5 Best BBC iPlayer VPNs in 2022

When it comes to the best free-of-charge streaming services, BBC's iPlayer deserves a very special place. It has high-quality content, offers both movies and TV shows, and gets new titles every single day. However, the only downside is that it's available in the UK only, which is why we need to talk about picking the best VPN for BBC iPlayer. We're here to help you with that by not only listing the best options but also giving you plenty of tips along the way.

Our team has tested more than 60 VPNs so far, and we made sure to check how well they work with iPlayer. So, we have plenty of experience and knowledge to share with you. If you keep on reading, you'll find our list of VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer without a hitch, suitable for a range of different users. With that said, let's jump right in!

How to Choose the Best VPN for BBC iPlayer?

You can find the best BBC iPlayer VPN for your needs - but only if you set your priorities right. We're here to help, so check out the following steps.

  • Find a VPN Compatible with iPlayer: Since your primary goal is to unblock iPlayer, make sure to find a VPN that has that ability. However, know that unblocking iPlayer isn't that easy, so make sure to rely on hands-on reviews or contact VPNs directly (many of them offer live chat via their websites).
  • Ensure There Are Plenty of Servers in the UK: Using a VPN with plenty of servers in the UK means that you'll avoid overcrowded servers. In general, iPlayer offers 'Full HD' video content, so you'll want to take full advantage of that by using a fast VPN.
  • Check Which Platforms & Devices Are Covered: To unblock iPlayer, you need to use a VPN app on the same device you'll use to access iPlayer. So, your chosen VPN must offer apps for any device you might own. Some VPNs offer a Smart DNS feature, which isn't a VPN per se. However, that feature allows you to unblock streaming platforms on devices like smart TVs and game consoles.
  • Find What Kind of Performance to Expect: No matter which VPN you pick, it will slow down your Web connection as it routes your traffic through a lengthier path (since it adds an additional stop in the form of a VPN server). Rely on hands-on reviews to learn what to expect from any VPN and don't believe in marketing messages, as VPNs often overpromise their capabilities.
  • Protect Yourself via Money-Back Policies: If you invest in a long-term plan, you'll get to save quite a lot of money. So, to invest your money wisely, make sure to check money-back policies. In general, any reputable VPN will be willing to return your money if you're unhappy with its service for any reason.

Best BBC iPlayer VPNs

Finally, let's get to the point. After testing dozens of VPNs, we're ready to show you the 5 best VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer, and those are:

Editor's Pick
Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chromebook
Kindle
Nook
Chrome
Firefox
PlayStation
Apple TV
Xbox
Amazon Fire TV
Roku
Parallel Connections
Live Chat
Encryption & VPN Protocols AES-256; OpenVPN, Lightway, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, PPTP
Unblocks BBC iPlayer Website YES (works with any browser)
Unblocks BBC iPlayer Apps YES (Fire TV, Android, iOS, iPadOS, and more)
Expected Throttling 21.5% on average (fine-tuning available)
Money-Back Policy Up to 30 days

At the moment, ExpressVPN is your best option as it works "out of the box," suitable for just about any VPN user there (from complete beginners to advanced users). However, there are many reasons why this is the best BBC iPlayer VPN (as well as one of the best VPNs overall), so let's take a quick look.

This VPN offers native apps for 60+ devices and platforms (here's how to set up ExpressVPN, by the way). Since iPlayer is available on any computer, phone, tablet, or media streaming device, that means that no workarounds are needed. Just launch ExpressVPN, connect to a server in the UK, and you'll be ready to watch iPlayer. As easy as that.

Using ExpressVPN with iPlayer

We'll also add that ExpressVPN gives you 5 simultaneous connections, which seems generous enough. You'll also have a set of solid protocols, with the ability to switch between them at any moment. Doing so helps you optimize the VPN's performance, even though it's pretty fast, even without any fine-tuning (here's how to optimize ExpressVPN for streaming).

ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, making it a risk-free investment. Aside from that, this is a verified no-logs VPN service relying on 'TrustedServer' technology (which ensures your private data is never collected). With that said, this VPN gives you privacy on the Web while letting you stream iPlayer and use numerous other streaming platforms.

We could spend quite a lot of time talking about this capable VPN. However, if you need more information, we'll leave you with our in-depth ExpressVPN review.

PROS

  • Incredibly powerful VPN solution.
  • Works great with BBC iPlayer.
  • Works great with other streaming services.
  • Easy to set up and use.
  • Allows a bit of fine-tuning.
  • 30-day money-back guarantees.

CONS

  • Very fast, but not the fastest.
  • Doesn't allow high-end customization.

2. NordVPN - Best VPN for Advanced Users

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chromebook
Chrome
Firefox
PlayStation
Xbox
Amazon Fire TV
Nintendo Switch
All game consoles
Chromecast
Parallel Connections
Live Chat
Encryption & VPN Protocols AES-256; OpenVPN, NordLynx, IKEv2
Unblocks BBC iPlayer Website YES (works with any browser)
Unblocks BBC iPlayer Apps YES (Fire TV, Android, iOS, iPadOS, and more)
Expected Throttling 36.8% on average (fine-tuning available)
Money-Back Policy Up to 30 days

NordVPN comes with a very polished interface, bringing modern-looking apps across the board. However, even though it looks simple, this VPN allows you to fine-tune your VPN connection, use all kinds of advanced features, and unblock any website out there. That's why we believe it's one of the best BBC iPlayer VPNs right now.

You can use NordVPN on up to 6 devices at the same time. And yes, this VPN works on any computer, phone, tablet, or media streaming device. It also offers a Smart DNS feature that lets you use the VPN on devices that don't support this type of software. However, that feature doesn't allow you to unblock BBC's iPlayer (it works with ABC Go, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Fox Now, HBO Max, and Netflix).

Using NordVPN with BBC iPlayer

In terms of its performance, this VPN doesn't disappoint. Still, we recommend diving into its settings, where you can choose from different protocols and other options that affect your Web connection's speed. Know that NordVPN also offers specialty servers, which are helpful if you want to battle against online trackers more aggressively.

Lastly, NordVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. It releases new features every couple of months while managing to stay loyal to its no-logs policy. So, no matter if you want to unblock iPlayer, access other services, or protect your privacy, this VPN will deliver.

We've spent quite some time testing this VPN. So, if you want to hear what we have to say, turn to our NordVPN review.

PROS

  • Highly polished software.
  • Easy to get started with.
  • Should make advanced users happy.
  • Highly usable for media streaming.
  • Doesn't log your data.
  • 30-day money-back policy.

CONS

  • Requires some fine-tuning.
  • Might be too complex for beginnners.

3. CyberGhost VPN - Best Streaming VPN with Dedicated Features

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chrome
Firefox
PlayStation
Apple TV
Xbox
Amazon Fire TV
Samsung Smart TV
All game consoles
All smart TVs
Parallel Connections
Live Chat
Encryption & VPN Protocols AES-256; OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2
Unblocks BBC iPlayer Website YES (works with any browser)
Unblocks BBC iPlayer Apps YES (Fire TV, Android, iOS, iPadOS, and more)
Expected Throttling 58.7% on average (fine-tuning available)
Money-Back Policy Up to 45 days

CyberGhost VPN is yet another powerful VPN that comes with steaming-related features. It works perfectly well with iPlayer, in addition to a large number of other streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max, and countless others.

That's because CyberGhost comes with over 7,000 servers spread across the world. Many of those specialize in individual streaming services, which you can pick from CyberGhost's interface. And speaking of its interface, it's easy to use and modern-looking, with its apps being available for just about any device out there.

Using CyberGhost VPN with BBC iPlayer

CyberGhost gives you 7 simultaneous connections, which seems quite generous. Aside from that, it allows you to switch between different protocols, which plays a large part in optimizing the VPN's performance. With that said, keep in mind that some optimization is required as this VPN doesn't come with the fastest speeds out of the box.

Another interesting thing about CyberGhost is its 45-day money-back policy. So, you'll have plenty of time to test-drive this VPN, making sure you're spending your money wisely. However, we're more than certain you'll be happy with how it works with BBC's iPlayer.

Don't forget to check our CyberGhost VPN review, especially if you want to know about its privacy-focused features, as this VPN offers plenty in that domain as well.

PROS

  • Works on any device out there.
  • More than 7,000 servers available.
  • Streaming-optimized servers on offer.
  • Unblocks iPlayer with ease.
  • 45-day money-back policy.

CONS

  • Could be faster overall.
  • Be prepared for some fine-tuning.

4. Surfshark VPN - Best for First-Time VPN Users

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chrome
Firefox
Apple TV
Amazon Fire TV
All game consoles
All smart TVs
Parallel Connections
Live Chat
Encryption & VPN Protocols AES-256; OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2, Shadowsocks
Unblocks BBC iPlayer Website YES (works with any browser)
Unblocks BBC iPlayer Apps YES (Fire TV, Android, iOS, iPadOS, and more)
Expected Throttling 37.7% on average (fine-tuning available)
Money-Back Policy Up to 30 days

As you'll surely agree, the best VPN for BBC iPlayer doesn't have to be a VPN that overwhelms you with technical terms and numerous options. Instead, that can be a simple-to-use solution that works great even without fine-tuning. Well, that's where Surfshark comes into play.

This is a relatively young VPN, present on the global market for several years now. Still, it's one of the fastest-developing VPNs. You'll find its apps for any platform out there (and it's already optimized for Apple's M1 processors), and that even includes devices that don't support VPNs natively. That's because Surfshark has a Smart DNS feature, which is incredibly easy to set up.

Then, know that Surfshark offers an unlimited number of connections (the only VPN that offers that, at least when it comes to this guide). So, all you need to do is download Surfshark, install its apps, and access your VPN account. From there on, it's all smooth sailing. Connect to a server in the UK (there's a nice group of those), and you'll get to access iPlayer without any issues.

Aside from iPlayer, we have verified that Surfshark works great with Netflix (unblocks more than 15 country-based libraries), Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max. It even works great with live TV media streaming services. The only downside is that it sometimes takes a while to connect, and it also doesn't bring the fastest speeds out there.

If you think this capable BBC iPlayer VPN is a good match for you, don't hesitate to read our in-depth and hands-on Surfshark VPN review.

PROS

  • Suitable even for beginners.
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections.
  • Works great for media streaming.
  • Over 3,000 servers.
  • 24/7-available customer support.
  • 30-day money back policy.

CONS

  • Medium-fast speeds.
  • Take a while to connect (sometimes).

5. Ivacy VPN - Best Budget-Friendly iPlayer VPN

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chrome
Firefox
All smart TVs
Parallel Connections
Live Chat
Encryption & VPN Protocols AES-256; OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, IPSec, PPTP, SSTP
Unblocks BBC iPlayer Website YES (works with any browser)
Unblocks BBC iPlayer Apps YES (Fire TV, Android, iOS, iPadOS, and more)
Expected Throttling 71% on average (fine-tuning available)
Money-Back Policy Up to 30 days

We'll end our list of the best VPNs for iPlayer with Ivacy, a relatively simple and user-friendly VPN that's also great for those on a budget. So, if you want your VPN to be fully-automated and if you don't like to tinker with its settings, this VPN seems like a good pick.

Regarding its platform compatibility, Ivacy brings an excellent range of apps available for computers, phones, tablets, Web browsers, and there are even apps for Android TV and Fire OS. That means you'll be covered well, which is good to know because Ivacy (unlike other VPNs in this article) doesn't have a Smart DNS feature. So, to unblock iPlayer, you'll need to use a device with Ivacy installed locally (which, once again, should not be a problem).

Using Ivacy with BBC iPlayer

It's interesting to note that Ivacy works with a massive range of streaming platforms. Aside from hugely popular platforms from the US, you can use this VPN to unblock regional platforms that originate from Europe, Asia, and Australia. Ivacy comes with servers optimized for streaming, so all it takes is to pick a streaming platform - the VPN will do the rest.

We also must note that Ivacy can be somewhat slow, especially when using overly remote servers. That's why we recommend it to those with fast Web connections (50+ Mbps), especially if you plan on streaming media in HD or 4K.

If you're intrigued by what this VPN brings to the table, read our Ivacy VPN review. We made sure to test this VPN in-depth, especially it's streaming capabilities.

PROS

  • Compatible with many devices.
  • Unblocks a range of streaming services.
  • Works with iPlayer without any issues.
  • Over 3,500 servers in total.
  • Offers dedicated servers for streaming.
  • 30-day money-back policy.

CONS

  • Allows basic customization only.
  • Smart DNS isn't a part of its offer.
  • Can be slow at times.

Why Do You Need a VPN for BBC iPlayer?

You need a VPN for BBC iPlayer if you want to access this streaming service from outside the United Kingdom, using any platform or device you might own.

As you probably know, iPlayer comes free of charge. Even though you need to register for an account, that can be done in under a minute. So, unless you're in the UK, there's no obstacle to taking advantage of this streaming service. However, if you're outside the UK, that's where VPNs come into play.

Currently, the only reliable method to unblock iPlayer is via VPNs. Due to how they work, they give you a British IP address while managing to hide your actual location. So, iPlayer will think that you're in the UK, giving you access without any restrictions.

Tip

Aside from using a VPN to access iPlayer, you can use it to safeguard your private data on the Web. Learn more about what VPNs are, as well as what VPNs can protect you from.

Is It Legal and Safe to Use a VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer?

Yes, it's legal and safe to use a VPN to access BBC iPlayer - if you're a UK TV license payer (so, you technically already pay for iPlayer's content).

BBC TV productions are sponsored by the UK television license fee and various deals with third parties from all around the world. Therefore, you are allowed to watch BBC's channels and on-demand content if you're a TV license holder.

To prevent those who don't pay for BBC's productions from accessing its content, iPlayer employs geo-blocks. So, legally speaking, there's nothing wrong with accessing the media streaming service if you're currently abroad.

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

If you don't have a UK TV license, you're not 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 giving more information on who can access the service.

In other words, BBC iPlayer doesn't check whether you actually have a 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. And also, it's a known fact that the BBC is quite relaxed 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 much higher today).

Is NordVPN Good for BBC iPlayer?

Yes, NordVPN is suitable for BBC iPlayer. Based on our tests, that VPN unblocks iPlayer via a range of UK-based servers, using any protocol.

If you check our list of the best BBC iPlayer VPNs, you'll see that our team is happy to recommend NordVPN. However, even though it's suitable for beginners, more advanced users are going to appreciate this VPN more.

It comes with a range of advanced features and specialized servers, letting you block ads, and covers a wide range of devices. With that said, it's clear that you won't make a mistake if you pick this VPN.

How to Use a VPN with BBC iPlayer?

It's quite easy to use a VPN with BBC iPlayer and to unblock the media streaming service from anywhere. Just make sure to go through the following steps.

  1. First, pick a VPN you'd like to use. Know that our #1 recommendation is ExpressVPN.
  2. Make sure to subscribe. To proceed, you need valid credentials.
  3. Then, download the VPN app to your device(s). Install and then open the VPN app.
  4. Log in using your credentials. At this moment, you should see your VPN's home screen.
  5. Connect to a server in the United Kingdom (some VPNs offer specialized servers for iPlayer).
  6. Once your session becomes active, go ahead and access iPlayer (via its site or apps).
  7. That's it! As long as your session is active, you'll get to stream iPlayer.
Tip

If you need help with setting up your VPN, here's how to do that on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Fire OS (Fire TV).

How Does BBC iPlayer Detect and Block VPNs?

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 website (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.

We recommend using well-known VPNs with massive pools of IPs. That's precisely why ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost VPN are our top recommendations. All those employ other methods as well (like reducing the size of your data packets) to evade iPlayer's VPN detection mechanisms (with plenty of success).

Tip

VPNs such as NordVPN and CyberGhost offer dedicated IP VPN addresses as well. Those are static (as opposed to being dynamic), which helps you evade VPN blocks quite successfully. However, they come priced extra, and they're not a requirement for accessing iPlayer.

Can You Stop Your ISP from Throttling BBC iPlayer?

You can stop your ISP from throttling any Web service by hiding your Web data. And yes, that is best done using a reliable VPN service.

It's interesting to note that your ISP can see that you use a VPN. However, there's nothing illegal about VPNs, which means that it's your right to use them. Besides that, your ISP won't be able to see what you do online - as your incoming and outgoing Web data will be encrypted.

So, since you'll keep your ISP out of your Web traffic, you'll also bypass ISP throttling. Still, do your research and find a VPN that brings fast speeds. After all, VPNs will throttle your Web speed, as they take your Web data through a longer route.

Can I Watch BBC iPlayer in the US?

Yes, you can watch BBC iPlayer in the United States, but only if you use a VPN to bypass the streaming service's geo-based restrictions.

Legally speaking, you're allowed to use a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer if you have a UK TV license. However, as explained above, iPlayer won't actually check if you have a valid license, except for asking if you have one (so, it relies on your honesty).

With that said, and technically speaking, you can watch BBC iPlayer in the United States as well as from any country in the world. The only thing you need would be a VPN that allows you to connect to a server in the United Kingdom.

Can I Stream BBC iPlayer on a Firestick Outside the UK?

Yes, you can stream iPlayer's content on a Firestick outside the UK - but only if you rely on a VPN with a native Fire OS app.

Installing a VPN app on your Firestick is quite easy, as long as your chosen VPN offers an app available on Amazon's App Store. With that said, here's how to set up ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost VPN on any Fire TV device.

Tip

Amazon's App Store is filled with VPN apps - many of which can take advantage of your trust, which means that you need to approach them very carefully. If you'd like to expand your search, here are the best VPNs for a Firestick (based on our tests).

BBC iPlayer Not Working with a VPN? What To Do?

There are several things to try if your VPN doesn't work with BBC iPlayer. We recommend using a different protocol, changing a server, and more. Find more info below.

  • Try Another VPN Protocol: We've had plenty of luck unblocking BBC iPlayer using OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols. Protocols like IKEv2 and IPsec work just fine as well. So, if you can't access iPlayer, our first recommendation would be to switch to another protocol, done by visiting your VPN's settings.
  • Switch to Another Server: If your VPN offers servers specialized for streaming, make sure to use those (and find one located in the UK). If you don't have access to specialized servers, you'll need to try a range of UK-based servers manually. Whenever you connect to a new server, relaunch iPlayer and check whether you have access.
  • Remove Your Browser's Cache: As you use the Web, your browser stores cookies and all kinds of data retrieved once you re-visit websites. If you tried accessing iPlayer's site before, a file could already exist on your device, helping the streaming service detect your VPN traffic. With that said, here's how to remove cache on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, and Opera.

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 I Use a Free VPN to Unblock BBC iPlayer?

No, there's no option to use a free VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer. As per our findings, free VPNs can't be used for media streaming, and here's why.

Free VPNs generally come with bandwidth and data limitations, giving you a limited amount of data to "spend" on a daily basis. That might be useful for several quick browsing sessions, but it's not useful for media streaming. When you stream media, you download a lot of data, even if you stream in the lowest resolution possible.

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. That's why free VPNs are not safe to use, in general.

Tip

If you're on a very limited budget, know that you still have plenty of options. We'll point you to our guide on the best cheap VPNs. However, you'll also want to check the best VPN deals - which we make sure to update regularly.

Which VPNs No Longer Work with BBC iPlayer?

BBC's iPlayer isn't the easiest streaming service to crack, and that means that a whole range of VPNs cannot unblock this service. Take a look at the following list and make sure to avoid these VPNs.

  • PureVPN
  • IPVanish
  • Private Internet Access
  • HideMyAss
  • Hide Me
  • Betternet
  • LeVPN
  • SuperVPN
  • VPNBook
  • VPNTunnel
  • AnonymousVPN
  • Perfect Privacy
  • Proxy.SH
  • Tunnelr
  • VPN4All
  • EarthVPN
  • GooseVPN
  • iPredator
  • Overplay
  • VPNJack
  • VPN Master
  • TorVPN

Is There a VPN That Works with BBC iPlayer?

Yes, there are plenty of VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer. With that said, know that our top recommendation would be ExpressVPN.

We're happy to recommend ExpressVPN to a broad range of users, even those who haven't used a VPN before. It works flawlessly with iPlayer as a range of other streaming services. And most importantly, ExpressVPN keeps you more than safe and protected on the Web, without any compromises.

That would be all for our guide on the best BBC iPlayer VPNs. If you have anything to add or ask, make sure to post your comment just below. And lastly, thanks for reading!

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