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5 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2024

Written by Novak Bozovic
Last updated April 12, 2024

BBC iPlayer is a UK-based platform offering hundreds of TV shows and movies for free. However, it’s available to UK residents only, and its licensing policies don’t allow people from other countries to access or watch its content. However, with a suitable BBC iPlayer VPN, you can access it no matter where you are.

A VPN will help mask your location with a UK IP address, so you can trick BBC iPlayer into thinking you’re in the UK. Also, you'll get to use BBC iPlayer even while traveling. Furthermore, as VPNs work on practically any device, you'll be able to access the streaming platform on your computer, handheld, and even media streaming device.

In this article, we present the top 5 best VPNs for BBC iPlayer providers, along with a detailed guide on how to set up a VPN. You’ll also learn why you need a VPN for iPlayer, how to choose the best option, whether you need a UK TV license, and how to troubleshoot technical issues. We'll finish with a round of helpful FAQs.

Best BBC iPlayer VPNs - Our Shortlist

  1. NordVPN – Our #1-Rated Best VPN for BBC iPlayer in 2024
  2. Surfshark – Most Easy-to-Use BBC iPlayer VPN
  3. ExpressVPN – Privacy-First VPN That Works with BBC iPlayer
  4. CyberGhost – Best VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer via Specialized Servers
  5. PIA - Highly Advanced VPN for Hardcore Streaming Enthusiasts

How to Watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN

To watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN, you need to subscribe to a suitable BBC iPlayer VPN and connect to a UK server. Here’s everything you need to do:

  1. Subscribe to a suitable VPN for BBC iPlayer (we recommend NordVPN).
  2. Download and install the VPN app on your device(s).
  3. Launch the app and sign in to your VPN account.
  4. Connect to a UK-based VPN server.
  5. Open BBC iPlayer via its website or apps and start streaming. That's it!

BBC iPlayer will ask whether you have a UK TV license. Even though you're legally required to have one, you'll get unlimited access to iPlayer either way. So, connect to a VPN server in the UK, sign up for an iPlayer account using the 'Sign In' button in the top-left corner, dismiss the TV license prompt, and you can start streaming from abroad.

The Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2024

To find the best VPN that works with BBC iPlayer, you need to base your search on the criteria that'll help you find the best VPN for streaming. That said, you need a VPN that can unblock iPlayer across a range of devices. You're also after a VPN with a sizable server network, with many servers in the UK.

Then, you need a fast VPN, as you'll want to avoid heavy throttling. It's also important to pay attention to the availability of obfuscated servers, which can hide the fact that you use a VPN. Another useful feature is a kill switch, whose role is to prevent data leaks if your VPN connection drops.

In terms of privacy, look for a no-logs policy, reliable protocols (like OpenVPN and WireGuard), and strong encryption (AES-256). Also, pay attention to simultaneous connections so that you can stream iPlayer and use your VPN's native applications on multiple devices at once.

Last but not least, ensure your chosen VPN offers a competitive price. Also, make sure your purchase comes without risks, which you can do by relying on money-back guarantees. What's also crucial is 24/7 customer support.

Based on the criteria explained above, these are the top 5 best BBC iPlayer VPNs in 2024:

1. NordVPN - Our #1-Rated Best VPN for BBC iPlayer in 2024

Editor's Pick
Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chromebook
Kindle
Chrome
Firefox
PlayStation
Apple TV
Xbox
Amazon Fire TV
Nintendo Switch
All game consoles
Chromecast
Parallel Connections
Live Chat

NordVPN is the best VPN for BBC iPlayer, as it gives you instant access to iPlayer from anywhere in the world. You'll find 6,300+ servers in 110+ countries and close to 440+ servers in the UK. Furthermore, NordVPN's UK servers are located in London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.

In terms of its performance, this VPN certainly doesn't disappoint. NordVPN is among the fastest VPN providers right now. It provides a smooth experience whether you're near or far away from its UK servers, which makes it highly suitable for streaming.

Know that NordVPN also offers specialty servers (including obfuscated servers), which are helpful if you want to battle online trackers more aggressively. As expected from such a reputable VPN, a capable kill switch is there to protect your data. All of that is backed by an audited no-logs policy, which means that even NordVPN won't see what you do online.

We'll also mention that you get protocols like OpenVPN, NordLynx, and IKEv2/IPsec, coupled with ultra-strong AES-256 encryption. You can use NordVPN on up to 10 devices at the same time. And yes, this VPN works on any computer, phone, tablet, or streaming device.

You can sign up for only $3.09/month (2-year subscription plan), which comes with a robust 30-day money-back policy. Comprehensive customer support is also available, including 24/7 live chat, email support, installation guides, explainers, and more.

PROS

  • Easy access to BBC iPlayer.
  • Suitable even for beginners.
  • Great for media streaming.
  • Audited no-logs policy.
  • 24/7 live chat support.
  • 30-day money-back policy.

CONS

  • Not all servers are obfuscated.

2. Surfshark - Most Easy-to-Use BBC iPlayer VPN

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chrome
Firefox
Amazon Fire TV
All game consoles
All smart TVs
Parallel Connections
Live Chat

Surfshark is the best BBC iPlayer VPN if you're looking for a fully automated and user-centric VPN. It gives you easy access to iPlayer and countless other streaming sites, thanks to its 350+ servers in the UK, across London, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow - and yes, all those servers work great for unblocking online content. Globally, it has 3,200+ servers in 100 countries.

We can also praise Surfshark's performance, as it features stable and fast speeds. You won't encounter drastic changes in performance, no matter if you connect to UK servers from Europe, the UK, or across the world. So, streaming in HD and even 4K is a possibility.

Aside from being excellent for streaming, this BBC iPlayer VPN is a hugely capable all-in-one VPN. It offers obfuscation and a kill switch, so you can rest assured that data leaks won't happen. Surfshark is powered by OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, and WireGuard, features a no-logs policy, and uses ultra-strong AES-256/ChaCha20 encryption.

Then, know that Surfshark supports an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. There's also support for computers, phones, tablets, streaming devices, and even routers. Surfshark's apps are very easy to use, with clearly explained terms, making them highly suitable for beginners.

You can sign up for as low as $2.29/month (2-year plan). Surfshark has a 30-day money-back guarantee to prove it has nothing to hide. In addition, 24/7 live chat support is available. 

PROS

  • Easy access to BBC iPlayer and more.
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections.
  • Great for media streaming.
  • Servers in 100 countries.
  • 24/7-available customer support.
  • 30-day money-back policy.

CONS

  • Takes a while to connect.

3. ExpressVPN - Privacy-Friendly VPN That Works with BBC iPlayer

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chromebook
Kindle
Nook
Chrome
Firefox
PlayStation
Apple TV
Xbox
Amazon Fire TV
Nintendo Switch
All game consoles
All smart TVs
Chromecast
Roku
Parallel Connections
Live Chat

ExpressVPN is a reputable VPN that works with BBC iPlayer, focusing on streaming and privacy at the same time. It unblocks iPlayer on practically any device and from any country. You'll find thousands of those in 100+ countries. Hundreds of servers are found in the UK, across Docklands, East London, London, Midlands, and Wembley.

Let's not forget that ExpressVPN is among the fastest VPN providers. You can expect minimal throttling whether you connect to nearby or remote servers. In other words, you'll get to stream in HD even if you don't have an ultra-fast baseline connection.

All ExpressVPN servers are obfuscated, and this feature works in the background at all times, which is a rare thing to see. You can also expect a capable kill switch, preventing data leaks. You'll also have a set of VPN protocols (OpenVPN, Lightway, IKEv2/IPsec) to switch between, paired with AES-256 and ChaCha20 data encryption.

We'll also add that ExpressVPN gives you 8 simultaneous connections and apps for 60+ platforms. Since iPlayer is available on any computer, phone, tablet, or streaming device, no complicated workarounds are needed. You can use both ExpressVPN and iPlayer, side by side.

This VPN's annual plan costs $6.67/month and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Lastly, we’ll mention that you get 24/7 live chat support. So, in case of any questions or issues, you can rely on ExpressVPN’s team. 

PROS

  • Works great with BBC iPlayer.
  • Ultra-fast performance.
  • Easy to set up and use.
  • 24/7 live chat support.
  • 30-day money-back guarantees.

CONS

  • Among the pricier VPNs.

4. CyberGhost - Best VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer via Specialized Servers

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chrome
Firefox
PlayStation
Xbox
Amazon Fire TV
Nintendo Switch
Samsung Smart TV
All game consoles
All smart TVs
Roku
Parallel Connections
Live Chat

CyberGhost comes as the best VPN to watch BBC iPlayer if you need servers optimized for streaming. This VPN unblocks 50+ streaming services and works with iPlayer without any issues. You'll get 1,000+ UK-based servers (London, Manchester, and Berkshire), as well as thousands of servers in 100 countries in total.

We also have to note that CyberGhost offers medium-fast speeds, so a fast baseline connection would certainly help. Still, that might not be an issue if you're from Europe or North America, as this VPN works well when it comes to relatively nearby VPN connections.

Another downside is that CyberGhost doesn't have obfuscated servers. So, you can't use it in countries with heavy censorship. However, it does provide a capable kill switch designed to prevent accidental data leaks. There's also a recently audited no-logs policy, showing that CyberGhost respects your privacy.

Aside from that, it allows you to switch between different protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPsec), as well as protocols like AES-256 and ChaCha20. CyberGhost gives you 7 simultaneous connections, which seems quite generous. Those apps are available on any desktop or mobile device.

This VPN's 2-year subscription is priced at $2.03/month and comes with a 45-day money-back policy. You'll have plenty of time to test-drive this VPN and ensure you spend your money wisely. Also, it matches our other recommendations in terms of customer support. It features 24/7 live chat support, installation guides, an active blog, and more. 

PROS

  • Unblocks iPlayer with ease.
  • Covers 100 countries in total.
  • Streaming-optimized servers.
  • 24/7 live chat support.
  • 45-day money-back policy.

CONS

  • Slower than its competitors.
  • No obfuscation present.

5. PIA - Highly Advanced VPN for Hardcore Streaming Enthusiasts

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chrome
Firefox
PlayStation
Xbox
Amazon Fire TV
Nintendo Switch
Parallel Connections
Live Chat

Private Internet Access is a US-based VPN provider known for its high level of fine-tuning. As such, it works great for streaming and unblocks iPlayer every time. It offers hundreds of servers across 3 UK locations (Manchester, London, Southampton), as well as thousands of servers in 90+ countries.

Out of the box, this VPN offers medium-fast speeds. It's possible to reach faster performance, but only if you dive into its settings. More precisely, you can lower your privacy settings (leaving you well protected on the Web) to speed up PIA across nearby and remote servers.

You'll also find obfuscation here, as well as several types of kill switches. You can decide whether your entire Internet connection shuts down if your VPN connection drops or if you'd like individual apps to close. Either way, you won't experience data leaks. Aside from that, PIA features a solid no-logs policy, open-source applications, and total transparency.

This VPN is powered by OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2/IPsec, in addition to AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption protocols. Expect support for unlimited simultaneous connections, in addition to software for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS/iPadOS, support for routers, and more.

PIA's 2-year plan starts at $2.03/month and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. This VPN also offers 24/7 live chat customer support in addition to installation guides, email support, customer support tickets, and plenty more.

PROS

  • Can bypass iPlayer's geo-blocks.
  • Advanced security and privacy.
  • High level of customization.
  • 24/7 live chat support.
  • 30-day money-back policy.

CONS

  • Requires some fine-tuning.
  • Slower than its competitors.

Best BBC iPlayer VPNs: Compared

NordVPN Surfshark ExpressVPN CyberGhost VPN PIA VPN
Unblocks BBC iPlayer YES YES YES YES YES
Server Network Size 6,300+ servers
110+ countries
3,200+ servers
100 countries
N/A
105 countries
N/A
100 countries
N/A
90+ countries
VPN Protocols OpenVPN
IKEv2/IPsec
NordLynx
OpenVPN
IKEv2/IPsec
WireGuard
OpenVPN
IKEv2/IPsec
Lightway
OpenVPN
IKEv2/IPsec
WireGuard
OpenVPN
IKEv2/IPsec
WireGuard
No-Logs Policy YES (audited) YES (audited) YES (audited) YES (audited) YES (audited)
Obfuscated Servers YES YES YES NO YES
Kill Switch YES YES YES YES YES
Performance Ultra-fast Fast Ultra-fast Medium Medium
Simultaneous Connections 10 Unlimited 8 7 Unlimited
Supported Devices Windows
macOS
Linux
Android
iOS/iPadOS
Apple TV
Fire TV
Android TV
routers
Windows
macOS
Linux
Android
iOS/iPadOS
Fire TV
Android TV
routers
Windows
macOS
Linux
Android
iOS/iPadOS
Apple TV
Fire TV
Android TV
routers
Windows
macOS
Linux
Android
iOS/iPadOS
Fire TV
Android TV
routers
Windows
macOS
Linux
Android
iOS/iPadOS
Apple TV
Fire TV
Android TV
routers
Pricing $3.09/month
(2-year plan)
$2.29/month
(2-year plan)
$6.67/month
(1-year plan)
$2.03/month
(2-year plan)
$2.03/month
(2-year plan)
Customer Support 24/7 live chat 24/7 live chat 24/7 live chat 24/7 live chat 24/7 live chat
Money-Back Guarantees 30 days 30 days 30 days 45 days 30 days
Get NordVPN Get Surfshark Get ExpressVPN Get CyberGhost Get PIA VPN

Why Do You Need a VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer?

You need a VPN for BBC iPlayer to bypass the streaming platform’s geo-restrictions. As mentioned earlier, only UK residents can access iPlayer, so if you live elsewhere, you won’t be able to watch its content. A VPN if your only way to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.

If you access BBC iPlayer outside the UK, you won't encounter any issues with accessing the website itself. However, when you try to watch something, the following error message will appear: "BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it's due to rights issues."

BBC iPlayer Geo-Block Error Message
iPlayer shows you an error message if you're outside the UK.

Other reasons why you need a VPN for BBC iPlayer include the following:

How to Choose the Best VPN for BBC iPlayer?

To pinpoint the best VPN for BBC iPlayer, you need to take your pick based on its ability to unblock the streaming app, the number of servers it offers, and the level of performance it can promise. Here's everything you need to keep in mind:

What If You Don't Have a UK TV License?

If you don't have a UK TV license, you're not legally allowed to access BBC iPlayer. However, many still decide to do so without any consequences (for now).

Upon trying to access iPlayer, you will be asked whether you have a UK TV license. You can say that you do, and the streaming service will grant you access. If you say that you don't, you'll be redirected to a support page with more info on who can access the service.

In other words, BBC iPlayer doesn't check whether you have a valid license, and it relies on your honesty. So, if you don't have a license and decide to access iPlayer, you would technically be stealing that content, as you didn't pay for it.

Of course, that doesn't stop millions from enjoying BBC's content from all across the world. Also, it's a known fact that the BBC is quite liberal with its policies regarding who can access its content. 

However, they know that more than 60 million people use iPlayer for free from outside the UK (that information came out in 2015, so those numbers are probably higher today).

Does BBC iPlayer Detect and Block VPNs?

Yes, BBC iPlayer detects and blocks VPNs based on their IP addresses primarily. However, it also has other ways to see VPN traffic.

Most VPNs rely on third-party data centers to provide connections to various countries. In other words, VPNs get access to pools of IPs. So, if a site (or a media streaming platform, such as iPlayer) wants to block VPNs, it relies on its partners to implement blocks that detect IPs associated with VPN data centers.

Similarly, if too many users access iPlayer through the same IP address (which often happens when using VPNs), the streaming platform can block that IP. Furthermore, DNS leaks, cookies, and GPS location are types of data that a VPN can't hide, allowing iPlayer to see your actual location.

To watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN in the long run, you need a VPN with a large pool of IP addresses. It should provide a leak-free VPN data tunnel. That’s precisely why we recommend NordVPN, as it comes with a massive number of IPs, making it the best VPN for BBC iPlayer.

Another solution is to use a dedicated VPN IP address. That means you’ll “buy” a single IP, which will be associated with your VPN account. To learn more, check our guide on the best VPN for dedicated IPs

What Can You Watch on BBC iPlayer?

BBC iPlayer lets you watch live TV channels, movies, TV shows, documentaries, daytime TV shows, and sports content - absolutely free of charge!

In terms of the available TV and radio channels, BBC iPlayer gives you access to the following: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC, CBeebies, BBC News, BBC Scotland, S4C, BBC Parliament, Radio 1, and BBC Alba.

Perhaps the biggest reason for iPlayer's popularity is its on-demand content. You'll find a truly valuable library of TV shows and movies here, so let's give you some recommendations.

Title Year Genre
EastEnders 1985- Crime; Drama; Romance.
MasterChef 2005- Cooking show; Reality TV.
The Way 2024- Drama.
Rain Dogs 2023- Comedy; Drama.
Peaky Blinders 2013-2022 Crime/historical drama.
Beyond Paradise 2023- Crime; Drama; Mystery.
Wild Isles 2023 Documentary.
Death in Paradise 2011- Comedy drama.
Strictly Come Dancing 2004- Game-show; Music; Reality TV.
RuPaul's Drag Race UK 2019- Game-show; Reality TV.
Glow Up 2019- Game-show; Reality TV.
The Graham Norton Show 2007- Comedy; Music; Talk-Show.
An Irish Goodbye 2022 Short; Comedy; Drama.
Darkest Hour 2017 Biography; Drama; War.
The Babadook 2014 Horror; Mystery.
Moonlight 2016 Drama.
Mr Jones 2019 Biography, Drama, Thriller.

BBC iPlayer Not Working with a VPN - Try This!

There are several things to try if your VPN doesn't work with iPlayer. We recommend using a different VPN protocol, using another VPN server, or inspecting your baseline connection for issues or errors. Let's go over some actionable tips you can try:

Of course, there's more you can do to resolve VPN-specific issues. For more information, turn to our central VPN troubleshooting guide, focusing on 25 different issues.

Can You Use a Free VPN for BBC iPlayer?

Yes, you can use a free VPN for BBC iPlayer. However, know that free VPNs will limit your media streaming experience - in a big way. So, we recommend avoiding free VPNs and here's why.

Free VPNs come with bandwidth and data limitations, giving you a limited amount of data on a daily/monthly basis. That might be useful for several quick browsing sessions, but it's not useful for media streaming. Free VPNs also come with limited server networks, and they most often don't support multiple simultaneous connections.

Then, another problem is that free VPNs can leak your data. Furthermore, they abuse your trust and could place you in a very problematic situation, as many free VPNs collect your data while injecting code to serve ads. We've also seen free VPNs bundling malware.

There's really no alternative to a premium VPN, especially if streaming is your focus. So, what you can do is get a premium VPN trial, letting you use high-end features without any risk. For example, you can try NordVPN for free on Android, as its trial lasts for 7 days. This VPN also has a 30-day money-back policy that applies across all its supported devices.

Once you've tested multiple VPNs, check our guide to the top VPN providers. You'll see that many provide trials or money-back policies, so you can be sure that you're spending your money wisely.

Final Thoughts

BBC iPlayer is restricted to the UK only. If you live abroad or plan on traveling, the only option to unblock iPlayer is to use a VPN. Still, keep in mind that the streaming platform detects when someone uses a VPN and can block IP addresses. To enjoy BBC iPlayer's content without interruptions, ensure that you use a reliable BBC iPlayer VPN with strong security and privacy protocols.

We recommend NordVPN as the best VPN for BBC iPlayer because of its encryption, server network with plenty of UK options, and strong unblocking capabilities. Using this powerful VPN, you’ll be able to avoid all the VPN-detection measures that BBC iPlayer has in place and stream its content without disruptions. Plus it works with other UK-based and international streaming apps.

FAQ

What’s the VPN for BBC iPlayer?

The best BBC iPlayer VPN is NordVPN. It can unblock the platform, provide a wide range of servers in the UK, and protect your data. Also, it offers lightning-fast speeds and is suitable for streaming in 4K.

Which VPN Works with BBC iPlayer?

NordVPN works with BBC iPlayer, as it offers a wide range of servers in the UK and has excellent content-unblocking capabilities. With NordVPN, you'll unblock iPlayer in no time.

How Do I Unblock BBC iPlayer Outside the UK?

To unblock BBC iPlayer outside the UK, you need to connect to a UK-based VPN server. Once you obtain a British IP address, your access to iPlayer will open up. Of course, not every VPN is good enough to bypass iPlayer's geo-blocks, which is why we recommend NordVPN.

Can I Watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN?

Yes, you can watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN by getting a British IP address. However, iPlayer keeps trying to block VPNs, so not many still work. Use a proven option, such as NordVPN.

Does BBC iPlayer Work with a VPN?

Yes, BBC iPlayer works with VPN, but not every VPN can unblock it. The streaming platform uses advanced anti-VPN systems, so we recommend getting a VPN that offers obfuscation. You can go with NordVPN, which has proven to be the best VPN for iPlayer.

Why Won't BBC iPlayer Work Abroad?

BBC iPlayer doesn't work abroad because its content is licensed for the UK only. To watch iPlayer abroad, your only option is a VPN, with NordVPN being our #1 pick.

Can I Watch BBC iPlayer in the USA with a VPN?

Yes, you can watch iPlayer in the USA with a VPN. Just make sure to use a VPN with UK-based servers and streaming-friendly performance, like NordVPN.

What Is the Fastest VPN for BBC iPlayer?

The fastest VPN for BBC iPlayer is NordVPN, which also makes it the best option for streaming overall. NordVPN manages to deliver extra-smooth performance across nearby and remote servers, letting you stream in HD or 4K without any problems.

Does NordVPN Work with BBC iPlayer?

Yes, NordVPN works with BBC iPlayer. It is an excellent VPN for streaming and has the ability to unblock multiple streaming services, including BBC iPlayer.

Does Surfshark Work with BBC iPlayer?

Yes, Surfshark works with BBC iPlayer. You can use any of its UK-based servers to unblock the streaming app, as well as dozens of other UK-based streaming platforms.

Does ExpressVPN Work with BBC iPlayer?

Yes, ExpressVPN works with BBC iPlayer. It can unblock its content, allowing you to access BBC iPlayer in any location from multiple devices, including your phone, computer, or tablet.

That’s all for our guide on the best VPN for BBC iPlayer. If you have any questions, leave a comment just below. Thank you for reading!



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