Best VPN for BBC iPlayer (2020)

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best VPN service for BBC is, then we recommend the NordVPN as the best one.

BBC iPlayer is one of the most popular streaming services today.

Available on a wide variety of devices, the on-demand service gives users access to a wide collection of movies, TV shows as well as live sports.

Unfortunately for Brits abroad, BBC iPlayer is geo-restricted and most of the content can only be viewed from within the UK.

Thankfully, using a VPN you can spoof your location and make it appear as if you are browsing from the UK. This allows you to unblock the iPlayer and continue watching your favourite shows when travelling abroad.

However, given BBC’s tight control of VPNs and proxies, finding a reliable VPN service provider can be challenging.

Top-Rated VPNs to Stream BBC iPlayer

PlaceProviderFeaturesBest Price
1NordVPNThe Best All-Around VPNGet Discount
Number twoSurfsharkThe Affordable AlternativeGet Discount
3ExpressVPNGreat for High SpeedsGet Discount
4CyberGhost VPNPerfect for StreamingGet Discount
5IPVanishGreat for SecurityGet Discount

Why is the BBC iPlayer restricted to the UK?

Due to rights and licensing agreements, BBC iPlayer can only be accessed from within the UK.

Even if you have a valid TV licence, you won’t be able to access most of the content when travelling abroad.

This includes all programs airing on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies, BBC News, and BBC Parliament.

When you try to use the service, you will most likely get the following message:

“BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”

BBC iPlayer was never meant for an overseas audience, however, BBC has expressed interest in allowing UK licence fee payers to access BBC iPlayer when they are abroad in the future. Until then, you’ll continue having limited access to the service.

What does a VPN do?

A Virtual Private Network for BBC iPlayer allows you to bypass geo-restrictions and unblock your favourite movies and TV series.

Basically, the VPN works by encrypting your internet traffic and tunneling it through a secure server located in the UK.

This not only grants you access to the popular British streaming service but also guarantees your security and privacy while online.

The problem with many VPNs

Not all VPNs will work with BBC iPlayer. Sometimes, even a previously dependable iPlayer VPN may stop working. BBC knows that people will always try to bypass their geo-blocks. As a result, the company is always updating its security to make sure that doesn’t happen.

BBC has put in place powerful VPN detection systems to catch bogus IP addresses. Once a VPN IP is detected, BBC blacklists it ensuring it no longer works to unblock their content. If your Virtual Private Network is no longer working, it could be that BBC iPlayer has blocked the specific IP address you’ve been using.

Sometimes switching to a different UK VPN server may solve the problem. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to look for a new VPN service provider.

We recommend getting a Virtual Private Network that not only replaces blacklisted IPs but also offers dedicated IPs. This will ensure reliable and ultra-fast access to BBC services.

Free vs Paid BBC iPlayer VPNs?

Do free VPNs work? And if so, why not just get one and avoid the cost of subscribing to a paid VPN service? This is a question that many people ask.

If you want to use a free VPN to watch iPlayer, you can easily do so. There are lots of free VPNs available today that will unblock the streaming service in an instant. But there is a catch. Most if not all free Virtual Private Networks provide limited bandwidth, reduced connection speeds and a limited number of server choices.

Video streaming is a bandwidth intensive activity and any VPN that has a data cap simply won’t cut it. Free VPNs have been known to provide shaky connections that are very unreliable and causing users to suffer untimely disconnections every now and then. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Most free Virtual Private Network providers log personal data and sell it to advertisers and other interested third parties. This, combined with fact that they also use less secure encryption protocols, can seriously compromise your privacy.

How to choose the right Virtual Private Network for BBC iPlayer?

Not all VPNs are created equal. If you are considering using a VPN to unblock the BBC iPlayer, here are some of the features you should look at.


The speed and stability of your connection can make or destroy your viewing experience. You should look for best-rated VPNs with consistently good speeds and guaranteed uptime.

A good VPN should provide connection speeds close to those delivered by your ISP. This will help you avoid buffering lags, especially when streaming high definition videos.

Servers location

When choosing a BBC iPlayer VPN, you should go for a provider with plenty of servers in the UK. The more the merrier! If a Virtual Private Network doesn’t have a server in the UK, it will not work with BBC iPlayer.

Having plenty of servers on offer will also mean you’re more likely be able to find a fast connection.

Privacy and security

Privacy and security are important regardless of what you’re using a VPN for. Basically, the encryption standards the VPN service offers determine how secure the connection is. The most common protocols include PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN and IKEv2.

If all you want is to unblock BBC iPlayer, you might want to opt for a less encrypted protocol that will ensure better speeds and the highest video quality.

We recommend you choose a Virtual Private Network that supports OpenVPN which is not only highly secure, but also very fast. You should also make sure that the VPN offers the mobile-friendly IKEv2 if you’re planning to access iPlayer on your smartphone.

Simultaneous connections

Does the VPN allow several connections per account? And if so, how many devices can you connect at the same time?

Having a Virtual Private Network that supports simultaneous connections will allow you to access BBC iPlayer content on all your devices. This can come in handy especially when travelling with friends or family.

Top VPNs for BBC iPlayer

1. NordVPN

NordVPN is an excellent option for accessing BBC iPlayer.

This VPN comes with a robust set of features making it not only one of the best BBC iPlayer VPNs, but also overall, one of the best performing VPN services in the world. NordVPN offers fast and secure servers making it ideal for unblocking online streaming.

Although there is some variability in connection speeds, all servers are stable with 99% guaranteed uptime.

NordVPN uses top-notch security standards including AES-256 encryption, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, OpenVPN and SSTP protocols for maximum security while online.

If online privacy is a concern for you, then you’ll be thoroughly impressed by the VPN’s ‘no logs’ policy and anti-tracking features.

A single account can support up to six simultaneous connections and this makes the Vitual Private Network service a fantastic choice if you use multiple devices.

NordVPN is compatible with a wide range of devices and offers slick apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, IOS and Android TV as well as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.


  • User-friendly and intuitive apps
  • Double encryption
  • Onion over VPN servers
  • Zero logs
  • No bandwidth limit
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Ad blocking feature


  • Server speeds can vary

2. ExpressVPN homepage

ExpressVPN is undoubtedly one of the best VPNs for watching BBC iPlayer and it’s no secret why.

The VPN offers servers in different locations across the UK allowing users to connect to the most reliable option.

What really stands out about ExpressVPN is its speed. The service offers ridiculously fast connections making it perfect for streaming. You’re able to smoothly watch your favourite movies and TV shows in HD and even 4K.

ExpressVPN comes with 256-bit encryption and DNS/IPv6 leak protection and automatically launches at startup keeping you protected at all times. Additionally, the Virtual Private Network features a Kill-switch and you can rest easy knowing your privacy will still be protected in the unlikely event that your VPN connection drops out.

Another great feature is split tunneling which allows you to direct your iPlayer app traffic through the VPN, while granting all other connections direct access to the internet. ExpressVPN is compatible with all major platforms and can be installed on most devices including PC, tablet, smartphone and smart TV.


  • Wide server coverage in the UK and across the globe
  • Excellent speeds
  • P2P sharing
  • Powerful AES-256 encryption
  • Zero activity and connection logs
  • Automatic Kill Switch
  • Split tunneling
  • User-friendly apps
  • 24/7 customer service
  • 30-day money-back guarantee


  • Slightly expensive for monthly subscribers
  • No free trials

3. CyberGhostVPN

CyberGhostVPN website

CyberGhost has a web of servers not only in the UK but also across the world.

With over 2600 servers in 60 other countries, the VPN not only enables you to unblock BBC but also Sky, Netflix, Hulu and many more others. In the UK alone, CyberGhost has over 300 servers ensuring connections are always available.

As for security, CyberGhost doesn’t disappoint. The VPN features best-in-class AES-256 encryption and a wide array of protocols from PPTP and L2TP/IPsec to the highly-secure OpenVPN. Additionally, CyberGhost VPN blocks malicious content and online tracking further enhancing your safety online.

The only downside we found was the 1-month plan, which is rather expensive for most users. However, this can be offset by CyberGhost strict 30-day money back guarantee. The other plans are fairly priced and quite affordable.

You can access BBC iPlayer on all your devices with CyberGhost VPN for Android, iOS, Mac and Windows. The Virtual Private Network is easy to install and users have access to 24/7 customer support.


  • 2600 servers in 61 countries
  • 256-bit AES Encryption
  • DNS and IP Leak Protection
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Automatic kill-switch
  • Strict no logs policy
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 7 devices
  • Full feature free trial
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • 24/7 customer care


  • A bit expensive if you are on the 1-month plan

4. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN website

Another great and reliable VPN. Based in Sweden, PrivateVPN boasts fasts speeds and 98.8% guaranteed uptime.

You can smoothly browse the internet, stream your movies and TV shows and even download torrents. With multiple high-speed servers in the UK, PrivateVPN is a fantastic option for unblocking BBC iPlayer.

PrivateVPN’s super-fast connections are protected by military-grade AES 256-bit key encryption and users are afforded a wide choice of protocols including PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, IKEv2 and SSTP. DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch are top features, as in double encryption.

So, if you are looking for a Virtual Private Network provider that offers fast connections without compromising your security and privacy, PrivateVPN has got you covered.

PrivateVPN offers an easy to use software and compatibility for Mac, Windows, IOS, Android and Kodi.


  • Unlimited bandwidth and speeds
  • 100 plus servers locations in 56 countries
  • Unlimited server switches
  • AES-256 bit key encryption
  • Zero data logging
  • Automatic kill switch
  • P2P connections
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • Supports all major OS platforms
  • 30-Days money back guarantee
  • Professional customer support


  • Connection speeds can vary

5. VyprVPN website

VyprVPN has fast and secure servers in the UK making it a great option for streaming BBC iPlayer.

Their proprietary Chameleon™ VPN technology offers great ge0-spoofing capabilities helping defeat censorship and geo-blocking.

With Golden Frog’s VyprVPN, you can enjoy unlimited speeds and bandwidth allowing you to stream high definition videos without worrying about data caps. And thanks to the service’s unlimited server switching you easily choose the fastest servers at any given time as well as obtain a new IP if need be.

Besides fast speeds, VyprVPN also impresses with strong encryption ensuring your connection is protected from end to end. The service does not log user data and offers DNS leak protection and a kill switch ensuring users enjoy the highest levels of anonymity.

However, they do temporarily retain session data which might be a turnoff if privacy is your top priority.

VyprVPN offers easy-to-use apps for Mac OS, Windows, iOS, Android, TV and router.


  • Simple easy to use interface
  • 200,000+ IP addresses
  • Unlimited server switching
  • Zero throttling
  • NAT firewall
  • Zero restrictions
  • 24/7 support team


  • Retains session data

Whether you are in the US, Australia, Canada or anywhere else in the world, you can easily catch up on your favourite TV shows like Peaky Binders and EastEnders.

We found NordVPN to be the best VPN for BBC iPlayer thanks to its excellent speeds and geo-unblocking capabilities.


Is it legal to use a VPN with BBC iPlayer?

Yes, it’s totally legal to use a VPN or proxy with iPlayer. While BBC obviously does not want you to, it won’t land you in any legal trouble. That’s unless you are located somewhere like China where all VPN use is banned.

The good news is, in the majority of countries around the world, VPNs are perfectly acceptable and legal to use.

Can I use a BBC iPlayer Virtual Private Network on my phone?

Absolutely. Most VPNs for BBC iPlayer provide Android and iOS applications and you can easily install and run them on your phone at no extra cost.

Can I use a VPN to stream iPlayer on my Kodi box?

Yes, but this will depend on your VPN service provider.

Generally, most Virtual Private Network for BBC iPlayer providers support popular Kodi boxes such as Chromecast, Fire TV, NVidia Shield TV and a host Android TV boxes.

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