The best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

If you’re outside the UK, you won’t be able to access BBC iPlayer. You’ll come across an error saying “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”

This is happening because the BBC doesn’t have the rights to broadcast its content internationally. It only has the rights to broadcast in the UK.

This means that if you’re overseas for work, holiday or you live overseas, you won’t be able to access any content on the BBC iPlayer platform. 

Fortunately, a VPN allows you to get around these errors. The best VPNs will enable you to watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world. 

VPNs are getting increasingly popular, and the industry is booming right now. This has led to a massive influx of VPNs, some of which are good, and unfortunately, some are not so good. The not-so-good ones struggle to work with BBC iPlayer. But it can be tricky determining which VPNs will work and which won’t.

To help, we’ve constructed an expert guide on what we think are the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer. We’ve run them through stringent tests over multiple criteria, and we use them personally without issues. Here’s our list of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer.

What makes a good BBC iPlayer VPN?

When we assess the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer, we look at four criteria: speed, servers, security and whether or not the VPN works reliably with BBC iPlayer.

On some occasions, we’ve all come across the dreaded buffering and stuttering when streaming content online. Because a VPN reroutes all of your online data through its own server, it adds a bit of latency to the connection. To cope with this, the VPN needs to be fast. If it’s not, it won’t work well with BBC iPlayer, and you’ll come across stuttering issues.

A VPN relies on the servers it has on its network. Without these servers, the VPN wouldn’t work. Not all VPNs have servers all over the world. When assessing what makes a good BBC iPlayer VPN, we look at how many servers it has, with importance on how many countries they’re located in. The more countries, the higher possibility of you being able to watch BBC iPlayer anywhere in the world.

How secure a VPN is is very important when streaming BBC iPlayer. Because VPNs allow users to watch iPlayer outside of its broadcast zone, the BBC tries to block them from accessing its content. If a VPN is secure, it makes it significantly harder for the BBC to do this. That’s why the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer need to have stringent security protocols in place.

The most important feature for a VPN to work well with BBC iPlayer is its ability to get around the BBC’s VPN blocking techniques. The best VPNs for BBC iPlayer use their speed, security and servers to ensure they’ll work reliably with BBC iPlayer, so you’ll never run into issues using the streaming service anywhere in the world.

How do we test the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer?

We test the best VPNs for Netflix over multiple criteria:

  1. We test how secure the VPN is: We do this by running it through DNS leak tests. If the VPN has a DNS leak issue, it has an issue with its security, as internet service providers (ISPs) can still potentially see your online data. The best VPNs don’t come across these sorts of issues.
  2. The number of servers: The best VPNs have thousands of servers around the world. The more servers, the better. Lesser VPNs, especially free VPNs, don’t have many servers meaning there’s less opportunity for you to surf the web anonymously.
  3. Speed: We measure the speed of a VPN by doing speed tests for multiple servers worldwide. We then compare this to our base internet speed with a VPN turned off.
  4. Compatibility with streaming services: A critical use case for VPNs is the ability to access geo-blocked streaming services. Unfortunately, these services try and prevent VPNs from accessing their platforms. The best VPNs have measures in place to get around these blocks. When testing a VPN, we try it with several geo-blocked streaming services. The best VPNs will allow you to watch all the leading streaming services worldwide.
  5. Price: Based on our research, the average cost of the top 20 VPNs is $4.33/month. We use this as a comparison when looking for the best-value VPNs.
  6. Devices: VPNs are usually compatible with more than one device simultaneously. Obviously, the more, the better.

The best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

1. ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) 🥇

The best VPN choice for seamless BBC iPlayer streaming in 2024.

  • Specialized servers for BBC iPlayer
  • 5 simultaneous devices
  • Live chat support for streaming issues
  • Over 3,000 global servers
  • >80% connection speed
  • Unlimited bandwidth for uninterrupted viewing
ExpressVPN review - Top choice for BBC iPlayer

ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) remains the top choice for streaming platforms, consistently bypassing restrictions for BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Amazon Prime Video, and more.

Discover more in our detailed ExpressVPN review and see why it’s the favorite for BBC iPlayer enthusiasts.

Special Offer for BBC iPlayer fans!

(Enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee)

2. NordVPN $3.79/month

An excellent and affordable choice for streaming BBC iPlayer.

  • Optimized for BBC iPlayer streaming
  • 6 simultaneous devices
  • Dedicated UK servers
  • Fast NordLynx protocol
  • Excellent privacy policies
  • User-friendly apps
NordVPN Best VPN for BBC iPlayer image

NordVPN stands out as one of the most reliable VPNs for accessing BBC iPlayer from any location. With its vast server network and optimized streaming capabilities, it ensures a buffer-free iPlayer experience.

What sets it apart is NordVPN’s commitment to consistently bypass iPlayer’s geo-restrictions. They’ve a dedicated team ensuring continuous access to BBC iPlayer, along with other streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu, and more.

Read our full NordVPN review to see how it excels in other areas too.

Special Offer for BBC iPlayer fans!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

3. Private Internet Access $2.03/month

A good choice for BBC iPlayer streaming

  • Exceptional performance with BBC iPlayer
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices
  • 24/7 chat support
  • 35,000 servers worldwide
  • MACE ad blocker included
  • Supports multiple protocols
Best VPN list - PIA

Private Internet Access is a preferred choice for BBC iPlayer enthusiasts, known for its consistent ability to bypass geoblocks.

This VPN not only excels at granting access to BBC iPlayer but also provides reliable connections with US Netflix, Hulu, MAX, Disney+ Amazon Prime, and many more.

With the bonus of allowing an unlimited number of devices simultaneously, it’s a great fit for households keen on UK shows.

Discover more in our comprehensive Private Internet Access review.

Exclusive Offer for BBC iPlayer viewers!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

4. Ivacy $1.00/month – For BBC iPlayer

An affordable VPN optimized for BBC iPlayer streaming.

  • 5700+ servers worldwide
  • 10 simultaneous devices
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Optimized for BBC iPlayer streaming
  • Available on all major platforms
  • Competitive pricing
Ivacy Best VPN for BBC iPlayer image

Considering a VPN exclusively for BBC iPlayer? Ivacy ($1.00/month) could be your go-to option with its specialized servers.

While it stands as the fourth best in our list, Ivacy promises seamless BBC iPlayer streaming, no matter where you are. Moreover, its versatility lets you access US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, MAX, Amazon Prime, and many others without a hiccup.

For an in-depth look, here’s our comprehensive Ivacy review.

Exclusive BBC iPlayer Streaming Offer!

(Enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee)

5. CyberGhost $2.19/month – Great for BBC iPlayer

A decent choice for BBC iPlayer streaming.

  • Optimized servers for BBC iPlayer
  • Servers in 91 countries
  • 7 simultaneous devices
  • Deloitte verified no logs policy
  • Proprietary NoSpy servers
  • High-speed streaming
CyberGhost Best VPN for BBC iPlayer image

CyberGhost is a standout for accessing content on BBC iPlayer from abroad. It offers high-speed servers, ensuring seamless streaming of your favorite BBC shows.

With the added advantage of NoSpy servers, CyberGhost ensures that your streaming activities remain confidential.

Read our full CyberGhost review for its BBC iPlayer capabilities.

Special Offer for BBC iPlayer viewers!

(30-day money-back guarantee)

Does BBC iPlayer allow VPNs?

Yes, it does. However, you need to use a VPN that has the infrastructure and the resources to ensure it remains reliable with the streaming service.

BBC iPlayer tries to block VPNs. While it can’t block a VPN entirely, it can block the IP addresses the VPN provides.

It does this by monitoring for an abnormal number of connections coming from the same IP address. Usually, only a household of devices connects to iPlayer via the same IP address.

The problem for lesser VPNs is they don’t have enough IP addresses to give each customer their own. This results in IP addresses having to be shared.

Now when hundreds or thousands of customers using the same VPN IP address connect to BBC iPlayer, it knows it’s a VPN, and it blocks the connection. This can be hard for lesser, especially free VPNs, to get around.

Fortunately, the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer, like ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month), have measures in place to get around this issue. 

These VPNs play a game of cat and mouse with the BBC. If, on the off chance, an IP address provided by ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month) gets blocked by the BBC, these VPNs will close that IP address and open a new one. This will allow you to watch BBC iPlayer anywhere in the world reliably.

Why do I need a BBC iPlayer VPN?

The main reason you need a BBC iPlayer VPN is so you can watch the streaming service anywhere in the world.

If you’re outside the UK, you can’t watch BBC iPlayer without a VPN. Even if you’re a UK citizen and you go on holiday abroad, you still won’t be able to access the streaming service.

This is because the BBC doesn’t have the copyright and licensing agreements to broadcast its content internationally.

With live sports, movies, TV shows and a whole lot more, BBC iPlayer is one of the best free streaming services in the world. Being able to watch it outside the UK is a massive benefit.

The best VPNs, like ExpressVPN ($6.67/month) or NordVPN ($3.19/month), allow you to watch BBC iPlayer anywhere in the world so you can watch UK sports coverage or your favourite content anywhere you go.

BBC iPlayer not working with VPN?

If you’re trying to watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN and it’s not working. The streaming service has managed to identify, block and blacklist all of the IP addresses your VPN can provide.

This can be frustrating, but there are several fixes you can try to fix BBC iPlayer not working with VPN.

The majority of the time, the reason your VPN isn’t working with BBC iPlayer is because it isn’t fast or secure enough to work reliably with BBC iPlayer, and it doesn’t have measures in place to stay ahead of the BBC’s VPN blocks.

The best fix is to upgrade to one of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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