8 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2020 - Watch iPlayer anywhere

With a VPN, you can stream BBC iPlayer outside of the UK. And, setting up a VPN for iPlayer takes less than 5 minutes! However, not every VPN is robust enough to work with iPlayer. But, don't fret! Our experts have reviewed over 150 VPNs since 2013 and are well acquainted with the VPNs that do work with iPlayer. 

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

 

The Best BBC iPlayer VPNs: In-depth analysis

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

1. ExpressVPN

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

  • Pricing

    From $6.67 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

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.

2. NordVPN

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

  • Pricing

    From $3.49 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

NordVPN is one of our top choices for watching BBC iPlayer because it offers 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 2019.

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

3. Surfshark

New VPN with great iPlayer unblocking

  • Pricing

    From $1.99 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Surfshark VPN is only a year or so old, but in that short time, it has taken the VPN market by storm with blazing fast speed performance and 500 servers in over 50 countries.


As is to be expected from today’s top VPN providers, Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 live chat support. What is unusual is that it allows you to connect as many devices as you want to the service at the same time!


And of course SurfShark unblocks iPlayer, and many other streaming services too.

4. CyberGhost VPN

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

  • Pricing

    From $2.75 - $12.99
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

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.

5. VyprVPN

VyprVPN is a fast VPN that has servers where you need them for iPlayer and other streams

  • Pricing

    From $2.71 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
    • MacOS
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

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.

6. PrivateVPN

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

  • Pricing

    From $1.89 - $10.95
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

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.

7. Hotspot Shield

A Fast option for those with slow download speeds

  • Pricing

    From $3.88 - $16.84
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • iOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • 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!

8. VPNArea

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

  • Pricing

    From $2.99 - $9.90
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • iOS
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Works with

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

VPNArea is an excellent Bulgarian provider that is a superb choice for streaming. It is a relatively cheap service when purchased yearly, and it will let you stream not only the UK's iPlayer - but many other channels from around the globe. 

VPNArea has solid software for all platforms, and they all come fully equipped with what you need to keep your data private. DNS leak protection and a killswitch are included, and the VPN keeps zero-logs. Finally, and most importantly, VPNArea provides reliable and fast connections for streaming without buffering.

Why do I need a BBC iPlayer VPN?

A VPN does two important things:

The important thing to understand is that first and foremost VPNs are for digital privacy, not for unblocking iPlayer. This means that 99% of VPNs can provide you with a UK IP address - but don't necessarily unblock iPlayer. To watch iPlayer abroad you must choose one of our recommended VPNs to avoid disappointment.

 

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

Informing, educating, and entertaining during the pandemic

COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, has swept the world, causing a prolonged period of isolation. Sporting events have been cancelled, schools are being closed, and the shelves are empty at our local shops.

While the BBC admits that there will be a disruption to its usual services, the broadcaster is using all its services to help the UK through this rough period of quarantine by shifting its programming to educate children, inform viewers about exercise and dietary requirements using only the essentials, and updating its list of entertainment boxsets temporarily. A VPN can make sure you can get all the support you need during this time.

How a VPN for BBC iPlayer works?

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

Will any VPN work with iPlayer?

Each year, the BBC gets better at blocking VPN users. As a result, fewer and fewer VPNs work to stream iPlayer. That means you need to be super-careful when choosing a VPN. Bypassing the BBC firewall is tricky and expensive - which is why most VPN providers have given up. Luckily, some VPN providers still go to the effort so that you can watch iPlayer!

Our recommended VPNs have all found ways to combat the iPlayer VPN block, and they all successfully bypass the iPlayer proxy error. We have included several  cheap VPN services in this article, so you can unblock iPlayer for less than $2 a month. And, to ensure you get a seamless experience, our recommended iPlayer VPNs have lightning fast UK servers that allow you to watch BBC iPlayer in HD without buffering.

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

VPN services that don’t work with iPlayer

The vast majority of VPNs do not unblock iPlayer, and there are literally hundreds of commercial VPNs on the market - meaning that there are a lot you need to avoid. To help you out, we have listed some of the more prevalent VPNs that don’t work with iPlayer in 2020. These VPNs need to be avoided if you want to stream iPlayer.

  • TunnelBear. This popular VPN has servers in the UK but they do not unblock iPlayer. That is a shame because this is a VPN that is generally extremely well liked. Find out more with our TunnelBear review.
  • Windscribe. This well-known VPN is not unblocking iPlayer as of January 2020. It has been receiving complaints and comments on its forums from disgruntled users.  Find out more with our Windscribe review.
  • PureVPN. This VPN claims to unblock iPlayer. However, some users are complaining about its inability to do so - even when they use the VPN and the extension together - as they are supposed to. Better avoided. Find out more with our PureVPN review.
  • GooseVPN. This VPN is often subscribed by consumers who want to unblock content. However, the VPN is currently admitting that it is not managing to unblock iPlayer, so please stay away from Goose. Find out more with our GooseVPN review.

Other VPNs that won't work

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

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 #7 VPN and #7 internet privacy authority by Agilience.com.

42 Comments

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/2020/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-default.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
Andy
on January 17, 2020
Reply
I've spotted an issue in your article - dedicated IP addresses with NordVPN aren't free, they cost EUR 63.70 per year. See their website: https://nordvpn.com/features/dedicated-ip/
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/2020/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-default.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Andy
on January 22, 2020
Reply
Hi Andy. Sorry, we're not quite sure how that mistake slipped in. It is now fixed.
AJ
on November 18, 2019
Reply
Hi I was just wondering if there is such a thing as a VPN where you pay a one-off fee rather than a subscription? I just prefer not to subscribe to things if I can avoid it. Thank you!
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/2020/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-default.png
Douglas Crawford replied to AJ
on November 19, 2019
Reply
Hi AJ. The short answer is no. Running VPN servers required ongoing costs and any service which offers a "lifetime" subscription should be avoided as a scam at all costs. If you really hate the idea of paying for a subscription then maybe buy a $35 Raspberry Pi to use as your personal VPN server.

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