10 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2020 | Unblock & Watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere

If you're an expat living abroad and missing some home comforts, or just a fan of British TV, a VPN for BBC iPlayer could be the prefect 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!

Before we start, it's important to note that not every VPN is robust enough to work with iPlayer. In fact, less and less VPNs actually still work with iPlayer anymore. 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. 

What are the best VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer?

If you're short on time, here's a sneak-peek at our recommended VPNs for iPlayer list. If you would like more details on any of the providers, keep scrolling.

  1. ExpressVPN - An excellent choice for unblocking iPlayer. One of the fastest VPNs on the market, perfect for streaming BBC iPlayer in HD.
  2. CyberGhost VPN - An easy to use VPN for iPlayer. It has clearly marked servers so you know exactly where to connect to unblock iPlayer.
  3. Surfshark - This iPlayer VPN is packed with value for money. You can unblock iPlayer and stream in HD without breaking the bank with this VPN.
  4. PrivateVPN - A low price VPN for iPlayer. It's fast and easy to use, so you can unblock iPlayer within minutes & steam in HD without buffering.
  5. VyprVPN - A great all-round VPN and it works with iPlayer. If you want a private server network for consistent speeds, then look no futher.
  6. Ivacy - The cheapest VPN for iPlayer on our list. From just $1.50 per month, you can unblock and stream iPlayer, ITVHub, All4 and more
  7. Hotspot Shield - A great VPN if you have trouble streaming iPlayer. This high speed VPN is perfect thanks to its super fast proprietary encryption.
  8. VPNArea - An excellent all-rounder VPN, with fantastic customer service in case you run into any problems with an iPlayer server.
  9. PureVPN - Offering a reliable app, this VPN is a solid service at a great price. Worked great at unblocking and streaming iPlayer when we tested it.
  10. StrongVPN - This service unblocks iPlayer using SmartDNS technology which still counts in our book! It's worth checking out.

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 the above criteria, it is eligible for including in this guide.

The Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer - 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 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
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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. 

The provider has recently updated the number of devices you can use it on, offering 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 iPlayer if you're a technophobe. Their app is super easy to use, with clearly marked servers for quick access to BBC iPlayer outside the UK.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.75 - $12.99
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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.

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  $1.94 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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 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 streaming services too.

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

  • Pricing

    From  $1.89 - $10.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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 the prefect VPN to unblock iPlayer on all your devices. It's apps are just as slick as their desktop software and both work seamlessly with iPlayer.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.50 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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 OpenVPN encryption.

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  $1.50 - $7.50
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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 a total of 50 countries - ideal for unblocking services like Netflix US, hulu, and much more. With Ivacy you get strong OpenVPN encryption, which means your data is always secure. And, this VPN will never have any records about what you do online thanks to its no logs policy.


An excellent VPN at a superb price point. You can test it risk free using its 30-day money back guarantee.

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

  • Pricing

    From  $3.88 - $16.84
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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 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
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

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 kill switch are included, and the VPN keeps zero-logs. Finally, and most importantly, VPNArea provides reliable and fast connections for streaming without buffering.

PureVPN is the prefect pick if you want a slick VPN app. signing up for this service, you can expect all the usual premium features, but customers struggled with speed on occasion.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.88 - $10.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

PureVPN is a great option for anybody looking for a cheap way to unblock iPlayer from outside the UK. This provider has reliable, nice looking apps for all platforms that come with all the useful VPN features you are likely to need.


Servers are located in a whopping 141 countries, and while they aren’t as fast as some of the VPNs higher in this list - they are suitable for streaming. Where privacy is concerned, this VPN is perfect for most people’s needs thanks to its OpenVPN encryption and killswitch. This ensures you never leak any data to your ISP. PureVPN keeps no intrusive logs that would allow it to know what you have done online. However, it does keep some minimal, non-invasive connection logs that it did supply to the FBI to help with a (severe) criminal investigation on one occasion. We don’t consider this a black mark against its name, due to the circumstances.


And we consider PureVPN a great option for anybody who wants to unblock iPlayer without spending too much.

StrongVPN unblocks iPlayer with a little help from SmartDNS. The good news is, they throw this service is for free as part of their premium plan.

  • Pricing

    From  $5.83 - $10.00
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix

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. 

Why do I need a BBC iPlayer VPN?

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

This is where a VPN comes into play. It 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:

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 their 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 one based in the UK.
  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 a ZIP code. You can find post codes online.
  5. 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.

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

If your VPN isn't unblocking iPlayer, there could be several reasons that need resolving. But the more common reasons include:

  • Your VPN doesn't have servers compatible with iPlayer. Check that your VPN definitely works with iPlayer, if it doesn't consider to 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.

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 | ProPrivacy

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

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 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. This is 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 admitted that it cannot unblock iPlayer currently, so please stay away from Goose. Find out more with 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 server. This is because the BBC has already blacklisted that VPN successfully.

FAQs

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 iPlayer. One of the fastest VPNs on the market, perfect for streaming BBC iPlayer in HD.
  2. CyberGhost VPN - An easy to use VPN for iPlayer. It has clearly marked servers so you know exactly where to connect to unblock iPlayer.
  3. Surfshark - This iPlayer VPN is packed with value for money. You can unblock iPlayer and stream in HD without breaking the bank with this VPN.
  4. PrivateVPN - A low price VPN for iPlayer. It's fast and easy to use, so you can unblock iPlayer within minutes & steam in HD without buffering.
  5. VyprVPN - A great all-round VPN and it works with iPlayer. If you want a private server network for consistent speeds, then look no futher.
  6. Ivacy - The cheapest VPN for iPlayer on our list. From just $1.50 per month, you can unblock and stream iPlayer, ITVHub, All4 and more
  7. Hotspot Shield - A great VPN if you have trouble streaming iPlayer. This high speed VPN is perfect thanks to its super fast proprietary encryption.
  8. VPNArea - An excellent all-rounder VPN, with fantastic customer service in case you run into any problems with an iPlayer server.
  9. PureVPN - Offering a reliable app, this VPN is a solid service at a great price. Worked great at unblocking and streaming iPlayer when we tested it.
  10. StrongVPN - This service unblocks iPlayer using SmartDNS technology which still counts in our book! It's worth checking out.

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. 

45 Comments

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.
Pete
on April 13, 2020
Reply
Can you tell me why Cyberghost is number 4 on this list but in your Cyberghost review you describe their iplayer unblocking as "distinctly unreliable?" And the review gives Cyberghost 10/10 which is a bit confusing because surely a perfect 10 should do everything that it claims to do. I know all VPNs have short periods where they don't work with iplayer, but distinctly unreliable hints at a deeper problem.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Pete
on April 14, 2020
Reply
Hi Pete. When I wrote the review I did encounter problems with CG and iPlayer, but in more recent tests these problems have been resolved.
Alastair
on March 4, 2020
Reply
We use an Nvidia shield TV device (Android TV) and Unlocator SMARTDNS is currently having problems with BBC IPLAYER. As a result I contacted Nordvpn to see if their access to iPlayer was working but they said "Unfortunately, we still do not support BBC iPlayer via Firesticks, Android boxes or TV devices."
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Alastair
on March 5, 2020
Reply
Hi Alisdair. The problem with devices such as most smart TVs, the Firestick, and the Roku, is that they are region-locked in ways that PCs and regular Android devices are not. The Nvidia Sheild runs a fairly plain version of Android TV, however, so if you can sideload the BBC iPlayer app (as it won;lt be available in your regional store) then I would think it would work with NordVPN. But I don't have an Nvidia Sheild device (or a regular Android TV device at the moment) to test this with.
Amanda Mawson
on February 23, 2020
Reply
Hola is working for me with iPlayer as of today
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