Only 3 Steps (Quick + Easy) to Watch BBC iPlayer from Anywhere:
- Step 1: 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, Hulu, and Disney+.
- Step 2: Connect to a VPN server in the UK. Open the app and select a server in the UK.
- Step 3: Log into BBC iPlayer. Access your BBC iPlayer account, search for your favorite shows, and start binging.
Keeping up with your favorite BBC series is difficult when you travel abroad. This is because BBC iPlayer is only available to users inside the UK, and if the streaming service detects that you’re connecting from outside the UK, it will deny you access to the platform.
However, you can use a VPN to access BBC iPlayer abroad. The VPN will change your IP address with a new IP from the country you connect to, making any site you access think you’re connecting to it from that location. Just connect to a server in the UK and watch your favorite BBC iPlayer content from anywhere in the world.
But not all VPNs work with BBC iPlayer. And out of the ones that do, many have very slow streaming speeds, buggy apps, and are overpriced.
That said, all the VPNs on this list are great options for watching BBC iPlayer while traveling abroad. ExpressVPN is the best one due to its blazing-fast HD and 4K streaming speeds and very intuitive apps.
IMPORTANT: all users in the UK must confirm that they have paid for their TV licensing fee in order to access content on BBC iPlayer.
Best VPNs for Watching BBC iPlayer Content in 2023
- 🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for watching BBC iPlayer content.
- 🥈2. Private Internet Access — Great for streaming BBC iPlayer content on mobile devices.
- 🥉3. CyberGhost VPN — Offers a dedicated BBC iPlayer streaming server.
- 4. NordVPN — Secure VPN for accessing BBC iPlayer.
- 5. Surfshark — Affordable VPN for streaming BBC iPlayer.
- Comparison of the Best VPNs for Accessing BBC iPlayer.
🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Watching BBC iPlayer Content
ExpressVPN is my favorite VPN for streaming content on BBC iPlayer — it works with BBC iPlayer 24/7, provides blazing-fast streaming speeds, and has excellent security (it’s also ranked #1 on our list of the top 10 VPNs in 2023).
ExpressVPN is incredibly fast — in my tests, HD and 4K videos instantly loaded and played smoothly without buffering.
I really like that ExpressVPN has strong streaming support — in addition to BBC iPlayer, it also works with 100+ streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more, allowing you to access all your favorite streaming content with a single VPN.
ExpressVPN’s apps are also very easy to use — it has native apps for Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, routers, and even Kindle Fire. Each app only takes 1–2 minutes to install, and its interface is very intuitive, which makes it easy to find and connect to a UK server. 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 for instant access).
There’s also MediaStreamer, a smart DNS tool that is good for accessing streaming services on devices that don’t support VPN apps (but it won’t encrypt your activity) — and I was very impressed with ExpressVPN’s step-by-step guides on how to set up MediaStreamer on practically any device.
ExpressVPN also provides strong security since it has a strict no-logs policy that has been independently audited and verified. ExpressVPN also has RAM-only servers (no data is kept on the hard drive and all data is deleted at every reboot) and perfect forward secrecy, which frequently changes the encryption key used by the VPN to prevent future and past keys from getting hacked.
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.
Read our full ExpressVPN review
🥈2. Private Internet Access — Great for Streaming BBC iPlayer on Mobile Devices
Private Internet Access (PIA) has feature-rich, customizable, and easy-to-use apps for Android and iOS — and it also has some pretty good apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, and smart TVs.
The mobile apps have a quick-connect feature that automatically connects you to the fastest available server in your current location, and if you travel outside of the UK, it’s incredibly easy to manually find the fastest server in the UK — just filter the server list by favorites, latency (a convenient speed metric that measures how long it takes your internet signal to reach the server), and name to help you quickly find the fastest server to watch BBC iPlayer. PIA also allows unlimited connections, so your whole family can use it to access BBC iPlayer.
The apps also let you customize many of your preferences — for example, I switched to 128-bit AES encryption from 256-bit AES to get slightly faster speeds.
While ExpressVPN is still the fastest VPN on this list, PIA still provides fast speeds — in my tests, BBC iPlayer content in HD loaded in 3–4 seconds and never buffered.
PIA has a robust list of security features — it has a strict no-logs policy that has been proven in court documents, and it also issues transparency reports that detail all data requests it receives. Private Internet Access also has RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy, and its apps are open-source, meaning anyone can read through the code to check for holes in security.
Private Internet Access has flexible plans starting at just $2.11 / month and backs all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Try Private Internet Access now
Read our full Private Internet Access review
🥉3. CyberGhost VPN — Offers a Dedicated Streaming Server for BBC iPlayer
CyberGhost VPN has a dedicated server just for accessing 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. These servers frequently change their IP addresses to make it difficult for streaming sites like BBC iPlayer to recognize the VPN server — my colleague in the UK tested the BBC iPlayer server multiple times and always accessed the service.
All of CyberGhost VPN’s servers provide pretty smooth and fast streaming speeds. However, CyberGhost is a little slower than ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access (HD content loaded in about 4–5 seconds and played with very minimal buffering).
CyberGhost also has intuitive native apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and smart TVs. It comes with a very user-friendly quick-connect tool and also makes it easy to manually find a server with its well-organized server list (and there’s a search bar).
I really like CyberGhost VPN’s Smart Rules feature that is available on Windows and macOS — it lets you customize your connection settings. For example, you can choose an app (like BBC iPlayer) to automatically open when you connect to the VPN, and you can automatically connect to a specific UK server when you open BBC iPlayer.
CyberGhost VPN has flexible plans that start at $2.11 / month and backs all yearly plans with a 45-day money-back guarantee (the monthly plan has a 14-day risk-free window).
Read our full CyberGhost VPN review
4. NordVPN — Secure VPN for Accessing BBC iPlayer
NordVPN provides secure streaming on BBC iPlayer. The VPN has Threat Protection, which blocks ads, trackers, and malicious sites — so it can protect you from shady BBC iPlayer clones. What’s more, the feature also protects you from malware-infected downloads.
Also, there’s a dark web monitoring tool that alerts you if your NordVPN account login credentials have been leaked on the dark web. This feature might be helpful if you use the same login details for your BBC iPlayer account.
On top of that, the provider has advanced security features, including RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, and full leak protection. Also, its no-logs policy has been independently audited several times.
The VPN is pretty fast, though it’s still slower than ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and CyberGhost VPN. In my tests, most HD videos loaded in 2 seconds and didn’t buffer, while 4K videos took 4 seconds to load and there was minor buffering at the start.
I also like how the VPN comes with a smart DNS and SmartPlay, a feature that mixes VPN and smart DNS technology across all of the provider’s servers to make it harder for streaming sites like BBC iPlayer to detect and block your VPN connection.
NordVPN’s plans start at $3.29 / month, and the provider backs all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
5. Surfshark — Very Affordable VPN for BBC iPlayer
Surfshark is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market. So it’s a pretty good pick if you need a VPN to access BBC iPlayer and are also on a tight budget.
The provider’s apps are very intuitive. The interface is simple to navigate, it only takes 4 seconds to find and connect to Surfshark’s UK servers, and all settings and features come with helpful explanations. What’s more, the provider also allows unlimited connections.
You get decent speeds with Surfshark. In my tests, HD videos took only 3 seconds to load and there was just minor buffering at the start, and 4K videos loaded in 5 seconds and there were no quality drops while skipping through them. Still, ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access provided me with much faster speeds.
The VPN is also pretty secure, as it comes with RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, and an audited no-logs policy. It also has IP Rotator, which regularly changes your IP address without disconnecting you from the VPN server — this might make it harder for BBC iPlayer to detect and block your VPN IP address.
Surfshark’s plans start as low as $2.30 / month. Also, the provider backs all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review
Comparison of the Best VPNs for Accessing BBC iPlayer in 2023
|VPN||Starting Price||Smart DNS||Split-Tunneling||Number of Connections||Money-Back Guarantee|
|1.🥇 ExpressVPN||$6.67 / month||✅||✅||5||30 days|
|2.🥈 Private Internet Access||$2.11 / month||✅||✅||Unlimited||30 days|
|3.🥉 CyberGhost VPN||$2.11 / month||✅||✅||7||45 days (long-term plans only)|
|4. NordVPN||$3.29 / month||✅||✅||6||30 days|
|5. Surfshark||$2.30 / month||✅||✅||Unlimited||30 days|
How to Choose the Best VPN for Accessing BBC iPlayer in 2023
- Look for a VPN that works with BBC iPlayer. In order to watch BBC iPlayer content, the VPN needs to have servers in the UK and must access BBC iPlayer 24/7. My top choice for watching content on BBC iPlayer 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 is able to access all top streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.
- 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 access 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.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Content on Any Device
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Content on Your PC or Mac Device
- 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.
- Download and install the VPN. This process should only take 1–2 minutes. Just follow the installation wizard’s instructions.
- Connect to a UK server and log into your BBC iPlayer account. You can now watch BBC iPlayer content from anywhere in the world.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Content on Your Smartphone or Tablet
- Pick a VPN for BBC iPlayer for iOS and Android. My top pick is ExpressVPN for its easy-to-use mobile apps.
- 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.
- Open the VPN app, connect to a UK server, and open BBC iPlayer. Now you’re ready to binge your favorite BBC iPlayer content.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Content on Your Smart TV
- Download a reputable VPN. I prefer ExpressVPN thanks to its very easy-to-install apps for smart TVs and routers.
- For Android TVs. Download a VPN app from the device’s app store. ExpressVPN has an easy-to-install app for Android TVs.
- 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.
- Connect to a server in the UK and open BBC iPlayer. That’s it. You can now start watching BBC iPlayer content on your Smart TV.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Content on Your Gaming Console
- Get a BBC iPlayer VPN that is compatible with your router. Set up the VPN to your router so any devices connected to your network will be protected, including your Xbox and PlayStation. My top pick is ExpressVPN because it has fast speeds and an easy-to-install app for routers.
- Connect to a VPN server in the UK. Connect your router’s VPN to a server that is located in the UK.
- Open BBC iPlayer. Once the VPN is running on your router, the gaming console you connect to the router will be protected. Simply open BBC iPlayer on your device and watch your favorite episodes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best VPN for streaming BBC iPlayer content?
ExpressVPN is my top choice for watching content on BBC iPlayer — it’s able to access 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. A VPN will allow you to access BBC iPlayer when traveling abroad, but unless you have a valid BBC iPlayer account, you won’t be able to log in and stream content.
Is it legal to watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN?
Yes, it’s completely legal to watch BBC iPlayer using a VPN — however, BBC iPlayer will prevent you from streaming content if it detects that you are logging in from outside the UK or using a VPN. BBC iPlayer is only available to users who live in the UK and have a valid TV license. My favorite VPN for watching BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world is ExpressVPN.