BBC iPlayer is one of the most sought after streaming services worldwide, but finding the ‘best VPN’ and more importantly, a working one is difficult.
Not all VPN providers work with BBC iPlayer after a crackdown in 2015. But this is 2023, things are different.
We’ve tested all the leading providers and put together this updated Best VPN for BBC iPlayer guide so you can choose and get streaming with zero hassle.
In October 2015 the BBC cracked down on VPNs from accessing their streaming service after it was found millions of users around the world in the USA, China, Australia, Europe and elsewhere were accessing the service in countries it wasn’t intended for.
The good news is that all good providers introduced fixes for the issue within days and since it has been accessible as normal.
I’ve rounded up 7 of the leading VPNs to check they do indeed work with BBC iPlayer and also to find which is the best in terms of speed to avoid buffering and stuttering.
So let’s find out who offers the leading VPN service this year.
Top 7 iPlayer VPNs
Express VPN is the number one provider suitable for watching BBC iPlayer from any location in the world.
Their app has plenty of different locations available across the UK and it doesn’t matter which you connect to, all are suitable for watching.
This is an excellent addition because it means there is no messing around trying to find a working server that you often find with other providers.
There are no issues streaming HD content from iPlayer with a VPN, or watching anywhere in the world.
I was most impressed with the huge 30-day money-back guarantee that ExpressVPN offers, which means you get an increased length of time to test the service with multiple BBC iPlayer shows and if it’s unsuitable, you can quickly get a refund.
ExpressVPN offers software and apps for Windows, Mac, Android & iOS.
The ExpressVPN service will set you back $6.67 per month and comes with three months free on their 12-month subscription, which is a great deal.
Best VPN for BBC iPlayer
30-day money back guarantee
The next on our list of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer is NordVPN.
This is a Panama-based VPN service with a very impressive server network. It has server locations in countries around the world, covering 59 of them, with 5531 servers in total.
NordVPN also offers excellent connection speeds, and it is capable of unblocking BBC iPlayer abroad, for users outside of the UK. Apart from the iPlayer, this VPN can also unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and give you access to all kinds of other services.
It is easy to use, it offers up to 6 simultaneous connections, and it supports various platforms, such as iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Apple TV, and many others.
Naturally, it also has plenty of top-notch security features for VPN users seeking privacy and protection. Its prices are quite affordable, as well, and it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a refund if you end up dissatisfied with it for whatever reason.
3. CyberGhost VPN
Next up, we have CyberGhost – a VPN whose servers are capable of bypassing any geo-block, and therefore, more than capable of giving you access to BBC iPlayer abroad.
Like other competent VPNs, this is not strictly a BBC iPlayer VPN. It can also let you reach plenty of other streaming services, such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, or pretty much any other blocked service or website.
This VPN can be used on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and many other devices, so you can unblock iPlayer from any device you want.
CyberGhost has one of the largest server networks, featuring over 6,600 servers in 90 countries, with plenty of servers in the UK. All you need to do is connect to any UK server, and you will be able to immediately stream BBC iPlayer, accessing all of its content.
Naturally, it also has plenty of other VPN features that can come in handy, the most notable of which is its money-back guarantee, which lasts for 45 days.
Fast speeds are also worth noting, and so are its 7 simultaneous connections. And, if you ever have any issue with the VPN, simply contact its live chat support.
Next on our list of top VPNs, we have Surfshark – a relatively young VPN from the British Virgin Islands. But, don’t let its young age trick you, it unblocks BBC iPlayer without any problems.
It can mask your IP address and let you access BBC iPlayer, as well as other streaming services, such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and anything else, inside and outside the UK.
Surfshark has professional customer support, with a 24/7 live chat, fast connection speeds, and 1700 server locations in 63 countries. There are numerous servers in the UK, which will let you access all of the geo-blocked services.
You can use it on a variety of devices, such as iOS, Android, Mac, Linux, Windows, and others.
Another thing that makes it one of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer is its affordable price. However, the feature that lets it stand out the most is unlimited simultaneous connections. You can literally use this VPN on as many devices as you want.
And, of course, if it doesn’t work well for you, you still get a 30-day money-back guarantee that will let you get a refund.
IPVanish is another popular service and BBC iPlayer works across their range of UK servers and with four different locations across the UK to choose from.
This includes London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow and with over 110 different UK VPN servers to connect to the choice is massive.
If you want to watch BBC iPlayer anywhere in the world, then IPVanish is definitely suitable and has plenty of choice for connection. With such a wide range of choices of UK VPN servers, this gives you the ability to pick the best based on your current location and get the fastest speeds.
Streaming live or on-demand in HD isn’t a problem and I was impressed that I didn’t suffer any buffering or stuttering even from far away locations such as the United States.
VPN software and apps are available for PC, Mac, Android and iOS, allowing you to watch BBC iPlayer anywhere on any device at any time.
So if you’re on holiday, away with work or even an expat you’ll be able to enjoy BBC iPlayer regardless of where you are on your computer, laptop, tablet or even your phone.
The service costs under $5 per month when taking an annual package making them competitively priced and with a 30-day money back guarantee you can try streaming BBC iPlayer first without the worry that you’ll be out of pocket should the service not be suitable for you.
To take a look at the IPVanish service or to sign-up just click the link below.
StrongVPN has a wealth of UK locations suitable for use with BBC iPlayer including London, Manchester, Canterbury, Livingston, Maidenhead, Nottingham and Rugby.
There are no issues with watching BBC iPlayer on the selection of servers and even in HD, the stream is reliable and good quality.
StrongVPN has software for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android although I do find their software for desktop systems a little more complicated than it needs to be. Changing servers can be a pain and I much prefer the solution from ExpressVPN.
Saying that though, StrongVPN is one of the cheapest providers and if you don’t mind their slightly cumbersome VPN software, then a yearly account can be picked up for as little as $4.66 per month.
A 30-day money back guarantee is provided so it should give you enough time to find out if the service is good enough to watch BBC iPlayer in your location.
They do have decent customer support, as well as good speeds, which is what attracted users to this service.
I think for the price difference it’s worth sticking with ExpressVPN but if you fancy giving StrongVPN a whirl then click the link below.
VPN.ac are a somewhat smaller and lesser known VPN provider but when it comes to watching BBC iPlayer, this actually isn’t a bad thing.
When BBC cracked down on VPN providers in 2015, they hit the most well known large VPN providers, often the ones that most people were using.
VPN.ac being a small provider escaped this block and continued working right through while other providers were putting measures in places to bypass the blocks.
Overall they make a good choice for watching BBC iPlayer overseas and they’re one of the providers with the fastest speeds I’ve tested, so there is no issue watching live TV or BBC in HD regardless of where you are in the world.
Being a smaller provider they have less server choice overall but with UK servers in London, Coventry and Portsmouth they make a good choice to watch BBC iPlayer overseas. They also have excellent customer support that is always happy to help its users.
VPN.ac costs $3.75 per month when taking an annual package, so they’re not expensive either.
They have over 25 countries covered with VPN servers, so they are on the smaller side, if you’re after using the service for other purposes then you’ll need to consider if their local connection points are close enough for you.
What free VPN works with BBC iPlayer?
Unfortunately, we doubt you will be able to find any free VPN that will let you access BBC iPlayer outside the UK.
Streaming services have been blocking VPNs for a long time now, and free VPNs simply do not have the resources to fight back against that. They are far from the best VPNs when it comes to technology, server count, or security.
But, the worst part is free VPNs’ speeds. Even if you can find one with a UK server or two, they are likely to be overcrowded, with too few IP addresses, and other problems.
Unblocking BBC iPlayer, or Hulu, Netflix, or any other service is pretty much impossible under these circumstances.
Not to mention that most of them will log your information in order to sell it since they are not getting the money from you.
All in all, any free VPN that claims that it can Unblock BBC iPlayer is probably not that honest, and simply a bad tool that you should avoid at all costs.
Can you use a VPN with BBC iPlayer?
Of course, as mentioned already, there are many VPN services that can let you unblock BBC iPlayer, as well as any other streaming service of your choice.
VPN technology is considered privacy technology, and since you have the right to secure your privacy, you are perfectly allowed to use it.
The thing is that gaining access to BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and all of those other services comes as an additional feature.
As part of securing your identity, you are using a VPN to switch between different IP addresses by connecting to various server locations.
As soon as you do, your real IP address gets replaced, and you get to access content that was not available anymore, as you suddenly gain access to the part of the internet available in the country where the server is located.
If you connect to a UK server, you will, naturally, be able to use your iOS, Android, or another platform to unblock BBC iPlayer.
Keep in mind, however, that BBC does not like this, and so they have a habit of blocking VPNs – or sometimes even users caught using them.
How to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK
Using an iPlayer VPN to access BBC iPlayer’s content is actually very easy if you know the steps to do it.
We can teach you what to do to unblock iPlayer in a matter of minutes. Simply follow these steps, and you will get to enjoy its content in no time.
Choose a VPN you wish to use. For our example, we will use ExpressVPN.
- Go to ExpressVPN’s website and sign up for an account.
- Once you do, click the big, red ‘Get ExpressVPN‘ button.
- Next, select your payment plan, payment option, and enter the necessary details.
- After that, you will have to download its app for the device you wish to watch on. ExpressVPN supports a significant number of apps, even for devices like Amazon Fire TV Stick.
- Install the app on your device of choice, and log in.
- Find the list of servers, and connect to the UK.
That’s it. You will now be able to access any content that BBC iPlayer has to offer at top speeds.
Don’t forget that you still have a money-back guarantee, 30 days to check out your new VPN. And, if you have an issue, try contacting customer service before requesting a refund.
Does NordVPN work with BBC iPlayer?
Fortunately, yes. NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for this kind of work.
It has fantastic speeds, servers around the world, affordable prices, excellent customer service, and top security features. All of this allowed it to gather users from all over the world.
Choosing a VPN service to watch BBC iPlayer overseas really depends on two factors.
Firstly VPNs need not to be blocked by iPlayer and secondly, it needs to be fast enough to stream the content across the world to your location.
Based on my tests and the overall service offered versus price, I found that ExpressVPN is the best VPN for BBC iPlayer.
I had no trouble streaming HD content or watching the live service and unlike some other lesser services, there was no buffering or stuttering to ruin my enjoyment.
The other VPNs listed here all work with BBC iPlayer, as they have plenty of servers capable of hiding your IP address, so they will make ideal choices too. The decision on which one is the best is yours to make.
I hope this guide has helped you decide on which VPN provider to sign up for to watch BBC iPlayer content overseas and if you’ve tried any of them or any other provider and had a positive or negative experience, please let us and other readers know in the comments section.
To recap the best VPN for BBC iPlayer choices, see the table below.