Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

BBC TV CentreBBC iPlayer is the premier way to watch shows from the BBC and to keep current with some of your favorite story lines. With BBC iPlayer, you can now watch shows from up to 30 days back, as opposed to the 7 days you could watch in 2014.  Prior to last year, if you missed two weeks in a row, the first week you missed would be unavailable. Even though iPlayer offers 30 days of past programming now, if you are on holiday outside of the UK and want to stay current, you would need a good VPN service.

At the end of the day, you would be blocked from viewing your favorite BBC shows outside the UK because of geo-blocking. Geo-blocking occurs because the software looks for a UK IP address. If it does not see an address from the UK, the site will pop up a message that says “BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only.”

The way you will be able to view your shows is to connect to a VPN service with server locations in the United Kingdom. After connecting to a VPN and obtaining a new UK IP address BBC iPlayer will see you in the UK. As far as choices in VPN services, there are many options that can be confusing. However, we have some great recommendations that will help to simplify your decision. Our selections have custom clients, so getting access and viewing your shows is as simple as selecting a country, and connecting to it. Don’t miss a minute of your favorite BBC shows.

Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

RankProviderPriceVisitVPN Stats
Editors ChoiceExpressVPNExpressVPN priceVisit Site
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ExpressVPN stats
2NordVPNNordVPN priceVisit Site
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NordVPN stats
3CyberGhostCyberGhost priceVisit Site
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CyberGhost stats
4IPVanishIPVanish priceVisit Site
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IPVanish stats
5Private Internet AccessPIA priceVisit Site
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PIA stats

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London brought millions of viewers to the BBC to watch talented athletes from around the world compete for the gold.  The BBC offered excellent coverage of the events.  Many viewers in the United States were unhappy with the NBC coverage.  They were drawn to VPN to unblock access to the BBC to watch live coverage of the Olympics.  Since then, UK ex-pats and others from around the world have continued to enjoy BBC iPlayer by using a VPN.

Things to consider when choosing the best VPN for BBC iPlayer:

  1. If you’re primary goal is to unblock access to BBC iPlayer outside the UK then you’ll want to find a VPN provider with fast VPN servers in the United Kingdom.  It doesn’t really matter whether you connect to servers in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, or elsewhere as long as you connect to a server in the UK.  Doing so will give you an IP address in the UK which will grant you access to geo-blocked content like BBC Player, ITV, Netflix UK, Amazon UK, TVPlayer, and more.
  2. Make sure the speed is acceptable for streaming live shows and sporting events.  I chose the above listed VPNs based on the quality of their networks.  ExpressVPN offers a large network with fast servers in the UK.  The rest of the services also perform well in the UK.  You can read our reviews to see how each service performed in our speed tests.  Regardless of which VPN you choose I suggest using OpenVPN (UDP) for the best performance.
  3. Reliability is also key for watching BBC iPlayer or any other online service.  You want a VPN that will stay connected while you enjoy your favorite BBC shows.  You will find a big difference between the quality of the services listed above and most their competition.
  4. Which devices do you plan to watch on?  BBC iPlayer supports a wide range of devices including PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and several game consoles.  Our recommended VPNs all include custom software for Windows and Mac.  Most also have mobile apps for iOS and Android.  As for game consoles they each support VPN through your router.  That will extend the VPN to every device running on your network.
  5. There are some additional features that are useful for watching streaming service.  The first is Smart DNS which is include with ExpressVPN.  You will find it referred to as their MediaStreamer feature. You can use their SmartDNS to unblock channels around the world without the overhead of encryption.  The other feature that stands out is a VPN kill switch offered by ExpressVPN and PIA.  It will kill your internet connection any time the VPN drops.  That helps protect your privacy until the VPN connection is reestablished.

BBC iPlayer Channels

Let’s take a closer look at all the channels included in BBC iPlayer along with some popular programs on each channel:

ChannelPopular Shows
BBC One1. EastEnders
2. The Syndicate
3. The Interceptor
BBC Two1. Napoleon
2. Japan: Earth's Enhanced Islands
3. An Hour to Save Your Life
BBC Three1. Festivals, Sex, and Suspicious Parents
2. Murder in Successville
3. Stacey Dooley Investigates
BBC Four1. I Capture the Castle
2. How to be Bohemian
3. Your Inner Fish: An Evolution Story
CBBC1. The Next Step
2. Tracy Beaker Returns
3. Hetty Feather
CBeebies1. The Adventures of Abney and Teal
2. Rastamouse
3. Meet the Clangers
BBC News1. Click
2. Film Review
3. Our World
BBC Parliment1. Prime Minister's Questions
2. House of Commons
3. Mayor's Question Time
BBC Alba1. Trusadh
2. Seirm
3. Fuine
S4C1. Pobol y Cwm
2. Mae Gan Glanaethwy Dalent
3. Parch

When you visit the iPlayer site you’ll notice they provide categories for programming.  The categories are as follows:

  • Arts, CBBC, CBeebies, Comedy, Documentaries, Drama & Soaps, Entertainment, Films, History, Lifestyle, Music, News, Science & Nature, and Sport.

You can view our list of top 10 VPN services for more options. I think you’ll be happy with any of the selections listed above. I chose them over other leading VPN providers based on speed, reliability and price.  I also looked for services with a good network of VPN servers in the United Kingdom. You’ll want a reliable VPN provider to help protect your online privacy. You will also want a fast VPN network to stream British shows and movies. The services shared in the post are the best VPNs for other popular UK streaming services like Netflix UK, Amazon Prime UK, ITV Player, NowTV, Sky Go, TVPlayer, and Zattoo UK. They will also help you unblock channels in other countries as well like Hulu and HBO Now.