How to watch BBC iPlayer in the US

Trying to watch the latest UK shows on BBC iPlayer in the US? Sadly, you won’t be able to access the streaming service, as it’s only available to UK-based viewers.

While this can be annoying, don’t fret. There’s an easy way solve this problem and watch BBC iPlayer in the US – all you need is a reliable VPN.

This guide will explain how to watch BBC iPlayer in the US using one of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer.

How to watch BBC iPlayer in the US: Quick Guide

BBC iPlayer is a free streaming service, you won’t be able to watch any content unless you’re in the UK.

You’ll need to use a good VPN for BBC iPlayer to get past this. Follow the simple steps below:

Total Time: 2 minutes

  1. Create a new account with ExpressVPN ($6.67/month)

    How to watch Fubo outside the US

    To watch BBC iPlayer in the US, the first thing you need to do is create an account with ExpressVPN. Right now, you can save 49% on a 12-month plan and get your first three months free.

  2. Download and install the new VPN app

    How to watch Fubo outside the US

    Once you’ve signed up for ExpressVPN, you can install it on nearly any device. ExpressVPN is available on Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire, Kindle, Amazon Fire Stick/TV, Chromecast, Nintendo Switch, Android TV and more.

  3. Open the app and connect to a UK server

    How to watch Fubo outside the US

    To get a UK IP address and fool BBC iPlayer into thinking you’re accessing it from the UK, all you need to do is connect to a UK server on ExpressVPN.

  4. Access BBC iPlayer

    How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK

    While connected to a UK server, visit the BBC iPlayer website. You’ll now have access to the streaming service and you’ll be able to make an account.

  5. Watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK

    How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV outside the UK

    Once you’ve made an account, you’ll be able to watch BBC iPlayer in the US on any device. You only need to connect to a UK server.

How to create a BBC iPlayer account in the US

Creating a BBC iPlayer account is easy, as the streaming platform is free to use. However, it’s important to note that the BBC requires viewers to hold a valid TV licence in the UK to watch live television and access the iPlayer.

Regardless, all you need to do is make sure you’re connected to a UK server while using a reliable VPN that works with BBC iPlayer (best VPNs for BBC iPlayer), including ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

From there, you just need to visit the BBC iPlayer website and create a new account using an email address.

Why can’t I watch BBC iPlayer in the US?

BBC iPlayer doesn’t work when you’re abroad, including in the US, because you’re trying to watch the streaming service in a country where it doesn’t have broadcasting rights.

BBC iPlayer is a UK-based streaming service that only has the rights to broadcast its content in the UK.

Like any other streaming service, BBC iPlayer is subject to its broadcasting copyright and licensing agreements. And if it breached these agreements, it could face financial punishments.

To prevent this from happening and to protect itself, BBC iPlayer blocks anyone in the US from accessing its content.

To access the streaming service while getting past these restrictions, you’ll need to make sure BBC iPlayer works with a VPN. You won’t be breaking any laws; using a VPN is legal.

Does BBC iPlayer block VPNs?

BBC iPlayer blocks VPNs to stop users outside the region from watching content, as the streaming service needs to uphold its terms of agreement.

It does this through various blocking techniques, such as scanning your IP address when you connect to its service. When you go online, you’re given a unique IP address. This IP address contains information disclosing your location. However, the connection is flagged for potential blocking if an IP address is associated with a known VPN provider.

There are also other blocking methods, such as inspecting VPN traffic using DPI (Deep packet Inspection), detecting VPN browser extensions with JavaScript detection, and more.

Fortunately, using one of the best VPNs to connect to a dedicated server in the UK will often get past these tactics. Don’t worry; it’s safe to use a VPN with BBC iPlayer.

How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad

Why do I need a VPN for BBC iPlayer?

There are a number of pros and cons of using a VPN with BBC iPlayer, but the pros far outweigh the cons.

A VPN allows you to watch content on BBC iPlayer even if you’re not based in the UK. Since it’s only available to those in the UK, anyone without a VPN outside this location won’t be able to access the streaming service.

The BBC implemented countermeasures to restrict access for non-UK residents through IP-based blocking techniques. This is to protect their content licensing agreements, which prohibit content on the streaming platform from being shown in other countries.

However, a VPN can help you bypass these restrictions. When you use a VPN, you connect to the internet through a server in another location. This can make it look like you’re in a different country, such as the UK.

Using a VPN is the only way to watch content on BBC iPlayer (unless you’re using an alternative to VPNs) since it’s only available in the UK. This way, BBC iPlayer will think you’re accessing the platform as a user in the UK. Simply download a reliable VPN that works with BBC iPlayer (best VPNs for BBC iPlayer), connect to a UK server, and BBC iPlayer will think you’re in the UK.

The best VPNs for BBC iPlayer: Quicklist

ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) is the gold standard of VPNs. With servers in 94 countries and top-tier encryption protocols, it provides users the fastest and most reliable way to unblock streaming services from anywhere in the world.

NordVPN ($2.99/month) has an expansive network of 5,800+ high-speed servers in 60 countries – making it a great option for anyone looking to unblock popular streaming services, at a more mid-range price point. An excellent choice.

Private Internet Access ($2.03/month) is the “best of the rest” VPN. It stands out as a solid streaming VPN with a budget price tag. It’s not as reliable, or fast, as ExpressVPN or NordVPN. Making it a more suitable choice for a casual VPN user.

Ivacy ($1.00/month) the price is the selling point here. If you want a VPN that works with major streaming services “most of the time” and don’t mind a bit of buffering during peak periods, Ivacy is fine. But it’s nowhere near as good as ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

CyberGhost ($2.19/month) is a decent VPN option that offers user-friendly apps and a range of servers worldwide. While it may not lead the pack in all features, it provides a satisfactory balance of privacy, speed, and ease of use.

BBC iPlayer with VPN: FAQs

Q: Why isn’t BBC iPlayer working with my VPN?

Answer: BBC iPlayer frequently updates its mechanisms to detect and block VPN services. If many users are accessing BBC iPlayer from the same VPN IP addresses, it flags this activity and can block access.

Q: Can I do anything about my current VPN not working with BBC iPlayer?

Answer: Absolutely! First, ensure your VPN is connected to a UK-based server. If that’s already the case, try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies. Occasionally, switching the VPN connection protocol can also help. If all else fails, consider contacting your VPN provider or switching to a more reliable one known for bypassing geo-restrictions effectively.

Q: Are there specific VPNs known to work best with BBC iPlayer?

Answer: Yes, some VPNs have been consistently successful with BBC iPlayer, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. They often have dedicated servers or features designed to bypass geo-blocks.

Q: What should I do if only one of my devices can’t access BBC iPlayer using the VPN?

Answer: If BBC iPlayer works on one device but not another, it likely means there’s a device configuration issue. Check VPN settings on the problematic device, clear its cache, and ensure location services are off (for mobile devices).

Q: Why does BBC iPlayer block VPN services in the first place?

Answer: BBC iPlayer is available only for UK residents due to licensing agreements. To ensure compliance with these agreements and to restrict viewership to the UK, the BBC actively tries to detect and block VPN services that are used to bypass these geographic restrictions.

How do VPNs work?

VPNs give you an anonymous connection by encrypting all of your online data. This encryption turns your data into an unreadable code. 

This encrypted data is then rerouted through one of the VPNs own servers. The best VPNs like ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month) have servers worldwide. And you can select where you want your data to be rerouted.

Once your data reaches this server, it’s decrypted so it can be read and sent to a local internet service provider in the country where the server is based.

This gives you an IP address from that country.

Which VPNs currently work with BBC iPlayer?

ExpressVPNNordVPNPIAIvacyCyberGhost
BBC iPlayer
Download Speed79 Mbps71 Mbps27 Mbps31 Mbps41 Mbps
Throttling79%71%27%31%41%
Stream quality⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Price per month$6.66$3.79$2.03$1.00$2.19

We regularly check which VPNs are working with BBC iPlayer. Our last test was on 15th December 2023.

Will any VPN work with BBC iPlayer?

The good news is BBC iPlayer works with a VPN, and using one with BBC iPlayer is legal. However, not just any VPN will work with BBC iPlayer.

This is because BBC iPlayer blocks VPNs. It does this using a variety of methods, which can be difficult for VPNs to get around:

  1. IP Address Detection: One of the primary ways BBC iPlayer identifies VPN users is by detecting IP addresses. VPN services use a range of IP addresses for their servers. Once BBC iPlayer recognizes an IP address as belonging to a VPN server, it can block it. Over time, popular VPN services might find many of their IP addresses blacklisted.
  2. Multiple Connections: If many users are connecting to BBC iPlayer using the same IP address (typical of VPN server usage), it can be a red flag for BBC iPlayer. Such patterns are unnatural since residential IP addresses usually have just one or a few users.
  3. Known VPN Ports: VPNs operate using specific ports, especially when they employ certain protocols. BBC iPlayer can monitor these ports for increased activity and use this as a basis to block or throttle connections.
  4. Deep Packet Inspection (DPI): DPI is a more advanced method wherein the streaming service examines data packets to determine if they’re coming from a VPN. By looking into these packets, BBC iPlayer can differentiate between regular and VPN traffic and block the latter.
  5. WebRTC Leaks: WebRTC is a communication protocol that can inadvertently leak the actual IP address of the user, even if they’re using a VPN. If BBC iPlayer detects that the IP address from the WebRTC protocol is different from the IP address of your connection, it might flag this as VPN usage.

To watch BBC iPlayer consistently, you should use a reliable VPN that works with BBC iPlayer. If you’re opting to use free VPNs, we recommend picking one of the best free VPNs for BBC iPlayer. However, even these have some limitations.

The best VPNs for BBC iPlayer utilise techniques that allow them to consistently beat BBC iPlayer’s blocks and stay one step ahead of the streaming service. If you use a VPN that cannot beat these blocks, like a free VPN with BBC iPlayer, you’ll come across BBC iPlayer not working with VPN issues.

The VPN services we recommend for BBC iPlayer

1. ExpressVPN 🥇 $6.66/month

The fastest and most reliable streaming VPN

  • Optimized for HD streaming speed
  • Wide network with 160 locations across 94 countries
  • Split tunneling feature to select apps using VPN
  • TrustedServer technology for enhanced security
  • Limited to 5 simultaneous device connections
ExpressVPN review

ExpressVPN is highly regarded for its fast connection speeds, which is a critical factor for streaming content from BBC iPlayer without interruptions or buffering. The service offers a broad range of UK servers, ensuring users can connect to a server that offers optimal speed and reliability.

Additionally, ExpressVPN is known for its strong encryption protocols, providing a secure connection that protects users’ privacy. This is particularly important for users who want to access BBC iPlayer from locations where internet usage might be heavily monitored or restricted. Moreover, its user-friendly interface makes it easy for users to find and connect to the desired server, enhancing the overall experience for watching BBC iPlayer.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN $3.19/month

An incredibly fast and trustworthy VPN

  • Extra encryption with Double VPN
  • Over 5,500 servers in 59 countries
  • SmartPlay technology to unblock 400+ geo-restricted streaming services
  • CyberSec feature for ad and malware blocking
  • The interface can be complex for new users
NordVPN Best VPN image

NordVPN is another excellent choice for BBC iPlayer due to its extensive network of servers located in the UK. This vast selection allows users to easily find a server with a stable connection, which is essential for streaming high-quality video. NordVPN also places a high emphasis on security, with advanced features like Double VPN and CyberSec, ensuring that users’ online activities remain private and secure.

Furthermore, NordVPN has a reputation for reliably overcoming geographical restrictions, which is crucial for accessing BBC iPlayer from outside the UK. The service’s commitment to privacy, evidenced by its strict no-logs policy, also ensures that users’ viewing habits are not recorded or monitored.

Read our full NordVPN review.

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3. Private Internet Access $2.03/month

An affordable, reliable VPN

  • Strong encryption for secure connections
  • Extensive server network enhancing connectivity
  • Built-in ad and malware blocking
  • Supports up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Can have slower speeds
Best VPN list - PIA

PIA is well-suited for BBC iPlayer due to its strong balance of privacy features and speed. With a significant number of servers in the UK, PIA offers reliable access to BBC iPlayer, ensuring consistent performance and speed.

The VPN service is known for its strong encryption, which safeguards users’ data and ensures their online activities are private.

Additionally, PIA’s ability to block ads and trackers enhances the streaming experience by reducing unwanted interruptions. This focus on privacy and security, combined with reliable performance, makes PIA a strong candidate for BBC iPlayer users.

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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4. Ivacy $1.00/month

A trustworthy and affordable VPN

  • Cost-effective pricing
  • Servers optimized for P2P activities
  • Strict no browsing logs policy
  • Allows up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Smaller server network compared to others
Ivacy Best VPN image

Ivacy stands out for its dedicated streaming servers, which are optimized for a seamless streaming experience. This feature is particularly beneficial for users looking to access BBC iPlayer, as it ensures that the servers are tailored to handle high-bandwidth activities like video streaming.

Ivacy also offers a variety of UK servers, providing users with several options to access BBC iPlayer content. Furthermore, Ivacy’s commitment to user privacy, with features like military-grade encryption and a strict no-logs policy, ensures that users can stream content securely and without fear of their activities being tracked or monitored.

Read our full Ivacy review.

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5. CyberGhost $2.19/month

A solid VPN package

  • Large server network with streaming-optimized servers
  • Strong encryption standards for security
  • Specialized servers for streaming, torrenting, and gaming
  • Generous 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Speed performance can be mixed
CyberGhost Best VPN image

CyberGhost is particularly user-friendly, making it a great option for those who are new to VPNs. It offers optimized servers for streaming, including specific servers that are tailored for BBC iPlayer. This specialization ensures that users get a smooth streaming experience with minimal buffering.

CyberGhost also has a significant number of servers in the UK, providing reliable and fast connections. In addition to its streaming capabilities, CyberGhost is committed to user privacy, with robust encryption standards and a strict no-logs policy, ensuring that users’ online activities remain private and secure.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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Darragh Murphy
Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from the mischievous world of online security to washing machines designed for earbuds. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for laptops into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. When he's not checking out the latest devices and all things tech, he can be found swimming laps, watching terrible shark movies, and trying to find time to game.  Previous Editor at Laptop Mag and News Editor at Time Out Dubai, specialising in food culture, nightlife events, gaming, tech and entertainment.

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