5 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2019 - How to watch iPlayer abroad

With a VPN, you can watch BBC iPlayer abroad. And the best part is, it takes less than 5 minutes to set up. Our team of experts have been reviewing VPNs since 2013 and in this guide we'll show you their favorite VPNs to unblock BBC iPlayer and how they work. 

What are the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer?

If you're in a hurry to catch your favorite shows on iPlayer, we list the best VPNs for the job below. But, if you would like more information, keep scrolling. 

  1. NordVPN - has been able to consistently unblock BBC iPlayer amongst other services. NordVPN Also offers their customers features like dedicated IP Addresses for free, which makes it harder for BBC iPlayer to block your VPN.
  2. PrivateVPN - is the cheapest VPN in our list! It is easy to use, so you can unblock iPlayer within minutes.
  3. CyberGhost - is great for anyone that wants an easy to use VPN for iPlayer. They have a section in the app that lists all of the servers that will unblock streaming services like iPlayer.
  4. ExpressVPN - is one of the fastest VPNs on the market, so you will have no problem streaming BBC iPlayer in HD when you are abroad.
  5. VPNArea - is an excellent all-rounder, and they provide fantastic customer service so you can get the help you need if you run into any problems when unblocking iPlayer.

 

The Best BBC iPlayer VPNs: In-depth analysis

The VPNs in the list below will all unblock BBC iPlayer. Simply connect to one of the services and you'll be able to stream iPlayer from anywhere.

1. NordVPN

NordVPN is the best VPN for watching BBC iPlayer abroad, it offers great features and value for money

  • Pricing

    From $3.49 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Mac
    • iOS
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • Money-back Guarantee

NordVPN is one of our top choices for watching BBC iPlayer because it offers fantastic value for money! Speeds are fast enough to let you enjoy HD shows and you can use the VPN on an incredible six devices at the same time.

The software is streamlined and intuitive, which means you can be streaming your favorite content in seconds. With clients available on all popular platforms, NordVPN is a cost-effective solution for streaming BBC iPlayer on the go.

2. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN is a superb VPN for BBC iPlayer, and it will unblock all types of content

  • Pricing

    From $1.89 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Mac
    • iOS
    • Linux
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • Money-back Guarantee

PrivateVPN is a regularly praised as 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.

3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost is an easy to use VPN and it is perfect for accessing BBC iPlayer outside the UK

  • Pricing

    From $2.75 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Mac
    • iOS
    • Linux
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • Money-back Guarantee

Cyberghost has taken the industry by storm in a short space of time by offering a great product at a great price. Cyberghost is a superb VPN 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.

4. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has blazing fast servers which are great for streaming BBC iPlayer in HD

  • Pricing

    From $6.67 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Mac
    • iOS
    • Linux
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • Money-back Guarantee

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.

The VPN can be used on three devices simultaneously and while this isn't as many as some other providers, is usually more than adequate for most streaming needs.

When it comes to privacy, ExpressVPN leads the pack thanks to military grade encryption, and a watertight privacy policy.

5. VPNArea

VPNArea is great value for money and can unblock iPlayer, winner!

  • Pricing

    From $2.99 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Mac
    • iOS
    • Linux
  • Features

    • Netflix
    • Money-back Guarantee

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. A great allrounder.

The Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer: Speed Comparison

Unblocking BBC iPlayer is just one requirement of the VPNs in this guide. On top of this, they also need to provide fast enough speeds to stream in HD. The graph below updates daily and can be used to see what speeds each of our recommended VPNs are capable of offering.


A VPN will impact your speeds

A common question we often get asked is, "will a VPN improve my internet speeds?". Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no. In fact, a VPN can slow down your internet speeds slightly. Picking a faster VPN, however, will minimise this impact.

To learn more about VPN speeds, check out our in-depth VPN speed testing guide.

 

Why do I need a BBC iPlayer VPN?

A VPN provides two things:

  • Digital privacy with strong encryption: This stops your ISP from knowing what you do online.

  • VPNs conceal your real location: This allows you to pretend to be in a remote location of your choice. When connecting to a server in the UK, you get a UK IP address. This makes it seem like you are a UK resident, which lets you unblock iPlayer!

The important thing to understand is that VPNs are originally for digital privacy, not for unblocking iPlayer. That means 99% of VPNs can provide you with a UK IP address but it doesn’t necessarily unblock iPlayer. To watch iPlayer abroad choose one of our recommended VPNs to avoid disappointment.

If you're new to VPNs, you can learn the basics with our helpful guides:

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 in 2019 | ProPrivacy

How to Watch BBC iPlayer Outside of the UK in 2019 | ProPrivacy
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Outside of the UK in 2019 | ProPrivacy

How to use a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer abroad

To unblock iPlayer abroad with a VPN follow these steps:

  1. Select a VPN from this article and subscribe. To watch BBC iPlayer abroad - we recommend NordVPN - because it has super-fast servers for streaming in HD.
  2. Download the VPN software and install it.
  3. Connect to a UK server using the VPN software.
  4. Navigate to BBC iPlayer website online.
  5. Sign up for iPlayer using a burner email address.
  6. Enter a valid UK postcode.
  7. Read the T&Cs and continue if you agree.
  8. That is it! You can now watch iPlayer! Remember, you will always need to use your VPN to log in to the iPlayer website! Otherwise, you will see the iPlayer proxy error:

    “BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only. Find out why. If you are in the UK and see this message, please read this advice.”

Will any VPN unblock iPlayer?

The BBC is getting better and better at blocking VPNs, which means that you need to be extra careful when choosing one. It is not cheap or easy to bypass the BBC firewall so most VPN providers have stopped trying. Thankfully, some world class VPNs still know how to let you watch iPlayer!

Our recommendations all have reliable ways to fight the iPlayer VPN block, and can bypass the iPlayer proxy error. There are several cheap VPN services listed above, so you can unblock iPlayer for less than $2 a month. In addition, to guarantee a seemless experience, these VPN providers have super fast UK servers that will let you watch BBC iPlayer in HD without buffering.

Having trouble unblocking iPlayer? Check out our iPlayer VPN troubleshooting guide.

Is BBC iPlayer blocking VPNs?

Copyright holders make money by licensing their TV shows and movies to different regions around the world. The BBC, for example, pays other content providers for the rights to broadcast certain TV shows in the UK.

The BBC also licenses it's own content to broadcasters around the world... for a healthy fee of course. Top Gear is a great example. This BBC TV show generates £50 million a year for the corporation. It's ninth series was sold 282 times, including to broadcasters in Albania, China, Iceland and Iran.

These licensing deals are very lucrative; but as soon as users realize they can access regional content using a VPN, these deals start to fall apart.

That's why broadcasters such BBC do everything they can to block VPNs.

How do they know?

The BBC blocks VPN IP addresses by monitoring IP addresses for unusually high levels of activity. If a huge number of people use a single IP, the BBC can deduce that it is a VPN server.

If iPlayer has blocked your VPN, it is likely that there is nothing you can do to fix it. Your VPN may have given up attempting to keep providing access to iPlayer. If this is the case, you need to cancel your subscription and choose a service from our best iPlayer VPN list above.

How to get around the BBC VPN block

If you are currently subscribed to a VPN that you know definitely does unblock iPlayer, you may be able to troubleshoot it by following the steps below:

  1. Contact your VPN for advice - Normally your VPN will have specific UK servers setup to unblock iPlayer. If one particular UK server is blocked test, another - or ask customer service to tell you which to connect to.
  2. Clear your cookies. For more information: Clearing cookies guide.
  3. Update your browser’s geolocation data settings.
  4. Flush your DNS cache - For Windows VPN users type “cmd” in your search bar > Open Command Prompt > Type the following command > ipconfig /flushdns. For Mac VPN users please follow Apple’s VPN instructions as it varies on different versions of macOS.
  5. Fix DNS leaks. Find out how: How to fix a DNS leak.
  6. Fix WebRTC leaks by disabling WebRTC, using a WebRTC block extension, or by disabling IPv6.
  7. Get a dedicated IP. Some VPNs provide access to dedicated IPs which are reserved for your use only. A UK dedicated IP should always work with iPlayer, but check with your provider before you pay for it to be sure.

Still having issues? We take a more extensive look at other troubleshooting methods in our what to do when your iPlayer VPN isn't working guide. 

Do you need a TV license to watch iPlayer abroad?

In the UK, all citizens must pay for a TV license to watch BBC channels both on their TV and on iPlayer. Theoretically, that means every single person watching iPlayer should live in a home with a valid TV license.

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.


Remember: 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.

VPN services that don’t work with iPlayer

To help you out, we have pinpointed a number of VPNs that definitely do not work with BBC iPlayer. If you want to access iPlayer outside the UK give these VPNs a miss!

The VPNs above never unblock BBC iPlayer, even if you connect to their UK server. This is because the BBC has already blacklisted that VPN successfully.

Other ways to unblock iPlayer

On rare occasions, it may be possible to unblock BBC iPlayer with a proxy server. However, this is extremely rare these days, and a proxy will not provide the level of privacy that a VPN gives you.

What’s more, the BBC has already blacklisted most proxies. Thus, you will likely find it almost impossible to find a free proxy for iPlayer (proxy website or proxy extension).

FAQs

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. Ray is currently rated #4 VPN and #3 internet privacy authority by Agilience.com.

35 Comments

  1. Lizzy

    on November 3, 2019
    Reply

    Can’t seem to get express vpn to work with I player. It worked on day 1 but nothing since. Their support team haven’t been able to resolve the issue so far either. Unsure if this vpn works well with the player.

  2. Mark

    on October 11, 2019
    Reply

    Hi Douglas, Strange that you guys have ZoogVPN marked as not working with BBC iPlayer while in your review of this service provider you marked them as offering access to iPlayer. Anyways, having used ZoogVPN a little while now, I can confirm that it does indeed work with iPlayer as long as you are choosing the right streaming server to use. You have to choose the streaming server in UK to watch streaming services as they grade each server as either streaming, for torrenting or for stealth/obfuscation use in highly censored countries. For such a low price it is great that there is a VPN that cares about users who seek out these services.

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to Mark

      on October 14, 2019
      Reply

      Hi Mark. Where do we say that ZoogTV doesn't work with BBC iPlayer? This list here is only a best 5, and is not intended to be exhaustive.

      1. Mark replied to Douglas Crawford

        on October 15, 2019
        Reply

        Hello Douglas, In the "VPN services that don’t work with iPlayer" list, last page it says "No".

        1. Douglas Crawford replied to Mark

          on October 17, 2019
          Reply

          Hi Mark. Good spotting! Thanks for letting us know. I've flagged with the team, who say it should get fixed today.

  3. Tihgred

    on May 1, 2019
    Reply

    It is imposible to download programs using any VPN and the bbc iplayer. I' ve tested some of the vpn providers recommended in this article, and they work perfectly when streaming, but it is IMPOSSIBLE to download contents in order to watch them later when you are offline. For some reason, the BBC is able to block dowloads from any VPN. I'll be happy if someone could recommend a VPN that is able to do that.

    1. douglas replied to Tihgred

      on May 2, 2019
      Reply

      Hi Tihgred, We have tested to ensure that all VPNs listed here allow you to stream via BBC iPlayer. Time permitting, we will look into the issue of downloading content from iPlayer.

  4. MrHull

    on January 18, 2019
    Reply

    I have subscribed to Private internet access(PIA) for several years and if your reason for a VPN is to access the BBC I can tell you I have not been able to access the BBC for 2 years +. For this reason I will not renew my subscription to PIA later this year when it expires.

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