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.

RankVPN ServiceVPN Fan
5Private Internet Access$3.33PIA52CheckboxCheckbox

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.

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.

Without further delay, here is a closer look at the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer:

1. Best VPN for BBC iPlayer: ExpressVPN


Sign up for 12 months and get 3 MONTHS FREE on our #1 rated VPN

ExpressVPN brings together fast VPN access with MediaStreamer which acts as a Smart DNS service to unblock access to geo-restricted content. The VPN service will help encrypt your connection and unblock live sporting events. You will even find a list of the latest live entertainment and sporting events on their website. Being in the British Virgin Islands puts ExpressVPN outside the 5 eyes and 14 eyes countries. They maintain a no-log policy that has been verified through high profile legal requests over the years.

ExpressVPN manages a very large VPN network. Beyond the USA, the ExpressVPN network boasts thousands of servers in key locations to help protect user’s privacy. You can connect to their VPN network to protect your privacy, unblock censorship, and watch your favorite streaming services from anywhere.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of using ExpressVPN is their support for a wide range of devices. ExpressVPN offers custom VPN software for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Connect your desktop and mobile at the same time with up to 3 simultaneous connections. You can also install the ExpressVPN web extension for Chrome or Firefox. Want to protect your entire home network with a single VPN account? If so you can use the ExpressVPN router app to set it up. The MediaStreamer feature adds Smart DNS support to devices like game consoles (PS4, Xbox Onw, Nintendo Switch, etc.), media boxes (Apple TV, Roku, Nvidia Shield TV, etc.), and Smart TVs.

ExpressVPN couponSave 49% and get 3 months free with 12 months of our #1 rated VPN

ExpressVPN performed very well in our speed tests. They are a great choice for privacy and to unblock geo-restrictions. Customer support is available 24/7 to provide assistance and answer any questions. Enjoy the best VPN for less with confidence as ExpressVPN offers a 30 day money back guarantee.

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2. Best VPN for BBC iPlayer: NordVPN


Sign up for 36 months for just $2.99 per month (75% discount)

NordVPN is based in Panama which some users prefer to using a VPN company that’s actually headquartered in the United States. You will find that NordVPN has a strong presence in the US with servers located throughout the country. Members have full access to their network in the USA and beyond for a very good price.

You will find that NordVPN has perhaps the best mix of services for the price if you subscribe to a longer term account. All users have full access to their network and custom software. You can connect using the VPN client for Windows or Mac. They also have an easy to use mobile app for Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad) devices. You can use the NordVPN browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. NordVPN offers some advanced privacy features like double VPN, P2P servers, and dedicated IP that really help the service stand out.

Want to access streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world? If so NordVPN is a great choice. They are one of the only VPN services that can still unblock Netflix. You can sign up for unlimited VPN and SmartDNS service from just $2.99 a month with a 3-year membership.

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3. Best VPN for BBC iPlayer: IPVanish


Sign up for 12 months for just $4.87 a month (60% discount)

The USA is home to several popular VPN services, but none faster than IPVanish. We know from personal experience that IPVanish will work quite well no matter what region of the country you are in. Their servers are fast and the VPN service has more server locations in the United States than most VPN providers.

Along with a large footprint in the USA, IPVanish hosts servers in every continent other than Antarctica. Their VPN network has consistently been the fastest in North America in our speed tests. You will find multiple server locations in countries like the US and UK. You can select a location or get more specific by picking an individual server. IPVanish is excellent for gaming but can be hit and miss for unblocking popular streaming services.

When it comes to value IPVanish is hard to beat. They offer unlimited access to their VPN network and custom software for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Firestick and more for $7.50 a month or $58.49 a year. That works out to just $4.87 a month on the annual plan. A 7-day money back guarantee covers all new members.

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4. Best VPN for BBC iPlayer: CyberGhost


Sign up for 36 months for just $2.75 a month (79% discount)

CyberGhost was founded in 2001 by 7 enthusiastic young team members in Bucharest, Romania. Since that time the company has grown into one of the largest VPN services in the world. The team of 50+ members is focused on protecting users privacy. Robert Knapp, co-founder and CEO, continues to lead the team even after they joined the Crossrider group in 2017. Since that time the CyberGhost network has expanded quite a bit.

CyberGhost offers a nice mix of server locations, strong encryption, and the ability to unblock popular streaming services like Netflix, YouTube Red, and Amazon Prime. Some of the channels even let you unblock geo-restrictions for multiple regions. For example, you can access Amazon Prime video content in the US, Germany, or UK. The Windows client also gives you the option to surf anonymously, protect WiFi, torrent anonymously, unblock basic websites (Google, Facebook Instagram, etc.), and choose a server.

The CyberGhost VPN client is one of our favorites. It is very easy to use and includes a number of advanced features to help protect your online privacy. They have a development team in Germany that is continually adding features to the client and mobile apps. You can sign up for full access to the CyberGhost network from just $2.75 a month during their current promotion.

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5. Best VPN for BBC iPlayer: PIA

Private Internet Access

Sign up for 24 months for just $3.49 a month (65% discount)

Private Internet Access (PIA) gives users a few different options. Unlike in the past, you no longer have to set up a profile for each VPN server. Now, you can connect to any of their server locations in 33 countries. The PIA team has organized their servers by region, country, and city. You will find the speed to be fast most of the time.

There are a lot of torrent users who love Private Internet Access. The service includes a feature that will stop your system from communicating if the connection to their service drops. Meaning if your encrypted VPN access is dropped for any reason it will keep you safe.

PIA offers a Windows client and other apps that are simple and easy to use. However, you won’t want to underestimate it. PIA offers different levels of privacy protection depending on your needs. You can control encryption levels to help you find the right balance between privacy and speed.

When it comes to their Windows client the PIA team has included an Internet kill switch. The kill switch will kill your Internet connection anytime the VPN fails. That can really come in handy for those wanting to ensure anonymity. Private Internet Access offers VPN from $3.49 a month along with a 7-day money back guarantee.

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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.