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5 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

The BBC is one of the most famous broadcasters in the world. For that reason, many people want to gain access to the UK’s BBC iPlayer. Sadly, it is geo-restricted to the UK only. The good news is that with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for iPlayer, anyone can pretend to be in the UK. So, if you love Eastenders, The Apprentice, Dr Who, BBC News – and you currently live outside of the British Isles – fear not, a VPN is the solution.

The Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. IPVanish
  4. Buffered
  5. VPNArea

iPlayer shows BBC One, BBC Two, and the other BBC channels live. So if you want to enjoy Wimbledon, cricket, rugby, or snooker, BBC iPlayer is just the ticket. In addition, iPlayer allows people to catch up on shows that have already aired. Thus, iPlayer is an endless resource of quality programming. No matter whether you are an expat, a UK resident on holiday, or a foreigner who loves the BBC, a VPN will give you full, unrestricted access to iPlayer from anywhere in the world.

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Best VPN for BBC iPlayer: Summary

    • Provider
    • Price
    • Features
    • Our Score
    • Visit Site
    • 1
    • ExpressVPN LogoExpressVPN
      10/10
    • $8.32
      PER MONTH
    • Ultra-fast - great for streaming!
      Ultra Secure - 256-bit encryption
      Unlimited downloading
      5* Customer Support + 24/7 Live Chat
      30-day money-back guarantee
    • 10
    • 2
    • NordVPN LogoNordVPN
      9/10
    • $3.29
      PER MONTH
    • 30 day Money-back Guarantee!
      Unlimited downloading and streaming!
      Servers in 54 countries
      Ticket Support
      Connect up to 6 Devices
    • 9
    • 3
    • IPVanish LogoIPVanish
      8/10
    • $6.49
      PER MONTH
    • 7 day Money-back Guarantee!
      Unlimited downloading and streaming!
      Servers in 60 countries
      Ticket Support
      Connect up to 5 Devices
    • 8
    EXCLUSIVE: 50% OFF! Ends Today! Enter Voucher Code: WAR4WEB
    • 4
    • Buffered LogoBuffered
      7/10
    • $8.25
      PER MONTH
    • 30 day Money-back Guarantee!
      Unlimited downloading and streaming!
      Servers in 39 countries
      Ticket Support
      Connect up to 5 Devices
    • 7
    • 5
    • VPNArea LogoVPNArea
      6/10
    • $4.92
      PER MONTH
    • 7 day Money-back Guarantee!
      No logs at all!
      Connect up to 5 devices
      Accepts Bitcoin
      P2P: yes
    • 6

*All prices shown in US dollars

Advertiser disclosure

Editor's Choice Award

Winner

ExpressVPN

5/5

Best VPN for BBC iPlayer

  • ProsPROS
  • Super fast – great for streaming!
  • Super secure – 256-bit encryption
  • Unlimited downloading
  • Impressive customer service
  • 5* 24/7 customer support
  • ConsCONS
  • Some connection logs kept (aggregated and for internal use only)

Our review found ExpressVPN to be the outright winner when it comes to unblocking BBC iPlayer. Lightning speeds and your choice of seven UK servers make ExpressVPN superb for streaming iPlayer. In addition, ExpressVPN can be used on three simultaneous devices, so you can stream British TV on any of your gadgets. ExpressVPN also has an extremely reliable network of servers, located in 94 countries. That means that when you become addicted to unblocking geo-restricted streams, you will be able to freely go about unblocking things from all over the world! Movies, TV streams and sports competitions will all be your oyster. P2P (BitTorrenting) is also permitted.

ExpressVPN provides the very highest levels of OpenVPN encryption available, which makes it ideal for privacy and security. It also keeps no usage logs. The result is that this VPN is the best for unblocking, as well as the best for privacy. With that in mind, it will keep users secure both at home and on public WiFi. Customer care is 24/7 via live chat, rounding this superb VPN for iPlayer off with style. Finally, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to test the service risk-free (which it always honors). Quite simply, this is the best VPN for iPlayer.

Try out the best VPN for BBC iPlayer!

Visit ExpressVPN »

30-day money-back guarantee

2nd place

NordVPN

4.5/5

NordVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • Servers in 60 nations
  • Three-day free trial
  • Strong encryption
  • Great UK servers
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Can be a little slow on some servers at times (but it is easy to switch and find a faster one)

NordVPN is another fantastic option if you are looking to unblock BBC iPlayer. It is a well respected and well subscribed VPN, which provides excellent levels of encryption. NordVPN also has a zero logs policy. It has fast servers located around the world, and is ideal for streaming BBC iPlayer. Compared to Express it isn’t perfect: sometimes servers will get a bit slow. However, this is usually just one server that is under heavy use, and can easily be fixed by connecting to another. NordVPN has many excellent security features. As such, it is often the VPN chosen by people who want those extra features. NordVPN offers a three-day free trial, so testing it is completely risk-free.

Visit NordVPN »


3rd place

IPVanish

4/5

IPVanish

  • ProsPROS
  • Up to five simultaneous connections
  • Zero logs kept
  • Over 60 countries
  • Fast connection speeds
  • P2P; yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Based in the US

IPVanish is a very good VPN for unblocking BBC iPlayer, and is a very, very close third in our list. It gives subscribers the option to choose from an impressive 47 locations in the UK. That’s a lot of UK IP addresses! As such, it is unlikely that you will ever have an issue unblocking BBC iPlayer with this VPN. IPVanish is also a VPN that is known to be fast – very fast. That makes it perfect for unblocking iPlayer in HD.

How does it perform so quickly? Encryption is strong and is perfect for keeping you secure, but it’s a bit weaker than with the VPNs above. In reality, those are insanely strong, whereas this is just strong, though more than adequate to keep you both private and secure. As such, this really is a great option for unblocking iPlayer. IPVanish allows five simultaneous connections too, so it gives you a lot of room to play with.

The only drawback is that this VPN is based in the US, which is another reason that it gets marked down (as the US is the home of the NSA and CIA). However, its zero logs policy makes up for that nicely. Will you be taking a risk getting this VPN? Honestly, the answer is no: this is a great VPN for iPlayer.

Visit IPVanish »


4th place

Buffered

3.5/5

Buffered

  • ProsPROS
  • Impressive software
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Strong encryption
  • Fast servers in the UK and 38 other countries
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Can get a bit slow at times

Buffered is a Hungarian VPN that we really like. It is a privacy-focused firm that provides a really sharp product. It is also fast, and therefore great for unblocking BBC iPlayer. The software is best on Windows, so if you are looking for a Windows VPN, this is ideal. However, the VPN also works on Android and iOS, because it can be used with OpenVPN connect software (found on Google Play or iTunes). That software is excellent, and very easy to set up thanks to the guide that Buffered provides.

All in all, we are solidly impressed with this younger VPN firm. A very worthy fourth best VPN for iPlayer, which will unblock anything and keep your data secure. Try Buffered out yourself by taking advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee!

Visit Buffered »


5th place

VPNArea

3/5

VPNArea

  • ProsPROS
  • Fast connections
  • Strong encryption
  • Up to six simultaneous connections
  • Dedicated IPs
  • P2P: yes
  • ConsCONS
  • Not much really: great all-rounder

VPNArea is a VPN for iPlayer that is consistent and reliable. While it isn’t absolutely breathtaking, nothing lets it down. It is fast enough to stream in HD. It has servers located in over 50 countries. In addition, it has ridiculously friendly and helpful staff. Considering this Bulgarian provider is relatively new, it is hard to fault it. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see this one further up the list in years to come. An excellent VPN for iPlayer with a seven-day money-back guarantee.

Visit VPNArea »


Best VPN for BBC iPlayer: Considerations

Unblock iPlayer Using a VPN!

In order to watch iPlayer online, you will need a VPN that provides good speeds. Many VPNs slow down your connection speed so much that watching streaming content is a nightmare. The VPNs that we have recommended all have world-class VPN servers located in the UK, so that you can stream BBC iPlayer just like you would content in your own country. Let’s take a quick look at how to use a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere.

  • Choose one of our recommended VPNs from the list below. The best option is ExpressVPN, because it has the best all-round service for watching iPlayer.
  • Subscribe to your favorite VPN for iPlayer and download the software from the website. Remember to get the right version for your platform! Installation is easy and self-explanatory, so just follow the instructions.
  • Select a VPN server located in the UK in the VPN software. When it connects, your VPN will go green or say ‘connected.’
  • Open your web browser and head over to BBC iPlayer.
  • Thanks to your British IP address, iPlayer will load as if you were the Queen herself, sitting down with the corgis to watch Eastenders.

Do I Need a UK TV Licence to Unblock BBC iPlayer?

On 1 September 2016, the BBC changed its iPlayer terms of service. The changes require anybody who watches iPlayer to have a UK TV licence. In reality, however, all that is required is to click “I have a TV licence” and iPlayer will grant access without any problems. Using a VPN makes you seem like a UK resident, so clicking the licence agreement notice won’t come back to haunt you.

Of course, it is possible that the BBC will make a note of the IP address that has claimed it has a licence, for checking against a database. This could mean that the VPN you subscribe to loses access to BBC on that particular IP address.

For now, that is conjecture on my part. However, that method is how Netflix and iPlayer currently cut off VPNs – so the possibility does seem likely. Either way, by using any of the VPNs in this guide, the end user has nothing to worry about, as encryption will guarantee their privacy.

iPlayer licence check

In addition, the BBC also made iPlayer subscriptions mandatory from 1 January 2017. That means that to subscribe and watch iPlayer, new users need to enter a valid UK postcode. The good news is that anybody can overcome this hurdle by simply entering a random UK postcode. If you are connected to a London VPN server ,a London postcode would be wise, as this will look most legitimate.

This random UK postcode generator is really useful if you can’t be bothered to Google a postcode yourself. The tool allows anybody to generate a UK postcode, which is perfect for anybody who wants to unblock iPlayer from abroad.

random-uk-postcode

Remember: this advice is for informational purposes only. I do not officially condone breaking copyright laws. As such, you unblock BBC iPlayer at your own risk, so proceed with caution. With that said, all of the VPNs in this article are highly secure, and many people from all over the world successfully use VPNs in this way, without ever getting into trouble.

Can I Get a Free VPN for iPlayer?

Sadly, the answer to this question is no. Just a few years ago, most VPNs could unblock BBC iPlayer. Now, however, things have changed considerably. The BBC has started blocking VPNs, which means that many VPNs that used to unblock iPlayer now don’t. Many paid VPNs do not unblock iPlayer anymore and we know of no free VPNs that do the job successfully on a permanent basis. However, some VPNs that unblock iPlayer do have a free trial or a money back guarantee, as such you can actually use a VPN to unblock Netflix for free – for a short period of time – at least.

BBC iPlayer Proxy Error

Once upon a time, it was possible to unblock iPlayer with a proxy. However, just as the BBC have blocked many VPNs the firm has also developed a proxy blocker. Sure, you may have friends that say: “I always uk proxy iplayer”. However, the simple truth is that they are lying because it is no longer possible. The closest thing to an iPlayer proxy is a VPN service, and the fact is, that it does behave identically to a BBC iPlayer proxy. So if your friend claims to still be unblocking iPlayer with a proxy then he or she is likely doing it with one of the VPNs in this list. So, go right ahead: with a VPN’s uk proxy server BBC iPlayer awaits you.

VPNs and iPlayer: a Battle of Wills

The BBC is currently engaged in a battle to block VPNs from giving people overseas access to iPlayer. Many VPNs have already lost the battle. As such, it is important to remember that not every VPN will do the job of unblocking iPlayer. All of the VPNs in this guide have been specifically selected because they do provide access to BBC iPlayer. The reality is, however, that this is an ever-changing state of affairs. The good news is that even if the BBC does manage to block a certain VPN IP address from accessing iPlayer, the VPNs in this list have proven time and again that they can rectify the problem, and continue offering iPlayer VPN connections that work. As such, these VPNs are believed to offer the absolute best services to unblock iPlayer from abroad.

All of the VPNs in this guide also have fantastic customer service representatives working around the clock. ExpressVPN, for instance, has a live chat service that is open 24/7. So if you lose access to BBC iPlayer for any reason, don’t stress! Just head over to their website and ask them what is going on. They will likely be able to offer you a fix up right away.

iPlayer VPN: Conclusion

Whether you are an expat, a UK resident on holiday, an English student desperately in need of hearing British accents, or just a massive fan of British TV, a VPN for iPlayer is a must. Despite attempts by Auntie Beeb to block iPlayer VPN access from abroad, these VPNs still do the trick. To be absolutely certain of selecting only the best, we tested the top VPNs to make sure they still unblock BBC iPlayer. The outcome is an unambiguous list of the best VPNs for iPlayer.

These VPNs are trusted, reliable services, which provide the highest levels of OpenVPN encryption (the best VPN encryption on the market). Our recommended iPlayer VPN services have airtight privacy policies. With that in mind, these VPNs are perfect not only for unblocking iPlayer but also for unblocking any content from around the world, no matter what it may be.

In addition, their high standards of privacy will ensure that all your data is safe from prying eyes. No one will know what you are doing online: not your ISP, the government, or anybody else. Furthermore, these VPNs will keep your passwords and bank details secure when using public WiFi.

Our number one VPN for iPlayer, ExpressVPN, is the best for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is faster and has the strongest levels of encryption. However, there are over 800 commercial VPNs on the market and these are the top five. As such, these are fine margins of difference. You will be safe with any of our VPNs for iPlayer, so relax and select one with confidence.

Best VPN for BBC iPlayer: Summary

    • Provider
    • Price
    • Features
    • Our Score
    • Visit Site
    • 1
    • ExpressVPN LogoExpressVPN
      10/10
    • $8.32
      PER MONTH
    • Ultra-fast - great for streaming!
      Ultra Secure - 256-bit encryption
      Unlimited downloading
      5* Customer Support + 24/7 Live Chat
      30-day money-back guarantee
    • 10
    • 2
    • NordVPN LogoNordVPN
      9/10
    • $3.29
      PER MONTH
    • 30 day Money-back Guarantee!
      Unlimited downloading and streaming!
      Servers in 54 countries
      Ticket Support
      Connect up to 6 Devices
    • 9
    • 3
    • IPVanish LogoIPVanish
      8/10
    • $6.49
      PER MONTH
    • 7 day Money-back Guarantee!
      Unlimited downloading and streaming!
      Servers in 60 countries
      Ticket Support
      Connect up to 5 Devices
    • 8
    EXCLUSIVE: 50% OFF! Ends Today! Enter Voucher Code: WAR4WEB
    • 4
    • Buffered LogoBuffered
      7/10
    • $8.25
      PER MONTH
    • 30 day Money-back Guarantee!
      Unlimited downloading and streaming!
      Servers in 39 countries
      Ticket Support
      Connect up to 5 Devices
    • 7
    • 5
    • VPNArea LogoVPNArea
      6/10
    • $4.92
      PER MONTH
    • 7 day Money-back Guarantee!
      No logs at all!
      Connect up to 5 devices
      Accepts Bitcoin
      P2P: yes
    • 6

*All prices shown in US dollars

Advertiser disclosure

Title image credit: chrisdorney/Shutterstock.com


Ray Walsh I am a freelance journalist and blogger from England. I am highly interested in politics and in particular the subject of IR. I am an advocate for freedom of speech, equality, and personal privacy. On a more personal level I like to stay active, love snowboarding, swimming and cycling, enjoy seafood, and love to listen to trap music.

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4 responses to “5 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

  1. Yeah…I have have had Buffered for the past 12 months and after about 1 month BBC was on to the fact I was using a VPN and denied access so, while I can’t speak for other VPN’s, Buffered shouldn’t be on your list of products that will get around that issue.
    Cheers

    Stew

    1. Hi Stew,

      My colleague has this to say: “I use buffered for iplayer every week… you need to clear cookies because BBC stores a cookie about you using a VPN once and then doesn’t let you in again.”

  2. This wouldn’t be my preferred choice as its Media streamer DNS, that you can apply to your router, can only work for US streaming services, so those who want UK services are left out. Express VPN told me this is their only downside and they are hoping to make it available to other regions soon. That is what I love about Unlocator as its Media DNS can be applied to many regions. It seems this website may be getting commission from this company as it’s certainly not the best VPN service out there as it’s very America-centric.

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