Disclosure: Top10VPN is editorially independent. We may earn commissions if you buy a VPN through links on our site.

The Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

12 comments
Best VPN for BBC iPlayer
Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent
12 comments

Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio

BBC iPlayer is only available from inside the UK. The best VPNs for BBC iPlayer assign you a UK IP address, letting you stream BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world.

However, even some of the most popular VPNs don’t work with BBC iPlayer. That’s because the BBC uses advanced technology to detect and block VPN traffic.

We tested 68 VPN services to find the fastest and most reliable for BBC iPlayer. We test for average download speeds, Smart DNS, and the ability to consistently access BBC iPlayer from abroad.

Based on speed, UK server coverage, and reliability, the five best VPNs for BBC iPlayer are:

  1. NordVPN: The top VPN for BBC iPlayer. Reliable, fast, and works on all devices. Read summary
  2. PrivateVPN: The cheapest choice for BBC iPlayer, with streaming-specific servers. Read summary
  3. ExpressVPN: A great choice for streaming BBC iPlayer internationally in HD. Read summary
  4. Windscribe: The best free VPN for watching BBC iPlayer overseas. Read summary
  5. HideMyAss: A beginner-friendly VPN with a seven-day free trial. Read summary

For easier comparison, use our table to compare 10 popular VPNs specifically for streaming BBC iPlayer.

The five VPNs we recommend offer dozens of UK servers, fast download speeds, and will reliably unblock UK streaming platforms.

You’ll be able to unblock BBC iPlayer on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Firestick. Some even have Smart DNS functionality for streaming iPlayer on your Smart TV.

Keep reading for more information on our five VPN choices, or see how to use a VPN with BBC iPlayer.

The Top VPNs for BBC iPlayer: Performance Ratings

In the table below, you can compare how the five best BBC iPlayer VPNs perform in six key testing categories:

The 5 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer (Tested August 2021)

  1. 1. NordVPN: The Best VPN for BBC iPlayer

    Reliably unblocks UK TV with a large UK server network and very fast speeds.

    Ranked #1 out of 68 VPNs for BBC iPlayer
    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
     94% 
    (246 user reviews)
    Visit NordVPN

    Pros

    1. UK servers unblock BBC iPlayer
    2. Fast average download speeds
    3. Includes app for Amazon Firestick
    4. Smart DNS works with iPlayer
    5. No-logs policy & no IP, DNS, WebRTC leaks
    6. Good Chrome & Firefox VPN extensions
    Cons
    1. Inconsistent in China

    Overall BBC iPlayer Rating: 9.7/10

    This rating is calculated using the following six subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our BBC iPlayer testing methodology.

    • 9.9
    • 9.9
    • 9.6
    • 9.9
    • 9.3
    • 9.5

    NordVPN is the best choice for BBC iPlayer in August 2021. It’s fast, easy to use, and it reliably streams BBC iPlayer on every single one of its UK servers.

    That means that you don’t have to try lots of different UK servers to find one that works with the British streaming platform.

    Cheapest Price$3.30/mo over 27 Months See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    93Mbps
    UK Servers440
    Smart DNSYes
    Support24/7 Live Chat

    Over 690 fast streaming servers across the UK

    NordVPN has over 690 UK servers, which means your speeds will never be affected by server congestion.

    The UK IP addresses assigned to these servers are also regularly refreshed, which means they’re constantly ahead of streaming blocks and blacklists.

    A huge server count and average local download speeds as fast as 93Mbps mean you’ll always be able to stream your favorite UK shows in HD.

    Smart DNS for streaming BBC iPlayer on Apple TV

    The VPN comes with an intuitive app for Fire TV Stick and its Smart DNS feature unblocks iPlayer on PS4 and Apple TV, so you can watch UK TV shows and movies on your biggest screen.

    Should you ever need any help watching shows on BBC iPlayer, NordVPN’s live chat agents are on hand 24/7.

    You can also take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee if you want to try the VPN before committing long term to the service. You can switch to the NordLynx protocol for even faster speeds, too.

    On the whole, NordVPN’s fast speeds, wide compatibility, and ability to unblock all major streaming sites make it the perfect VPN for BBC iPlayer.

    The following NordVPN servers work with BBC iPlayer:

    • UK#2010
    • UK#2174
    • UK#2195
  2. 2. PrivateVPN: Cheapest VPN for iPlayer

    A simple and affordable choice for BBC iPlayer, with fast dedicated streaming servers.

    Image of PrivateVPN's app on mobile
     98% 
    (1,736 user reviews)
    Visit PrivateVPN

    Pros

    1. Reliably works with BBC iPlayer
    2. Fast speeds into the UK
    3. Optimized for streaming
    4. Simple VPN apps & instant setup
    5. Custom VPN app for Amazon Fire TV
    6. Super safe VPN with strict no-logs policy
    Cons
    1. Limited number of VPN servers
    2. Inconsistent live chat availability
    3. No Smart DNS functionality
    4. No browser extensions

    Overall BBC iPlayer Rating: 9.2/10

    This rating is calculated using the following six subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our BBC iPlayer testing methodology.

    • 9.8
    • 9.3
    • 8.5
    • 9.5
    • 9.3
    • 8.3

    PrivateVPN only has 150 servers in its entire network, but it’s still a great choice for BBC iPlayer. It reliably works to unblock the streaming service from abroad with fast speeds and easy-to-use apps. What’s more, it’s great for accessing other streaming services like Netflix, too.

    Its best feature is its price – you can subscribe to PrivateVPN for less than $2 a month on a two-year subscription.

    Cheapest Price$1.98/mo over 24 months See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    94Mbps
    UK Servers6
    Smart DNSNo
    SupportLive Chat

    Small network of specialized streaming servers

    There are only six PrivateVPN servers in the UK, one of which is specifically optimized for watching BBC iPlayer. This server is clearly labeled in the app so you can access the streaming service with ease.

    Our tests found that this server consistently worked to unblock BBC iPlayer and bypass the service’s VPN blocks. However, a larger UK server network could help reduce congestion and improve performance in the UK.

    There are also VPN servers optimized for a range of other streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO.

    Average UK download speeds of 86Mbps

    Despite its small server network, PrivateVPN’s speeds are fast. Whether you’re in the UK or watching internationally, you’ll be able to stream BBC iPlayer without any waiting around. We recorded average download speeds of up to 86Mbps.

    If you do run into any issues, PrivateVPN’s live chat isn’t always available, which is an area that could use improvement. The VPN could also benefit from a larger server network to improve server congestion.

    PrivateVPN really is as private as its name suggests, too – it’s very safe to use with a no-logs policy, strong encryption, and no IP leaks. That means you can use it to protect your data on public wifi or browse privately, as well as watching BBC iPlayer.

    Overall, PrivateVPN is a fantastic choice that represents great value for money.

    The following PrivateVPN servers work with BBC iPlayer:

    • UK – London
    • UK – Manchester
  3. 3. ExpressVPN: Best for Browser Extensions

    The best all-round alternative for unblocking BBC iPlayer on any UK server.

    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     96% 
    (1,768 user reviews)
    Visit ExpressVPN

    Pros

    1. Works with BBC iPlayer (from outside UK)
    2. Unrivalled reliability & fast speeds
    3. Custom app for Amazon Fire TV Stick
    4. Smart DNS for Apple TV & gaming consoles use
    5. Simple setup on wide range of devices
    6. The best VPN extensions for Chrome & Firefox
    Cons
    1. Inconsistent access to iPlayer within the UK
    2. More expensive than some rivals

    Overall BBC iPlayer Rating: 9.2/10

    This rating is calculated using the following six subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our BBC iPlayer testing methodology.

    • 8.5
    • 9.2
    • 9.4
    • 9.6
    • 9.8
    • 9.9

    ExpressVPN works well with BBC iPlayer when you use its browser extensions or connect from outside the UK. While users located outside the UK can use ExpressVPN’s UK servers, we recommend using NordVPN when connecting to BBC iPlayer from within the UK.

    It’s compatible with all popular devices, incredibly reliable, and great for other streaming services, too. This level of performance comes at a cost, though – ExpressVPN is significantly more expensive than the other VPN recommendations in this list.

    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    88Mbps
    UK ServersUndisclosed
    Smart DNSYes
    Support24/7 Live Chat

    Excellent browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox

    In our latest round of testing, the most effective way to unblock BBC iPlayer with ExpressVPN was using its browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. We found that the ExpressVPN Wembley server was the most reliable option.

    ExpressVPN also provides native VPN apps for PCs, tablets and smartphones, but also for Fire TV Sticks. If you want to stream BBC iPlayer on your Apple TV or your gaming console, ExpressVPN’s Smart DNS tool (MediaStreamer) will allow you to do just that.

    An expensive but versatile VPN for streaming

    ExpressVPN is a great choice if you’re looking for a good all-round VPN. It’s reliable and very fast across all server locations, including long-distance connections.

    You’ll be able to watch BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and other streaming services smoothly with little buffering.

    While it’s certainly more expensive than most other VPNs, ExpressVPN’s higher cost is justified by the VPN’s overall reliability, versatility and user-friendliness. If you’re looking for more than just BBC iPlayer, this is a good choice for you.

    The following ExpressVPN servers work with BBC iPlayer:

    • UK – Docklands
    • UK – Wembley
  4. 4. Windscribe: Best Free VPN for BBC iPlayer

    The only safe free VPN that unblocks BBC iPlayer consistently.

    Windscribe mobile screenshots
     100% 
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit Windscribe

    Pros

    1. Unblocks iPlayer on all UK servers
    2. Includes app for Fire TV Stick
    3. Free plan unblocks BBC iPlayer
    4. Easy app setup for all platforms
    Cons
    1. No Smart DNS feature
    2. Slower long-distance speeds
    3. No live chat customer support

    Overall BBC iPlayer Rating: 8.9/10

    This rating is calculated using the following six subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our BBC iPlayer testing methodology.

    • 9.5
    • 8.9
    • 8.3
    • 9.5
    • 8.5
    • 8.1

    Windscribe VPN is available in both paid and free versions. Both versions reliably unblock BBC iPlayer’s geo-blocks on every UK server, with speeds of up to 63Mbps on short-distance connections.

    Windscribe Free is also the only safe free VPN that works with BBC iPlayer. We found the free tier to be just as reliable as the premium plan for streaming iPlayer, but it does come with a 10GB monthly data cap.

    Although this is generous for a free service, this will allow you to stream just four hours of HD BBC iPlayer content per month.

    Cheapest Price$4.08/mo over 12 Months See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    95Mbps
    UK ServersUndisclosed
    Smart DNSNo
    SupportEmail & Online Resources Only

    Great for Firestick, but doesn't support Smart DNS

    Windscribe comes with a native app for Firestick, so you can stream BBC shows like Top Gear, Killing Eve, and Fleabag on your TV.

    The main drawback for using Windscribe with BBC iPlayer is that it does not come with Smart DNS functionality. This means that you won’t be unable to unblock iPlayer on devices that are not VPN-compatible, like an Apple TV or PS4.

    Fast on local connections, slower internationally

    Windscribe is very fast when connected to servers that are near your physical location. However, its long-distance speeds are much slower, so you may not be able to stream in HD if you’re located far away from the UK.

    It doesn’t offer any live chat support either, which forces you to rely on the poor automated chat agent or wait for an answer from its email support team.

    Overall, Windscribe is a great VPN for BBC iPlayer. It’s a cheap service that outperforms many premium VPNs for iPlayer, and it also works with all other major streaming sites. If you’re looking for the fastest speeds or the best customer support, we recommend choosing a different VPN, though.

    The following Windscribe servers work with BBC iPlayer:

    • London Crumpets
    • Manchester United
    • Windflix UK
  5. 5. HideMyAss: Best for Beginners

    An simple VPN built for streaming, with easy apps and great live chat support.

    Screenshot of HideMyAss' Mobile App
     80% 
    (5 user reviews)
    Visit HideMyAss

    Pros

    1. VPN servers optimized to unlock BBC iPlayer
    2. Fast speeds connecting to UK VPN servers
    3. VPN extensions for Chrome & Firefox
    4. 7-day free trial available
    5. Clean, modern, user-friendly VPN apps
    6. 24/7 live chat support
    Cons
    1. Based in privacy-unfriendly UK
    2. No custom VPN apps for streaming devices
    3. No Fire Stick TV app
    4. No Smart DNS tool

    Overall BBC iPlayer Rating: 8.7/10

    This rating is calculated using the following six subcategory ratings. To learn more, read our BBC iPlayer testing methodology.

    • 9.5
    • 9.6
    • 8.8
    • 7.5
    • 5.5
    • 8.5

    HideMyAss stands out for its huge VPN server network. It has servers in over 190 countries worldwide, with 20 servers in the UK alone.

    The VPN service provides fast speeds regardless of which country you’re connecting from. It also has VPN servers that are optimized for streaming BBC iPlayer. Our testing found that ‘Donkey Town’ was the best HideMyAss server for streaming BBC iPlayer.

    Cheapest Price$2.99/mo over 3 years See all plans
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    96Mbps
    UK Servers22
    SupportLive Chat

    Great for UK servers, bad for privacy

    While it is a fast VPN that’s great for beginners, HideMyAss’s biggest downfall is privacy.

    It now has an impressive minimal-logs privacy policy, but the company has a history of handing user data over to law enforcement. The company is also based in the UK, a jurisdiction known for its harsh surveillance laws and data-sharing agreements.

    No native apps for Firestick or Apple TV

    HideMyAss also lacks custom apps for streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV Stick and Android TV, meaning that you have to install it at router level if you want to watch British shows on your TV.

    Overall, HideMyAss is not the cheapest or the fastest VPN for BBC iPlayer. It’s very simple to use though, which means it’s a great choice for beginners.

    The following HideMyAss servers work with BBC iPlayer:

    • Donkey Town

The Top 10 VPNs for BBC iPlayer Compared

To help you compare the top VPNs for BBC iPlayer, we created a detailed table comparing 10 very popular VPN services.

Using the table below, see which VPN works with BBC iPlayer, compare their average UK speeds, the number of UK servers, and the cheapest monthly subscription price.

Why Do You Need a VPN for BBC iPlayer?

BBC iPlayer Homepage

Streaming services, like BBC iPlayer, use geo-blocking to restrict their content by region. They do this to enforce licensing agreements they have with content owners.

The extent of these restrictions depends on the streaming service you’re accessing.

Netflix, for example, has a different content library in every country around the world. Other services like Hulu and BBC iPlayer are only available in one country.

All the TV shows on BBC iPlayer are only available to users within the UK. If you try to connect from elsewhere, you will be unable to stream content.

Using a VPN, your true IP address is replaced with the IP address of a VPN server. If you connect to a UK VPN server, you can ‘trick’ BBC iPlayer into thinking you’re located in the UK.

In other words, you can connect to a VPN and stream BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world.

Sadly, BBC iPlayer is one of the hardest content platforms to unblock. The service makes a dedicated effort to monitor and block VPN traffic.

As a result, even some of the highest-rated VPNs don’t work with BBC iPlayer. Therefore, it’s crucial you use a VPN verified to work.

How Does BBC iPlayer Detect and Block VPN Services?

The BBC is very strict when it comes to enforcing geo-restrictions.

It monitors the IP addresses used to stream iPlayer. If it detects hundreds of people with the same IP address streaming at the same time, it blacklists the IP address since it clearly belongs to a VPN.

The BBC also runs checks on whether an IP address is ‘residential’ or belongs to a data center (VPN services mostly use data center IP addresses).

The BBC iPlayer error message

The BBC’s VPN ban makes it very hard to find a VPN that consistently works with BBC iPlayer. It’s also why even the best choices sometimes have a few UK servers that don’t work.

The top VPNs constantly update their UK IP addresses to maintain access to the streaming service.

While no VPN can guarantee to stream BBC iPlayer 100% of the time, the five VPN services we’ve picked are by far the most reliable.

Do Free VPNs Work with BBC iPlayer?

Bypassing BBC iPlayer’s constant VPN blocks is time-consuming and expensive. As a result, free VPNs often do not work with BBC iPlayer.

That’s because they don’t have the resources to refresh their UK IP address pool, and keep finding new ways to obfuscate their traffic.

Not to mention that the free VPNs that do work are often slow and unreliable.

Also, remember that most free VPNs are limited at best, and dangerous at worst. Learn more about these risks in our article on the best free VPNs.

Having said that, our tests indicate that Windscribe Free is the only safe free VPN that consistently works with BBC iPlayer.

The VPN is fast, safe, and has servers all over the UK. You can use Windscribe to watch BBC iPlayer abroad completely free.

Using Windscribe Free with BBC iPlayer

Windscribe Free works to unblock BBC iPlayer from abroad.

However, there is a monthly data allowance of just 10GB. So, if you want to stream more than a few hours of UK TV each month, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium VPN.

Ultimately, we recommend using a subscription-based VPN to stream BBC iPlayer. They’re faster, more secure, and more reliable.

How to Use a VPN With BBC iPlayer

Wherever you are in the world, you can use a VPN to get a UK IP address and watch restricted TV that is only available in the UK.

First, make sure to choose a VPN with servers in the UK. All of the VPNs listed above have servers in London and elsewhere.

To stream BBC iPlayer with a VPN:

  1. Subscribe to your chosen VPN service and follow the installation prompts to set up the VPN software on your device.
  2. Open the VPN application and enable leak protection, OpenVPN, and the VPN kill switch.
  3. Choose a VPN server in the UK and click connect.
  4. Use our IP info tool to check your public IP address.
  5. Once you have a UK IP address, navigate BBC iPlayer and log in.

Following this process, you’ll be able to watch BBC iPlayer from abroad, wherever you are in the world.

If you still see a BBC iPlayer error message, keep reading to find out how to fix it.

Is BBC iPlayer Not Working with Your VPN?

Sometimes even the most reliable VPNs stop working with BBC iPlayer. The situation can change from day to day as the BBC’s blocks become more aggressive.

VPN services describe it as a “cat and mouse game” because the BBC blocks VPN IP addresses almost as fast as the VPN service releases new ones.

If this happens, you might see BBC iPlayer error message that looks like this:

“BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”

The best solution is to try a different VPN server. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need a workaround.

If BBC iPlayer is detecting your VPN, here’s how to fix it:

  1. Switch on leak protection and run a VPN leak test. If your VPN is leaking your IP address or DNS requests, iPlayer will recognize that you’re not in the UK.
  2. Clear your browser’s cache and cookies and flush your DNS cache, then log into BBC iPlayer and try again.
  3. Once you’ve cleared your browser’s cache, reconnect using a different UK VPN server. Sometimes a VPN server that worked yesterday might not work today.
  4. Disconnect your VPN, flush your cache, and then reconnect. This may give you a new IP address that hasn’t been blacklisted by the BBC.
  5. Try accessing BBC iPlayer using a different web browser.
  6. Disable GPS and location services on your device and browser.
  7. Disable IPv6 at device-level.
  8. If you’re trying to access BBC iPlayer through the app, try again via a web browser.

If your VPN still isn’t working with BBC iPlayer after following these tips, you should get in touch with your VPN service’s customer support. Otherwise, you may need to choose a new VPN service.

If your VPN doesn’t come with dedicated iPlayer servers, you can also ask customer support which servers they recommend using.

Those connecting within the UK run into issues a lot more frequently than those connecting from outside the country.

If you’re in the UK you can also use split tunnelling to route your iPlayer traffic outside of the VPN. All of the other web traffic leaving your device will remain protected.

How We Test VPNs for BBC iPlayer

We measure several key decision-making factors when testing VPNs. These individual factors are different for every use case, and combine to create an overall use case rating.

In this section, we’ll detail our exact testing process when reviewing the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer.

For BBC iPlayer specifically, we test:

  • Whether the VPN consistently works to access BBC iPlayer from abroad.
  • Average download speeds on a UK VPN server.
  • How many UK VPN servers are available.
  • The VPN app’s price, ease of use, and customer support.
  • Additional features like Smart DNS, browser extensions, and native apps.

Here’s a complete list of the factors we test when recommending VPNs for BBC iPlayer, along with how much of our overall rating they make up:

1. BBC iPlayer Access: 30%

Minimum Requirement: Access to BBC iPlayer on some UK servers.
We Recommend: Consistent access to BBC iPlayer on all UK servers.

The ability to reliably and consistently unblock BBC iPlayer is of course the most important factor here, so it makes up the majority of our rating.

We regularly test every VPN service on multiple devices and navigate to BBC iPlayer ourselves. We use this first-hand testing to record the number of times a VPN can unblock BBC iPlayer in a given period, and on how many servers.

The most effective VPNs will work on the majority of their UK servers, and will also work to access other streaming services like Netflix.

2. Average Speed: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Less than 40% speed loss on UK connections.
We Recommend: Less than 10% speed loss on international connections.

Connection speeds are especially important for streaming because it is a high-bandwidth activity. To stream in HD without buffering, you’ll need unlimited bandwidth and as little speed loss as possible.

Our experts routinely test every VPN to measure its average download speed when connected to servers in London. We also test long-distance speeds connecting from Australia, Europe, and the US to a UK server.

This gives us accurate data that reflects the speeds you’ll get using a VPN to stream BBC iPlayer from abroad.

3. No. of UK Servers: 20%

Minimum Requirement: A good selection of UK servers.
We Recommend: A large selection servers in UK cities, with dedicated streaming servers.

The top iPlayer VPNs will invest significant resources into unblocking the streaming service.

That means they’ll have lots of UK VPN servers with thousands of IP addresses, or dedicated streaming servers that are regularly refreshed to avoid VPN bans.

The fewer VPN servers there are, the more congested the network will be – which means slower speeds.

A large number of servers also means more IP addresses, which means it’s much harder for the BBC to detect and block your VPN.

4. Logging Policy: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Only anonymised connection logs collected.
We Recommend: A strictly no-logs privacy policy.

Privacy is a key feature of any VPN, even one for streaming. As a result, we regularly analyze the privacy policy of every VPN we review to find out how the service deals with user data.

The collection of identifying or unnecessary data – such as your IP address or browsing activity – is immediately penalized.

By contrast, VPNs that log the least amount of data possible are rewarded. Typically, this includes both strict zero-logs policies as well as anonymised data collection.

5. Streaming Device Support: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Native applications for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac.
We Recommend: Native applications for all the devices above, as well as compatibility with Smart TVs, Firestick, and Smart DNS.

Device compatibility is also a key part of our rating – offering lots of native applications means you can watch BBC iPlayer wherever you are, on any device.

The top-rated VPNs are available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and additional devices like home routers, Smart TVs, and Firestick.

We also test for useful additional features like split tunneling, browser extensions, and other bespoke tools like Smart DNS. This allows you to bypass geo-blocks on your Smart TV and games console.

6. Customer Support: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Email support and an online knowledge-base.
We Recommend: Useful 24/7 live chat and email support.

Customer support is also important, particularly for temperamental streaming services like BBC iPlayer.

We use email and live-chat to test the quality of assistance on offer from every VPN provider.

This is to make sure you’ll be able to get the technical help you need if your VPN stops working with BBC iPlayer.

Live chat or responsive email support are both rewarded, while slow and ineffective customer support are rated lower.

Other Key Testing Areas

Though they are not always part of our overall rating, there are certain indicators of quality that we factor into every VPN recommendation.

Our researchers expect every VPN to offer basic levels of security including AES-256 encryption, IP and DNS leak protection, and the OpenVPN protocol.

It’s also important that every service is simple to use for beginners and experts.

We analyse every VPN application in-depth to make sure it has a user-friendly interface and settings. We reward customization and configuration options, as long as they come in an easily-understood format.

Finally we consider the price of the service. A VPN that offers valuable features for a below-average price will be rewarded in our ratings.

BBC iPlayer VPN FAQs

What’s the best VPN that works with BBC iPlayer?

Based on our latest testing, NordVPN is the best VPN for reliably working with BBC iPlayer. It offers speeds of up to 93Mbps in the UK, leak protection, and it works with BBC iPlayer on every single one of its 690 UK VPN servers.

It also offers Smart DNS technology and an app for Amazon Firestick, which means you can use NordVPN to stream BBC iPlayer on your Smart TV and games console.

NordVPN worked with BBC iPlayer in every one of our latest tests – if you’re looking for a reliable iPlayer VPN, it’s the best choice.

Is it Legal to Use a VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer?

Using a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer isn’t illegal. If you own a UK TV licence, you’re legally permitted to stream BBC iPlayer regardless of what country you’re in.

A VPN will connect you to a UK server and give you a UK IP address, which is also completely legal.

It is technically against the BBC’s Terms of Use to use a VPN to access content from outside the UK, but nobody has ever been prosecuted for doing so.

Do You Need a UK TV License?

According to BBC iPlayer’s Terms of Use, you need to purchase a UK TV Licence to stream, download, or access shows on BBC iPlayer on any device. This rule applies to both live and on-demand TV. However, You do not need a UK TV licence to listen to iPlayer Radio.

You will also need to register a BBC account to access BBC iPlayer, which requires a legitimate UK postcode. However, sources report that the BBC does not actually verify whether the user lives in this location other than checking for a UK IP address.

It is also reported that the BBC does not ask for evidence that the viewer owns a UK TV license.

Can You Download BBC iPlayer Shows?

If you use a VPN to stream BBC iPlayer from overseas, you can download these shows and watch them later when you’re offline. This is a great way to save on bandwidth and data usage.

Downloaded shows expire at the same time as their online versions do, so make sure to download them before they get removed.

You can watch downloaded shows anywhere in the world without a VPN, but you’ll need to use a VPN to access them in the first place.

Can You Watch BBC iPlayer in Australia?

Though BBC iPlayer is free, it is geo-blocked and limited exclusively to UK residents. That means you’ll be unable to watch BBC iPlayer if you live in Australia, the US, Spain, or any other country that isn’t in the UK.

If you do try and watch BBC iPlayer in Australia, the streaming service will block your IP address and show a location error message.

If you’re in Australia and you want to watch UK TV, you can still watch BBC iPlayer using Smart DNS or a VPN service that offers servers in the UK. We recommend using NordVPN.

To watch BBC iPlayer in Australia using NordVPN, simply download the VPN service, connect to a UK server, and log into BBC iPlayer. If you’re interested in protecting your privacy too, read our list of the best VPNs for Australia.

Is ITV Hub Blocking Your VPN?

ITV Hub is another British streaming service like BBC iPlayer. Like most British streaming services, it actively blocks VPN traffic.

Not all VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer will work with ITV Hub. It’s best to contact VPN providers to ask if they work with ITV Hub before purchasing a subscription.

Once you have a VPN that works with ITV Hub, make sure to connect to a UK VPN server in order to watch UK TV. In our tests, NordVPN was the best VPN for ITV Hub. It worked to bypass the service’s blocks every time.

Can You Watch Other Streaming Services with a VPN?

Using a quality VPN can provide access to streaming content that’s blocked or restricted in your country. However, just because a VPN works with BBC iPlayer doesn’t mean it will work with other streaming services.

Streaming websites like Netflix also try to block or limit VPN traffic, but they usually aren’t as aggressive as BBC iPlayer.

To find out which VPNs work best with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Disney Plus, and more, read our updated list of the best VPNs for streaming.

About the Author


  • Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent

    Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio