Short on time? Here’s the best VPN for watching BBC iPlayer from anywhere in 2023:
- 🥇 ExpressVPN: Consistently works with BBC iPlayer, provides blazing-fast streaming speeds, has native apps for all major devices, and works with 65+ other streaming sites. Provides world-class security, allows 5 connections, and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Keeping up with your favorite BBC series like Ghosts and Vigil 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 connect to a server in the UK and watch your favorite BBC iPlayer content from anywhere in the world.
A good VPN has servers located all over the world, and when you connect to a VPN server, your actual IP address is replaced with a virtual IP address that matches the location of the VPN server. This way, it appears as if you’re browsing the web from the new server location (including in the UK so you can access your BBC iPlayer account).
I spent weeks testing and researching the top VPNs on the market to find the best options for streaming BBC iPlayer content from anywhere in the world, and I was able to watch BBC iPlayer with my top 3 picks.
Remember, all users in the UK must confirm that they have paid for their TV licensing fee in order to access content on BBC iPlayer.
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.
The 5 Best VPNs for Watching BBC iPlayer Content in 2023
Quick summary of the 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 for fast and smooth streaming.
- 4. NordVPN — Reliable with great security & fast speeds on all servers.
- 5. Surfshark — Good for large families (with cheap plans).
🥇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 always incredibly fast — in my tests, HD videos on BBC iPlayer instantly loaded and played smoothly without buffering. It also includes a convenient and accurate speed test tool so you can make sure that you’re always connecting to the fastest server available.
I really like that ExpressVPN has strong streaming support — in addition to BBC iPlayer, it also works with 65+ 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. Speaking of servers, ExpressVPN has 4 server locations in the UK (in London, East London, Wembley, and Docklands) so you can connect to the server location that is closest to you.
For devices that don’t support VPNs (like gaming consoles and some smart TVs), ExpressVPN offers MediaStreamer, a smartDNS tool that is good for accessing streaming services (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.
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).
When it comes to security, ExpressVPN 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 (frequently changes the encryption key used by the VPN to prevent future and past keys from getting hacked).
ExpressVPN allows 5 simultaneous connections and 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.
🥈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 watching TV shows on BBC iPlayer for Android and iOS — and it also has some pretty good apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, routers (to protect all the devices on your network), 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 offers UK servers in London, Manchester, and Southampton.
One of my favorite things about PIA is that it allows you to customize many of your preferences on your smartphone and tablet — for example, I switched to 128-bit AES encryption from 256-bit AES to get slightly faster speeds. Also, PIA is one of the few VPNs that includes a kill switch for iOS.
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 allows up to 10 simultaneous connections, has flexible plans starting at just $2.19 / month, and backs all plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
🥉3. CyberGhost VPN — Offers a Dedicated Streaming Server for BBC iPlayer
CyberGhost VPN consistently works with BBC iPlayer and even has a dedicated server just for accessing BBC iPlayer — there are also an additional 50+ dedicated streaming servers for streaming platforms in 14+ countries.
The BBC iPlayer dedicated server is optimized to always work with the streaming service and provide faster streaming speeds. These servers frequently change their IP addresses to make it difficult for streaming sites like BBC iPlayer to recognize the VPN server — I tested the BBC iPlayer server multiple times and always accessed the service.
Whether you’re using a dedicated streaming server or a regular one, 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 routers. 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 connections 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 allows up to 7 simultaneous connections, 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).
4. NordVPN — Reliable With Great Security Features & Fast Speeds
NordVPN provides access to multiple security features that keep your data safe online — like Threat Protection, which is one of the best VPN ad blockers on the market and which also gets rid of malicious ads, blocks connections to shady sites, and protects your device from malware-infected downloads. Even better, Threat Protection remains active even if you’re not connected to a VPN server, which is really convenient.
In addition, there’s Dark Web Monitor, which scans the dark web and alerts you if the login associated with your NordVPN account has been leaked. I’m happy to see this, as this is one of the only VPNs on the market that comes with a dark web monitoring feature.
On top of that, NordVPN also comes with other great security features — it has double VPN servers, which add an extra layer of encryption, and it also comes with obfuscation. Plus, the VPN has its own protocol called NordLynx, which is designed to provide strong security and really fast speeds.
NordVPN also has advanced security features, including full leak protection, RAM-only servers, and perfect forward secrecy. Its strict no-logs policy has been independently audited, and it’s also been proven true when one of the data centers that housed one of its servers suffered a data breach and no user data was compromised.
The provider is also great for streaming and torrenting — it works with multiple popular streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, and has a whopping 4,500+ P2P servers. It also provides really good speeds for streaming, torrenting, and other online activities on all of its servers.
I also think NordVPN is a good gaming VPN thanks to its Meshnet feature, which lets you link up to 60 devices over encrypted VPN connections — this helps you host virtual LAN parties securely.
What’s more, this VPN has tons of other perks — it has 5,000+ servers in 55+ countries, comes with split-tunneling, and has really intuitive apps for all major platforms.
NordVPN has budget-friendly plans that start at $2.99 / month. All purchases are backed by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
5. Surfshark — Great VPN for Large Families & Very Affordable
Surfshark allows unlimited connections, which means you can use it on as many devices as you want — so it’s a great option if everyone in your family needs a good VPN. I’m also happy to see this because very few VPNs support unlimited connections.
It comes with really good security features, including CleanWeb, which is one of the best VPN ad blockers out there. In addition, it provides obfuscation, double VPN connections for added security, and IP Rotator, which regularly changes your IP address to make it harder for someone to track your location. The provider also has advanced security features like RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy — however, it’s missing full leak protection (but I never experienced any leaks in my tests).
You also get pretty good streaming support, as the VPN can access top sites like Netflix, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer — though it can’t access Disney+. It also supports P2P downloads across all of its servers.
There are 3,200+ servers in 90+ countries, which makes it simple to use nearby servers for fast speeds. Speaking of speeds, the provider has fast connections on most servers, but I did experience significant slowdowns on very distant servers.
Surfshark is also one of the most affordable VPNs on the market, with plans starting at only $2.30 / month — so it’s also a good pick if you’re on a tight budget. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Streaming BBC iPlayer Content in 2023
- Consistently 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.
- 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, Hulu, and Disney+.
- Fast streaming speeds. All VPNs slightly slow 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).
- Easy to use. All of the VPNs on this list support all of the major devices, are easy to install, easy to use, and easy to connect to a UK server to access BBC iPlayer.
- 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 (the VPN won’t record the websites you visit or the files you download), protection against DNS, webRTC, and IPv6 leaks, and a kill switch (this will disconnect you from the internet if your connection to the VPN server drops).
- Good value. The best VPNs for watching BBC iPlayer include extra features like split-tunneling (allows you to choose which apps use the VPN connection and which use your local network), allow multiple simultaneous connections (ExpressVPN allows 5 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.
- Open the VPN app, connect to a server in the UK, 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 server in the UK, 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 install the VPN on your router (ExpressVPN has a great router app and provides excellent step-by-step instructions on how to complete the process). Once your router is configured to 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
- Download a VPN that can access BBC iPlayer and is compatible with your router. Install a 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 installed and 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.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Content using Amazon Fire Stick
- Download a VPN from the Amazon app store that works with BBC iPlayer. ExpressVPN has an easy-to-use app for Amazon Fire Stick.
- Connect to a VPN server in the UK. Open the VPN app on your Amazon Fire Stick and connect to a VPN server in the UK.
- Launch BBC iPlayer. Once connected to a VPN server in the UK, you’re free to watch the BBC iPlayer content you’re used to from anywhere on your Amazon Fire Stick.
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 65+ other streaming sites.
That said, all of the VPNs on this list are good choices for watching BBC iPlayer. Private Internet Access is great for streaming content on mobile devices, while CyberGhost VPN has a dedicated streaming server for BBC iPlayer that is optimized to always work with the streaming app and provide the fastest streaming speeds.
Can I use a free VPN to watch BBC iPlayer?
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.