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Best VPN for BBC iPlayer

Callum Tennent
By Callum TennentUpdated
Illustration of TV with BBC iPlayer logo in the center

BBC iPlayer is one of the most popular streaming services around, but it’s also one of the hardest to consistently access.

With the right VPN, though, you can watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere. Whether you’re living outside the UK or are a Brit on holiday abroad, these VPNs do the trick.

But the BBC goes to great lengths to block its streaming service for those outside of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Are there VPN services that still work with BBC iPlayer then?

Luckily there still are a few that work.

We’ve tested over 90 VPN providers and picked the best, fastest, and most effective ones that work with iPlayer and beat the BBC’s aggressive blocks.

What’s more, they work well on all platforms including Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS, iOS, and Android. Some of these VPNs even have a custom app for Amazon Fire TV Stick.

The Important Factors We've Compared

  1. Consistenly unlocks BBC iPlayer from anywhere
  2. Has many servers in the UK
  3. Reliable and fast download speeds
  4. Doesn't log & doesn't leak your true IP
  5. Great privacy features like a VPN kill switch
  6. Works with all popular devices

Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs

More Info on the Best VPNs That Still Work with BBC iPlayer

Ranked #1 out of 99 VPNs for BBC iPlayer

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Quick, easy access to BBC iPlayer
  2. Quick speeds into London
  3. VPN servers designed with streaming at the forefront
  4. Easy to set up on all manner of platforms
  5. Native VPN app for Amazon Fire TV
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. VPN server network could be bigger
The Bottom Line

CyberGhost is the best VPN available for BBC iPlayer right now: it’s fast, offers dedicated VPN servers for accessing iPlayer, and is super private.

CyberGhost has an enormous 700 total servers in the UK, too, so even if the dedicated iPlayer server fails you should have no trouble finding a backup.

CyberGhost has the most reliable and consistently speedy UK VPN servers, averaging 90Mbps around the world connecting to London.

Even those connecting to CyberGhost’s London VPN server from as far away as Sydney consistently achieve at least 17Mbps, which is just enough for HD streaming.

CyberGhost is a strictly zero-logs VPN, and its customer support is great too should you need any help watch iPlayer.

Ranked #2 out of 99 VPNs for BBC iPlayer

Works with

Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Sky, SlingTV, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Works with BBC iPlayer (from outside UK)
  2. Very fast speeds into London
  3. Easy setup on wide range of devices
  4. Custom app for Amazon Fire TV Stick
  5. Minimal logging & no IP, DNS, WebRTC leaks
  6. 24/7 live chat support
  1. Inconsistent access to iPlayer from within the UK
  2. More expensive than some rivals
The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is our top VPN overall, and it’s a fantastic choice for BBC iPlayer fans, too.

As long as you’re not located within the UK.

While those abroad will be able to access the British streaming service without hassle using ExpressVPN’s UK servers, it doesn’t generally work for those within the UK.

ExpressVPN provides fast and reliable speeds, no matter where you’re located in the world.

It’s more expensive than CyberGhost but it’s worth the slightly elevated cost for its overall reliability and user-friendliness.

You can use ExpressVPN on a wide range of devices, including Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, and you can rest assured that the custom VPN apps will keep you safe while streaming.

Ranked #3 out of 99 VPNs for BBC iPlayer

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Dedicated VPN servers work with BBC iPlayer
  2. Reliable speeds into London
  3. Simple VPN apps & instant setup for your favorite devices
  4. Custom VPN app for Amazon Fire TV
  5. Super safe VPN with strict zero-logs policy
  1. Inconsistent live chat availability
  2. Limited number of individual VPN servers
The Bottom Line

A tremendous choice for BBC iPlayer fans, PrivateVPN may have a fairly small VPN server network, but it still represents great value for money.

Even though there are only six total UK VPN servers, PrivateVPN offers three streaming servers optimized for watching BBC iPlayer – they are clearly labeled so that you can access the service with ease.

The global average download speed to PrivateVPN’s London servers speaks for itself at 83Mbps, and international speeds are impressive too.

PrivateVPN really is private – it’s very safe to use with a zero-logs policy and some great security features.


Ranked #4 out of 99 VPNs for BBC iPlayer

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Some UK servers work with iPlayer
  2. Quick VPN speeds on nearby servers
  3. Simple custom apps for popular devices
  4. No-logs policy
  5. 24/7 live chat support
  1. Streaming iPlayer not supported on Firestick app
  2. Alternative VPN protocols require manual config
The Bottom Line

NordVPN is one of the best VPNs around, and it’s a decent choice for those who want to stream BBC iPlayer privately.

Not all of NordVPN’s UK servers unlock BBC iPlayer but a quick message to NordVPN’s 24/7 live chat support will let you know which servers are currently working.

NordVPN provides great speeds for buffer-free streaming and a no-logs policy for privacy, too.

However, if you want to watch BBC iPlayer on your Fire TV Stick – or any other streaming device – NordVPN shouldn’t be your first pick.

NordVPN doesn’t support streaming on these devices, so you’ll be faced with the dreaded proxy error message if you try.

Nevertheless, NordVPN is a super safe and cheap VPN if you want to watch BBC iPlayer on your computer or mobile devices.

Ranked #5 out of 99 VPNs for BBC iPlayer

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, Now TV, HBO, SlingTV, Torrenting

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. Instantly unlocks BBC iPlayer
  2. Speedy connections to London
  3. Very simple VPN apps for popular devices
  1. Based in privacy-unfriendly US
  2. Past controversies around the free VPN app
  3. Not compatible with streaming devices
The Bottom Line

Hotspot Shield has long been a fast and reliable VPN, but in the past months it’s made serious strides as a VPN for streaming, too.

Hotspot Shield works reliably with BBC iPlayer (just connect to the UK server), as well as all your other favorite services, although there are currently no dedicated VPN servers for them.

The free version of Hotspot Shield VPN doesn’t have a spotless past but so long as you spring for the premium version we see little reason to doubt it now.

What Is the Best VPN for BBC iPlayer?

The best VPN for BBC iPlayer is CyberGhost – it’s fast, safe, and highly reliable for watching your favorite BBC shows. It’s also a great choice for streaming Netflix and torrenting.

We also recommend ExpressVPN for watching BBC iPlayer if you live abroad, but it often doesn’t work from within the UK. ExpressVPN is our top pick for general streaming, too.

How We Picked the Best BBC iPlayer VPN of 2019

These top VPN picks for BBC iPlayer are the complete package. Not only do you get reliable connections to the popular streaming service from VPN servers around the world, but you’re also guaranteed fast speeds and high-end security to ensure that your data remains private and encrypted.

Our most recommended VPNs for BBC iPlayer are intuitive and easy to use, but should a problem arise these VPNs also provide top-tier customer support to help you resolve the issue as soon as possible.

You can rest assured that these VPN recommendations are 100% up-to-date, too. We re-test our best VPNs on a weekly basis to ensure that they still work with your platforms and services of choice. We spend hours using them exactly as you would so that we can say with confidence that you’ll be happy with your purchase.

Does BBC iPlayer Block VPNs?

For the past couple of years the BBC has cracked down on VPN providers, making it very hard to find a VPN that works with the popular British streaming service.

The BBC detects certain VPN and proxy connections (using IP addresses), and blocks users from viewing its streaming content on iPlayer. You might be faced with one of the dreaded BBC iPlayer error messages:

“BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”
“This content doesn’t seem to be working. Please try again later.”

BBC iPlayer Error Message

Don’t worry, though, because our top VPN picks on the above list work reliably with BBC iPlayer, with minimal disruption.
The BBC is very fast to block IP addresses associated with VPNs, but our recommendations work hard to provide access to the streaming service day in and day out.

How to Install, Set up & Use a VPN with BBC iPlayer

Finding the right VPN for BBC iPlayer can be a little trickier than with other services, as the BBC ruthlessly pursues VPN providers. Fortunately, there are still a handful of VPNs that work with the streaming service.

Before you start streaming BBC shows for the first time, you’ll need to decide whether to install the VPN on your router or install the VPN software on each device you plan to use for streaming.

There are pros and cons to each setup method. Installing at router level is a little more technically complex than using your VPN’s desktop program or app, but it does cover all devices connected to it by default.

Installing a VPN on multiple devices is easy, but there will be two key restraints: the number of installs or simultaneous connections allowed by your VPN, and whether or not a dedicated app exists for your device.

Apple TV, for example, doesn’t currently have any dedicated VPN apps available for it. Click or tap on the link to see our Best VPNs for Apple TV.

Some VPNs, including a couple of our top picks, provide native apps for Amazon Firestick – all you need to do is download them directly from the Amazon’s app store, connect to a BBC-friendly VPN server, and boot up iPlayer.

Once you’ve set up the VPN apps (you can check out our How To Install guides for step-by-step VPN setup instructions for a range of devices), you might need to fiddle with some of the settings.

While some VPN apps have an automatic settings, it’s sensible to manually set the most appropriate VPN protocol for streaming. We recommend using OpenVPN as it has the best balance of speed and security.

Make sure to enable the VPN kill switch feature and IP leak protection to keep you safe while you stream.

Once you’re up and running, ensure that you connect to a VPN server based in the UK – no other location will work.

You may well be presented with an intimidating error message, but don’t be dissuaded – just pick another server location, clear your browser cache and cookies, and try again.

Locations that work one day may not work the next, and vice versa, so there can be a little trial and error involved. If in doubt, it’s best to get in touch with your VPN’s customer support as they’ll know which servers work with BBC iPlayer.

Can I Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad for Free?

Yes, it’s possible to watch BBC iPlayer abroad for free.

You can use a VPN to access BBC streaming content when you’re outside of the UK. You’ll need to connect to a UK server in order to get a UK IP address.

Our VPN recommendations are reliable options for watching iPlayer abroad.

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 providers describe it as a “cat and mouse game,” as the BBC blocks VPN IP addresses almost as fast as the VPN service churns out new ones.

However, there are a few solutions you can use to get your VPN to work with BBC iPlayer once again.

  1. Clear your browser cache and cookies. You can do this within the browser settings.
  2. Reconnect using a different UK VPN server.
  3. Log out of your VPN and then log back in and try again (after you’ve cleared your cache/cookies). This may give you a new IP address that hasn’t been blacklisted by the BBC.
  4. Make sure to switch on DNS and IP leak protection. If your VPN is leaking your true IP address, iPlayer will recognize that you’re abroad.

Some VPNs offer iPlayer support on some devices and not others, so it’s best to get in touch with your provider’s customer support so that they can help you out.

Likewise, if your VPN service doesn’t come with special servers for BBC iPlayer you should ask customer support which servers they recommend for accessing the streaming site.

Ironically, those connecting to a VPN for iPlayer within the UK run into issues a lot more frequently than those connecting from outside the country. We’ve tried our hardest to ensure the recommendations above are as reliable as possible, but access for those connecting from within the UK dips in and out more often than we’d like to see.

How Do I Watch BBC iPlayer Abroad on Firestick?

It’s possible to watch iPlayer on your Amazon Fire TV Stick. You can take the streaming device with you wherever you go, so it’s great for watching BBC iPlayer abroad and on the go.

You’ll need a VPN that works with iPlayer first – our top picks listed above are your best bet – and preferably one that comes with a native app for the Firestick, like CyberGhost and PrivateVPN.

Simply download the custom VPN app on your Firestick, connect to a BBC iPlayer-friendly UK server, and then boot up the iPlayer app.

If your VPN doesn’t come with an Amazon app, you’ll need to install the VPN at router-level.

Can I Watch Other Streaming Services With a VPN?

Using a quality VPN can unlock streaming content that you might not be able to access from your country, or the country you’re visiting.

Some VPNs also work with:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Amazon Prime
  • HBO
  • Now TV

VPNs are perfectly legal in most countries, but using a VPN doesn’t exempt you from the law. Be sure that you don’t use your VPN to break any laws.

About the Author

  • Headshot of Site Editor Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent

    Callum is our site editor and a member of the IAPP and the EC-Council's Knowledge Review Committee. He oversees all our VPN testing, reviews, guides and advice. Read full bio