The best UK VPN for expats to watch British TV abroad

If you’re a British expat, you’ve undoubtedly discovered that you can’t use standard services like the BBC iPlayer when traveling. Certain nations even restrict Skype use, making it impossible to communicate with family and friends. Fortunately, by connecting to a virtual private network (VPN), you may overcome regional restrictions and remain safe.

VPNs secure your network traffic by encrypting it. This prevents your Internet Service Provider (ISP), hackers, and anybody else watching your network from reading it. Additionally, if you route your internet traffic via one of your VPN’s British servers, geo-restricted websites will have no way of knowing your true location.

There are several VPN services available, but not all of them are compatible with British content streaming. To identify the top VPN service for UK expats, we looked for the following characteristics:

  • Unblocks popular streaming services in the United Kingdom (BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4).
  • Rapid connection speeds and a selection of UK servers.
  • Security encryption.
  • Minimal logging, or better still, no logging at all.

Best VPN for expats in the United Kingdom


NordVPN has an astounding 500+ servers in the United Kingdom. It can unblock all major British streaming services, including the BBC iPlayer, Netflix UK, ITV Hub, Sky Go, and All 4. Each server is tuned for high-definition streaming, and these VPN speeds are the quickest we’ve encountered, ensuring that content plays without buffering or stuttering. There are no restrictions on what you may view since limitless data is offered as normal.

Additionally, NordVPN enables you to access Facebook from inside China. With multiple concurrent connections, you can safeguard the whole home and stream from any device.

By adding an ad-blocker and an anti-malware feature, this VPN simplifies online security. It has 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak prevention, and a kill button for each program. It’s ideal for consumers concerned about their privacy, since it has a no-logging policy, and subscriptions may be paid with bitcoin.

NordVPN offers desktop and mobile software for Windows, Linux, Android, Mac OS X, and iOS. It may be customized manually to operate with certain routers.

Is it possible to use a free VPN to access British streaming services?

Although you may be tempted to use a free VPN to access streaming sites situated in the United Kingdom, we strongly advise against it. Certain businesses, such as the BBC, have made efforts to block VPN users from accessing their content, so a free VPN is unlikely to function. Additionally, these free services are virtually always slower than their premium equivalents. This means that even if you do acquire access, the streaming of videos may be jerky or take an inordinate amount of time to buffer.

Due to the fact that free VPN providers are unable to charge their customers directly, they have been known to depend on dubious methods of revenue generation. These practices include embedding tailored advertisements into sites you view, selling your surfing history to other parties, and tracking cookies that allow advertisers to monitor you even after you disconnect.

Regrettably, free VPNs have a history of deceiving their consumers. Recent years have seen these services being loaded with malware and even selling their customers’ bandwidth for use in botnets. To safeguard yourself and your private information, we strongly advise you to choose a trustworthy VPN provider that places a premium on client privacy. If you just want a VPN for a short period of time, however, the VPN we mentioned provides a money-back guarantee, which means you may use it for up to a month (depending on the VPN) and then ask for a full refund.

How to watch UK TV online from any location

If this is your first time using a VPN, you’ll be relieved to learn that the setup procedure is short and painless. In less than two minutes, we’ll show you how to begin viewing UK television from overseas.

  1. Subscribe to the VPN service mentioned above (we recommend NordVPN).
  2. Download and install the VPN application that is suitable for your device. There will be many different versions, so make sure you download the one that corresponds to your operating system.
  3. Connect to a server in the United Kingdom to get a United Kingdom IP Address.
  4. Consider viewing accessible content on your favorite websites, such as All 4 or BBC iPlayer. It should load rapidly with little to no buffering, if any. Please keep in mind that you may need to delete your browser’s cookies and refresh the page to see any changes.

What else may a VPN be used for?

Apart from difficulties accessing streaming channels when traveling, you may also discover that some countries block access to particular websites. Typically, only extreme or illegal websites are banned, but in certain circumstances, geographic blocking is used to impose internet censorship (as with China’s Great Firewall) or to prohibit individuals from communicating with others outside the nation.

A VPN enables you to connect to restricted services such as Skype or Facebook, allowing you to interact with your friends and family. Having said that, it’s important to note that some countries, like China and the United Arab Emirates, have laws prohibiting the use of VPNs. As a result, we recommend doing research about your country’s VPN laws before trying to use one.

What services are restricted?

Depending on where you reside, you may discover that the government has prohibited access to services you’ve become used to. Although the particular websites vary by area, residents of China, Russia, Sri Lanka, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and Iran may be unable to access the following services:

  1. Facebook
  2. WhatsApp
  3. Skype
  4. YouTube
  5. Instagram
  6. Twitter
  7. Gmail and Google

Additionally, these governments have a history of censoring websites devoted to the following:

  • Critics of the government’s news
  • Gambling
  • Adult content
  • Information sharing without restriction (Wikipedia, Reddit, etc)
  • VPNs and online security

Why am I unable to view a certain website?

The VPN mentioned above has been verified to function with the most popular streaming sites in the United Kingdom. Having said that, the firms that provide these services have spent considerable time and effort attempting to prevent VPN users from accessing their content.

Streaming services have recently begun restricting IP addresses associated with VPN providers. As a result, you may have difficulties streaming content from geo-restricted websites, even while connecting to a British server with a British IP address.

The good news is that these sites seldom account for every possible IP address. Often, the remedy is as simple as changing servers within the same nation. Certain VPNs even allow users to swap IP addresses at the click of a button. If you continue to have difficulties, you may contact a customer service specialist who can guide you to a functional server or walk you through some troubleshooting procedures.

Why am I unable to see a certain program or channel?

Certain platforms feature dedicated web players from various regions of the United Kingdom. The ITV Hub, for example, leads Scottish viewers to the STV Player. This might be the case if you’re connected to a server in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Connect to an English server instead and see if that resolves the issue.

Despite its efforts to restrict VPN users, BBC iPlayer makes it quite simple to get content from various parts of the UK. You may easily pick a new area by using the “Change location” menu (located in the bottom-left corner of the website and in the Settings menu of the app).

The methodology behind our selection of the best VPN for UK expats

Hundreds of VPN services are competing for your attention, with new ones arriving daily, but not all are suitable for UK expats. We’ve carefully analyzed the special requirements that individuals in your position face and selected the most critical features of a VPN. Our rationale is summarized below.

  • British servers: Without access to British servers, you will be unable to unlock UK-only services such as ITV Hub. We prioritized providers having servers in several UK countries, since they provide access to a far broader choice of services.
  • Speed: Speed is critical, even more so if you want to stream live television. We do frequent performance testing on over 50 different VPNs. To provide you with the best possible experience, we only suggest those that consistently provide fast speeds and stable connections.
  • Capacity for streaming: Not every VPN is compatible with every service. Numerous users have difficulties using BBC iPlayer, for example. We compared each of our possible choices to popular services such as Netflix UK, ITV Hub (and STV Player), All 4 and Disney+ to determine which is the best option for expats wishing to watch TV from home.
  • Ease of use: You should not need to be a computer genius to securely surf the web. Our best VPN must be simple enough to use for a total novice. They should ideally include setup tutorials, live chat assistance, and an extensive help section on their website.
  • Value for money: Some providers believe they may charge more than their services are worth merely because they have a well-known brand or their consumers are unaware of the prices of comparable services. We assess the characteristics of each VPN, as well as their pricing choices, and suggest only those that are reasonably priced.
  • Security and privacy toolkit: These services are, first and foremost, privacy tools. At a bare minimum, the VPN we suggest must include unbreakable encryption, a no-logs policy, a kill switch, and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks. We prefer companies that go above and beyond in this area, since attackers’ techniques are always developing.

UK VPNs for British expats FAQs

Can I use split-tunneling to access BBC iPlayer with my VPN?

Without a doubt—by authorizing access to the BBC iPlayer app or website through your VPN, you guarantee that traffic to and from this service is neither encrypted nor routed via foreign servers. This enables you to get the greatest possible speeds while keeping sensitive traffic (such as that generated by messaging applications) concealed from prying eyes.

How can I watch Eastenders from a country other than the United Kingdom?

Eastenders is available to watch in North America with Britbox. This service is $6.99 USD per month in the United States and $8.99 CAD per month in Canada. In both nations, users may take advantage of a seven-day free trial. Unfortunately, there are no more foreign broadcasters. However, you may always use a VPN to access the site from another country.

Can I watch Formula 1 on Sky UK?

Existing Sky TV subscribers may download and log in to the Sky Go app for free to watch online. It is also possible to live stream Formula 1 without having a Sky Sports subscription; you only need to purchase a Now TV Sky Sports pass. Daily memberships begin at £9.99, but savings are available for extended subscriptions.

Is Netflix in the United Kingdom different from Netflix in the United States?

Yes, Netflix UK offers a different selection of series and films than Netflix USA. Indeed, most nations have their own regional libraries; Japan, for example, has a larger collection of anime, while Spain has a greater range of Spanish-language content. If you live in the United Kingdom, you’ll be able to watch far more British television than American subscribers.

Is it possible for the BBC to trace your IP address?

Due to the way data is sent over the internet, every website you visit will be able to see your IP address. If the BBC suspects you of violating its copyright, it may contact your Internet Service Provider and request that they warn you not to do so in the future. However, this kind of method is often employed against pirates and is highly unlikely to occur just because you’ve chosen to try using a VPN to access BBC iPlayer.

Additionally, when you connect to a VPN, your true IP address is concealed. Rather, the BBC would have merely the IP address of the server you were using. Even if they do contact your VPN provider, they are unlikely to follow anything less than a court demand, and in any event, most big firms refuse to record any data that may be used to identify you personally. In other words, if you’re connected to a VPN, neither the BBC nor anybody else will be able to determine your true IP address.

Is it safer for UK expats to utilize a proxy server?

Proxy servers may seem to be a viable alternative to VPNs since they do not need installation and often do not cost anything to use. They do, however, have their own set of complications. To begin with, there is no assurance that they will truly encrypt your communication. Even if they do, they will only protect data from your internet browser and will not allow you to securely pirate or use other programs.

Additionally, it’s critical to keep in mind that all of your data will pass through this server. This may contain personally identifiable information such as passwords or usernames, and perhaps credit card information. Because there is no simple method to determine who runs a certain proxy server, you are effectively gambling with your personal information. By contrast, VPN providers are constrained by stringent data privacy laws and rely on their reputations to survive. As such, we strongly discourage the use of a proxy server in any situation.

Is it legal for a UK expat to use a VPN?

It may surprise you to find that the majority of the world’s countries have no laws prohibiting the use of a VPN. Naturally, we recommend checking your country’s local regulations if in doubt, but unless you’re in China, Russia, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, or the United Arab Emirates, you should be alright.

Notably, using a VPN to access geo-restricted content nearly always violates the terms of service of the site. Even so, it’s quite improbable that anything will happen if your VPN is identified; most services would just urge you to disable it.

Does using a VPN in the United Kingdom harm my internet speed?

Regrettably, regardless of your location or the location of your selected server, a VPN will always degrade your internet speed. This is because they send your traffic via an encrypted server rather than directly to and from your machine.

On the positive side, VPN companies have made significant advancements in this area in recent years. Numerous providers now provide their own protocols that are quicker than OpenVPN, which was formerly the industry standard. Additionally, since viewing live TV requires only roughly 5 Mb/s of download speed, your VPN should not create any issues unless your base internet connection is really sluggish.

Found this useful? Share with