How to watch MOTD outside the UK

If you’re outside of the UK and want to watch Match of the Day, unfortunately, BBC iPlayer won’t work. You’ll run into an error that says “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”

This error is coming up because the BBC doesn’t have the rights to broadcast its content outside the UK and unfortunately, that means you can’t watch MOTD when abroad.

Note from the author: “I am originally from the UK, but moved to New Zealand (my wife is a Kiwi) in 2017. Since then, I’ve been using VPNs pretty much every day to get my fix of Have I Got News for You on BBC iPlayer, Gogglebox on All 4, and most importantly, listening to TMS when England play cricket (not kidding) as none of these programs are available in New Zealand.

I pay for both ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) and NordVPN ($3.19/month) and share my VPN logins with friends and family. I rate both of these VPNs very highly (I’ve tried them all!), but I think ExpressVPN just edges it – though it is more expensive.

If you have any questions, reach out via the Comments section below or get in touch via the links in my author bio.”

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to fix this. You need a UK IP address, and the easiest way to get one is with a VPN.

In this article, I will explain how you can use a VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer and reliably watch MOTD outside of the UK.

How to watch Match of the Day outside the UK

Total Time: 5 minutes

  1. Get a VPN

    How to watch Match of the Day outside the UK Step one Get a VPN scaled

    BBC iPlayer doesn’t won’t work outside the UK because you’re connecting from a non-UK IP address.

    The easiest way to get around this is to download a VPN and connect to a UK server, which will reroute all of your internet traffic via a UK IP address.

    I recommend going with ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month) as I have found these to be the most reliable when trying to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.

    But take a look at our Best VPN article if you want to learn more.

  2. Install VPN app and connect to UK server

    How to watch Match of the Day outside the UK - Step two Download app

    Next, you’ll need to install your VPN on your device and connect to a UK server (or BBC iPlayer server if you VPN has this option).

    This is what gives you a UK IP address.

  3. Go to BBC iPlayer and Sign In

    How to watch Match of the Day outside the UK - Step three Sign In to BBC iPlayer

    Now that you are routing your internet connection through a UK IP address (using your VPN), you can use BBC iPlayer as if you were in the UK.

    Note, you’ll need a BBC iPlayer account to watch Match of the Day. Take a look at our How to make a BBC iPlayer accountΒ for more information.

  4. Watch Match of the Day abroad

    How to watch Match of the Day outside the UK - Step four Watch MOTD Abroad

    That’s it. So long as you’ve picked a VPN that’s good enough to beat the BBC’s VPN blocks, and fast enough to stream BBC iPlayer without buffering – you have all you need to watch MOTD abroad.

How to watch Match of the Day: Video guide

Why do I need a VPN to watch MOTD outside the UK?

The BBC is a UK-based broadcaster, and although it’s a public broadcasting service, it still has to answer to licencing and copyright agreements.

The BBC doesn’t have the rights to broadcast its content outside of the UK, and to avoid copyright and licensing issues; it blocks users outside of the UK from accessing its content. This is why you’re running into the “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues,” error when trying to stream MOTD.

To unblock MOTD you need to fool BBC iPlayer into thinking you’re trying to watch the service from within the UK. To do that, you need a UK IP address. This is what VPNs allow you to do. The best VPNs can provide you with a UK IP address and this allows you to stream MOTD outside of the UK reliably.

How does BBC iPlayer block my connection?

The way BBC blocks your connection is all to do with your IP address.

Whenever you go online, you are given a unique IP address. These are similar to area codes for landline phones in that they contain information about where you are when you connect to the internet.

The BBC scans IP addresses that connect to the iPlayer service, and if it finds that you’re connecting from outside the UK it blocks you from accessing the content. You will be able to go on the website, but as soon as you try and play MOTD it won’t work.

To get around these blocks you need a VPN that will give you a UK IP address that will fool BBC iPlayer into thinking you’re trying to watch MOTD from within the UK.

How to watch Match Of The Day abroad

How does a VPN work?

A VPN will allow you to have an anonymous internet connection, and it can give you an IP address in a country of your choosing.

When using a VPN, your internet data is encrypted and rerouted through a server of your choosing. When your data is rerouted, you’re provided with an IP address based in the country where you chose the server. This makes it look like you’re connecting to the internet from that country.

So, to watch MOTD, all you need to do is select a UK-based server, and you’ll be given a UK IP address that will allow you to access all of the content on BBC iPlayer when you’re outside the UK.

How to watch Match Of The Day abroad

Will any VPN work?

No, not every VPN will work. This is because the BBC iPlayer tries to prevent VPN connections from accessing its service. The good news is that the BBC doesn’t have the ability to block an entire VPN, only the IP addresses it provides. The bad news is that lesser VPNs don’t have endless IP addresses, and inevitably, the BBC identifies and blocks all of them, meaning your VPN will no longer work, and you won’t be able to watch MOTD abroad.

The BBC blocks VPN IP addresses using three main techniques:

  1. Streaming services constantly monitor for IP, DNS and WebRTC leaks. This test is basic. But cheaper VPNs will fail it, meaning your connection isn’t fully secure and will be blacklisted. Good VPNs won’t fail this basic test.
  2. There are GeoIP databases that collect IP information and verify the IP address you’re connecting from. If your VPN is using an IP address in one of these databases, you won’t be able to stream MOTD from outside the UK.
  3. The BBC makes its own IP checks. If the channel detects a large number of connections coming from the same IP address simultaneously, they know that that is an IP address provided by a VPN, and they will blacklist that IP address.

This means selecting the right VPN is very important. If you want to reliably watch MOTD from anywhere in the world you need a VPN that can stay one step ahead of the BBC’s blocking techniques. Lesser VPNs don’t have measures in place to get around the BBC’s checks, and this can result in you not being able to watch MOTD outside of the UK, and you could lose money subscribing to a VPN that won’t work.

This is why we recommend ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month). These VPNs have measures in place to stay one step ahead of the BBC’s blocking techniques. When the BBC identifies and blocks an IP address belonging to a VPN, these providers close that IP and open a new one. This cat-and-mouse game allows you to watch MOTD reliably from anywhere in the world.

Best VPNs to watch Match of the Day outside the UK

1. ExpressVPN πŸ₯‡

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

  • βœ”Physical servers in 104 countries
  • βœ”Brilliant for unblocking streaming services
  • βœ”Very high-speed Lightway protocol
  • βœ”Available on almost any device
  • βœ”Very secure
  • ❌Pricey
  • ❌Only 8 simultaneous devices
  • ❌No addons
ExpressVPN

Streaming: ExpressVPN shines in bypassing geo-restrictions, providing smooth access to streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer, making it an ideal choice for watching Match of the Day even from locations where VPN use is heavily restricted. It has demonstrated excellent performance in accessing not only BBC iPlayer but also other services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max, without any hitches.

Servers: With a comprehensive network spanning 104 countries, ExpressVPN stands out against the average with a presence in significantly more locations than the typical 71-country span of other providers. With less than 3% of its servers being virtual, the vast majority are physical, ensuring a dependable and swift connection that’s perfect for streaming Match of the Day on BBC iPlayer.

Privacy: ExpressVPN’s privacy measures include passing independent audits by cybersecurity firms like Cure53 and F-Secure, ensuring a strong level of security and no significant weaknesses in its macOS, Linux, and Windows apps. More details can be found in the audit reports available online.

Price: ExpressVPN offers three payment plans: a 1-month option at $12.95/month, a 6-month option at $9.99/month, and a 12-month option at $6.67/month. Payment methods include major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and other systems, accommodating a wide range of users.

Speeds: ExpressVPN maintains high download speeds with minimal drop-off, ensuring efficient performance. Tests showed a slight decrease in upload speeds, but download speeds remained fast across various server locations, including the US, UK, and Vietnam.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off937.07520.93
ExpressVPN US server824.626.96
ExpressVPN UK server794.953.70
ExpressVPN Vietnam server761.903.81

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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2. NordVPN πŸ₯ˆ

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

  • βœ”Affordable pricing
  • βœ”Effective streaming access
  • βœ”Diverse server types
  • βœ”Solid speeds
  • βœ”Useful add-ons
  • βœ”Strong security
  • ❌Limited server locations
  • ❌No virtual servers
NordVPN

Streaming: NordVPN stands out for its ability to effortlessly circumvent geographical limitations, ensuring uninterrupted access to BBC iPlayer for watching shows like Match of the Day, as well as other streaming services like Netflix. It has proven to be consistently successful in maintaining smooth connections to a variety of streaming platforms, without any significant problems.

Servers: Despite having a server network that covers 60 countries, slightly below the 71-country average of the leading 20 VPNs, NordVPN’s dedication to maintaining physical servers rather than relying on virtual ones means users can enjoy faster and more stable connections, which is ideal for streaming Match of the Day on BBC iPlayer.

Privacy: NordVPN’s secure connection and no-logs policy have been verified via three independent audits, including one by Deloitte. The audits have confirmed NordVPN’s adherence to its no-logs policy, ensuring user privacy.

Price: NordVPN offers three pricing plans: Complete, Plus, and Standard. The 2-year plan for the Standard package is priced at $3.19/month, the 1-year plan at $4.99/month, and the monthly plan at $12.99/month. It accepts major credit cards and various payment systems.

Speeds: Below is a table showing the speeds tested for NordVPN. From our tests in New Zealand, NordVPN displayed very good speeds, although slightly behind ExpressVPN, but significantly faster than many other VPNs on the market.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)937.07520.93
NordVPN US server710.906.98
NordVPN UK server531.123.73

Read our full NordVPN review.

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3. PureVPN πŸ₯‰

A mid-range VPN that balances performance and price

  • βœ”Affordable
  • βœ”Unblocks major streaming services
  • βœ”Use on up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • βœ”Streamlined user interface
  • βœ”No log audit verified by KPMG
  • βœ”Several free add-ons
  • ❌Buffering on BBC iPlayer at peak times
  • ❌Past concerns with “no log” policy
PureVPN

Streaming: PureVPN has shown improvement in its ability to unblock streaming services. While it initially struggled with BBC iPlayer, its performance improved during less busy times. PureVPN can unblock major streaming services, but it may encounter buffering issues during peak streaming periods.

Servers: PureVPN offers a wide range of servers around the world. Although specific numbers are not provided, PureVPN’s server offerings are robust, allowing users to access various international content.

Privacy: PureVPN has faced criticism in the past for its privacy policies. However, it has recently undergone a no-log audit verified by KPMG in the past 12 months, aiming to reassure users about its commitment to privacy.

Price: PureVPN offers three payment options: a 1-month plan at $10.95/month, a 1-year plan at $3.74/month, and a 2-year plan at $1.96/month. PureVPN accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and a variety of other digital payment options.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance you can expect when using PureVPN. The VPN has shown variable download speeds across different streaming servers, with some experiencing significant drop-offs during peak times.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN189.44139.82
PureVPN UK Server24.3198.99
PureVPN US Server49.83106.52

Read our full PureVPN review.

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4. Private Internet Access

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

  • βœ”Affordable pricing plans
  • βœ”Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • βœ”Extra features like ad blocker and email protection
  • βœ”Verified no-log policy
  • βœ”Compatible with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu
  • ❌High use of virtual servers
  • ❌Not as fast as top-tier VPNs
  • ❌Lacks proprietary protocol options
PIA

Streaming: PureVPN has enhanced its capabilities in accessing streaming platforms, making strides in reliably unblocking BBC iPlayer for content such as Match of the Day, particularly during off-peak hours. While it is capable of unblocking major streaming services, users may experience some buffering during high-demand times.

Servers: PureVPN boasts an extensive global server network, providing a strong foundation for accessing a broad spectrum of international content, including BBC iPlayer for Match of the Day viewers. Though exact figures are not disclosed, the breadth of PureVPN’s servers facilitates versatile streaming options across different regions.

Privacy: PIA’s app is open-source, inviting third-party scrutiny and verification. It has also passed an independent no-log policy audit conducted by Deloitte, affirming its commitment to privacy.

Price: PIA offers three subscription options: 1-month at $11.95/month, 1-year at $3.33/month (upfront cost $39.95), and 3-year at $2.03/month (upfront fee $79). Payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and Amazon payments.

Speeds: Speed tests for PIA showed significant drops in download speeds across various servers. While using WireGuard protocol, speeds were faster than OpenVPN but still slower compared to top-tier VPNs like ExpressVPN.

OpenVPN Download Speeds (Mbps)OpenVPN Upload Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Download Speeds (Mbps)WireGuard Upload Speeds (Mbps)
VPN off (New Zealand)930516
PIA US server238.527.17300.658.65
PIA UK server2453.77315.787.23
PIA Vietnam server4456.554898.24

Read our full Private Internet Access review.

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5. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • βœ”Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • βœ”Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • βœ”Robust security and privacy
  • βœ”24/7 responsive chat support
  • βœ”Extensive server network in 100 countries
  • ❌Has trouble with services like Hulu
  • ❌Lacks a unique proprietary protocol
  • ❌App can be overwhelming
  • ❌Not the fastest among competitors
Surfshark

Streaming: Surfshark excels in facilitating access to a wide array of streaming platforms, including BBC iPlayer for viewers looking to catch up on Match of the Day. However, it has encountered some hurdles with platforms such as Hulu, which might affect users seeking a versatile VPN solution for international content streaming.

Servers: With an impressive network that spans 100 countries, Surfshark significantly surpasses the typical coverage offered by many VPN providers, incorporating a mix of physical and virtual servers. This expansive global presence ensures that users can easily find a server to watch Match of the Day on BBC iPlayer from virtually any location.

Privacy: Surfshark emphasizes its commitment to privacy with successful DNS leak tests and independent security audits by Cure53, ensuring robust online security and privacy. You can find more about their security audits here.

Price: Surfshark offers a 1-month option costing $12.95/month, a 12-month option at $3.99/month, and a 24-month option at $2.49/month. It accepts major credit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and various cryptocurrencies.

Speeds: Below is a table that gives you an idea of the speed performance when using Surfshark. From our tests, we observed decent speeds, suitable for general use, but not the fastest compared to some rivals.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)940.55520.24
Surfshark US server775.96.15
Surfshark UK server587.793.79

Read our full Surfshark review.

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6. CyberGhost

Affordable and secure VPN with extensive server coverage

  • βœ”Features NoSpy servers, a Killswitch, and split tunnelling
  • βœ”Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • βœ”Over 9,000 servers in 91 countries
  • βœ”Independent audit confirms no-logs policy
  • βœ”7-device coverage
  • ❌Not optimal for streaming due to speed issues
  • ❌Majority of servers are virtual
  • ❌Lacks a proprietary protocol
Cyberghost

Streaming: CyberGhost is adept at unlocking access to a range of streaming services, including BBC iPlayer for fans wishing to watch Match of the Day, alongside platforms like Netflix and Hulu. Nonetheless, potential slow connection speeds could result in buffering and lower video quality, impacting the overall streaming experience.

Servers: With a substantial network of over 9,000 servers across 91 countries, CyberGhost offers one of the more extensive server selections available. Despite this, the fact that 54% of these servers are virtual may influence the consistency and speed of connections, which is crucial for streaming high-quality content like Match of the Day on BBC iPlayer.

Privacy: CyberGhost has a no-logs policy that has been independently audited by Deloitte, ensuring user privacy and security. This audit confirms that CyberGhost does not keep records of users’ online activities while using the VPN.

Price: CyberGhost offers three payment options: a 1-month subscription at $12.99/month, a 6-month subscription at $6.99/month, and a 2-year subscription at $2.19/month, which includes an extra two months for free.

Speeds: Speed tests conducted in New Zealand showed significant drops in both download and upload speeds across various servers when using CyberGhost, indicating a performance issue in terms of speed.

Download Speeds (Mbps)Upload Speeds (Mbps)
No VPN (New Zealand)930516
CyberGhost US server192.292.63
CyberGhost UK server139.191.90
CyberGhost Vietnam server232.244.32

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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David Court
David is a professional journalist. He's been reviewing lifestyle and technology products since 2007. His CV boasts a series of high-profile websites that he's previously edited and managed. These sites include PCAdvisor.co.uk, TechAdvisor.co.uk, PCPro.co.uk, Alphr.com and ExpertReviews.co.uk. Reviewsfire.com is his new project.

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