Best BBC iPlayer VPN 2017 – What to Do if Your BBC VPN is Not Working

Summary (Updated 01.10.2017): Licensing restrictions, including the need for a British postcode and a valid TV license, have made it more difficult for those living abroad to access iPlayer, the BBC’s online streaming and catch-up service. But if you’re one of the many that still wants to access the great content that it hosts, all hope is not lost. We’ve put some of the most popular VPNs through their paces and honed in on those with strong UK server footprints and reliable speeds for streaming. ExpressVPN is our top choice of provider.

Our recommended vpn to watch BBC iPlayer is Express VPN.

BBC iPlayer VPN

Best for BBC iPlayer

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Why Use A VPN For BBC IPlayer Abroad Or In The UK?

Effective 2017, the UK’s national broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) announced that users will be required to have a valid UK postcode in order to access iPlayer, its online ‘catch up’ service’ which is used to stream over 7.6 programmes per day, according to its latest published report.

The announcement followed shortly after the broadcaster also stipulated that users will need to hold a current TV license to access the site. In addition, the broadcaster will be allowed to match email addresses to catch those trying to access iPlayer that haven’t paid for their license in a further bid to control access to the popular service. All this represents a significant step up in enforcement efforts: as late as last year, user accounts were not even required to access iPlayer!

While BBC’s attempts to restrict access to its content are understandable, there is one group who have legitimate reasons to be annoyed by the new measures.

Those are the countless British expats living around the world who may still have a British postcode (and valid TV license) but are no longer physically resident in Great Britain. We’ve heard about this problem from those living in the USA, Australia, France, Canada, Spain, and Germany and all want a way to VPN BBC iPlayer.  So, our team of expert reviewers have put all the major tools through their paces and come up with this list of the best VPN services on the market that will allow you to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.

VPNs encrypt and tunnel internet connections through servers which are usually located in a different geography than where the user is trying to access the content from. Because the user’s traffic connects to the internet from the VPN server, this changes the computer’s public IP address to match the location of the server. For those trying to watch BBC iPlayer abroad, for example, this can make it seem as if the user is trying to view Coronation Street from cloudy Manchester rather than while sipping cocktails by the pool in Lanzarote (an altogether more tempting option, or at least we think so!).

Why Is My BBC IPlayer VPN Not Working?

Just as Netflix began an aggressive clampdown on VPN access (see how to access US Netflix abroad), the BBC has been taking measures designed to deny users the ability to watch BBC iPlayer abroad through a VPN connection.

The methodology taken to apply these restrictions is relatively straightforward. If enough traffic is detected exiting a similar server location in the UK and there are reasonable suspicions that it is being run by a VPN operator, that IP address is blacklisted, thereby denying users access. Despite this attempt to foil users’ attempts to watch BBC abroad, it’s still possible to gain access. How? By simply choosing a VPN provider that is able to quickly provision new VPN servers as soon as ones that arouse suspicions are blacklisted. Alternatively, discerning users can chose an operator with a wide server network in that country (because even if some are blacklisted, others may not be).

The BBC IPlayer VPN Workaround

Assuming that your VPN has enough servers to be able to reliably allow you to watch BBC abroad (and we’re willing to risk a guess that that’s why you’re reading this!), you simply need to jump around between servers until you find one that isn’t blacklisted (if, of course, any are at all).

iPlayer VPN Solution 1: If you successfully connect to a VPN server in the UK and still run into a screen like this, simply connect to another server in the UK.

how to unblock bbc iplayer with a VPN

iPlayer VPN Solution 2: The second tactic that can be tried to watch BBC abroad is to purchase a dedicated IP address located in the UK to tunnel a VPN connection through. For the tech-savvy, this can be done privately. For those less technically inclined, a number of commercial providers offer this service. It’s important to note, though, that these can still fall prey to prevention efforts if IP patterns can trace such IPs back to a server hosting them.

Best BBC IPlayer VPN In 2017

If you’ve decided that a BBC iPlayer VPN is the route you’d like to do go down to watch iPlayer abroad, read our top  choices to decide what will be the best VPN for BBC iPlayer for your needs. All of the services listed below are also top VPN for Android and iPhone, so you won’t be limited by the device when BBC streaming.

#1 ExpressVPN to Watch BBC iPlayer

ExpressVPN includes a thirty day money back guarantee with its plans in addition to offering an ultra-fast connection that’s still considered industry-leading. The service boasts server clusters in six locations around the United Kingdom and is known for quickly getting new servers up and running if needs be.

Why it’s a hot choice:

  • Six UK server clusters
  • Ultra fast speeds that are industry leading.

The service costs $12.95 for one month’s access falling to $6.67 when yearly subscriptions are taken out based on 3 extra months special, a 49% discount.

Sign up with ExpressVPN here.

Best VPN for BBC iPlayer

Exclusive Limited Time Deal: 12 Months + 3 Months FREE for a yearly subscription.

$6.67 $12.95

#2 NordVPN to Watch BBC iPlayer

This no-log provider is a staple favorite for the ultra privacy conscious. Although NordVPN only has one server in the UK, it’s a reliable name with bulletproof security that is a good choice to access BBC iPlayer abroad for that reason alone.

Why it’s a hot choice:

  • Its no log policy mean that connections are totally anonymous.
  • Double encryption is a further boost to security.

NordVPN is priced $11.95 for a one month subscription and $5.75/month on the one year plan. Their best offer currently gets down to $3.29 per month for a 2 year subscription, a 72% discount.

Sign up with NordVPN here.

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#3 PrivateVPN to Watch BBC iPlayer

PrivateVPN is known for operating a high quality infrastructure network to guarantee strong speeds across its network and for not throttling connections according to usage (good for those that want to catch up on an entire week’s worth of Eastenders!). The company also operates two servers in London and one in Manchester and offers a wide variety of protocols to suit those requiring a specific kind of VPN connection.

Why it’s a hot choice:

  • No throttling
  • Three UK-based servers

PrivateVPN costs $8.21 per month falling to $4.15 when 13 month subscriptions are purchased (one month is free). A 30 day money-back guarantee is also included.

Sign up with PrivateVPN here.

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#4 IPVanish VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer

 If user-friendliness is at the top of your wish list for an iPlayer VPN, then you could do worse than subscribe to IPVanish. This provider also happens to feature a massive UK server footprint, operating in Belfast, Glasgow, Liverpool, London (where the company has 49 servers!), Manchester, and Notingham. While the server network is top notch, however, connection speeds are somewhat slower than alternative providers and its money-back guarantee only extends for 7 days.

Why it’s a hot choice:

  • Nice user interface which is perfect for beginners
  • Massive UK server network.

IPVanish costs $10 for one month falling to $6.49 per year, a saving of 46% on the monthly subscription.

Sign up with IPVanishVPN here.

#4 VPN for BBC iPlayer

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#5 PureVPN to Watch BBC iPlayer

This VPN provider, founded in Hong Kong, offers from nice perks for those hoping to land upon an iPlayer VPN that delivers what it promises. PureVPN promises to avoid ISP throttling to eliminate buffering during streaming and supports all major devices including Kodi, Smart TV, Amazon Fire, and Chromecast, making it a great choice for those wanting to access the iPlayer app. Five UK-based servers are operated in Manchester, London, Maidenhead, Gosport, and Leicester.

Why it’s a hot choice:

  • No buffering streaming is great for accessing multimedia sites, like iPlayer.
  • Wide platform support is perfect for those hoping to catch-up on episodes from any device.

PureVPN costs $10.95 for 1 month falling to $2.80 per month when two year subscriptions are taken out.

Sign up with PureVPN here.

#5 VPN for BBC iPlayer

Exclusive Offer - Get 70% off for a 2 year subscription plan.

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The BBC IPlayer VPN Workaround

The BBC’s attempts to enforce aggressive content practice protection shouldn’t spell doom for the countless users with a legitimate desire to watch BBC abroad. Choosing a VPN provider with a wide server network that is willing to quickly provision new servers should any fall prey to detection measures is key to getting ahead of the posse. For its industry-leading speeds, strong UK server network, and proven ability to get new sites up and running quickly, ExpressVPN is our top choice for BBC iPlayer streaming.

If you want to use the best VPN to connect to the BBC iPlayer, download and install ExpressVPN today.

Best VPN for BBC iPlayer

Exclusive Limited Time Deal: 12 Months + 3 Months FREE for a yearly subscription.

$6.67 $12.95

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28 Comments
  1. Reply Nope@email.com'
    Jen
    December 28, 2015 at 4:13 am

    Nope – none of this because
    BBC . If we detect you might be using a VPN, you’ll be unable to play programmes. This is because we’re unable to detect the end point of your private network; we need to be confident you’re in the UK.

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      December 30, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Hey Jen – nice name 🙂
      You are right – due to piracy concerns, as of October 2015, VPN users have been blocked from using the BBc iPlayer.
      At least we can still catch a lot of those shows on Netflix and Hulu
      https://securethoughts.com/how-to-watch-netflix-outside-the-usa/
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Reply Jason.tunnicliffe@googlemail.co.uk'
    Jason
    May 3, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    BBC Iplayer dose not work – don’t buy it

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      May 9, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Jason,

      Can you describe how BBC Iplayer isn’t working for you ?

  3. Reply dave@bulktext.ie'
    David Young
    May 15, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    I tried to access and download BBC iPlayer last week using BufferedVPN from South Africa. Despite trying all of their locations within the UK, BBC iPlayer is blocked. This article explains why https://torrentfreak.com/bbc-iplayer-blocks-uk-vpn-servers-over-piracy-concerns-151016/

    It’s time that BufferedVPN acknowledged that the BBC has them stumped, so they should stop advertising their UK VPN’s because it causes a huge amount of frustration!

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      May 16, 2016 at 9:00 am

      Thanks David,

      We have updated our recommendation to BufferedVPN, their servers don’t seem to be getting blocked by BBC. It is a bit of a hit and miss situation at the moment where things are fluid and changing daily. Give them a try and let me know how it goes.

      Thanks for the update.

  4. Reply nospam@nospam.goaway.uk'
    M Davison
    June 8, 2016 at 7:26 am

    A UK VPN IP number is no longer sufficient to access iPlayer. It’s fraudulent to suggest to people that they should pay for a VPN so that they can get iPlayer; when the BBC are blocking all recognised VPNs ‘and’ requiring browsers to have geo-location enabled…. which is an additional layer of geo-information that the user needs to be able to spoof.

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      June 20, 2016 at 10:12 am

      M Davison,

      We have tested the Buffered VPN after you made this comment from the USA and we were able to access BBC player. Have you tested this yourself or are you just saying that ? We tested this 24th of June 2016.

  5. Reply andyybonfacebook@btinternet.com'
    Andy B
    June 24, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    From France connecting to the BBC iplayer using BufferedVPN and Firefox in Win10 does not work. I player is blocked.

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      June 28, 2016 at 9:22 am

      Sorry to hear that Andy, unfortunately its a constant struggle of workarounds and blocks with these services. Hopefully BufferedVPN can fix the problem soon so people can enjoy the BBC iPlayer again.

      Best,
      Lyndon

  6. Reply saamsmith2@gmail.com'
    sam smith
    July 13, 2016 at 12:49 am

    BBC have blocked VPN access to iPlayer. Looks like some VPN providers have a fix for this already, hopefully Totalvpn will soon too

  7. Reply Dongen.arjan@gmail.com'
    Alfred
    September 17, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Ipvanish is not working anymore for BBC iPlayer… tested all locations but they see its VPN i guess its because of their domainnames of the servers… all ipvanish in it. Posted a question of their Facebook page.

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      September 18, 2016 at 5:49 am

      Hey Alfred,

      Sorry to hear about this. Chances are it’ll be a constant back and forth here for quite a while. Let us know if you find out anything!

      Best,
      Lyndon

  8. Reply lclement4@gmail.com'
    Louise Clement
    September 23, 2016 at 6:43 am

    I just paid for Buffered VPN and it doesnt work with BBC iplayer 🙁
    How do I get my money back?

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      September 28, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Hello Louise,

      Sorry to hear about your issues, it seems to be a constant back and forth between content providers and VPN service providers. I would recommend contacting their customer service department to see if there is anything you can do.

      Best,
      Lyndon

  9. Reply pentwynfarm@hotmail.com'
    Carol
    October 21, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    I have been using MediaHint to watch BBC iPlayer. It worked fine until last week. Now I can’t get it to work at all.

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      October 28, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      Hello Carol,

      How odd. Have you tried contacting their customer service or support options to see if you can get an explanation from them?

      Best,
      Lyndon

  10. Reply davidpalmer24@hotmail.co.uk'
    David
    November 22, 2016 at 2:22 am

    The BBC is blocking VPN’s now, of course some vendors make it easy for them by making their IP’s easy to track.

    Sadly privateinternetaccess.com is one such sloppy network, I even used their hidden IP’s that are only available once connected but all seem to be banned. Hell even basic popular sites that do not need a VPN do not work with many PIA IP’s.

    Their support is a bit dire, rude staff on chat (when it is working) and a 4 hour response time on messages. They also refuse to help on geo issues around content (e.g. the BBC)

    I would take issue with you promoting HMA, based on your own criteria. HMA not only keep logs but they DO NOT SUPPORT torrents and will even terminate your service if they get a report from a content provider that you have used their service for that purpose.

    I have not heard of your headline deal called Buffered VPN, I will test it myself if it does indeed have a money back guarantee.

    I would also like to suggest some other criteria

    1. You should not have run your PC as an Admin to use the service (this is highly dangerous and exposes your PC to malware)

    2. They should openly support Torrents

    3. Not doing data logging is not enough, there needs to be no accessible customer records, it was bad enough when Russian authorities raided PIA and took all their servers but the US too gets injunctions. There has to be a chinese wall between the payment info and the customer name (which should always be anonymous).

    4. Ideally you should not need an App to use the service. PIA have a way to do this where you create an LL2P config in windows, they provide the LL2p login in their portal. Apps are OK I am just saying you should have a choice.

    5. The other thing that is needed is a huge number of servers in a lot of Countries. HMA wins with the sheer number of servers and Counties but a bit pointless if you can’t do torrents. PIA has not been bad for torrents, although from time to time the server connection crashes out exposing your real IP.

    Sadly a lot of sites are refusing to even work if they detect a VPN is in use, so we may be forced to use the dark web in future.

    • Reply
      Lyndon Seitz
      November 28, 2016 at 6:08 am

      Hey David,

      Thank you so much for this information and feedback, I saw your other comment and I apologize for not getting back to this sooner, I didn’t check the comments over the holiday. I’m certain this will help other readers.

      Best,
      Lyndon

  11. Reply Mariaelisabeth1904@gmail.com'
    Phillippe
    January 16, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Found this article & comments interesting. Don’t understand enough technically to be able to grasp some of the comments, however thought I’d mention a couple of things re-VPNs I’ve recently encountered. I’ve tried several different VPN companies, & at present am using IPVanish. I’d been accessing BBC iplayer OK, when on holiday in Europe, then after 1st Oct it suddenly detected my VPN supplied UK IP address as not my actual geo location, even though I always have geo location off. What has proved interesting is that Channel 4’s All4 App sometimes, but not always, accepts or declines access to their programmes, and with IPVanish I’ve discovered that its mostly using one of their 30+ London based servers that allows them to detect my IP address as a VPN one, so I usually switch to another town location, usually with success.
    However………. since moving to France recently, I need much more frequent, regular access to BBC content on iplayer, and recently started buying Programmes from the relatively new BBC Store App. Bear with me here, as it has now become clear that since I started, as recently as Dec 2016, BUYING BBC Store programmes, which I can both download AND watch on BOTH the iplayer App AND BBC Store App, somehow Auntie Beeb’s iplayer App has determined that because I’ve bought the programmes, it ignores the VPN IP address and lets me download & watch them, BUT then if I try and download & watch an iplayer programme, unbought, it immediately refuse ps me access, saying I’m out of the UK! Go figure! What the BBC seems to be doing here is disallowing my VPN IP address to access ‘non bought’ programmes, but even though I’m still signed in using my BBC ID, it ignores my detectable VPN IP address if I purchase a programmes, even though it IS STILL a legal requirement only to both buy & download ALL BBC content while in the UK. It seems Auntie Beeb is not only playing clever at catching out VPNs but also playing ‘fast ‘n loose’ by ignoring them to allow one to both purchase & download programmes!
    Its looking like the headline should read …….”Public Service Broadcaster Cafe” offers an expensive crop of ‘rehashed meals’ on its Menu. Takeaway service at extra cost on request”

  12. Reply Jwordley@gmail.com'
    John W
    March 26, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    As an expat Brit living in Canada I would love to get legal access to iplayer. I did briefly make it work with Hula but that stopped after a few weeks. I am puzzled as to why the BBC don’t sort out the licensing or copyright issues so I can purchase a monthly subscription through whatever source. There was a BBC subscription service on the Apple Store a couple of years ago but they shut that down after a year or so. I would gladly pay $15/month to get “auntie BBC” and then cut my cable connection. I installed an antenna last year which gives me more than enough local OTA TV channels. So come on BBC get with the program and earn some more revenue!

  13. Reply Nick.king2@virgin.net'
    Nick King
    May 17, 2017 at 8:03 am

    A few years back, I set up my own VPN (openVPN) server in my house in the UK hosted on a ‘RaspberryPi I was able to do this because 1) I have a good enough upload bit rate of 10MB/sec and 2) I know how to achieve this. I have. to say, it .has never let me down.

    More recently, I was keen to see how my little home grown set up worked compared to a VPN subscription with PIA VPN. I set it up on my Firestick using the ‘OpenVPN for Android’ client.

    As for the iplayer, it all seems fine but I know that the BBC are trying to stop folk from using a VPN and I guess it must be by learning IP address ranges owned by VPN servers (Looks like Netflicks have done just that). So, I would like to think that an ‘expat’ can ask a relation living in the UK to help by setting up a VPN server along with a Dynamic DNS. Also making sure they don’t watch things they shouldn’t!!!!

  14. Reply Anne_Elliot@slingshot.co.nz'
    John Griffiths
    August 23, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I v’e been using PIA now for 3 years all ok with BBCiplayer then on 21st Aug 2017 the BBC started blocking me (I was logged in from London or Southampton).
    Question now is “who does a VPN that can beat BBC?”

    • Reply Ilana.k@webpals.com'
      Ilana
      September 3, 2017 at 11:47 pm

      Hi John,
      We would suggest ExpressVPN or NordVPN for BBC iPlayer.
      Thank you! Ilana

  15. Reply artisticforge@yahoo.com'
    niemand
    September 6, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Have you tried ExpressVPN or NordVPN today? Nearly all VPN with servers in the UK are geo-blocked from BBC iPlayer and in some cases bbc.co.uk/news. “bbc.co.uk” is being rewritten as “bbc.com” which indicates that the BBC assumes that the connection is being made from outside the UK. Given the new technology that the BBC is using I doubt that any VPN service will be able to access BBC iPlayer.

    Accessing BBC iplayer from outside the UK using VPN has come to an end.

    • Reply Ilana.k@webpals.com'
      Ilana
      September 7, 2017 at 12:46 am

      Hi Niemand,
      I was advised by customer service to try disconnecting and reconnecting to the VPN once or twice to try to watch iPlayer.
      Your feedback is always appreciated.

      Thank you,
      Ilana

  16. Reply adrian.kilvington@ntlworld.com'
    adrian
    October 7, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    i have just tried nordvpn from aus to watch bbc iplayer. it worked fine yesterday and has now stopped so its obviously detected my vpn. Would kodi work or is that a non starter as it still needs a vpn?
    thanks

    Adrian

    • Reply avi.bu@webpals.com'
      John
      October 10, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      No, Kodi won’t work as you will still need to use a VPN.

      NordVPN has more then 115 servers IPs in the UK. You can try switching to a different server, that should solve the problem. You can find the full list here.

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