Tunnelbear not working with BBC iPlayer

Can’t get TunnelBear working with BBC iPlayer? Don’t worry, it’s a common issue that we’ve come across, too – and we have just the fixes.

With BBC iPlayer being a UK streaming service, it won’t allow anyone outside the UK to stream shows. TunnelBear is usually a good VPN to use to get past these blocks, but if the VPN service stops working, it likely means BBC iPlayer has blocked the IP addresses TunnelBear has available.

It’s a headache, especially if you watch BBC iPlayer regularly like us. However, we’ve found a few fixes that will get you back to watching your favourite UK shows.

This guide will help you fix TunnelBear not working with BBC iPlayer. If nothing works, our list of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer will point you in the right direction.

TunnelBear not working with BBC iPlayer: Quick Guide

There are a few ways that TunnelBear can have problems with BBC iPlayer. Follow each step below until you can get the problem fixed:

Total Time: 5 minutes

  1. Check if TunnelBear works on another device

    Tunnelbear not working with Peacock

    If TunnelBear works with BBC iPlayer on your smartphone, but not your computer, then you know TunnelBear isn’t the problem. If TunnelBear does work on another device, jump to Step 3 below.

  2. Contact your VPNs live chat service

    Tunnelbear not working with Peacock

    A great way to find a fix is to find TunnelBear’s Live Chat feature and ask for a specific server number that works with BBC iPlayer. If they can’t point you towards a server that works with BBC iPlayer then you know TunnelBear is having issues with BBC iPlayer.

  3. Delete your cookies

    Tunnelbear not working with Peacock

    Deleting your cookies can potentially fix TunnelBear not working with BBC iPlayer issues. Accumulated or corrupted cookies in a browser might interfere with the way websites and online services function, especially when using a VPN.

    Clearing these cookies removes any old or problematic data, thereby ensuring a cleaner slate for your VPN connection to operate. This can help in establishing a more stable connection and resolving conflicts between TunnelBear and certain apps like BBC iPlayer.

  4. Connect to a different server

    Tunnelbear not working with Peacock

    This is how I fixed the TunnelBear issue I had with BBC iPlayer. If your VPN has randomly stops working with BBC iPlayer, the IP address TunnelBear has given you may have been identified and blocked by the streaming service.

    Changing to a different UK server will give you a different UK IP address. If that one hasn’t been blocked, TunnelBear will work with BBC iPlayer again.

  5. Reinstall or update your VPN

    Tunnelbear not working with Peacock

    If an update is available, updating TunnelBear can solve many issues its experiencing, and offer improved tools to get past any blocks.

    Another method is removing your VPN, and its settings, from your device and starting again, as it is a good way to get the most up-to-date settings configured on your devices without much effort.

  6. Switch VPN protocols

    Tunnelbear not working with Peacock

    VPN protocols determine how a VPN works. When you use a VPN, the protocol is responsible for hiding your data and rerouting it via VPN servers.

    If BBC iPlayer isn’t working with TunnelBear, it might be because the protocol you’re using is no longer working with the service. Tunnelbear has three different protocols, try changing to a different one to see if that fixes the issue.

  7. Upgrade your VPN

    Tunnelbear not working with Peacock

    If all else fails, you should consider upgrading to a high-end VPN. We recommend ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) or NordVPN ($3.99/month) for BBC iPlayer. For more information, check out our VPN list below to see which VPN suits your needs and budget.

Why does the BBC iPlayer block TunnelBear?

BBC iPlayer, like many major streaming platforms, employs various measures to enforce regional restrictions on content due to licensing agreements and copyright laws.

To enforce its regional restrictions, BBC iPlayer may actively block known VPN IP addresses, including those associated with TunnelBear, to prevent users from circumventing its geo-blocking measures. By blocking VPNs, BBC iPlayer aims to ensure that viewers access its content only from authorized regions, as dictated by its licensing agreements.

These geo-restrictions block VPNs because they allow you to spoof your location to anywhere in the world, and to protect itself, the BBC will try and block any VPN connection from accessing its service.

How does the BBC iPlayer block TunnelBear?

While there isn’t one specific way BBC iPlayer blocks VPNs like TunnelBear, there are a few known blocking techniques that many streaming services use. This includes the following:

  • IP Address Blocking: BBC iPlayer may maintain a list of IP addresses associated with VPN services like TunnelBear and block access from these addresses. When a user attempts to connect to BBC iPlayer through a VPN server with a blocked IP address, they may encounter an error message indicating that access is restricted.
  • Deep Packet Inspection (DPI): DPI involves inspecting the data packets transmitted between the user’s device and the BBC iPlayer servers. By analysing the characteristics of these packets, BBC iPlayer may be able to detect traffic originating from VPN servers and block it accordingly.
  • DNS Filtering: BBC iPlayer may employ DNS filtering to prevent users from accessing its service through VPNs. By redirecting DNS queries or filtering out requests from known VPN DNS servers, BBC iPlayer can restrict access to its content.
  • Behaviour Analysis: BBC iPlayer may analyse user behaviour patterns, such as frequent IP address changes or unusual access patterns, to identify and block VPN usage.

However, VPN providers like TunnelBear continuously update their infrastructure and IP addresses to evade detection and bypass geo-blocking measures. But some VPNs keep up with these blocks a tad better, which is why we stick with ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

Does BBC iPlayer still work with VPNs?

BBC iPlayer does actively work to block access from VPNs, but it can’t block them entirely. A reliable VPN is able to bypass BBC iPlayer’s geo-blocking restrictions, but others may encounter difficulties accessing the service (especially free VPNs).

The best VPNs, like ExpressVPN or NordVPN, consistently gets past strict blocks from streaming services like BBC iPlayer. When the BBC identifies and blocks an IP address that has been provided by ExpressVPN or NordVPN, these VPNs will close that IP address and open a new one. TunnelBear has can have trouble keeping up with these blocks.

Looking for a few more VPNs to get past BBC iPlayer’s VPN blocks? Check out our list below.

Best VPNs for watching BBC iPlayer

1. ExpressVPN

The fastest and most reliable VPN of 2024

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

Streaming: ExpressVPN excels at getting past a streaming service’s geo-restrictions, such as BBC iPlayer, Peacock, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max. Even better, it works even in countries where VPNs are banned.

Servers: Thanks to ExpressVPN’s robust network with servers in 104 countries, it’s great for many streaming services like BBC iPlayer – especially with its UK servers. Less than 3% of these servers are virtual, ensuring a reliable and fast physical network.

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

An excellent, affordable, and fast VPN option for 2024

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

Streaming: NordVPN is can easily bypass geo-restrictions on streaming platforms, and it has no problems getting past BBC iPlayer. You can also expect easy access to Netflix, Peacock, and BBC iPlayer. It has shown consistent success in connecting to various streaming services without noticeable issues.

Servers: While it doesn’t cover many countries, spanning 60, it has over 6,000 servers and plenty in the UK – perfect for BBC iPlayer. NordVPN’s its commitment to physical servers ensures faster and more reliable connections.

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. Private Internet Access

Affordable and secure VPN with wide device compatibility

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

Streaming: Private Internet Access can easily get past BBC iPlayer’s blocks, along with other streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max. We initially had problems with BBC iPlayer, but this was easily fixed eventually.

Servers: With over 35,000 servers in 84 countries, PIA has more than enough servers in the UK for BBC iPlayer. That said, 50% of these servers are virtual, impacting reliability compared to VPNs with more physical servers.

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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4. Surfshark

Affordable and secure VPN with unlimited device policy of 2024

  • Attractive pricing for long-term subscriptions
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Robust security and privacy
  • 24/7 responsive chat support
  • 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

Streaming: Surfshark is great at unblocking many streaming services, and that includes BBC iPlayer. It may struggle with some services like Hulu, which can be frustrating for those who watch many streaming platforms.

Servers: Surfshark boasts over 3,200 servers in 100 countries, and there are plenty in the UK for BBC iPlayer. It’s well above the average and includes both physical and virtual servers, providing extensive geographic coverage.

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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5. PureVPN

A mid-range VPN that balances performance and price

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

Streaming: PureVPN has demonstrated great efficiency in unblocking streaming services, including BBC iPlayer. While initially facing challenges with BBC iPlayer, its performance notably improved during off-peak hours. That said, users may experience buffering problems during periods of high demand.

Servers: PureVPN offers a wide range of servers around the world, along with many servers in the UK for BBC iPlayer. 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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TunnelBear not working with BBC iPlayer: FAQ

Q: Why is TunnelBear not working with BBC iPlayer?

Answer: BBC iPlayer employs sophisticated technology to detect and block VPN services like TunnelBear, aiming to uphold licensing agreements that restrict content by geography. If TunnelBear’s IP addresses are recognised as coming from a VPN, BBC iPlayer may block these, preventing access to its content.

Q: Can I bypass BBC iPlayer’s blocks with TunnelBear by changing servers?

Answer: While changing servers within TunnelBear to one located in the UK might temporarily circumvent BBC iPlayer’s restrictions, it’s not always effective. BBC iPlayer continuously updates its VPN detection and blocking measures, making it challenging for any single server to consistently provide access.

Q: What are the alternatives if TunnelBear doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer?

Answer: If TunnelBear is consistently blocked by BBC iPlayer, considering other VPN providers known for their ability to bypass streaming service geo-restrictions, such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, might be beneficial. These services regularly update their server IPs and employ advanced technologies to avoid detection.

Q: Will using a different VPN guarantee access to BBC iPlayer?

Answer: No VPN service can guarantee permanent access to BBC iPlayer due to the streaming service’s ongoing efforts to detect and block VPN use. However, some VPNs are more successful at navigating these blocks than others, thanks to their larger server networks, better obfuscation techniques, and more frequent IP address updates.

Q: Is there a risk to my account for trying to access BBC iPlayer with TunnelBear?

Answer: Using a VPN to access BBC iPlayer does not typically result in account termination but may violate BBC iPlayer’s terms of service, potentially leading to temporary access restrictions. It’s important to weigh the convenience of accessing restricted content against the risk of possible service limitations.

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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