How to watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere in 2021

Ethan Payne
Ethan Payne | Writer
Last updated: November 16, 2021
watch bbc

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Everyone knows of the UK-based BBC or British Broadcasting Company. It’s responsible for creating a variety of world-renowned TV series, such as Doctor Who, Top Gear, BBC Earth, and many more. Unsurprisingly, people want easy access to quality content produced by this company.

Unfortunately, BBC iPlayer, the website that distributes BBC content, is geographically restricted to the UK. As such, viewers outside the United Kingdom have no way of watching anything on it.

Luckily, geo-blocks aren’t an issue when you have a premium VPN (Virtual Private Network). It can redirect your internet connection through remote servers around the world, circumventing geographical limitations in the process. In this article, we’ll show you the necessary steps to watch BBC iPlayer from abroad.

How to watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere in 2021

No need to get UK citizenship to watch British content. Simply get a reliable VPN and follow these steps:

  1. Choose a premium VPN with servers in the UK. Our top choice is NordVPN, currently available for 72% off!
  2. Install the VPN on your preferred device and connect to any server in the United Kingdom
  3. Visit the BBC iPlayer website and create a new account
  4. Watch anything from the UK-based channel!

Choose the best VPN for BBC

Why do you need a VPN to watch BBC in 2021?

BBC iPlayer is geographically restricted to the UK and is unreachable from anywhere else. This is because of distribution rights and is a common occurrence among streaming services. Therefore, content connoisseurs are forced to use a VPN to change their location to access a wider variety of TV shows and movies.

Luckily, a VPN does so much more than just altering your region. It masks your internet traffic with military-grade encryption, rendering it unreadable to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and other nefarious onlookers. Plus, your actual IP address is masked and replaced with the information of the server. This is the basic principle of how a VPN works.

Best VPN options for BBC iPlayer

With the basics out of the way, let’s have a look at some of the specific features that make a VPN capable of accessing BBC iPlayer and keeping your identity secure:

Naturally, a service doesn’t need to have all of these to be considered one of the best VPN providers. What matters most is servers in the UK and geo-unblocking capabilities. Below you’ll find detailed descriptions of the top three VPN options for watching BBC iPlayer.

1. NordVPN – the best VPN for BBC iPlayer

Top VPN provider
Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
Number of servers
Number of servers:
24/7 live chat, Email
  • Excellent security
  • Flawless privacy practices
  • Very fast speeds
  • Great server list (5100+ servers in 60 countries)
  • Custom apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and more
  • Great app design and website
  • Good knowledge-base and 24/7 live chat
  • Fair price
  • Awesome for Netflix
  • Good for torrenting
  • Great for China and other restricted countries
  • No router app

NordVPN is the ultimate choice if you want to watch BBC iPlayer from abroad. It boasts exceptional performance, a vast server network, and affordable subscription prices.

First, NordVPN is equipped with 5100+ servers in 60+ countries. It’s worth mentioning that many of those servers are utilizing RAM-only technology to prevent data storage on hard drives. Additionally, the proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol ensures blazing-fast connection speeds under any circumstances.

In addition to BBC iPlayer, NordVPN is a frequent choice for unlocking more TV shows and movies on Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+. Furthermore, the service can easily curb geo-blocks with its SmartPlay feature on any device. For example, the VPN is compatible with Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, and Kodi.

A common requirement for VPN services is confidentiality. Thankfully, NordVPN is based in Panama, a country that’s a top choice for keeping secrets. Moreover, the provider went through multiple third-party audits of its no-logs policy to prove that it isn’t monitoring any data. Best of all, you can maximize your anonymity by paying for the VPN anonymously using cryptocurrencies.

A single NordVPN account enables you to protect six different devices simultaneously. To unlock more, simply configure a router with a VPN connection. Then all devices on that network will reap the benefits of a VPN.

You can snag a 7-day NordVPN trial to get started with this service. It’s available on the Google Play Store and requires an Android device. Alternatively, subscriptions start at $3.29/month and are secured with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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

2. Surfshark – BBC VPN with unlimited connections

Top VPN provider
Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
Number of servers
Number of servers:
24/7 live chat, FAQ
  • Strong encryption
  • Excellent performance
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Almost zero logs
  • 24/7 live chat
  • Unlocks Netflix and other platforms
  • Great for torrenting
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Supports plenty of platforms and devices
  • No-logs policy hasn't been audited

Surfshark is a VPN service that can unblock BBC iPlayer for all your friends and family. It provides infinite connections, outstanding performance, and top-notch security features.

For starters, the VPN runs a network of 3200+ servers in 65+ countries. Additionally, Surfshark is one of the few services that have a 100% RAM-only server fleet. It also enables users to alternate between various tunneling protocols, such as WireGuard and IKEv2.

Besides BBC iPlayer, Surfshark is an excellent tool for unearthing more content on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, or Hulu. Plus, it offers outlandish device compatibility thanks to the Smart DNS feature. For example, you can use the VPN with gaming consoles, smart TVs, and external media players.

Surfshark has switched its jurisdiction to the Netherlands, a country without any mandatory data retention laws. However, some might be concerned because the country is a member of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. Thankfully, the service went through multiple independent audits to ensure that it’s handling customer data with the utmost care. Plus, you can minimize the amount of personal information shared by paying for the VPN anonymously with cryptocurrencies.

Another great benefit of this service is the optional Surfshark One package. With it, users gain additional protection against computer viruses, a private search engine, and data breach monitoring.

Users can get started with Surfshark by grabbing a 7-day free trial on either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The offer doesn’t include Surfshark One but is otherwise unhindered. After that, subscription plans start at $2.21/month and are shielded with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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

3. Atlas VPN – the cheapest VPN for watching BBC iPlayer

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
Number of servers
Number of servers:
Email, tickets, FAQ
  • Free
  • Good security
  • 24/7 email support
  • Unblocks Netflix US
  • Allows torrenting
  • WireGuard tunneling protocol
  • Few countries
  • Apps lack features

If you’re searching for the most affordable option for watching BBC iPlayer – look no further than Atlas VPN. It’s ridiculously cheap and provides unlimited connections with wicked-fast speeds.

Firstly, Atlas VPN has 700+ servers in 27+ countries. All those servers are optimized for streaming and allow P2P traffic. Plus, users can switch between WireGuard and IKEv2 tunneling protocols to maximize connectivity.

Atlas VPN is an excellent choice for BBC iPlayer and Disney Plus, Netflix, Hulu + Live TV, and countless other streaming services. Moreover, the VPN has dedicated apps available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

Although Atlas VPN is based in the United States, it’s still a solid choice for privacy with its load of security features. For example, SafeSwap allows you to access the internet from multiple IP addresses, fortifying your anonymity more than a typical VPN. Additionally, it blocks domains that are used for phishing attacks and distributing malware. Finally, mobile users get access to data breach monitoring to see whether their data was compromised in a leak.

You can try out Atlas VPN by downloading the free version of the app. It has a 10GB monthly data cap but includes all other features. Meanwhile, premium subscriptions start at $1.39/month and are protected with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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

How to watch BBC iPlayer on your device

BBC iPlayer with VPN

Most people nowadays own more than just a PC and a mobile phone for content viewing. Specialized streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV make home entertainment a convenient and hassle-free experience. However, geographical restrictions are still rampant even when using such peripherals. Thankfully, the best VPN providers aren’t slacking off and creating reliable workarounds to get a VPN connection on practically any platform.

How to watch BBC iPlayer on Windows and Mac

So far, the PC is still the reigning champion of at-home streaming devices. And luckily for us, getting a VPN on Windows, Mac, or Linux is a piece of cake.

  1. Choose a well-performing VPN service. Our go-to choice is NordVPN, the #1 VPN provider
  2. Download the VPN for your operating system and connect to any server in the United Kingdom
  3. Visit the official BBC iPlayer website
  4. Log in or create a new account
  5. Access the extensive British television library!

How to watch BBC iPlayer on Android and iOS

Mobile devices will inevitably become the most popular content-consuming platform, thanks to their convenience. However, their built-in GPS tracking makes it difficult to get a VPN up and running properly. Not only do you need an exceptional VPN service with geo-spoofing capabilities, but you’ll also have to change your account settings with a new location. The specifics depend on your phone manufacturer and OS, but the general steps to take are:

  1. Pick a VPN with GPS spoofing on mobile devices. Our top recommendation is NordVPN, currently available for 72% off!
  2. Install the VPN software and connect to a UK server
  3. Modify your account settings or create a new one with the UK as its home location
  4. Go to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store
  5. Download the BBC iPlayer app
  6. Sign in and watch your favorite shows on the go!

How to watch BBC iPlayer on Roku

Unfortunately, Roku devices do not support VPN software natively. Therefore, you’ll need to set up your home router with a VPN and connect your streaming device to that network. Only then will you be able to unblock BBC iPlayer and other geo-restricted content. Here’s what that looks like:

  1. Reset your Roku
  2. Manually configure your router with a UK VPN connection. We suggest picking NordVPN, the fastest VPN provider
  3. Plug in your Roku and add it to the router network
  4. Log in with a UK-based account and search for BBC iPlayer on the Roku Channel Store
  5. Install the app and sit back with some quality British content!

How to watch BBC iPlayer on Apple TV

Sadly, Apple has imposed restrictions on developing VPN software for the Apple TV. As such, users with this particular streaming device need to set up a router with a VPN to get around geographical limitations.

  1. Subscribe to a VPN that supports router configuration. Our top pick NordVPN, available with a 72% discount!
  2. Setup the VPN on your home router and connect Apple TV to it
  3. Search for BBC iPlayer on the Apple App Store
  4. Install the application and log in
  5. Watch the best shows BBC has to offer!

How to watch BBC iPlayer on Amazon Fire Stick

Thankfully, Amazon FireOS devices are based on the Android operating system and are compatible with the majority of VPN services. In fact, most even have dedicated apps for Fire Stick. Here’s how to unblock BBC iPlayer on such devices:

  1. Choose a VPN provider that’s compatible with Amazon Fire TV Stick. Our favorite option is NordVPN
  2. Connect the Fire Stick to any TV monitor with an HDMI port
  3. Search for your provider’s VPN app on the app store or install it directly
  4. Connect to any server in the United Kingdom
  5. Go to the app store and search for the BBC iPlayer
  6. Launch the app and enjoy!

How to watch BBC iPlayer abroad

With a reliable VPN at your disposal, BBC iPlayer becomes accessible from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re on holiday from the UK or a die-hard Doctor Who fan from abroad – there are no limits. Just follow these easy steps and get the streaming service operational regardless of where you are.

  1. Download and install the VPN on our preferred device. Our best traveling companion is NordVPN
  2. Open the app and connect to a server in the United Kingdom
  3. Visit the BBC iPlayer and watch whatever you want!

Can’t access BBC iPlayer with a VPN?

We don’t live in a perfect world, and VPNs can sometimes fail us. If you’re having trouble watching BBC iPlayer with a VPN, try some of these quick fixes:

  • Check for IP or DNS leaks
  • If you’re on a browser, clear the cookies and cache
  • Try connecting to another server
  • Switch tunneling protocols

Worst case scenario, you’ll have to reach out to your VPN provider’s customer service. But if you made the right choice, support will be available 24/7 via live chat.

Can I watch BBC iPlayer for free?

Unless you live in the UK, it’s doubtful that you’ll get the chance to watch BBC iPlayer entirely for free. Even though there are plenty of free VPN services available, most don’t offer servers in the United Kingdom. Besides that, they have other downsides, such as:

  • Abysmal connection speeds
  • Outdated security with vulnerabilities
  • Monthly data caps
  • High likelihood of data logging and selling

It’s best not to risk your data and avoid free VPNs when possible. Instead, give VPNs with free trials a shot. At the very least, you can alternate between a few to binge-watch your favorite shows in record time!

What to watch on BBC iPlayer

If you’re looking for a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer, you probably already have some specific show in mind. But if you need more suggestions, here are a few recommendations:

  • Blue Planet
  • Top Gear
  • Doctor Who
  • Baptiste
  • While Gold
  • Casualty
  • Eastenders
  • The Outlaws
  • What We Do in the Shadows

Bottom line

Accessing top-quality shows on BBC iPlayer is a walk in the park with the right VPN by your side. Just make sure that it has servers in the UK, swift tunneling protocols, and apps for your preferred streaming device. Alternatively, configure your home router with a virtual private network and curb geo-restrictions that way.

What’s your TV show and VPN combo for BBC iPlayer? Share your entertainment recipe in the comment section below!

You may also like to read:
How to watch ITV
Best UK VPN services
Best VPN for streaming
Best VPN for torrenting
Fastest VPN services


What’s the best VPN for BBC iPlayer?

The best VPN for BBC iPlayer is NordVPN. It’s exceptionally fast, has a vast server network, solid security features, and a reasonable price with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Potential customers can try out the service with a 7-day free trial that’s available on the Google Play Store.

Can I use a free VPN for BBC iPlayer?

Although you can use a free VPN for BBC iPlayer, you’re unlikely to find a provider with UK servers. Plus, free services usually aren’t capable of getting around geographical restrictions and have poor connectivity.

Is it legal to use a VPN with BBC iPlayer?

Yes, there are no laws against using a VPN to circumvent geographical restrictions. However, your account could get blocked if your actual IP address and location get leaked while using BBC iPlayer.

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  1. Lisbetta

    I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, but up until now, I’ve been forced to watch the episodes I want in random places that I could get access to in the USA. Now I’m all set to start streaming right from the source!

  2. PrickledPear

    The BBC has some of the best shows and comedians out there, and I’ve wanted to figure out how streaming overseas content works. Thanks for the info!

  3. Bob P

    Thanks for the guide, I didn’t even knew if it was possible to be watching the BBC abroad. I’m always watching BBC iplayer and I can’t imagine my mornings without it.

  4. Serena

    Can I use NordVpn for streaming BBC programs in USA? I’ve heard you can potentially unblock access to the BBC iPlayer as well? If a vpn can do this then I’d imagine everyone would want to use it because there are so many great programs on there.

    1. avatar
      Mikaela Bray

      Hi Serena,

      Yes, you absolutely can watch BBC iPlayer using NordVPN. Just connect to a server in the UK and you’re good to go.

  5. Marty

    WOW! 60 million people try to use VPNs to watch the BBC live?! That’s a lot of bandwidth. I’m in USA now and NordVPN does a great job at unlocking iPlayer from here. From what I’ve heard there’s not a country in the world where they don’t work well with BBC and considering their pricing plans they are probably the best option available right now. While ExpressVPN might be a bit better in some aspects, Nord has more servers in the UK so for watching BBC they are the best option. Also, streaming is great with Nord and I’ve never been disconnected or anything like that. And, it also works very well with unblocking Netflix which was a must for me.

    I’ve actually had to use EditThisCookie in this past because the BBC iPlayer managed to store a cookie somehow. I still don’t know how they did it but I managed to get right of it and all was well after that.

  6. Simons

    I have never seen or heard any of these programs listed above. Most chick flicks and TV series, and thrillers play on channels like HBO. But I am sure there are viewers who watch these BBC shows as well.

  7. Sarah Hansen

    This might sound like a stupid question but can these BBC programs be watched online? I have no idea, please enlighten me. Thank you!

  8. Demi H

    Thanks ! Some bbc programs can be watched from anywhere in the world, but not the tv in itself. I can’t believe I didn’t even know about VPNs before I read that ! Thanks again !

  9. thedoctorlovesrose

    I’ve done this! I used to use a VPN to watch Doctor Who as it came out on the BBC iPlayer. I don’t anymore, though, the Matt Smith seasons were way too much for me. I miss the ninth and tenth Doctors! They were my favorite. If you like watching BBC shows as they air from the US, this works really well though, I use NordVPN and it’s great.

  10. Oliver Bordeleau

    I’m in France so I got a Trial with the vpn hoping to watch BBC, but now they can trace that you’re maintaining a VPN and they do not let you benefit of iPlayer. From BBC-if we find that you might be maintaining a proxy VPN, you’ll be unable to watch. This is because we wonder to be clear you’re in the UK, and if you’re maintaining a VPN, we can’t understand reliably where you are. What should I do now?

    1. avatar
      Mikaela Bray

      Hi Oliver,

      First of all, try a different VPN server in the UK. If none work, try a different VPN service. The choices in the article are a good bet, particularly NordVPN.

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