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 ServiceOur
1ExpressVPN9.8160Visit ExpressVPN
2NordVPN9.487Visit NordVPN
3Private Internet Access9.295Visit PIA
4CyberGhost9.0110Visit CyberGhost
5IPVanish8.873Visit IPVanish

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. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Devices

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Even though there was a short time where sports were not available, many still love them. However, some do not care what the sports are anymore. If you are a sports fan, there are some excellent reasons why connecting to a VPN server with ExpressVPN would be a good idea. No matter what you want to watch or where you live, you will gain access to the various streaming services by connecting to one. Simply select the area of the sport or the specific coverage you want to see, and you can watch as you wish to.

One of the high-security features of ExpressVPN is the VPN kill switch. While it is not unique to the provider, it is certainly important. What that does is literally “kill” your internet connection while you are disconnected. While some people may not care for that feature, others realize that if their VPN connection drops, they are vulnerable to being identified online. ExpressVPN will make sure you are protected by shutting down your internet connection until you reconnect. Doing so will help you stay safe.

ExpressVPN is the #1 rated VPN on our site. We have had the opportunity to compare hundreds of VPN services over the years and ExpressvPN is our favorite. Whether you want to protect your privacy on WiFi networks or unblock streaming services in other countries, ExpressVPN is a good choice. Best of all, you can sign up for 12 months of unlimited VPN access and get 3 months free during our current promotion. The ExpressVPN 30-day money-back guarantee gives you plenty of time to test the service.

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2. NordVPN

NordVPN devices

Whether you like to travel abroad, are an ex-patriot, or just want to stream from other parts in the world, NordVPN can help you. Built into their service is a feature they refer to as “SmartPlay.” It combines aspects of a SmartDNS service and a VPN to allow the user to stream from everywhere. Unlike some SmartDNS services, NordVPN encrypts the connection by having it built-in directly to their VPN. That way, you do not have to worry about taking extra steps to configure the service. All you have to do is connect.

With over 5100 servers located in 59 countries, NordVPN has a massive network. That is an excellent thing if you are trying to make sure you get high speeds. Of course, encryption overhead can quickly slow down your connection. They have you covered no matter what you plan on doing while using it. NordVPN does well to offer you the best possible speeds so you can enjoy the positive benefits of connecting to a VPN.

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3. Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access devices

If you are looking for a VPN provider that does not keep logs, Private Internet Access has you covered. Over the years, they have developed a well-known reputation throughout the community. While some companies claim they do not keep logs, but then turn them over to authorities, The team at Private Internet Access continuously takes steps to make sure that they protect their users’ interests. If privacy is important to you, you will find that this one is the right choice to make.

If you are looking to protect your entire family with a VPN, you can’t go wrong with Private Internet Access. Unlike some of its competitors, it offers its users the ability to connect on an unlimited number of devices. That is excellent news for families that want to protect everything. If that sounds like a high number, just remember that the figure takes into account all of the mobile devices, laptops, and possibly routers no matter where they are. As you can see, Private Internet Access has you covered.

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4. CyberGhost

CyberGhost devices

If you cheer for a sports team with an international following, you know how difficult it can be to find good coverage. However, that is why you need to connect to a VPN server from CyberGhost. If you want to resolve this issue, the solution is to find the best location to view it. When you connect to a server in that location, it will make the media company believe you are physically there. That way, you can enjoy the coverage you want to see.

CyberGhost will unblock BBC iPlayer in the UK. You will want to open the VPN app and go to the “For streaming” tab. There you will find the UK server that you need to connect to in order to access BBC iPlayer.

While streaming is prevalent these days, it is not hard to get bored with some of the things available. The solution to boredom is to connect to a VPN server from CyberGhost. All you need to do is choose a server in a different region. When you do, you can gain access to a whole new library of content that you may never have seen before. That way, you can enjoy many new libraries and check out others when you are ready to move on.

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5. IPVanish

IPVanish devices

Whether you are an ex-pat, on a trip, or just otherwise outside of your home country, you will have issues if you try to watch content from your home region. Fortunately, connecting to a VPN from IPVanish will help you change that. From watching the great shows and movies from the BBC to gaining access to Australia’s Stan streaming service and many others, you just need to pick a region. Afterward, you will be able to enjoy everything your favorite streaming service has to offer.

If you are looking for a service with a few encryption protocols, IPVanish has you covered. Those include IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN (still considered to be the gold standard in the community). While those are all excellent options to choose from, IKEv2 is very popular these days. The experts consider it to be what is known as an NGE (Next Generation Encryption) protocol. That means you can count on it to provide you with a healthy level of safety and security. It is especially helpful for mobile devices.

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