Disclaimer: Partnerships & affiliate links help us create better content. Learn how. Learn how.
BBC iPlayer is the home of streaming and lots of catch-up TV from all of BBC’s channels, including BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, kids TV, and even radio stations.
Shows include everything from live sports to award-winning series’ like Peaky Blinders, and it’s free-to-air with no ads for any UK resident. For everyone else, a VPN is the best way to access the streaming service in its native form.
To save you time, we’ve compiled a list of the best BBC iPlayer VPN providers in 2023.
Top 5 VPNs for BBC iPlayer
Add to Compare
Feature-rich VPN with strong privacy practicesVisit NordVPN
- Sleek app that's easy to use
- Vast array of security features
- Fast download speeds
- Expensive short-term plan
- Does not accept PayPal
- Basic browser extensions
NordVPN will have your back if you’re looking for a capable provider that can unblock streaming services like BBC iPlayer along with many others like Netflix. With nearly 5,500 servers across 60 countries and over 440 in the UK alone, you have plenty of chances to connect to iPlayer. They even offer Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, and obfuscated servers if you’re hoping for additional privacy options.
They note that, “BBC iPlayer is currently accessible on all devices with NordVPN’s UK servers.” That was certainly true during testing, and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee for all subscriptions just in case.
To find out more, check out our extensive NordVPN Review.
Add to Compare
All-in-one solution with a massive server networkVisit CyberGhost
- Fast, secure & easy to use
- Supports torrenting/P2P
- Up to 7 devices per subscription
- No OpenVPN option on Mac and iOS
- UK-based ownership
- Router config. requires a learning curve
CyberGhost makes it even easier to unblock BBC iPlayer, with a Streaming tab containing a list of popular sites it can access. (It’ll even open iPlayer in your browser for you.)
They have over 680 servers that are physically located in the UK region, and they can also be used for P2P file sharing, which makes CyberGhost one of the best VPNs for torrenting. Their network makes use of over 7,900 servers overall, so you’ll never run out of IP addresses, and it’s unlikely to be overloaded.
CyberGhost’s no-logs policy and NoSpy servers will also help you evade government surveillance and baffle your internet service provider, making it a well-rounded option.
Read our CyberGhost VPN review to find out more about its subscriptions and features.
Add to Compare
Powerful VPN with diverse functionalityVisit ExpressVPN
- Fast, reliable speeds
- Verified no-logs policy
- Safe, unrestricted torrenting/P2P
- No kill switch on iOS
- Pricey subscriptions
- No WireGuard support
BBC iPlayer can be accessed with ExpressVPN, which is one of the best in the business if you’re solely aiming to unblock the widest range of UK streaming services. They have 6 server locations in the region, coupled with 24/7 live chat support and a range of additional features.
ExpressVPN is slightly more expensive than the norm, but it’s still a decent value for the money when you consider it unblocks almost any streaming service without breaking a sweat. Speeds are capable as well, and security is airtight.
Is it worth the outlay? Check out our ExpressVPN review to find out what we think.
Add to Compare
Emerging VPN with a sleek UI & industry-low pricingVisit Surfshark
- Great value for the money
- Top pick for unblocking streaming sites
- Unlimited device connections
- Based in the Netherlands
- Slow upload speeds on far-away servers
Surfshark is a viable option for BBC iPlayer. They also happen to offer some of the cheapest VPN package prices available – especially when put up against premium competitors such as NordVPN and CyberGhost seen above.
Their British VPN servers are based in London, Manchester, and Glasgow spread across both England and Scotland. Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is one of the safest jurisdictions for a VPN company to avoid potential privacy issues. (There’s no relation to the UK government despite the name, and the territory has its own data laws.)
5. Private Internet Access
Add to Compare
Long-standing provider with robust security featuresVisit Private Internet Access
- Affordable premium subscriptions
- Up to 10 simultaneous connections
- Secure & customizable encryption
- Room for interface improvements
- Limited advanced features
- Lacking recent no-logs policy audit
Private Internet Access (PIA) is another solid VPN if you’re hoping to unlock the BBC iPlayer website from anywhere in the world. If you’re looking for streaming support, PIA is also able to provide access to the following Netflix libraries:
They have a trio of server locations in the UK that are perfect for iPlayer which can be found in Southampton, Manchester, and London. It’s just a small part of their vast server network covering 35,000+ servers across 78 countries.
For more in-depth information, read our extensive Private Internet Access Review.
BBC iPlayer FAQs
- Can I watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world with a VPN?
- Are all programs that are broadcast on UK channels available on BBC iPlayer?
- My VPN isn’t working with BBC iPlayer. Are there any solutions?
- Can I use a free VPN provider?
- What can I find on BBC iPlayer?
- Do you need to sign in to watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN?
1. Can I watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world with a VPN?
Yes. A VPN will allow the user to spoof their location, which makes it easier to bypass content locks as they’ll be assigned with a new IP address. (This gives the appearance that you’re connecting to the site or the app via the UK.)
2. Are all programs that are broadcast on UK channels available on BBC iPlayer?
According to BBC iPlayer, no. They state that they “can’t always acquire BBC iPlayer rights for every program [they] broadcast. This is sometimes due to the cost involved in acquiring licenses from third parties or maybe for other legal or contractual reasons. Sometimes [they’re] only able to acquire the rights to stream a program, but not to download it.”
3. My VPN isn’t working with BBC iPlayer. Are there any solutions?
- Make sure you’re connected to a server found in the UK
- If the VPN has a streaming mode or uses specific servers, try them first
- Otherwise, disconnect from the server and connect again. You should be assigned a different IP address which can be used to unblock BBC iPlayer
- Alternatively, delete your cookies or try a new browser
- Lastly, you can try contacting the VPN support page
4. Can I use a free VPN provider?
A free provider is unlikely to have UK servers that haven’t been blocked by the BBC already, while many place caps on connection speeds or the amount of data that can be used. In other words, it’s going to be challenging to find a free VPN that will be able to unblock the iPlayer website, and stream content with no lag.
If you’re planning to watch shows from abroad or while on holiday, we’d advise using a premium VPN to do so. The BBC would prefer if you download the programs while you’re still in the UK and connected to the internet.
5. What can I find on BBC iPlayer?
BBC iPlayer is best known for catch-up services, but you’ll also be able to access several live channels, too. This includes their flagship options in the form of BBC One and BBC Two, news, kids TV, and even BBC radio stations, along with much more. You’ll be able to find a TV guide for iPlayer directly on their website.
6. Do you need to sign in to watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN?
You will need to make an account and sign in to stream BBC iPlayer content. They may ask for a UK postcode when you sign up, and you’ll be prompted to confirm that you have a TV license.
The BBC’s stated mission is “to act in the public interest” by providing “impartial, high-quality and distinctive” content, which will “inform, educate and entertain” everyone who pays a yearly license fee in the UK. They note:
“Money raised from the license fee pays for BBC shows and services – including TV, radio, the BBC website, podcasts, iPlayer, and apps. Almost £3.7bn was raised by the license fee in 2019, accounting for about 76% of the BBC’s total income of £4.9bn.”
That’s how iPlayer is free-to-air with no adverts for UK users.