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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

BBC iPlayer Not Working With a VPN — Quick Fix for 2024

Andjela Nikolic Updated on 23rd February 2024 Fact-checked by Kate Veale Cybersecurity Researcher

BBC iPlayer doesn’t work with many VPNs since the platform uses strong anti-VPN technology. This is frustrating if you’re a UK resident who uses a VPN for privacy, as you’re not violating copyright or the platform’s T&Cs. A few VPNs work, but even the best can hit a snag.

If your VPN has stopped working with BBC iPlayer, you can try some of my tips to get it up and running again. Some are straightforward, like updating your VPN app, while others may require a bit of technical prowess. Bear in mind that although you can theoretically use a VPN to watch iPlayer from abroad, this could be a violation of copyright.

If none of my methods work, consider switching to a more reliable VPN provider like ExpressVPN. It consistently works for watching BBC iPlayer securely from the UK, plus it’s fast and safe. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free — it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Watch BBC iPlayer in HD >>

Quick Guide: How to Watch BBC iPlayer in HD With a VPN in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN with servers in the UK. I recommend ExpressVPN as the most reliable VPN for BBC iPlayer. It’s fast, secure, and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Connect to a server near you in the UK. Choose a server closest to you for the best speeds. ExpressVPN offers servers in 5 UK locations.
  3. Start streaming. Now, you can continue watching your favorite TV programs and shows on BBC iPlayer without compromising your privacy.
Important. At vpnMentor, we stand firmly against copyright infringement. Using a VPN to stream BBC iPlayer from another country breaches the platform's Terms and Conditions. We strongly recommend adhering to all applicable rules and regulations.

Why Doesn't My VPN Work With BBC iPlayer?

The platform uses a combination of advanced tracking, active scans, and specialized tools to detect and hinder VPN use. As a result, you might not be able to watch BBC iPlayer securely with your VPN despite being located in the UK.

This is because VPNs are sometimes used to get a UK IP address to stream BBC iPlayer from abroad, which is theoretically possible but goes against the platform’s Terms of Service. Not only that, it is also a copyright violation. Here’s why some VPNs don’t work:

  • They use virtual servers. Some VPNs save money by using virtual UK servers that are physically located in another country. BBC iPlayer can recognize this non-UK traffic and prevent you from using the service.
  • BBC iPlayer has blocked its IPs. If your VPN has a limited server network, there's a higher chance its servers have been detected by BBC iPlayer. VPNs with extensive server networks find it easier to avoid such restrictions.
  • Evolving anti-VPN technology. Some VPNs may not have the resources to stay updated with the VPN-detection tools employed by BBC iPlayer.

How to Fix VPN Problems With BBC iPlayer

Here are some tested ways to get your VPN up and running with BBC iPlayer if you’re in the UK:

  1. Update your VPN. Ensure you're using the latest version of your VPN software since outdated versions contain vulnerabilities that make them easier to detect, even though you’re watching from the UK. Open your VPN software, check for updates in the settings or help section, and restart the app.
  2. Switch VPN servers. Try connecting to a different server near you in the UK. Some might work better with BBC iPlayer than others. For best results, connect to a server closest to you.
  3. Clear your cache and cookies. If you’ve recently spent time abroad, your cache and cookies might still contain data from your past sessions.To clear your browsing data, go to your browser settings and select Privacy and Security. Click on Clear browsing data and select cache and cookies. On Chrome, you can try flushing your browser DNS by typing chrome://net-internals/#dns and clicking the Clear host cache button.You can also clear the DNS cache from your operating system. The process varies depending on your OS and software version. Still, your OS DNS cache is automatically deleted from time to time, so this is less likely to work.
  4. Use obfuscation. Some VPNs provide obfuscation tools that disguise VPN traffic as regular traffic, making it harder to detect. If your VPN doesn't automatically enable this feature as ExpressVPN does, you'll need to activate it yourself within the VPN settings.Each VPN has a different label for this feature. Look for “obfuscation,” “stealth,” or “camouflage” in your VPN’s settings and activate it. Note that most VPNs only support obfuscation with the OpenVPN protocol, so make sure you’re using the correct security protocol as well.
  5. Change VPN protocol. Some are easier to detect than others. OpenVPN is generally regarded as the safest, but you can try out each security protocol provided by your VPN to find one that might work better.
  6. Check your proxy settings. Ensure you're not using a proxy that might be conflicting with your VPN location and making it look like you’re somewhere else. Check your device’s proxy settings and make sure the manual proxy setup is disabled.
  7. Get a dedicated IP address. This is an IP address only you use. A dedicated UK IP address is less likely to get flagged than shared IPs.
  8. Try another device. Some devices may have settings that interfere with VPN functionality. Switch to a different one to see if the problem persists. Premium VPNs support multiple simultaneous connections, so you won’t have to disconnect your VPN on one device to use it on another.
  9. Contact customer support. Your VPN provider might offer specific insights or fixes based on known issues. Premium VPNs offer 24/7 live chat support, so you can contact them anytime to ask which server or which VPN configuration is most likely to work with BBC iPlayer in the UK.
  10. Get a new VPN. If all else fails, consider switching to a more reliable VPN known to work more consistently.

Best VPNs For BBC iPlayer — Full Analysis (Updated 2024)

1. ExpressVPN — Regularly Updated UK IPs to Stream BBC iPlayer from the UK with Ease

Best Feature Optimized protocol that gives you fast speeds for streaming
Server Network 3,000 servers in 105 countries, including 5 UK locations
Speed Dropped from 117.25Mbps to 112.76Mbps on the nearest UK server
Compatible With Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers, and more

ExpressVPN has thousands of UK IPs and it regularly rotates between them. Because iPlayer sometimes blocks VPN IPs even though you’re using them from within the UK, this helps you in two ways. If one IP stops working with iPlayer, you have more to choose from, and it’s less likely that BBC iPlayer will be able to blocklist its IPs.

You can use its Smart Location feature to automatically connect to the fastest server within the UK, usually the one closest to your current location. Our testing team in the UK only had a 4% speed loss on local servers, which is barely noticeable. I also recommend using ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol since it was the fastest security protocol in my tests.

Watching In our tests from London, UK Midlands was the most reliable server for BBC iPlayer

Thanks to ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer feature, you can even use it to stream in HD on devices that usually don’t support VPNs, like smart TVs. I contacted its customer support via 24/7 live chat, and they confirmed that MediaStreamer currently works with BBC iPlayer if you’re in the UK. The VPN allows 8 simultaneous device connections, so you can use it on all your devices with one subscription.

A slight drawback is its monthly price — it’s a bit expensive on short-term plans. However, you can save significantly (up to 49%) on longer plans. Whichever plan you get, you’re protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try ExpressVPN risk-free.

Useful Features

  • Router app. You can use the VPN on all the devices in your home by installing ExpressVPN directly on your router. This way, you can use it while in the UK to stream on different devices that are not VPN-compatible, like consoles.
  • Advanced Protection. This feature lets you block ads, trackers, and malicious sites. You can also enable Parental Controls to block adult sites while the VPN is on.
  • Shortcuts. ExpressVPN offers shortcuts to your favorite apps and websites. This means after connecting to a UK server near you, you can quickly launch BBC iPlayer with a single click directly from the VPN app.
  • Automatic updates. It's important to always use the latest version of ExpressVPN to avoid any issues. You can set up apps to update automatically, so you don’t have to manually check for updates.
ExpressVPN Offer February 2024: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

2. CyberGhost — Optimized Servers For Streaming BBC iPlayer in HD

Best Feature Simple apps make it easy to find the right server quickly
Server Network 11,683 servers in 100 countries, including 3 UK locations, so you can stream at high speeds without worrying about overcrowding
Speed Dropped from 117.49Mbps to 111.77Mbps on the nearest UK server
Compatible With Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and more

CyberGhost offers multiple UK servers optimized for streaming, including a specific one for BBC iPlayer. I didn’t experience any interruptions while testing CyberGhost from the UK, including its regular servers in Berkshire, London, and Manchester. My colleague, who runs VPN speed tests from the UK, recorded an average speed drop of only 5% on the nearest servers.

Watching CyberGhost is great for live streaming as you can quickly find a working server

Thanks to its automatic kill switch feature, you’ll be instantly disconnected from the internet if your VPN connection drops. This reduces the risk of BBC iPlayer detecting a VPN during streaming and flagging it as suspicious even though you’re in the UK already. It also blocks DNS domains associated with ads, trackers, and malware. My tests confirmed these features work as advertised.

It's user-friendly, with an option to launch on startup, saving you the hassle each time you boot up. You can use it on up to 7 devices simultaneously, and if you run into any issues, the 24/7 live chat is responsive and helpful.

My only issue with CyberGhost is that its monthly plan only comes with a 14-day refund period. The long-term subscriptions are a better deal, providing generous discounts. Additionally, you get a longer money-back guarantee, so you can test CyberGhost with BBC iPlayer for 45 days.

Useful Features

  • Split tunneling. By using split tunneling, you can choose which apps use the VPN while others use your regular network. This can increase your speed because part of your traffic is unencrypted.
  • WireGuard protocol. It’s lighter and has less code, so it’s usually quicker than other security protocols, providing a balance between speed and security. During my tests, it proved to be faster than other protocols CyberGhost offers.
  • Best server location. When you click the power button, CyberGhost automatically picks the most optimal server for your connection. It takes the guesswork out of server selection and provides a reliable connection.
February 2024 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

3. Private Internet Access — Stream BBC iPlayer Securely on as Many Devices as You Want

Best Feature Apps are the same across all platforms, so there’s no learning curve
Server Network 29,650 servers in 91 countries, including 3 UK locations, so you’ll always find a working server near you in the UK
Speed Dropped from 117.28Mbps to 110.66Mbps on the nearest UK server
Compatible With Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and more

You can stream BBC iPlayer in HD with Private Internet Access (PIA) on an unlimited number of devices without experiencing a dip in performance. I tested PIA in the UK on all my devices (6) simultaneously, and the connection remained consistent across all platforms. I had only a 6% speed drop on the nearest servers in the UK.

Watching In our UK-based tests, PIA’s streaming-optimized servers always worked on the first try

PIA offers servers in several UK locations, including London, Manchester, and Southampton. The VPN also includes a streaming-optimized server in London. Although not exclusively designed for BBC iPlayer like CyberGhost's offering, it effectively works for streaming local sites securely in the UK.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the most user-friendly apps, as it offers many customization options that might overwhelm new users. With so many features to explore, tweaking the settings might seem challenging. However, I found that the default configuration works efficiently for secure streaming, so you can use it without the hassle of diving into settings.

The VPN's pricing is reasonable, with various discounts and frequent deals. You can test PIA for free thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee. If it’s not right for you, simply ask its customer support for a refund. They’re available 24/7.

Useful Features

  • Dedicated IPs in the UK. PIA offers dedicated IPs for a small fee. This can improve streaming performance, as dedicated IPs are less likely to be flagged by streaming platforms. This sometimes happens even though you’re watching from within the UK.
  • Multi-hop and obfuscation. These features reroute and mask your VPN traffic, so your local network can’t see you’re using a VPN. It’s beneficial if you’re using public WiFi or another network that usually blocks VPNs. This will slow down your connection, so I recommend activating it only if you’re having trouble.
February 2024 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 82% off!

FAQs on BBC iPlayer Not Working With a VPN

Is it legal to watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN?

Yes, watching BBC iPlayer with a VPN in the UK is legal. However, using a VPN to stream BBC iPlayer outside the UK goes against the platform's terms of service and is considered copyright infringement. The platform uses anti-VPN technology to prevent copyright infringement, so only a few VPNs can still be used to securely watch BBC iPlayer from within the UK.

While using a VPN is not illegal, breaching iPlayer’s terms could result in your account being restricted. BBC iPlayer is designed for UK residents who pay the UK's TV license fee. I advise always respecting terms of service and ensuring you're informed of the risks involved.

Which free VPN will secure my connection for streaming BBC iPlayer?

Using a free VPN is generally not recommended. Free VPNs often come with a small server network, bandwidth limitations, and slower speeds. They’re also unsafe, which defeats the main purpose of using a VPN anyway. A much safer option is using a premium VPN with a money-back guarantee.

How does BBC iPlayer know I'm using a VPN?

BBC iPlayer detects VPNs by recognizing IP patterns, flagging known VPN server IP addresses, and detecting inconsistencies in your browsing data. For seamless streaming from the UK, ensure your VPN offers robust obfuscation tools. Additionally, look for a VPN that regularly updates its server IPs.

If multiple users use the platform from the same IP address, it's a clear indication of VPN usage even if those users are from the UK. Additionally, BBC iPlayer maintains a list of IP addresses known to belong to VPN providers and restricts them. The platform also uses advanced tracking, active scans, and DNS leak tests to ascertain users' actual locations, further preventing VPN usage.

How to fix BBC iPlayer not working with a VPN on my Firestick?

First, ensure your VPN app on the Firestick is updated to the latest version. Disconnect from the current server and try connecting to a different server nearest to your UK location. If this doesn’t work, try one of these tips for making your VPN work with BBC iPlayer again. If these steps don't resolve the issue, consider trying a different VPN known for its compatibility with both BBC iPlayer and Firestick. Always ensure you're adhering to the terms of service.

Conclusion

If your VPN stops working with BBC iPlayer, there are a couple of methods you can try before giving up your online privacy. I don’t condone copyright infringement, so please only use my tips if you’re in the UK. Using a VPN to stream BBC iPlayer from abroad goes against the platform’s T&Cs and is a violation of copyright.

If none of my methods work, I recommend switching your current VPN to ExpressVPN. It’s the most reliable VPN for watching BBC iPlayer securely in the UK due to its many local IP addresses and it was the fastest provider in our tests. You can try ExpressVPN for BBC iPlayer risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

Andjela is a technology and cybersecurity writer for vpnMentor, dedicated to helping readers protect their privacy online with detailed VPN reviews, testing all features, and providing the facts.

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