10 best VPNs for BBC iPlayer that work in October 2020

If you're an ex-pat living abroad and missing some home comforts, or just a fan of British TV, a VPN for BBC iPlayer could be the perfect online tool for you. With a VPN, you can stream BBC iPlayer outside of the UK – and setting up a VPN for iPlayer takes less than 5 minutes!

The best VPNs that work with iPlayer

  1. ExpressVPN - An excellent choice for unblocking BBC iPlayer. One of the fastest VPNs on the market, perfect for streaming iPlayer in HD.
  2. CyberGhost VPN - An easy to use VPN for iPlayer. It has clearly marked servers so you know where to connect to unblock iPlayer.
  3. Surfshark - This VPN for BBC iPlayer is packed with value. You can unblock iPlayer & stream in HD without breaking the bank.
  4. PrivateVPN - A low price VPN for BBC iPlayer. It's fast & easy to use, so you can unblock iPlayer within minutes & steam in HD.
  5. VyprVPN - A great all-round VPN that works with BBC iPlayer. If you want a private server network & consistent speeds, look no further.

Try ExpressVPN our #1 VPN for iPlayer

See full list & analysis

Before we start, it's important to note that not every VPN is robust enough to work with iPlayer. In fact, the number of VPNs that actually still work with iPlayer is dwindling. But don't fret! Our experts have reviewed over 150 VPNs since 2013 and are well acquainted with the VPNs that still work reliably with iPlayer.

In this article, we'll show you the best VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer as well as the ones you should avoid so you can start streaming iPlayer content from anywhere in the world.

When picking the best VPNs to use with BBC iPlayer, the main thing we are looking for is that the VPN has servers that can actually unblock iPlayer from outside the UK. But that's not all. We also check for:

Provided a VPN meets all of the above criteria, it is eligible for inclusion in this guide.

The best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2020

The best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2020 are:

ExpressVPN is our #1 VPN for BBC iPlayer. With blazing fast servers that consistently unblock iPlayer time after time, there's a lot to love about this VPN.

  • Pricing

    From  $6.67 - $12.95
  • Servers in UK

    • 4
  • Speeds

    • 68.43 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

ExpressVPN is a popular service thanks to its blazing-fast download speeds, reliable servers, and its ability to consistently unblock the world's most in-demand streaming content. It is admittedly a bit more expensive than other options listed here, but its sleek, premium offering gives ExpressVPN true value for money that is difficult to find elsewhere. 


ExpressVPN offers an industry standard of 5 simultaneous connections. When it comes to privacy, ExpressVPN leads the pack thanks to military-grade encryption, watertight privacy policy, and a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee.

CyberGhost is a great VPN for BBC iPlayer if you're a technophobe. Its app is super easy to use, with clearly marked servers for quick access to BBC iPlayer outside the UK.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.25 - $13.47
  • Servers in UK

    • 1,223
  • Speeds

    • 31.52 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

CyberGhost VPN has taken the industry by storm in a short space of time by offering an excellent premium VPN product at a great price. On top of that, it's a fantastic service for unblocking UK content, especially iPlayer. It has a choice of fast UK servers capable of unblocking iPlayer and each is well up to the task of streaming in HD smoothly without any buffering.


Software is available for all major platforms, is extremely easy to use, and the VPN is highly secure thanks to military-grade encryption. With a 45-day money-back guarantee, an attractive price, and a robust offering overall, CyberGhost is certainly one worth considering for anyone looking to unblock iPlayer content.

Surfshark is a great choice for iPlayer if you want a VPN packed with premium features, but don't want to pay premium prices. Looking for value. Look no further.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.49 - $12.95
  • Servers in UK

    • 117
  • Speeds

    • 64.65 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

Surfshark VPN has only been around for a few years, but in that short time, this provider has taken the VPN market by storm with blazing fast speed performance and 1700 servers in over 63 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 popular streaming services from around the world as well.

PrivateVPN is one of the cheapest VPN for iPlayer on our list. But don't let the price fool you! PrivateVPN has proven time and again to be the undisputed king at unblocking streaming services.

  • Pricing

    From  $1.89 - $7.12
  • Servers in UK

    • 5
  • Speeds

    • 34.08 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

PrivateVPN is regularly praised as a great all-rounder. The provider has proven itself to be good at unblocking a wide range of streaming 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 need in a quality VPN service.


PrivateVPN has a robust zero-logs policy, and considering how 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 the prefect VPN to unblock iPlayer on all your devices. Its apps are just as slick as its desktop software and both work seamlessly with iPlayer.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.50 - $12.95
  • Servers in UK

    • 1
  • Speeds

    • 29.66 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

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 also 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, which is great for bypassing censorship or accessing content from back home while on holiday. Plus, this VPN implements robust levels of OpenVPN encryption and other top-notch security features like DNS leak protection and a kill-switch.

Ivacy is the cheapest VPN to unblock iPlayer on our list. As a bonus, when you sign up for this VPN, not only can you watch British classics on the BBC, but also ITV and All4.

  • Pricing

    From  $0.99 - $9.95
  • Servers in UK

    • 58
  • Speeds

    • 107.61 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

Ivacy is a VPN based in Singapore that is perfect for unblocking UK streams such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, and Channel 4.


The VPN is both secure and fast, which means you can trust it for gaining online privacy and for streaming content online in HD. Plus, with Ivacy you get servers in more than 100 countries - ideal for unblocking iPlayer and other popular streaming services like Netflix US, hulu, and much more. With Ivacy you get strong OpenVPN encryption, which means your data is always secure. On top of all that, this VPN will never have any records about what you do online thanks to its no-logs policy.


All in all, Ivacy is an excellent VPN at a superb price point. You can test it completely risk-free using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Hotspot Shield is a great VPN for iPlayer if you already have slow download speeds. Its proprietary encryption is fast, really fast! Perfect for streaming HD content.

  • Pricing

    From  $3.88 - $16.84
  • Servers in UK

    • 50
  • Speeds

    • 48.00 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

Hotspot Shield is a popular US-based VPN provider that is well known due to its free VPN apps for mobile devices. However, besides 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 OpenVPN (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 the best choice if customer support is important to you. It balances impressive features with it's ability to unblock, making it a great BBC iPlayer VPN.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.99 - $9.90
  • Servers in UK

    • 7
  • Speeds

    • 33.90 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

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 popular streaming sites from all 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 kill-switch are included, and the VPN keeps zero-logs. Finally, and most importantly for users wanting to access iPlayer, VPNArea provides reliable and fast connections for streaming without buffering.

StrongVPN unblocks iPlayer with a little help from SmartDNS. The good news is, it throws this service in for free as part of its premium plan.

  • Pricing

    From  $5.83 - $10.00
  • Servers in UK

    • 91
  • Speeds

    • 38.29 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android

StrongVPN is a secure VPN provider that has apps for all platforms.


It is a secure no-logs VPN that is based in the USA. Until recently the VPN could unblock iPlayer by connecting to the UK server in the VPN clients. However, the service has informed us that customers will need to avail of its Smart DNS service instead. The good news is that this is available for free as part of your plan, and it is not hard to set up (thanks to the guide on its website). As soon as you do, you can unblock iPlayer with ease. We think this VPN provides excellent unblocking capabilities, and it is a highly secure VPN that can be trusted to protect your digital privacy.


Well worth testing using its 30-day money-back guarantee. 

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

  • Pricing

    From  $3.71 - $11.95
  • Servers in UK

    • 425
  • Speeds

    • 72.54 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

NordVPN is one of our top choices for watching BBC iPlayer because it offers truly fantastic value for money! This is no surprise to our readers, however, as the provider achieved our most coveted award, winning Best Overall VPN at the ProPrivacy Awards in 2019.


Speeds are fast enough to let you enjoy HD shows and you can use the VPN on up to 6 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.

Which is the fastest VPN for BBC iPlayer?

Speed is certainly one of the most important considerations when deciding on a VPN for streaming iPlayer – nobody wants to be stuck watching a buffering video, after all. To help you understand what sort of speeds you can expect from our recommended VPN picks for iPlayer, we run daily speed tests on them and display the results in the table below.

Place Provider Average Speed Max Speed Visit Site
1. 97.99 Mbit/s 639.24 Mbit/s Visit Site
2. 78.62 Mbit/s 368.72 Mbit/s Visit Site
3. 77.42 Mbit/s 307.03 Mbit/s Visit Site
4. 74.61 Mbit/s 268.41 Mbit/s Visit Site
5. 56.11 Mbit/s 56.91 Mbit/s Visit Site
6. 56.10 Mbit/s 118.25 Mbit/s Visit Site
7. 54.88 Mbit/s 221.60 Mbit/s Visit Site
8. 52.81 Mbit/s 115.79 Mbit/s Visit Site
9. 29.71 Mbit/s 60.31 Mbit/s Visit Site

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Why do I need a BBC iPlayer VPN?

You'll find that you're unable to access BBC iPlayer if you live outside of the UK. If you try, chances are that you'll be met with the following message:

This is where a VPN comes into play. It does two important things:

It's important to remember that a VPN is a privacy tool first and foremost – they're not necessarily designed to unblock iPlayer. As a result, while 99% of VPNs can provide you with a UK IP address, many may not be able to actually provide you with access to iPlayer. So, we'd recommend choosing one of our VPN recommendations to avoid disappointment and watch iPlayer abroad.

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

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.

  1. Subscribe to a VPN for BBC iPlayer and download the software.
  2. Open the app or VPN client. When the app loads, you will be prompted to sign in to the service.
  3. When you get into the app, find the server list, and choose a server based in the UK to connect to.
  4. Go to the BBC iPlayer website and sign up for an account. You will be asked for a UK postal code, which is basically the same thing as a ZIP code. You can find postcodes online quite easily through a simple search.
  5. You will now have access to BBC iPlayer, and you can watch all the BBC content you want!

You should now be able to stream BBC content from any country.

My VPN isn't working with iPlayer, what should I do?

There could be several issues at play if your VPN can't unblock iPlayer. Some of the most common are:

  • Your VPN doesn't have servers compatible with iPlayer. Check that your VPN definitely works with iPlayer. If it doesn't, consider subscribing to a service in the list above.
  • Your VPN works with iPlayer, but your current server doesn't. Simply switch to a different UK server a try again. Most top providers will highlight which servers access iPlayer.
  • Your VPN's iPlayer server has been temporarily blocked. This can happen from time-to-time. If your VPN used to work and no longer does, reach out to your provider and they can let you know which server to use, or when a fix will be released.

If you are still having issues, check out our iPlayer VPN block troubleshooting guide, where we cover additional fixes to all kinds of iPlayer VPN issues.

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How does a VPN for BBC iPlayer work?

The video below explains how a VPN unblocks iPlayer from anywhere in the world.

How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad 🇬🇧Find the Best iPlayer VPN 💻...

How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad 🇬🇧Find the Best iPlayer VPN 💻ProPrivacy ✅
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad 🇬🇧Find the Best iPlayer VPN 💻ProPrivacy ✅

Will any VPN work with iPlayer?

The BBC continues to get better and better at blocking VPN users with each passing year. As a result, fewer and fewer VPNs work to allow you to stream iPlayer. You'll need to be extra careful when choosing a VPN. It's tricky and expensive to bypass the BBC firewall, and plenty of VPN providers have simply given up! Fortunately, there are providers that still go to the effort of ensuring you can watch iPlayer on their servers.

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 of VPN providers you will need to avoid if you want to access iPlayer from abroad. To help you out, we have listed some of the more prevalent VPNs that don’t work with iPlayer in 2020. These VPNs should be avoided if you want to stream iPlayer from outside the UK.

  • 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 and otherwise quite good. Find out more with our TunnelBear review.
  • Windscribe – This well-known VPN has not been unblocking iPlayer as of January 2020, and has been receiving complaints and comments on its forums from disgruntled users. Check our Windscribe review for more information.
  • PureVPN. This VPN claims to unblock iPlayer. However, users are complaining about its inability to do so – even when they use the VPN and the extension together, as they are supposed to. For this reason, PureVPN is better avoided by anyone wishing to access iPlayer. You can hear more in our PureVPN review.
  • GooseVPN. This VPN is often subscribed to by consumers who want to unblock content. However, the VPN admitted that it cannot unblock iPlayer currently, so please stay away from Goose. For more details, head over to our GooseVPN review.

Other VPNs that won't work

VPN Works with iPlayer?
AnonymousVPN No
Betternet No
CactusVPN No
EarthVPN No
GooseVPN No
Hide.me No
HMA No
Hola No
Hotspot Shield (Free) No
Hoxx VPN No
iPredator No
IPVanish No
LeVPN No
Overplay No
Perfect Privacy No
Private Internet Access (PIA) No
Proxy.sh No
SaferVPN No
StrongVPN No
SuperVPN No
TorVPN No
VPNBook No
VPNJack No
VPN Master No
VPNTunnel No
VPN Unlimited No
VPN4All No
Windscribe Only works with the WindFlix add on
PureVPN Only works with browser extensions

The VPNs above do not unblock BBC iPlayer, even if you connect to their UK servers. This is because the BBC has already blacklisted that VPN successfully.

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Conclusion

Now that you know everything you need to about unblocking BBC iPlayer with a VPN, let's review our top picks:

  1. ExpressVPN - An excellent choice for unblocking BBC iPlayer. One of the fastest VPNs on the market, perfect for streaming iPlayer in HD.
  2. CyberGhost VPN - An easy to use VPN for iPlayer. It has clearly marked servers so you know where to connect to unblock iPlayer.
  3. Surfshark - This VPN for BBC iPlayer is packed with value. You can unblock iPlayer & stream in HD without breaking the bank.
  4. PrivateVPN - A low price VPN for BBC iPlayer. It's fast & easy to use, so you can unblock iPlayer within minutes & steam in HD.
  5. VyprVPN - A great all-round VPN that works with BBC iPlayer. If you want a private server network & consistent speeds, look no further.

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. 

50 Comments

Bob
on July 17, 2020
Reply
Dear, oh dear Ray Walsh! Please help. My VPN is alright, it allows me to watch iPlayer. But all of a sudden, yesterday afternoon a problem occured and it wouldn't go. I sign in to BBC iPlayer as usual, then I click to play a video but instead of playing, this form: "You need to sign in" - appears again. I click "Sign in", and it disappears, and the video is seemingly ready to play. But when I try to play it, the form appears again. And there's no end to it. I rebooted my PC, I cleaned the disk, I tried another working VPN but it didn't help. I registered anew and used that new account but nothing changed. I used another browser but in vain. Note, there's no that announcement: "BBC iPlayer works only in the UK". Could it be they've figured me out and banned me? Or could it be a problem with my PC? What do I do then? Thank you in advance and all the best to you.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/ray-walshjpeg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-ima-7df05c2bafe5e85cb7cb582cd8351a9bpng-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Ray Walsh replied to Bob
on July 20, 2020
Reply
It sounds like you have tried just about every troubleshooting solution I can think of. Try uninstalling your browser and installing it again, and be sure to try connecting in incognito. Also talk to your VPN provider to find out which server is currently working with iPlayer. Otherwise it is very hard to understand why it isn't working - specially if you have already tried a different VPN.
AMANDA PATTERSON
on June 22, 2020
Reply
I have never been able to get iPlayer work using ExpressVPN. I'm very surprised it's top of your list. Any hints as to why I cant get it to work??
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/ray-walshjpeg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-ima-7df05c2bafe5e85cb7cb582cd8351a9bpng-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Ray Walsh replied to AMANDA PATTERSON
on July 9, 2020
Reply
Have you tried our troubleshooting guide? Best to contact ExpressVPN for help because we have no trouble getting it to work during testing. https://proprivacy.com/vpn/guides/iplayer-troubleshoot-vpn
Daniel
on May 26, 2020
Reply
I've been using Windscribe successfully for BBC iPlayer in May 2020. So far it worked every time I used it, but I think you need to choose the "Windflix" server instead of the regular Windscribe one. I'm not happy about their communications, though. I initially chose Windscribe because they claim to offer SOCKS5 proxies, but that's a bit of a sham. First, I subscribed to a "custom" plan because I really only needed servers in one country, only to find out that SOCKS5 is a "Pro"-only feature, and custom subscriptions do not qualify as "Pro". This is mentioned *nowhere* on their website, I had to be told by customer support after I had already fallen for the bait-and-switch. Then, silly me still gave in to try a full 1-month Pro subscription, only to find out that SOCKS5 proxies are not offered for their entire selection of locations, but a mere 2 countries. Their marketing is more than just a little bit dishonest.
Den
on April 29, 2020
Reply
Using Nord for few months already, honestly I've chosen it as it's not overpriced. Performs well with Netflix US/UK & HBO & BBC iplayer, so far love it. Only had to contact their support once as I didn't know how to set it on my router, I had like millions of questions, but customer support helped me through their online chat, so everything is OK.
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