The Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer
Don’t want to miss out on your favorite BBC shows when you’re abroad? If you find yourself in another country, you won’t be able to watch BBC shows because it’s geo-restricted.
However, through a virtual private network (VPN), it is possible to unblock the platform’s restrictions and get you back to your viewing habit.
Read on as we list the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer.
What is BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer is a streaming service by BBC. Since its stable release in 2012, BBC has expanded its content to offer documentaries, family-oriented shows, drama, comedy, reality TV, and some of the best British films. As of 2021, the number of accounts that use the service per week has grown to 10.7 million on average. BBC has also reported that as of April 2021, BBC iPlayer has over 1.7 billion streams in the first quarter of the year.
Some of its most popular shows include Doctor Who, EastEnders, Starstruck, The Witchfinder, McMafia, and Peaky Blinders. In addition, new content is added every week, so subscribers don’t run out of content to enjoy.
Why Can’t I Watch All Shows on BBC iPlayer?
Since all of BBC TV productions are financed by public money from the UK television license fee and rights agreements, BBC programs are limited to UK viewers. Therefore all of BBC iPlayer content is limited to IP addresses allocated to the UK only. (This is different from its radio content where only sports broadcasts have limited access.) If you wonder why most of BBC’s competition shows also don’t offer monetary prizes, this is the same reason why it’s not legally permitted to hand out cash rewards.
So, if you’re traveling abroad and would like to catch up on your favorite BBC show on your BBC iPlayer, it would be impossible unless you use a VPN to connect to a VPN server located in the UK.
However, not all VPNs can provide you with the best service so you can stream on BBC iPlayer. So, we’ve tested several VPN services and found out the best to help you spoof your location and start streaming BBC shows.
VPNs That Work with BBC iPlayer and Other Streaming Sites
Of all the VPNs on this list, nothing compares to the performance of ExpressVPN. First, it offers plenty of UK-based VPN servers so you’ll never run out of options if you want to bypass the geo-restrictions of BBC iPlayer. We tested each server during peak and non-peak hours to watch on BBC iPlayer, and we hardly encountered any speed or latency issues at all.
Second, ExpressVPN offers the fastest connection speed. We all know how VPN can slow down connections but with this tool, streaming any content on BBC iPlayer was smooth and buffer-free.
Third, security is top-notch. ExpressVPN offers the best IPv6 leak protection. This makes it even more difficult for BBC iPlayer or any streaming service to detect your real location.
Fourth, ExpressVPN doesn’t log any of your personal data. You can always maintain your privacy and anonymity without having to worry if your personal information will be sold to third-party data research companies.
Finally, if you’re concerned about the cost, ExpressVPN offers the best value for your money. If you select the 12-Month Plan today, you get a 49% discount that puts your monthly bill to only $6.67. Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a full year of free unlimited cloud backup from Backblaze.
NordVPN boasts of more than 5,490 servers in 60 countries. It also has options for optimization of its VPN servers as well as Dedicated IPs so you can purchase a static IP address to select a permanent virtual location from the United Kingdom to enjoy BBC iPlayer. Many fans of streaming sites use NordVPN because it allows them to tap into servers that have access to streaming libraries including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and DAZN.
NordVPN does not record, log, store or pass time stamps, bandwidth used, traffic data, IP addresses, session logs, and browsing-related activities except for some customer information such as the username for the purpose of improving its services.
With more than 3,200 VPN servers in 65 countries, Surfshark is another good option for streaming content from BBC iPlayer. We’ve tested each UK server that Surfshark offers and all those located in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and Manchester worked well for BBC iPlayer streaming.
And what’s best about this VPN is that it does not have any cap on the number of devices that can share the same account. In addition, it does not have any bandwidth limitations. This means that your entire family can watch on BBC iPlayer and other streaming sites simultaneously on each of your devices.
CyberGhost has been around since 2015, providing a wide selection of servers plus a host of other security tools. It has more than 7,960 servers in over 91 countries and 114 locations, with most of its servers concentrated in Canada, Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands, the United States, and the United Kingdom, so you can access content from BBC iPlayer.
CyberGhost boasts of one of the lowest discounted monthly rates for the highest possible VPN speeds. The service was founded in Germany but now has its headquarters in Bucharest, Romania – a country that has no mandatory retention rules. You’re assured that all of your online activities are safe against logs and recording.
ProtonVPN has more than 1,400 servers in over 60 countries and lets you connect up to 10 devices. Its 44 UK servers are located in Manchester and London, so you have more options when switching to another server if some of the choices are loaded during peak hours.
What’s great about this VPN is its VPN Accelerator tool which lets you increase your speed by redesigning the VPN protocols used. Plus, it offers unlimited bandwidth and multi-platform support.
How to Watch All BBC iPlayer Shows
Accessing BBC iPlayer content is easy if you use a VPN wherever you are located. In this example, we’ll be using ExpressVPN.
Step 1. Log in to ExpressVPN.
Step 2. Select a UK-based VPN server.
Step 3. Log in to BBC iPlayer.
Step 4. Start watching your favorite BBC shows.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need a VPN to stream BBC iPlayer?
BBC iPlayer is geo-restricted so it can only be streamed when it detects your IP address is in the UK. This means that you need to use a VPN if you find yourself outside the country and still want to access BBC’s shows.
Where is BBC iPlayer available?
BBC iPlayer is available on a variety of devices such as smart TVs, game consoles, set-top boxes, streamers, and platforms such as Sky and Virgin Media, just to name a few.
Can BBC iPlayer detect my location if I use a VPN?
It depends if it can detect the same server that has been identified by the platform before. That’s why it’s best to use a VPN service such as ExpressVPN which offers plenty of VPN servers.
What is the best VPN to use to stream BBC iPlayer?
ExpressVPN based on our testing is the best tool to use. It offers plenty of UK-based VPN servers to help you unblock BBC iPlayer.