Best VPN for BBC iPlayer in 2023

Ethan Payne
Ethan Payne | Writer
Last updated: January 26, 2023
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What is life if you can’t watch Peaky Blinders or London Kills? If you reside in the United Kingdom, numerous British TV shows are available for free on the BBC iPlayer. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, our lack of a UK IP address blocks us from accessing this popular streaming service. Do not despair just yet because we have a solution.

A quality Virtual Private Network (VPN) can bypass these pesky geo-blocks, so you can stream to your heart’s content. Our recommended VPNs for BBC iPlayer let you watch all your favorite shows from anywhere with a simple IP address change. All services recommended here will bring you BBC in crisp quality with zero buffering.

Best VPN for BBC iPlayer: shortlist

  1. The best VPN for BBC iPlayer
  2. BBC iPlayer VPN with top-notch privacy
  3. Affordable VPN for BBC iPlayer
  4. BBC iPlayer VPN with no virtual servers
  5. VPN for BBC iPlayer with a free version

How to access BBC iPlayer with a VPN?

  1. Subscribe to a premium VPN. Our top choice is NordVPN, available for 57% off!
  2. Install the software on the device of your choice
  3. Pick a server in a country where BBC iPlayer is available
  4. Watch your favorite British shows!

Unlock BBC iPlayer with NordVPN

Why do you need a VPN for BBC iPlayer?

The wide range of channels and content on BBC iPlayer is available to UK residents only. You can thank various copyright licenses and laws for making it unavailable for the rest of us. It all boils down to having the correct IP address.

If the system detects that your IP isn’t of British origin, it instantly blocks access to all videos. People who don’t have a TV license suffer the same fate. Furthermore, this hurts UK expats finding themselves working in a foreign region.

BBC iPlater not available outside UK

VPNs can circumvent these BBC iPlayer geo-restrictions, but the tricky part is that not all of them work with this platform. The streaming service is well-known for heavily investing into sussing out and blocking any traffic associated with this software. That is why we recommend subscribing to premium VPNs with powerful tools able to circumvent strict iPlayer blocks.

Moreover, the right provider will keep you safe while streaming anything and everything. Encrypted connections will hide your online activities from snooping third parties, primarily your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Speaking of which, a VPN also stops ISPs from throttling your speeds, meaning videos will load faster and are going to be in HD quality.

5 best VPNs for BBC iPlayer: overview

  1. NordVPN – the best VPN for BBC iPlayer
  2. Surfshark – BBC iPlayer VPN with top-notch privacy
  3. PrivateVPN – affordable VPN for BBC iPlayer
  4. IPVanish – BBC iPlayer VPN with no virtual servers
  5. Atlas VPN – VPN for BBC iPlayer with a free version

If you want an exceptional streaming experience, the best BBC iPlayer VPN of your choice must include a few crucial things. An extensive server network with as many UK locations as possible – if one stops working, you can use another to unblock the platform. Fast speeds for 4K quality and zero buffering also go without saying.

The feature roster should include a kill switch, military-grade encryption, and IP and DNS leak protection for enhanced security. Moreover, wide device compatibility will allow you to watch BBC iPlayer any way you like – Android TV, Fire Stick, Kodi, Roku are a nice touch. Lastly, the more simultaneous connections the streaming VPN has, the better. This way, your whole family can enjoy their favorite content.

1. NordVPN – the best VPN for BBC iPlayer

Top VPN provider
Number of servers
Number of servers:
Smart DNS
Smart DNS:
Yes (SmartPlay)
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
1,015 Mbit/s
  • Plenty of servers in the UK
  • NordLynx-powered speeds
  • Perfect for streaming
  • No router app

NordVPN is the optimal choice if you want the best VPN for BBC iPlayer. Its robust privacy and security features will keep you safe no matter where you dive into the web. What’s more, it doesn’t log anything about you while connected – this has been independently audited and found to be accurate by a third-party twice.

It has an extensive network of 5400+ servers in 60+ countries, and almost 700 of them are located in the UK. NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs on the market, meaning your streaming experience will be smooth and buffer-free. You can thank the proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol for that.

If BBC iPlayer isn’t the only platform you want to unblock, you will be happy to find that this VPN also works with Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video. Geo-restrictions don’t pose an issue at all due to the SmartPlay feature, which hides your IP address and encrypts your traffic.

This BBC iPlayer VPN costs only $3.49/month with our NordVPN discount code. You get 6 simultaneous connections, unlimited bandwidth, and tight security. Take it for a spin with the 7-day free trial (Android only), or recoup your losses with the 30-day money-back guarantee.

For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.

2. Surfshark – BBC iPlayer VPN with top-notch privacy

Top VPN provider
Number of servers
Number of servers:
Smart DNS
Smart DNS:
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
797 Mbit/s
  • No device limit
  • Lightning-fast speeds
  • SmartDNS for smooth streaming
  • Unaudited no-logs policy

Surfshark is another excellent option for accessing content on BBC iPlayer. Robust security measures coupled with zero data collection prove its dedication to user safety and anonymity. Thanks to unlimited simultaneous connections, the entertainment possibilities are potentially endless for the whole family.

The massive network of 3200+ RAM-only servers spread across 100+ countries has much to offer. There are plenty of locations in the UK – the ones in London, Manchester, and Glasgow will help you unblock BBC iPlayer in no time. The WireGuard-fuelled speeds are here to make your videos crisp and lag-free.

If you’re going with Surfshark, don’t limit yourself just to iPlayer. The Smart DNS feature makes sure you can enjoy Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. You can stream these via computer, phone, smart TV, Amazon Fire Stick, etc.

The cherry on top is that this BBC iPlayer VPN provider costs just $2.30/month when you apply a Surfshark coupon. The 7-day free trial is also available to those with access to Apple App Store and Google Play Store. And don’t be afraid to subscribe because the 30-day money-back guarantee has your back.

For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.

3. PrivateVPN – affordable VPN for BBC iPlayer

Number of servers
Number of servers:
Smart DNS
Smart DNS:
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
120 Mbit/s
  • User-friendly applications
  • Great for streaming
  • Excellent price-to-feature ratio
  • macOS and iOS apps have fewer features

Despite its moderate size, PrivateVPN is a top-quality BBC iPlayer VPN that costs surprisingly little for what it offers. This provider doesn’t log any of your data to ensure your safety and privacy. And rest assured – be it streaming or just browsing online, you remain virtually hidden from prying eyes no matter the case.

The hardware fleet consists of 200+ servers spread in 63+ countries. The scale allowed PrivateVPN to fully optimize the hardware, meaning you can expect 4K-ready speeds. Don’t worry about accessing iPlayer, too – there’s a good number of servers in the UK to ensure you can watch the programs you want.

Other streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ are also within your reach. The 10 simultaneous connections per account will stop the entire household from fighting over what to watch next. And if that wasn’t enough, you can set up this VPN on your router to cover all devices connected to the network.

The reasonable price of $2.00/month after our PrivateVPN code is nothing to scoff at. The 7-day free trial gives you a taste of what the full service could be. The 30-day money-back guarantee lets you enjoy the subscription risk-free.

For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.

4. IPVanish – BBC iPlayer VPN with no virtual servers

Number of servers
Number of servers:
Smart DNS
Smart DNS:
  • Unlimited connections
  • Apps for major platforms
  • Bare-metal servers
  • No anonymous payments

IPVanish is an excellent BBC iPlayer VPN with an extensive list of supported devices for comfortable streaming. It has apps for all major tech and you can secure them all with no issue, thanks to unlimited simultaneous connections. Still not enough? Install the software on your router for full coverage.

2000+ servers in 50+ countries allow you to connect anywhere you need. Over 100 UK servers await those eager to get their hands on BBC iPlayer, too. And streaming is guaranteed to be a pleasure with the WireGuard tunneling protocol. The fact that there are no virtual servers also plays into that as physical hardware delivers better performance.

Netflix US and Disney+ will fill the void if iPlayer isn’t giving you all you want. Besides that, your anonymity will be unshakeable because the traffic obfuscation tool obstructs any prying eyes from seeing what you’re doing.

Available at $3.99/month after applying our IPVanish coupon, it’s truly a bargain deal for an exceptional service. While there is no free trial to take advantage of, feel free to subscribe and recoup everything you paid with the 30-day money-back guarantee if it doesn’t work out.

For a deeper investigation of IPVanish, read our IPVanish review.

5. Atlas VPN – VPN for BBC iPlayer with a free version

Number of servers
Number of servers:
Smart DNS
Smart DNS:
  • Best free version
  • No device limit
  • Unblocks streaming platforms
  • No router configuration

Another great contender for BBC iPlayer is Atlas VPN, one of the cheapest VPNs on the market. You get top-notch security and privacy features for unlimited use as there is no device limit. And if the authorities come knockin’, the strict zero-logs policy makes sure there’s nothing to show.

The sizable network of 750+ servers in 37+ countries includes several suitable locations in the UK. The next-gen WireGuard tunneling protocol powers the hardware to ensure you get to stream in 4K quality with as little lag as possible.

When BBC iPlayer finally stops scratching your binge-watching itch, you can move on to Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+ to satisfy all needs. Furthermore, install the app on your PC, Smart TV, iOS, or other streaming devices to watch what you want from anywhere at home or on the go.

Apply our Atlas VPN coupon and subscribe for just $2.05/month. The free version lets you explore what you get with the premium package. And when the 10Gb/month data cap starts being a nuisance, get the premium plan knowing you can always use the 30-day money-back guarantee.

For a deeper investigation of Atlas VPN, read our Atlas VPN review.

What should I look for in a VPN for BBC iPlayer?

A reliable UK VPN for BBC iPlayer of your choice should tick off several requirement boxes. Before you pick the first one you see, evaluate the service based on the aspects provided below:

  • UK servers. While an extensive server list is neat for a number of purposes, don’t neglect to check how many UK locations the service offers, if there are any at all. BBC iPlayer is only available to British IP addresses, so if the VPN does not have servers there, they aren’t worth your time and money.
  • Excellent speeds. You need at latest tunneling protocols to be able to stream in 4K/UHD quality with virtually no buffering. Proprietary protocols are also welcome since they tend to improve the ones they are based on. Check what you’re getting with our VPN speed test tool.
  • Lots of connections. If the whole household plans on watching different shows, you’ll need 5 or more simultaneous connections per account. It’s the best-case scenario if the service has no device limit at all.
  • Extensive compatibility. Whether you’re watching from the comfort of your home or while traveling, BBC iPlayer VPN should make streaming available to as many devices as you own. We’re talking about phones, Smart TVs, and gadgets like Fire Stick.
  • Tight security. Your VPN to watch BBC iPlayer has to keep you protected from any possible threats. The tool roster must include such essentials as a kill switch, military-grade encryption, and IP and DNS leak protection.
  • Unblocks streaming. Entertainment shouldn’t be limited to just iPlayer – a robust VPN should also unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and other popular platforms.
  • Reasonable price. Does paying an exorbitant price net you more than just the security & privacy essentials? Don’t throw your precious money out the window – cheaper VPN providers tend to be highly versatile and more useful for way less.
  • Customer support. One way or another, VPN issues aren’t that uncommon. And if you ever run into them, 24/7 live chat support should be available to help you be it night or day.

Why you need a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer in US

Due to copyright laws, BBC iPlayer is only available to UK audiences. If you’re wondering how to access it from the US, it’s pretty straightforward – use a Virtual Private Network, as it is a sure way to bypass the pesky geo-blocks. The VPN hides your actual IP address and makes it look like you’re accessing BBC iPlayer from the UK.

Now, you can watch all the content you want – from TV series and movies to documentaries, sports, etc. Moreover, a strong VPN like NordVPN will enhance your overall security and anonymity online. That will come in handy when browsing the web, torrenting, and playing games.

Does BBC iPlayer detect VPN?

Yes, BBC iPlayer can detect your VPN, and the platform is getting better at doing that each day. The service is meant for UK residents only, but this unavailability doesn’t stop outsiders from trying to gain access, though.

Thanks to suitable BBC iPlayer VPNs, more and more people started bypassing the geo-blocks imposed by the platform. Some studies claim that the number of foreign users is no less than 60 million people.

To conquer the issue and deal with unauthorized access, iPlayer started taking action. First, BBC tightened its geo-restrictions with IP address screening so that VPNs with just the basic tools can’t circumvent them. Then, they started blocking popular VPN ports, rendering most of them useless.

This whole situation isn’t hopeless. As many users have noted and our tests have shown, the metaphorical BBC iPlayer wall is not impenetrable – the right providers with robust tools can break through. The best VPNs we’ve provided above successfully unblock iPlayer.

BBC iPlayer is not working with a VPN Service?

If your VPN does not work for BBC iPlayer, there can be several reasons behind that. Here are the most common VPN issues:

  • Your actual IP address might be leaking
  • Your device’s GPS location doesn’t match your VPN’s
  • Your VPN’s servers might be on the BBC blacklist
  • The VPN software might be outdated
  • The server you’re connected to is not able to unblock BBC iPlayer
  • Browser cookies that indicate your location might’ve been stored on your device

There are some ways to solve these BBC iPlayer VPN problems:

  • Clear your cookies and cache – better yet, try another browser
  • Connect to another server
  • Change your security protocol and enable all security features that prevent data leaks
  • Change or disable your GPS
  • Check and update your VPN if needed
  • Contact customer support for more information and further troubleshooting

If none of the mentioned solutions work, we highly recommend looking for another provider. When it comes to unblocking BBC iPlayer, only the best on the market, like NordVPN, are able to bypass all geo-blocks.

Best free VPN providers for BBC iPlayer

We do not recommend using a free VPN for BBC iPlayer because these services can’t unblock the streaming platform most of the time. What’s more, you’ll be compromising your safety and privacy. Free providers are known for:

  • Collecting information about you and selling it to any third party
  • Having malware-infested clients and doing nothing about it
  • Greatly restricting users by imposing severe data caps
  • Offering just 3 or 4 overcrowded servers – it’s likely you won’t even find a UK location among them
  • Slow speeds that will leave you frustrated beyond everything

If you’re unwilling to part with your money or are on a tight budget, there are better alternatives. Many reputable VPNs offer free trial versions you can cycle through until you’ve found the one right for you. They tend to have the same features as the complete package, so you won’t be losing out. We especially suggest trying NordVPNs 7-day free trial.

The other option is to utilize free versions of VPNs that were found to be trustworthy and respectful of its users. Our top choice, in this case, is Atlas VPN.

How to create a BBC iPlayer account

To enjoy everything the BBC iPlayer has to offer, you have to create an account. It’s pretty self-explanatory, however, there are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Connect to the UK server with your chosen VPN provider. NordVPN is the perfect choice for streaming.
  2. Go to the BBC website to create your BBC iPlayer account
  3. Provide your information – choose the UK as your country
  4. Enter a UK postcode – go online, and use any from your chosen location. For instance, you can pick an Oxford one.
  5. Tick I have a TV License. Watch now – the platform works on a trust principle, therefore it never checks whether you genuinely own one
  6. Complete your registration

There you have it – you can start binge-watching anything you wish from BBC!

What can I watch on BBC iPlayer?

Using a VPN for BBC iPlayer lets you enjoy both new and old cinematic masterpieces. Plenty of shows, films, documentaries, animations, shorts, and even radio broadcasts are available to everyone with a UK IP address.

BBC iPlayer working with VPN

The best thing about this streaming service is that the library is constantly updated with classics and fresh material. You’re guaranteed to find something new to watch every month. Movie enthusiasts will be delighted to find that even the latest cinema releases are readily available on the iPlayer.

Channels availableTop showsTop movies
BBC Three
BBC Four
BBC Scotland
BBC News
BBC Parliament
BBC Alba
Top Gear
Our Girl
London Kills
Doctor Who
Killing Eve
The Country
In My Skin
A Star is Born
Manchester by the Sea
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
Let the Right One In
Game Night

Can’t watch anything listed here because you’re not in the UK? Do not fret – services like NordVPN will unblock BBC iPlayer so that you can enjoy everything it has to offer to your heart’s content.

Bottom line

BBC iPlayer boasts a massive library of content for all kinds of ages. With new stuff coming to this service every month, having an account is more than worth it. The best thing about it is that it’s completely free – the downside being that iPlayer is only available to UK residents.

Don’t let this stop you from watching your favorite British shows – utilize a reputable VPN to unblock this streaming platform. Services like NordVPN will provide you with a UK IP address, encrypt your internet traffic, and make sure you can stream safe and sound from the comfort of your home.

Have you used a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer before? What British shows are the most binge-worthy? Share your thoughts below!

You may also like to read:
Best VPN for Netflix
Best VPN for Amazon Prime Video
Best VPN for Hulu
Best VPN for HBO Max
Best VPN for Amazon Fire Stick
Best VPN for streaming


How do I unblock BBC iPlayer outside the UK?

You can unblock BBC iPlayer outside the UK with a VPN. Such services hide your actual IP address by assigning you a UK one. It fools iPlayer into thinking you’re a resident of the country, allowing you to stream.

Is there a VPN that works with BBC iPlayer?

VPNs for BBC iPlayer work the best. They tend to include UK servers, are able to circumvent geo-restrictions, and guarantee 4K video quality with little to no buffering. If you want the best experience, we recommend trying those specifically.

Is it illegal to use a VPN on iPlayer?

No, it’s legal to use a VPN on iPlayer, although the platform is actively seeking out and banning VPN ports. The worst possible scenario is your account getting banned if you’re caught. And even then, you can create a new one and still use a VPN to watch anything.

Is NordVPN good for BBC iPlayer?

NordVPN is the ultimate VPN for BBC iPlayer. Plenty of UK servers, lightning-fast speeds, and the ability to bypass geo-blocks makes it the perfect choice for this streaming platform.

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