How to Watch BBC iPlayer Online With a VPN in 2024

Updated on: May 10, 2024
Fact Checked by Eric Goldstein
Penka Hristovska Penka Hristovska
Updated on: May 10, 2024

Only 3 Steps (Quick + Easy) to Watch BBC iPlayer Online With a VPN in 2024:

  • Download and install a VPN that works with BBC iPlayer. I recommend ExpressVPN because it’s fast, easy to use, and also works with other popular streaming sites like Netflix and Disney+.
  • Connect to a VPN server in the UK. Open the app and select a server in the UK. A VPN can theoretically help you watch BBC iPlayer content if the service isn’t available in your current location, but bear in mind this can be seen as copyright infringement and is against the site’s Terms of Service.
  • Log into BBC iPlayer. Search for your favorite shows and start binging.

The best way to securely watch BBC iPlayer content is with a VPN. VPNs encrypt your traffic, making it unreadable to third parties, so nobody, not even your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will be able to see what you’re watching on the BBC iPlayer site and app.

VPNs change your IP address, too. This means that you can, in theory, watch BBC iPlayer from outside of the UK, but keep in mind that this may be regarded as copyright infringement, and it’s not something we at SafetyDetectives condone.

If you want a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer content, I’ve found the best ones on the market — I asked my colleagues in the UK to test them, and they all worked just fine with BBC iPlayer. ExpressVPN is the best one due to its blazing-fast HD and 4K streaming speeds and very intuitive apps.

Try ExpressVPN Now

Disclaimer: All users in the UK must confirm that they have paid for their TV licensing fee in order to watch content on BBC iPlayer. SafetyDetectives neither supports nor condones copyright infringement. The VPNs listed below follow strict no-logging policies, so they won’t see or record your BBC iPlayer activities. Always make sure to use VPNs in compliance with all guidelines.

Editors' Note: ExpressVPN and this site are in the same ownership group.

How to Watch BBC iPlayer Content on Any Device

PC or Mac

  1. Choose a good VPN that works with BBC iPlayer. I recommend ExpressVPN as it consistently works with BBC iPlayer, has fast speeds, and provides easy-to-use apps for Windows and macOS.
  2. Download and install the VPN. This process should only take 1–2 minutes. Just follow the installation wizard’s instructions.
  3. Connect to a nearby server and log into your BBC iPlayer account. You can now securely watch BBC iPlayer content.

Smartphone or Tablet

  1. Pick a VPN for BBC iPlayer for iOS and Android. My top pick is ExpressVPN for its easy-to-use mobile apps.
  2. Download and install the VPN app. Find the app in your device’s app store and download it. Then, follow the instructions your app store provides to finish the setup.
  3. Open the VPN app, connect to a local server, and open BBC iPlayer. Now you’re ready to binge your favorite BBC iPlayer content.

Smart TV

  1. Download a reputable VPN. I prefer ExpressVPN thanks to its very easy-to-install apps for smart TVs and routers.
  2. For Android TVs. Download a VPN app from the device’s app store. ExpressVPN has an easy-to-install app for Android TVs.
  3. For non-Android TVs. Download and set up the VPN on your router (ExpressVPN has a great router app and provides excellent step-by-step instructions on how to install it). Once your router is configured to use the VPN, all of the devices in your home that are connected to the router will be connected to the VPN.
  4. Connect to a local server in the UK and open BBC iPlayer. That’s it. You can now start watching BBC iPlayer content on your Smart TV.

Gaming Console

  1. Get a BBC iPlayer VPN that’s compatible with your router. Setting up your VPN on your router lets you protect all devices on your network, including your PlayStation and Xbox. ExpressVPN is a great choice with fast speeds and a convenient router app.
  2. Connect to a local VPN server in the UK. Connect your router’s VPN to a server that is located in the UK.
  3. Activate your VPN, then go to the BBC iPlayer site through your console connected to the VPN-protected router to enjoy your favorite shows.

Best VPNs for Watching BBC iPlayer Content in 2024

Quick summary of the best VPNs for watching BBC iPlayer in 2024:

  • 🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for watching BBC iPlayer content in 2024 with super-fast speeds for streaming.
  • 🥈2. Private Internet Access — Great VPN for streaming BBC iPlayer content on mobile devices (with feature-rich apps).
  • 🥉3. CyberGhost VPN — Fast VPN with a streaming-optimized BBC iPlayer server (works 100% of the time).

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Watching BBC iPlayer Content

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Watching BBC iPlayer Content

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for streaming on BBC iPlayer — my colleagues in the UK confirmed it works with BBC iPlayer 24/7, and it also provides blazing-fast streaming speeds and has excellent security (it’s also ranked #1 on our list of the top 10 VPNs in 2024).

I love how the VPN has servers in 5 UK locations, including London, East London, Dockland, Midlands, and Wembley. This way, you can always connect to the server that is closest to you to ensure you get the fastest speeds.

ExpressVPN’s apps are also very easy to use — it has native apps for Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, routers, and even Kindle Fire. Another cool feature is ExpressVPN’s shortcut tool, which allows you to add 1-click shortcuts to your favorite apps when you connect to the VPN (you can add the BBC iPlayer app or website).

ExpressVPN offers several pricing plans that start at $6.67 / month. While the price is a bit more expensive than other top VPNs, I still think it’s well worth the value you receive in exchange. All ExpressVPN plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

ExpressVPN: Save 49% on the 12-month plan + FREE months!
Get a full 15 months (12 months + 3 free months) at a 49% discount.

Read our full ExpressVPN review

🥈2. Private Internet Access — Great for Streaming BBC iPlayer on Mobile Devices

🥈2. Private Internet Access — Great for Streaming BBC iPlayer on Mobile Devices

Private Internet Access (PIA) has feature-rich and customizable Android and iOS apps for watching BBC iPlayer content — and it also has some pretty good apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, and smart TVs.

Plus, PIA comes with servers in 3 UK cities. You can connect to servers in Manchester, London, and Southampton. It’s fewer locations than ExpressVPN but still offers a good variety of options.

Private Internet Access has flexible plans starting at just $2.03 / month and backs all plans with 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.

Read our full Private Internet Access review

🥉3. CyberGhost VPN — Offers a Dedicated Streaming Server for BBC iPlayer

🥉3. CyberGhost VPN — Offers a Dedicated Streaming Server for BBC iPlayer

CyberGhost VPN has a dedicated server just for BBC iPlayer — there are also an additional 100+ dedicated streaming servers for 50+ streaming platforms in 20+ countries.

The BBC iPlayer server is optimized to always work with the streaming service — my colleague in the UK tested the BBC iPlayer server multiple times, and it always worked with the service.

CyberGhost VPN has flexible plans that start at $2.19 / month and backs all yearly plans with a 45-day money-back guarantee (the monthly plan has a 14-day risk-free window).

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

Read our full CyberGhost VPN review

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company

Quick Comparison Table

VPN Starting Price Smart DNS Split-Tunneling Number of Connections Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇 ExpressVPN $6.67 / month 8 30 days
2.🥈 Private Internet Access $2.03 / month Unlimited 30 days
3.🥉 CyberGhost VPN $2.19 / month 7 45 days (long-term plans only)

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company

How to Choose the Best VPN for Watching BBC iPlayer in 2024

  • Look for a VPN that works with BBC iPlayer. My top choice for watching content on BBC iPlayer when in the UK is ExpressVPN because it has blazing-fast streaming speeds and great security features.
  • Pick a VPN with excellent streaming support. The VPN should also support other top streaming sites. Each VPN on this list works with top streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
  • Ensure the VPN has fast streaming speeds. All VPNs slightly slow down your speeds because of the time required to encrypt your data, but top VPNs are able to maintain fast speeds. All the VPNs on this list provided me with fast streaming speeds (I had the fastest speeds with ExpressVPN).
  • Choose a VPN that’s easy to use. All of the VPNs on this list support all of the major devices, are easy to install, easy to use, and make it simple to connect to a UK server to watch BBC iPlayer.
  • Look for a VPN with strong security. I only recommend VPNs that protect user data with industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption (the same encryption used by banks and governments), a no-logs policy, protection against DNS, webRTC, or IPv6 leaks, and a kill switch that will disconnect you from the internet if your connection to the VPN server drops.
  • Ensure the VPN provides good value. The best VPNs for watching BBC iPlayer include extra features like split-tunneling, allow multiple simultaneous connections (Private Internet Access and Surfshark support unlimited connections), offer affordable plans, and come with a money-back guarantee.

Tried Using a VPN for BBC iPlayer, But It’s Not Working? Try These Troubleshooting Steps

Try a Different Server

The server you connected to might be under maintenance and not working. Simply try disconnecting and then reconnecting to a different UK server in your VPN app.

Check for Updates

Your VPN software may be outdated. VPNs regularly roll out updates to improve performance, add new features, and fix bugs, and if they’ve updated their servers, your outdated app may not be able to connect to them. Check your VPN app for any available updates in the app store, download and install them, and then try launching the BBC iPlayer site or app again. If you want to prevent this from happening again, just turn on the auto-download features in your app store.

Contact Customer Support

There might be a more complex issue at hand. If none of the above solutions work, reach out to your VPN provider’s customer service and explain the issue you’re having — they may have specific advice or solutions based on known issues or their specific service. They’ll also be able to confirm whether the VPN actually works with BBC iPlayer.

Best Streaming Service Alternatives to BBC iPlayer

If you want to explore other options, here are some top-tier streaming services that offer a vast selection of content:

  1. Netflix is arguably the most popular streaming service that includes a broad and diverse library. The available content varies by country, with the most extensive selection being in the US. If you want to securely stream Netflix content, you should consider these top VPNs for Netflix.
  2. Amazon Prime Video offers an array of content, including movies, TV shows, and Amazon Originals. The service is available worldwide, but the content library varies by region.
  3. Disney+ offers family-friendly content, including a vast range of Disney movies, TV shows, and exclusive material. Like Netflix, Disney+’s content varies by region.
  4. Apple TV+ offers original content that’s available in 50+ countries. A VPN is a great choice for Apple TV+ if your ISP is throttling your speed or if you’re using public Wi-Fi to stream.

Disclaimer: In theory, a VPN might allow you to watch titles not available in your location, but such an action is against most streaming platforms’ Terms and Conditions and might be viewed as a copyright violation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best VPN for streaming BBC iPlayer content?

ExpressVPN is my top choice for streaming BBC iPlayer — my colleagues in the UK confirmed it works with BBC iPlayer 100% of the time, it has some of the fastest streaming speeds on the market, it’s easy to use, and it also works with 100+ other streaming sites.

Can I use a free VPN to watch BBC iPlayer?

Yes, there are some decent free VPNs that work with BBC iPlayer like Windscribe. However, Windscribe only allows 10 GB of data per month, which is enough for about 5 hours of streaming in HD.

Generally, I don’t recommend that you use a free VPN because they typically don’t work with BBC iPlayer, lack important security features, have slow speeds, and set a limit on your data.

Honestly, it’s much better to purchase a low-cost premium VPN like ExpressVPN, which works with BBC iPlayer 24/7, includes unlimited data, maintains some of the fastest streaming speeds out there, and has high-end security features.

Do I still need a TV license to watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN?

Yes, you must have a TV license to stream BBC iPlayer — even when using a VPN, you still need to have a valid BBC iPlayer account, which you can only get if you live in the UK and have a TV license.

Best VPNs for Watching BBC iPlayer Content in 2024 — Final Score:

Our Rank
Our Score
Best Deal
1
9.8
save 49%
2
9.6
save 83%
3
9.4
save 83%
The listings featured on this site are from companies from which this site receives compensation and some are co-owned by our parent company. This influence: Rank and manner in which listings are presented. 
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About the Author
Penka Hristovska
Updated on: May 10, 2024

About the Author

Penka Hristovska is an editor at SafetyDetectives. She was an editor at several review sites that covered all things technology — including VPNs and password managers — and had previously written on various topics, from online security and gaming to computer hardware. She’s highly interested in the latest developments in the cybersecurity space and enjoys learning about new trends in the tech sector. When she’s not in “research mode,” she’s probably re-watching Lord of The Rings or playing DOTA 2 with her friends.