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ExpressVPN Not Working With BBC iPlayer? Here’s What to Do

Has your ExpressVPN app stopped working with BBC iPlayer? Worry not. It doesn’t necessarily mean the VPN is broken – it could be a simple technical glitch.

Worst case scenario, you might need a new VPN. 

In this quick guide, we’ll show you the most common solutions to problems that prevent you from accessing BBC iPlayer using ExpressVPN. And if those don’t work, we’ll recommend the best alternative VPNs to switch to.

How to stream BBC iPlayer with ExpressVPN

First, we need to confirm your ExpressVPN app is configured correctly for BBC iPlayer. 

ExpressVPN has apps for many devices that work with BBC iPlayer, including some smart TVs. The setup process is generally the same for all of them:

  1. Sign up for ExpressVPN. You’ll get a 30-day money-back guarantee to try it risk-free. 
  2. Download the app onto your BBC iPlayer device.
  3. Connect to a server in the UK.
  4. Clear your browser or BBC iPlayer app cache and cookies.
  5. Sign in on your browser or the BBC iPlayer app.

That’s it!

Clearing your cache and cookies is vital, assuming BBC iPlayer logged your location in a previous session. 

Still can’t access BBC iPlayer? Try connecting to a different server in the UK. 

No luck? Keep reading to find alternate VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer.

How well does ExpressVPN work with BBC iPlayer?

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer, thanks to its extensive network of high-speed servers in the UK and advanced stealth technology.

In our tests, ExpressVPN’s streaming speeds averaged 91 Mbps – fast enough for 4K streaming even when connected to far-away servers. Its Lightway VPN protocol ensures a smooth, buffer-free connection while keeping your internet secure and your location hidden. It’s also lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about battery drain when streaming on mobile.

Despite being one of the most advanced VPNs, ExpressVPN can still experience some issues. Let’s examine why it might not be working with BBC iPlayer.

Why does ExpressVPN not work with BBC iPlayer?

BBC iPlayer is a UK-only streaming site. You’re not supposed to access its content outside the UK (mostly due to its broadcast licenses). BBC iPlayer actively blocks anyone outside the UK from accessing its content, even if you’re a UK citizen.

BBC iPlayer also invests heavily in detecting and blocking VPN servers, because they’re often used to access its content outside the UK. Even if you’re in the UK and using ExpressVPN to improve your online privacy or just leaving the UK for a few days, BBC iPlayer will still block you. 

The best BBC iPlayer VPNs constantly find ways to bypass these blocks, but it is an ongoing battle. 

However, software limitations and technical glitches in ExpressVPN can sometimes contribute. Here are the most common issues and their solutions:

1. BBC iPlayer is reading old location data from your browser or device. Your old location will conflict with your VPN servers – causing an error on the BBC iPlayer app. 

Solution: Clear your cache and cookies, and restart BBC iPlayer.

2. BBC iPlayer has identified and blocked your ExpressVPN server. It won’t accept connection requests from that server’s IP address. ExpressVPN has many UK servers, and you can switch to another easily in the app.

Solution: Switch to another server in the UK.

3. BBC iPlayer is using GPS to establish your location. Mobile apps often log your location by reading other apps using GPS – like Google Maps. There is no way for ExpressVPN to hide this data. 

Solution: Access BBC iPlayer on your mobile device’s browser or use a GPS spoofing app.

Best alternative VPNs for streaming BBC iPlayer

If you've tried every solution above and ExpressVPN still can’t connect to BBC iPlayer, you could try a different VPN. 

We’ve tested many VPNs with BBC iPlayer and other streaming platforms and narrowed our recommendations to just five options (not including ExpressVPN). 

Take a quick look at them below, or read our complete VPN reviews, to see how each VPN performs in streaming, privacy, security, value, and much more. 

1. Surfshark
Editor's Choice | April 2024

Surfshark is the most affordable VPN for BBC iPlayer.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 2 months FREE: $2.3/mth
      83% OFF
    • 12 months: $3.99/mth
      70% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.95/mth
  • Pros

    • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
    • 3,200+ servers in over 65 countries
    • Extra privacy tools and features
    • Reliable connection speeds
    • Works in China and the UAE
  • Cons

    • Monthly plans are expensive
    • Far-away servers can be slow
    • Customer service is less responsive
  • Website

It combines security, speed, affordability, and unlimited device connections. It also offers advanced privacy.


Surfshark is an excellent value for a few reasons. Firstly, it allows unlimited device connections on a single plan. So, it’s the best-value VPN on this list. 


Secondly, it includes many features missing from more expensive VPNs – such as an ad blocker, malware detection, IP address rotation, and stealth mode. These features can help to protect your privacy and security, and they can also help you to access BBC iPlayer without any problems.


Lastly, Surfshark is fast. Our team tested its UK servers from various countries in Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa. We were able to stream in 4K HD without buffering. 


Combining these factors makes it easy to see why Surfshark is #1 on the list of ExpressVPN alternatives for BBC iPlayer. We also recommend it for every other top streaming site.


You can explore Surfshark risk-free thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

NordVPN is one of the top-rated VPNs for BBC iPlayer, with industry-leading security, fast speeds, and a great price.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 3 months FREE: $3.69/mth
      70% OFF
    • 12 months: $4.99/mth
      59% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Works with the top streaming sites
    • 5,800+ servers in 60+ countries
    • Based in super-secretive Panama
    • One of the fastest VPNs in the world
    • Industry-best security
    • Low-cost plans
  • Cons

    • Switching servers can be slow
    • Small server network in Africa
    • Router setup requires technical knowledge
  • Website

NordVPN’s extensive UK server network ensures seamless 4K HD streaming, maintaining stable connections on BBC iPlayer and other streaming platforms.


The provider is also incredibly secure. It uses industry-best tools like automatic kill-switches, DNS/IPv6 leak protections, and 256-bit AES encryption (the same standard used by banks, governments, militaries, and spy agencies) to hide your data, location, and identity. Its exclusive NordLynx VPN protocol makes sure your internet is fast while still being safe.


NordVPN is compatible with various devices used for BBC iPlayer, including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and select smart TVs. Its SmartDNS tool allows streaming on devices that don’t have native VPN support, such as gaming consoles. 


Every new NordVPN plan includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

CyberGhost is an easy-to-use, affordable VPN that doesn’t compromise performance, speed, or security.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months + 3 months FREE: $2.11/mth
      83% OFF
    • 6 months: $6.99/mth
      42% OFF
    • 1 month: $11.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Beginner-friendly
    • Up to seven simultaneous device connections
    • 9,500+ servers in over 90 countries
    • Easy to configure across multiple devices
    • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Cons

    • Some servers are not optimized for streaming
    • No stealth mode or obfuscated servers
    • Limited torrenting support
  • Website

You’ll still enjoy uninterrupted access to your favorite BBC iPlayer shows.


CyberGhost has over 700 servers across the UK and 9,500+ in more than 90 countries worldwide. 


While its streaming-dedicated servers offer the best experience, you can use any server in the network to access BBC iPlayer. Throughout our tests, we could access BBC iPlayer without interruptions. 


CyberGhost is also the most user-friendly VPN on this list. Once you install it on one device, all your settings are pre-configured for new installs. It is basically the same on all devices, so you can install it in a few minutes. 


Just because it's easy to use doesn’t mean CyberGhost will compromise your security or privacy. It uses the latest VPN software to hide your data, location, identity, and internet activities from snooping and tracking. 


You can try CyberGhost for 45 days with a money-back guarantee

IPVanish provides reliable connections from over 2,000 servers worldwide, including many in the UK.

  • Pricing

    • 24 months: $3.33/mth
      75% OFF
    • 12 months: $3.99/mth
      70% OFF
    • 1 month: $12.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Unlimited device connections
    • Access most streaming sites
    • P2P and download-friendly
    • Airtight security
  • Cons

    • Slow support
    • Doesn’t work in China
    • Expensive after your first year
    • Doesn’t work with Netflix US
  • Website

With unlimited device connections, and a host of other cool features, IPVanish is a low-cost option for families who want to stream content and boost security at the same time. 


Using IPVanish’s UK servers, we successfully streamed BBC iPlayer from numerous locations worldwide. This only slightly impacted our internet connection, and we didn’t have to deal with buffering or video lag. 


IPVanish could also access Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and HBO, but it wasn’t reliable for Netflix US and Hulu. For these streaming services, premium providers like NordVPN or Surfshark might be more suitable.


Take note: IPVanish is based in the US, a founding member of the secretive Five Eyes global surveillance alliance. While their policies are trustworthy, many excellent VPNs on this list are situated in more privacy-focused regions.


IPVanish offers unlimited device connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee on every plan.

PrivateVPN has a smaller server network than most top VPNs but can still stream BBC iPlayer from anywhere.

  • Pricing

    • 36 months: $2/mth
      84% OFF
    • 3 months: $6/mth
      50% OFF
    • 1 month: $9.99/mth
      17% OFF
  • Pros

    • Easy setup
    • Install on up to 10 devices
    • Works with US streaming networks
    • Fast connections
  • Cons

    • Slow customer support
    • Smaller server network
  • Website

While PrivateVPN only has approximately 200 servers globally, we tested it extensively and were impressed with the results. We could access BBC iPlayer and other major streaming sites, enjoying fast speeds and zero buffering (even in HD).


PrivateVPN offers excellent security features as well. It has 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill-switch – all of which we verified in our tests. 


PrivateVPN suits both newcomers and more advanced users. It’s easy to install, with both default and customizable settings. 


It’s also excellent value, with up to 10 simultaneous connections. 


Try PrivateVPN out courtesy of its 30-day money-back guarantee.

How we tested ExpressVPN and others with BBC iPlayer

We carefully tested each VPN on this list to see if it met our strict criteria. We switched between servers, contacted customer support, and binge-watched Pride and Prejudice to see if our location or data was leaked.

Most VPNs failed our tests outright. The ones that passed did so based on the following:

  • Extensive server network: We only recommended VPNs with lots of servers in the UK, as part of wider networks across the globe.
  • Access any content: The listed VPNs gave us access to BBC iPlayer and other websites that restrict access due to your location, including banks and personal tax portals.
  • Fast connections: We only included VPNs that have minimal impact on your speed and can deliver consistent connections anywhere in the world.
  • Excellent security: The best VPNs provide state-of-the-art security to stay hidden and safe online, including 256-bit AES encryption, IP leak protections, automatic kill-switches, and much more. We tested these features thoroughly for each VPN.
  • Easy to use: We have recommended VPNs with simple, user-friendly apps and easy configuration. 
  • Good value: The best thing about VPNs is how cheap they are – you will never have to spend more than a few dollars a month. 

Read through our complete VPN review process to see the full list and use it to guide you when choosing a VPN for BBC iPlayer – or anything else. 

Do free VPNs work with BBC iPlayer?

Most VPNs don’t work with BBC iPlayer because the streamer quickly catches their limited UK server networks. They also lack advanced VPN cloaking software and stealth modes. 

However, there are other reasons we don’t recommend free VPNs. They come with several user experience and security concerns, including: 

1. Free VPNs limit the number of locations you can access. Most have servers in two to three countries that quickly get crowded with other free users. 

2. Free VPNs are too slow for BBC iPlayer – or anything else. They either can’t deliver fast connections or throttle you, so you eventually upgrade to a paid plan. 

3. Free VPNs come bundled with ads. They’re intrusive, irritating, and could be loaded with malware.

4. Free VPNs sell your information to data brokers and advertisers. Your privacy will be compromised, and you can’t be sure what malware and trackers are installed on your device to track you.

5. Free VPNs have been caught hosting malware and hackers on their networks. This malware can then infect your devices or be used to steal your data. 

6. Free VPNs leak data. More than 40% of free VPN apps in the Google Play Store have been caught leaking private data from users.

Many affordable VPNs work with BBC iPlayer and don't put your safety or service quality at risk. Avoid unnecessary problems – choose a reliable VPN and avoid free ones altogether.

ExpressVPN and BBC iPlayer FAQs

Conclusion

BBC iPlayer blocks every VPN sometimes – there’s no getting around it. But VPNs will keep finding ways around these efforts.

If ExpressVPN isn’t working on your BBC iPlayer account, try the quick fixes suggested in this guide. If you still can’t get access, try a different VPN for BBC iPlayer, such as Surfshark or NordVPN.

Or read our top VPN guide to determine which is best for you.

Written by: Conor Walsh

Conor is a tech writer with professional paranoia. He's passionate about privacy, and when not writing about it, can be found trying to get far away from his phone and any other technology, enjoying some live music, outdoorsy stuff, or a good (physical) book.

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