Home Streaming How to Watch BBC iPlayer Outside UK in 2024
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For Brits abroad and fans of BBC shows worldwide, geo-restrictions can be a nightmare when trying to access BBC iPlayer. Constant buffering and “content unavailable” messages ruin the experience. But bypassing these restrictions and unlocking global access to your favorite BBC programming is possible with a few simple steps.

This guide explains how a VPN provides worldwide access to BBC iPlayer. It recommends the best VPNs for streaming, walks through how to set up and use a VPN on any device easily, and provides tips for optimizing streaming performance. By learning how to unblock BBC iPlayer with a VPN, you can say goodbye to geo-blocked content and enjoy uninterrupted access to Doctor Who, Bake Off, EastEnders, and more from anywhere in the world.

Watch BBC iPlayer Outside UK with a VPN – Quick Guide

  1. Install a reputable VPN service provider on the device of your choice. We highly recommend ExpressVPN for BBC iPlayer.
  2. Launch the VPN and connect to a UK-based server.
  3. Visit the BBC iPlayer website or launch its mobile app.
  4. Sign in to your BBC iPlayer account.
  5. Stream your favorite content on BBC iPlayer.

Best VPNs for Streaming BBC iPlayer – Quick List

  1. ExpressVPN is the overall best VPN for streaming BBC iPlayer content worldwide. 
  2. PrivateInternetAccess is the top-notch VPN for watching BBC iPlayer content on mobile phones. 
  3. CyberGhost is the best customized BBC iPlayer streaming server. 
  4. NordVPN is the most secure VPN for streaming BBC iPlayer.
  5. Surfshark is a super cheap VPN for watching BBC iPlayer.

How to Select the Best VPN for BBC iPlayer Streaming in 2024

Follow the steps below to understand how to select the best VPN service to stream BBC iPlayer content in 2024. 

  1. Search for a VPN that supports BBC iPlayer—of the VPN providers we’ve listed, we strongly recommend ExpressVPN, as it provides top security and ultra-fast streaming
  2. Select a VPN with ideal streaming compatibility—The VPN provider should also be compatible with several leading streaming platforms. Every VPN provider on this list supports leading streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, Hulu, Oxygen TV, Paramount Plus, and Netflix. 
  3. Ensure that the VPN offers fast streaming speeds—Every VPN provider slows down your browsing speed because of the time needed to encrypt your data. However, it’s worth noting that high-performance VPNs ensure fast browsing speeds. On our list, ExpressVPN is the fastest, most reliable VPN.
  4. Select a VPN that’s beginner-friendly—The VPNs listed above are compatible with all major devices, easy to download, set up, and install, easy to use, and easy to connect to United Kingdom servers
  5. Always Go for a VPN with Strong Security—VPNs that offer robust security are usually top-ranked, just like the ones listed in this article. Typically, we only recommend VPN providers that use 256-bit AES encryption, protection against webRTC, IPv6, or DNS leaks, a kill switch, and a no-logs policy to protect users. 
  6. Make sure the VPN offers good value—Notably, the best VPN providers for streaming BBC iPlayer content offer advanced features like split-tunneling, enabling multiple simultaneous connections, and providing cheap plans with a refund policy.

Best VPNs to Unblock BBC iPlayer – Detailed List

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the best VPN provider for watching BBC iPlayer. It is one of the most popular options and offers ultra-fast streaming speeds, advanced security, and other impressive features.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has 5 UK server locations, including Dockland, Midlands, London, Wembley, and East London. Users in the UK can easily connect to the server closest to them to access the fastest speeds. Impressively, ExpressVPN offers strong streaming support; besides BBC iPlayer, it supports more than 100 other streaming sites. These platforms include Paramount Plus, Netflix, and Disney+. It is also amazingly fast, supporting live-streaming of HD and 4K videos to run seamlessly.

ExpressVPN’s software applications are easy to use. The platform has native applications for macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Kindle Fire, and routers. Its mobile app only takes 1–2 minutes to install and has a very intuitive interface. ExpressVPN’s shortcut feature is another cool feature that allows you to include 1-click shortcuts to your favorite software programs when you connect to the VPN. It also has a MediaStreamer, a sophisticated DNS tool that is ideal for devices compatible with VPN apps, and ExpressVPN has a guide on how to set up the tool on any gadget. 

It also offers robust security, with a stringent no-logs policy that is independently verified and audited. The VPN uses RAM-only servers, implying that no data is stored on the hard drive and every data is wiped out after every reboot. Furthermore, it has an ideal forward secrecy, which constantly changes the VPN’s encryption key to prevent both previous and future keys from being hacked.

Pricing 

ExpressVPN provides various pricing plans that begin at $6.67 per month. Although its price is a bit costlier than many leading VPNs, ExpressVPN offers relatively more outstanding services. Also, every ExpressVPN plan has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • Strong security and encryption.
  • Fast and reliable connections.
  • Strict no-logs policy.
  • User-friendly apps.
  • Excellent 24/7 customer support.
  • Wide server coverage for global access.

Cons

  • Relatively high price compared to some competitors.
  • Limits on simultaneous connections.
  • No free trial is available.
  • Some advanced features may be lacking.
  • Potential issues with accessing certain Netflix regions.
  • Headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, which may raise jurisdictional concerns for some users.

Read our comprehensive ExpressVPN review

2. PrivateInternetAccess

PIA is the second-best VPN to bypass BBC iPlayer restrictions and offers powerful tools. The customizable and feature-rich VPN lets users stream BBC iPlayer content on their iOS or Android devices. Also, it provides some impressive software programs for macOS, Windows, smart TVs, and Linux operating systems.

PrivateInternetAccess

The mobile applications come with a quick-connect tool that allows you to connect to the fastest server around your present location automatically. PIA offers unlimited connections, enabling you and your family to watch your favorite TV shows on BBC iPlayer. Furthermore, PIA offers 3 UK servers in distinct cities. So, you can connect to servers in London, Southampton, or Manchester. Notably, PIA has fewer locations than ExpressVPN but still provides many alternatives

It is also worth noting that although ExpressVPN offers the fastest VPN streaming service, PIA also offers fast speeds. We tested the VPN on HD and 4K content and found that it didn’t buffer or lagAdditionally, PIA allows you to customize most of your preferences to adjust your security from 256-bit AES encryption to 128-bit AES for faster speeds.

Furthermore, PIA has a vast list of security functionalities. Notably, it has a stringent no-logs policy and also distributes transparency reports concerning all data requests it gets. In addition, PIA has RAM-only servers and ideal forward secrecy, and its open-source software programs imply that users can go through the source code to check for security weaknesses.

Pricing

When considering pricing plans, PIA’s plan starts at $2.11 per month, and all its plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • Affordable pricing.
  • Robust security features, including strong encryption.
  • Large server network in various locations.
  • No-logs policy.
  • Allows for 10 simultaneous connections.
  • Customizable and user-friendly apps.
  • PIA MACE feature for ad and malware blocking.

Cons

  • Mixed streaming performance; not consistently reliable for unblocking certain platforms.
  • The user interface may not be as modern or visually appealing as some competitors.
  • Occasional variability in connection speeds.
  • Located in the United Kingdom, which may raise privacy concerns for some users.
  • Some users report occasional issues with customer support responsiveness.

3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost is an advanced VPN with the most significant number of servers for streaming globally. It has over 100 dedicated servers for over 50 streaming platforms in over 20 countries.

CyberGhost

Notably, it has a dedicated BBC streaming server that is enhanced to always work with BBC iPlayer. When considering speed, CyberGhost offers smooth and seamless streaming, although it is relatively slower than PIA and ExpressVPN.

We tested the VPN on HD content, and it loaded within 4–5 seconds and played with minor buffering. The VPN’s Smart Rules tools enable macOS and Windows, which allows you to personalize your connection settings.

Pricing

CyberGhost VPN starts at $2.11 and backs all annual plans with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface with easy setup.
  • Robust security features, including strong encryption.
  • Extensive server network covering many countries.
  • No-logs policy for enhanced privacy.
  • Specialized servers for streaming and torrenting.
  • Seven simultaneous connections are allowed.
  • 24/7 customer support.

Cons

  • Pricing is higher compared to some competitors.
  • Connection speeds may vary on certain servers.
  • Some advanced users might find the interface too simplified.
  • A third party has audited the no-logs policy, but transparency is debated in the industry.
  • The free trial is limited in terms of features.
  • Located in Romania, which may raise concerns for some users due to legal considerations.

Read our comprehensive CyberGhost review

4. NordVPN

NordVPN offers secure streaming on BBC iPlayer, which ranks it as one of the fastest VPNs for streaming on BBC iPlayer. Notably, it has Threat Protection, which restricts ads, malicious websites, and trackers—so it can safeguard you from BBC iPlayer clones.

NordVPN

Interestingly, NordVPN also protects you from malware-infected downloads. It has a dark web monitoring feature that notifies you if your NordVPN account sign-in credentials have been leaked on the dark web. This tool might be helpful if you use the same credentials for your BBC iPlayer account. Furthermore, it has sophisticated security tools, such as RAM-only servers, complete leak protection, and perfect forward secrecy.

Its no-logs policy has also been independently secured and audited many times. NordVPN is also relatively fast, though it’s slower than those above. While testing NordVPN, we found that it loaded HD videos within 2 seconds without buffering, while 4K videos loaded within 4 seconds and had minor buffering at the beginning.

Pricing 

NordVPN’s pricing plan starts at $2.99 per month, and the VPN providers back every purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • Strong security features, including robust encryption.
  • Large server network with servers in numerous countries.
  • Strict no-logs policy for enhanced privacy.
  • High-speed connections on many servers.
  • User-friendly applications for various devices.
  • Excellent 24/7 customer support.
  • Specialty servers for streaming and P2P file sharing.

Cons

  • Relatively high pricing compared to some competitors.
  • Limits on simultaneous connections.
  • Some users reported occasional speed fluctuations.
  • Some users may experience issues with certain streaming platforms.
  • Support response times may be slower during peak hours.
  • Some users report occasional usability issues with apps on certain devices.

Read our comprehensive NordVPN review

5. Surfshark

Surfshark is one of the most sophisticated and intuitive software programs globally. It is also one of the most affordable VPNs on this list and an ideal option if you are on a tight budget.

SurfShark

Interestingly, Surfshark’s applications are highly intuitive and easy to use. The VPN also takes only 4 seconds to search and connect to any of its 4 UK servers. All the features and settings provide helpful explanations, and the VPN offers unlimited connections. 

Surfshark also provides decent speeds. We conducted a speed test using the VPN provider to stream HD videos and found that it loaded within 3 seconds, with some buffering at the beginning. 4K videos took 5 seconds to load, and they didn’t have quality drops as we skipped through them. 

Like ExpressVPN and PIA, SurfShark offers RAM-only servers, an audited no-logs policy, and perfect forward secrecy. Another impressive feature of SurfShark is that it provides an IP Rotator that frequently changes your device’s IP address without disconnecting you from the server.

Pricing

Based on pricing plans, SurfShark’s begin as low as $2.21 per month, and the VPN provider backs purchased products with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • Affordable pricing.
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections.
  • Strong security features, including encryption.
  • No-logs policy for enhanced privacy.
  • Wide server network in various countries.
  • Good streaming support.
  • CleanWeb feature for ad and malware blocking.
  • MultiHop and Whitelister features for extra security and customization.

Cons

  • Some users reported speed variability.
  • Smaller server network compared to some competitors.
  • Relatively new in the industry.
  • Occasional customer support delays.
  • Limited historical track record compared to more established VPN providers.
  • Some users report minor usability issues with apps on certain devices.

Read our comprehensive SurfShark review

Comparison of the Best VPNs for Streaming BBC iPlayer

VPN Starting Price Split Tunneling Smart DNS Money-Back Guarantee Number of Connections
ExpressVPN $6.67 per month Yes Yes 30 days 8
PIA $2.11 per month Yes Yes 30 days unlimited
CyberGhost $2.11 per month Yes Yes 45 days (for long-term plans only) 7
NordVPN $2.99 per month Yes Yes 30 days 6
SurfShark $2.21 per month Yes Yes 30 days Unlimited

How to Stream BBC iPlayer Content on any Device

Tablet or Smartphone

Here are steps to watch BBC iPlayer on a tablet or smartphone:

  1. Select a Reliable VPN provider for Android or iOS. We recommend using ExpressVPN for smartphones. 
  2. Download, install, and set up the VPN mobile app. Navigate to Google Play Store or Apple App Store and search for ExpressVPN, then download and install it. 
  3. Launch the VPN, connect to a server, and open your BBC iPlayer. You can binge-watch your desired BBC iPlayer content when you’ve done this.

Mac or PC

Here are steps to watch BBC iPlayer on Mac or PC:

  1. Select a reliable VPN service provider that works with BBC iPlayer. 
  2. Download, install, and set up the VPN provider. The setup process should take at most 3 minutes. All you need is to follow the instructions for the installation wizard. 
  3. Select a nearby server location and connect to it. 
  4. Open another tab and visit the BBC iPlayer account. Now, you can safely stream BBC iPlayer content.

Gaming Console

Here are steps to watch BBC iPlayer on a gaming console:

  1. Choose a BBC iPlayer VPN that supports your router. Installing and setting up your VPN on your local router allows you to protect every device on your network, such as your Xbox and PlayStation.
  2. On your local VPN server, connect to a UK-based server. 
  3. After connecting to your VPN, visit the BBC iPlayer website using the gaming console connected to the VPN-connected router to stream your favorite TV shows.

Smart TV

Here are steps to watch BBC iPlayer on smart TV:

  1. Download and install a reliable VPN. ExpressVPN is our top choice; it is beginner-friendly and easy to install on your routers and smart TVs.
  2. For Android TVs, navigate to the device’s app store. You will be able to find and install apps for Android TVs. 
  3. Download, install, and set up the VPN provider on your router for non-Android TVs. Every connected device will automatically be connected after configuring your router to use the VPN. 
  4. Connect to a server located in the United Kingdom and navigate to BBC iPlayer. Now, you can stream BBC iPlayer on your smart Smart TV.

Having issues unblocking BBC iPlayer with a VPN? Try These Troubleshooting Solutions

Connect to a Different Server

The local server you connected to might need to be fixed or/and is under maintenance. You can disconnect and reconnect to another UK server within your VPN software app.

Contact Customer Support

You might be having a complicated issue at hand. If none of the solutions above are functional, contact VPN’s customer service and narrate your problem. The customer service reps may have either generic or specific answers to the issues related to their products

Check for Updates

Another notable reason for errors while using a VPN to stream BBC iPlayer content may be that your VPN app needs to be updated. VPN providers frequently released updates to enhance performance, fix bugs, and integrate new features. Therefore, your device may be unable to function correctly if they’ve updated their servers. As a solution, check your VPN software for any available app updates in the app store. You can download and install the update(s) and relaunch the BBC iPlayer website or application again. Furthermore, you can switch on the auto-download tool within your app store.

Wrap up

BBC iPlayer is one of the most popular live TV streaming platforms in the UK and globally. It offers an extensive array of streaming content to millions of users. However, not everyone can access it because the platform enforces geo-restriction that limits millions of users from various countries to accessing its content.

Enter a VPN. You can access the platform and stream as you please using a reliable VPN. We’ve listed the top 5 VPNs to access BBC iPlayer content and alternative platforms. The features described in this article will help you decide which option best suits your streaming needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Mahrukh Rubab Streaming Expert

Mahrukh Rubab Streaming Expert

Mahrukh is a talented streaming author who has contributed to quality sites in the niche, such as NetflixSavvy, providing captivating content that illuminates the world of streaming entertainment with a great deal of knowledge and expertise.