Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

Stream freely in BBC iPlayer with these VPN services

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BBC iPlayer

In the era of online streaming, BBC iPlayer is one of the few services that provide free content for streaming. Users can get access to content from 10+ BBC channels without having to spend a penny.
However, BBC iPlayer content is only available to users in the UK. This means that if you have traveled abroad or live outside the region, you will be restricted from streaming on iPlayer.

While the streaming service does this for understandable reasons, it can be quite frustrating when you just want to catch up with a few episodes you missed. Fortunately, a VPN can help you unblock BBC iPlayer from anywhere.

BBC iPlayer & VPNs

BBC iPlayer implements geo-restrictions by checking a user’s IP address, which determines the region they are accessing from. If the address is not from the UK, the user is barred from streaming. Here’s where VPNs come in.

A VPN works by encrypting user traffic and then securely tunneling it to a server of choice. This server then spoofs the user’s IP address by providing them with a new one, which is then used to access the internet. If you select a server in the UK, you will be assigned a UK IP address. From there, you can then stream BBC iPlayer.

However, five years ago, BBC iPlayer started blocking VPNs to prevent access from outside the UK. This rendered most VPNs useless in unblocking the service, but we have created a list of the 5 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer. The VPNs listed here regularly update their technology to enable BBC iPlayer access from any region.

Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer


ExpressVPN Pros

  • Super-fast
  • Excellent client apps
  • Several servers in the UK
  • Zero logs & solid security
  • Also works with Netflix and other streaming services
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • 24/7 Live chat support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

ExpressVPN Cons

  • Relatively costly

ExpressVPN is our choice for the best VPN for iPlayer. The VPN is also known for its superb speeds, great apps, and excellent customer support. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, and this keeps it away from the invasive UK privacy laws.

To provide BBC iPlayer access, the VPN has servers in London, East London, Wembley, and Glasgow. The London and Glasgow servers are frequently refreshed with new IP addresses, and so they also unblock Netflix UK, among other streaming services. The VPN’s entire network consists of 3,000+ VPN servers spread across 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries.

Apart from these, ExpressVPN also offers features such as Smart DNS, split tunneling, network lock (kill switch), and DNS & IP Leak protection. The VPN can be installed on all popular devices that support VPN installation, and there’s also an applet for routers.

In case you run into any trouble while trying to unblock BBC iPlayer or any other service, you can always contact support through their 24/7 live chat service.


NordVPN Pros

  • Zero usage and connection logs
  • Super-fast
  • Inbuilt SmartDNS
  • Many servers in the UK
  • Up to 6 simultaneous connections
  • 24/7 Customer Care
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

NordVPN Cons

  • High cost for month-to-month users

NordVPN is another excellent option for BBC iPlayer. The VPN is known for its huge server network that comprises of 5500+ servers spread across 59 countries. Out of these, 690+ servers are located in the UK, something that guarantees great speeds and reliability for users connecting to the region.

To unblock BBC iPlayer, NordVPN uses special SmartDNS technology inbuilt in the VPN’s servers. When you connect to any server in the UK, your DNS streaming requests will be automatically redirected to unblock BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and other services available in the country.

Apart from that, NordVPN provides a zero-log service, which is, in part, thanks to its great choice of registration (Panama). Security is also solid as the VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption, which is the industry standard.

Some of the features you’ll get include a Kill Switch, double encryption, Onion over VPN, CyberSec (Ad-blocker & antimalware), Anti-DDoS, and DNS & IP Leak protection. You can connect up to 6 devices simultaneously, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you wish to cancel.

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN Pros

  • 1-day free premium trial
  • Zero logs kept
  • Smart DNS for various regions
  • 7 simultaneous connections
  • Sleek and easy to use apps
  • Feature-packed
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Allows payments by bitcoin

CyberGhost VPN Cons

  • Live chat not available 24/7

CyberGhost is one of the best VPNs for streaming, and subsequently, one of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer. The VPN has several specialized streaming servers that are optimized for streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, Eurosport, Netflix (UK & many other countries), Hulu, HBO Now, ESPN+, and many more.

Apart from that, CyberGhost offers a Smart DNS service that, unlike other VPNs that cater to only US streaming services, you can use it to unblock BBC iPlayer. After configuring your IP address, you can choose from Smart DNS options for UK, GB, US, JP, and NL. If you use the UK or GB option, you’ll be able to access BBC iPlayer without even the need for a VPN.

CyberGhost is also known for its wide array of features that come at a modest price. Some of these include a kill switch, DNS & IPv6 protection, ad blocker, and malware blocker. Users can connect up to 7 devices simultaneously, and the subscription comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

SurfShark VPN

SurfShark VPN Pros

  • Super-fast
  • Based in the BVI & keeps Zero logs
  • Solid encryption
  • Smart DNS option
  • Server-level Smart DNS
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

SurfShark VPN Cons

  • Live chat doesn’t operate 24/7

SurfShark VPN has only been around for a few years, but it has gained lots of popularity, and this is especially due to its many features and excellent performance. The VPN has been growing its network over the years, and now it has 1,700+ servers in 63+ countries. Some of these servers are located in Glasgow, London, and Manchester to facilitate streaming UK content.

Like ExpressVPN, SurfShark is based in the British Virgin Islands, and it doesn’t keep any logs whatsoever. It also has a unique offer in that it doesn’t limit the number of devices users can connect simultaneously. 

Other SurfShark features include Clean Web (blocks ads, trackers, malware and phishing attempts), stealth, whitelister (split-tunneling), private DNS, a kill switch, and leak protection.

SurfShark is also one of the most affordable VPNs as you can get it at just $2.49 a month with the yearly subscription. All subscriptions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Private VPN

Private VPN Pros

  • Zero logs
  • Solid security
  • Also works with US Netflix
  • Excellent speeds and unlimited bandwidth
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • Low monthly price
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Private VPN Cons

  • Small server network
  • Live chat not available 24/7

PrivateVPN doesn’t boast a server network as large as the above-listed VPNs, but it is a great option for streaming BBC iPlayer abroad. The VPN has a network that comprises of just 150+ in 60+ countries, but there are 6 servers located in London and Manchester

And just like the VPN’s name suggests, your connection will be very private as the Sweden-based VPN does not keep any logs due to the favorable privacy laws. Security is also solid as the VPN uses 2048-bit encryption with AES-256

Some of PrivateVPN features include multiple protocols, a kill switch feature, torrent-friendly UK servers, and IPv6 and DNS leak protection. The VPN allows up to 6 simultaneous connections, and all users are eligible for a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Can I use a Free VPN for BBC iPlayer

Free VPNs let users enjoy a few benefits without spending a penny. However, none of them can be useful in unblocking BBC iPlayer. This is because such VPNs are not capable of refreshing their IP addresses frequently to stay ahead of the IP address blocks used by the streaming service.

Further, free VPNs usually have limited bandwidth and speeds, and so they are not really useful in streaming. If you are looking for a budget VPN, you can opt for PrivateVPN or SurfShark VPN. The former provides a cheap short-term solution, while the former offers a very affordable long-term solution.

Wrap up

If you want to catch up on UK content while outside the country, you can still access BBC iPlayer thanks to VPN technology. But while the streaming service blocks most VPNs, the carefully selected options above can guarantee you a seamless streaming experience.