With a VPN, you can stream BBC iPlayer outside of the UK. And, setting up a VPN for iPlayer takes less than 5 minutes! However, not every VPN is robust enough to work with iPlayer. But, don't fret! Our experts have reviewed over 150 VPNs since 2013 and are well acquainted with the VPNs that do work with iPlayer.
In this article we'll show you the best VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer and ones you should avoid so you can start streaming iPlayer content from anywhere in world.
The Best BBC iPlayer VPNs: In-depth analysis
The VPNs in the list below all unblock BBC iPlayer. Simply connect to one of these services and you'll be able to stream iPlayer from anywhere.
ExpressVPN is a popular service thanks to its blazing download speeds, reliable servers and ability to consistently unblock the world's most in-demand content. It is a little more expensive than other options provided here, but its sleek, premium feel gives ExpressVPN value for money that is difficult to find elsewhere.
Surfshark VPN is only a year or so old, but in that short time, it has taken the VPN market by storm with blazing fast speed performance and 500 servers in over 50 countries.
As is to be expected from today’s top VPN providers, Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support. What is unusual is that it allows you to connect as many devices as you want to the service at the same time! And of course SurfShark unblocks iPlayer, and many other streaming services too.
Cyberghost has taken the industry by storm in a short space of time by offering a great product at a great price. It's a fantastic service that is superb for unblocking UK content. It has a choice of fast UK servers that are capable of unblocking iPlayer and are up to the task of streaming in HD.
Software is available for all major platforms and is very easy to and the VPN is secure thanks to military-grade encryption. With a 45-day money back guarantee, an attractive price and a robust offering, Cyberghost is certainly one worth considering.
PrivateVPN is regularly praised as a great all-rounder. The provider has proven itself to be good at unblock a wide range of content, including iPlayer. It is fast, efficient and offers an extremely reliable service. It is a pleasure to use the software and has all the important security features you would hope for.
Private has a robust zero logs policy and, considering polished the product is, comes in at a really attractive price. Why not make use of the 30-day money-back guarantee and see what all the fuss is about.
VyprVPN is a provider based in Switzerland that is renowned both for providing fast speeds and access to sought after services. With VyprVPN, users can access not only iPlayer, but other British TV channels and Netflix. We like VyprVPN because it is easy to use, and it has excellent apps for all platforms. This is also one of the few VPNs that has proven its no logs claims with a full third-party audit of its platform and server network.
VyprVPN provides servers in over 70 countries, great for bypassing censorship or accessing content from back home while on holiday. Plus this VPN implements robust levels of VPNOnlineFree encryption.
Hotspot Shield is a popular US-based VPN provider that is well known due to its free VPN apps for mobile devices. However, in addition to having the free service (which only provides VPN connections in the USA) it also has full premium service with servers in 98 countries – including the UK.
What is unusual about Hotspot Shield, is that it uses a proprietary protocol called Catapult Hydra to transport data. And it is super fast. In fact, this is one of the fastest VPNs we've tested, making it great for streaming iPlayer. Admittedly, the closed source nature of the protocol does raise some questions, so any users with an elevated threat model may prefer to stick to a provider using VPNOnlineFree (like the rest in this list).
On the other hand, Hotspot Shield's home-grown protocol has been audited and the premium version unblocks iPlayer without issue, Hotspot Shield provides a lengthy 45-day money-back guarantee – so you can test it thoroughly for a month and a half!
VPNArea is an excellent Bulgarian provider that is a superb choice for streaming. It is a relatively cheap service when purchased yearly, and it will let you stream not only the UK's iPlayer – but many other channels from around the globe.
VPNArea has solid software for all platforms, and they all come fully equipped with what you need to keep your data private. DNS leak protection and a killswitch are included, and the VPN keeps zero-logs. Finally, and most importantly, VPNArea provides reliable and fast connections for streaming without buffering.
Why do I need a BBC iPlayer VPN?
A VPN does two important things:
The important thing to understand is that first and foremost VPNs are for digital privacy, not for unblocking iPlayer. This means that 99% of VPNs can provide you with a UK IP address – but don't necessarily unblock iPlayer. To watch iPlayer abroad you must choose one of our recommended VPNs to avoid disappointment.
If you're new to VPNs, you can learn the basics with our helpful guides:
Informing, educating, and entertaining during the pandemic
COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, has swept the world, causing a prolonged period of isolation. Sporting events have been cancelled, schools are being closed, and the shelves are empty at our local shops.
While the BBC admits that there will be a disruption to its usual services, the broadcaster is using all its services to help the UK through this rough period of quarantine by shifting its programming to educate children, inform viewers about exercise and dietary requirements using only the essentials, and updating its list of entertainment boxsets temporarily. A VPN can make sure you can get all the support you need during this time.
How to use a VPN for BBC iPlayer
If you choose the right VPN, then using a VPN service to watch BBC iPlayer is simple. All you need to do is follow the instructions below.
- Subscribe to a VPN for BBC iPlayer and download their software.
- Open the app or VPN client. When the app loads, you will be prompted to sign in to the service.
- When you get into the app, find the server list, and choose one based in the UK.
- Go to the BBC iPlayer website and sign up for an account. You will be asked for a UK postal code, which is basically a Zip code. You can find post codes online.
- You will now have access to BBC iPlayer, and you can watch BBC content.
You should now be able to stream BBC content from any country. If you are having issues, check out our iPlayer VPN block troubleshooting guide. Or, for more information on the method above, check out our guide to unblocking iPlayer.
How a VPN for BBC iPlayer works?
The video below explains how a VPN unblocks iPlayer from anywhere in the world.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Outside of the UK | VPNOnlineFree
Will any VPN work with iPlayer?
Each year, the BBC gets better at blocking VPN users. As a result, fewer and fewer VPNs work to stream iPlayer. That means you need to be super-careful when choosing a VPN. Bypassing the BBC firewall is tricky and expensive – which is why most VPN providers have given up. Luckily, some VPN providers still go to the effort so that you can watch iPlayer!
Our recommended VPNs have all found ways to combat the iPlayer VPN block, and they all successfully bypass the iPlayer proxy error. We have included several cheap VPN services in this article, so you can unblock iPlayer for less than $2 a month. And, to ensure you get a seamless experience, our recommended iPlayer VPNs have lightning fast UK servers that allow you to watch BBC iPlayer in HD without buffering.
Having trouble unblocking iPlayer? Check out our iPlayer VPN troubleshooting guide.
VPN services that don’t work with iPlayer
The vast majority of VPNs do not unblock iPlayer, and there are literally hundreds of commercial VPNs on the market – meaning that there are a lot you need to avoid. To help you out, we have listed some of the more prevalent VPNs that don’t work with iPlayer in 2020. These VPNs need to be avoided if you want to stream iPlayer.
- TunnelBear. This popular VPN has servers in the UK but they do not unblock iPlayer. That is a shame because this is a VPN that is generally extremely well liked. Find out more with our TunnelBear review.
- Windscribe. This well-known VPN is not unblocking iPlayer as of January 2020. It has been receiving complaints and comments on its forums from disgruntled users. Find out more with our Windscribe review.
- PureVPN. This VPN claims to unblock iPlayer. However, some users are complaining about its inability to do so – even when they use the VPN and the extension together – as they are supposed to. Better avoided. Find out more with our PureVPN review.
- GooseVPN. This VPN is often subscribed by consumers who want to unblock content. However, the VPN is currently admitting that it is not managing to unblock iPlayer, so please stay away from Goose. Find out more with our GooseVPN review.
Other VPNs that won't work
The VPNs above do not unblock BBC iPlayer, even if you connect to their UK server. This is because the BBC has already blacklisted that VPN successfully.
The short answer is no. Very few free vpns will unblock BBC iPlayer, this is because they do not offer the speeds you will need to stream. Free services restrict download speeds and have usage throughput limits, meaning those that do unblock BBC iPlayer aren't reliable.
It is possible to gain temporary access to an iPlayer VPN for free. Check out our free VPN for iPlayer hack to find out more.
People living in the UK can be fined if they watch iPlayer without paying for a TV license. However, because you are located outside of the UK, and a VPN provides encryption; the BBC will not be able to tell who you are. Just remember that to use iPlayer you will need to hand over an email address and a valid UK postcode. So use a random postcode generator and a burner email to be safe. Although a VPN may be effective for watching iPlayer without a TV license inside the UK – we can not endorse nor recommend this. If you live in the UK and don’t pay for a TV license, you could be fined.
There are a number of things that could be triggering the iPlayer VPN block. We recommend first restarting your VPN and connecting to another iPlayer compatible server (contact your provider to find out which work with iPlayer). If this doesn't work, we have some alternative tips and tricks, found in our iPlayer VPN block guide.