If you want to binge Britain’s best shows but don’t reside in the UK, you can use NordVPN to access the BBC iPlayer!
To be sure, I tested the VPN myself and accessed BBC iPlayer from my tiny hometown in South Africa.
If I can do it, so can you!
However, NordVPN can be temperamental, and certain servers, locations, and IPs can cause hiccups.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way!
I’ll show you how to use NordVPN with BBC iPlayer so that you can access the free streaming site successfully every time.
Continue reading to find out how.
How to Watch BBC iPlayer Outside of the UK With NordVPN?
BBC iPlayer offers audiences outside the UK a fresh list of viewing options.
However, this geo-restricted content can only be accessed using a VPN.
Follow these simple steps to discover how you can watch BBC iPlayer abroad:
- Navigate to the official NordVPN website and select your preferred subscription plan. Once you complete the payment process, download the VPN app to your media device.
- Open your VPN app and choose a UK server to connect to. I chose a London server.
- Use your VPN-protected connection to register a BBC iPlayer account. You’ll be asked to enter your date of birth, email, and password. You’ll also be asked if you have a TV license (select “Yes” even if you don’t have a standard UK TV license).
- Next, you’ll be prompted to verify your email address. Once verified, you can watch all the BBC iPlayer content error-free. However, not everyone has beginner’s luck, and even I had to swap from the UK London server to a UK P2P server before I had success.
Before switching servers:
After switching servers (while connected to a P2P specialty server):
As you can see, I’m well into an episode of the UK’s The Young Offenders!
I mentioned in my intro that NordVPN could be temperamental, and my “how-to” guide is a perfect example of how NordVPN users seldom unblock BBC iPlayer on the first try.
Some may succeed by simply swapping servers (like I did), but others may have to apply different “hacks.”
That’s why I included troubleshooting methods below.
BBC iPlayer Not Working With NordVPN? (Troubleshooting)
If you downloaded NordVPN and connected to a UK server, but you’re still getting the “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK.
Sorry, it’s due to rights issues” pop-up, then try one or a combination of the following troubleshooting techniques:
Get NordVPN working with BBC iPlayer using these “hacks.”
Connect to Another Server
BBC iPlayer actively blocks suspicious servers and IP addresses like other streaming sites.
So, it makes sense that not every server will grant quick and easy access.
The good news is that NordVPN offers an extensive list of servers, including P2P, Dedicated IP, and obfuscated specialty servers.
This means your chances of finding a server that hasn’t been blocked are high!
UK P2P server #1784 opened the gate for me during my test.
Check Your Connection
BBC iPlayer works best with a stable connection that offers sufficient download speeds.
You need a minimum download speed of 5 Mbps to stream BBC iPlayer content.
If your download speed doesn’t meet the requirements, the issue may be your connection.
Check your speed at Ookla for confirmation.
Tip: test your connection speed before and after connecting to a NordVPN server.
This way, you can determine if the VPN’s causing the issue.
If your speed’s poor, try connecting directly via an ethernet cable if you’ve been using a wireless connection.
If this isn’t a solution, you’ll have to contact your ISP to request a speed upgrade.
Restart Your Apps
If you’re using a NordVPN and/or BBC iPlayer app, it may help to do a reboot.
This “switch it off and on again” technique often works because it helps to clear bugs that may be hindering your unblocking attempts.
When you restart, check for any app updates.
If there are updates, activate them before you continue.
While you’re at it, clear your cache to rule out all possible browsing issues.
Try Incognito Mode
If you’re not one to go through the effort of clearing browser cache/deleting cookies, a hassle-free alternative is to go incognito.
Select “Incognito Mode” or the private browsing option on your internet browser to try to access BBC iPlayer outside of the UK without cache being a deterrent.
Contact Customer Support for Advice
Sometimes, the best solution is to go straight to the source.
If you’re still having issues accessing BBC iPlayer, contact NordVPN to see if they can assist.
I found their live chat portal quick and helpful.
Even though I had no real issues connecting to BBC iPlayer with NordVPN, I reached out to the VPN’s support team to see how they’d respond.
Here’s a snippet of a chat I had with one of the provider’s agents:
My agent, Jesse, wanted to ensure my connection was secure and that there were no DNS leaks.
I used dnsleaktest.com to do my test and then provided the agent with a screenshot of my results.
He gave me the “all clear.”
His next piece of advice was to refresh my browser cache.
I played “none the wiser” and told him “It didn’t work” to see what he’d advise next.
Jesse then suggested changing the DNS settings to connect to NordVPN’s server.
He directed me to a DNS support page, where I was provided with step-by-step instructions.
After this, I gave the guy a break and said it worked! I appreciated this as an alternative troubleshooting method.
Kudos to NordVPN for its timeous and persistent support!
The Best NordVPN UK Servers for BBC iPlayer
If you want to browse the web as a UK native and benefit from local perks such as BBC iPlayer, NordVPN has some of the best servers for streaming.
Overall, NordVPN has 440+ UK servers in 4 cities (London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh).
All the servers are fast (I’ll demonstrate a speed test below) and follow a strict no-logs policy.
The question is, which NordVPN server is best for BBC iPlayer?
While NordVPN features a bunch of specialty servers, including Double VPN, P2P, and Obfuscated servers – these connections have a reputation for slowing down speeds so that 4k streaming is hard to achieve.
If your connection is already slow, I suggest sticking to a NordVPN standard server using one or more troubleshooting methods.
Alternatively, you could use NordVPN’s Dedicated IP Server for BBC iPlayer.
Can NordVPN’s Dedicated IP Servers Be Used for BBC iPlayer?
Dedicated IP servers give you exclusive access to your own private server.
Because no one else is using the server, your chances of bypassing regular VPN blacklists created by BBC iPlayer are higher.
You’ll also benefit from a faster and more stable connection.
The catch with a NordVPN dedicated IP address is that it’s not included in any packages.
It’s a separate fixed cost of $70/year (could be more depending on sales tax).
How Fast Are NordVPN's UK Servers?
All VPNs will reduce internet speed by a little.
But NordVPN’s unlimited bandwidth combined with access to upgraded 10Gbps servers will ensure that your online activities aren’t significantly impeded.
Even UK’s servers are optimally fast and great for streaming in 4/5K.
However, some servers are faster than others.
You’ll also want to consider that your distance from each server can influence the end speed (the further you are from a server, the slower your overall connection will be).
To determine which standard NordVPN UK servers are best in terms of speed, I ran a few speed tests using speedtest.net.
First, I tested my average download speed before connecting to NordVPN.
Here are my results:
I used a super slow connection to run my tests (10Mbps). The UK is also a great distance from South Africa - so, consider this will also reduce my speed results.The good news is that I only need a minimum download speed of 5Mbps (remember) to stream BBC iPlayer in HD (phew)!
Next, I proceeded to run speed tests on 5 different standard UK servers.
Each time, I chose NordVPN’s “Fastest Server” suggestion.
Here are my results:
Overview of My Speed Test Results
My average download speed using NordVPN’s UK servers was 5.55 Mbps, a 47% decrease from my non-VPN connection.
The London server gave me the best results.
I also managed to unblock BBC iPlayer using this server when I was in Incognito mode.
Here’s a tabled summary of my download speeds:
|UK Server :||#1906 (London)||#2477 (Glasgow)||#2399 (Manchester)||#2458 (Edinburgh)|
|Download speed results:||5.72 Mbps||5.52 Mbps||5.46 Mbps||5.48 Mbps|
Out of interest, I wanted to know what speeds a Dedicated IP server would give. Here’s what I got:
7.09 Mbps was the fastest connection (to be expected), and I also managed to unblock BBC iPlayer without applying troubleshooting.
NordVPN Alternatives That Are Great for BBC iPlayer
NordVPN is one of my favorite VPNs.
However, it may not be for everyone.
If you like to weigh your options before making a purchase, then consider these alternative VPNs that can be used to watch BBC iPlayer:
Surfshark – Cheap Unblocking VPN
Surfshark has excellent unblocking capabilities – all of which are wrapped in an affordable price.
Another benefit is that a single account can connect to an unlimited number of devices simultaneously.
So, you can stream BBC iPlayer on your TV, tablet, smartphone, or PC without interruption.
ExpressVPN – Strong Unblocking Features
ExpressVPN is a top-rated reliable VPN.
It offers high-end features and has a reputation for unblocking most streaming sites, including BBC iPlayer.
If you hit an obstacle, you’ll have access to 24/7 live chat support.
This provider also has a strict no-logs policy, so no one will know you’ve been streaming using a VPN.
Cyberghost – Dedicated Servers for Streaming
Cyberghost has the advantage of offering servers that are dedicated to streaming.
These servers are continuously tested to work with popular sites, including BBC iPlayer.
As for privacy, CyberGhost is audited annually so that users have peace of mind knowing the zero-logging policy is bulletproof.
Is It Illegal to Use a VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer?
It is not illegal to use a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer or content on any other major streaming services, for that matter.
BBC can also not take legal action to stop you from streaming content with a VPN.
However, the free streaming service provider can block your IP address if it detects you’re using a VPN.
You may also consider that streaming copyrighted content without permission is illegal.
That’s why it’s important to use a VPN with a strict no-logs policy (like NordVPN) to keep your privacy intact.
Is It Safe to Use NordVPN With BBC iPlayer?
NordVPN is safe to use with BBC iPlayer because it offers an independently audited no-logs policy, 256-bit AES encryption, and a Double VPN feature exclusive to the provider.
Apart from keeping your details and online activities safe from ne’er-do-well, it will also hide your unblocking activities from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and government authorities.
This means you’re less likely to get a slap on your wrist for accessing censored or restricted content.
How Many Simultaneous Connections Does NordVPN Allow With BBC iPlayer?
A single NordVPN account will allow you to watch BBC iPlayer on six separate streaming devices simultaneously.
This means up to 6 devices can unblock BBC iPlayer using a single VPN and stream different content at the same time.
This feature allows entire households to enjoy the free UK streaming site globally.
Can BBC iPlayer Detect a VPN?
Streaming services such as BBC iPlayer are smart, and they can detect when a person is using a VPN.
If they find that an IP address has too many connections or a server has been blacklisted, alarm bells raise, and the BBC iPlayer will detect suspicious behavior.
BBC iPlayer is serious about protecting their copyrighted material and has put up some solid blocks to prevent non-locals from accessing this material.
In fact, the streaming provider blocks hundreds of suspicious IPs daily.
However, a high-quality VPN such as NordVPN will work with BBC iPlayer, and the VPN can go undetected when the right servers and/or protocols are used (see my troubleshooting suggestions above).
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market.
It allows you to get through BBC’s tough geo-blocks and access iPlayer, but it also provides users fast speeds and top-notch security.
If you’re keen on streaming some fresh UK-based content from across the globe, then activating a NordVPN account is as easy as 123.
Get NordVPN here and benefit from some juicy discount!
If you’re still unsure if NordVPN is the best VPN for BBC iPlayer, read: Best VPNs for Streaming (NordVPN makes the cut).