NordVPN, TunnelBear, IPVanish not working with BBC iPlayer - how to fix

Has your VPN – IPVanish, Windshield, HotSpot Shield – stopped working with BBC iPlayer? Here we tell you why that’s happened and how to fix it. See also: TunnelBear not working with VPN? Here’s how to fix that!

In the latter months of 2017, BBC iPlayer started aggressively blocking VPNs from accessing its servers. This means that over the past few months, VPN providers have not been able to provide their customers with a way to watch their favourite catchup-TV services in the countries of their choice.

Why has BBC iPlayer blocked IPVanish, Windshield, HotSpot Shield?

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.

NordVPN, TunnelBear, IPVanish not working with BBC iPlayer

The BBC is now combating the wide-spread use of VPNs, by blocking IP addresses that access its servers in an abnormal way.

This is effective as VPN providers typically share a handful of IP address with their thousands/millions of customers. This makes VPN IP addresses easy to spot as a typical IP address in the UK will have, on average, less than 5 users. Whereas a VPN that share its IP address with is users will have thousands of users, making the amount of data downloaded from its IP addresses abnormally large.

When the BBC spots these IP addresses, they become blacklisted. Which is why your VPN (NordVPN, Tunnelbear, IPVanish, etc) will have suddenly stopped working recently.

Buy PureVPN with a dedicated IP (£3.15/month).

What are VPNs doing to combat this?

A game of Cat and Mouse has now started. With VPNs buying new (unblacklisted) IP addresses and sharing them with their users. However, when the BBC spots a new IP address with abnormal download patterns, it blocks it. Both sides are getting faster at reacting to each other’s move.

The end result is not great for VPN customers and they’re no longer guaranteed access to BBC iPlayer abroad.

NordVPN, TunnelBear, IPVanish not working with BBC iPlayer? Here how to fix it!

Currently, there is only one way to fix this issue. And that’s to switch to a VPN provider that gives you a dedicated IP address. We recommend PureVPN.

This means your UK-based IP won’t be shared with thousand’s of other customers, which is good for two reasons. Speed, but more importantly, because you’re the only customer accessing the IP address, 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 (£3.15/month).

Read next: How to set up PureVPNs Dedicated IP on Android

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,,, and is his new project.


  1. Hi. You wouldn’t. But lots of other people have experienced problems. If/when that does happen, (and you want guaranteed access to BBC iPlayer), a dedicated IP is a good workaround. Thanks


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