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How to Watch BBC iPlayer in Australia in 2023 (EASY WAY)

The BBC uses some of the world’s toughest geoblocks, so accessing iPlayer from Australia is a real challenge. Its content is only licensed for the UK, which is why you’ll see an error message if you try and watch it from overseas.

The easiest way to access BBC iPlayer in Australia is with a VPN. It's an app that hides your IP address while providing you with one in a different location — such as the UK. Even though you’re in Australia, it will appear to BBC iPlayer that you’re signing in from the UK.

I’ve tested 30+ VPNs and found that ExpressVPN is the best VPN for watching iPlayer from Australia. It effortlessly unblocks the site and has lightning-fast speeds for streaming. You can try it risk-free, since it offers a money-back guarantee — if you’re not entirely happy, you have 30 days to claim a refund.

Watch iPlayer With ExpressVPN

Quick Guide: How to Watch BBC iPlayer in Australia in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN for its rapid speeds, even at long distances. Plus, it effortlessly unblocks iPlayer and a host of other UK platforms.
  2. Connect to a server in the UK. You now have a UK IP address, so it will appear as if you’re connected from there, instead of Australia.
  3. Start watching BBC iPlayer. Enjoy access to thousands of shows on BBC iPlayer, or live stream BBC One.

Why You Need a VPN to Watch BBC iPlayer in Australia

Due to licensing agreements, BBC iPlayer is available exclusively in the UK. If you try to watch it from Australia, it detects that you don’t have a UK IP address and blocks you. The same goes for live streams on BBC One, Two, Three, and Four. You’ll see an error message saying, “BBC iPlayer is only available in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights reasons.”

A VPN connects you to a server in another country, masking your real IP address and giving you a new one. Your IP address reveals your location — so if BBC iPlayer detects your IP is outside of the UK, it blocks you from accessing its content. When you connect to a server in the UK, it appears to BBC iPlayer that you are actually located there — not in Australia. You’ll now have complete access to BBC iPlayer, just like you would in the UK.

Watch BBC iPlayer Today

Best VPNs to Watch BBC iPlayer From Australia in 2023

1. ExpressVPN — Ultra-Fast to Watch BBC iPlayer Without Interruptions

  • Lightning-fast speeds that are great for streaming — even from long distances
  • 3,000 servers in 94 countries, with servers in 5 UK locations for reliable access to iPlayer
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, Netflix UK, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, smart TVs, and more
ExpressVPN Offer January 2023: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

ExpressVPN has exceptional speeds, even over long distances — which is rare. Most VPNs reduce your speeds by around 40% over long distances, but when connecting to faraway servers with ExpressVPN, my speeds only dropped 20% on average, which is a really good result. This is thanks to its proprietary Lightway protocol, which is optimized for minimal speed loss. Plus, it provides a built-in speed test to make finding a superfast server easy.

BBC iPlayer has a maximum resolution of 1080p HD; for this, you need at least 5 Mbps. I tested its UK - Docklands server and got 40.35 Mbps with a starting speed of 49.76 Mbps. Its East Midlands and London servers were almost as fast, averaging 40.13 Mbps. I was able to watch BBC iPlayer with no lag or buffering whatsoever.

Screenshot showing the ExpressVPN app connected to a UK server, streaming The Outlaws on BBC iPlayerWith ExpressVPN, you can unblock BBC iPlayer and a host of other British platforms

With ExpressVPN’s excellent unblocking abilities, I got instant access to BBC iPlayer. I live streamed Saturday Kitchen on BBC One; then watched season 2 of The Outlaws. I could also unblock other British platforms like ITV Hub, All 4, My5, and Netflix UK. In fact, I didn't find a single UK streaming site that ExpressVPN couldn’t access.

With apps for all major platforms, you can easily enjoy iPlayer on your favorite devices. I installed it on my iPhone, Android tablet, and Windows laptop. This allows you to unblock both BBC iPlayer’s site as well as the app. Using its MediaStreamer Smart DNS feature, I could even watch iPlayer on my smart TV and could stream Match of the Day from Australia on the big screen.

A minor drawback is that ExpressVPN is a bit more expensive than some VPNs — prices start at $6.67/month (USD). Short-term plans cost more overall and don’t offer any additional features. Luckily, you can often find money-saving discounts on ExpressVPN's site. For instance, I managed to get 49% off the yearly subscription when I signed up.

ExpressVPN lets you try it risk-free since it offers a money-back guarantee. If you're not completely satisfied, you can easily claim a refund within 30 days. I’ve put this guarantee to the test after 3 weeks, by contacting ExpressVPN via its 24/7 live chat feature. The agent didn’t ask any questions and agreed to my refund immediately. My money landed back in my account 3 days later.

Watch iPlayer With ExpressVPN

2. CyberGhost — Specialty Server to Unblock BBC iPlayer With Ease

  • Optimized server for dependable access to iPlayer specifically
  • 9,758 servers in 91 countries, with 3 UK server locations to avoid overcrowded or slow connections
  • 7 simultaneous device connections
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix UK, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, smart TVs, and more
January 2023 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost has a specialty server optimized for you to easily unblock iPlayer. It’s regularly maintained to ensure it isn’t blocked. Connecting is easy — I clicked “For streaming” on the app's sidebar, which brought up a huge list of servers. I typed “BBC” into the search box, selected the server, and hit connect. Within seconds, I was watching series 1 of The Tourist on iPlayer.

Screenshot showing the CyberGhost app connected to a UK server, streaming The Tourist on BBC iPlayerWith CyberGhost, you can favorite the BBC iPlayer server for easy reconnections

With CyberGhost’s speeds, I could easily stream from Australia in HD. While testing its BBC iPlayer server, I recorded speeds of 31.19 Mbps — my base speed was 41.16 Mbps. I also tested 2 additional UK servers, which gave me average speeds of 31.89 Mbps. While it wasn’t as fast as ExpressVPN, there was still no buffering in sight.

Using CyberGhost’s user-friendly app, I could connect to iPlayer with one click. It offers a shortcut feature called "Startup rules". Using this, I could set BBC iPlayer to launch automatically (via Chrome) whenever I connect to its streaming server. This allows you to get straight to watching your favorite content without hassle.

A minor issue is that short-term plans are expensive and only have a 14-day money-back guarantee. On the other hand, its long-term plan is super affordable — you can sign up for just $2.19/month (USD). Plus, it comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee, which is very generous considering most VPNs usually offer 30 days.

Using its money-back guarantee, you can test CyberGhost with iPlayer yourself with no risk. To put this to the test, I contacted 24/7 live chat support to claim my money back. I had to wait in a queue for a minute or two; then I chatted with an agent who approved my refund. I got my money back 4 days later.

Watch iPlayer with CyberGhost

3. Private Internet Access — Highly Customizable to Enhance Your BBC iPlayer Streams

  • Customizable settings to optimize your experience
  • 29,650+ servers in 84 countries for uncrowded and stable connections
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix UK, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, Hulu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, smart TVs, and more
January 2023 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 83% off!

PIA has tons of settings to enhance your streaming experience. For example, I switched from 256-bit to 128-bit encryption, which is less secure, but boosted my speeds by 10%. It also offers split tunneling — this lets you select specific traffic to pass through the VPN to minimize speed loss. For instance, I routed BBC iPlayer (app) through the VPN while the rest of my apps remained on my home network.

Screenshot showing how to set up the split tunnel feature on the Private Internet Access appBy encrypting less traffic, you can keep your streaming speeds fast

Its massive network of Next Generation servers ensure stable UK connections from Australia. In addition, since users are spread across many servers, it prevents overcrowding and slowdowns. I tested 3 UK connections which averaged 28.29 Mbps — my starting speed was 47.80 Mbps — so this is more than enough for the 5 Mbps minimum needed for HD. Plus, you’ll have plenty of alternatives in case you run into a blacklisted server.

While testing PIA, a few of its UK servers didn’t unblock iPlayer. But it didn't really matter because its London - Streaming server is super dependable. Unlike CyberGhost, it’s not specifically optimized for iPlayer, but it worked just as well. I used this to watch Snowfall for 2 hours, and didn’t run into any connection issues the entire time.

PIA is super cost-effective with prices starting at $2.19/month for a long-term subscription. Keep an eye out for special offers — when I subscribed, I got 3 months extra and a year of encrypted cloud storage for free.

You can try PIA for yourself, risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. When I tested the refund policy, it was hassle-free. I used PIA’s 24/7 live chat support to request a refund. The agent asked one question and didn’t pressure me to stay. I had my money back in my account 5 days later.

Watch iPlayer with PIA

4. NordVPN — SmartPlay to Conveniently Watch BBC iPlayer on Any Device

  • Built-in Smart DNS for unrestricted BBC iPlayer streaming on any device
  • Proprietary NordLynx protocol lets you safely watch UHD content buffer-free
  • Servers across 60 countries, including 1 locations in the UK
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix UK, ITVX Hub, BT Sport (UK), Hulu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, browsers, routers, and more

NordVPN’s SmartPlay lets you stream BBC iPlayer without extra setup. Even devices that don't support VPN natively can be configured with Smart DNS. I tested NordVPN’s DNS proxy on my Playstation 5 — and watched BBC News and CBeebies while traveling outside the UK. The native apps are also very intuitive and neatly organized. Plus, the 24/7 live chat support can always help you set up your device.

You can choose from 1 UK-based servers to watch BBC iPlayer while you’re in Australia (or anywhere else). The obfuscated servers let you safely view BBC iPlayer even on heavily restricted networks. Obfuscation also enables you to bypass strict VPN blocks in countries like China and Russia. So, catching up with the latest episodes of Killing Eve isn't a problem.

The NordLynx protocol maintains UHD-ready speeds. My connection averaged 27Mbps on the UK servers, which is enough even for online gaming. Torrenting isn’t a problem either, as the VPN supports P2P traffic and doesn’t limit your bandwidth.

This VPN protects your data with top-grade encryption (AES 256-bit) and tunneling protocols. You can use the Double VPN feature to route your traffic via 2 encrypted servers for a security boost. Additionally, the IP/DNS leak protection and kill switch keep your activities safe from exposure when switching servers. For a smoother experience, I use Threat Protection to block ads, website trackers, and pop-ups.

Screenshot of Killing Eve episode on BBC iPlayer accessed via NordVPNSet the kill switch to terminate the internet when the VPN connection drops or isn't enabled

On the downside, NordVPN can share your personal data with the government. However, that’s only on paper. In actuality, the provider’s RAM-only servers erase your web data after you disconnect. The VPN also has a strict no-logs policy and has headquarters in Panama — outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances intelligence-sharing pact.

A wallet-friendly subscription is available at $3.49/month. I’ve chosen the 2-year option, which has the lowest monthly fee. For an extra fee, you can get a dedicated IP address for all your apps to avoid blacklisting and CAPTCHAs.

It’s easy to try NordVPN for free — it has a 30-day money-back policy. I spent less than 10 minutes getting a refund approved via 24/7 live chat. My money arrived in my PayPal account 5 days later.

Watch iPlayer With NordVPN

5. Surfshark — Unlimited Device Connections to Stream BBC iPlayer Across Multiple Household Devices

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections let you watch BBC iPlayer on all your devices
  • NoBorders mode helps you access BBC iPlayer on heavily restricted networks
  • RAM-only servers wipe your browsing data after each session for extra privacy
  • Works with: BBC iPlayer, Netflix UK, ITVX Hub, BT Sport (UK), Hulu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, browsers, routers, and more

With Surfshark’s unlimited connections, you can stream BBC iPlayer on all your tech. Like NordVPN, this provider lets you set up DNS for numerous devices: smart TVs, game consoles, and routers. I tested Surfshark stability on multiple devices at the same time. There were no disconnects when I watched BBC News on 9 devices (laptops, Android phones, and Android TVs).

This VPN lets you access BBC iPlayer using 4 servers in the UK. I watched Doctor Who while traveling in Australia as if I was at home. The NoBorders mode automatically finds the best server to bypass your network’s restrictions. Plus, the Camouflage mode (obfuscation) avoids sophisticated geoblocks for platforms like Netflix and HBO Max.

I had no IP/DNS/WebRTC leaks throughout my tests. The VPN safeguards your activities with AES 256-bit encryption and a kill switch. You can select to route your data via two servers in the MultiHop tab. Pop-ups aren’t a problem if you use the built-in ad blocker (CleanWeb). Finally, this provider has a strict zero-logs policy, and RAM-based technology regularly deletes your data from servers.

Image of a Doctor Who streamed on BBC iPlayer via Surfshark with MultiHop connectionFind the optimal combination of servers in the MultiHop section

The apps are super-easy — connecting to the fastest server in the UK takes a few seconds. I also configured split tunneling (Bypasser) for apps that should always use a VPN while others use regular internet. If you run into any problems, the 24/7 live chat can help you with anything.

Plus, I always had above 25Mbps on UK servers, letting me stream without slowdowns. Torrenting was just as reliable, thanks to network-wide P2P support and unlimited bandwidth.

Surfshark is unfortunately based in the Netherlands — part of the 14 Eyes Alliance (intelligence sharing pact). However, like NordVPN it doesn’t log any user data so this isn’t a concern.

Surfshark’s most affordable plan starts at $2.30/month. The short-term plans are generally less affordable, so I signed up for 24 months to get the most value for my buck.

You can try Surfshark without risk, thanks to the trustworthy 30-day money-back guarantee. I quickly canceled via an online chat (24/7) and had my credit card reimbursed in a week.

Watch iPlayer With Surfshark

How to Sign Up for (& Download) BBC iPlayer in Australia

  1. Get a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN because it unblocks BBC iPlayer in Australia without hesitation, and has superfast speeds — even from the other side of the world.
    Screenshot of the ExpressVPN website, showing how to download the app with one clickYou can download ExpressVPN with one click
  2. Connect to a UK server. BBC iPlayer is only available in the UK, so you need an IP address in this location to unblock the site.
  3. Go to the iPlayer website or download the app. You can use either the site or the app to set up your BBC iPlayer account. To download the app, navigate to the app store for your device and follow the installation prompts.

    Screenshot showing the BBC iPlayer homepage and how to sign in or register an accountYou can either sign in or create a new account after clicking “Sign in”

  4. Create your account. Click “Register now” to begin, verify your age, and click “Continue”.

    Screenshot showing the iPlayer sign in page, highlighting the You can register with any valid email address, it doesn’t have to be from the UK

  5. Enter your login credentials. You’ll need to enter your email, create a password, and also enter a UK postcode. You can use a postcode from a hotel, or just use W1 0AA, which is a shared UK postcode. Enter your gender (or you can opt out), and hit “Register”.

    Screenshot showing the process for registering an account on iPlayer, and the screen where you have to enter your personal detailsYou'll be asked if you have a UK TV license — if you select "I have a license" you can start streaming

  6. Start watching iPlayer. Catch up on your favorite shows and movies, or live stream on BBC One. You can even download content to watch offline or at a later time. Just be aware that downloads expire at the same time as the online versions.

Watch iPlayer With ExpressVPN

Note: While you don't need proof upon signing up, BBC iPlayer's Terms of Use does state that you legally need a UK TV license to watch its content. Claiming you do have one when you don't does go against these. We don't condone breaking rules, so please use iPlayer responsibly. 

FAQs on Watching BBC iPlayer With a VPN

Is it legal to watch iPlayer with a VPN from Australia?

Yes, but the full answer is a bit more complicated. Using VPNs is legal in Australia, and watching iPlayer is legal if you have a TV license. The BBC does not ask for proof of your license to access iPlayer, you just have to click a button to confirm you have one.

That being said, there are possible legal repercussions in the UK if you use BBC iPlayer without having a TV license, and goes against the BBC’s terms of service.

In addition, some strictly-censored countries (like China and the UAE) ban VPNs entirely. The team at vpnMentor doesn’t condone using a VPN to break any rules or laws, so just be sure to watch BBC iPlayer responsibly.

How can I live stream BBC One or BBC First from Australia?

The easiest way to stream BBC One is to use a VPN with fast speeds and reliable unblocking abilities Once you connect your VPN to the UK, the rest of the process is simple. On iPlayer, click the “Channels” dropdown. You should see BBC One to Four, and other channels like CBeebies, BBC News, and BBC Parliament. Click to select a channel. The large screenshot at the top of the screen should say “On now” next to it. Click to live stream.

BBC First is a subscription service that you can access online from Australia — it isn't geoblocked there. It provides BBC content that is specifically licensed for Australia. Since it isn’t licensed in the UK, you can't access it through iPlayer.

Do I need a TV license to watch iPlayer in Australia?

Technically yes, but there’s more to it. Although you can unblock BBC iPlayer from Australia with a reputable VPN, you’ll still be asked if you have a UK TV license. If you click “I have a licence. Watch now.”, the content will begin streaming. If you click “I don’t have a TV license.”, you’ll be blocked.

According to BBC’s terms and conditions, you need a UK TV license to watch iPlayer. However, iPlayer doesn’t ask for proof. At the time of publishing, nobody has been prosecuted or fined for watching iPlayer from outside the UK with a VPN.

What can I do if my VPN is not working with iPlayer?

If your VPN isn’t working, the following methods can help — providing you use a VPN with plenty of reliable UK servers and strong unblocking abilities. If you have tried the tips below without success, you may want to consider switching to a more dependable service.

  1. Switch to a different UK server. It could be that the BBC has blocked the IP you’re connected to. In this case, try another UK server or location. Sometimes simply disconnecting and re-connecting will assign you a new IP and do the trick.
  2. Clear your cache and cookies. In your browser’s security settings, you can clear cache and cookies. Restart your browser, and try to load iPlayer again. You can also open a private or incognito window and try that. Sometimes your device will store cookies that can give away your actual location.
  3. Try a different method to access iPlayer. If you’re using the app, try using the website. If you’re using a browser, try the app. You could also try switching browsers and/or devices.
  4. Contact your VPN’s live support. Alert them to the problem; they may already be working on a solution. I made sure the VPNs on my list all have reliable 24/7 chat.
  5. Turn on leak protection and/or a kill switch. If your VPN connection drops out, your device will automatically try to connect to your regular ISP, revealing your location. A kill switch will block your regular ISP and prevent this.
  6. Turn off GPS and disable location sharing. You could also try switching your timezone to UK time. The UK has 2 time zones — British Summer Time (BST), from the end of March–end of October, and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), from the end of October–end of March.

On which devices can I watch BBC iPlayer?

The BBC has iPlayer apps for all major devices, including PC, Android, Mac, and iOS, as well as streaming platforms like Roku and Fire devices. To watch BBC iPlayer on smart TVs and game consoles, I recommend ExpressVPN. Its MediaStreamer feature allows you to access iPlayer on devices (like these) that don’t natively support VPNs.

Can I use a free VPN to watch iPlayer in Australia?

Free VPNs rarely work with iPlayer. For reliable access to BBC iPlayer, it’s best to go with a low-cost premium VPN. In 2016, BBC introduced tougher geo-restrictions to prevent people outside the UK from accessing iPlayer. Free VPNs simply don’t have the necessary features or server infrastructures to keep up with this.

For instance, free VPNs usually only have one UK location (if any), so the chances of it working with the site are unlikely. Plus, they’re often severely limited on data and have slow speeds, making it difficult to do much streaming at all. Even worse — many free VPNs collect your data and sell it to advertisers, so they can interrupt your streams with targeted ads. It’s not worth the trouble when my recommended VPNs all offer a money-back guarantee.

Watch iPlayer Today

Start Watching BBC iPlayer Now

Since BBC iPlayer uses tough geo-blocks, it’s challenging to access it from Australia. A VPN can help, however, it needs to provide plenty of reliable UK servers and fast enough speeds to enjoy unbuffered streams. Many VPNs lack these key features, but after testing, I found a few that work consistently with the site.

My #1 recommendation for watching BBC iPlayer from Australia is Express VPN. It has the fastest speeds I tested, which is ideal for streaming. It also unblocks BBC iPlayer with ease, in addition to every UK streaming platform I tested it with. You can try it with BBC iPlayer risk-free since it offers a money-back guarantee.If you’re not 100% satisfied, you have a 30 days to claim a refund.

To summarize, the best VPNs for watching BBC iPlayer in Australia are…

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About the Author

James fervently advocates freedom of speech and denounces censorship. He believes it is everyone's right to protect their online privacy and evade data tracking. From a professional perspective, he has written about cybersecurity for business, including e-commerce store maintenance, SaaS, and MFA.

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