5 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2024 — 100% Reliable

Updated on: May 6, 2024
Fact Checked by Katarina Glamoslija
Kristel van Hoof Kristel van Hoof
Updated on: May 6, 2024

Short on time? Here’s the best VPN for BBC iPlayer in 2024:

  • 🥇 ExpressVPN : Consistently works with BBC iPlayer, has multiple server locations in the UK, and maintains superfast streaming speeds. It offers user-friendly apps for a wide range of devices, and it even works with routers so you can watch BBC iPlayer on your TV. ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

I love British gems like Strictly Come Dancing. And that’s just one of many programs available on BBC iPlayer. I know that there are millions around the world who, like me, get frustrated when we can’t watch the best in British television because the iPlayer is only available in the UK. To ensure that only people in the UK watch iPlayer, the BBC checks visitors’ IP addresses. If you don’t have a British IP address, you can’t watch BBC iPlayer.

Theoretically, you can change your IP address to a British one by using a VPN. If you connect to a server in the UK, it’ll look like you have a British IP address. The issue is that doing something like that in order to watch iPlayer is against the BBC’s Terms and Conditions and could be considered copyright infringement. You also need a British postcode to log into BBC iPlayer.

Still, privacy-conscious people in the UK have good reasons to use a VPN while watching BBC iPlayer. As long as they pay their television license, it isn’t against the law nor a violation of the BBC’s policies. But not all VPNs work with BBC iPlayer.

My colleague in the UK was tasked with testing the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer. He spent weeks testing dozens of VPNs to learn which was best and sent me the results. Together, we found a few fast and affordable options that work 100% of the time and have airtight no-logs policies. Our top choice is ExpressVPN — it offers the best connection speeds, has 5 server locations in the UK, and its apps are super easy to use.

TRY EXPRESSVPN NOW

Quick summary of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer:

  • 1. 🥇ExpressVPN — Best overall VPN for BBC iPlayer in 2024 with the fastest speeds on the market.
  • 2. 🥈Private Internet Access — Great VPN with user-friendly apps and fast speeds for streaming BBC iPlayer.
  • 3. 🥉CyberGhost VPN — Good VPN for streaming (with optimized servers for BBC iPlayer content).
  • 4. NordVPN — Strong security features for safe streaming on BBC iPlayer and fast speeds.
  • 5. Surfshark — Good VPN with affordable plans and unlimited simultaneous connections.

Disclaimer: SafetyDetectives doesn’t endorse any form of copyright infringement. The VPN services listed below have strict no-logs policies. Nevertheless, we want to stress that this doesn’t give you license to break any laws or agreements. Readers are responsible for their own actions while using a VPN.

🥇 1. ExpressVPN — Best Overall VPN for BBC iPlayer in 2024

Approved by our experts
ExpressVPN
Approved by our experts
Most readers pick ExpressVPN
Servers in countries
105
Key Features
Industry-leading speeds
Number of devices
8
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
expressvpn.com

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for BBC iPlayer in 2024 — my colleague in the UK was able to get it to work with BBC iPlayer 100% of the time.

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs my colleagues and I have ever tested. When my colleague from the UK connected to its servers in London and Wembley, videos loaded instantly, and he didn’t experience any buffering. Plus, the VPN offers 5 server locations in the UK in total (London, East London, Wembley, Docklands, and Midlands), so you can always choose a location closest to you for the fastest speeds.

In addition to BBC iPlayer, ExpressVPN works with all other major streaming platforms. It supports 100+ streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Max, as well as lesser-known platforms such as Pluto TV and Tubi (I was able to watch all streaming services available in my location without any issues). In fact, it’s our top-rated VPN for streaming in 2024.

🥇 1. ExpressVPN — Best Overall VPN for BBC iPlayer in 2024

ExpressVPN offers apps for all major operating systems, including macOS, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS. It’s also one of the only VPNs on the market that comes with a dedicated app for routers.

I particularly like ExpressVPN’s smart DNS feature, called MediaStreamer. This feature allows you to load a VPN on to devices that normally don’t work with VPNs, such as gaming consoles and certain smart TVs. I followed ExpressVPN’s detailed instructions on its website, and it took me about 10 minutes to set it up on my Xbox.

Plus, ExpressVPN comes with advanced security features. It includes TrustedServer technology, which uses RAM-only servers that lose all data every time they get rebooted, as well as perfect forward secrecy — it changes the encryption keys for every VPN session so that even if cybercriminals obtain one key, they can’t compromise any past or future keys and spy on your traffic. And, ExpressVPN provides full leak protection against WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks. I tested more than 10 servers and didn’t find any leaks.

ExpressVPN’s apps are very easy to use, too. I like that I was able to add the UK servers to my Favorites (by clicking on the star next to each server) for quick access. I also like ExpressVPN’s Shortcuts feature, which allows you to create 1-click shortcuts to your favorite apps and websites — like BBC iPlayer if you’re in the UK — and access them straight from the VPN app.

ExpressVPN’s plans start at $6.67 / month. All of ExpressVPN’s plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Bottom Line:

ExpressVPN is the best BBC iPlayer VPN on the market. It consistently works with BBC iPlayer, provides the fastest streaming speeds, and has very user-friendly apps for a variety of devices. Plus, it offers a MediaStreamer feature, so you can watch BBC iPlayer titles on devices that don’t natively support VPNs — like smart TVs and games consoles. ExpressVPN backs all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full ExpressVPN review

🥈 2. Private Internet Access — Fast Streaming Speeds & Intuitive Apps

Servers in countries
91
Key Features
Excellent ad blocker
Number of devices
Unlimited
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
privateinternetaccess.com

Private Internet Access (PIA) reliably worked with BBC iPlayer in every one of my British colleague’s tests. It has 3 server locations in the UK (London, Southampton, and Manchester), including a streaming-optimized server (located in London). However, my co-worker didn’t really notice any difference between the streaming-optimized server and the rest of the UK servers, as all of them consistently worked with BBC iPlayer.

PIA also offers consistently fast connection speeds, but it’s slightly slower than ExpressVPN. Even so, my colleague from the UK was able to stream all of his favorite BBC iPlayer shows in HD and Ultra HD buffer-free. He particularly liked how PIA shows you the latency for each server, color-coding the fastest options in green so you can easily see which UK server location will give you the best connection for streaming.

In general, PIA is great for streaming. In addition to BBC iPlayer, the VPN works with all of the other top streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max (as confirmed by both myself and my colleagues in locations where these services are available).

🥈 2. Private Internet Access — Fast Streaming Speeds & Intuitive Apps

Plus, PIA has native apps for the major operating platforms, including Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS devices, as well as routers and smart TVs. Like ExpressVPN, PIA also comes with a smart DNS feature, which means you can set it up on your gaming consoles and other WiFi-enabled devices. If you need to stream BBC iPlayer on many different devices, you’ll also like how PIA allows unlimited simultaneous connections.

PIA is one of the few VPNs that have open-source apps, which means that anyone can check the code for any cracks in security, and it regularly publishes transparency reports about the requests it receives for user data. What’s more, PIA has RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, and full leak protection.

PIA is also very easy to use — it didn’t take my colleague longer than a couple of seconds to find and connect to a UK server. I also really liked that you can add your preferred servers to Favorites, so you don’t have to scroll through the entire server list every time you want to connect.

PIA’s plans start at $2.03 / month and are all backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Private Internet Access: Save 83% on the 24-month plan + FREE months!
You can save 83% if you act right now.

Bottom Line:

Private Internet Access offers great streaming speeds and consistently works with BBC iPlayer. Plus, it’s very secure and easy to use, works with a wide range of devices, allows unlimited connections, and has a 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans.

Read the full Private Internet Access review

🥉 3. CyberGhost VPN — Includes a Streaming-Optimized Server for BBC iPlayer

Servers in countries
100
Key Features
Special streaming servers
Number of devices
7
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
Up to 45 days
cyberghostvpn.com

CyberGhost VPN offers multiple servers in the UK, including a dedicated server for BBC iPlayer. This server (which you can find in the “For Streaming” section in the app) is optimized to work with the streaming platform — CyberGhost regularly refreshes its IP addresses and verifies their compatibility with BBC iPlayer, so it’s much more likely to work. When my colleague in the UK connected to this server, he was able to access BBC iPlayer every time.

CyberGhost is pretty fast, too. In my speed tests, HD and 4K YouTube videos took around 1–2 seconds to load, and I didn’t experience any buffering. That said, it’s slower than ExpressVPN.

When it comes to streaming, CyberGhost VPN is an excellent choice — as well as the special server for BBC iPlayer, it also offers 100+ streaming-optimized servers for major platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and more. Our team tested several of its Amazon Prime Video and Netflix servers around the world, and everyone was always able to watch their local libraries.

🥉 3. CyberGhost VPN — Includes a Streaming-Optimized Server for BBC iPlayer

CyberGhost is very secure. It runs on RAM-only servers, uses perfect forward secrecy, and offers protection against DNS and automatically disables all IPv6 traffic. It also has an independently audited no-logs policy and, like Private Internet Access, publishes transparency reports every 3 months.

What’s more, CyberGhost has intuitive apps for a wide range of devices, and works on routers and smart TVs. Like ExpressVPN, it also has a smart DNS that lets you set up the VPN on your gaming console and watch BBC iPlayer titles from there. I also really liked its Smart Rules feature, which makes the VPN highly customizable. For example, you can configure CyberGhost so it automatically opens BBC iPlayer when you connect to your favorite UK server.

CyberGhost offers plans that start at $2.19 / month. I was impressed to see that it backs its long-term plans with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee. Its short-term plans, on the other hand, come with a 14-day money-back guarantee.

CyberGhost: Save 83% on the 24-month plan + FREE months!
You can save 83% if you act right now.

Bottom Line:

CyberGhost comes with an optimized streaming server for BBC iPlayer that works with the platform 100% of the time. The VPN maintains very fast speeds, works with tons of other streaming platforms, has intuitive apps, and has an impressive 45-day money-back guarantee for its long-term plans (and a 14-day money-back guarantee for its short-term plans).

Read the full CyberGhost VPN review

4. NordVPN — Fast Connections & Great Security Features

Servers in countries
111
Key Features
Great malware blocker
Number of devices
10
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
nordvpn.com

NordVPN is a fast, secure, and reliable VPN for BBC iPlayer. My colleague in the UK tested all 4 of its UK server locations (Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London), and they all worked seamlessly with the platform.

NordVPN offers great speeds thanks to its proprietary NordLynx protocol. During my speed tests, HD videos loaded immediately, and there was no buffering. My British colleague got the same results with BBC iPlayer. He also tested NordVPN’s speed with the remaining VPN protocols and can confirm that, although his speeds weren’t as fast as with NordLynx, they were still fast enough to stream BBC iPlayer content buffer-free.

4. NordVPN — Fast Connections & Great Security Features

On top of that, NordVPN works with other streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, so you can always watch your local content libraries while protected with a VPN. Still, ExpressVPN works with more streaming sites (it’s compatible with 100+ streaming platforms).

NordVPN also offers top-notch security and privacy — it uses RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, full leak protection, and an independently audited no-logs policy. I also like its Threat Protection, which blocks ads, trackers, and malware.

NordVPN has user-friendly apps for all major operating platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux — plus it comes with router support and a smart DNS feature. I’m a fan of its auto-connect feature, which allows you to configure the VPN to automatically connect to the fastest server in the UK.

NordVPN plans start as low as $3.09 / month. All of its plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out risk-free.

Bottom Line:

NordVPN offers fast and reliable connections to your BBC iPlayer account. The VPN has its own NordLynx protocol — which is very fast and secure — plus it works with other streaming platforms, and backs all of its plans with a money-back guarantee.

Read the full NordVPN review

5. Surfshark — Affordable VPN for BBC iPlayer

Servers in countries
100
Key Features
User-friendly apps
Number of devices
Unlimited
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
surfshark.com

Surfshark is a very affordable VPN that reliably works with BBC iPlayer, so it’s a great choice if you’re on a budget.

Surfshark’s speeds are good, but ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access are much faster. Videos in HD took 1–2 seconds to load, and once they did, I didn’t experience any buffering. However, my speeds were much slower on long-distance servers, so you might experience some buffering when streaming BBC iPlayer from a far-flung corner of the UK.

Like Private Internet Access, Surfshark allows unlimited connections so, if you’re in the UK, everyone in your family can stream BBC iPlayer content on their own devices. My colleague from the UK asked his family to help him test it by connecting to a UK server on all of the devices in their household (8 devices in total) — they all had stable connections and didn’t experience any slowdowns.

Surfshark works with most other streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more. The only streaming site that it doesn’t consistently work with (that I’ve tested) is Disney+. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, always worked with my local Disney+ library.

5. Surfshark — Affordable VPN for BBC iPlayer

Surfshark also offers great security and privacy. It has RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, and an audited no-logs policy. Unfortunately, Surfshark is missing full leak protection — it only protects against DNS leaks. That said, Surfshark never revealed my real IP address, and leak tests always showed one from the server’s location rather than my own.

Surfshark has easy-to-use apps for most devices, including routers and smart TVs, and a smart DNS feature. Plus, the apps have a lot of convenient features — I particularly liked that you can see the ping next to each server location, which makes it super easy to find the fastest one for streaming.

Surfshark’s plans start at $2.29 / month and are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Surfshark is one of the most affordable VPNs out there. The VPN has good speeds on local and nearby servers, works with several other streaming platforms, includes advanced security features, allows unlimited connections, and backs all of its plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Surfshark review

Quick Comparison Table

VPN Starting Price Split-Tunneling Kill Switch Smart DNS Number of Connections Compatibility
🥇1. ExpressVPN $6.67 / month Android ✅
iOS ❌
Windows ✅
macOS ✅
Android ✅
iOS ✅
Windows ✅
macOS ✅
Up to 8 Windows ✅
macOS ✅
Android ✅
iOS ✅
Linux ✅
Smart TVs ✅
Routers ✅
Amazon Fire Stick ✅
🥈2. Private Internet Access $2.03 / month Android ✅
iOS ❌
Windows ✅
macOS ✅
Android ✅
iOS ✅
Windows ✅
macOS ✅
Unlimited Windows ✅
macOS ✅
Android ✅
iOS ✅
Linux ✅
Smart TVs ✅
Routers ✅
🥉3. CyberGhost VPN $2.19 / month Android ✅
iOS ❌
Windows ❌
macOS ❌
Android ✅
iOS ✅
Windows ✅
macOS ✅
7 Windows ✅
macOS ✅
Android ✅
iOS ✅
Linux ✅
Smart TVs ✅
Routers ✅
4. NordVPN $3.09 / month Android ✅
iOS ❌
Windows ✅
macOS ❌
Android ✅
iOS ✅
Windows ✅
macOS ✅
10 Windows ✅
macOS ✅
Android ✅
iOS ✅
Linux ✅
Smart TVs ✅
Routers ✅
5. Surfshark $2.29 / month Android ✅
iOS ❌
Windows ✅
macOS ❌
Android ✅
iOS ✅
Windows ✅
macOS ✅
Unlimited Windows ✅
macOS ✅
Android ✅
iOS ✅
Linux ✅
Smart TVs ✅
Routers ✅

How to Choose the Best VPN for BBC iPlayer in 2024

  • Find a VPN with servers in the UK. You can only watch BBC iPlayer from the UK so you’ll need a VPN that has at least one server in the UK. All VPNs listed here offer at least 1 UK server location.
  • Test for fast speeds. All VPNs will slow down your speeds a bit due to the encryption process. However, with a premium VPN, you won’t notice any buffering on BBC iPlayer. ExpressVPN had the fastest speeds during my tests.
  • Consider ease of use. A good VPN should have user-friendly apps that make it easy to find and connect to a UK server.
  • Get a VPN with strong security and privacy features. All the VPNs on this list include industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and a no-logs policy. They also have advanced security features, including RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy.
  • Pick a VPN that offers a good value. I only recommend the best VPNs that work with all major operating systems, allow multiple simultaneous connections, and back all purchases with at least a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • IPVanish. IPVanish allows unlimited connections and has an extensive server network, with servers in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, and Maidenhead. Unfortunately, my colleague from the UK was unable to access BBC iPlayer while connected to its servers.
  • Hola VPN. Hola VPN was very fast in my British co-worker’s tests, but it didn’t work with BBC iPlayer. What’s more, Hola VPN doesn’t encrypt your traffic or route it through secure servers; instead, it uses a peer-to-peer (P2P) network and replaces your IP address with the IP address of another Hola VPN user. This is risky since it means that someone else could use your IP address and potentially engage in unwanted behavior.
  • UltraVPN. This VPN has servers in the UK but none of them worked with BBC iPlayer during my colleague’s tests. Also, my colleague did experience some slowdowns in his tests.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best VPN to access BBC iPlayer?

ExpressVPN is my top recommendation for watching BBC iPlayer — I had a colleague in the UK test it out, and he was able to visit the platform 100% of the time and his connection was super fast. I also like that it has easy-to-use apps for many different devices and works with 100+ other streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

Can I use BBC iPlayer without a UK TV license?

You can’t watch BBC iPlayer content without a UK TV license. When you open BBC iPlayer, you will need to check a box to confirm that you have a UK TV license. But, even if you do have a UK TV license, you still won’t be able to use BBC iPlayer without violating BBC’s policies unless you’re in the UK.

A reliable VPN (like ExpressVPN) lets you connect to a UK server. This lets UK residents watch their favorite shows with the extra privacy and security afforded by a VPN.

Can I use a free VPN to watch BBC iPlayer?

Maybe, but I don’t recommend it. Most free VPNs don’t work with BBC iPlayer, and they often lack industry-standard security and privacy features. The free VPNs that actually do work with BBC iPlayer come with annoying limitations such as data caps, slow speeds, and small server networks.

Instead, I recommend getting a premium VPN like one of the VPNs on this list. They work with BBC iPlayer all of the time, have very fast speeds, and come with money-back guarantees (so you can test the services risk-free).

Can I use a BBC iPlayer VPN for other streaming services?

Yes, all the VPNs on this list also work with other top streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. I recommend picking ExpressVPN since it’s the best VPN for streaming in 2024 (it works with 100+ streaming platforms).

Quick Overview of My Top Recommendations:

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9.8
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9.6
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9.2
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9.0
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About the Author
Kristel van Hoof
Updated on: May 6, 2024

About the Author

Kristel van Hoof is a former tech researcher and writer for SafetyDetectives with a keen interest in online privacy and cybersecurity. For more than 3 years now, she has been testing and reviewing VPNs and other products for online data protection. When she’s not writing for Safety Detectives, she's dancing with her kids, traveling around the world, and cooking her favorite dishes.