BBC iPlayer not working with VPN? Here’s how to fix that! (April 2018)
Is BBC iPlayer not working with your VPN? Bad news. BBC iPlayer is detecting a VPN and your provider’s IP address is blacklisted. Here’s the best workaround.
Read also: How to bypass the Netflix VPN block?
BBC iPlayer not working with VPN: How to fix
Until recently, pretty much any VPN was good enough to let you watch BBC iPlayer abroad. However, since late 2017, customers have experienced increasing issues while trying to stream when abroad.
This is because BBC iPlayer is has started detecting and blacklisting VPNs. The way BBC iPlayer detects VPNs is simple. VPNs only have a handful of servers in each country and these servers are open to all their customers. When too many people connect to iPlayer from the same VPN server, the BBC blacklists the server’s IP address. This is why you’re seeing an error message when trying to watch BBC iPlayer.
The only workaround that’s guaranteed to work is to buy a VPN with a dedicated IP address. I’ve been using PureVPN since December and it’s worked perfectly. The dedicated IP costs an extra $1.99/month (roughly £1.50) on top of the existing subscription VPN subscription.
Note: A dedicated IP address guarantees you won’t download abnormal levels of data. Meaning you’re IP address will never get blacklisted.
Why has my VPN been blocked?
BBC iPlayer is free for all users with a UK internet connection to access. This used to mean that any user with a VPN could select a server based in the UK and watch BBC iPlayer content for free. This was problematic for the BBC as it had no way of policing whether a user was a license-paying viewer or not.
To combat this, the BBC has started measuring how much content each IP address (internet connection) downloads from BBC iPlayer on a daily basis. If the amount of content consumed from an IP address is abnormal, it gets blocked.
This is an effective way of detecting VPNs as they all share a handful of servers/IPs with thousands of customers – making them pretty easy to spot. When the BBC does detect a VPN it blacklists it immediately. This is why BBC iPlayer has stopped working with your VPN.
Note: A typical IP address in the UK would be a single household’s internet connection (roughly 4 people).
The best workaround for this is to get a VPN that lets you buy a dedicated IP in the UK too. This means only you have access to a single IP address so your access to BBC iPlayer will never be abnormal. PureVPN is the only VPN provider that offers a “Dedicated IP”. You can buy the service for as little as £3.45 a month.
List of VPNs blacklisted by BBC iPlayer
- Hotspot Shield
See also: Which VPNs still work with BBC iPlayer?
Why am I seeing the message “This Content is not currently available”?
The simple answer is because you’re not in the correct location/country to access the content. However, if you’re already using a VPN to spoof your location, things are a little more complicated.
As recently as last year, any cheap VPN would let users stream catchup content from any country. This method meant BBC iPlayer, and all of its content was open to anyone in the world with a VPN. Not just the TV License-paying British public.
Great for the end-consumer. Not so great for rights holders. This led to the broadcasters (with on-demand content) upgrading their geo-restriction technology. And in 2017, broadcasters – including the BBC, Netflix, Amazon, ITV, BT Sport, Sky Go, Foxtel and 4od – actively started blacklisting IP addresses that they suspected were attached to VPNs.
The way catchup TV providers detect a VPN’s IP address is pretty simple. Broadcasters recognised that VPNs were sharing a small number of IP addresses with their thousands/millions of customers. This meant certain IP addresses were accessing and downloading excessive amounts of data from BBC, Netflix, BT Sport another broadcasters’ servers. And this made the VPN’s IP addresses pretty easy to spot and blacklist.
Picture your IP address as your home’s internet connection. Normal behaviour would look something like 2-6 users accessing the internet at any given time. That’s a maximum of 2-6 users accessing BBC iPlayer’s servers at the same time. VPNs share UK IP address with thousands of customers which makes the level of content downloaded from the same IP address abnormal. And more importantly, easy for the BBC to spot and blacklist.