BBC iPlayer has a good mix of live TV, sporting events, movies and on-demand shows, allowing you to enjoy your favorite ones while on the go. However, anything broadcast by BBC iPlayer is meant for British eyes only — or at least UK residents. So if you’re outside the UK, you’ll need to use one of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer to access it.
A VPN helps you break through the wall of geoblocking to gain access to BBC iPlayer content as though you were in the UK. It unlocks infinite options to binge-watch reality shows, kids content, classic films and weighty dramas like Killing Eve, Peaky Blinders and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, to name a few.
- ExpressVPN unblocks BBC iPlayer with ease on PC, iOS, Android and smart TV devices. Once you get into BBC iPlayer’s content library, you can watch BBC shows and movies in HD.
- NordVPN, CyberGhost and Surfshark are the best VPNs to unlock the whole range of British entertainment if you’re on a budget.
- Windscribe gives you the option to bypass BBC iPlayer content blocks for free. However, you may want to try a paid option like ExpressVPN or NordVPN for a fast streaming experience.
In this article, we’ll discuss the top VPNs for BBC iPlayer, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses to help you make the right choice. If you’re in a hurry to get that BBC One live stream outside of the UK, though, ExpressVPN is the best BBC iPlayer VPN choice for getting into the service.
Yes, if you find a VPN that offers fast and secure servers in the UK, you can access BBC iPlayer content and stream in HD.
ExpressVPN is the best BBC iPlayer VPN for various reasons, and its lightning-fast speeds and unrivaled ability to unblock streaming services top the list.
Windscribe is the best free BBC iPlayer VPN because its free plan offers UK servers that allow you to bypass BBC iPlayer content blocks.
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
- : 5
- : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
- : 6
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay
- : Unlimited
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Paymentwall
- : Unlimited
- : PayPal, Credit card, UnionPay
- : 30
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 10
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 5
- : No
What Makes the Best VPN for BBC iPlayer?
There are a few criteria to keep in mind when choosing the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer. Many of the providers in our best VPN reviews have great features, but that doesn’t mean they’re capable of accessing the platform, as well as performing well once connected. These are the best VPNs to use for BBC iPlayer.
- ExpressVPN — Lightning-fast servers and unparalleled unblocking capabilities
- NordVPN — Easy-to-use and specialty streaming servers
- CyberGhost — Affordable and specialized streaming servers
- Surfshark — Inexpensive and water-tight digital privacy
- Windscribe — Free plan and servers optimized for streaming
- VyprVPN — Chameleon protocol
- ProtonVPN — Servers optimized for streaming
- Hotspot Shield — Intuitive interface and Catapult Hydra protocol
BBC iPlayer is aggressive in blocking VPN users, so you need a VPN that can get around the geoblocking unnoticed. Thankfully, all of the VPNs we’ve chosen are optimized for streaming and can easily get past the BBC iPlayer’s notorious geo-restrictions. They offer servers in the UK, and some even provide dedicated IP addresses at an extra charge.
Fast VPN speeds are essential when it comes to streaming videos on BBC iPlayer, as it allows you to enjoy a great streaming experience free of any buffering or video lag. Not all of our picks are the fastest VPN services you can get, but they’re still good enough for binge-watching HD content.
Lastly, it’s best to choose a VPN that comes with unlimited bandwidth, as bandwidth limits are a noticeable pain of streaming services such as BBC iPlayer. Also, if the VPN imposes a data cap, there is an imminent risk of getting cut off in the middle of an enthralling drama or football match.
The Top 8 VPNs for BBC iPlayer
Though there are some great VPN choices out there, not all of them work with BBC iPlayer. In this section, we’ll run down the top eight BBC iPlayer VPNs to help you find suitable services in terms of feature set and price. ExpressVPN starts off our list, so let’s dive straight into it.
More details about ExpressVPN:
- Pricing: $8.32 per month on the annual plan
- Provider Website: www.expressvpn.com
- Multiple servers in the UK
- Fast speeds
- Easy to use
ExpressVPN is the best BBC iPlayer VPN, thanks to its blazing-fast speeds and ability to get past geo-restrictions. It’s our best VPN for streaming, and as you’d expect, it can break through BBC iPlayer’s barriers without issue and in multiple regions. Plus, it has many servers in the UK spread across four server locations, giving you a chance to try different UK IP addresses to gain access to BBC iPlayer.
ExpressVPN is as fast as VPNs can get; in fact, it’s the fastest VPN we’ve tested, as you can read in our ExpressVPN review. This means you can watch Doctor Who without interruption in HD. Even better, it comes with unlimited bandwidth, giving you the freedom to binge-watch as many BBC iPlayer shows and movies as you want.
Though ExpressVPN is pretty expensive compared to other VPNs, you get a lot of bang for your buck, including a rich feature set and five simultaneous connections. Plus, you can save money by opting for a longer plan. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, too, so you’ve got nothing to lose.
ExpressVPN offers a whole package of beneficial features that allow you to get the most of your BBC iPlayer subscription. Its ability to get past geo-restriction is unrivaled, so it’s no surprise that it unblocks BBC iPlayer without issues. This is why ExpressVPN takes the top spot as the best BBC iPlayer VPN.
More details about NordVPN:
- Pricing: $3.71 per month on the two-year plan
- Provider Website: www.nordvpn.com
- Over 400 UK servers
- Fast on certain servers
- Inexpensive on long-term plans
- Can be slow over long distances
Another great VPN to access BBC iPlayer content is NordVPN. This VPN has an extensive network of over 440 servers in the UK, making it easy to find a specific server for the best performance. The UK servers are fast enough to support lag-free streaming, but the speeds dip if you’re accessing BBC iPlayer from further away, say, Australia. There are no bandwidth limits to contend with, though.
BBC iPlayer is constantly looking to block VPN users, so NordVPN gives you specialty servers to ensure your IP address is never blocked. The double-VPN server adds an extra layer of encryption, giving the BBC iPlayer algorithms zero chance to detect your actual IP address. What’s more, NordVPN gives you an option to use a dedicated UK IP address to break through BBC iPlayer’s geoblocks.
As a wallet-friendly VPN, NordVPN only sets you back $3.71 per month on the two-year plan. If you’re worried about committing for such an extended period, though, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee for peace of mind.
NordVPN may be a better choice if your wallet is spitting dust. It can unblock any service you throw at it, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and BBC iPlayer, as you can read in our NordVPN review. Though its UK server count is great, its spread could be better. Ultimately, NordVPN trails ExpressVPN because its connection speeds dip when connecting over longer distances.
More details about CyberGhost:
- Pricing: $2.25 per month on the three-year plan
- Provider Website: www.cyberghostvpn.com
- Over 600 servers in the UK
- Dedicated streaming servers
- Can be slow
Next up, we have CyberGhost. It’s not as fast as ExpressVPN, as you can read in our CyberGhost review, and it suffers from the same long-distance speed dips that NordVPN does. However, its VPN servers are fast enough to deliver the ultimate experience when watching BBC iPlayer content and UK TV channels. There are no bandwidth caps to worry about, though, and it has an easy-to-use interface.
What sets CyberGhost apart from other services on our list is its massive server count (over 6,500 at the time of writing). You’ll be pleased to know that 649 of CyberGhost’s VPN servers are physically located across three cities in the UK. However, the best part is that all of the UK servers are optimized for streaming, so you can enjoy BBC shows devoid of buffering or video lag.
CyberGhost is one of the cheapest VPNs we’ve reviewed, especially over the longer plans. Though it does come with a free trial (one day on desktop and seven days on mobile devices). There’s also a 45-day money-back guarantee for standard subscriptions (find out how to get a CyberGhost refund).
If you want to get a healthy dose of BBC shows on a budget, CyberGhost is an excellent service. It offers great security, and all of the UK servers are optimized for streaming on all devices, though it’s not as fast as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, so it settled for the third spot. However, you’ll barely experience any video lag, especially when accessing BBC iPlayer from Europe.
More details about Surfshark:
- Pricing: $2.49 per month on the two-year plan
- Provider Website: www.surfshark.com
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Slow over longer distances
Our next pick is Surfshark, a relatively new VPN that has taken the crowded VPN space by storm, as you can read in our Surfshark review. The VPN service has amassed a server network of over 3,200 servers in 65 countries, including the UK. Its servers in the UK are fast, though not as fast as our top three picks, to help you catch up on movies and shows on BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world.
Price-wise, Surfshark is in the same echelon as CyberGhost. Its monthly rate isn’t good, but you can bring the cost down when you subscribe to longer plans. The good thing is that each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and allows unlimited simultaneous connections.
Surfshark packs all the features you need to stream BBC iPlayer, including UK servers fast enough to support streaming of British entertainment from anywhere in the world. It also provides basic and advanced security and privacy features to hide your IP address from BBC iPlayer, so it doesn’t block you. However, its internet connection speeds and server count in the UK could be better.
More details about Windscribe:
- Pricing: $4.08 per month on the yearly plan
- Provider website: windscribe.com
- Generous free plan that can get into BBC iPlayer
- Unlimited connections
- Streaming-optimized servers
- Expensive full plans
- A bit slow
Windscribe is fifth on our list, but it’s inarguably the best free VPN for BBC iPlayer. You get access to UK servers with the free plan, so you can play around a bit if you do have any trouble. Though the free UK servers aren’t the fastest, in our testing for our Windscribe review, we found that it unblocks BBC iPlayer with ease.
Windscribe’s UK servers are spread across three cities: London, Manchester and Edinburg. Better still, Windscribe’s servers are optimized for streaming — a holdover from their deprecated “Windflix” servers. All of its servers excel at unblocking streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Its free plan is generous, even taking the title for the best free VPN, but it obviously doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles. However, if you decide to go for the paid plan, the monthly price isn’t the best option. Longer plans save you money in the end, and it does offer a unique “build-a-plan” option that costs $1 per additional server.
- Per “Pro” server location
- : 10 GB
- : Unlimited
- : Unlimited GB
- : Unlimited
Windscribe is solid proof that a free VPN can be reliable. Its free plan has all the essential tools, but to make the most of the Windflix servers, unlimited simultaneous connections and other advanced tools, you have to subscribe to a paid plan or “build a plan” to your needs. Windscribe’s speeds are fine for streaming videos on BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but our top four picks are faster.
More details about VyprVPN:
- Pricing: $1.66 per month on the 36-month plan
- Provider Website: www.vyprvpn.com
- Accesses BBC iPlayer easily
- Chameleon protocol
- Consistent performance
- Can be slow
VyprVPN is a good VPN, notably for its security, but it has some great streaming qualities about it, too. In our VyprVPN review, you’ll notice that it was able to get into streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video right off the bat.
It doesn’t offer the largest server network (only 700 servers), but its servers in the UK are at the ready to get you past BBC iPlayer restrictions without issues. VyprVPN, through its proprietary Chameleon VPN protocol, offers the perfect work-around for BBC iPlayer’s geoblocking.
VyprVPN comes with 30 simultaneous connections if you sign up through the website — or five if you sign up through the mobile app — and the use of its proprietary Chameleon protocol. A 30-day money-back guarantee is in place, too.
Thanks to its security and streaming capability, VyprVPN is a reliable BBC iPlayer VPN. It offers unlimited bandwidth and has an easy-to-use interface. That said, its speeds aren’t the best, but to be fair, it didn’t let us down in streaming performance.
More details about ProtonVPN:
- Pricing: $7.91 per month on the Plus plan (billed every two years)
- Provider website: protonvpn.com
- Gets into BBC iPlayer easily
- Unlimited bandwidth with any plan
- The Plus plan, which can access BBC iPlayer, is expensive
- Limited customer support
- Hard to setup alternate VPN protocols
- No automatic protection for WiFi
ProtonVPN is another good BBC iPlayer VPN, thanks to its ease of use and unlimited bandwidth. It also has over 35 servers in the UK that allow you to unblock BBC iPlayer without an issue. However, while testing for our ProtonVPN review, we found that BBC iPlayer took too long to load on some servers, so you have to try different servers to find one that works well.
It’s bare-bones in terms of streaming functionality, but ProtonVPN made it to our list because its Plus servers in the UK are optimized for streaming. However, while there are free and cheap plans, you have to subscribe to a top-tier plan to unlock ProtonVPN’s streaming capability.
ProtonVPN misses the mark on various fronts that matter most when it comes to streaming BBC iPlayer shows and movies. Its servers aren’t slow, but they’re not very fast, either. Though its free and basic plans are wallet-friendly, they don’t let you access streaming servers in the UK, so they’re not an option for BBC iPlayer. Plus, ProtonVPN allows you to stream on only Windows and macOS devices
8. Hotspot Shield
More details about Hotspot Shield:
- Pricing: $6.99 per month on the Plus plan (billed annually)
- Provider website: www.hotspotshield.com
- Fast speeds on paper
- Good interface
- Inconsistent performance
- Free plan only has U.S. servers
Hotspot Shield made it onto our list of the best BBC iPlayer VPNs, thanks to its unlimited bandwidth and servers in the UK. During our testing for our Hotspot Shield review, we found that it unblocks BBC iPlayer from outside the UK with ease. Besides that, we noticed that the servers are fast enough to support fast streams with no buffering, but other VPN services on our list are faster.
It uses the Catapult Hydra protocol instead of more common ones, like OpenVPN, which enables Hotspot Shield to overcome potential latency challenges. The only quibble is that, with the protocol, you have to make a few lengthy tries to get connected to a UK server.
Hotspot Shield’s pricing is standard for a VPN, but you can save money by choosing a longer subscription. A refund policy is not directly advertised on the site, but you can request one within 45 days by contacting customer support. There is a free seven-day trial if you want to tinker with its features.
- : 1
- : Unlimited GB
- : 5
- : Unlimited GB
- : 5
- : Unlimited GB
- : 25
- : Unlimited GB
- : 25
Though Hotspot Shield made it onto our list, it’s the last pick because its service has some questionable aspects. Even though it allows you to stream BBC iPlayer anonymously, it takes a few lengthy attempts to connect to an optimal UK server. Plus, its speeds are a little inconsistent, and you’d be better off using our first pick, ExpressVPN.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer With a VPN
If you try to connect to BBC iPlayer from any other country, you’ll get an error message saying: “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.” That’s when a virtual private network can help. A VPN will allow you to spoof your location, making it look like you’re accessing BBC iPlayer from the UK. All you have to do is use the VPN to choose a UK IP address before opening the BBC iPlayer app.
- Install Your VPN and Log In To It
Sign up for your VPN of choice and install the VPN app on your device. Log in and choose and connect to a suitable VPN server in the UK.
- Head Over to the BBC iPlayer Website and Create an Account
Open the BBC iPlayer homepage and create a BBC iPlayer account. You don’t need to be a UK resident to create the account, but you need a UK IP address to watch any shows.
- Put On Your Best British Accent and Say, “I Have a TV Licence”
Because the BBC is funded through the license fee that UK households pay, you may need to “confirm” that you have one. A notice may pop up saying that a TV license is required to get access, but you can simply click “I have a TV licence” and access the platform. You don’t need to provide evidence of having a British TV license.
If you’re asked to enter a postcode — the UK equivalent of a ZIP code — just enter any UK postcode that you can find on Google. You’ll be fine, provided that you’re connected to a UK server. That’s it; you get to enjoy all of your favorite British TV shows without ever stepping foot in the UK.
Final Thoughts: Best BBC iPlayer VPN
We hope we’ve helped you find the best VPN service for BBC iPlayer. Whether you’re after some BBC news streaming or want to watch top BBC shows, all of the above recommendations will allow you to access BBC iPlayer abroad. Remember, though, that the performance with each VPN varies, so keep that in mind.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN to access BBC iPlayer abroad, and it works for BBC iPlayer radio, too. You’ll be able to easily watch UK TV online outside of the UK for free, as it can get into BBC iPlayer without a problem. Plus, its fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth make it a pleasant experience. With the 30-day money-back guarantee, you’ve got nothing to lose.
If you have experience loading a BBC iPlayer stream from another country with a VPN, let us know about it in the comment section below. Check out our other VPN articles and our streaming archive, too. As always, thank you for reading.