10 best VPNs for iPlayer that work in 2021 | Unblock and watch iPlayer abroad

If you're an ex-pat living abroad and missing your home comforts, or just a fan of British TV, a VPN for BBC iPlayer is 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!

What are the best VPNs that work with iPlayer?

Most VPNs don't work to unblock iPlayer, which is why you must stick to one of our recommended VPNs. If you need help to pick, use the questionnaire below to get a personalized recommendation.

  1. ExpressVPN - An VPN for watching BBC iPlayer abroad. One of the fastest VPNs on the market, perfect for streaming iPlayer in HD.
  2. NordVPN - NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for watching BBC iPlayer abroad, it offers great features and value for money.
  3. CyberGhost VPN - An easy to use VPN for streaming iPlayer. It has clearly marked servers so you know where to connect to unblock iPlayer.
  4. Surfshark - This VPN for BBC iPlayer is packed with value. You can unblock iPlayer & stream in HD without breaking the bank.
  5. PrivateVPN - A low price VPN for BBC iPlayer. It's fast & easy to use, so you can unblock iPlayer within minutes & steam in HD.

See full list & analysis

Not all VPNs have UK servers that work to unblock iPlayer. In 2021, the number of VPNs that still work with iPlayer is at an all-time low, which is why it is essential that you stick to a recommended service to avoid disappointment.

The good news is that our experts have reviewed over 150 VPNs since 2013 and we are intricately aware of the few VPNs that still work reliably with iPlayer.

In this article, we'll show you the best VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer. We will also show you which ones you definitely need to avoid. As a result, you will be able to get a service that lets you instantly start streaming iPlayer content from anywhere in the world.

Try ExpressVPN our #1 VPN for iPlayer

When choosing the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer, our primary concern was servers that actually unblock iPlayer from outside the UK. However, we also search for fast VPNs that can handle HD streams and the following features:

All the VPNs listed below have these vital features, so we can recommend them all to stream BBC iPlayer.

The best VPNs for watching BBC iPlayer in 2021

Our tests revealed five VPNs that are best for unblocking BBC iPlayer in 2021. Below you can read summaries about each service that will help you pick the VPN that you prefer. They all have a money-back guarantee, so that you can try them all if you want to.

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

  • Pricing

    • 12 month: $6.67/mth
    • 6 month: $9.99/mth
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Easy to use and reliable
    • 24/7 live chat support
    • 4 UK server locations
    • Super-fast speeds let you stream in full HD
    • Some connection logs for internal use (aggregated only)
    • Only 5 simultaneous connections
    • Comparatively pricey (but worth it)
  • Servers in UK

    • 150
  • Speeds

    • 52.50 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

ExpressVPN Demo

ExpressVPN Demo
ExpressVPN Demo


ExpressVPN is our go-to provider when it comes to unblocking BBC iPlayer on holiday, and three servers well optimized in London means I have never had trouble tuning in to content as though I was back home. Over the last decade ExpressVPN has become one of the most popular and well-respected names in the VPN world – and it's plain why.


It's servers are super-fast, I was constantly impressed by how quick ExpressVPN is (no stuttering, low-quality streams here!). I just fire it up and watch iPlayer outside of the UK. It has a large and reliable network of servers, and the ability to consistently unblock the world's most in-demand streaming services like BBC iPlayer - as well as US Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more. The fact that there are apps available for Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, and Linux means that no matter which device you pack when abroad, you'll be able to check out iPlayer in a few taps. Although, I should mention they only offer a command-line Linux app.


These are just a few of the reasons why ExpressVPN has claimed the top spot in our list. An Express subscription is more expensive than the other services in this guide, but the VPN provides a sleek, premium-feeling service with true value for money that's hard 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.

Tested by Hannah Hart

Tested by Hannah Hart

NordVPN has been able to consistently unblock BBC iPlayer as well as other streaming services. It also offers its customers features like dedicated IP Addresses - which makes it harder for BBC iPlayer to block your VPN.

  • Pricing

    • 27 month: $3.3/mth
    • 24 month: $4.13/mth
    • 12 month: $4.92/mth
    • 1 month: $11.95/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Plenty of security features
    • Fast Tier 1 network of servers
    • Great value for money
    • 400+ servers in the UK
    • Two Mac clients is confusing (new one lacks features)
    • No Linux client
    • Sometimes it can take a while to connect to a server
  • Servers in UK

    • 425
  • Speeds

    • 50.50 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

Nord Demo

Nord Demo
Nord Demo


NordVPN is one of our top choices for watching BBC iPlayer abroad because it offers truly fantastic value for money! This provider achieved our most coveted award a few years back, winning Best Overall VPN at the ProPrivacy Awards in 2019.


I have always found NordVPN to be one of the best VPNs to use to connect to the UK from abroad. On their desktop app, it has over 440 servers in the UK that you can connect to - these based in London, Manchester. However the mobile apps only offer 1 UK server, but this still works really well with BBC iPlayer and BBC sounds. The speeds are off the charts and during our tests and it allowed us to stream iPlayer in HD with absolutely no issues.


I love using NordVPN on our phones as well as on our windows laptops and computers, it has a great range of applications for all platforms. The Android app is fantastic, it's super-easy to use and it's packed with features including an ad and malware blocker. I was also able to stream iPlayer on mobile using the iPlayer mobile app which was great.


Speeds are fast enough to let you enjoy shows in full HD, 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.

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

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

  • Pricing

    • 36 months: $2.25/mth
    • 24 months: $3.49/mth
    • 12 months: $3.99/mth
    • 1 month: $12.99/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Unblock iPlayer and much more
    • Easy to use
    • Fanstastic customer care
    • 45-day money-back guarantee
    • No stealth mode
    • Payment options limited to CC and PayPal only
    • Not the fastest VPN on the planet (but still plenty fast for streaming)
  • Servers in UK

    • 1,223
  • Speeds

    • 23.53 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

CyberGhost Demo

CyberGhost Demo
CyberGhost Demo


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 option for unblocking UK content, especially iPlayer. It has a choice of lightning-fast UK servers capable of unblocking iPlayer, each of which is well up to the task of streaming in HD smoothly with no buffering.


I have found that CyberGhost is a great VPN for BBC iPlayer. Not only does it have 320 UK servers to connect through - these are based in London, Manchester, and Berkshire - it’s always a plus to have so many. CyberGhost also has servers specifically optimized for streaming BBC iPlayer which is awesome. When you log onto the app you can easily find the VPN servers that are optimized for streaming and you can use their search function to search iPlayer and find the servers specifically for streaming the BBC. I recently used these optimized servers to finish off Peaky Blinders whilst I was in a different country - and it worked perfectly the whole time!


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.

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

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

  • Pricing

    • 24 months: $2.49/mth
    • 6 months: $6.49/mth
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Unlimited simultaneous connections
    • Superb customer support
    • Great value for money
    • Easy to use right out of the box
    • Monthly subscription rate is a bit steep
    • Mac client and iOS app lacking some features
    • Not the fastest of the bunch, but fast enough for streaming
  • Servers in UK

    • 117
  • Speeds

    • 40.97 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

Surfshark Demo

Surfshark Demo
Surfshark Demo


Surfshark burst onto the VPN scene and now boasts an impressive network of more than 3,200 servers in 65 countries. Connect to any of these to enjoy uninterrupted HD streaming thanks to Surfshark's stunning speeds, and check out iPlayer, Netflix, and more without pesky geo-restrictions. I was able to fire up iPlayer and watch it from anywhere when connected to its UK servers. And I found that with Surfshark’s excellent speeds, I didn't experienced buffering of any kind, no matter where I’m connecting from.


Surfshark is compatible with all devices, and you can rest assured that your connection will remain secure, thanks to OpenVPN encryption and an independently audited zero-logs policy.


As should be expected from today's top VPN providers, Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support. What's more unusual – and more impressive – is that Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections with just one subscription. This means you can connect as many devices to the service as you like, and all at the same time.

Tested by Attila Tomaschek

Tested by Attila Tomaschek

PrivateVPN is one of the cheapest VPNs 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

    • 24 months: $1.89/mth
    • 3 months: $4.2/mth
    • 1 month: $7.12/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Super fast servers for streaming iPlayer
    • Zero logs
    • Fully featured for security and privacy
    • Extremely user-friendly
    • No stealth mode (for people in China)
    • No SmartDNS
    • Live chat is helpful but not available 24/7
  • Servers in UK

    • 5
  • Speeds

    • 26.58 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

PrivateVPN Demo

PrivateVPN Demo
PrivateVPN Demo


PrivateVPN is a service that is highly praised by subscribers. During my tests I found it to work with iPlayer both on the website and on my Kodi. The service is highly featured, which makes it great for advanced users who want to torrent or bypass censorship by streaming BBC news for example.


I found the VPN to be fast enough for streaming on BBC without buffering, and I also enjoyed that this VPN unblocks Netflix US and Netflix UK (as well as 12 other regions). I was particularly happy to see that this VPN comes ready to use in its native state, with OpenVPN set by default. Plus, it has a kill-switch to ensure it is good for torrenting on Pirate Bay or bypassing government blocks.


I used the VPN for a few weeks and found it to be both fast and highly reliable. The software is a pleasure to use, and I found it to compatible with all my devices across various platforms. I was also happy to see that PrivateVPN has a robust zero-logs policy, which makes it both trustworthy and cheap. An impressive VPN for iPlayer that I strongly recommend comparing to our other option if you fancy a bargain that is highly effective.

Tested by Ray Walsh

Tested by Ray Walsh

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

    • 36 months Olympics special: $1.39/mth
    • 36 months: $1.67/mth
    • 18 months: $2.5/mth
    • 2 months: $6.47/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Strong encryption protocols and policies
    • 24/7 customer support
    • Proprietary Technology & exclusive features
    • Fast speeds for streaming iPlayer
    • No P2P
    • Connection logs stored for 30 days
    • Not exactly the most extensive server network
  • Servers in UK

    • 700
  • Speeds

    • 29.59 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

VYPR Demo

VYPR Demo
VYPR Demo


VyprVPN is a provider based in Switzerland that is renowned both for providing fast speeds and access to many sought-after streaming services from around the globe. With VyprVPN, users can access not only iPlayer, but also other British TV channels and Netflix. I 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.


Admittedly, VyprVPN doesn’t have the biggest server network on the market, but I found it easy to connect to it’s UK servers, which were very quick and I had no issues with buffering or latency. Although BBC iPlayer is a site that uses VPN detection technology, VyprVPN, in our experience, the provider seems to be able to get round it just fine!

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

Tested by Aaron Drapkin

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

    • 60 months: $1/mth
    • 12 months: $3.5/mth
    • 1 month: $9.95/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • No logs
    • Blazing fast speed performance
    • Great value for money
    • 50+ servers in the UK
    • Extensive tracking on Ivacy website
    • No killswitch on Apple devices (macOS, iOS)
    • No dedicated Linux client
  • Servers in UK

    • 58
  • Speeds

    • 53.06 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

Ivacy Demo

Ivacy Demo
Ivacy Demo


Ivacy is a VPN based in Singapore that I found to be great 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 over 100 countries – so, as well as being able to unblock iPlayer I could access popular streaming services like Netflix US, Hulu, and much more.


Ivacy provides OpenVPN encryption, I always recommend using this protocol as it is the most secure VPN encryption protocol available. On top of all that, it is a no-logs VPN, which means it will never have any records about what you do online. This gives me trust in the services that it will keep my data secure and private. My favorite thing about this VPN is that it is super fast, I used it for downloading torrents and for streaming in HD and found it to be a VPN that performs superbly.


All in all, Ivacy is an excellent service that is well suited to streaming British TV. You can test it completely risk-free using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Tested by Ray Walsh

Tested by Ray Walsh

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

    • 24 months: $3.88/mth
    • 6 months: $11.66/mth
    • 1 month: $16.84/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Browser extensions for Chrome and firefox
    • Fast speeds
    • 45 day money back guarantee
    • Seven-day free trial
    • Based in the US
    • Some invasive policies even on elite
    • No live chat
  • Servers in UK

    • 50
  • Speeds

    • 48.00 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

Hotspot Shield Demo

Hotspot Shield Demo
Hotspot Shield Demo


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.


When testing Hotspot Shield, what really stood out for us was how smoothly the app worked across all of the platforms I tested it on (iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac). The desktop and mobile apps were excellent, and the router setup was super simple, which helped us get streaming iPlayer on my TV quickly and easily. Their website has some great guides on how to set up this service on a DD-WRT router. I also tested creating a virtual router using a Windows machine and the speeds were great and it allowed us to stream iPlayer on a PS5. Connection speeds were awesome too, so I had no issues streaming in full HD no matter what platform I used it.


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 I have 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!

Tested by Attila Tomaschek

Tested by Attila Tomaschek

VPNArea is the best choice if customer support is important to you. It balances impressive features with its ability to unblock content, making it a great BBC iPlayer VPN.

  • Pricing

    • 36 months: $2.99/mth
    • 12 months: $4.92/mth
    • 1 month: $9.9/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Dedicated IP available
    • Good customer service
    • Good security features
    • Reliably unblocks iPlayer as well as Netflix US
    • US speeds can be slow
    • Operations hosted in Switzerland
    • Live chat isn't always available
  • Servers in UK

    • 7
  • Speeds

    • 10.77 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

VPNArea Demo

VPNArea Demo
VPNArea Demo


VPNArea is a Bulgarian VPN provider that is perfect for streaming content online. It is pretty cheap when you opt for the yearly plan, and it will let you stream not only BBC iPlayer but many other popular streaming sites from all around the globe. I tested it myself with iPlayer on the website and on Kodi and found it to work without issues. I also managed to watch Channel 4 and ITV. Next, I logged into Netflix while on the US server and was happy to find that it unblocks extra content.


While it is true that this VPN is not the fastest, in practice I found it to be extremely stable. I used it while making some Skype and Zoom calls to check whether it would hold up, and found it to work without issues. The apps are extremely well designed, and I found them a pleasure to use on Windows, iOS, and Android. I also am a huge fan of their live chat, which has some of the friendliest agents I've ever encountered. What's more, they really know their stuff.  


VPNArea has solid software for all platforms, and they all come fully equipped with what you need to keep your data private. I checked under the hood and was happy to see it comes with OpenVPN by default and that DNS leak protection and a kill-switch are included. Plus, this VPN has a no-logs policy, which is the best type available on the market. A great service that does everything to a high standard; well worth testing risk-free using its money-back guarantee.

Tested by Ray Walsh

Tested by Ray Walsh

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

    • 12 months: $3.33/mth
    • 1 month: $10/mth
  • Pros & Cons

    • Unblock iPlayer with SmartDNS
    • Excellent speeds
    • WireGuard protocol available
    • Only two subscription plans
    • Killswitch is for Windows only
    • Based in the US
  • Servers in UK

    • 91
  • Speeds

    • 33.61 Mbps
  • Also unblocks

    • Netflix
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android

StrongVPN Demo

StrongVPN Demo
StrongVPN Demo


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 regular VPN subscription 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. I think this VPN provides excellent unblocking capabilities, and it is a highly secure VPN that can be trusted to protect your digital privacy.


I found StrongVPN’s Smart DNS service to be incredibly simple to set up, whether it was on my computer or directly on my smart TV. I was able to unblock iPlayer in a matter of just a few minutes from Budapest, Hungary. The experience was truly seamless and I had no issues streaming in full HD. On top of that, I was able to use StrongVPN to unblock Netflix US, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO as well.


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

Tested by Attila Tomaschek

Tested by Attila Tomaschek

Which is the fastest VPN for BBC iPlayer?

For a VPN to unblock iPlayer, it isn't just necessary for it to have UK servers that work with the BBC's website. It must also have fast enough servers to let you stream iPlayer videos without buffering. As a result, a reliable VPN for iPlayer must have fast Tier-1 servers that don't suffer from congestion.

To give you up-to-date information about the speeds you can expect to get with our recommended VPNs, we run daily speed tests and display the results in the table below. The table updates three times each day, so you can see which VPN is fastest in real time!

Place Provider Average Speed Max Speed Visit Site
1. 65.64 Mbit/s 88.36 Mbit/s Visit Site
2. 63.05 Mbit/s 76.75 Mbit/s Visit Site
3. 60.30 Mbit/s 83.26 Mbit/s Visit Site
4. 55.57 Mbit/s 75.67 Mbit/s Visit Site
5. 52.07 Mbit/s 52.47 Mbit/s Visit Site
6. 50.09 Mbit/s 69.72 Mbit/s Visit Site
7. 48.70 Mbit/s 56.90 Mbit/s Visit Site
8. 35.37 Mbit/s 60.41 Mbit/s Visit Site
9. 20.83 Mbit/s 51.25 Mbit/s Visit Site

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Unblocking & watching BBC iPlayer abroad explained

Unfortunately, you'll find that you cannot access BBC iPlayer if you live outside the UK. You'll almost certainly be met with the following message if you try:

BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it's due to rights issues.

This is where a VPN comes into play.

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 Live Outside the UK🇬🇧Find the Best iPla...

How to Watch BBC iPlayer Live Outside the UK🇬🇧Find the Best iPlayer VPN Working in 2021✅
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Live Outside the UK🇬🇧Find the Best iPlayer VPN Working in 2021✅

Put simply, a VPN does two important things to help you unblock iPlayer from outside of Britain:

The encryption provided by a VPN stops your ISP from knowing you access geo-restricted services like BBC iPlayer, and it prevents the BBC from stopping you from watching that content.

It does this by concealing your real location and giving you a UK IP address. This makes it seem like you are a UK resident, which lets you unblock iPlayer!

Although this is how a VPN works, it is important to remember that not all VPNs work to unblock iPlayer. The BBC blocks VPN IP addresses based in the UK, which means that most VPNs do not work.

As a result, while 99% of VPNs can provide you with a UK IP address, the vast majority may not be able to unblock iPlayer. That is why we have curated this article, in which we only recommend VPNs that actually work for streaming BBC iPlayer abroad. 

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

What is coming to iPlayer this year?

iPlayer is packed with awesome content that you may or may not know about. Once you have a VPN, you can stream both live TV and catch-up content. That means that you have plenty of content to view online.

During sporting events like Wimbledon, you can enjoy the BBC's coverage thanks to your VPN. The same is true of international tournaments like The Olympics, snooker, rugby, and many other sports:

Below, we have included a list of some of the best shows that we know are coming to iPlayer in 2021. This is only a small selection of the content that is available.

Watch The Tokyo Olympics

The BBC share the rights to show the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the UK along with Eurosport and the Discovery channel. Check out our how to watch the Olympics page for more details about streaming your favorite events from the games.

As soon as you unblock the BBC, you can use iPlayer to stream BBC news, a wealth of content for children on CBeebies, and tremendous amounts of content across all the BBC's channels.

Whether it is dramas, soaps like Eastenders, comedies, or factual content and documentaries, or cooking shows like MasterChef – the BBC has got something for everyone.

Downloading iPlayer shows to watch offline with a VPN

Like with many other streaming services, it is possible for you to download a show to watch offline on BBC iPlayer – and it works through your VPN too!

All you need to do is follow the steps below to unblock iPlayer and then when you have found a show you want to download, simply click the link. Once downloaded, you have 30-days to watch the content before it disappears from your device.

How to watch iPlayer abroad using a VPN

If you choose the right VPN, then using a VPN service to watch BBC iPlayer abroad 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 internet 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.

VPN does not work with BBC iPlayer?

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

  • Your VPN doesn't have servers compatible with iPlayer. Double check that your VPN actually works with iPlayer. If it doesn't, you might want to consider subscribing to one of the services listed 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 does happen from time-to-time. If you find that your VPN used to work and no longer does, it's a good idea to get in touch with your provider. The customer service team can let you know which server to use, or when a potential 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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Will any VPN work with iPlayer?

No. It's tricky and expensive to bypass the BBC firewall, and plenty of VPN providers have simply given up! 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. So, you must be extra careful when choosing a VPN if you want to use it to unblock iPlayer.

Fortunately, the providers that we recommend on our list 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 and reliably bypass the iPlayer proxy error.

Unable to stream I will destroy you on BBC iPlayer due to VPN not working

If you're having trouble unblocking iPlayer, check out our iPlayer VPN troubleshooting guide.

Popular 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 2021. 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 it, unfortunately, does not work to 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 2021 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 read more into this in our detailed 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 successfully blacklisted these VPNs.

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Can I stream BBC iPlayer on firestick outside the UK?

You can, but you'll need to connect to a UK server and create a UK-based Amazon account for your firestick to access the iPlayer app. See our guide on how to change country on a firestick for a step-by-step on how to do this.

Alternatively, you can use Kodi to access iPlayer, click the link for more information.

What came to BBC iPlayer in January 2021?

January 2021 has a bunch of great shows coming to iPlayer. Below we have included those recommendations so that you can start using your VPN right away!

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 VPN for watching BBC iPlayer abroad. One of the fastest VPNs on the market, perfect for streaming iPlayer in HD.
  2. NordVPN - NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for watching BBC iPlayer abroad, it offers great features and value for money.
  3. CyberGhost VPN - An easy to use VPN for streaming iPlayer. It has clearly marked servers so you know where to connect to unblock iPlayer.
  4. Surfshark - This VPN for BBC iPlayer is packed with value. You can unblock iPlayer & stream in HD without breaking the bank.
  5. PrivateVPN - A low price VPN for BBC iPlayer. It's fast & easy to use, so you can unblock iPlayer within minutes & steam in HD.

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. 

51 Comments

pdg1786
on August 29, 2020
Reply
Express VPN access to BBC UK content is down and been for several weeks. They are aware of the problem. Usually, they fix it in a few days but this time they just keep saying they are working on it and can’t give an estimated time frame for a fix. This extensive delay and reluctance to provide any meaningful update is very disappointing
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.
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