Summary – This article will give a short overview of how, using a VPN for BBC iPlayer, you can override its geo-restrictions and access your favorite BBC streaming content from outside the UK.
BBC iPlayer offers an impressive catalog of TV shows, movies, and British radio.
The BBC has been producing high-quality television, and the demand for them is ever increasing.
the only problem is that BBC iPlayer can be accessed only from within the UK.
Whether you are a UK citizen traveling abroad, or live in another Country and just want to enjoy some quality TV, BBC iPlayer is out of reach.
Why can’t I watch BBC iPlayer from outside the UK?
The main reason BBC iPlayer is blocked from outside the UK is copyright content.
Had they allowed anyone to connect and stream content freely, the BBC would lose potentially millions in advertising and other commercial agreements.
They also would not be able to control royalty payments outside the UK.
For this reason, BBC iPlayer simply blocks traffic from outside the UK.
BBC iPlayer Geo-Restrictions
This is where a VPN gets handy; a good VPN for BBC iPlayer will get you around those pesky geo-restrictions.
But much like Netflix posing great difficulties on VPN’s to override their system, BBC is no different.
Many VPN’s are spotted by their radars, and fail to overcome the iPlayer geo-restrictions.
For this reason, I recommend Cyberghost for unblocking BBC iPlayer.
It is one of the few VPN’s who’s servers and technology can get you full access to BBC iPlayer, and are constantly working to keep it that way.
Here’s the message that shows up when you try to watch BBC iPlayer from outside the UK:
With full respect to the BBC, their content and their copyrights issues – I don’t like anyone telling me what I can or cannot do.
How to Unblock BBC iPlayer (Step by Step)
- First of all, you would need an active subscription to BBC iPlayer. You can Register here.
- Purchase and install a VPN. For all streaming services, I recommend finding a VPN which also supports multiple devices and operating systems. That way, you can set it up on your Smart TV or Streamer.
- Set up a VPN connection to a UK IP address. Only UK residents can access BBC iPlayer, and a good VPN would make them think you are one.
- Login to your BBC iPlayer account and start streaming!
Following a thorough research, I have tested each VPN according to the following criteria:
- Has servers in the UK, and can technically override the geo-restrictions.
- Fast streaming speed. Not compromising for image quality.
- Overall value for money.
Why do I need a VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer?
BBC iPlayer has really strengthened its protections against suspicious IP address activities.
By that, I mean that they are becoming really good at detecting traffic that is not originally from the UK.
Simple proxy services that try to unblock BBC iPlayer are guaranteed to fail.
Also, a large number of VPNs can no longer breach iPlayer’s defenses.
VPNs are, however, your best and last resort to unblock BBC iPlayer just as long as you choose the right VPN for the job.
The way a VPN work is not only changing your IP address as a Proxy does, but also add encryption and security layers to your connection.
Some VPNs have additional IP masking features such as DoubleVPN or Server switching, which makes it even harder for BBC iPlayer to detect.
How does BBC iPlayer detect VPN traffic?
There are a few methods that BBC iPlayer is using in order to detect VPN or Proxy traffic and block it out.
- Server and IP Blacklists – BBC iPlayer is constantly gathering IP addresses where they see traffic from different devices and Operating Systems. In other words, it is very unlikely that the same IP address would be used by a person with different versions of Mac OS, different versions of Windows, Android, and an iPhone at the same time. This is common to VPN traffic where the same servers and IP addresses are shared by thousands of people.
- IPv4 to IPv6 – One other check BBC iPlayer is doing, is to compare your IPv4 address with your IPv6. The IPv4 is your public IP address, and this is what some VPNs and all Proxy services are changing. Your IPv6 is a different encryption for that same IP address, but if your VPN doesn’t change it as well, and the two would show a different IP address encoding then it is quite clear that some manipulation has been done.
The only way for your to unblock BBC iPlayer and bypass its geo-restrictions is by using a VPN that has white-listed servers (constantly gets new servers) and is able to hide your IPv6.
Additional encryption is also necessary so the very basic checks would not be able to expose your original IP.
Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer (Updated: December 2018)
Cyberghost had gone through significant changes in 2018.
What makes it number one on the list is a combination of great features which makes it one of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer and for streaming in general.
First, Cyberghost is tested confirmed to be able to unblock BBC iPlayer.
Second, they boast a download speed of 88 Mbps. which is super-fast.
This makes streaming a smooth and fun experience.
Finally, Cyberghost has one of the best VPN deals you can find.
With only $2.75 for a 12 months subscription with 6 additional months for free and a 45-day money back guarantee.
ExpressVPN has been uncompromising when it comes to investing in their technology.
They are always ahead of the game, and to-date are one of the sole VPN services that can access all blocked streaming content from Netflix to BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, and more.
The first criteria, actually being able to unblock BBC iPlayer checks-out big time.
Not only they can do it, but they are declaring that they are constantly working provide this service to its users.
In terms of speed, I had a great experience. I tried out several different UK IP addresses and with all of them The loading time fast.
The stream was smooth, with no glitches and high image quality.
ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee, no questions asked.
They are considered one of the leading VPN services in the world, and from experience, I completely agree.
Everything was simple and easy, from the installation to the VPN connection and to streaming.
While it seems that NordVPN’s expertise lies in online privacy and security, they seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to unblocking BBC iPlayer.
NordVPN offers several options for UK IP addresses to choose from.
With all but one, the connection was fast enough to watch BBC iPlayer without feeling anything is slower than it should be.
The loading time when a stream started took a few more seconds than expected, but from that point on everything was smooth sailing.
NordVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee, plus at least 4 different pricing packages with the cheapest option at only $2.99 per month.
That is one of the cheapest VPN offers out there.
As part of my constant tests of different VPN, Customer Support and overall service is something is put an extra emphasis on.
You never know when you would need that someone on the other side to help you out.
Their great customer support adds that extra ingredient to a VPN service you would be happy to use.
PrivateVPN supports 4 different IP addresses in the UK, all working to unblock BBC iPlayer.
The streaming speeds were surprisingly good, without compromising image quality.
With good customer service, strong privacy features and geo-restriction override abilities, PrivateVPN is a strong contender in the VPN arena.
They still seem to be young in the game, and hopefully, they would succeed to keep up with BBC iPlayer’s attempts to block them out.
For now, PrivateVPN is a great choice.
They offer mid-ranged pricing, with a 30-day money back guarantee and occasional discounts.
BBC iPlayer VPN not working – Problems resolved
I’m connected with a VPN but still get the error message
– You should try changing to a different IP address within the UK.
Most VPN services would offer, at least for popular Countries, a few options to choose from.
If one of those options gets detected by BBC iPlayer’s radar, simply re-connected using a different UK IP and try again.
I’m being warned for needing a UK TV license
– When you log in you might get a notification stating that in order to proceed you need a UK TV license.
Since they have no real way of enforcing this, they simply trust that you will answer truthfully.
No worries, just click that you have a license and go on with your day. I won’t tell.
During registration, I need to input a valid UK postal address
– This is a mandatory field, and you do need to find a valid UK postcode address, however, no one’s gonna make sure that you actually live there.
To make your life easy, here you can find London postcodes to choose from. You’re welcome!
I’m connected with a VPN, but still get a proxy error message
– BBC iPlayer is working hard to block out VPNs.
Most VPNs will not work for you.
Check out the frequently updated list of BBC iPlayer VPNs I recommend for a successful connection.
Using a VPN for BBC iPlayer has become the go-to solution due to their geo-restrictions.
UK citizens going abroad, or people outside the UK use a VPN so they could watch BBC iPlayer shows.
Though there are a few good VPN options for unblocking BBC iPlayer, I recommend using Cyberghost.