10 Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer That REALLY WORK in 2020

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer and geoblocks go hand in hand. Trying to tune into your favorite UK TV shows from anywhere but the UK seems impossible, but it’s not. You can easily get around BBC iPlayer’s geo-restrictions with a high-quality VPN.

Before you go searching the highs and lows of the internet, check out my guide I’ve done the hard work for you. Over the last several months, I’ve tested more than 300 VPNs and put together a list of the 10 best VPNs for BBC iPlayer. Only these are reliable for bypassing its tough geoblocks.

My top choice is NordVPN because of its impressive UK server coverage, ability to fly past geoblocks, and incredible speeds. But you can’t go wrong with any of the 10 on this list.

Short on time? Here are the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer

  1. NordVPN – Hundreds of UK servers, reliable performance, and super-fast speeds make this the best all-around VPN to stream BBC iPlayer.
  2. ExpressVPN – Speedy servers ensure buffer-free streaming of your favorite BBC iPlayer programming.
  3. CyberGhost – Strong choice for VPN newbies with optimized BBC iPlayer servers and super-quick setup.
  4. Surfshark – UK servers optimized for streaming and unlimited simultaneous connections for BBC iPlayer and more.
  5. PrivateVPN – Reliable connections for unblocking BBC iPlayer and incredibly helpful customer support.

And five more premium VPNs for BBC iPlayer | Our VPN Research Methodology | FAQs

Start Streaming BBC iPlayer Today!

How BBC iPlayer Finds and Blocks You

BBC iPlayer keeps its content exclusive to the UK using geolocation technology to track your whereabouts. When you’re outside the UK, these geoblocks stop you from tuning in to your favorite British TV shows. So instead of streaming EastEnders or Peaky Blinders, you see an error message like this:

BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.

On holiday or away on business? Even if you live in the UK and are just traveling, you still can’t stream.

A VPN helps you get around these restrictions by assigning you a UK-based IP address when you connect to a UK server. This tricks BBC iPlayer into thinking you’re actually in the UK, so it unlocks its entire library of content for you.

However, this only happens if you find a VPN that actually works. A lot of VPNs stall at BBC iPlayer’s blocks and aren’t powerful enough to get around them. But don’t worry I’ve extensively tested hundreds, and I know exactly which ones are up to the job.

Quick Guide – How to Access BBC iPlayer With a VPN

  1. Choose a VPN that can get past BBC iPlayer’s geoblocks. My #1 recommendation is NordVPN because it’s reliable and speedy for streaming.
  2. Install your VPN and make sure you connect to a UK server — BBC iPlayer only works with UK servers.
  3. Head to BBC iPlayer, sign up or log in, and start streaming!

PRO TIP: If you’re new to BBC iPlayer, remember to enter a valid UK postcode when you sign up, such as SW1A 1AA for Buckingham Palace. Be sure to also click “yes” if BBC iPlayer asks if you have a valid UK TV license.

Unlock BBC iPlayer Now!

The Best VPNs for BBC iPlayer – Full Analysis (Updated October 2020)

To unblock BBC iPlayer from outside the UK, you need a VPN that’s up to the task. I’ve spent months testing over 300 VPNs, and I’ve only found 10 that really offer what you need.

1. NordVPN – Fastest and Most Reliable for Streaming BBC iPlayer

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with NordVPN.

  • 690+ UK servers and SmartPlay feature to easily BBC iPlayer’s geoblocks
  • Lightning-fast speeds to prevent lag and buffering
  • Unlimited data for unrestricted streaming
  • 6 connections per subscription
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, CBS
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Linux, Firefox, routers

You’ll see NordVPN on a lot of my recommendation lists because it’s a solid choice for most online activities, especially streaming.

NordVPN has 5,530 servers in 59 countries, with over 690 in the UK alone. That’s the highest UK server coverage I’ve seen — and I’ve tested a lot of VPNs.

Its SmartPlay feature is designed for streaming, combining VPN technology with Smart DNS so it can bypass tough geoblocks easily. And it works — I accessed BBC iPlayer on every UK server I tried. I even had my colleagues in France, India, and Australia try, and they also streamed with no issues.

NordVPN’s speeds are lightning-fast, and there’s unlimited bandwidth, so you won’t see speed restrictions. During testing, I wasn’t disappointed.

Connection Ping – ms Download Speed – Mbps Upload Speed – Mbps
Starting speed in the US 11 55.73 11.88
Quick connect UK server 154 47.58 11.22
Manual connect UK server 234 42.11 10.89

A loss of just 14.62% from my starting speed in the US is remarkable. With a download speed of 47.58 Mbps, I enjoyed lag-free access to BBC iPlayer, and I was able to stream in HD all day long.

I also tested during peak hours between 6 and 9 p.m., but it didn’t affect my speeds at all. In fact, at 7 p.m., my speed actually spiked to 49.84 Mbps.

The UK #1841 server performed best for me, so I added it to my favorites to reuse it every time I log on. But no matter which UK server you choose, you have HD streaming guaranteed.

Try NordVPN risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. I connected with the 24/7 live chat to initiate my refund, and I had confirmation in about 10 minutes.

Want to know more? Explore our NordVPN review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Try NordVPN Today!

2. ExpressVPN – High Speeds for Limitless BBC iPlayer Streaming

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with ExpressVPN.

  • 3 UK server locations and 3,000 worldwide
  • MediaStreamer for watching BBC iPlayer on smart TVs, games consoles, and more
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Linux, Firefox, routers

ExpressVPN has servers in 3 UK locations, and I was able to access BBC iPlayer on every one I tried. The app was so quick to connect that getting to BBC iPlayer took only a matter of seconds.

ExpressVPN performed impressively in my speed tests, so it’s no surprise that I was able to stream in HD with no delays.

Connection Ping – ms Download Speed – Mbps Upload Speed – Mbps
Starting speed in the US 11 55.73 11.88
Quick connect UK server 148 44.83 7.09
Manual connect UK server 103 39.85 9.75

At most, I lost 28.49% of my speed, and this was during peak hours. My speed never dropped below 39 Mbps throughout the months of testing, which is impressive and well beyond the 5 Mbps you need to stream in HD.

ExpressVPN has unlimited bandwidth and data, so I binge-watched Sherlock and Killing Eve to confirm it. I watched for about 8 hours with no interruptions or reduction in speed.

I also tested ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer. This lets you bypass geo-restrictions on devices that don’t usually support VPNs. I used it on my PlayStation 4 and found it really easy to set up using the video tutorial on the website.

Even though I found everything about using ExpressVPN to be easy, I wanted to check out its customer support. I tried its 24/7 live chat for help with choosing a server and setting up MediaStreamer. I also used it to test out the VPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee. I answered a couple of questions about why I wanted a refund, and I had my confirmation about 12 minutes later.

Want to know more? Explore our ExpressVPN review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Try ExpressVPN Today!

3. CyberGhost – Optimized BBC iPlayer Servers With Quick Streaming Setup

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with CyberGhost.

  • 400+ UK servers
  • Optimized streaming servers for BBC iPlayer
  • Easy-to-use apps and quick setup
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, CBS
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Linux, Firefox, routers
Halloween 2020 Limited Deal: CyberGhost is offering a special 83% off its 3-year subscription! It’s only available for a short time so be sure to grab it before it’s gone! For more active VPN discounts and offers, check out this deals page.

CyberGhost has a widespread global network, including over 400 servers in the UK. I tested 237 of these servers and was able to access BBC iPlayer every time. CyberGhost’s optimized streaming profiles for BBC iPlayer made it even easier to find a reliable, speedy server.

During my speed tests, I could easily access BBC iPlayer and stream hassle-free, despite it not being as fast as some of the other services on this list.

Connection Ping – ms Download Speed – Mbps Upload Speed – Mbps
Starting speed in the US 11 55.73 11.88
Quick connect UK server 191 10.18 8.19
Manual connect UK server 151 20.61 10.51
BBC iPlayer optimized server 128 36.98 10.32

Interestingly, I had better speeds when I connected manually to a UK server than when using the quick-connect function. When I tried the optimized BBC iPlayer server, I had better performance yet again — this time to 36.98 Mbps download, which is super fast.

Stick with the optimized servers if you want episodes to load quicker. Although I didn’t run into any buffering, episodes took around 4 minutes longer to load with manual-connect servers.

One of my favorite things about CyberGhost is its easy-to-use apps. Download and setup took less than 5 minutes, and I was able to unblock BBC iPlayer and start streaming just minutes after that.

CyberGhost is one of the more generous services with a 45-day money-back guarantee — as long as you sign up for 6 months or more.

Got questions about how to get started or what to do next? Use CyberGhost’s 24/7 live chat service. Its advisors were always quick and helpful when I asked questions.

Want to know more? Explore our CyberGhost review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Try CyberGhost Today!

4. Surfshark – Unlimited Connections and Servers Optimized for Streaming BBC iPlayer

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with Surfshark.

  • Reliable servers for BBC iPlayer in 3 UK locations
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections to watch on as many devices as you like
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Linux, Firefox, routers

If I had to use one word to describe Surfshark, it would be unlimited. This VPN is all about giving you unlimited access to an unrestricted internet. It even allows unlimited simultaneous connections.

While its server network isn’t as large as other leading vendors, there are still plenty of IP addresses available for reliable, speedy streaming of BBC iPlayer. I didn’t run into any geoblocks while accessing the platform – and I tested all 3 UK locations.

I was really impressed with Surfshark’s speeds during testing. From the US to the UK, I lost less than 5% of my base speed – I was able to watch episode after episode with zero buffering and consistent HD quality.

Connection Ping – ms Download Speed – Mbps Upload Speed – Mbps
Starting speed in the US 11 55.73 11.88
Quick connect UK server 149 53.26 10.96
Manual connect UK server 201 47.78 7.46

Surfshark’s NoBorders mode makes streaming from restrictive countries easier. My research team in Russia was able to break through geoblocks to access BBC iPlayer and stream unlimited not a lot of VPNs offer this kind of freedom.

All of Surfshark’s apps are incredibly easy to use and finding an available server couldn’t be simpler. If you need to access BBC iPlayer in a hurry, test it out on your cell phone – the mobile app was the fastest to connect.

Support-wise, Surfshark has 24/7 live chat. The reps were helpful when I asked for help with installation and inquired about what services the VPN can unblock.

It’s risk-free to test out Surfshark’s feature-rich packages when you take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee, so give it a try.

Want to know more? Explore our Surfshark review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Try Surfshark Today!

5. PrivateVPN – Reliable Speeds for BBC iPlayer Streaming and Excellent Customer Support

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with PrivateVPN.

  • BBC iPlayer-optimized server for guaranteed access
  • 6 device connections
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Linux, Firefox, routers

PrivateVPN has servers in 6 UK locations, with a server in London specifically optimized for BBC iPlayer. All of them are reliable — I can say so with confidence because I tested them.

For a smaller VPN, PrivateVPN offers impressive speeds.

Connection Ping – ms Download Speed – Mbps Upload Speed – Mbps
Starting speed in the US 11 55.73 11.88
Quick connect UK server 112 36.98 9.25
Manual connect UK server 125 32.53 9.11
BBC iPlayer optimized server 93 41.65 9.98

Despite the compact server network, I maintained a quick speed of 36.98 Mbps, which far surpasses what you need to stream content in HD. It even survived the peak time rush, as my speeds only dropped to 29.78 Mbps in the evening. With just a 21% speed decrease, I was still able to stream with no buffering or lagging whatsoever.

There’s live chat available 24/7 for setup assistance and setup guides if you need other support. You should also try out its remote support if you’re new to VPNs. An agent set up the app for me via a remote connection, so I didn’t need to do anything myself.

PrivateVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out for a month to experience its premium features risk-free.

Want to know more? Explore our PrivateVPN review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Try PrivateVPN Today!

A small assortment of devices compatible with SaferVPN.

  • UK servers designed for streaming
  • 5 connections per account
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Linux, Firefox, routers

SaferVPN has got several valuable features, but what I’ve always liked about it is just how speedy it is – both in terms of connections and app navigation.

The VPN’s selection of UK-based servers means plenty of different IP addresses — I unlocked BBC iPlayer with every one I tested.

I was impressed with SaferVPN’s performance throughout my testing, as I was able to stream in HD most of the time. My speeds did decrease by 54.25% after three hours of streaming, though, which caused a small amount of lagging in the last few episodes.

Setup is easy, and you can connect to a server in seconds. I was able to launch the VPN and head over to BBC iPlayer in no time. If you need help, live support agents are on hand 24/7. There are helpful step-by-step guides, too.

Use the service on up to 5 devices at the same time. If there are any issues, you can take advantage of SaferVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee to get a refund.

Want to know more? Explore our SaferVPN review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Try SaferVPN Today!

7. Hotspot Shield – Fast, Reliable Streaming

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with Hotspot Shield.

  • Fast servers in 2 UK locations
  • Unlimited data for unrestricted access
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, DAZN
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Firefox, Android TV

Hotshot Shield has an impressive global network, but it only has servers in 2 UK locations. While I would prefer more connections, I can’t argue with results: I bypassed BBC iPlayer’s geoblocks with every server I tried. I had colleagues test from France, Canada, and Australia, too, with no problems.

Hotspot Shield’s servers are all optimized for streaming, which gave me great performance when streaming BBC iPlayer. My speeds were fast enough for zero buffering, lagging, or fuzzy pictures.

Hotspot Shield offers easy navigation and a simple interface across all of its apps. I even set the VPN to connect automatically as soon as I opened the BBC iPlayer app on my smartphone, which meant I could bypass blocks without thinking about it.

Its 24/7 live chat is always available if you have questions. But if you’re ready for a test run, take advantage of Hotspot Shield’s generous 45-day money-back guarantee.

Want to know more? Explore our Hotspot Shield review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Try Hotspot Shield Today!

8. ZenMate – Reliable, Optimized Streaming Servers

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with ZenMate.

  • BBC iPlayer-optimized servers for guaranteed streaming connections
  • Reliable speeds and unlimited data for limitless binge-watching
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Linux, Firefox, routers

Zenmate has 3,500 servers in 74 countries, which is pretty impressive for a smaller VPN. More impressive is its UK server coverage of 270+ across 2 UK locations.

When I tested BBC iPlayer from the US, ZenMate unlocked it instantly, and I was able to stream in HD with minimal buffering to interrupt my streaming. All of the BBC iPlayer optimized servers worked every time, too.

I found Zenmate’s speeds to be a little shaky at times, but despite this, I dealt with only minimal buffering before streaming in HD.

Tempted by what ZenMate has to offer? You can try it out risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee or 7-day free trial.

Want to know more? Explore our ZenMate review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Try ZenMate Today!

9. VyprVPN – User-Friendly Interface and Quick Setup

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with VyprVPN.

  • Reliable UK connections and guaranteed access to BBC iPlayer
  • User-friendly interface that’s quick and easy to set up
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Linux, Firefox, routers

VyprVPN’s UK servers are in London, and they reliably unlocked BBC iPlayer every time I tested them.

The service offers reliable speeds, but they’re not always very fast. Many times, my stream took a few moments to load, but once I pressed play, I was able to watch with minimal buffering. The worst time to stream was during peak hours — the slow connections caused a lot of lag, which was annoying.

VyprVPN’s app has a user-friendly interface that’s simple to navigate. It only took me two minutes to set up. Finding a UK server is straightforward, but sometimes it took a while to connect, especially on mobile.

If you’re on the fence about VyprVPN, consider that it has 24/7 live chat support and a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out with no risk.

Want to know more? Explore our VyprVPN review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Try VyprVPN Today!

10. HMA – Avoid Blocks With IP Shuffling

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with HideMyAss VPN.

  • UK servers optimized for streaming
  • 5 connections per account
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, DAZN, Sky
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Linux, Firefox, routers

HMA has a collection of UK servers that are optimized for streaming, and they work well. I accessed BBC iPlayer on every server I tried.

Its speeds are steady, but HMA’s servers are capped at 10 to 20 Gbps bandwidth. That’s still really fast, as long as you can avoid congestion.

My speeds dipped by as much as 83% when servers were busy, but at quieter times, I only lost around 42%. Either way, you’ll have to sit through a small amount of buffering, but then you can stream your HD shows on BBC iPlayer.

If you need support, there’s a helpful 24/7 live chat team available. HMA also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out risk-free.

Want to know more? Explore our HMA review to see the full results of our research and testing.

Try HMA Today!

The VPNs That Don’t Work With BBC iPlayer

My research showed there were lots of VPNs that couldn’t get around BBC iPlayer’s geo-restrictions, including these:

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access is great for many things, but streaming BBC iPlayer isn’t one of them. I had no luck on any of its UK servers. It can unblock many other streaming sites, though, including Netflix. Find everything you need to know in our full Private Internet Access review.

IPVanish

IPVanish often comes out high in our tests because it has high-speed servers, unlimited P2P connections, and solid security features at a great price. But it won’t grant you access to BBC iPlayer. Read our IPVanish review to find out everything it can do.

PureVPN

While its website explains how to use this VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer, I couldn’t access it no matter how many times I tried. It’s worked in the past, but right now, all you’ll see is an error message. It can unblock several Netflix libraries, though, and it offers quick, secure browsing. Take a look at our PureVPN review to find out more.

Unblock BBC iPlayer With NordVPN!

Research Methodology

In an effort to find the best VPNs for unblocking BBC iPlayer, I reviewed over 300 services and spent months carefully testing and comparing my results. I used several devices to ensure compatibility and tested at different times of the day. Here’s what I specifically looked for:

  • Speed and reliability that let you stream content seamlessly with no interruptions from buffering or fuzzy pictures.
  • Unlimited data and bandwidth so you stream as much and as often as you like.
  • Vast server coverage in the target country to give you a better streaming experience. With high server counts, you get more IP addresses for BBC iPlayer, which means it’s less likely to detect and block your access.
  • Device compatibility and simultaneous connections so you can watch wherever you are, on any device.

FAQs

? Is BBC iPlayer free?

Yes, BBC iPlayer is free to use. To start streaming, you simply need to create an account and choose a UK postcode. You’ll also need to select “yes” when it asks if you have a UK TV license.

Why don’t all VPNs work with BBC iPlayer?

BBC iPlayer is known for its tough geoblocks. It easily detects VPN technology, which means that it blocks many VPN IP addresses. However, all the VPNs on this list are guaranteed to stream BBC iPlayer. But remember, some servers might not work if BBC iPlayer has already detected and blocked them. If this happens, just switch to another server.

? How does BBC iPlayer detect VPNs?

BBC iPlayer’s geoblocks are strict. It crawls the internet to find IP addresses that look like they belong to VPNs. BBC iPlayer adds any that it finds to an IP address blacklist and immediately blocks them, which is why you sometimes find VPNs with a few UK servers that don’t work, while others do.

On top of this, BBC checks every IP address that comes to its site. If it sees one that hundreds or even thousands of users are sharing, it’ll block that address, because it’s easily identifiable as belonging to a VPN.

? Can I watch BBC iPlayer in the US?

Yes, but you’ll need a VPN to watch BBC iPlayer in the US. Using a VPN, you can connect to a UK server, set up a BBC iPlayer account, and start streaming all your favorite British TV shows. NordVPN is my top choice thanks to its advanced features, blazing speeds, and reliability for streaming in HD.

Start Streaming BBC iPlayer Now!

The Bottom Line

BBC iPlayer’s geo-restrictions are tough. I know this as a fact as I’ve taken several months to test over 300 VPNs to find those that can really unblock the streaming site. After all this testing, I found just 10 VPNs that can easily get around these blocks.

NordVPN is my #1 choice to stream BBC iPlayer because it provides incredible speeds, hundreds of UK server choices, and no limits on how much you can stream.

To summarize, here are the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2020

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