The best VPN for iPlayer

We take a look at some of the best VPNs you can use to watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world.

BBC iPlayer is one of the most popular streaming services in the world. The Catch-Up and On Demand service gives viewers access to an extensive collection of streaming content, ranging from movies to TV shows, sports, and documentaries. With iPlayer, you can enjoy the best of British programming including shows such as EastEnders, Doctor Who, The Great British Bake Off, and Would I Lie to You.

Unfortunately, if you live or are travelling abroad, BBC will not let you access iPlayer from outside the UK. Due to rights and copyright issues, the service is geo-restricted and can only be viewed on devices with a UK IP address. When you try to use the streaming service, you will most likely get the following notification.

“BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”

Fortunately, with the right VPN, you can unblock iPlayer and enjoy your favourite BBC shows from anywhere in the world. To help you out, we tested numerous VPNs and come up with a list of the best VPNs for viewing iPlayer.   

 

1. ExpressVPN

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ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN for viewing BBC iPlayer. The VPN is stable and reliable and has over 160 server locations in the world, including 7 in the UK alone. All servers are optimized for streaming and thanks to ExpressVPN’s unlimited bandwidth, you can binge on all your favourite shows uninterrupted.

But, what impressed us the most about ExpressVPN was the speed of their connections. The service provides snappy speeds, regardless of where you’re based, allowing you to watch your favourite iPlayer shows in high definition. 

Privacy and security

If you are a privacy-focused user, you will be thrilled to know the VPN does not keep any logs. Additional security features include military-grade 256-bit encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protection and an automatic kill switch. The VPN also supports split-tunneling which lets you route your BBC iPlayer traffic through the VPN while granting the rest direct access to the internet.

Compatibility

ExpressVPN offers unbeatable compatibility. The VPN comes with native clients for Windows, Mac, Linux, IOS, and Android as well as custom firmware for routers. You can also find browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. ExpressVPN’s customer support is friendly, responsive and available 24/7.

Pricing

The only major drawback with ExpressVPN is their pricing. The VPN is a bit expensive, but that said, they do offer an excellent experience for iPlayer viewers.  Their monthly plan costs $12.95 per month but if that proves to be too costly, you can opt for their more affordable 6-month plan at $9.99 per month and their 12-month plan at $8.32 per month.

All ExpressVPN pricing plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee allowing you to try the service risk-free.

  • Ultra-fast server speeds

  • 3000 plus servers

  • Zero logs policy

  • 3 simultaneous connections

  • 24/7 customer support

  • Costly on a month-to-month subscription

2. NordVPN

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A super-fast and reliable choice which unblocks BBC iPlayer in any country. NordVPN stands out with its massive server network. The VPN boasts over 5300 servers in 60-plus countries and operates an incredible 685 servers in the UK, some of which offer dedicated IPs and are optimized for ultra-fast streaming.

NordVPN’s trademark Smart Play technology makes viewing iPlayer even easier. The feature automatically identifies and connects to the best server for iPlayer allowing users to not only bypass BBC’s geo-blocks but also enjoy high quality streaming with no buffering.

Security & privacy

The Panama based VPN provides bulletproof security making it an ideal choice if you are very concerned with keeping your data private. Its Double VPN feature encrypts your traffic twice and routes it between two servers ensuring your online activities are safeguarded.

Compatibility

NordVPN offers simple and intuitive apps that are quite easy to use even for a novice. You can install the VPN on Mac, Windows, Linux, Smart TVs, iOS, and Android devices. There are also browser extensions and a router firmware which you can install free of charge.

Pricing

NordVPN is reasonably priced, and with a single NordVPN subscription, you can protect up to 6 devices. You can get the VPN for $2.99/month on a 3-year plan, $3.99/month on a 2-year plan, $6.99/month on a 1-year plan and $11.95 per month on a month-to-month subscription.

NordVPN offers a free 7-day trial, and their pricing plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

  • Fast and reliable connections

  • Over 600 servers in the UK

  • Strict No logs policy

  • Easy-to-use clients

  • 6 simultaneous connections

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

  • Server speeds can vary

3. CyberGhost

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CyberGhost is another worthy option which works reliably with BBC iPlayer. With over 3500 servers in 58 other countries, the VPN not only enables you to unblock iPlayer but also Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and many more others. In the UK alone, CyberGhost has over 370 servers, all of which are optimized for streaming.

The popular VPN service provider offers smart apps that suggest servers based on the streaming site you want to unblock. That being said, CyberGhost 5-star customer service is always ready to provide technical support, and you can contact them anytime via email or live chat.

Security & privacy

CyberGhost servers are fast, and you should have no problem streaming HD content. Security wise the VPN comes with standout features including AES 256-bit encryption, Zero-Knowledge DNS, a kill switch, along with a selection of some of the best available security protocols. The VPN also has a strict data policy, and you can rest easy knowing your privacy is protected.

Compatibility

CyberGhost is compatible with almost all the major streaming devices. The VPN has apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and Routers and can support up to 7 devices at the same time.

Pricing

CyberGhost remains one of the most affordable VPNs for viewing iPlayer abroad. They offer a 1-day free trial (no credit card required) and pricing plans include a $2.50 per month 3-year plan, $3.69 per month 2-year plan, $5.25 per month 1-year plan and a $12.99 monthly subscription. All pricing plans come with an industry-best 45-day money-back guarantee.

  • Fast speeds

  • 370 plus servers in the UK

  • No logging policy

  • 7 simultaneous connections

  • 45-day money-back guarantee

  • Costly on a month-to-month subscription

4. VyprVPN

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VyprVPN is a popular choice for many users, and it’s no secret why. The VPN’s performance is impressive, and the native clients are well equipped and easy to use. VyprVPN has server clusters in several locations across the world including the UK.

The VPNs very own Chameleon™ VPN technology offers great geo-spoofing capabilities and makes unblocking iPlayer a piece of cake. Aside from this handy feature, VyprVPN also offers blazing fast connections, and you can stream 4K shows like Dynasties without any issues.

Security & privacy

VyprVPN’s security doesn’t fall short either. The VPN boasts a strong security pedigree and features AES 256-bit and 128-bit encryptions with perfect forward secrecy, NAT firewall, and Zero-Knowledge DNS. Additionally, the VyprVPN does not store activity logs. However, it does temporarily keep some connection logs which they use for network optimization.

Compatibility

VyprVPN supports a wide range of devices including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, TV, and Anonabox. The VPN is easy to set up and there is 24/7 support available if you run into any trouble along the way.

Pricing

The VPN service provider offers two pricing plans. The VyprVPN basic plan will set you back $9.95 on a month-to-month subscription or $5.00 per month billed annually. The premium plan, on the other hand, costs $6.67 per month paid yearly and 12.95 per month paid monthly. 

  • Fast server speeds

  • 3-day free trial

  • 5 simultaneous connections

  • Reliable customer support

  • Few servers in the UK

  • No money-back guarantee

5. PrivateVPN

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A tremendous choice for BBC iPlayer fans! Although it’s a relatively newer VPN, PrivateVPN has managed to climb the ranks due to its excellent geo-unblocking capabilities. The VPN has multiple dedicated servers in the UK and continues to offer reliable access to BBC iPlayer.

Security & privacy

To watch Planet Earth II in Ultra HD, you will need ultra-fast connections, and this is exactly what PrivateVPN has to offer. And thanks to their zero logging policy, you’ll be binging away in complete privacy. The VPN’s connections are protected by military-grade AES 256-bit key encryption, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch.

Compatibility 

The VPN is easy to use and is compatible with all major platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android as well as a custom-built VPN for Kodi. With PrivateVPN, you can connect up to 6 different devices simultaneously, all to unique IP addresses.

Pricing

PrivateVPN is moderately priced and current plans include the $3.82 per
month 13-month plan, the $4.88 per month 3-month and the $7.67 month-to-month subscription. They also offer a 7-day free trial and all their pricing plans are backed by a 30-day money back guarantee. 

  • Fast and reliable connections

  • Zero logs policy

  • 6 simultaneous connections

  • 7-day free trial

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

  • Limited server coverage

What does a VPN for BBC iPlayer do?

Short for virtual private network, a VPN encrypts your internet connection and tunnels it through a server situated in a location of your choosing. To access BBC iPlayer, you just need to select a server in the UK, and you’ll be assigned a UK IP making it appear as if you’re accessing the site from within the country.

However, not all VPN services will work with BBC iPlayer. BBC knows that users will always try to circumvent their geo-blocks. Consequently, the company has put in place robust measures to detect and block VPN IP addresses. And to hammer the message home, BBC has also gone as far as banning VPN users.

It’s, therefore, important to use a VPN service that not only bypasses BBC’s firewall but also actively replaces blocked IP addresses. 

 

Free vs. Paid VPNs

Do free VPNs work with BBC iPlayer? If so, why not just get a free VPN and avoid the cost of subscribing to a paid option. Although a few free VPNs will unblock BBC iPlayer, most, if not all, are plagued with slow speeds and limited bandwidth making them unsuitable for video streaming and other bandwidth-intensive applications.

And if you think that’s the only issue with free VPNs, you are gravely mistaken. Most of the free VPN service providers use weak encryptions and maintain bogus privacy policies. Despite claiming otherwise, they have been known to log user data and sell it to advertisers and other interested third parties.

 

How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad using a VPN?

Unblocking BBC iPlayer is a breeze and can be done in a matter of minutes using any of the recommended VPNs above. Sign up with your preferred option and follow these easy steps;

  • Download and install the VPN on the device you intend to use.
  • Run the VPN app and choose a server located in the United Kingdom.
  • Open BBC iPlayer and enjoy your favourite shows!

If you encounter any trouble, you can contact your VPN service provider for technical assistance.

 

BBC iPlayer not working? Try this

Sometimes, even when you are using the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer, you may still get the proxy error message. If you run into trouble, try disconnecting and connecting to a different VPN server. Feel free to contact customer support and ask for a list of the working servers.

If that doesn’t work, the issue may be more than just a blacklisted IP. BBC iPlayer might have already stored your real location in an active browser cookie, and this can cause you to see the geo-restriction warning even when you are using a working server. To solve the issue, you might need to clean your entire browser cache.

Again, it could be that the iPlayer app is forcing your device onto your ISP’s DNS servers instead of the VPN’s. It can happen whether you are using a smartphone, PC, smart TV, game console or a streaming media box. Luckily, you can quickly get around this by setting up the VPN directly on your Wi-Fi router.

 

Wrap up

BBC iPlayer does its best to identify VPN IPs and block viewers who use VPNs. However, with the right VPN service provider, you can still be able to go around the geo-blocks and watch your favourite shows on iPlayer without much hassle. All the above-recommended VPNs work with iPlayer and are quick to replace blacklisted IPs.

Streaming abroad (or at home) doesn’t have to be hard, no matter what your streaming service of choice might be. See how these VPNs for BBC iPlayer can help you watch content from other popular services with our streaming guides:

Best VPNs for Streaming Netflix 
Best VPNs for Streaming Hulu
Best VPNs for Streaming with Kodi

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