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9 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2024

Last updated: March 22, 2022

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If you want to watch Downton Abbey, Coronation Street, Dr. Who, or live coverage of the Super Bowl, BBC iPlayer is ideal for you.

However, you can only watch if you are in Britain.

If you want to watch BBC iPlayer from the US or any other area, you will need to use one of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer.

If you enjoy the very best of British TV and movies, BBC iPlayer is your address for watching all of these online. As long as you are anywhere in the UK, you can watch all of BBC iPlayer’s channels and programs shortly after they have been broadcast, right from your computer, tablet, smart TV, game console, mobile phone, or on the BBC iPlayer website.

You can also access amazing shows from the Archives of the BBC as well as online exclusives and live events.

But, unless you use a VPN for BBC iPlayer, you will not have success at watching BBC iPlayer abroad.

Below you will find our top picks for VPNs for BBC iPlayer that ensure your security when streaming your favorite content, boost your download speeds, and eliminate buffering, while allowing you to unblock iPlayer from outside the UK by connecting to one of the UK servers of the VPN service.

In a Hurry? Here Are 9 Best BBC iPlayer VPNs

Quick Guide: How to Unblock BBC iPlayer With a VPN

You do not have to be a VPN expert to figure out how to use a VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer. All you have to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Select a premium VPN that is proven to be able to unblock BBC iPlayer. We recommend using ExpressVPN because it boasts high speeds and exceptional security features.
  2. Install the VPN app on your device.
  3. Make sure to connect to a VPN server that is located in the United Kingdom.
  4. Now, go onto the BBC iPlayer website and sign up for an account or log in to an existing account.
  5. Start streaming and enjoy all your favorite British content!

NOTE: Ensure that you identify a valid UK postcode if you are signing up as a new user so you can enter it when you set up BBC iPlayer (e.g., SW 1 1AA or HA8 7BN). Also, ensure that you click “yes” when asked on the BBC iPlayer site if you have a valid UK television license.

9 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

Here are the top VPNs that we recommend for accessing BBC iPlayer from anywhere outside of the UK:

Devices compatible with ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is, in our view, the best BBC iPlayer VPN, easily allowing you to access BBC iPlayer content on one of its several UK servers, allowing you to disguise your actual IP address with one in the area in which one is allowed to watch one’s favorite British shows.

We rate ExpressVPN as the best iPlayer VPN as it provides exceptional speeds, allows you to stream BBC iPlayer within seconds, and has a range of outstanding security features, including DNSleak protection, militarylevel encryption (256-bit AES), a zerologs policy, a Kill-Switch, and more.

ExpressVPN provides excellent customer service, with live support 24/7 via chat, and it offers a reliable 30day moneyback guarantee. It also allows 5 concurrent connections on one account and is compatible with almost all devices.

ExpressVPN unblocks BBC iPlayer extremely effectively and gives you much, much more, also enabling you to stream Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, and Hulu; and with its unlimited bandwidth, you can binge-watch all your favorites all day long.


  • Top security
  • 24/7 customer service via live chat
  • Outstanding speeds
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in UK


  • More expensive

2. NordVPN

Devices compatible with NordVPN

NordVPN is definitely one of the best BBC iPlayer VPN services, easily bypassing geo-blocks and allowing you access to your favorite British content from anywhere. It can also unblock almost all of the other popular streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus.

NordVPN’s speeds are highly impressive as it uses an adapted form of WireGuard, known as NordLynx, and this results in quick and efficient access to any content you desire, without any buffering or delays.

NordVPN has an extensive network of servers (over 5,000 in 60 countries), with over 440 in the UK, so you can easily connect to one when you want to stream iPlayer from abroad.

Its SmartDNS feature allows you to unblock BBC iPlayer even if your device does not allow VPN connections and it has an impressive array of security and privacy features to ensure your online security, including military-grade encryption, CyberSec, a Kill Switch, zerologs policy, and more. NordVPN will protect your privacy and keep your data safe from online cyberattacks and hacking.

NordVPN is reasonably priced, offers a full 30day moneyback guarantee, and has 24/7 customer support.


  • Easily bypasses BBC iPlayer blocks
  • Extensive server network
  • Speeds are fast and consistent
  • Excellent security features
  • 30-day money-back guarantee


  • Desktop app can be inconsistent

Devices compatible with Surfshark

Surfshark is newer on the VPN scene, but it has quickly become the most affordable option on the best-iPlayer VPN list.

Surfshark effectively unblocks BBC iPlayer and other streaming services and offers the advantage of both an extremely reasonable price and unlimited simultaneous connections using a single VPN subscription. This means that the whole family, and a few friends, can all access BBC iPlayer and other streaming services simultaneously.

Surfshark has a large network of speedy servers, including several UK servers, and it consistently allows one to access iPlayer with a high level of security, including a strict nologs policy, militarygrade encryption, and RAMonly servers.

Surfshark has excellent apps for almost all streaming devices, offering a 30day moneyback guarantee, and full-time livechat support in case you run into any problems.


  • Strong security features
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Easy-to-use apps
  • 24/7 live-chat support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Affordable price


  • Not as fast as ExpressVPN
  • Some buffering and lag

Devices compatible with CyberGhost

Cyberghost is a budget-cost VPN that streamlines the process of unblocking geo-restricted content as its apps allow you to choose which server to connect to based on which site you are looking to unblock. You simply open the app, click on the streaming option, and choose the streaming site you want, with BBC iPlayer as one of your options. Once you click on the option that you desire, the app opens the relevant site for you in your browser.

CyberGhost has a wide range of privacy and security features including DNS leak protection, a Kill Switch, strong encryption, and a nologs policy.

CyberGhost’s speeds are good enough to allow you to stream in HD and one subscription allows for 7 concurrent connections. It has apps for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows and offers a generous 45day moneyback guarantee.


  • Unblocks BBC iPlayer from anywhere
  • Reasonably priced for users on a budget
  • Over 7,700 servers in 90 countries
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Good speeds


  • Won’t work in China or the UAE
  • Simple app may not be great for customization

Devices compatible with UltraVPN

UltraVPN is another good iPlayer VPN, allowing you to stream, game, and browse with unlimited bandwidth and great speeds.

UltraVPN is a smaller VPN, which might make it seem like it doesn’t fit on our list, but its small network of servers is super fast and is spread across all continents, offering servers in the UK for streaming BBC iPlayer.

UltraVPNhas good privacy and security features, like militarygrade encryption and a nologging policy, but it is important for privacy-minded users to keep in mind that it is based in the USA, which is a member of the 5-Eyes Alliance.


  • Solid security features
  • Fast speeds
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Up to 6 simultaneous connections


  • Small network of VPN servers
  • Based in 5-Eyes territory

Devices compatible with PIA

PIA has over 29,000 servers located around the globe, with plenty of UK server options to give you access to the BBC iPlayer streaming service. Its huge network can also unblock popular streaming services like YouTube, Hulu, Peacock, and Amazon Prime Video.

PIA is capable of good speeds (though there are faster VPNs on our list) which are sufficient for unblocking BBC iPlayer, and it also provides you with good security and privacy features and great customer support.


  • Decent speeds
  • Large number of dedicated streaming servers
  • Excellent customer support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 10 simultaneous connections


  • Not able to reliably unblock Netflix

With two server locations in the UK, one of which is specifically optimized for BBC iPlayer, PrivateVPN is a solid choice for your iPlayer VPN.

Though it is a smaller VPN, its speeds are good and it easily unblocked BBC iPlayer in tests and also unblocked streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Disney+, and many others.

It offers a decent level of protection in terms of security and privacy, with a nologs policy and high levels of encryption; and it can be used on Apple TV and various other streaming devices, allowing you to connect as many as 6 devices with a single subscription.

Apps are available for Windows, macOS, with additional mobile apps for iOS, and Android.


  • High level of security and privacy
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Decent streaming speeds from outside the UK
  • Also unblocks other streaming sites
  • 30-day money-back guarantee


  • Does not provide 24/7 customer support

8. Zenmate

Devices compatible with ZenMate

Zenmate is a small VPN service, but it has a large network of servers in over 80 countries, with several in the UK, making it a contender as the best iPlayer VPN.

Zenmate offers reliable speeds, unlimited bandwidth, minimal buffering, and unlimited simultaneous connections of streaming devices, ranging from iOS to Android, Windows to Chrome, Linux and Firefox, etc. It also offers a 30day moneyback guarantee.


  • Good security and service
  • Offers a 7-day free trial
  • Unlimited device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee


  • Speeds are not always great

9. VyprVPN

Devices compatible with VyprVPN

VyprVPN is user-friendly, easy to set up, and has VPN servers in London, which are good for unblocking iPlayer. It allows 5 devices to connect to each account and offers reliable speeds (though not the fastest) and minimal buffering.


  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Simple, user-friendly interface
  • 24/7 live-chat support


  • Can be prone to lag during peak hours
  • Connection to a UK server can be slow on a mobile device

How We Analyzed the Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

If you are outside the UK and want to unblock BBC iPlayer, you will need to identify one of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer, as this will allow you to disguise your actual IP address and create the impression that you are streaming BBC iPlayer from inside the United Kingdom.

You need to also ensure that the iPlayer VPN that you use is able to evade the VPN detection technology employed by the BBC.

The 9 BBC iPlayer VPNs listed above were all tested carefully, on a variety of devices and at different times of the day, in order to ascertain which of them was able to consistently unblock BBC iPlayer.

Each iPlayer VPN was checked in terms of the following criteria:

☑️ Size of server network in the relevant area (UK):
The more UK VPN server locations there are, the better your streaming experience and speed will be (less crowding) and the less likely it will be that the BBC will detect your VPN and prevent you from accessing iPlayer.

☑️ Unlimited bandwidth and data:
This will let you stream whatever and whenever you desire, with no limits.

☑️ Ability to unblock geo-restricted material:
This will allow you to watch BBC iPlayer abroad, as well as other popular services that you may want to watch in addition to BBC iPlayer, such as Hulu or Netflix.

☑️ Connections and compatibility with a wide range of devices:
This allows you to view your content wherever you may be and on whatever device you currently have with you, and also allows you to connect multiple devices to different VPN servers simultaneously for different online purposes.

☑️ Reliable connection speeds:
This avoids irritations and interruptions like pixelation of the picture, connection delays, and buffering.  

Can I Use a Free VPN for Watching BBC iPlayer?

It is very tempting to use one of the free VPNs, but we have found that none of them work well when trying to watch iPlayer abroad.

For starters, a free VPN is likely to have very few servers, leading to them being overcrowded and congested with VPN traffic. As a result, the free VPN will probably limit your bandwidth, which will mean that you cannot use it for any activity that requires a lot of data, e.g., streaming BBC iPlayer.

You also need to be aware that the BBC knows that there are VPN services that are loading a BBC iPlayer stream from outside the UK. Therefore, it is working hard to find and block the VPN’s IP addresses. This has resulted in many VPNs being blocked by the BBC, including most free services and some that are paid services. As free VPNs are easy to identify, they tend to be easy to block and so they are worthless when you want a VPN that unblocks BBC iPlayer.

Even more concerning is that free VPNs need to make their money through another channel so they tend to compromise your online security and to even sell it on for marketing purposes. This can result in unwanted ads, malware, and viruses and in severe breaches of your online privacy and security. It is simply not worth the risk of using a free VPN.

Our recommendation is to use a premium paid service and take advantage of the refund policy if you choose, using the service for a month and canceling if you want to get your money back within that 30-day (or 45-day) period.

Why You Need a VPN for BBC iPlayer

The BBC has sophisticated technology to identify from where people are logging on when they access BBC iPlayer. The BBC is determined that all its content should only be available to viewers in the UK. Therefore, when you try to watch your favorite British shows from outside the UK, you are likely to find yourself geo-blocked and, when you try to tune in, instead of watching your current show of choice, you will see an error message telling you that BBC iPlayer only works in the UK due to rights issues. Even UK citizens who have a TV license have no way of accessing BBC iPlayer when they are abroad unless they subscribe to a premium VPN that is proven to be able to unblock this service.

A VPN allows its users to disguise their actual IP addresses and to connect to one of its UK servers, thereby appearing to be logging on locally. However, not all VPNs are strong enough to do this so you need to subscribe to a VPN service like ExpressVPN or one of the others on our list in order to ensure your viewing pleasure.

Can BBC iPlayer Detect and Block VPN Providers?

The BBC can, indeed, detect and block VPN providers and it works very hard to do so, using sophisticated technology.

BBC iPlayer could block your VPN for several reasons:

☑️ It may be on the BBC iPlayer VPN backlist: When the BBC becomes aware that any particular IP address actually belongs to a VPN provider, it will block it from accessing any of its content.

☑️ The BBC could have detected unusual activity: If an unusually large number of people are identified as connecting to one particular IP address, it becomes evident that this address belongs to a VPN, and it will be blocked/ banned.

☑️ There could be a DNS leak: If your VPN accidentally leaks your actual IP address to BBC iPlayer, you will be blocked from watching.

☑️ GPS location/Cookies: Though your VPN hides your actual IP address, it may not be able to hide the cookies that could be in your browser. Alternatively, your GPS could be revealing your actual location, allowing BBC iPlayer to identify and block you.

VPNs You Should Avoid Using with BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer is putting a great deal of effort into preventing VPN subscribers from bypassing its geo-restrictions to watch its content from areas that are not in the UK.

At the time that we wrote this article, the following VPNs were blocked by BBC iPlayer:

☑️ IPVanish
☑️ HMA
☑️ TorGuard
☑️ TunnelBear
☑️ Astrill
☑️ Mullvad

It is likely that several more VPNs have recently been blocked. However, the best VPN providers are getting better at evading detection, so it is possible that even those on this list have now become better at providing access to BBC iPlayer’s content.

How to Use a VPN with BBC iPlayer

No matter where you are in the world, you can use a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer by using the VPN to gain access to a server address that is in the UK. This will allow you to view content that is restricted to viewers in the UK, as it will appear as if you are connecting from there. When you choose your VPN provider, make sure that it has servers locations in Britain, and then follow the following steps so that you can stream BBC player using your VPN:

  1. Subscribe to a VPN service and follow the prompts to set it up on your device. We recommend using ExpressVPN.
  2. Ensure that you open the VPN’s app and enable the Kill Switch and IP Leak protection.
  3. Connect to one of the VPN’s servers in the UK. (You can use an IP Info Tool to make sure that the server you have chosen has an IP address in the required area.)
  4. Log in to the BBC iPlayer app and enjoy all your favorite BBC iPlayer content.

How to Stream BBC iPlayer in the United States

Once you subscribe, even when you are in the USA you can use a VPN to connect to a UK server. Then, you can set up an account with BBC iPlayer on the BBC iPlayer page on their website and begin streaming the content that you desire, as well as other streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu. In this way, you can watch BBC iPlayer in the US as if you are in the UK.

What Else You Can Do with a VPN

VPNs allow you to unblock your favorite streaming service, be it Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, or BBC iPlayer, when you are away from home for work or play. This opens up a world of viewing pleasure.

Because a Virtual Private Network allows you to avoid restrictions on internet access, many people use them in China and in many Middle Eastern countries, where there are rigorous restrictions on the content that one is able to access.

In addition, they can be used to sidestep a ban on one’s internet access on a school network or work network.

Furthermore, because a VPN provides you with an encrypted tunnel that makes you anonymous on the internet, it is a powerful way of protecting yourself from viruses, malware, and cybercriminals, enhancing your internet connection.


Do I need a UK TV license to stream BBC iPlayer?

If you live in the UK,you need a UK TV license in order to stream BBC iPlayer content. However, if you use a VPN, the BBC has no idea where you are actually located and you will look as if you have a UK IP address. Therefore, you will not need a UK TV license for watching BBC iPlayer.

Why is my VPN not working with BBC iPlayer?

It is likely that BBC iPlayer has detected the VPN that you are using as it has powerful technology that aims to prevent unauthorized access to their content. Most likely, you will need to clear your cookies and cache and connect to a different server in the UK.

Is NordVPN good for BBC iPlayer?

NordVPN is an excellent choice for streaming BBC iPlayer because it has servers in the UK, is extremely fast, boasts excellent security features, and is very reliable.

Is BBC iPlayer free to use?

Yes, it is free to use BBC iPlayer. If you want to start watching your favorite program on BBC iPlayer, all you need to do is create an account and provide a postcode that is in the United Kingdom (e.g., HA8 2FG). Remember to answer “Yes” when asked whether you have a UK television license.

Is it legal to use a VPN with BBC iPlayer?

It is legal to use a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer but it is against its Terms of Service. If you are caught using a VPN, the worst scenario is that BBC may suspend your account.

Can I access BBC iPlayer with a VPN?

BBC iPlayer is working very hard at blocking VPN users from bypassing its geo-restrictions and accessing its content from areas outside of the UK. Therefore, BBC iPlayer is often one of the most difficult streaming services to unblock. As a result, you will need a really top-notch VPN to allow you to watch BBC iPlayer.


Even though BBC iPlayer has very stringent geo-restrictions that make it challenging to unblock BB iPlayer directly, using the best of the premium VPNs can allow you to access the best of British entertainment, from the Great British Bake Off to Peaky Blinders and the perennial Coronation Street, wherever you may be in the world.

If at any point you find that you cannot unblock BBC iPlayer directly, you can contact the VPN’s Customer Support to assist you.

So, secure your iPlayer VPN, set up your BBC iPlayer account and, by connecting to the UK VPN servers provided by your VPN, soon you will be enjoying your favorite British shows on your mobile phone, computer, Apple TV, a variety of smart TVs, or several other devices.

The best of British is at your fingertips! Enjoy!

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