3 Best (Really Free) VPNs Working With BBC iPlayer in 2020

It’s hard to find a free VPN that can bypass BBC iPlayer’s geoblocks so you can watch it from outside the UK. That’s where I come in. I put together a definitive list of the best free VPNs for BBC iPlayer that still work in 2020 so you can start watching His Dark Materials, Drag Race UK, and other great content for free.

I tested 39 free VPNs with BBC iPlayer and only found three that are powerful enough to bypass the site’s tough geo-restrictions. As expected, many of the free services I tested were poorly designed, slow, and unsafe to use.

But even the best free VPNs come with downsides. Small data allowances and limited server options stop you from streaming more than an episode or two – if they allow streaming at all.

Even worse, some free VPNs actually pose a threat to your safety and privacy with shady data collection practices, adware, or dangerous malware.

That’s why my top recommendation is a low-cost premium VPN service like NordVPN so you can safely binge-watch your favorite shows on BBC iPlayer with superb speeds and unlimited data.

Coronavirus Update: Many people are staying at home. This VPN doesn’t show on our list because it isn’t free, but with a low price of only $1.99, we think it’s worth the cost. The high speeds allow you to really enjoy the time that you’re forced to stay at home.

Best Free VPNs for BBC iPlayer – Quick Guide

  1. NordVPN: Enjoy unlimited streaming and lightning-fast speeds on BBC iPlayer for up to a month risk-free with NordVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee. You also get powerful security, user-friendly apps, and 580+ VPN servers in the UK for reliable access to your favorite BBC content.
  2. Windscribe: Access BBC iPlayer with two free UK servers on Windscribe’s well-designed apps and secure browser extensions. You get 10GB of free data per month, which is enough to stream about six movies in SD.
  3. Speedify: UK servers that can reliably access BBC iPlayer with decent speeds. But with only 2GB of free data per month, you won’t be able to stream more than a few episodes in SD.

What’s the Catch with Free VPNs?

There’s a reason that the best VPNs come with a price tag. Running a good VPN network is expensive. Free VPNs cut costs by limiting you in some pretty significant ways.

Compatibility

Free VPNs rarely offer as many different apps as premium services. You’re better off with a low-cost premium service if you’re looking for a router-compatible VPN or want to watch BBC iPlayer on your Smart TV.

Security

The scariest downside of using a free VPN is that you can’t always trust them to keep you safe online.

Free VPNs often limit your security features to convince you to upgrade. It’s also common for free VPNs to rely on money from third-party advertisers. They use adware and trackers that collect information about you and compromise your privacy.

Premium VPNs secure your private data with IP masking, bank-grade encryption, and advanced IP/DNS leak protection.

Limitations

BBC iPlayer has some of the strictest geoblocks of any streaming site, so finding a free VPN that can unblock it is rare. It is particularly good at detecting and blocking VPN traffic.

It takes advanced obfuscation technology and a large server network to outsmart BBC iPlayer, and most free VPNs lack the resources to make that happen.

Almost all free VPNs limit how much data you can use. This might not be a big issue if you’re just browsing the web or updating your social media, but you won’t be able to do much streaming even if your free VPN can access BBC iPlayer.

For reference, 1GB of free data lets you stream about 1.5 hours in SD. Most free VPNs only give you a few GB or less each month.

How to Unblock BBC iPlayer

Watch Renny and Alan show you how to unblock BBC iPayer to watch all your favorite British shows!

The Best Free VPNs for BBC iPlayer in 2020

I found three free VPNs that can reliably bypass BBC iPlayer’s tough geo-restrictions without putting your safety at risk.

1. NordVPN

NordVPN
  • Get a month of unlimited data with NordVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 580+ VPN servers in the UK
  • AES 256-bit encryption, IP masking, and ad blocking
  • P2P support with a strict no-logs policy
  • Stream on up to six devices simultaneously
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, and many more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and routers

NordVPN offers everything you need for the best streaming experience with BBC iPlayer. It is a premium VPN, but you can try risk-free with its generous 30-day money-back guarantee.

Its large network of 5,200+ servers includes 580+ servers in the UK. Server crowding isn’t an issue with NordVPN even during high-traffic periods, so you don’t have to deal with buffering delays.

This VPN offers unlimited data and bandwidth, which means you can watch as many HD episodes on BBC iPlayer as you want without ever being cut off.

With NordVPN’s streaming-optimized SmartPlay technology, you can effortlessly access 400+ streaming services, including BBC iPlayer, Netflix, HBO, and Hulu. All you need to do is turn SmartPlay on in the app. You don’t have to worry about any manual setup to bypass BBC iPlayer’s tough geoblocks – even if you’ve installed it on your router.

NordVPN offers specialty obfuscation servers that disguise your VPN traffic so you can bypass censorship and access restricted websites at your school or workplace without getting caught by VPN blocks.

Whether you’re streaming, torrenting, or checking your email, NordVPN protects your location and private data at all times with robust encryption, IP masking, and an automatic kill switch.

Its CyberSec feature blocks ads, trackers, and malware. This stops intrusive third-party advertisers from collecting private information about your browsing activity. Adblocking also can improve your browsing speed since, without ads, there is less data to load on each website you visit.

Check out our in-depth review to learn more about NordVPN’s features and performance.

Start Streaming with NordVPN!

2. Windscribe

Windscribe devices
  • 10GB of free data per month
  • Two free servers in the UK (including one with access to BBC iPlayer)
  • No ads with a free account
  • AES 256-bit encryption and IP masking
  • Connect an unlimited number of simultaneous devices
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, HBO GO, YouTube, and Kodi
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox

Windscribe gives you a generous 10GB of free data per month. You can’t have multiple binge-watching sessions with 10GB, but you can stream about six movies in standard definition (SD) every month. Plus, you can get an extra 5GB free by tweeting the company, as well as an additional 1GB for every new user you refer to Windscribe.

You can choose from 10 free server locations, including two servers in the UK. The first server I tested couldn’t access BBC iPlayer, but I was able to consistently stream BBC iPlayer while connected to the London Tea server.

These free servers offer decent speeds. I experienced brief buffering delays when I tested the VPN during high-traffic periods, but overall, Windscribe offers much more reliable connections than most free VPNs.

You can also use Windscribe to ensure your privacy while you torrent. It has a strict no-logs policy and offers P2P support on multiple servers.

The free version of Windscribe comes with the same robust security features as the premium version. It protects your privacy and safety with IP masking and secure encryption. It even protects you from malware, trackers, adware, and other cyber threats.

Windscribe’s chatbot, Garry, can answer most questions, but you can also chat with a live customer service representative if your query is more complicated. Windscribe also has an online support ticket system.

Learn more about Windscribe by reading our full review.

Get Windscribe for Free!

3. Speedify

speedify device
  • 2GB of free data per month
  • Six free servers in the UK (including two with access to BBC iPlayer)
  • Choose between AES- or ChaCha-based encryption for a balance of speed and security
  • No ads with a free account
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO GO, and Kodi
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS iOS, Android, and Linux

Speedify offers 2GB of free data per month, which is only enough to stream in SD for about three hours. Still, it is a reliable choice if you just want to watch a sports match or a specific movie that’s only available on BBC iPlayer.

It has VPN servers in 200+ locations across the globe, including six free UK servers. Two of these servers successfully unblocked BBC iPlayer during my tests. I was able to stream with minimal buffering, but it wasn’t fast enough to watch anything in high definition.

Speedify’s Channel Bonding technology sends your data over two or more internet connections at once to improve your connection speeds. The downside is that it can use up to twice as much of your wi-fi and cellular data.

Speedify uses AES 128-GSM encryption to protect most modern devices. If you have an older device, Speedify’s ChaCha encryption cipher can dramatically improve your speed without compromising security.

The VPN’s effective IP masking hides your location from the websites you visit, while the strict no-logs policy ensures that your activity stays private.

You can use Speedify to effectively bypass censorship and access a wide range of geo-restricted content online.

Speedify supports torrenting on its Amsterdam server, which is available for free and is optimized for BitTorrent. However, you won’t be able to download large files with only 2GB.

Find out how Speedify performed in other areas by reading our full expert review.

Get Speedify for Free!

Our Premium VPN Recommendations for BBC iPlayer

My free VPN recommendations are all safe and can access BBC iPlayer, but they can’t do as much as a premium VPN. It’s frustrating to run out of free data right before an exciting season finale. If you want unlimited data, faster speeds, and better security, I recommend these top-rated (and affordable!) VPNs.

Starting at: $3.49/month
Starting at: $6.67/month
Starting at: $2.60/month
Starting at: $1.99/month
Starting at: $1.89/month

FAQs

🤔 What features should I look for in a VPN for BBC iPlayer?

Your VPN’s network should have multiple servers in the UK to increase the chances that you can find a server that’s able to unblock BBC iPlayer. A larger server network also improves your VPN connection speeds by reducing traffic and server crowding.

In addition to fast speeds, you need unlimited data and bandwidth so that you don’t run out of data right in the middle of an episode.

Other useful features to look out for are device compatibility so that you can watch BBC iPlayer on your favorite platforms, and responsive customer service to help you troubleshoot if you have trouble streaming content on BBC iPlayer.

💻 How do I watch BBC iPlayer with a VPN?

It’s easy to watch BBC iPlayer with a high-quality VPN. After you download the VPN to your device, open the VPN app and, connect to a server in the UK. You should now be able to watch BBC iPlayer with no further steps.

If you still can’t access BBC iPlayer, try connecting to different UK servers in your VPN’s network until you find one that works.

Make sure you refresh BBC iPlayer after connecting to a new server. Depending on your browser settings, restarting your browser may also help.

❓ Can I also use the VPNs on this list to watch Netflix?

If you are looking for a VPN that works with multiple streaming sites, including BBC iPlayer and Netflix, a premium VPN like NordVPN is your best option. Windscribe also works with Netflix, but only if you upgrade to a premium account. Speedify does not currently work with Netflix.

🚨 Are VPNs legal?

Generally yes, but it depends on where you live. VPNs are legal in most countries, but a select few restrict or completely ban the use of VPNs. To check if VPNs are legal where you live, you can read our complete guide here.

The Bottom Line

The free VPNs on this list can access BBC iPlayer, but you can only stream a limited amount because of their data limits.

BBC iPlayer is continuing to crack down on the use of free VPNs. There’s no guarantee that any free VPN will always be able to access the content you want in the future.

A low-cost premium VPN is your best option for reliable, long-term access to BBC iPlayer. I recommend NordVPN for its budget-friendly prices, large server network, fast speeds, top-notch security, and user-friendly streaming features.

With NordVPN, you can unblock content on hundreds of popular streaming sites, including BBC iPlayer, Netflix, HBO, and many more. You can test NordVPN risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Take a look at our VPN deals page (updated weekly) for big discounts on top-rated VPNs.

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