United Kingdom.

If you attempt to visit BBC iPlayer from a foreign country and are unsuccessful, the site may save your banned status in your web browser. If you’re still unable to access iPlayer while using the VPN mentioned above, be sure to delete your browser’s cookies and web cache.

Additionally, BBC iPlayer requires new users to provide a UK postal code in order to use the program. However, the code entered by the user is not validated; it takes any authentic UK postal code.

How can I prevent my Internet Service Provider from slowing BBC iPlayer?

If you suspect your internet service provider is throttling BBC iPlayer in particular, a VPN may be able to assist. By encrypting the contents of your internet connection and passing it via an intermediate server, you may prevent your ISP from monitoring your online activity. As a result, it will be unable to distinguish against a particular data type or source, such as a BBC iPlayer broadcast.

However, if your ISP is restricting all of your traffic, not just BBC iPlayer, a VPN will be ineffective. If, for example, you hit your monthly data quota, throttling will be applied to all internet traffic, regardless of whether it is routed via a VPN or not.

Why does BBC iPlayer Radio restrict access to some programs when I listen from outside the United Kingdom?

Radio programming, like television series and films, is geo-restricted. While the majority of BBC Sound content is accessible from anywhere around the globe, some sports and music cannot be viewed from outside the UK without using a VPN. This is often due to license constraints.

If BBC iPlayer prevents you from listening to radio programming, one of two messages will appear:

“This content is not available due to technical or legal constraints.”

“Sorry, this content is only available in the United Kingdom.”

Is NordVPN prohibited on BBC iPlayer?

As of the time of writing, NordVPN is compatible with BBC iPlayer. Having said that, BBC iPlayer does block connections from recognized VPN servers on occasion. This may result in a brief outage on BBC iPlayer. This, however, may happen with any VPN and is not unique to NordVPN.

If you’re having trouble accessing NordVPN through BBC iPlayer, you may contact customer care to request a remedy. Typically, access is restored within a day or two.

What has been added to the BBC iPlayer recently?

The following is a sampling of the most recent titles accessible on BBC iPlayer.

  • Superman & Lois
  • Mock the Week
  • What We Do in the Shadows
  • Doctor Who: Series 10
  • Clique
  • Queer Britain
  • Canada’s Drag Race
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