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BBC iPlayer not working with VPN? Here’s how to fix that! (May 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 how to fix that.

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.

Buy PureVPN with a dedicated IP – $4.87 (£3.45) per month.

Why has my VPN been blocked?

 

BBC iPlayer not working with VPN - how to fix

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 $4.87 (£3.45) a month.

List of VPNs blacklisted by BBC iPlayer

  • TunnelBear
  • IPVanish
  • Hotspot Shield
  • VyprVPN
  • Windshield
  • CyberGhost

See also: Which VPNs still work with BBC iPlayer?

 

TunnelBear not working with BBC iPlayer?

TunnelBear users, for example, have no option but to switch VPN providers. This is because TunnelBear – and all the VPNs listed above have stopped fighting iPlayer’s VPN ban. “Unlocking BBC iPlayer” is no longer listed as a feature of the websites of these VPNs’ websites anymore. A bad sign, for sure.

If you want to start watching BBC iPlayer again you’ve only really got one option. And that’s to switch to a VPN provider that gives you a dedicated IP address. As we explain above, we think PureVPN is the best choice for this.

Using a dedicated IP with PureVPN means your connection won’t be shared with thousand’s of other customers, which is good for two reasons. Speed firstly. But more importantly, you’ll be the only customer accessing the IP address, which means your download levels will not appear abnormal. Meaning you’re IP address will never be blacklisted.

The fix:

  1. Download and install PureVPN
  2. Select ‘Stream’ or ‘Dedicated IP’ mode
  3. Select Purpose: ‘BBC iPlayer’ and wait for connect
  4. Open BBC iPlayer

Buy PureVPN with a dedicated IP – $2.88 (£2.09) per month).

 

Why am I seeing the message “This Content is not currently available”?

 

BBC iPlayer not working with VPN

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, internet users could use any cheap VPN to 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 great for rights holders. This led to the broadcasters (with on-demand content) upgrading their geo-restriction technology.

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.

See also: How to listen to BBC Radio abroad.

 

How to create a BBC iPlayer account?

Registering for a BBC iPlayer account is about the easiest thing you can do online. You only need an email address and UK postcode. Neither needs to be legitimate. You can even use a random postcode if you don’t want the BBC to collect data about you personally.

To sign up go to https://account.bbc.com/register? and enter a valid; Email, DoB, UK Postcode, and select your Gender.

That’s it.


Read next: How to watch ITV Hub abroad.

  • dc

    I do have a real uk address, and at that address I pay for the full BBC license fee. When I am holiday abroad I like to be able watch the BBC news by downloading it. I was using purevpn to do this but it has now stopped working. Is there a solution to this problem ?

    • David Court

      Hi dc. PureVPN with a dedicated IP should be all you need. Have you spoken to their support team via the Live Chat feature on the PureVPN.com website?

      • Simon Clark

        They told me their dedicated IPs are only in london..bbc require postcodes to register…thats not too good that london is the only option…more chance of doubling up on existing used postcodes

        • David Court

          Hi Simon. I use a PureVPN dedicated IP with a Post Code (with a full TV license) that’s not from London. The Post Code you use to register for iPlayer with doesn’t need to match your IP location – it just needs to be from within the UK.

  • Vadim Linev

    Hi Dave, thanks for the useful article!
    I am trying to set iPlayer up on an Android media player (Mecool), VPN works fine, so I can watch programs in a browser, but then BBC web site does not allow me to download iPlayer app. It says that this device is not supported. My guess is that it’s because this media player does not provide proper DRM support. Netflix for example allows only lower resolution video for such devices. Any suggestion on this? Would it be reasonable to expect it to work on other Android devices?
    Thanks!

    • David Court

      Hi Vadim. Glad my article helped. Annoying that your device isn’t supported by iPlayer. That’s still part of the problem with Android, I guess. When a manufacturer makes something that’s too different (from the mainstream) not all apps will be supported.

      As far as I know, BBC iPlayer works on most Android devices. It might be a little different for streaming devices though. The Amazon Firestick is a good option. And it’s cheap. You might need register to the Firestick as UK account to download iPlayer from the correct app store. Does that make sense?

      • Vadim Linev

        Thanks for a quick reply Dave!
        Cool, so it should work on other Android devices, so I’d better try on some other device. Or a Firestick. I tried to download right from the BBC website, not a Google store, so looks like it’s not a country of registration thing, but rather they were not happy about something on the device itself.

        • David Court

          Yes, BBC iPlayer works fine on the Firestick. However, you can’t download programs on it either. You can only stream them via the app (I think). If you have an Android phone or tablet, you can download the programs and watch them offline for up to a month, I think. But that’s only via the app too.