Best VPNs to Watch BBC iPlayer

If you’re planning on watching BBC iPlayer using a VPN from outside the UK this shouldn’t
have too much effect as the BBC currently employs a trust system to police the new licensing laws.

*Although we make every effort to ensure all prices are accurate, we cannot guarantee that they are always up to date.

Best VPNs to Watch BBC iPlayer

If you’re planning on watching BBC iPlayer using a VPN from outside the UK this shouldn’t
have too much effect as the BBC currently employs a trust system to police the new licensing laws.

*Although we make every effort to ensure all prices are accurate, we cannot guarantee that they are always up to date.

If you are a fan of British TV shows and you prefer online streaming, then you probably know that your first and only stop is the BBC iPlayer. This is a UK-only online channel that provides you with access to hundreds of shows, documentaries, music channels, and much more.

Whatever you wish to watch, if it is related to British TV, chances are that you can find it on the iPlayer. Finding this content is incredibly easy. All you need to do is go to the website and check out their A-Z of TV programs.

There are also different channels, for you to choose from (One, Two, II!, Four, Radio 1, etc), but also different categories. There, you can find shows related to Arts, Food, Drama, Sport, Lifestyle, Films, Comedy, Documentaries, etc. Basically, everything that you can think of, as long as it is related to British TV, it is there.

Best of all, BBC iPlayer is a free service, and you can watch it from anywhere in the UK. The biggest problem with this service is that you can't access it from outside of the UK.

Geo-restrictions

Accessing the iPlayer abroad is simply not possible, due to geo-restrictions that BBC forces. No one in any other country outside the UK can watch any of this content because of BBC blocks non-UK-based users, even users in nearby Ireland. 

If you think that this is not fair, you are not the only one. However, the UK likes keeping their content private and it is only allowed inside its borders. Copyright holders demand it, and the UK decided to fulfill their wish. So now, if you want to watch BBC iPlayer in the US, you will only get a message that says that the content is not available in your country.

The same goes for every other location, and the only way to bypass this is to use VPNs to access the iPlayer. VPNs work because they have servers in different countries all around the world, including the UK. When you use them, you can connect to a specific server, and you get a new IP address for that country. 

The new IP address is local to the area where the server is located, which means that when you use it, the internet 'sees' you as local to that region as well. Since BBC blocks foreigners from accessing the iPlayer by blocking all non-UK addresses, all you need to do is change your IP address and you will be granted access.

So essentially, in order to watch BBC iPlayer in the US, you need to get the best VPN for BBC iPlayer first. We’d like to help - let's start by taking a look at what a decent VPN needs to have in order to access the iPlayer and let you stream British content.

About BBC iPlayer

As we mentioned earlier, BBC iPlayer is a free streaming service. However, you still need to create an account in order to access its content. This is a simple process, and we will talk about it later. What is more important is that BBC iPlayer demands that you have a TV license in order to watch it.

If you have one, you are all set. However, if you don't and you still watch this content, you are, technically, committing a crime. If caught doing it, you can get a fine. It is also punishable to use a device that you know was used or will be used for watching this content without the TV license. Same goes for recording it in any way.

We already mentioned that the UK's copyright holders won the battle for their legal rights, and these laws are now pretty serious.

VPN features that you need accessing BBC iPlayer

If you wish to learn how to watch BBC iPlayer in the USA, you first need to find out what to look for in a VPN. There are many providers currently out there, but the quality of their service is very different. The last thing that you need is to pay for a VPN that doesn't suit your needs. You will need a VPN that has certain features. You don't need the one that offers the most features - just the right ones.

1. Server network

The first and most important thing that your VPN needs to have is a server in the UK. Not every provider has one, so make sure that the UK is on the list of countries that your chosen provider covers.

2. Speed

Next, you need a fast VPN, since you are going to use it for watching videos. VPNs encrypt your data and send it through the server of your choice. Doing so is bound to affect your internet speed. If you choose a slow provider, you won't be able to watch videos. This is why you need to find one with unlimited speeds.

3. Multiple connections

Also, you should try to find a VPN that offers multiple, simultaneous connections. After all, you know how fast you are likely to switch between streaming devices. Now imagine that every time you switch devices, you have to log out of your VPN on one device, and log in on the next one. It takes time and effort, and sometimes you are in a hurry and don’t want to waste time signing in every time.

Luckily, many VPNs offer three to five simultaneous connections. This means that you can use the same VPN account on that many devices at the same time. Just download the VPN's app on every one of your devices, log in on all of them, and you can be sure that all of them are protected.

4. Price

Of course, you want to find a VPN that won't take too much money for its services. Most of them will take between $5 and $10 per month – you should not need to spend more than this per month. The price does not always determine the quality of the VPN – there are great VPNs that won’t break the bank, and the more costly VPNs might simply be offering you features that you will never use.

5. Strong encryption and protocols

If you are in a country that monitors or logs your online actions, has strong censorship rules and laws, or doesn't support VPNs, you'll need strong encryption and protocols. Many countries are against the use of VPNs, because if they wanted you to be able to access certain content, they wouldn't ban in in the first place. 

That is why you need to make sure that your protection is the best available, since you will now have to hide from your ISPs and government while trying to trick the UK firewalls. Luckily, only a few countries have such strong laws against VPNs that you can actually get you in trouble for using them. However, getting banned from online services is still a strong possibility if they catch you using one.

Which VPN to use?

So, which VPN should you use? What is the best VPN for BBC iPlayer? Well, the answer can be found below, after you decide what your main priorities are. We have given you a list of features that you should try to find in a VPN, but it is ultimately your choice. What we can do is provide suggestions and recommendations, based on our extensive research, to help you decide. Three best VPNs, in our opinion, that you can use for accessing BBC iPlayer are ExpressVPN, IPVanish, and NordVPN.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs currently on the market. It provides its users with all of the features mentioned above, as well as additional features based on your specific needs. It is available on multiple devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and routers. Not to mention that it has a first-class encryption, as well as great speeds.

This VPN’s customer support is excellent as well, and it offers a large server network. Its servers are located in 94 countries, and yes, that includes the UK. It also offers a 30-day money back guarantee, which means that you have an entire month to try it out and see if it works for you. ExpressVPN is confident that you will decide to stay, which says a lot about their product’s quality. It is a bit more expensive, and it costs $12.95 per month, but it is well worth it.

ExpressVPNExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
Servers in nearly 100 countries and wide device compatibility should please seasoned travellers. ExpressVPN may be a little pricey but it's a solid choice - home or abroad.
  • Use on up to 3 Devices simultaneously
  • Loads of VPN protocols to choose from
  • 256-bit SSL encryption to protect your data
Price: From $8.32 per month (annual subscription) - SAVE 35%!
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IPVanish

IPVanish is also among the best VPNs if you wish to access content under geo-restrictions. It offers maximum security, and it doesn't keep any logs. It also offers a 7-day money back guarantee. It's also cheaper than ExpressVPN, and you can subscribe for $10 per month.

The thing that is especially impressive with IPVanish is its speed. This provider actually owns its network, which allows IPVanish to use its full potential. Thanks to this, IPVanish is one of the fastest VPN providers on the market, if not THE fastest. Combine that with its giant server network that has over 850 servers in 60+ countries, and you get over 40,000 IP addresses for you to use. With this power backing you up, even the UK can't stop you from accessing what you want.

IPVanishIPVanish
IPVanish
IPVanish offers a VPN service that’s simple to use, works on multiple devices, and offers a range of servers and countries to choose from
  • Fast and stable speeds for streaming
  • Quick and easy installation
  • User-friendly and intuitive interface
Price: Starts from only $6.49 per month with a yearly subscription!
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NordVPN

Another great choice of a VPN for BBC iPlayer is NordVPN. It has a big server network that consists of 1,046 server locations in 58 different countries. This VPN has landed on every continent except for Antarctica. It offers lightning speeds, strong no logging policy, and also extremely simple software.

This VPN is the master of security as well. It has multiple protocols, an automatic kill switch, and its unique feature - double encryption. This is one of the very rare features, even in the world of VPNs. It means that your data gets encrypted twice, which makes it extra safe. VPN encryptions usually don't get broken, but even if someone manages to break one, there is still another one to protect you too.

NordVPN NordVPN
NordVPN
The colorfully-named Hide My Ass has done more than most to bring VPN services into the mainstream. Since its launch in 2005, the London-based VPN provider claims it has attracted more than 10 million subscribers
  • Great speeds & unmetered bandwidth
  • Wide device support – including Android & iOS apps
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
Special Offer - 57% off for all plans!
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Whichever one of these VPNs you decide to go with, you definitely won't regret it. They are strong, fast, have great server networks, and excellent safety measures. Just pick one, and you will be good to go.

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BBC vs. VPN

The UK channels don't really appreciate the use of VPNs by their audience. They introduced geo-restrictions for a reason, which is to protect copyright holders' content. Because of this, they don't like giving access to those outside of the country.

Because of that, they are known for blocking IP addresses that belong to VPN providers. Not all VPN providers are blocked, of course. There are simply too many of them, and some have enough skill to avoid detection and identification. However, some providers were not as successful at protecting themselves, and their addresses don't allow users to access iPlayer anymore.

These include VPNs like Private Internet Access, HideMyAss, CyberGhost. Of course, BBC iPlayer and other geo-restricted services are always on a hunt for new VPNs to block. Because of this, it is difficult to find a VPN that will work every time. It is a gamble, which is why it’s a smart idea to use monthly VPN subscriptions, instead of annual ones.

For now, all of the mentioned VPNs work, but there is still no guarantee for how long will they continue to do so. The most recommended one is IPVanish, and you should not have any issues with using that one. It is also the fastest one, which is even better for you. We frequently test and update the recommended VPNs on this site, in order to provide you with the most up to date information. 

How to access BBC iPlayer with a VPN

After you decide which VPN are you planning to use, you must set it up. This is a simple process, and all you need to do is follow a few easy steps.

  1. Go to your chosen VPN's website
  2. Sign up, and download the app
  3. Install the app on a device, and log in with your account credentials
  4. Choose a server from the UK (if there are several of them, there is a chance that some might not work, try them all).
  5. Your entire connection is now under VPN protection, and you should be able to access BBC iPlayer and all its content.

Now, all you need to do is go to BBC iPlayer's website and create a profile. You should still be aware of legality of using a VPN for BBC iPlayer, which are mentioned above. You will access this content at your own risk, and should be aware of the repercussions of viewing content without the appropriate license.

 

Should I Try a Free VPN?

Free VPNs are an option as well. However, they come with their own risks and limitations compared to the premium VPNs. For example, despite the fact that they are free, they are almost always unreliable. Their security is often faulty, and their speeds are bad. Also, because they are free, they are always used by a lot of people, which can overwhelm their servers. Not to mention the fact that they need money from somewhere - since you are not paying them, they need to find it somewhere else. To do so, most of them will either bombard you with ads, or record your data and browsing history and sell it to advertisers.

Either way, your security and privacy suffer, and using a free VPN should be done at your own risk. The choice is yours, as always, but you should be aware that free VPNs are more often the source of problems than a solution.

Is SmartDNS a Good Alternative?

SmartDNS might help you gain access to content under geo-restrictions. However, it works in a different way than a VPN. SmartDNS does not change your IP address; instead, it redirects your traffic. By doing this, it can allow you access to some of the content under restrictions. However, it also doesn't encrypt or shield your data flow, which leaves you completely open and vulnerable. Your ISP will know exactly what you are doing if you attract their attention. If you do so, an ISP has special tools for breaking SmartDNS protection, and they will be able to view your web activity and log your online traffic activity. 

SmartDNS is not a bad option when you travel or use public networks. However, it is not recommended for use at home, especially if your country has strict laws against such methods and tools.

How to check if your VPN works properly?

After you download and install your VPN, you will log into it and choose a server - now you are under its protection. But how can you be sure that it works properly? Well, there are multiple websites that can scan your IP address and tell your exact location.

You can access them all via Google, and when you do, they will tell you your current location. If it is your real location, then the VPN is not covering you for some reason, and it is not safe to use it. If it does cover you, then the website should think that you are in the same area as the server that you are using.

Also, it is always a good idea to try out VPNs that have money return guarantees. Just in case that the service that you are trying to access has blocked your chosen VPN in the meanwhile. After paying for your subscription, try and check if the VPN works as soon as you can.

When the money return period is over, you won't get your money back. Because of this issue, you should check if you can access services like iPlayer immediately upon launching your VPN.

How to Boost Your Streaming?

Enhancing your streaming speed is often a good idea if you wish to watch online videos. You can do it in several different ways. One of them is a split-tunneling method.

Basically, this is a concept that allows mobile users to access dissimilar domains like public networks, as well as a local LAN or WAN simultaneously. The biggest advantage here is that your bandwidth is conserved since not all of your traffic goes through a VPN server.

You can use several more tricks in order to boost your speed. For example, you can log out of every other device in your home that uses the internet. It is great to have internet access on all of them, but this will slow your connection down a lot.

Also, you can try and delete temporary cache and other internet files, since all they do is weigh you down. Another method is to disable hardware acceleration in your settings. This is often connected to pixelated graphic, as well as things like slow streams, and crashing of different media players.

By disabling it, you will cut these problems in half, which can be done from the display section from your control panel. Just remember to switch it back on when you are done streaming since it could affect other things on your computer.

Conclusion

If you want to watch BBC iPlayer in the US, or Australia, or pretty much from anywhere else outside the UK, you can't do it without help. Using a VPN is your top option, not only because it is safe, but also because it is fast, simple, and it is pretty cheap.

The same goes for other streaming services, like Netflix, or Hulu. All you need in order to access them is a VPN with a server in the right place, and there is no limit to what you can get access to. Hopefully, you have found your answer here, and are now able to bypass any geo-restriction in your way.

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