Best BBC iPlayer VPNs to Watch iPlayer Outside the UK (2021)

by
Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 24 Nov 2021

Introduction:

Whether you live outside the UK or are away from it due to a holiday or work trip, and you love to watch BBC’s exclusive content, you’ll need to use a VPN to access the iPlayer for it. BBC iPlayer is in great demand as it allows you to stream a plethora of movies, cartoons, films, TV shows, and all that for free. However, to access it from outside the UK, you’ll have to bypass the geo-restrictions; that’s because iPlayer has completely blocked access to anyone who’s not in the UK.

Apart from that, BBC also uses some advanced VPN blocking technology so that any ordinary VPN won’t do the thing for you. The best solution is to use a powerful and reliable VPN to alter your IP address and offer good online security. Since not all VPNs work with iPlayer, we did extensive research and jotted down the best VPNs to watch iPlayer if you’re outside the UK. We looked for those VPNs that offer more security and a risk-free watching experience.

Best BBC iPlayer VPNs 2021

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN connected to Canada - Toronto locationExpressVPN is our top choice because it has all the features that the best VPN should have. It performs its duties exceptionally well and offers a vast selection of servers. The VPN allows you to connect five devices simultaneously. Moreover, it provides a hassle-free connection and live-chat support that is available 24/7.

The VPN keeps on updating its servers regularly so that the BBC can’t block it. Also, ExpressVPN comes under the BVI jurisdiction, which is not contingent on any legal government surveillance or data retention laws.

Highlights

  • Servers in the UK: With ExpressVPN, you can easily connect to a UK server because it offers six types of UK servers. Using the VPN, you’ll get a UK IP address quickly, and then you can watch BBC iPlayer outside the UK. With a single click, you’ll be able to access the content of iPlayer without any interruption.
  • Fast connection speeds: It offers fast and reliable connection speeds at an average of 106 Mbps. At this speed, you can stream videos at 4k Ultra-HD and enjoy high-quality content. The average connection speed is different for different regions. For example, for Europe, it’s 107 MBps; for North America – 117 MBps; and for Asia – 96 MBps.The average connection speed London
  • Subscription costs: All the plans of this VPN come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The basic subscription plan costs $12.95/month, the 6-month plan costs $59.95 ($9.99/month), and the annual plan costs $99.95 ($8.32/month).
  • Compatibility: ExpressVPN works on almost all the devices performing on Windows, Android, iOS, Routers, Linux, and Mac. It is also compatible with FireStick so that you can stream iPlayer on it too.

Pros

  • Superb tech support
  • User-friendly interface
  • Superfast speeds for HD streaming
  • 30 days money-back guarantee
  • Five simultaneous connections

Cons

  • Premium price

NordVPN

NordVPN Install Test

NordVPN is an excellent VPN for watching BBC iPlayer, and it offers numerous UK servers that you can choose from. The VPN has around 700 servers operating in the UK, so if you’re a UK content lover and live outside the UK, this is the perfect option. The service offers advanced encryption and follows a strict zero-logs policy. Also, the VPN comes under the jurisdiction of Panama laws which is not subject to any surveillance programs or data retention.

Highlights

  • Servers: The best feature of this VPN is that it operates numerous servers around the UK. The VPN even offers an ultra-fast TV network of servers mainly for streaming services in the UK. NordVPN is 2nd on our list because of the large number of servers it operates.
  • Fast connection speeds: NordVPN provides the highest average speed rates from various locations. With this service, you can easily stream content in HD and 4K. The average connection speed in North America is 460 Mbps; in Europe – 349 Mbps; and Asia – 299 Mbps.
  • Subscription costs: The service offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and has different plans for its users. The monthly plan costs $11.95, while the annual plan costs $83.88. Apart from that, there are 2-year and 3-year plans, too. These cost $119.76 and $125.64, respectively.
  • Compatibility: The app works on Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux. It also has browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Pros:

  • No-logging claims
  • 30-days money-back guarantee
  • Six simultaneous connections allowed
  • Good live chat support
  • Great speeds

Cons:

  • Mobile apps may lack some advanced features

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost unblocks the geo-restricted contents very efficiently. The app allows you to choose a server for any streaming website you want to access. You just have to navigate to the streaming option in the VPN app, and a list of streaming websites will appear, including the BBC iPlayer. CyberGhost comes under the jurisdiction of Romania, and the laws there are proven secure for VPNs.

Highlights

  • Servers: Usually, with other VPNs, you choose your servers by country. CyberGhost works a little bit differently. You have to connect to a dedicated server, depending on the streaming service or the app you want to access. The app includes BBC iPlayer, too, so you can easily find a suitable server for it.
  • Connection speeds: The average connection speed across various locations is 58 Mbps, which means that you can easily stream 4K Ultra-HD videos in high quality. The average connection speed in North America is 79 Mbps, in Europe, it is 55 Mbps, and in Asia its 39 Mbps.
  • Subscription cost: CyberGhost offers different subscription plans. Good thing, there is a 24-hour free trial that you can use to evaluate the service. The monthly plan costs $12.99, and the annual plan costs $47.88. If you want to commit for a longer time, there are other plans – a 2-year plan for $83.76 every two years and a 3-year + 3 months plan for $87.75.
  • Compatibility: The CyberGhost VPN is compatible with Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can also use it on web browsers like Chrome and Firefox as it provides extensions for that. The VPN also offers FireStick support.

Pros:

  • It’s budget-friendly
  • Speeds are good
  • It has an extensive network of 5900 servers around the world
  • Can easily bypass geo-restrictions for BBC iPlayer

Cons:

  • Not very customizable

Surfshark

vpncheck-surfshark-review-bbc-iplayer-Surfshark offers speedy services and a good number of servers that operate in the UK. It is a popular VPN and another good option to access BBC iPlayer outside the UK. Apart from unblocking the BBC iPlayer, it can surpass geo-restrictions for many other streaming services. The service operates under the BVI jurisdiction, similar to ExpressVPN.

Pros:

  • Servers: The service operates three main servers in the UK located in London, Manchester, and Glasgow. Though there are not many servers running in the UK, more than 1000 servers are operating worldwide.
  • Connection speed: The average network speed of Surfshark is 60 Mbps, which makes it a good option for streaming HD quality videos. The average connection speed in North America is 170 Mbps; in Europe – 230 Mbps; and in Asia – 220 Mbps.
  • Subscription cost: Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans. The monthly plan costs $11.95, while the annual plan goes up to $71.88. There is a 2-year plan, too, worth $47.76.
  • Compatibility: Surfshark is compatible with Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux, and has extensions for Chrome and Firefox, too.

Pros:

  • There are plenty of servers
  • Unlimited connections offered
  • The price is reasonable
  • It has a powerful unblocking ability
  • It offers good speeds

Cons:

  • Not as fast as ExpressVPN or NordVPN

PrivateVPN

A screenshot of PrivateVPN’s web page with the chat icon highlighted at the bottom right cornerPrivateVPN has a good reputation for streaming BBC iPlayer and other popular platforms. The service has two servers that operate in the UK, and one of the servers is specially optimized for streaming BBC iPlayer. The VPN offers good speeds and allows you to connect six devices simultaneously. Apart from BBC iPlayer, PrivateVPN can also unblock other platforms, including Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and ESPN. The company comes under the jurisdiction of 14-Eyes Alliance Jurisdiction.

Highlights

  • Servers: PrivateVPN is a Sweden-based company and doesn’t offer a large number of servers. It has around 200 servers that operate worldwide, two of these servers being in the UK, in London and Manchester.
  • Connection speed: PrivateVPN offers an average speed of 59 Mbps which is good enough to watch videos in ultra HD and even 4K. The average connection speed in North America is 94 Mbps; in Europe – 57 Mbps; and in Asia – 62 Mbps.
  • Subscription cost: The service provides a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-day free trial, too. The free trial doesn’t come with any hidden charges, and the feature is for those who want to evaluate the service before purchasing it. The monthly plan is $8.99, the quarterly plan costs $17.99, and the annual one is $59.99.
  • Compatibility: PrivateVPN is compatible with all the major platforms, including Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS, and routers too.

Pros:

  • Known for unblocking popular streaming platforms
  • High-grade privacy and security
  • Keeps no logs
  • Provides good streaming speeds from different locations

Cons:

  • It doesn’t offer 24/7 live chat

How does a VPN bypass geo-restrictions for BBC iPlayer?

A VPN unblocks BBC iPlayer by altering your IP address. The Virtual Private Network or VPN encrypts your device’s internal traffic according to the server you choose and then routes it through the intermediary server. The VPN, in this case, will pick a British server and assign your device a UK IP address so that BBC iPlayer thinks that you’re in the UK.

You could be anywhere in the world and pick a British server by using VPN so that other servers or your ISP will think that your connection is coming from a British server. This way, the BBC iPlayer will work for you using a VPN regardless of your location. However, since BBC iPlayer is banning many VPN users just like Netflix, you need to be more cautious. Only the best and most advanced VPNs can bypass BBC iPlayer’s firewall, and in case they get blocked, they work actively to fix the issue.

How to use BBC iPlayer?

You can access BBC iPlayer through its website if you live in the UK. However, if you’re outside the UK, you’ll have to first connect to a VPN. If you don’t have a BBC iPlayer account, create one first using this BBC iPlayer link. Follow these steps if you’re outside the UK and want to access iPlayer:

  • Install VPN on your device.
  • Connect to the UK server on your VPN.
  • Visit the BBC iPlayer link given above and log in to your account.
  • You can now easily access the iPlayer content outside the UK.

What to look for in the best iPlayer VPNs?

The best VPN for BBC iPlayer should allow you smooth connections so that you can enjoy its content by streaming it in HD. It should have a vast network of servers with BBC iPlayer access on top. The VPN should have a user-friendly interface, and it should allow you to click and connect swiftly. The best VPNs that we’ve reviewed in this post for BBC iPlayer are those that are equipped with strong encryption protocols, kill switch capabilities, money-back guarantees, and are available on multiple devices. These VPNs offer high bandwidths and super performance speeds so that you stream the content smoothly and without any interruption.

The 5 best VPNs for BBC iPlayer. Are they worth the money?

There are indeed so many free VPNs available that you can use to bypass geo-restrictions. With a free VPN, you may still be able to access the content from anywhere globally and avoid the subscription costs. Then, you might wonder why you would even consider paying a subscription for one of the 5 VPNs we mentioned above.

The main reason is that paid VPNs offer high privacy and security to their users. Moreover, it may not be easy to unblock content, especially if talking about the BBC iPlayer. It’s a popular and reputed streaming platform with content from highly appreciated sports leagues in the UK, and it uses advanced technology to ban VPNs.

The platform uses high-end tools and technology to upgrade its servers and ban illegal access to its content. So, if you use the free VPNs for BBC iPlayer, you’ll be disappointed because either your account will be banned or you won’t be able to stream it properly.

If you want to access and enjoy the content streamed by BBC iPlayer, you should go for any of the best VPNs we reviewed in this post. These VPNs are reliable, and they continuously upgrade their servers to avoid being detected by BBC iPlayer. You only have to pay the subscription and then enjoy the top-notch features offered by the best VPNs for streaming BBC iPlayer. We recommend you forget the free VPNs because they won’t remain undetected by iPlayer for an extended period.

Which VPNs partially work for BBC iPlayer?

There might be other VPNs capable of partially unblocking the BBC iPlayer. Though you won’t find these services up to the mark because most of the time, BBC iPlayer can detect these VPNs, too. We have compiled a list of alternative VPNs you can try if you find our Top 5 insufficient. These VPNs work partially for the BBC iPlayer:

  • ProtonVPN
  • Private Internet Access (PIA)
  • Hotspot Shield
  • IPVanish
  • TunnelBear
  • Windscribe
  • VyprVPN

FAQs

How do I get access to BBC iPlayer using a VPN?

Accessing BBC iPlayer through VPN is very easy. You just have to install your chosen VPN and pick a server in the UK. Connect the VPN by using the power button and visiting the iPlayer website. If you don’t have an iPlayer account, make one and sign into it. You can now easily access BBC iPlayer content.

What is the best VPN for BBC iPlayer?

Our top choice for streaming BBC iPlayer from outside the UK is ExpressVPN. It provides blistering speeds and allows you to bypass geo-restrictions smoothly. It has a user-friendly interface and is perfect for unblocking other popular streaming services.

How much internet data does the iPlayer use?

You can adjust the quality of the stream according to your preference or available bandwidth. The BBC iPlayer is available in various resolutions, the highest being 720p. At 720p, you’ll need at least 5 Mbps of bandwidth for a high-quality stream. To stream other TV shows, you’ll need around 3.2 Mbps of bandwidth.

Is BBC iPlayer free to use?

Yes, BBC iPlayer is free to use if you’re in the UK. You just have to create an account on its website and choose a UK postcode. The website also asks for a UK TV license which you should select ‘yes’. However, if you’re outside the UK, you’ll have to use a good VPN for streaming, for which you’ll have to pay the subscription cost.

What happens if I don’t have a UK TV license?

BBC iPlayer asks for the UK TV license; it has included this in its terms of services since 2016. Apart from that, you also have to enter a valid UK postcode to create an account. However, if you live outside the UK and using a VPN, you can just click on ‘I have a TV license’ when the website asks. You access the iPlayer content through a UK IP address when you use a VPN, so the website should be okay with that only.

Which shows can I watch on BBC iPlayer?

There are numerous popular TV shows which you can watch on BBC iPlayer using a VPN. Some of our top recommendations include Planet Earth, Top Gear, Doctor Who, EastEnders, His Dark Materials, Our Girl, Killing Eve, Dracula, Euro 2020, The Graham Norton Show, Normal People, A Suitable Boy, and Inside No.9.

Can I watch iPlayer content in the U.S., Canada, and Australia?

Yes, you can watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN even if you’re in the U.S., Canada, or Australia. However, without a VPN, you can only access the available content on the international version. The international version doesn’t include the popular shows and the catch-up content, though.

Can I use a free proxy to watch the content on BBC iPlayer?

That is almost impossible because iPlayer makes its content difficult to access through free VPNs and proxies. BBC iPlayer will quickly detect the free proxy and prevent you from accessing its content. Thus, we recommend choosing the best VPNs we reviewed in this post.

Wrap up

VPNs are gaining popularity as they allow you to stream your favorite shows when you live abroad or are away from your country for traveling purposes. The amount of people using VPNs for streaming BBC iPlayer and Netflix is enormous. The geo-spoofing features of VPNs allow them to watch all the popular streaming platforms from anywhere in the world.

We reviewed the best and most popular VPNs for streaming BBC iPlayer in this post. We looked for those platforms that are reliable, secure, and allow you to stream the highest quality content with impressive speeds. While ExpressVPN is our top recommendation, the other VPNs are also reputable and good for accessing BBC iPlayer content. Once you connect to the server of your choice, you can sign in to BBC iPlayer and watch your favorite shows and movies on the platform anytime with ease.