How to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK

Trying to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK? Unfortunately, the streaming service won’t work, as BBC iPlayer is only available to UK users.

It can be annoying if you’re a UK resident and can’t watch the latest shows and live sports while you’re abroad. Thankfully, there’s a way you can watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK – using a reliable VPN.

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

How to watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK: Quick Guide

While 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 outside the UK, 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 outside the UK on any device. You only need to connect to a UK server.

How to create a BBC iPlayer account outside the UK

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 outside the UK?

BBC iPlayer doesn’t work when you’re abroad 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 outside the UK 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.

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 fret; it’s safe to use a VPN with BBC iPlayer.

Is it safe to use a VPN with BBC iPlayer

Why do I need a VPN for BBC iPlayer?

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 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?

BBC iPlayer
Download Speed79 Mbps71 Mbps27 Mbps31 Mbps41 Mbps
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 every 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. Unlike free VPNs, 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.

Best VPN services for BBC iPlayer

1. ExpressVPN 🥇 $6.66/month

The fastest and most reliable streaming VPN of 2023

  • 160+ IP addresses in 94+ countries
  • 5 simultaneous devices
  • Live chat support
  • Over 3,000 servers
  • >80% connection speed
  • Unlimited bandwidth
ExpressVPN review

ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) is still the best VPN on the market and it has been for years.

It ALWAYS has servers that are open with major streaming sites such as Fubo, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Amazon Prime Video, and more. And it will reliably allow you to watch Fubo anywhere in the world without running into issues.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN $3.19/month

An incredibly fast and trustworthy VPN

  • Over 5,000 servers worldwide
  • 6 simultaneous devices
  • Reliable customer service
  • Fast NordLynx protocol
  • Cybersec ad and tracker blocker
  • Easy to use interface
NordVPN Best VPN image

NordVPN is a polished VPN that delivers fast connections thanks to its massive network of VPN servers.

It’s incredibly reliable at unblocking streaming services like Fubo and will also allow you to access – US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video and more without issue.

Read our full NordVPN review.

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3. Private Internet Access $2.03/month

An affordable, reliable VPN

  • 35,000 servers worldwide
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • 24/7 chat support
  • Servers in over 80 countries
  • MACE ad blocker included
  • Supports multiple protocols
Best VPN list - PIA

Private Internet Access is one of the leading no-log VPN services with over 1-million paying customers.

This VPN is one of the best in the industry at beating streaming sites’ VPN bans. It provides reliable connections with Fubo and allows for an unlimited number of simultaneous devices to be connected to its servers at the same time.

If you’re looking for a VPN to share with your friends and family, this is the one.

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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4. Ivacy $1.00/month

A trustworthy and affordable VPN

  • 5700+ servers worldwide
  • 10 simultaneous devices
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Dedicated IP address option
  • Available on all major platforms
  • Great price
Ivacy Best VPN image

If you’re looking for an excellent VPN, with an even better price tag, Ivacy ($1.00/month) is a great option.

While it doesn’t do much more than the other VPNs on this list, the main attraction is the price.

This is an affordable VPN that will allow you to stream Fubo, from any country in the world on Mac, PC, Android, iOS and FireStick.

Read our full Ivacy review.

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5. CyberGhost $2.19/month

A solid VPN package

  • Deloitte verified no logs policy
  • Servers in 91 countries
  • 7 simulatenous devices
  • Proprietary NoSpy servers
  • Multiple protocol options
  • Split tunneling support
CyberGhost Best VPN image

CyberGhost is one of the more established VPNs on the market. It has a well-established, and well-tested global network of servers that perform well.

It also offers NoSpy servers which are specially designed to provide an extra layer of security and privacy for users.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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(30-day money-back guarantee)

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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